7 August 2023
Often, while pondering the intersection of Mormonism and Transhumanism, I find my thoughts wandering to the grand myth of Kolob. In Mormon scripture and cosmology, or perhaps simply in Mormon theology in the functional sense, Kolob is esteemed as the star nearest the throne of God. When I think about that, I can’t help but imagine a Dyson sphere.
Kolob seems strange to some on first encounter. And, judging from past experience, I should hasten to clarify that it is not central to Mormon doctrine or practice. And it doesn’t figure prominently in our worship. Rather, Kolob is part of an intricate cosmological landscape that invites curiosity and speculation.
Mormon Transhumanism envisions a future of enhanced human capabilities, inspired by virtues such as courage, compassion, and creativity. It’s a marriage of religious aspiration and technological evolution, interpreting faith through prisms of biotech, artificial intelligence, radical life extension, detailed computer simulation, and imaginative projections of other trends that may shape our future. This potent synthesis reassures hope for a day when immortality, no longer a distant divine promise, becomes a practical outcome of our cognitive, technological, and ethical progress.
Given recent events, the ideas of Mormon Transhumanism aren’t as strange as they used to be, though they remain unconventional. Mormon Transhumanists situate the narrative of modern science within the framework of a religion that has long advocated cosmic progression and continued revelation. While we acknowledge the importance of technology, we do not privilege it as the sole means of realizing our superhuman potential. Instead, advancing technology encourages us in our efforts at physical and spiritual enhancement, because we already trust in the grace of God, who foreordained the possibility and means of theosis – our transformation into God.
Mormon cosmology offers fascinating parallels with secular futurisms. It hints at reasons for the Fermi Paradox, and solutions to the Great Filter. It suggests purpose in creation of artificial intelligence, and meaning within the hypothesis that we may be living in a computed world, operated by superintelligence. The correlations extend a bridge between futurism and Mormonism, underscoring a shared faith, a common trust, in the possibility of technological Godhood and the creation of worlds without end through acquired knowledge and power.
It is vital, however, to assert that none of this dismisses or marginalizes the importance of faith, grace, and spirituality. To the contrary, the fusion of Mormonism and Transhumanism provides a vision for leveraging science and technology to realize the aims of faith. Science and technology serve as instrumental goals, but not final goals. Recognizing them as tools, the world narrative shifts, dramatically, substantiating opportunities for us, our children, and ancestors to become Gods with God.
Indeed, Mormon Transhumanism serves as an interpretative lens, unveiling implications that are latent in practical faith, while embracing the risks and opportunities that accompany our technological potential. In this light, visions of transfiguration and resurrection to immortality and theosis correlate seamlessly with advancements in biotech, prosthetics, and computing power. This bi-directional interpretive lens is essential to the transformative potential of Mormon Transhumanism.
Mormon Transhumanism is not merely a Transhumanist offshoot of our religion. That would be an oversimplification at best, if not a misunderstanding altogether. Critically, Mormon Transhumanism has emerged as something like a religious order within Mormonism, syncretizing the theology of theosis with the philosophy of science. And the syncretization is not reducible to a subset of either Mormonism or Transhumanism, but is rather something in which each enhances the other.
The essence of Mormon Transhumanism is not a guaranteed outcome but a call to action. It would invite and provoke strenuous participation in shaping our future, both individually and collectively. It may seem strange on first encounter. But, like Kolob, Mormon Transhumanism is an invitation to curiosity, speculation, and more – a provocation to creation of a better world, nearest the throne of God.