Laboratories of evil
"Eternal existence is the most fearsome and brutal truth of all. The “thing” that builds and animates your material cannot be destroyed. But neither can your memories of what you choose to do with said material."
I love it. That is why I am learning the guitar instead of making monsters.
Levin's eyes are precisely what I would imagine for Dr Frankenstein. Haunting. I'm reminded too, while popular culture depicts Frankenstein's monster as an innocent, the original was a despicable, murderous fiend who destroyed everything the Dr loved.
I am going to hydrate effectively all day so I can feel even remotely AVAILABLE to dive into the vast expanse of this piece. I am SO LIT UP by this incredible work and really honour and commend you Mark for doing this for us. Grateful, and here for it!!
So, regarding Levin. At first I reacted to the sanpaku eyes, but after watching him for 15+ minutes I realized that he is a tortured soul. I think he started out wanting to do something good in the world (regenerative medicine, "cure cancer", etc.) but then the fame twisted him. I went down kind of a similar path, there was a time when I was "curing cancer" and had achieved a modest level of fame, but I could see well enough into the future to understand the futility of the line of research in which I was participating -- it would only ever be twisted into something horrible, it could never really be used to heal, only to harm. So I found a way to get off that ride. Levin's still on the ride and can't figure out how to get off.
You say that this is all about a movement to the Source, and I think that I agree that this is all about First Things. And so, from the Westminster Shorter Catechism question and answer number 1:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
Glorify(my definition)- to understand, appreciate, and express the significance of the thing glorified
Exploration is the native method of life. It is the fundamental process towards that fundamental objective of understanding and expressing the Truth of the One who made us. The very first thing, and the most important truth in your post is that life is not pointless or directionless. Life comes from somewhere, like an arrow shot at a target. Dr. Levin(stein?)'s work is ultimately significant only to the degree that it helps or hinders the living arrow towards its target. I would say hinders and no amount of 'myth of progress prybar' is gonna change that.
Even the humble flatworm has praises to sing and the strange goal of those who claim that life has no goals or directions is to turn that praise into an incomprehensible cacophany spewed from two mouths.(like the second theme of the Ainur led by Morgoth since you mentioned Eru)
But the power of the Third Theme, which is actually before the First Theme, does not come from climbing or making progress, but for reaching for the lowly, the last, the least, the little, the certainly lost. And even the poor polycephalic creatures have a true Head who will revenge and redeem them. And what's better than the beginning of the Westminster Divines? Why only the beginning of the Heidelberg:
'Q. What is your only comfort
in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong body and soul,
in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil....'
"Because I suddenly realized why the Enemy was almost certainly doomed to lose, no matter what shape it ultimately took."
Well, if to "win" looks like gaining control of The Source (from which position to be able to use or destroy), then yes, the Enemy (and also ourselves, when we fall into such feeble "control" fantasies) is doomed to lose.
The Source is hardly likely to reveal itself to any seeker aiming to control it, now is it? ;)
The Source invites us, always, to make the OTHER choice... to eschew all attempts at control, and instead to embrace participation. :)
Its not the same as the monsters that levin created, and I can't watch that video.
I can not go any where near a zoo. I can not see horses housed permanently in stalls (most barns).
It amazes me that other people can not see or feel the animals torment and pain.
"“If genes don’t build structure, then what does?” And my answer to that has always been something like: “Electricity.”"
I love this. Genes build the physical body in the physical world, but consciousness builds the soul; it's the state of the soul which dictates the 'monstrousness'/beauty of the corporeal structure, and they're electrical phenomena alright. This can be changed and tweaked only in the corporeal world, so you're right; what we do and how we use our consciousness in one life dictates the next rebirth (so to speak).
I think of the elegant EU Van der Leyen and wonder how she'll cope on judgement day...
"In death, we will also have a chance to see and experience the Source firsthand. But will we recognize it for what it is?"
I didn't, it took all the metaphysics of Guénon, Sufi poetry and the Vedas to make sense of it. We expect to see a man or God as an old fellow, but it's not like that. This is also why your electrical idea is so spot on. We can 'die' while still alive too which is what Christ consciousness is all about. It's our esoteric western take on the Eastern Kundalini (which has never been hidden, unlike ours).
"If you can communicate across the bioelectric layer with sufficient clarity, you can essentially “speak” any structure into existence."
He who understands *words* understands the universe.
"But consider the fact that we — and all other lifeforms — are always interacting with that layer. It’s the medium in which all consciousness swims, [...] In fact, it may require nothing more than mental concentration."
This is brilliant, it's exactly so. The Bible is esoteric, and 'Jesus' says it all through the book: 'meditate'. There is a genuine physiological practice to go with the stories but the method has been corrupted. It's all true, but in code. Just 'believing' or having faith isn't the key. It has to be practiced. Loved the Scooby-doo mask-reveal line too.
"For now, imagine a vast, Cthulhu-like ouroboros that hovers in a lightless void, perpetually eating and defecating its own body for all eternity. You’re welcome."
Lol. But it's the Ouroboros that, once beheaded, gifts the mortal hero immortality. The 'Get out of Samsara free' card.
Sorry to write such an epic, self-indulgent response, but Sasha Latypova was right, this was a neat piece.
Excellent article, and the phrase "vast, Cthulhu-like ouroboros that hovers in a lightless void, perpetually eating and defecating its own body for all eternity" certainly made me lose my appetite! I think you have definitely hit on something with the idea that the morphogenetic field is downstream from the Source of consciousness, as well. One question that occurred to me was: if Levin's little 'xenobot' creature was considered a useful vehicle for a simple consciousness to explore with, does a viable morphogenetic field create a sort of 'vacuum' that consciousness always tries to fill, or does consciousness still 'select' from contexts that suit its purposes? For example, if a clone of a person was created, would the clone just exist comatose, or have a mind like a newborn infant?
I think if such things are possible, the Creator already knows all possibilities and ensures that, regardless of how the morphogenetic field is manipulated, the possibility always exists for souls to return to Him/Her. Fascinating read; thanks!
Every time I think I know where you're going with this series you surprise me. Can't wait for the next installment.
"Rest assured you will keep your memories forever, although you may discover you’d prefer not to."
Not to be a Debbie downer, but memories and flesh are the two things that *do* die.
Gone forever at the point of death.
The part that stays and accrues as one lives in bodily form is *consciousness*.
They are two different things.
Memories die with the egoic body but consciousness lives on.
In the ancient esoteric doctrines like the Tao and the Vedas, one can develop their consciousness in different ways throughout a lifetime with the understanding that eventually they will be released from the birth-death-rebirth cycle.
It is a moral way of life; the esoteric Tao has the lifestyle of Confucianism for example.
The lifetime is temporary, but the accrual of consciousness is not.
Just dropping some appreciation your way for bringing this to my attention, as well as for doing what you're doing how you're doing it. Love your posts both for the writing and for the message they convey.
What does the rage that you felt when you saw the monster imprisoned in his own unnatural flesh mean? Feelings are never wrong. In the coming years, we are going to start telling a new story about human origins. We are the monsters who have been created unnaturally. We are imprisoned in an an ungodly and unnatural flesh. I disagree with the idea that what we choose to do with our flesh with stay with our souls forever. It will stay with our souls until we deal with it during our metempsychosis, which happens after our deaths and before our long sleep. To me it doesn't seem like we are in novel territory here. Our Romantic ethical sensibilities are less developed than they were in the person of a 16-year-old girl (she was a smarty) in 1816, when Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein. There is a fascination and a thrill to horror literature and film. It's the thrill of learning the truth. It's horrifying and exhilarating.
Levin looks like an animated corpse.
Super interesting, deep, and thought provoking article. Thanks for the acknowledgement. There is also an interesting series of discussions between Levin and Iain McGilchrist. One of the things they talk about, which also reveals that patterns are not stored in the genes is that if deer get damage to their antlers during the rutting season, once the rut is over and the antlers drop off, the damage is recapitulated in the antlers when they grow back. It can take years before this is worked out of the shape of the antlers...
Mark...puh-leeze. Genes are the ultimate level of intelligence. Just as Lego creates itself into wonderful shapes. The fact I share 80% of my genes with a Douglas Fir means genes are soooo intelligent they can become a kidney in one place and a fir needle in another. By their own intelligence. If we learn to manipulate them we can also become intelligent.
“In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.”