My MacBook, Archimedes, ate all my categories. And now it is self-selecting for this post. {gnashing of teeth} Trying to fix, hope it works.



Essay: Maintaining Madness

Maintaining Madness:

Adjusting Society to Include Undesirables

via Asylums and Private Care Facilities

by A.D. Shaffer

{Graduate Studies; originally written for History 557 Fall 2014}

“Maud with her venturous climbings and

tumbles and childish escapes,

Maud with the delight of the village, the ring-

ing joy of the Hall,

Maud with her sweet purse-mouth when

my father dangled the grapes,

Maud the beloved of my mother, the

moon-faced darling of all, – “[1]

Madness offers escape for the creative or confused mind as well as the genetically deficient. Societal standards are excused of those whose minds are not rationally sane – modernly allotting the absurd behavior within the confines of the individual whose lacking in average capabilities. Insanity occurs for variant reasons in the minds of humanity, and often results in inexplicable and unusual actions on the part of the insane. Without means to permanently rid humanity of insanity, containing said victims of mental diseases are preferable for the comforts of society – whether by private or state funding, asylums act as corrals to house the mentally and criminally insane so as to shield the mass population from the undesirable unfortunates. I intend to examine through architecture, medicine, and environment, the pros and cons of maintaining madhouses or common residence homes in lieu of allowing the insane to venture the streets of the city at their leisure. New Personal Care Facilities do not require grand structures like the state asylums, nor do they house constant doctors. The facilities are state run businesses constructed inside homes to replicate a family environment living arrangements for those unable to live independently.

For the safety of the grand population as well as the inmate population, the criminally insane are separated from the average criminal. Special housing, in more secure asylums, confine the criminally insane individual for the safety of himself as well as the general population. The criminally insane typically adopt a delusional state of mind which defines the harsh anti-social tendencies, Bowers notes: “Their delusions, when organized generally, concern society, with whom they have always been at war, but the definite fabric of their false beliefs is woven about {public officials. Preparing} long statements replete with legal terms setting forth their grievances and complaints against the world at large.”[2] The criminally insane often believe they are slighted by society and should revolt to restore autonomic authority. As this upsets the heteronomy of modern society, secluded confinement is deemed the safest method in regards to the insane mind.

Inside asylums capable of housing the criminally insane, the noted patients are again secluded from the hospital population. In Weston State Lunatic Asylum this was the west wing of the fourth floor, Ward F for men and Ward C for the women.   A particular incident involving the murder of patient Charlie by patient Joe was related to me during a History Tour of The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum as well as discussed on the Travel Channel – Joe, with the assistance of other patients, first attempted to hang Charlie, a recent lobotomy patient; when that failed they lowered his body to the floor, and using the leg of an iron bed, crushed Charlie’s head by jumping on the bed.[3] The staff primarily blamed overcrowding of the hospital for the violence which occurred. Separating the classes of lunatics were means of preserving the less disturbed from the demons of the seriously tormented. Or, the seriously tormented could be reduced to the vegetate state.

As many as 440 lobotomies were conducted at one time at Weston State Lunatic Asylum. Dr. Walter Freeman rolled through on the lobotomobile leaving quiet, unaffected patients in his wake. Lobotomies were the go to cure in the early 20th century as means to destroy the frontal lobe – the area of the brain that controls emotions and creativity. The lobotomy removed the urge to rage inside the unstable brain; lobotomized patients were easier to deal with than raging psychotic minds: “Those who did survive might be left in a permanent vegetative state.”[4] The state hospital was shut down in the mid 1990s with high records of murder, occasionally that of a staff member, as well as rape and violent abuse. Weston Asylum was not the only benefactor of Dr. Freeman, his patient Howard A. Dully received more than one lobotomy at his hands, the first being at Doctors General Hospital December 15, 1960. Dully writes that while he holds no recollection of the events, Dr. Freeman’s notes entail the use of electroshock therapy to sedate and revive Dully – a paper receipt said, “Transorbital lobotomy. A sharp instrument was thrust through the orbital roof on both sides and moved so as to sever the brain pathways in the frontal lobes.”[5] Electroshock and lobotomies were useful tools to internally restrain the patient, scramble and/or fry their brains so that they no longer display passionate bouts of madness.

Mechanical restraints were older means of harnessing a patient before Dr. Freeman discovered the oriental method of lobotomies. Chains, bonds, and constructed means of metal and iron were utilized by insane asylums to prevent a patient from harming oneself or another human being, Bucknill notes the usage of mechanical restraints as necessary evils needed to bend the will of the unfortunate creatures – those not socially acceptable, therefore demanding seclusion and treatment.[6] A lessening of humanity is offered to said individuals; once deemed ‘insane’ the mass populace issues allowance for improper behavior, labeling the unfortunates as ‘poor unfortunate souls.’ Here enters the acceptance for otherwise immoral treatment – doctors could not understand the ingredients of insanity or how to address the illnesses so they physically restrained the patient to prevent the ability to harm oneself or another. By 1793 Philippe Pinel of Paris “embraced the progressive thinking of the Enlightenment. If insanity was a mental disorder, it had to be relieved through mental approaches. Physical restraint was at best an irrelevance, at worst a lazy expedient and an irritant. Treatment must penetrate to the psyche.”[7]

Doctors of the mind evolved as Alienists, and the field of psychology developed from the need thereof: “The private madhouse served the ‘trade in lunacy’, but it also became a forcing-house for the development of psychiatry as an art and science. The asylum was not instituted for the practice of psychiatry; psychiatry rather was the practice developed to manage its inmates.”[8] Bucknill notes on the American’s lack of Commissioners of Lunacy as advisors which directed them to rely heavily on the advice of the medical specialists – using the skills of the alienist to determine the needs of the patients from architectural design to room temperature.[9] The role of alienists, and the extreme authority placed upon them, brought fear and terror to any suspect of lunacy, Carr captures the fictitious presence of the doctor: “{…} the usual sounds of madness gave way to an eerie attempt at coherent communication on the part of most of the inmates. {…} Indeed, it was in some ways worse on the nerves, for one knew that the attempt at order was a strained one, and that the sounds of anguish would soon return…”[10] Feigning normalcy, the patients worked to convince the doctors of their sanity – frantic attempts at release. As patients of the asylum the inmate held societal worth in forms of entertainment, experimentation, and manual labor.

Bucknill remarks pointedly on the humane and considerable demonstrations of Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, specifically in relation to The Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia. Concluding with a plea to American institutions to accept the embarrassing oddities, mechanical restraints, and undesirable components of the institution for the insane instead of secreting the actions away and hiding the truth; let the insane be insane as they know no other path: “They are men, as I most willingly testify, animated by the highest motives of humanity, but ignorant and mistaken in their application of means to the furtherance of that great end to which we all press forward – namely, to the care and cure of the insane with the least amount of suffering.”[11] American institutions prevent the exposure of the activities of the insane to the population to create a false role inside the city of progressive elegance of the manipulations in the mind.

For the city opinion to tolerate the inclusion of an asylum, or more often, private care facilities among the sane individuals of the community, an illusion of control of said lunatics must be maintained. Avoiding the high costs of excessively expensive facility fees of grand state asylums, modern society eagerly welcomes the inclusion of private care facilities incorporated into homes scattered throughout common neighborhoods inside the city/town. A single family home is remodeled to accommodate grown individuals who stay a percentage or all of the day living inside the created home environment. Hospitals themselves, such as McLean, offer continuing care options outside of the physical hospital such as Appleton Continuing Care Program, in Boston Massachusetts.[12] Direct Support Professionals replace the role of doctor – another cost reduction as little to no skilled training is required to qualify for the job description – with the daily nurse stopping by to ensure medical standards are maintained. Doctors are still available, simply at a more detached sort of connection. The salary of a DSP is laughable compared to that of a well-educated doctor of medicine. Removing the luxuries and grandeur allotted top dollar facilities like McLean, more affordable and efficient organizations offer small scale living inside the community such as “Community Passages,” Resources for Human Development located in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania which offers care for mentally challenged adults. The mission statement of Community Passages clearly addresses the slide from asylum living to community inclusion:

Community Passages is a community based residential program, designed to provide a home/family like environment for individuals with developmental disabilities and/or dual diagnoses, many of whom present significantly challenging behaviors and most of whom previously resided at State Schools and Hospitals.  Our mission is to offer creative and innovative supports promoting community skill development, increased self-esteem, self-determination and personalized budgets to foster individualized programs in a safe and open environment, while encouraging consumer empowerment and personal growth.[13]

The surroundings being altered, from that of a castle-like secluded state to average immersion into the community, raise concern for the patient/inmate as well as the public. However, reduction of fellow patient/inmate status is greatly reduced; Community Passages houses only thirteen individuals. With at least two DSPs monitoring and encouraging self-development, the individuals are provided with a more modern lifestyle. Humanity is progressively returning to incorporating the insane amid the sane, an accepted tolerance of the community implies that society is able to embrace the follies of madness as a part of natural occurrences. David Rothman heads the school of thought that asylums are required to restore order: “their further development drew strength from the combined effects of a humanitarian reform movement, appealing new models of medical entrepreneurs and asylum superintendents who advocated an institution-based therapy known as “moral treatment.””[14] Late eighteen century philosophers freed madmen of their chains, Pinel’s traitement moral “{…} meant rather that the new therapies applied to the mind, not the body, of the patient. Traitement moral referred to a benevolent approach to caretaking, in which reformers called for patients to develop self-control under the guidance of paternalistic doctors.”[15] Moral concerns display the mentally challenged populace as deserving of more humane treatment. While seclusion inside the elegant asylums afforded a sense of grace to insanity, incorporation back into society allows a clearer voice of acceptance for natural dispositions of madness…and a means to rehabilitate the individual back into society. Esquirol, a follower of Pinel, broadened on the original theories and “pressed the reforms further, transforming the asylum into a therapeutic community where doctors and patients lived together, and at his private clinic, certain patients even dined at the family table.”[16] Modern enlightenment of equal humane living acceptance follows the philosophy of the eighteenth century and broadens it to include non-doctors and home-like institutions. A sense of belonging is granted to the individuals permitted to leave the institution for monitored care. A place is to be incorporated for them to find purpose inside society. Dr. Thomas Kirkbride’s asylums offered an embracing nature, not only encouraging local participation but actually developing society from the institution.

Weston State Lunatic Asylum was a self-sufficient facility for the insane maintained by the patients themselves. Hospitals held their own value for the city structure: “Henceforth, hospitals became tools for both physical and moral recovery. The former, secular goal led some institutions to accelerate the ongoing medicalization process by hiring more members of the medical profession for their caregiving staffs.”[17] Two personas thrived inside the hospital: the patient/practioner and the practioner/patrons: “The hospital in ante-bellum America can thus be more usefully seen as a battleground for the conflicting values of traditional stewardship and the priorities of an emerging profession than as the coherent expression of a carefully articulated vision of society. {…} maintain[ing] a degree of psychological autonomy despite the pain and deprivation which might characterize his external life.”[18] Weston patients each held responsibilities inside the facility, and were harnessed with chores that the institution required to function.[19] No outside assistance or employment was rendered as the patients pulled the work yoke. Patients, dependent on their physical limitations, worked in the kitchen, the morgue, the laundry room, and the grounds. Weston came complete with a lumberyard, stone quarry, and cemetery where deceased patients and town folk alike were buried. In contrast to the park-like cemeteries, the Weston cemetery was secluded behind the hospital. Niceties were not afforded as costs prevented luxurious burials. The majority of patients were incinerated in the crematory. The Great Lawn offered peaceful reflection with landscape comforts which space did not permit for in the hospital’s cemetery. Menial tasks such as cleaning and restoration fell on the patients – not just as ‘free labor’ but also as a means to let the patients feel included in the asylum family. Positions the asylum needed filled by sane individuals attracted such a following that the town of Weston formed from the individuals working or being treated at the hospital.

Community involvement at Weston State Lunatic Asylum borders on questionable in terms of society sanity – since 1869 until the facility closed in the 1990s, the high school prom as well as other social events were held in the asylum: “It must have been strange, and certainly a subject of dark humor to attend a prom, knowing that only a couple doors away, there were over a thousand lunatics.”[20]In 1871, a new auditorium hosted dances known as the Lunatic Ball, where the inmates were able to enjoy social dances viewed by the public for entertainment. The fun had to be reigned in as the social activities between normally segregated male and female patients ended explicitly: “When the first dances were held there were immediate problems, caused by couples disappearing. Their whereabouts became clear when the switchboard lit up with calls complaining that naked patients were out on the front lawn engaged in lewd behavior.”[21]Football games for Weston High School took place on the asylum’s Great Lawn, and baseball became tradition at the hospital; Dr. Kirkbride supported physical activity as means for balanced living, outdoor fairs, sports, and a variety of events held Weston State Lunatic Asylum as an esteemed social venue for Lewis County.[22]The community of Weston thrived as a result of the asylum the patients were welcomed members of society.

The sense of inclusion offered the patients of Weston State Lunatic Asylum is in stark contrast to the model set by Bedlam: “If one knows anything about Bethlem, it is probably that the place operated as a kind of freak show and human zoo, with paying customers gaping at the inmates. Although visiting was a popular pastime, recent scholarship has revised and tempered the famous myth.”[23] Scholarship details that the spectacle was partially the magnificence of the architecture of the asylum itself, the intricate detail and beauty demonstrated through stone, windows, and causeways. America did not have many castles like Europe – but asylums were formed after the castle design incurring gothic old world romanticism into modern design to fully rehabilitate and soothe the patients. The public also benefited from the refreshing structures, and the fee they paid was returned to the facility as means of simple profits. Like the nostalgic benefits of monuments and arts, spectacle was satisfied through community display: “To the degree that the Gardens embodies their home city, they function like other works of public art and monuments, providing a lens through which to explore larger themes, revealing changing community values, power relations, institutions, and historical change.”[24] Public art soothes the community, when paired with structures of grandeur such as the asylum, society enjoys the spectacle provided by the city institution.

The architectural design of insane asylums has long been conducive to treatment and care of affected individuals. Great care was taken to induce the patient to reside only in their rooms for sleeping, and for them to spend the majority of their days with other patients for social interaction. Bucknill, however, addresses the exact opposite in regards to the elite hospital of Boston – McLean: “It struck me, however, that these patients lived too much by themselves in their own rooms for their therapeutic welfare, and that smaller structures with smaller rooms, and with common rooms for meals and social intercourse, would have been better suited to promote the cheerfulness and happiness of the patients.”[25] Interestingly enough, McLean housed numerous depressed and suicidal patients – those of which did not survive on the methods found agreeable with the institution such as insulin shock treatments. Famous poetess Sylvia Plath, an extremely depressed individual, sought the healing walls of McLean yet offed herself shortly after leaving the hospital: “Like most McLean patients, Plath was dosed up on the antipsychotic drug Thorazine, which contributed to her affectless behavior.”[26] Weston Asylum, currently known as The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, is spacious and constructed with extreme purpose in regards to windows, ventilation, structure, and open non-confining grounds.

An accepted air of community involvement graced the inmates of Weston State Lunatic Asylum. The fence which surrounds the Great Lawn is three feet high and for aesthetic purposes only as it easily could be navigated by any wishing to escape. While the facility was operational, patients would occasionally leave the hospital but were retrieved by the employees: “Weston residents can still recall how it would be announced on the local radio station that an inmate had escaped. {…} Besides their normal duties attendants were expected to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to form a posse and go round up escapees.”[27] The local response to the escaped inmates may merit the locking of the public’s doors, but rarely was the community alarmed by the outings of the patients of the asylum. By the 1950s, however, medication would sweep through the asylum framework, numbing the populace with Throazine to reduce delusions and hallucinations while vegetating the nervous system, disabling the patient. Less attention would be applied to ‘moral treatments’ with the rise of narcotics and anti-psychotic medications. Like the lobotomy, anti-psychotic drugs would re-educate the mind into tolerable and acceptable existence, allowing society to breathe a sigh of relief for the quelled rage of madness. If madness is not seen then it is rarely heard, drugs and lobotomies may quiet outburst but none may escape their dreams. Freud describes madness as being trapped in a dreamlike state unable to rationalize, he quotes philosopher’s theories on madness: “Kant writes {…}: ‘The madman is a waking dreamer.’ Krauss {…} declares that ‘insanity is a dream dreamt while the senses are awake.’ Schopenhauer {…}calls dreams a brief madness and madness a long dream.{…} Wundt {…} writes: ‘We ourselves, in fact can experience in dreams almost all the phenomena to be met with in insane asylums. ”[28] Anyone is subject to dreams, and Freud’s concerns expose the threat of lunacy as a common thread easily torn. Societal understanding is required for a blended community of sane and insane individuals intermingling together for the betterment of all.

Realization of the tender balance between sanity and insanity equates authentic opportunities for the mind to comprehend. While reducing the almighty ego by allowing the unreasonable to exist equally with the reasonable, the individual is reduced to reincorporate the necessary value for the whole community. Insanity does not humanity remove; the bold stance of inclusion into society of their insane will greatly enrich America’s admittance to the flaws of morality. Bucknill notes on America’s refusal to admit that problems and oddities do in fact occur in American asylums. Being English, Bucknill naturally feels defensive for England – who is known for the tortures of Bedlam: “Abuses occur, as they will occur everywhere; but they are remedied, and, if need be, punished, in the most public manner, and the records of them are displayed to the eyes of the world.”[29] There are no records of American abuses or violations to relate, according to public record, and Bucknill is greatly concerned with the American persistence of false perfection: “the great stumbling-block of the American superintendents is their most unfortunate and unhappy resistance to the abolition of mechanical restraint. {…} I was again and again informed that the system of non-restraint had proved quite a failure in England, and that we were rapidly returning to the old practices.”[30] The issue for Americans lies more in the public demonstration of institution practices than for moral concerns in regards to utilizing mechanic restraints – American asylums did use mechanic restraints, they just did not publicly admit to the actions. Nowadays, America is surging ahead with communal living – the moral understanding of variant human nature. With further understanding and acceptance of the duality of mankind, sane and insane, modern America will move forward together to properly define humanity’s impact on existence.


Beam, Alex. Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental

Hospital. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.

Bowers, Paul E. “The Dangerous Insane.” Journal of the American Institute of

Criminal Law and Criminology. Vol. 12, No. 3 (1921): pp. 369-80. JSTOR. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

Bucknill, John Charles. Notes on Asylums for the Insane in America – Primary


Source Edition. London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876.

Dully, Howard and Charles Fleming. My Lobotomy – A Memoir. New York: Three

Rivers Press, 2008.

Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. Trans. James Strachey. New York:

Avon Books, 1998.

Gleason, Edward S. Lunatic The Rise and Fall of an American Asylum <self published

Lunatic Press> USA: 48HrBooks, 2014.

Historical Asylum Tour. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. October 4, 2014.

Jimenez, Mary Ann. Changing Faces of Madness: Early American Attitudes and

Treatment of the Insane.” Rev. Jack D. Pressman. The William and Mary


Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 3 (1988): p. 606-08. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

Mental Health Communities of Health and Healing, American Residential and Treatment

Association, Accessed on December 19, 2014.

“Mysterious Murders in the Asylum.” Ghost Adventures. Travel Channel: Accessed on December 19, 2014.

Porter, Roy. Madness A Brief History. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Risse, Guenter B. Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals. Oxford

University Press, Incorporated, 1999. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

Rosenberg, Charles E. “And Heal the Sick: The Hospital and the Patient in the 19th

Century America.” Journal of Social History, Vol. 10, Iss. 4 (1977): p. 429. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

Tebeau, Mark. “Sculpted Landscapes: Art & Place in Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens,

1916-2006.” Journal of Social History, 2010. pp. 327-50.

Tennyson, Alfred. “Maud.” The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson. Cambridge, MA:

The Riverside Press, unk. date. pp. 323-43.

Yanni, Carla. The Architecture of Madness: Insane Asylums in the United States.

Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.

[1] Alfred Tennyson, “Maud,” The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson, Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, unknown date, p. 325. Accessed December 19, 2014.

[2] Paul E. Bowers, “The Dangerous Insane,” Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 12, No. 3 (1921): pp. 371-72. Accessed December 19, 2014.

[3] “Mysterious Murders in the Asylum,” Ghost Adventures, Travel Channel,, 1:40-2:30. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[4] “Mysterious Murders in the Asylum,” Ghost Adventures, Travel Channel,, 3:25-3:31. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[5] Howard Dully and Charles Fleming, My Lobotomy – A Memoir, New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008. p. 99. Accessed December 19, 2014.

[6] John Charles Bucknill, Notes on Asylums for the Insane in America – Primary Source Edition, London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876. pp. 68-75.

[7] Roy Porter, Madness A Brief History, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 105. Accessed December 19, 2014.

[8] Roy Porter, Madness A Brief History. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002. p. 100.

[9] John Charles Bucknill, Notes on Asylums for the Insane in America – Primary Source Edition, London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876. p. 20.

[10] Caleb Carr, The Alienist, New York: Random House, 2006, p. 29.

[11] John Charles Bucknill, Notes on Asylums for the Insane in America – Primary Source Edition, London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876. p. 87.

[12] Mental Health Communities of Health and Healing, American Residential and Treatment Association, Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[13] “Community Passages A Division of RHD,” The Provider Alliance: Sharing Ideas, Resources and Purpose, Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[14] Mary Ann Jimenez, Changing Faces of Madness: Early American Attitudes and Treatment of the Insane,” Rev. Jack D. Pressman, The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 3 (1988): p. 606. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[15] Carla Yanni, The Architecture of Madness: Insane Asylums in the United States, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2007, p. 24.

[16] Carla Yanni, The Architecture of Madness: Insane Asylums in the United States, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2007, p. 26.

[17] Guenter B. Risse, Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals, Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1999, p. 626. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[18] Charles E. Rosenberg, “And Heal the Sick: The Hospital and the Patient in the 19th Century America,” Journal of Social History, Vol. 10, Iss. 4 (1977): p. 429. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[19] Historical Asylum Tour, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, October 4, 2014.

[20] Edward S. Gleason, Lunatic The Rise and Fall of an American Asylum, <self published Lunatic Press> USA: 48HrBooks, 2014, pp. 69-70.

[21] Edward S. Gleason, Lunatic The Rise and Fall of an American Asylum, <self published Lunatic Press> USA: 48HrBooks, 2014, pp. 70-72.

[22] Edward S. Gleason, Lunatic The Rise and Fall of an American Asylum, <self published Lunatic Press> USA: 48HrBooks, 2014, pp. 70-72.

[23] Carla Yanni, The Architecture of Madness: Insane Asylums in the United States, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2007, p. 20.

[24] Mark Tebeau, “Sculpted Landscapes: Art & Place in Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens, 1916-2006,” Section 1 Arts and Cities, Cleveland State University, p. 328. Accessed on December 19, 2014.

[25] John Charles Bucknill, Notes on Asylums for the Insane in America – Primary Source Edition, London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876. p. 9.

[26] Alex Beam, Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital, New York: Public Affairs, 2001, p. 153.

[27] Edward S. Gleason, Lunatic The Rise and Fall of an American Asylum, <self published Lunatic Press> USA: 48HrBooks, 2014, pp. 75.

[28]Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Trans. James Strachey, New York: Avon Books, 1998, pp. 121-22.

[29] John Charles Bucknill, Notes on Asylums for the Insane in America – Primary Source Edition, London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876. p. 65.

[30] John Charles Bucknill, Notes on Asylums for the Insane in America – Primary Source Edition, London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876. p. 67.

Picture c/o:


Essay: Self-Directed Evolution: Transhumanism Eliminates the Struggle of Life

 Self-Directed Evolution:

Transhumanism Eliminates the Struggle of Life

by A.D. Shaffer

{Graduate Studies; originally written for Humanities 551 Spring 2015}

Humanism considers the nature and the experiences of the human being to be the central point to existence. Biology demonstrates the abilities of humankind as evolutionary genetic modifications and alterations to species throughout organic life over exceptionally long periods of time. Transhumanism recognizes the patterns of evolution – the perfecting of species as adaptable to its changing environment – and seizes evolution’s altruistic characteristics so as to expedite the process of preserving and bettering life. No longer will time reign supreme for the possibility of physical immortality. Disease and deformities could be a worry of the past. I intend to show that through the discoveries of science, humanity will be able to alter genetic makeup and bridge another gap between humankind and the unknown as well as developing a new philosophy for understanding these changes. This paper will first address the advancing human consciousness and then consider the progress possible for transhumanism.

Heightened human awareness ushers in advanced consciousness and integral philosophy with growing concerns for many world issues and problems. The advancement of the human consciousness is best understood through a spiral of growth instead of visualizing linear concepts. According to Steve McIntosh the co-founder of The Institute for Cultural Evolution, the levels of consciousness are: archaic, tribal, warrior, traditional, modernist, postmodern, integral, and postintegral. Each corresponding stage is in reaction to the predominant issue of discord from the stage before it: “This dialectical relationship among the stages can be seen in the way that each stage arises in an antithetical reaction to the problems created by the stage that precedes it. And as the stages unfold within the spiral as a whole, we can see how the themes of earlier stages are recapitulated in later stages but with greater degrees of complexity and sophistication” (McIntosh 35). The spiral is perceived in half, right to left – the right expresses the self while the left sacrifices the self. Humanity must learn to balance the betterment of the individual and the universal betterment for all life.

Integral philosophy deals with internal evolution or an evolution of thinking: “Just as the emergence of modernism produced cultural evolution through its new understanding and mastery of the external universe, we will soon begin to see how the emergence of the integral worldview will result in similarly dramatic cultural evolution through its new understanding and mastery of the internal universe” (McIntosh 17-18). Modernism realized the objective and subjective nature of humankind and allowed for scientific progress. Postmodernism saw the coldness of science, and fought against social Darwinism, demanding that all life is equal. The first integral philosopher was Georg W.F. Hegel: “By revealing how history unfolds in a dialectical process wherein conflict makes possible the transformation to a higher state, Hegel laid the foundation for the evolutionary understanding of the universe that has since become central to all scientific and philosophical thought” (McIntosh 160). Integral concerns, which are still in the process of emerging, will include a worldview with universal considerations and empathetic nature to the individual as part of a whole.

Nico & Vinz composed the song Am I Wrong? for what is commonly known as the collective or Anonymous – a group of people who share the same concerns in regards to the continuation of life. Their lyrics suggest a new method for progress, but the concept is only an idea and society attempts to conform their thoughts: “I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing / Just cause everybody doing what they all do / If one thing I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow /I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home” (Nico & Vinz). Falling down indicates failure, but the meaning is positive because a lesson is learned. The sprawling political activist group Anonymous has championed this song, and it speaks to every person who has questioned the direction of authority. The song recommends to allow for the individual without reducing the whole of humanity: “Walk to walk and don’t look back, always do what you decide / Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel / Fight for yours and don’t let go, don’t let them compare you, no / Don’t worry, you’re not alone, that’s just how we feel” (Nico & Vinz). The ‘I’ was changed to ‘We’ because Nico & Vinz know that they are not alone in feeling this desire to make the movement real – to issue in integral consciousness.

The Internet greatly assists the human consciousness by connecting the world with technology. Prior to the 1990s, information was gathered the old fashioned way – writing letters or word of mouth. People from dislocated areas were not connected with the Western world, but now technology is reaching out to bring the world online. Integral consciousness starts inside the human being, it is an inkling that something will fix the problems of the world once enough minds are aware that change is required to move forward. Society has not reached a full realization of the importance of preserving all the life in the world, but the institution is on the way. At the moment, a large portion of the Western world is lodged in postmodernism in which it faces: “an intense struggle with traditionalism to define the morality and attract the allegiance of the modernist majority” (McIntosh 61). Postmodernism fails to acknowledge the necessity of the spiral in that the lessons of consciousness lead to the ultimate goal of integral thought. Postmodern thought wants humanity to swallow down lessons that they are not quite ready for – namely the issues of Islam, a nation firmly rooted in traditionalist consciousness and highly tinged with warrior mentality.

Integral consciousness understands the importance of nations of people progressing properly toward enlightenment and beyond. The stages of the spiral are prerequisite before progress can be gained. Nations cannot be forced into a new understanding. McIntosh notes that humanity must experience the spiral:

The rise of postmodern consciousness has now had a significant impact on the politics of the Western democracies. In fact, each new stage of consciousness that has emerged in the sequence of historical development has been endowed with an advantage over the stage that preceded it by virtue of the increased depth and complexity of its values. Warrior consciousness defeats tribal consciousness because of its ruthless ferocity and energetic determination. Traditional consciousness is usually able to defeat warrior consciousness because of its superior organization and group discipline. Modernist consciousness overcomes traditional consciousness as a result of its technological and industrial superiority. And postmodern consciousness finds its advantage over modernism in its unique ability to bring about change through nonviolent political action and moral strength (57).

Everything alive is required to change so as to continue onward. Geological elements set the standard, and organic life is forced to respond to fluctuating nature. Consciousness or the ability to recognize and be aware of those changes is in itself an element of evolution. For human beings evolution has occurred inside the intellect. Adaptability is a gift of natural selection, it is a way for species to adjust their internal makeup or external abilities to better evolve with the habitat. In his piece “Zoological Philosophy (1809),” Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet Lamarck discussed the ability to change one’s habits so as to fit with the ever-changing world, and in doing so he addressed the phasing out of one organ to issue a more appropriate and successful attempt at continued life: “Hence we may infer that when some change in the environment leads to a change of habit in some race of animals, the organs that are less used die away little by little, while those which are more used develop better, and acquire a vigor and size proportional to their use” (45). Much like evolution’s encouragement to species to adjust to the physical world, consciousness also adjusts to understand that world must change to allow for progress. Environment issues the playing field in which species must adapt to survive. However, modern human beings are able to control the environment in which they live – the ancients would view modern peoples as gods.

The way something is in existence is partially dependent on how the human mind perceives that something to be, and how humanity handles life is becoming less of a struggle with a greater consciousness. As the human race becomes more empathetic society will better accommodate acceptance. Ethical concerns arise over basic scientific issues with genetic enhancement such as side effects or animal abuse, but ultimately the fear of altering human nature is abundant. However, human nature is a changing thing that is also affected by evolution. Also, changing is the way in which consciousness perceives reality. Human nature is more advanced in modern times than it was in the ancient world – this is due to the adaptive abilities of humanity. In Radical Evolution, Jaron Lanier notices two areas of human progress: technological and moral. The moral incline of evolution can be understood when considering the past actions of humanity: “… those who deny the existence of a moral incline are not in touch with the enthusiasm humans once brought to raping, pillaging and burning” (Garreau 210). During the time of the Romans – known as the Golden Age – gladiators battled wild beasts and enslaved men till the death for entertainment, today these acts of savagery would be unheard of. Fear of losing human nature is impossible; although human nature is apt to change, the advances of science will not extinguish the nature of man but usher it further.

McIntosh notes the concern for human nature, but he describes human nature as selfish, war hungry, and a have or have-nots society – why would society fear the loss of these negatives characteristics? The fact that human nature evolves along with the physical self is a boon for integral thinking, and the evolution of the nature of man will permit transhumanistic implantation as acceptable. Currently, artificial enhancement is already present in modern America as seen every time a person puts on a pair of glasses or chews with false teeth. Humanity has been partially artificial for over a hundred years, easily. Scientific capabilities are an extension of man, or an expression of the human experience and therefore natural. Artificial intelligence is manmade but the process for humankind to utilize machines is definitely natural. Intelligence is humanity’s modifier of evolution; through the human ability to perceive and contemplate, people can imagine what-if scenarios as means to solve problems by envisioning the possible outcome so that human beings have surpassed natural evolution (Garreau 72). Evolution offers many gifts, the human responsibility is to experiment with one’s contemplative intelligence in order to discover or create new avenues to perfection.

Perfection needs clarified to mean the most suited to success as per evolutionary means toward advanced organic life. Perfection took on a new meaning in Aldous Huxley’s futuristic piece A Brave New World in which humanity was reduced to Alphas or Epsilons, world controllers or sewage workers (13). The Epsilons do not require intelligence like the Alphas do, and the Hatchery is working on genetic formulas to speed up the physical growth of the Epsilons so that they could begin labor at ten years old. The Alphas are removed from humanity. In order to avoid the upset of emotions, Alphas regularly take pills – somas – to remove experience, Lenina says, “A gramme is always better than a damn” (90). The people prefer virtual simulations to human interactions and no longer copulate as reproduction is handled at the Hatchery through incubation. Bernard refuses the culture and the soma, preferring the New Mexico holiday to be a reality instead of forced perfection and separation from the emotions.

Emotions are an evolutionary advancement that allows for species to connect with others to form society. Humanity is a known social creature, and the recipe is in the genes. Matt Ridley discusses ‘the selfish gene’ theory to determine the social interests of humankind; he said, “{Human beings} come into the world equipped with predispositions to learn how to cooperate, to discriminate the trustworthy from the treacherous, to commit themselves to be trustworthy, to earn good reputations, to exchange goods and information, and to divide labor” (522). The goal of trustworthiness is a social concern; humans want to be able to trust members of society. Human beings thrive in numbers and are not meant to live solitary lives. The evolution of emotions can be seen in the civil rights movements – people did not always care for the less fortunate as they do in postmodern times.

Morality is the ability to discern right from wrong as applicable to the society one wants to live in. Frans De Waal acknowledged morality in animals and recognized an advanced moral code in human beings. Evolution created morality: “Evolution has produced the requisites for morality: a tendency to develop social norms and enforce them, the capacities of empathy and sympathy, mutual aid and a sense of fairness, the mechanisms of conflict resolution, and so on” (Waal 513). Morality is a priori and a biological process accredited to genetic code. Morals belong to the human being and not to any spiritual or government office. Waal continues to prove that morality is a neurological process and not dependent on the heart: “Once thought of as purely spiritual matters, honesty, guilt, and the weighing of ethical dilemmas are traceable to specific areas of the brain. … The human brain is a product of evolution” (517). Ethics are inherent in human nature, yet religion has laid claim to morality. As humanity continues to ride the spiral of consciousness, the religious concerns of traditionalism will fade away to make room for transhumanistic endeavors.

Enhanced humans will create an advanced norm that a natural human will never attain. Joel Garreau discusses the future possibilities of transhumanism through genetic enhancement in his text Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies – and What It Means to Be Human. He describes three scenarios: Heaven, Hell, and Prevail. The scenarios are dependent on Moore’s Law and the upcoming Singularity. Technological advances such as gaming devices, cellular phones, laptops and the Internet are truly important aspects of modern human life. While in Silicon Valley, Garreau noted, “I have spoken to people who say they consider regular human relationships superfluous and outdated, that they get everything they need from the computer. They say that and mean it; they’re not kidding around” (63). Human dependency on machines is an everyday norm for modern America. In the average American home, even families that still sit down to dinner together typically resort to communication via text message over actually speaking to each other face to face. The Curve as well as human dependency on machines escalate each year, pushing towards the inevitable moment when the machines are able to control themselves and humans are no longer necessary…the Singularity: “This greater-than-human intelligence in turn proceeds to replicate and improve itself at such a rate as to exceed comprehension” (Garreau 82). Once the Singularity occurs, humanity will hold no authority. However, Garreau does not believe that will come to a head, he prefers the Prevail scenario as a balanced transhuman effort.

Before delving into the Heaven and Hell Scenarios one must understand the Singularity. Ray Kurzweil describes the upcoming Singularity as an exponential theory that the doubling of matter and technological advances will lead humanity to a point where nothing works anymore, to a singular point that humanity cannot come back from. In his TEDtalk “A University for the Upcoming Singularity,” Kurzweil notes that linear thinking will not solve this issue as Moore’s Law will run out in 2020, but exponential growth will work in the fourth dimension continuing progress. Moore’s Law decrees that reproduction will act in a doubling effect and spiral out of control. The Singularity holds that humans will not be needed, and the robotic force will exist without the fleshy human bodies taking up so much space. In efforts to slow down the process towards the Singularity becoming a current reality, Garreau presented the Heaven and Hell Scenarios.

The Heaven Scenario involves optimistic endeavors to adjust and enhance the human being using nanotechnology and genetics. In this scenario, the enhanced humans hold emotional value and pity for the natural humans, and gracefully skip into progress with their friendly robots in tow. Genetics currently comes in two kinds: somatic gene therapy and germ-line engineering. The former affects the genes that have gone bad in one person, but the latter is able to alter the genes that would be passed down through reproduction (Garreau 116). Ethical concerns worry for the future children who may not want gene alteration, and the added chromosomes may not sit well with the human composition. Ray Kurzweil sees greater love in the future and supports the Heaven Scenario. This greater love is a higher consciousness: humanity has a hold on survival and can now focus attention on participating, preserving, and enjoying life. Kurzweil refers to The Curve, or exponential growth, as a force of nature: “Like evolution, it is simply a pattern of life to be recognized, the outcome of billions of small actions. {Kurzweil} calls it ‘The Law of Accelerating Returns’” (Garreau 94). The deciding factor rests on the morality inside human nature to reach for the good.

As expected, the Hell Scenario is the pessimistic opposite of the Heaven Scenario. Here humanity is grotesquely mutilated by genetics gone awry and subjected to slavery by the dominant machines: “Probably more important is the ‘yuck-factor’ – the visceral rejection of technologies that are seen as anti-human. Headlines about human cloning produced one of the more vivid Hell Scenarios” (Garreau 171). Respected scientist Bill Joy is a member of this theory. In his TEDtalk, Joy notes his concern for the possibility of abusing nanotechnology. Joy is exceptionally concerned for self-reproducing nanobots or the ability of robotic machines to make more machines via the robotic will and not that of human will. Despite the depression Joy found himself in with studies of human extinction and the Singularity, he does see positives in three areas. Educational tools – such as computers and laptops – will lessen in cost while rising in speed and ability, environment issues find hope with nanomaterials which not only conduct but can also produce electricity, and human innovation in methods of defense through medicine to reduce a pandemic are all probable and possible (Joy). These possibilities can be reached, but Joy does not believe unlimited power with genetic alteration will benefit society. Regulations and rules are needed to govern genetics much like any other advancement. Joy calls for containment of information and demands some type of insurance for catastrophic risks.

Ancient minds reached for the gods, alchemists searched for the philosopher’s stone, and religion issued pilgrimages for the cup of Christ: the goal immortality. Scientists seized the torch and created reality for the imaginative mind through acknowledging the human genome in the twentieth century, and nanotechnology takes off from human abilities to act as an extension of species. The human ability to imagine allows for the acceptance of change to be a more comfortable reality. Fiction, as demonstrated with the twentieth century, pushed the boundaries of the human imagination: “Novels stretched our conceptions of human-created Heaven, kick-starting our thinking about what was possible, forcing us to change our perception of what was serious” (Garreau 109). Fiction familiarizes the imagined reality to become a probability. Science looked at fiction and saw a glimmer of reality to expand on through biological means – the alteration of genetic code.

Fixing what is broken is the initial concern of genetic alteration – cure the sick, repair structures, and implement immunities. In his piece “CRISPR – Technology and Controversy,” Dr. Shouguang Jin discusses the abilities of CRISPR to repair damaged DNA: “In theory, then, hereditary features that people consider advantageous, such as higher intelligence, better body appearance and longevity, can be introduced into an individual’s genome through CRISPR mediated reproductive cell modifications as well.” Regulations to alter the genome do not yet exist, but something is halting research. The transhumanistic desire to improve humanity is held back by ethical concerns. Why would society turn away from repairing one’s DNA? Overpopulation factors stiffen the reserve to resist progress.

Overpopulation is a major concern for the world as it is a current serious threat to the continuation of humanity. Modern scientists estimate that humanity may face extinction due to overpopulation because the world is not able to sustain more than nine billion people (Boundless). The World Population Clock keeps track of the number of people existing and states on average a new life is born every eight seconds while one life ends every thirteen seconds (Census). Overpopulation is a rational fear. Due to the technological and genetic advances of humankind, the threat of natural selection cursor to extinction appears to be a problem of the past – however, the causation for the longevity in continued lifespan could, in fact, be humanity’s downfall. Not only has the reproduction rate escaladed over the past two hundred years but the individual life expectancy rate has also doubled. Overpopulation is a natural issue as well as an ethical concern. As of June 12th of 2014 at 11:35 a.m., the total number of people alive on the earth was 7,249,376,950 billion (Census). Thomas Robert Malthus wrote “An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)” in which he insisted that “… the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man” (39). Malthus means that the earth is not naturally able to produce enough food for the number of individuals alive to be properly nourished.

Hank from the SciShow discussed “The Science of Overpopulation” in an online video. While he supports that the Industrial Revolution cured Malthus’ ills, Hank feels that humanity did take the threat seriously; Malthus’ piece encouraged a lessened reproduction rate, with the rate dropping from 1.3 million to 1.1 million (SciShow). Genetic abilities to resist death will create a greater issue of continued reproduction with no lessening in numbers. Marvin Minsky suggests immortality is possible in his video “Health and the Human Mind.” Minsky jokes about nanotechnology reducing the size of human beings so less space is taken up, or a single child sharing forty-six parents in a time-share method to reduce population. In Minsky’s future, people would have the ability to be immortal, but they would be stored on hard drives, coming out only every few thousands years to live a thousand years and then being placed back in storage so as to permit others time to live (Minsky). Nature can only sustain a certain amount of people, but humanity has surpassed the abilities of evolution to genetically modify food, plant and animal alike.

Pamela Ronald argues that modern genetics are the most effective method in agriculture in her TEDtalk “The Case for Engineering our Food.” After a decade of experimentation and research, Ronald isolated a gene in rice to allow the rice to survive flooding. If alteration can be accepted by society, this improved rice would not perish during the heavy flood months, thus avoiding famine for the people who rely on rice as a main sustenance. Genetically improved seeds will grow larger and healthier plants, and genetic improvements also encourage eco-friendly actions (Ronald). Malthus’ concerns for the earth producing enough food for humanity to survive are thus adverted by scientific advancement through genetic modification. Many Americans are uncomfortable with genetically modified food, and a large influx of holistic and natural food products are present in the country.

Production of food is not the main concern in regards to starvation because the world is able to manufacture through industry and double through genetic modification. Pete Alcorn opposes the predictions of Malthus because he did not allot for the evolutionary characteristics of humankind. Malthus was not counting on the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century in which humankind now holds the ability to produce enough food (Alcorn). The proper distribution of food and resources could save world hunger if obesity were to subside. Ellen Gustafson, a philanthropist who co-founded FEED and created “The 30-Project”, notes that there are one billion people starving and one billion people obese. While obesity is a result of overeating and neglecting exercise, what types of food one consumes also has a large role. Corn, grain, and wheat make up the majority of the American diet – filler food with lackluster nutrients. The obese nations have plenty of products to eat, but they eat the incorrect types of food. Processed foods lead to diabetic health risks as well as obesity. As the processed food is imported to other nations the health risk percentage rise in a global effect: “Internationally, WHO projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese” (Gustafson). Gustafson proposes a thirty-year plan to cultivate a revised successful food plan to be made available for the entire world population to benefit.

Feeding the whole world would allow for the poorest members of humanity to move up the ramp of civilization, but the process of progress can only be realized once basic needs of survival are met. Dr. Hans Rosling acknowledges the area of humanity in which large population is due to poverty status, and he illustrates the influence of educated thought and preconceived notions to extinguish the myth of overpopulation extinction in his video “The Overpopulation Myth”. The world population graph shows that with education families reduce the number of children per household to ensure a better quality of life. By educating the women of these countries about birth control and basic sexual processes, the women understand that their body belongs to them. The women of Bangladesh are learning a fundamental concept of the personal rights of the individual, and are becoming aware to the value of smaller family size. Though progress seems to move slowly, within fifty years family size has been reduced from eight children per couple to two children in Bangladesh, and Dr. Rosling accredits democracy for directing some of the changes. In a previous TEDtalk, “Global Population Growth, Box by Box,” Dr. Rosling demonstrated the problem with overpopulation as an economic concern. The poorest people want to be able to eat everyday while the richest people want to fly away for vacation throughout the year. If the richest cultures would assist the poorest cultures – through education and limited mutual aid – the poor could move up slowly, to advance to wanting a bicycle and eventually an automobile instead of just dreaming of owning a pair of shoes (Rosling “Global Growth”). The poorest peoples cannot be expected to assume the richest society; much like the spiral of consciousness, realities must be assumed slowly so as to ensure the value of human experience is implemented.

Until the population increase better improves, the concept of extending the human life span seems like a slippery slope. As means to prevent death and suffering, science and medicine battle to eliminate the struggle for life by thwarting evolution. Humanity has surpassed natural selection and is steaming ahead towards progress as a transhumanistic force. In her piece “We are All Cyborgs Now,” Amber Case notes that humanity cannot turn its nose up to genetic modification because human society is already dependent on unnatural enhancements. Computers and cellphones are external brains, according to Case, who points out that the majority of Americans depend upon their machines. From asking Siri how to spell a word to late night steamy text messages, human beings enjoy their cellphones – especially their smart phones so as to connect online. Unsure if machines are connecting humankind or conquering humanity disguised as assistants, Case finds interest in the ethical debate regarding the incorporation of robotic intelligence into daily life because she notes that robots have been in our lives for over twenty years. Computers are not the first machines that have been integrated into the modern home. Televisions are common in nearly every room of the American household.

Nick Bostrom is also concerned with artificial intelligence becoming “smart” like a human being. In his TEDtalk “What Happens When Our Computers Get Smarter Than We Are?” Bostrom wonders which values will be preserved: those of the machine or those of humankind. Robotic intelligence can process information faster than humans and can store unlimited amounts of data. Garreau mentioned “smart water” surrounding a super-bowl dome to act as a security device against terrorism (70). The “smart water” is able to detect the prescience of not only people but also something as small as a nanobot. In 2015 nearly every American has a “smart phone” which includes a basic robotic assistant. The fear for human nature is that the robotic creations will surpass their creator – and naturally assume a devious nature intent on enslaving the creator race. I disagree as I cannot understand my iPhone as malicious – that is a trait reserved for humanity. The issue with fear inside human nature is that intelligent human beings question everything and sort out what-if scenarios to ensure the best possible method is practiced. In doing so, humanity forgets that other beings do not function along the same path of inquisition because they have not received the same lessons of evolution. Robotic creatures are not wired the same way that human beings have evolved.

Human beings accept artificial intelligence in the form of replacement limbs or organs for afflicted individuals. In current times, an elderly person who underwent hip replacement surgery is viewed as a successful senior and not as a cyborg. Society accepts medical advancement as well as cosmetic surgery and enhancements. Currently, the cosmetic craze involves collagen filled lips and Brazilian Butt-Lifts. Aesthetic beauty is a force of culture, and transhumanism will permit the individual to look however they want – even if that includes growing fluorescent wings that display messages of one’s emotions like Lanier suggested by mutating the glowing octopi (Garreau). Once integral philosophy is better understood humanity will be able to make exceptions for the genetically enhanced. Uri Dowbenko wrote “Transhumanism: The Anti-Human ‘Singularity’ Agenda” for The website addresses the modern fears of transhumanism and shows concern for the human being in spiritual matters. The desire for an illusion of an all-powerful god will lessen as humanity becomes able to create and cure life, resulting in an advanced spirituality as replacement for religion – an evolution of spirit. Dowbenko fears the transhumanist will create a new god or become a god oneself. Until Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, science and religion could be seen as working together, but the biological means as replacement for creation separated the elements of thought. The documentary “TechnoCalyps” defines transhumanism as the advancement of humanity via artificial means; it began as a vision of religion but became a scientific path to fine-tune the human body for immortal qualities (Theys). Whether repairing the ill or preserving the well, transhumanism aims to lengthen the human lifespan, and in doing so will override natural evolution.

INLOGY Documentaries produced the piece “Bionics, Transhumanism and the End of Evolution” to show the possible factors implicated with genetic alteration. Bionic humans as well as transhumans are processes projected only for the elite few while the rest of humanity will act as the working class. This negative view of humanity displays the inherent fear of the unknown. The worst of humanity will behave as badly as they can with no regard to ethical awareness. Monster Quest aired the episode “Joseph Stalin’s Humanzee Experiments” to show the ugly side of genetics. In efforts to create a more savage army, in 1932, Stalin had chimpanzees impregnated with human embryos. The video interviews locals who insist that Zena was a result of the Humanzee experiments, and they note her to have produced a son named Quib who’s tooth later analyzed included human and chimp DNA (Monster Quest). Crossbreeding species is a terrifying and unethical consideration, but the advantages to Stalin’s army would have been notable. Ethics request caution because knowledge is a powerful tool – if that power is placed in the wrong hands then unimaginable horrors are possible.

The 1930s issued negative vibes for any form of eugenics or genetic alteration. The actions of Adolf Hitler’s unethical experimentation on the Jewish people fueled ethical concern. Edmund Ramsden’s article “Confronting the Stigma of Eugenics: Genetics, Demography and the Problems of Population” discusses the bad taste eugenics left in society’s mouth. By the 1960s the ideals of eugenics shown a stigma transformation resulted from “its ability to allow geneticists and demographers to conceive of eugenic improvement in ways that seemed consistent with the ideals of individuality, diversity and liberty” (Ramsden 853). Harnessing the values of democracy made eugenics less evil, however, the nature-nurture issues that were realized in the 1970s still keep eugenics in an undesirable closet – morality and ethical concern keep the door locked.

Humanity is not comfortable with experiments being practiced on animals or human embryos. In the SciShow episode “The Science Behind ‘Genetically Modified Humans,’” Hank discusses germ-line engineering. Science is able to alter the DNA of children to be immune to diseases through the use of the RNA and CRISPR technology by replacing mutated genes with preferable genes. Altering the human genome, however, is not ethically sound as the GME is noted as tricky and outcomes are not guaranteed (SciShow “Genetically Modified”). Ethics cannot tolerate human embryos to be subjected to experiments. Scientifically, working inside the embryo holds keys to the origin of species. In Darwin’s piece “The Descent of Man” the likenesses of embryotic form between human and dog is strikingly similar; Darwin said, “It may, however, be added, that the human embryo likewise resembles certain low forms when adult in various points of structure. … Even at a later embryonic period, some striking resemblances between man and the lower animals may be observed” (“The Descent of Man” 182). Over one hundred and fifty years has passed since Darwin related humankind to the animal kingdom, it is high time ethics understood the necessity for experimentation. For progress to continue, ethics must allow for experimentation either on human embryos or other embryos that closely resemble humankind. Paul Root Wolpe calls for regulations to be set for genetic practices in his video “It’s Time to Question Bio-engineering.” A compromise must be met so that science may progress with an ethical edge.

Transhumanism bothers not only ethics but also the ideals realized in the enlightenment. In “Introduction: Toward a Critique of Posthuman Futures,” Bart Simon said, “The revolutionary Enlightenment narratives that challenged an oppressive feudal order and re-envisioned ‘man’ as rational, autonomous, unique, and free have been in turn challenged and deconstructed” (4). Humanism demonstrates the abilities of humankind as purely natural human traits not dependent on outside sources. Posthumanism to Simon is seen as anti-humanism, reaching outside of humanity’s natural abilities to incorporate artificial intelligence as a lessening to the human structure. However, the intelligence created was crafted by humankind, and the idea was realized by humankind – artificial intelligence is an extension of the natural and not a means to replace the original. The success or failure in morality will be dependent on the inherent goodness of progress – goodness as a further perfection – as humanity continues to mimic the path of evolution. R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell man a website called “Criticisms of Transhumanism” to discuss the book Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and The Singularity. In attempts to shatter the objections to transhumanism, the fears are broken down into four groups: feasibility, direct danger, indirect danger, and morality (Sirius and Cornell). Significant numbers of people distrust the abilities of science and do not support transhumanistic efforts. However, if society would allow for integral philosophy, the transition would not be as upsetting.

The fear of scientific progress is unnerving for a large portion of human beings. Michael Specter urges society to embrace the discoveries and abilities of science in his TEDtalk “The Danger of Science Denial.” Science is credited for the advancement of medicine, but society screams for blame to be placed on science for the disturbing rise in autism. Specter notes that “frankenfood” bans discredit GMO enhanced food products, and vaccines are taking the heat for autism. However, he reminds society that vaccines keep disease away from humanity. Prior to medicine and vaccines the mortality rate was a great deal lower than current standards of life expectancy (Specter). Even two hundred years ago, if one lived to be fifty they were considered elderly. In contrast to modern society, a person is considered elderly when they no longer can care for themselves. The discoveries of science must be embraced to ensure further advancement.

The rising consciousness of integral concerns will calm humanity’s reserves for transhumanistic endeavors. Time is required for understanding, and humanity should look to the example set by evolution to allow for gradual acceptance. Human beings use of machines goes back to the wheel – the natural edge of humanity is innovation. Society must embrace the innovative intellect and not cowardly turn away from progress. The future of the human race is difficult to imagine, but with the direction of science, and caution of ethics, the race of humankind will create their own future, forging ahead by means that modern minds cannot fathom.

Works Cited

Alcorn, Pete. “The World in 2200.” Online video., Jun 2009. Accessed 28 May

Bostrom, Nick. “What Happens When Our Computers Get Smarter Than We Are?” Online

video., Apr 2015. Accessed 15 May 2015.

Boundless. “Malthus’ Theory of Population Growth.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless,

27 Jun. 2014. Accessed 12 May 2015.

Bowler, Peter. “The Evolutionary Synthesis (1984).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed.

Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 319-25.

Case, Amber. “We are All Cyborgs Now.” Online video., Jan 2011. Accessed 25

Apr 2015.

Census. “U.S. and World Population Clock.” Website. 21 May 2015. Accessed 21 May 2015.

Chalmers, David. “How do you Explain Consciousness?” Online Video., Jul 2014.

Accessed 29 May 2015.

Comte, Auguste. “The Positive Philosophy.” Main Currents of Western Thought. 4th ed.

Ed. Franklin Le Van Baumer. New Haven, Massachusetts: Yale University Press,

  1. pp. 524-27.

Darwin, Charles. “The Voyage of the Beagle: Galapagos Archipelago (1845).” Darwin a

Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton &

Company, 2001. pp. 67-81.

… “The Descent of Man (1871).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 175-254.

… “The Origin of Species (1859).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 95-174.

Dawkins, Richard. “Science and Sensibility (1999).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed.

Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 314-19.

Dowbenko, Uri. “Transhumanism: The Anti-Human ‘Singularity’ Agenda.” Waking Times, 22

Jan 2015. Website. Accessed 15 May 2015.

Ehrenreich, Barbara and Janet McIntosh. “The New Creationism: Biology under Attack (1997).”

Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton &

Company, 2001. pp. 420-25.

Fineberg, Harvey. “Are we Ready for Neo-evolution?” Online video., Apr 2011.

Accessed 20 Apr 2015.

Garreau, Joel. Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies

– and What It Means to Be Human. New York: Broadway Books, 2005.

Gustafson, Ellen. “Obesity + Hunger = 1 Global Food Issue.” Online video., Jul

  1. Accessed 2 May 2015.

Hofstadter, Richard. “The Vogue of Spencer.” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 389-95.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Perennial Classics, 1946.

Huxley, Thomas Henry. “Evolution and Ethics (1893).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed.

Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 501-03.

Huxley, Julian. “Evolutionary Ethics (1943).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 503-07.

INLOGY Documentaries. “Bionics, Transhumanism and the End of Evolution (Full

Documentary 2015).” BBC. Online video., 26 Feb 2015.

Accessed 18 May 2015.

Jin, Shouguang. “CRISPR – Technology and Controversy.” humanity+ media, 30 Mar 2015.


Accessed 18 May 2015.

Joy, Bill. “What I’m Worried About, What I’m Excited About.” Online video.,

Nov 2008. Accessed 29 May 2015.

Kenyon, Cynthia. “Experiments that Hint of Longer Lives.” Online video., Nov

  1. Accessed 29 May 2015.

Kerr, Ryan. “The Father, Son, and the Holy Clone: Re-vision of Biblical Genesis in ‘The

House of the Scorpion.’” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association,

43.2 (2010): 99-120. Web. Accessed 17 May 2015.

Kropotkin, Peter. “Mutual Aid (1902).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman.

New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 398-403.

Kuper, Adam. “The Chosen Primate (1994).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 326-35.

Kurzweil, Ray. “Get Ready for Hybrid Thinking.” TEDtalk. Online video., Jun

  1. Accessed 20 May 2015.

… “The Accelerating Power of Technology.” Online video., Nov

  1. Accessed 24 May 2015.

… “A University for the Coming Singularity.” Online video., Jun 2009. Accessed

29 May 2015.

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet. “Zoological Philosophy (1809).” Darwin a

Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company,

  1. pp. 44-49.

McIntosh, Steve. Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: How the Integral

Worldview is Transforming Politics, Culture and Spirituality. St. Paul, Minnesota:

Paragon House, 2007.

Minsky, Marvin. “Health and the Human Mind.” Online video., Sep 2008.

Accessed 30 May 2015.

Monster Quest. “Joseph Stalin’s Humanzee Experiments.” Elusive.Animals. Online video., 6 Feb 2014. Accessed 13 May 2015.

Nico and Vinz. Am I Wrong. Warner Bros, 2014. CD.

Ramsden, Edmund. “Confronting the Stigma of Eugenics: Genetics, Demography and the

Problems of Population.” Social Studies of Science, 39.6 (2009): 835-84. Web. Accessed 21 May 2015.

Ridley, Matt. “The Origins of Virtue (1997).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 517-24.

Ronald, Pamela. “The Case for Engineering our Food.” Online Video., May 2015.

Accessed 21 May 2015.

Rosling, Hans. “Global Population Growth, Box by Box.” Online video., Jul 2010.

Accessed 30 May 2015.

…“The Overpopulation Myth.” Rex Orwell. Online video., 16 May

  1. Accessed 21 May 2015.

Ruse, Michael and Edward O. Wilson. “The Evolution of Ethics (1985).” Darwin a Norton

Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp.


SciShow. “The Science Behind ‘Genetically Modified Humans.’” SciShow. Online video., 20 Mar 2015. Accessed 18 May 2015.

… “The Science of Overpopulation.” SciShow. Online video., 11 Mar

  1. Accessed 21 May 2015.

Searle, John. “Our Shared Condition – Consciousness.” Online Video., Jul 2013.

Accessed 30 May 2015.

Simon, Bart. “Introduction: Toward a Critique of Posthuman Futures.” Cultural Critique, 53

(2003): 1-9. Web. Accessed 17 May 2015.

Sirius, R.U. and Jay Cornell. “Criticisms of Transhumanism.” Disinformation. 15 Jan 2015.

Website. Accessed 18 May 2015.

Specter, Michael. “The Danger of Science Denial.” Online video., Apr 2010.

Accessed 23 May 2015.

Steffen, Alex. “The Route to a Sustainable Future.” Online video., Apr 2007.

Accessed 29 May 2015.

Stevenson, Lionel. “Darwin among the Poets (1932).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed.

Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 653-58.

Theys, Frank. “TechnoCalyps.” Wake Up. Online video., 31 Jan 2015. Accessed

16 May 2015.

Waal, Frans De. “Good Natured: The Origin of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals

(1996).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W

Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 511-17.

Wilson, Edward O. “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975).” Darwin a Norton Critical

Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 409-14.

Wolpe, Paul Root. “It’s Time to Question Bio-engineering.” Online video., Mar

  1. Accessed 30 May 2015.

Wright, Robert. “The Evolution of Compassion.” Online video. TEDtalk, Oct 2008. Web.

Accessed 13 Apr 2015.

Yahya, Harun. “[Islamic Creationism] (1997).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 551-53.

Picture c/o:

Essay: Delusions of ‘Free Will’

Delusions of ‘Free Will’:

Penalized Choices Smirk as Lesser Evils

by A.D. Shaffer

{Graduate Studies; originally written for Humanities 520 fall 2014}

Individual will is not free when it is harnessed to rules. Ancient texts praise the glorification of humanity’s ‘free will,’ yet construct delicate webs of regulations to trap the will into doing what the dominating force intended in the first place. Through the Jewish text The Dead Sea Scrolls, enlightened thought and empirical principles of Kant, ancient reason from Socrates, and creation myth bemused upon Milton this paper will discuss the nature of ‘free will’ and if/when such creature exists. Religion, a monster dependent on the illusion of ‘free will,’ utilizes the morals instilled in society to derail the autonomic self as means to establish right living. What definition of right is true? And, true for whom? The Dead Sea Scrolls demands that God is right, and His rules are guidelines to the path which leads to eternal worship and ultimate completion – the ability for the immortal soul to praise and celebrate God constantly in heaven after death. What does heaven mean to the individual? Why must the self be reduced so as to rise up the community? ‘Free will’ implies the individual exists a priori conceived thought. Why give ‘free will’ only to take it away through backhanded trickery? The on start of the Great Flood, God sees what decisions humanity has made with their ‘free will’ and He is not a fan: “So the LORD judged them according to a[l]l their practices, according to the designs arising from their [evil] hearts. He thundered against them in [His] might, [so that] the very foundations of the ear[th] were shaken {…} He destroyed them in the flood, every one of them {…} – [for] they had disobeyed [the commandments of the LO]RD” (DSS A Sermon on the Flood 419-420). The determent of ‘free will’ by Judeo-Christian standards cunningly reduces the autonomic self while praising its existence. I intend to explore the nature of man through his eternal struggle with what one actually feels and experiences versus what one is instructed to feel and experience. I ask to reconsider the value of the autonomic self and discover the ability to release ‘free will’ from her kosher jar.

God created man in His image and afforded him the ability to freely choose his path in life; for good or evil – ‘free will’ is humanity’s gift. As per Milton’s depiction, the angels were created before humans, also in God’s image, yet minus ‘free will.’ The angels are noted as perfect – categorizing ‘free will’ as a flawed characteristic. God created man as lacking in grace to balance out His perfection. God wants man to love and praise Him because man wants to, not just because God demands that it is so. Those that gladly accept the yoke of religious life are blessed by God; Samuel receives visions from God, and dedicates his life to serving Him: “I lived with him from festival to festival, and joined myself to him from [my youth…] I [never] sought to cultivate favor by means of wealth, money or bribery […] [I preferred to serve] my Lord, and chose to sleep at the foot of [Eli’s] bed” (DSS An Account of the Story of Samuel 235). Samuel held high concerns for the people of Israel. He believed God would save His people and feed off the non-believers:

“[…O LORD, please hear] Your servant. I have never yet held back until this time for […] O my God, [let] them be gathered to Your people! Be a help to them, and raise them up [from the pit of tumult! … Deliver their fee[t] from the miry bog, [and] establish for them a rock from of old! Surely they are Your praise [above all other na]tions. Let Your people find refuge [in Your house,] let [Your anoint]ed sanctify themselves [to You]. In the very fury of those who hate Your people shall Your glory gain strength; in lands and seas [shall Your honor increase;] fear of You shall intensify beyond that of any [god, people,] or kingdom. {…} […They are] Your hol[y ones,] who You have sanctified […]” (DSS An Account of the Story of Samuel 235).

Is this right living – to only manage the advancement of one sect of people at the sacrifice of all other sects? God will feed off the fear of humanity to increase the physicalities of His chosen people. God will take from all other nations to give to His Jewish followers. Why did the Jewish people not want to create something for themselves instead of boldly wearing entitlement as a second skin? Due to God’s extensive rule system the Jewish people were dubbed clean enough to love and praise God. By eating proper foods and maintaining personal hygiene, the Jewish people were deemed good enough for God’s standards of mortal man. The Jewish followers were the Chosen Ones, yet they fell victim to the judgment of God and fell victim to flavored ‘free will.’

Kant addresses ‘free will’ as a categorical imperative and structural law of morality. Highlighting the removal of choice, Kant says, “{…} we can at any time be free from the precept if we give up the purpose; on the contrary, the unconditional command leaves the will no liberty to choose the opposite; consequently it alone carries with it that necessity which we require in a law” (Kant 20). In other words, if God insists that His people follow a strict path then why bother with the illusion of ‘free will’ – God doesn’t want man to choose undesirable paths, but He allows man to discover that on his own by suffering the consequences. ‘Free will’s fabricated design is a comfort to mankind, the universal law of causation – action happens followed by a result – secures stasis, granting society a norm: “This seems to be the kind of determinism which worries the defender of free will, for if human action is subject to a universal law of causation of this type, there will be for any action a set of sufficient conditions which can be traced back to factors outside the control of the agent” (Foot 440).   Or, all action has predicted results as an individual will freely choose to follow the rules or break the rules.   If God’s rules are not followed to the detail, the non-conformist is devalued: “Surely he plows in the much of wickedness, so defiling stains would mar his repentance. Yet he cannot be justified by what his willful heart declares lawful, preferring to gaze on darkness rather than the ways of light. {…} Unclean, unclean shall he be all the days that he rejects the laws of God, refusing to be disciplined in the Yahad of His society” (DSS Charter of a Jewish Sectarian Association 118). The consequences greatly outweigh the benefits of deviation from God’s law – placing heavy impediment of the freedom of human will.

Suffering in itself is a deeply carved vein in ancient thought. Perhaps this is because mankind did not understand why he was made to suffer; Sanders wrote, “Thus the suffering of the righteous, which gives rise to the question of theodicy, was firmly connected to essential elements in Jewish religious thought in such a way as to solve that problem. Suffering is God’s chastisement for sin, but it has a beneficial effect, since it cleanses one of his transgression” (Sanders 333). Religion and society decided not to allow a grey murky cloud of unknown to glean too much power, so conformities were born – religion grew lungs and legs. Suffering, whether physical, metaphysical, or emotional, is noted as means to purge away the guilt of man, the failings of man in his inability to reach perfection. Great amounts of penance signified a great wrong that is in the process of being righted – the admitted guilt of deviation from God’s design. The more effort required, the more suffering to be had, then the better the experience: “Nature seems to have experimented to learn what attitude to take. If the law of the survival of the fittest is true, it seems to point to the conclusion that greater suffering has proven the greater good. The farther we follow the path of experiment the more of sensibility to pain and the less of protective armor we find” (Chamberlin 67). God ensures that man will suffer for the selections of ‘free will’ if man refuses the law of God. The stronger the refusal of the individual’s ‘free will’ then the longer and more intense suffering must be dealt as means of enlightenment to God’s infinite wisdom.

‘Free will’ in itself is the bold decision to choose one’s fate through categorical imperatives each individual mind subjectively constructs. The human mind will issue forth justifications and exceptions to permit the desired path to be followed rationally. ‘Free will’ allows the mind to see both set of facts and select one’s outcome. Situations, then, are one of two options: good or evil, true or false. The Jewish God entertains no grey matter. The Dead Sea Scrolls detail God’s creation of everything, even right and wrong: “He created humankind to rule over the world, appointing for them two spirits in which to walk until the time ordained for His visitation. These are the spirits of truth and falsehood” (DSS Charter of a Jewish Sectarian Association 120). Imagine the iconic little devil/little angel resting on the shoulders of man, encouraging him to follow the light or dark path. ‘Free will’ is the ability of the autonomic self to decide which angel – light or dark – to listen to, which direction to take. Limitations, however, cloud the designs of ‘free will’ – the choice can no longer be considered as an unbiased norm if the individual knows that God forbids the action. Like God’s law, the light and dark angels sway the individual’s desire based on realized factors dependent on reason. This is tempting to man – an obvious ‘off limits to you’ pricks man’s curiosity – why should something be forbidden? Once this battlefield is declared between ‘free will’ and God’s rules, the choice itself is not a priori – the choice is now offered inside a threat, post-priori. God is quick to judge and deal out punishments as retribution and praise for Himself, especially if another god is appreciated: “{…} you are neither to yield nor listen to that person, nor show] [pi]ty him, neither compassion. [You shall not protect him, but assuredly kill him; your hand must be] [the] first to execute him, then afterwards the hand [of all the people. Stone him to death, because [he sought to] turn you away [from the LORD your God {…}” (DSS The Temple Scroll 622). Human nature tends to lean toward wanting what one is not supposed to attain, possibly because ‘free will’ feels the brunt of forced decision and attempts to rebel, gorging itself on forbidden fruit. The object is not truly of importance – the ability to choose without restraints is the prize.

Manipulation of ‘free will’ is oftentimes seen in children growing up. Society justifies the bending of one’s will, children are deemed unable to reason the correct answers/methods required. However, Kant argues for autonomic a priori instinct ensuring the nature of man as good; he defines the principle of autonomy of the will: “The conception of the will of every rational being as one which must consider itself as giving in all the maxims of its will universal laws, so as to judge itself and its actions from this point of view- this conception leads to another which depends on it and is very fruitful, namely that of a kingdom of ends” (Kant 30). Namely, that an individual makes choices without the influences of others, a natural moral instinct which details the just decision – but how is this possible when ‘free will’ is subjected to such harsh judgment? For ‘free will’ to truly be free the individual should be permitted to bask in autonomic decisions – the for better or for worse should be discovered along the journey, not implemented by a jealous God, hell bent on declaring His dominance over mankind: “Any man who does not obey, but acts rebelliously, heeding neither the priest who stands there to minister to Me, nor the judge, must die. Thus you shall purge the evil one from Israel. All the people will hear of it and be afraid, and none shall again rebel in Israel” (DSS The Temple Scroll 623). An autonomic choice utilized through ‘free will’ should be presented without penalties. Autonomy notices: “Individuals matter – they are worth counting – because they are agents; they are as agents equally worthy even if their individual projects and values differ from one to the next” (Apperley 292). The value of the individual inside of the community is demonstrated with autonomical concerns.   Otherwise, the act of choosing is premeditated and heteronomical of nature. If the will is smothered by outside influences it should be referred to as ‘forced will.’

The notion of a ‘free will’ is preferred by society as the opposite insists the people as puppets without the spark of soul: “Probably the reason why people are so afraid of causal considerations is that they are terrified lest insight into the causes of earthly phenomena should expose man’s free will as an illusion. {…} Deeper insight into the physiological concatenation of my behavior cannot in the least alter the fact that I will, but it can alter what I will” (Morley 122).   The will, being forced by the desires of God through means of persuasion, direction, and punishment, is therefore subjected insistence – the Angels should not be jealous of mankind as both species must comply with God’s standards or suffer His wrath. Will does exist, though not necessary ‘free’ existence. The Nephilim, or Watchers, procreated with mankind despite God’s instruction for them to leave the mortals alone – they wondered what was so magnificent about mortals, and found themselves hung up on the human ability to choose. In Paradise Lost, the angels – specifically Lucifer – coveted the love and concern God gave to Adam and Eve. The angels are described as required to love God – yet half of the angelic army falls from heaven. Is the angelic fall comparable to encompassing the ability to choose to ignore or repel God’s grace? Lucifer said, “Me though just right and the fix’d laws of Heaven / Did first create your Leader; next, free choice, / With what besides, in counsel or in fight, / Hath been achieved of merit; at this loss, / Thus far at least recover’d, hath much more / Establish’d in a save unenvied throne, / Yielded with full consent” (Milton Book II 18-24).  With ‘choice’ for the angels the absence of God creates Hell – or hell is lacking God in their existence. In attempts to make the most of their synthetic ‘free will,’ Lucifer aggrandizes their position in Hell and cultivates a plot to expose the flaws of man – hoping for a lessening of God’s love for mankind. The Nephilim are holy ones, immortal, and gifted by God’s grace. The Watchers’ decision to illicit marriages or procreate with human beings is means of spoiling mankind for the simplistic grace of God – a reduction of man’s ability to find awe in the Creator when mysteries are explained by divine creatures through medicine, magic, diviners, and women; the Watchers are not able to create true human beings for the earth, they are not God (DSS Tales of the Patriarchs 91). ‘Free will’ of woman allowed for interspecies copulation, and under the influence of the greatness of the holy ones women were tempted to breed with the angels to produce better heirs, those of divine nature. However, God’s response to the ‘free will’ of woman and Nephilim was extinction, He let loose the Great Flood and annihilated man and angel from the earth. God felt threatened at the ability of choice to create a new race of mankind not of God but of Angel and woman. Noah is believed to be of angelic conception, and utilized by God to recreate the human race: “{…} I was planted for righteousness, and it was righteousness that I practiced all of my days. I continued to walk in the paths of the eternal truth, accompanied by a holy […] righteousness hastened on my paths, and to warn me about the […] of falsehood that led to darkness {…}” (DSS Tales of the Patriarchs 93). Lamech is argued to be Noah’s father, yet understandable, if he held divine lineage this would secure Noah’s importance as his is the only family of man who God is noted to preserve. God, then, is seen as saving Himself to issue forth a new prototype for mankind as the Adam model failed. The divine element in Noah’s heritage could be that of God as God specifically choses Noah for salvation; Noah said, “Again I blessed him because he had mercy upon the earth, and because he removed and destroyed from upon it all who work violence, evil, and deceit, but rescued a righteous man for […] for all creation, for his own sake” (DSS Tales of the Patriarchs 95). Noah’s will is that of God’s – he is a subservient man, humble to the greatness and abilities of God. Noah’s compliance with following God’s wishes is deemed the right applications of ‘free will’ and hosts the beneficial bounty of eternal life in heaven. Noah is offered as an example in The Dead Sea Scrolls, not as able to be replicated but as a model to mimic in hopes of God’s pleasure.

As noted numerous times in The Dead Sea Scrolls, punishment for those who refuse God’s law is violate and often terminal. These wicked and evil souls must be purged by righteousness through suffering in Dante’s Purgatorio: “Of its purity the will alone gives proof, / and the soul, wholly free to change its convent, / is taken by surprise and allows the will its way. // ‘It wills the same before, but holy Justice sets / the soul’s desire against its will, / and as once it longed to sin, it now seeks penance” (Dante XXI 61-66). In purgatory, the will of the soul is forced to suffer the sin over and over until broken to God’s ways and acceptable to His standards. The ‘free’ element of the will is thusly reduced to an illusion. The lost souls of purgatory lament the loss of God’s grace – but mostly because they must since the choice is eternal damnation or unknown torment. Dante illuminates the emotional weakness of man and his ease to give in to worldly pleasures: “But the power that wills cannot do all it wills, // for laughter and tears so closely follow feelings / from which they spring, they least can be controlled / in those who are most truthful” (Dante XXI 105-108). Once the soul has left the body and finds itself trapped in purgatory, it must suffer for the crimes committed while it was a living human being so as to purify the soul to be ready the greatness of God. The shades present in Purgatorio are powerless in regards to will, Guido Guinizzelli said, “say a Paternoster there for me, / as much of it as we have need in this our world, / where we no longer have the power to sin” (Dante XXVI 130-132).  A shade is no longer a mortal human being so the element of ‘free will’ is not a constant illusion, the shade must face its’ own suffrage dependent on levels of individual repentance to soothe the pride of God. Freedom in itself remains an illusion, Kant said, “Therefore freedom is only an idea of reason, and its objective reality in itself is doubtful; while nature is a concept of the understanding which proves, and must necessarily prove, its reality in examples of experience” (Kant 45-46). Freedom is not a natural concept but a forced persuasion to soothe the absurdity of dutiful inclinations to an invisible entity. In the assumption of the ‘free will’ to be able to conceive reason “we afterwards conceive ourselves as subject to these laws, because we have attributed ourselves freedom of will: for freedom and self-legislation of will are both autonomy and, therefore, are reciprocal conceptions, and for this very reason one must not be used to explain the other or give the reason of it {…}” (Kant 42). The misconceived notion of ‘free will’ is exposed as fraudulent. In fear of the lack of control acquitted with autonomic reign by permitting ‘free will’ to actually be free, Double notes the characteristics of the subjective free will, he said, “Free will subjectivism, like metaethical subjectivism, in principle allows unlimited rein in our selection of lower-level theories. This objection is parallel to the objection that accepting metaethical subjectivism opens the door to moral nihilism” (Double 419). Direct chaos is not a necessarily element of total freedom – the cause to this belief surely lies in the lack of faith in the good of mankind. With the authority of choice returned to the individual, the community must be formed then with ‘free willing’ members whom naturally wish the best for mankind. To assume this is not plausible is to shrug ignorance at the possibility for desired unity. Socrates insists that man is naturally good and just by design, Plato wrote that unity was the greatest good: “And this unity of feeling we admitted to be the greatest good, as was implied in our own comparison of a well-ordered State to the relation of the body and the members, when affected by pleasure or pain?” (Plato 173). Mankind is good; therefore ‘free will’ reaches for righteousness.

Philosophy demonstrates the love of knowledge and the ability to contemplate on areas of question in variant grains through logical thought and experience. In The Consolation of Philosophy, Philosophy eases the fallen poet with Reason and acceptance of justice for Fortune. Imprisoned, his will is limited and the illusion of ‘free will’ is far removed. Boethius mourns his materialistic losses yet laments for forgiveness, something he feels Fortune has denied him: “When you have freely chosen her as your mistress, it would surely be inequitable if you attempted to lay down terms for her stay or her departure? Refusal to bear with your lot would make it more bitter since you cannot change it” (Boethius Chapter 1 17-18). With his will to choose removed, Boethius feels his humanity is stripped, demanding he accept his lot. The once vibrant celebrated poet reduced to exile, his ability to make his own decisions robbed of his future.

The illusion of ‘free will’ acts as a balm for the mortal mind to permit societal conformities, and constructs a power tool to govern the masses under the false assumptions of heteronomical means. Society convinces the individual that their choices are made internally – yet the outcome is known before the individual is able to truly choose as the community sets the standards for acceptability. Only a strong will then holds the ability to ascertain itself under ‘free will,’ as a weak will is easily herded with the crowd and quick to conform to normalcy. ‘Free will’ is burdened with the requirements of right and wrong living, being the individual decision to select a path. Socrates addresses the concerns of which path is more pleasurable: “The universal voice of mankind is always declaring that justice and virtue are honourable, but grievous and toilsome; and that the pleasures of vice and injustice are easy of attainment, and are only censured by law and opinion” (Plato 46). Humanity must buckle to justice despite enjoyment or the quest for self-love actions, the law holds most value. Back again, then, to the law – through The Republic, we see that an angry sky-daddy god is not required for the construct of laws as ancient Rome held no allegiance to deity but replaced it with government. This is simply a slide of names and slight deviation from religion to politics – the bottom line is that rules are written to ensure mankind follows the design or suffers for the neglect of direction. ‘Free will’ is the action required of the individual to set one on the path of success or failure. The will selects good or evil, and should commit itself to full compliance to one’s path: “Then God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. For few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him” (Plato 67). ‘Free will’ is seen as cut and dry – good or evil. Socrates reaches for a universal will to recognize good and cling to it while repelling evil, and vice versa – fully demonstrating the individual desire to remain true to one’s choices.   In short, Socrates expects a good man to be 100% good and an evil man to be 100% evil as this will ensure the success of either path. This complies with being true to oneself, an absolute requirement to fulfill duty and attain happiness. Once ‘free will’ has picked a team, complete validation to the committed path is essential. Philosophically thinking, an evil man may in fact be a terrible thing, but he should remain true to his own will, being the best evil he can be. While Socrates favors justice, he instills the value of truth above all else – one must be true to oneself to achieve happiness.

In conclusion, with the return of consideration to the autonomic self, the freedom of ‘free will’ may be returned universally. ‘Free will’ should not be subject to absolute restraints: “{…} freedom is not a property of the will depending on physical laws, yet it is not for that reason lawless; on the contrary it must be a causality acting according to immutable laws, but of a peculiar kind; otherwise a free will would be an absurdity” (Kant 39). In a religious connotation, the righteous decision of ‘free will’ is to give into the demands of God, in utter praise and worship, to conform to the predetermined standards laid out as standard grid. The Sons of Darkness are slayed symbolically whenever man freely choses to love and follow God: “{…} His great excellence shall shine for all the times of e[ternity;] for peace and blessing, glory and joy, and long life for all the Sons of Light. On the day when the Kittim fall there shall be a battle and horrible carnage before the God of Israel, for it is a day appointed by Him from ancient times as a battle of annihilation for the Sons of Darkness” (DSS The War Scroll 148).   ‘Free will’ allots for the Darkness or the Light – God’s obvious desire to annihilate Darkness removes the ‘free’ from the will. Who would want to be annihilated? Many cracks and loop holes hold dear in religious texts – one major requirement must be held to place the meanings into focus: faith. Faith holds hopes’ hand and promises of eternal paradise: “Blessed is every m[an…] and he will not die in the days of evil. Woe to you, O fool, for your mouth will deceive you […] a sin deserving death” (DSS The Birth of the Chosen One 541). By following the righteous path of ‘free will’ under exact conformity to God’s law, mankind will – if a Chosen One – be guaranteed eternal grace in servitude to the Lord. For the rest of humanity: The paradigm shift from a heteronomic society to a truer autonomic one will allow the individual to select – unrestrained – the a priori goal previously denied, and possibly never envisioned; by embracing an autonomic society in accordance with a priori ‘free will’ leads to internal truth and natural authority.

Works Cited

Apperley, Alan. “Liberalism, Autonomy and Stability.” British Journal of Political

Science. Vol. 30, No. 2 (2000): pp. 291-311.

Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. P.G. Walsh. Oxford, New York:

Oxford University Press, 2008.

Chamberlin, James A. “The Social Atonement.” The Biblical World. Vol. 42, No. 2

(1913): pp. 67-75.

Dante. Purgatorio. Trans. Jean Hollander & Robert Hollander. New York: Anchor

Books, Inc., 2004.

The Dead Sea Scrolls A New Translation. Trans. Michael O. Wise, Martin Abegg Jr.,

and Edward Cook. New York: Harper One, 2005.

Double, Richard. “The Ethical Advantages of Free Will.” Philosophy and

Phenomenological Research. Vol. 69, No. 2 (2004): pp. 411-22.

Foot, Philippa. “Free Will Involving Determinism.” The Philosophical Review. Vol. 66,

No. 4 (1957).

Kant, Immanuel. Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals. Lexington, KY:

unknown, 10 May 2014. *this is a print-out from an anthology not listed in hard


Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Boston, MA: Phillips, Sampson, & Co., 1857.

Morley, S. G. “Free Will and Science.” Hispanic Review. Vol. 37, No. 1 (1969): pp.


Plato. The Republic. Trans. Benjamin Jowett. New York: Books, Inc., 1943.

Sanders, E. P. “R. Akiba’s View of Suffering.” The Jewish Quarterly Review. Vol. 63,

No. 4 (1973): pp. 332-351.

Picture c/o: