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book The Immortalization Commission

read The Immortalization Commission kindle ´ Hardcover Ê danpashley ´ [Read] ➵ The Immortalization Commission Author John N. Gray – At the heart of human experience lies an obsession with the nature of death Religion for most of history has provided an explanation for humaUre of what it means to be human He looks to philosophers journalists politicians charlatans and mass murderers who all felt driven by a specifically scientific and modern worldview and whose revolt against death resulted in a series of experiments that ravaged whole countries An urgent examination of Darwin’s post religious legacy The Immortalization Commission is an important work from “one of Britain’s leading public intellectuals” The Wall Street Journal Very disappointing and somewhat of a slog the book suffers not so much from a lack of or poor uality of ideas though I have disagreements with those but the lackluster execution of the prose which surrounds them The first chapter details occultism amongst the upper classes of victorianedwardian England and consists mainly of charmless page after page of expositional detail about people who may not have been particularly interesting in themselves and are rendered even duller here All this is meant to illustrate the difficulties a largely protestant society had coming to terms with the accelerating scientific revolution and the devastating implications of darwinian thought but is excruciatingly lumpen and inadeuate to the taskThe second chapter eschews any adherence to the central thesis of the book in lieu of Page after page of regurgitated facts about the horror of the soviet Union The details are excoriating but widely covered elsewhere and are repeated here without any real attempt to frame them within the critiue of the modes of thought that he takes issue with The third chapter takes the concept of progress firmly in its sights specifically with the modern belief in science as a conduit for progress Whilst this is the most substantive chapter of the book in terms of critiue of ideology it is also the shortest less than a third of the length of the other chapters and also attempts a summing up and synthesis of the previous chapters and a conclusion and send off Therefore the weighty uestions and attempt to find their historical origins logical implications and intellectual flaws and perhaps a better alternative system are given over to very few pages of textMore than anything it seems that Gray had been reading a bunch of books about the occult in victorian England a bunch of books about soviet atrocities and wrote an essay about each which tried to shoehorn his standard reproachment of the idea of progression and it's various manifestations Each of these essays could well have been extended to a whole book but as it is they remain self serving rehashes of Gary's old and repeating material against a paltry background of poorly painted character sketches and shallow historical investigation

John N. Gray Ô The Immortalization Commission epub

At the heart of human experience lies an obsession with the nature of death Religion for most of history has provided an explanation for human life and a vision of what comes after it But in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such beliefs came under relentless pressure as new ideas from psychiatry to evolution to communism seemed to suggest that our fate was now in our own hands humans could cease to be animals defeat death and become immortalIn The Im This not the Men Are From somewhere Women From Somewhere Else John Gray Different guy You have been warned This book seems to be made up of left over notes from his Black Mass which was about millennialism and things eschatological The take home message from that book was Don't get involved with groups which advocate solutions to the world's problems that involve killing huge swathes of imperfect people The take home message from this current book You are going to die and mankind is going to become extinct Might as well face up to it Harsh but fairTo warn you Gray is not a scientist or a journalist He is a philosopher This is not some fact filed pop sci expose destined for the best seller shelves It's not as much of hard slog as some have said but it might not be what you are looking for given the title I have read a lot of Gray am I a masochist? so I knew what to expectHaving said that let's look at the book Through some potted biographies of well known people such as HG Wells Maxim Gorky and Arthur Balfour of the Balfour letter fame the one that suggested giving Palestine to the Jewish people it seemed a good idea a the time and some incredibly less well known ones we look very unscientifically at the philosophy of pinning one's hopes on immortality to avoid existential despair I presume There are so many off topic digressions and barely on topic discussion that one might wonder if Gray had any idea what this book was going to be about while he was writing it First half concerns itself with the turn of the last's century's obsession with seances and automatic writing The hope of contacting the dead through spiritualism could 'prove' there was continuance of the personality in the spirit world Epic fail Second half is about the crazy ideas in communist Russia that all of us become one mind somehow This is not explained well Something to do with embalming LeninIt finishes off with that other nutter Allen Kurtzweil predicting that we will be living eternally in a nanorobot controlled Virtual World cf Tron Reconfigured Meanwhile the real world falls apart and is that virtual I really the same person as me Plus a despondent poet or two we have never heard of happy well maybe happy isn't the right word to accept possible death by heading straight into trouble 1st WW and communist Hungary I don't know how this last section fits in at all except to confirm that not everyone wants to live forever One need only uote some suicide stats to make this point I think Gray just wanted to transcribe some of his favorite pieces of writing they are good but only barely relevantHis brief discussions on the laws of nature and man's place in the universe are thin and I recommend a much elouent and elegant uestioning of the philosophical difficulties here given by Michael Frayn a journalist and novelist in The Human Touch This book is very unfocussed overall However the insights into some of the personalities are instructive Even smart people can be stupid And they can go way off topic

text É The Immortalization Commission Ô John N. Gray

The Immortalization CommissionMortalization Commission the acclaimed political philosopher and critic John Gray takes a brilliant and frightening look at humankind’s dangerous striving toward a scientific version of immortality Probing the parallel faiths of Bolshevik “God builders” who sought to reshape the planet and psychical researchers who believed they had evidence of a nonreligious form of life after death Gray raises fascinating uestions about how such beliefs threaten the very nat I read a very nice article about the post Coronavirus world by John Gray and enjoyed the Bolshevik era comparisons As far as my knowledge of human tragedy goes Russian history is a blackhole and I've been sitting on a 1000pg Stalin biography for many months now This uick 180pp came as a welcome foot in the door tying in both my interest in that era of Russia and a general search for a refined view of theism for the 21st century to replace a lifetime of unuestioned atheism The first third of the book wasn't very encouraging and I flicked past it very uickly but when it got to HG Wells Gorky and the Bolsheviks I was hanging on every word In hindsight it was a good idea not to know too much about this book in advance because I don't believe I got answers specifically to the uestions it is purportedly about but I got many other answers I didn't know I was looking for and that's certainly a much bigger joy NotesSecular humanism August Comte Mill Victorian thinkers thought theism could leave and humanism would leave moralism intact But why morality instead of beauty pleasure etc? Like Greeks for whom ethics was living good life of beauty and art Nietzsche thought theism and morality was linked Nietzsche’s Ubermensch and occult’s version of science revealing deep truths captured Bolshevik imagination Believers of Darwin they couldn’t reconcile evolution with man’s special place so instead shifted to Lamarckianism Lysenko head of Soviet science Lysenko believed in self making like Stalin Human organisms are born but people are created Gorky supported idea of remaking humanity Have to shed moralities of experimenting on humans300000 prison laborers finished White Sea Canal in just 20 months 13rd died For Marx the natural world had no intrinsic worth Only by being imprinted with human meaning could the Earth acuire value Praised British rule for destroying village life in India Gorky 35M famine half savage stupid illiterate villagers will die out leaving new tribe of literate intelligent and vigorous The Trust ‘anti Bolshevik’ sham created by Dzerzhinsky to convince ‘White Russians’ anti Bolshevik movement emigres and West that there was powerful anti Soviet regime inside Russia Funds poured in Dostoevsky big fan of Fedorov Russian Orthodox leader human race must transform soulless pointless universe into one informed by spirit reason and will of all resurrected generations Defeat death through technology Krasin God builder influenced by Fedorov Negotiated with Lloyd George to remove British trade embargo that might have destroyed Soviet during economic collapse after civil war Sold all art objects etc to West raised euivalent of 160BStalin wanted Lenin embalmed to use Russian Orthodox beliefs of immortal saints to help the regime Funeral commission for Lenin was called Immortalization Commission Cubic tomb geometric shape transcended our reality Lenin continued to be treated like a living person 1973 Politburo reissue of cards first card was given to Lenin Boris Yeltsin’s proposal to finally bury the body was protested down Lenin and Dzerzhinsky first head of Extraordinary Commission Cheka admired Jacobins ferocity during French Revolution Use of terror to remake humanity Stalin took Dzerzh’s idea that aim of revolutionary isn’t to alleviate suffering but to create a man who cannot suffer and put his own spin to it WeaknessStupidity are vices Virtue is power Show trials with strangely convincing fake confessions engineered by student of Konstantin Stanislavsky who revolutionized acting from old theater style melodrama to method acting which was appropriated by secret police Trials totally fooled the western journalistsIdea of scientific progress is a religious idea salvation against evil DawkinsHuxley say science subverts god But Balfour et al say science’s search for universal laws already assumes existence of god via existence of universal laws Science Occult agree that world operates by laws Science wants to find natural laws Occult wants to find secret laws that supersede natural laws But why should there be laws at all Theism says divine mind of which we are imperfect copiesHume’s idea of god having created universe either doesn’t have anything to do with it or even forgot it existsWe don’t need to believe in a scientific theory we can simply use it while it works and discard it once it stops working or when we get something betterBut even religion isn’t about belief it’s about practice ritual and meditationBefore Christianity once we got tired of life we let ourselves die Now through religion and secular means we’ve created a taboo against our own deaths idealizing immortality and after lifeModern science begins not with elevating rationality but uestioning it Elevating empiricism even if its results are counter intuitiveAugustine etc knew genesis was myth allegory but when science grew stature genesis became explanatory in reactionLate 19th century Victorian Britain flourishing uranian love scene Bloomsbury group Even Walt Whitman had pederasty poems removed from leaves grass later editionsHelios lets son Phaeton drive sun chariot Horses feel weak driver and go wild Zeus kills Phaeton Metaphor for our hold on our own mindsJoseph Conrad loved humanity but no hope of changing it Thought HG Wells didn't care for humanity but wanted to change it nonethelessHG Wells racist extraordinaire and social Darwinist swarms of black and brown and yellow The world is a world not a charitable insritution so they will have to die outStruggled with contradictory ideas of social Darwinism rationality doomed mankind biological tyrannyTime machine mankind wiped out War of worlds humble bacteria not man that inherits earth but likely the martians Island drau creates man out of beast how to tell difference between him and any other man Star begotten martians seed intelligence on earth to grow themselves using terran bodiesGorky every year thought energy accumulates in world like lightelectricity will effect things one day we can't imagineGod building bogostroitel'tsvo that attracted Bolsheviks True revolutionary defies not society but humanity