Resurrecting Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov
25 May 2007 (updated 26 July 2021)
Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov was an historical precursor of Transhumanism and particularly Christian Transhumanism. His name in Russian, никола Фёдорович Фёдоров, is also sometimes simplified to “Federov” in English. The Space Review recently posted an article about him. And excerpts of his writing, translated into English, are available on the Internet.
Fedorov was a Russian Orthodox Christian philosopher who was part of the Russian Cosmism movement. They envisioned the possibility of technology enabling immortality and even resurrection of the dead. Federov advocated “the philosophy of the common task.” It was his aspiration to unite the world through technological resurrection, by and for all humanity.
Federov, living from 1829 to 1903, was a contemporary of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. Living from 1805 to 1844, Smith also advocated a religious philosophy of physical resurrection. But I’m aware of no reason to suppose that Federov and Smith knew anything about each other.
That’s too bad. Their thoughts about our duties toward our ancestors have much in common. They both advocated relatively practical approaches toward realization of prophetic vision. And perhaps they, and we, could have benefitted from their exposure to each other.
To whet your appetite, here are a couple quotes from an English translation of Federov’s work:
“God, according to the Copernican system, is the Father, not only doing everything for people, but also through people, demanding, as the God of the fathers, from everyone alive an uniting for the resuscitation of the dead and for the settling by the resurrected generations of worlds for the governing of these lastly.”
“God is the Tsar, Who does everything not only merely for man, but also through man; wherefore also in nature there is no purposiveness, so that man himself has to be included in it, and in this is included the utmost purposiveness. The Creator through us recreates the world, He resurrects all that are perished.”
And here’s a resonant quote from Joseph Smith’s work:
“Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.”