By Romain d’Aspremont, author of The Promethean Right: Why the Right is Losing the Battle of Ideas and What its Revitalization Must Look Like
Two transhumanism types are competing: a healthy (rightwing) one and a sickly (leftwing) one. This struggle is not specific to transhumanism. It has occupied humankind long before the emergence of Christianity. Beyond all particular political or moral views, two ideological poles lie in opposition: the “life pole” and the “death pole,” encompassing several opposing dualities. The major one is the will to self-overcoming versus the will of regression; between the two stands the desire for conservation.
The will to self-overcoming applies to all healthy organisms, both conscious and unconscious. It is the natural drive, pushing each individual to reach for more power and each species to reach a higher degree of sophistication. Even if evolution through natural selection (picking random mutations according to their degree of adaptation) is only about better fitness (spreading more of our genes), it tends to produce increased sophistication – its greatest accomplishment being Homo Sapiens. In On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche writes:
It is absolutely impossible to disguise what in point of fact is made clear by every complete will that has taken its direction from the ascetic ideal: this hate of the human, and even more of the animal, and more still of the material, this horror of the senses, of reason itself, this fear of happiness and beauty, this desire to get right away from all illusion, change, growth, death, wishing and even desiring—all this means—let us have the courage to grasp it—a will for Nothingness, a will opposed to life, a repudiation of the most fundamental conditions of life, but it is and remains a will!—and to say at the end that which I said at the beginning—man will wish Nothingness rather than not wish at all.
Though similar at first glance, this dualistic theory diverges from Nietzsche’s, for whom there is only a continuum between the strong and the weak. There is indeed a continuum, but between two extremes.
The desire for conservation is understandable, natural, even commendable – albeit insufficient. Yet how can one want to regress – unless he has some mental illness? Can we even use the term “will” when speaking about seeking regression instead of self-overcoming? Is not the desire for regression a suppression of will, the expression of a sick, self-hating mind, so unable to project itself that it turns inwards, against its own self; a wish to escape the laws of life, sheltering behind maternal legislation and representations? Such an exhausted mind can be nothing but a pacifist. Leftism is precisely about such masochism and denial of reality, a form of mental illness or, more accurately, of intellectual disease that can affect a whole society.
Competition may be a powerful factor for improvement through natural or social selection. But why should pacifism be synonymous with death? What is so unhealthy about a person hating competition and only aspiring to cultivate his garden, without any will to dominate or even compare himself to others? Is a money-hungry corporate executive living for competition and missing out on the beauty of the world, stuck into a frantic race, closer to the life pole? Pacifist does not mean peaceful. The pacifist is the one who unconditionally renounces violence. True pacifism is about hostility, i.e., love of enemies: the transformation of a selective and fusional relationship – love – into an absolute negation of struggle, a morbid strategy to make any struggle impossible, as one of the belligerents is turning the other cheek. There are many types of love. The Gospels delineate four types: familial love, friendship, romantic love, and charity. This last form is viewed as the supreme love: unconditional and selfless love of God and one’s neighbour. It is this love that Jesus revealed to men. It is different from passion: it is a matter of faith and understanding of God, searching for beatitude and ultimately merging with God. Such “unconditional love” is impersonal: what we love in our neighbour is not the individual, but the idea of love – God.
As for romantic love, Saint Augustine – a former fornicator who later came to denounce sexual impulses as evil disorders – denigrates it as cupiditas, a manifestation of the libido. This love is evil because it stems from Adam and Eve’s sin. Love of God is akin to Platonic love: a decadent version of romantic love, stemming from hatred of the flesh, i.e., of life, moving from carnal, “vulgar love,” and merging with the truth – divine, spiritual love. Likewise, absolute compassion – without another to compete with or even consume – is the enemy of life. Compassion is a legitimate feeling. Up to a point, it turns against progress. Unconditional love and the will to dissolve ourselves into an idea is both morbid – sterile – and sickly. Its disregard of hierarchies extends so far as to embrace all enemies and unhealthy living beings. In loving the unfit, do we not deride life? The ultimate consequence of this type of love is dysgenics and death.
Love is indeed an attribute of life, but only pure, elective love. When we love someone, we love the beautiful sample of life they represent; ultimately, beauty equates with health. From this warlike/pacifist duality comes the beauty/ugliness duality. Reaching for beauty implies the endeavour of conquering the perfect mate. It also implies hierarchy, as refusing to value beauty is an escape from the competition. The beauty/ugliness pair also refers to the truth/relativism duality. True pacifists refuse this aesthetical hierarchization favouring radical relativism, leading to the 20th century degenerate art. In some aspects, primitive Christianity also praised ugliness out of “charity” – unconditional love. Of course, even hardened relativists are still genetically attracted by beauty; their ideology conflicts with