Nietzsche is the first thinker who, in view of a world-history emerging for the first time, asks the decisive question and thinks through its metaphysical implications. The question is: Is man, as man in his nature till now, prepared to assume dominion over the whole earth? If not, what must happen to man as he is, so that he may be able to ‘subject’ the earth and thereby reclaim an old legacy? Must man as he is then not be brought beyond himself if he is to fulfill this task? One thing, however, we ought soon to notice: This thinking which aims at the figure of a teacher who will teach the superman, concerns us, concerns Europe, concerns the whole earth not just today but tomorrow even more. It does so whether we accept it or oppose it, ignore it or imitate it in false accents.
We are at a crucial point in time: a moment of transition as important as the emergence of Homo sapiens, or the beginning of civilisation after the Neolithic Revolution.
Around the middle of the nineteenth century, but from then on ever more pressingly—owing to the acceleration of history—man began to realise he had to interact in a radically new environment. He was being forced to transform both himself and his new surroundings—in fact, the whole planet and, recently, outer space too—if he sought to control the forces he had unchained and to continue on his vital journey. As with any voyage into uncharted waters, this would involve unfamiliar situations, increased risks, and new responsibilities.
Crossing the threshold requires the development of a new awareness; increased powers of foresight and decision-making; a wider scope of action; and the ability to generate and harness an extraordinary amount of power. Furthermore, all this on a scale substantially different from what had been used until then to solve the problems of post-Neolithic civilisation, when agriculture, sedentariness, urban life, division of labour, and modern war and law were invented.
Our modern Western civilisation, deprived of vitality, has decided to close its eyes and continue as if nothing new had happened. Not so long ago, a liberal thinker, Francis Fukuyama, triumphantly proclaimed the end of history.1 According to him, thanks to the general hegemony of the American-Western model, we are at the point of attaining a peaceful solution to all our problems. The advent of liberal democracy might signal the end-point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the arrival of the final form of human government.
On the contrary, it is rather the case that our culture and societies have been decaying for some time and seem lately to be blundering into unsuspected catastrophe. The reason for the decline—manifested every day in the way such crises as the global demographic explosion, the depletion of natural resources, mass migrations, genetic deterioration, ecological disasters, nuclear threats, and financial turmoil are mishandled—is the absence of a response to the distressing new set of circumstances and challenges identified above.
Man—an inadequate animal whose instincts do not furnish him with univocal behavioural responses to meet the tests he continuously has to face—is today required, in wanting a new and brighter dawn, to expand and refine his abilities and consciousness, and hence to determine what he wants to be and how he wants to continue being. No one or nothing else will do it in his place.
Mankind is at a crossroads, a point of passage marked by a swift and radical transformation of the human environment. The complexity and demanding character of the situation is frightening; hence, it is understandable that the psychological mechanism of flight is triggered, and that our senile society, unwilling to accept the tragic dimension of life, refuses to ‘take up the gauntlet.’
As Spengler observed in Man and Technics: ‘Truly the tempo of history is working up tragically. Hitherto thousands of years have scarcely mattered at all, but now every century becomes important. With tearing leaps, the rolling stone is approaching the abyss.’2
With the Industrial Revolution humankind entered into a phase of planetarisation. No one can avoid this planetary perspective or dream about an impossible isolation. Besides, due to our restless exploring of the world and the development of the techniques that derive from it, at the beginning of the third millennium of our era there is no corner of the Earth’s biosphere that is beyond the hand of man. Today, humankind exerts its influence on the entire surface of the planet, either by directly transforming it or by modifying its biochemical and physical equilibria. We are far from mastering its processes, but there is no longer any part that is immune to man’s influence.
Stefano Vaj, suprahumanist extraordinaire, remarks: ‘Once the effects of the geographical exploration of all land above sea level and the first industrial revolution have essentially been exhausted, the new step in the process of transformation arises from the convergence of the so-called Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno (NBIC) technologies and their interactions. It will represent the final point of rupture with the old lifestyle.’3
In order to witness something comparable, one has to go back as far as the Neolithic Revolution when, thanks to their superior magic, the Indo-Europeans became masters of that time and gave birth to the Second Man.
Arnold Gehlen remarked many years ago, before bioengineering, nanotechnology, or artificial intelligence existed even hypothetically: ‘The Industrial Revolution which today is drawing to a close marks in fact the end of the so-called advanced cultures, that prevailed between 3500 BCE until after 1800 CE, and fosters the emergence of a new kind of culture, as yet not well defined. Along these lines of thinking, one could indeed come to believe that the civilised age as historical period is about to pass away, if one understands the word civilisation in the sense that has been exemplified by the history of the advanced cultures of humanity until today.’4
We are at the end of a process. What was founded during the Neolithic Revolution has perhaps arrived at its term. Under these circumstances, the alternative is both simple and frightening. Will man go forward and beyond? Will he take up the challenge? Or will he revert to a less than human condition? In other terms, the choice must be made between progress or regress: the superman or the underman.
Are we ready for this epoch-making passage? Are we capable of a kind of thinking to match this decisive moment? Heidegger notices: ‘What is really worrying is not that the world is being transformed into something entirely controlled by technology. Much more worrying is that man is not at all prepared for this radical mutation of the world. Much more worrying is that our speculative thinking does not enable us to adequately cope with the events of our time.’5
Man transforms his environment radically, but at the same time refuses to become fully conscious of the implications of this change. He refuses to change himself. That is the reason why he experiences the transformations of the contemporary world as a sort of external constriction that overwhelms and alienates him.
Topics that are pregnant of potentiality such as genetic engineering, cloning, eugenics, space exploration, cybernetics, nuclear power, environmental issues, the origin of life and the different species, heredity, anthropology, human reproduction technologies, health issues, and demographics are usually viewed with fascination by the public, only to be confronted either with a moral condemnation of biblical flavour or with an uncritical abandonment to self-regulated market mechanisms. Presiding always over both attitudes is the mediocre narcissism of sacrosanct ‘individual rights,’ a horizon beyond which the dominating mental paradigm understands or sees nothing else.
The new situation invariably clashes with the limitations of our world view, and it requires a new norm—capable of transforming present inconsistencies into a higher perspective. What is the purpose of human existence? The refusal to properly respond to this question, which ultimately boils down to a meditation on human evolution—to be more precise, on the meaning of history—is what characterises the system that has been ruling the West since 1945, and that has now become globalised.
This system has no significance other than its own motionless reiteration, its continuous mechanical operation.6 There is nothing it wants to realise except its own cancerous expansion, the mechanical self-regulation of its techno-economic machinery. The system is dominated by oligarchies—the only type of sovereignty still possible today—but it is not directed, if ‘direction’ is taken to imply ‘a path to follow’ or ‘the will to go somewhere.’ The consequences of this progressive human inability to use its own powers regarding conscious goals are visible everywhere: alienation, reification, degradation of the living environment in general—not only the ecological sphere, resource depletion, decay of the quality of life, demographic decline, genetic deterioration, frustration of the most fundamental ethological needs, dissolution of organic social bonds, cultural sterility—a lifeless engine that just keeps on turning.
One cannot physically go back in time, and any form of life that remains inert for a while begins to suffer from entropy and decay. Man’s increasing power over himself and his environment cannot easily be renounced. The repression of such a power is impractical in the long term because of the constant pressure and the measure of total social control it would require. Moreover, relying on the impersonal and ‘rational’ mechanisms governing the system to administer it is proving to be potentially catastrophic.
The Earth and the future will belong to those who, becoming historically conscious of the new situation and drawing the necessary conclusions, manage to create a new way of living. ‘They will incarnate the Third Man, called to fully take charge of his own destiny through a new and radical beginning.’7
Thus far we have spoken of man in general—an abstraction that is legitimate when dealing with matters affecting the entire human species. In specific terms, we know, however, that humanity does not exist: only individuals and the societies in which they gather. When one considers the future of humankind, in practical terms what is being discussed is the future of European man and his place in the world. Creator and inheritor of this ‘sick’ global West, it is mostly for him to take up the sword and cut the Gordian knot—a knot that exists only in the limited perspective of today’s hegemonic world view.
Western civilisation is in disarray, and its decline becomes more acute daily—with the possibility of its death becoming all too real.
Blindness is the characteristic condition of this social illness—namely, decadence. The sicker the patient, the more energetically he declares himself to be in good health. Thus, a decadent society is more ‘progressive’ the more it approaches the fatal outcome. One may observe daily all the social phenomena that have usually accompanied the agony of different peoples and cultures: from emasculation to the unstoppable social ascent of the entertainment industry; from the disintegration of traditional social units to the renewed, but ephemeral, attempts to substitute for them a range of communal associations; from masochistic universalism to the collapse of any social norm restraining the individual. But no one seems to be capable of learning from the lessons of history. It is well said that history has no sense.
Another characteristic trait of advanced social decomposition is mediocrity of feelings. Everybody and everything is tolerated. War is made—but always in the name of love, or to ‘liberate’ the other. Decadent societies no longer know how to love or hate—they have become lukewarm, because life is abandoning them. Their vital force is already almost dissipated.
This force may acquire different names. Dostoyevsky called it ‘God’ and asserted that when a culture loses its God it can but agonise and die. The term ‘God’ is too restrictive—too “Western” to properly define what constitutes a society’s life force. The divine is but an element, an aspect of something which would be preferable to name—in all its complexity—Myth.8
Myth is the historical force that brings a community to life, organises it, and propels it forward towards its destiny.
To begin with, a myth is an intuitive feeling about the world, but a feeling which is shared. Hence, it is a social bond. One might speak of religion, from the Latin religare—to tie fast. As social tie, a myth organises society itself, ensures its coherence in space and through time. It also structures the individual personalities that belong to that community.
This intuition about the world lies also at the origin of a proper world outlook or Weltanschauung—an expression of coherent thought, operating measurement, and norm of valuation.
A myth has also a distinct view of history. The community it organises is an organism situated—at the same time—in past, present, and future. Such a community can then be called a people. A myth, in this case, may be also described as an image a people has of its own past according to the future chosen as destiny.
In a community, human value—which is always social personality—is measured by the degree of correspondence to the ideal types proposed by the myth and which every member of the community understands as a sort of superego.
When the myth disintegrates these ideal archetypes are felt as such no longer: no communitarian bond remains and every individual is considered an ideal in himself.9 The people lose memory of their common origin and cease to be moved by pathos—a common sympathy, a common suffering. They cease to be a people and turn into a mass. All that remains to keep society together is the ever more precarious and conditional bond created by the alliance of groups of individuals, classes, parties, or sects based on mutual defence of their selfish interests. The real human dimension, history, is lost. Mass society is no longer concerned with the past or the future: it lives only in the present and for the present. Hence, it does not occupy itself with politics, only with economics—which ends up conditioning all the other social responses.10
History teaches us that every people, every civilisation has its own myth. Western society, into which we were born and now live, had its origin in the great ecumene of Christianity: was formed and moulded by the Jewish-Christian myth. This myth—and its God—has long been dead.
However, the issue is not merely that ‘God is dead’: as will be seen in the following chapters, the Jewish-Christian myth and the set of ideologies that replaced it—the Western ethos—could not but lead ultimately to nihilism and spiritual alienation.
The fundamental values of the West are conducive to our social entropy and biological decay. In fact, the more the paradigm informing our civilisation is consistently applied, the more the problems tend to grow. Paradoxically, the triumph of the West—also called ‘globalisation’—means the death of Europe and of European man.
Nevertheless, Western civilisation—while created by European man—is not coterminous with European civilisation. In fact, either the West or Europe may be saved. If the West is saved, then Europe will be destroyed.
Everyone is more or less conscious of the fact that European nations are condemned either to exit from history and be melted down into a shapeless and faceless global mass, or to turn into the substance of a future nation and people. That is why the creation of Europe has been a dominant theme since 1945. However, today’s Europe—the European Union—has been conceived as but an extension of our present social realities: as a last resort to save what is already under a death sentence—i.e., Western egalitarian civilisation.
If a new Europe is ever to come to pass in the more or less near future—if it is ever to devise a response that may solve the present challenge and offer prospect of reaching the next stage of human evolution—it will be only if it is ruled and organised by a new foundation myth: one radically strange to everything in fashion today.
This new myth already exists. Together with the new historical consciousness that established it, it emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century and has continued to manifest itself—through a range of artistic, cultural, and political representations—into our present age.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical work, and Richard Wagner’s artistic and metapolitical production, inaugurated this new current of thought—which we have chosen to call suprahumanism: the only one that can be defined as authentically revolutionary, since it represents a return to a primeval origin that was completely forgotten and, at the same time, the opening of a new, exulting, and unknown destiny—the regeneration of history.
 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992).
 Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life, trans. Charles Francis Atkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1932).
 I am particularly indebted to Stefano Vaj, National Secretary of the Italian Transhumanist Association and curator of Giorgio Locchi’s texts. His study Biopolitica: Il Nuovo Paradigma (Milan: Società Editrice Barbarossa, 2005) has greatly influenced this work. A translation into English of Vaj’s work is about to be published. See www.biopolitica.it for all updates.
 Arnold Gehlen, Man in the Age of Technology, trans. Patricia Lipscomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989).
 Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row, 1977).
 See Guillaume Faye, Le Système à tuer les Peuples (Paris: Copernic, 1982).
 Vaj, Biopolitica.
 Giorgio Locchi, Mythe et Communauté: Actes du XIIIième Colloque fédéral du GRECE-1979 (Brussels: Éditions Résistance et Intervention, 1991).
 On the question of ‘myth,’ see also Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return: Or, Cosmos and History, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1954), and Myth and Reality, trans. Willard R. Trask (New York: Harper and Row, 1963); Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence, trans. T. E. Hulme (New York: Dover Publications, 2004); Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman (New York: Atheneum, 1975); and Carl Gustav Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, trans. Richard Winston and Clara Winston (New York: Pantheon Books, 1963).
 See Ferdinand Tönnies, Community and Society, trans. Charles P. Loomis (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002).
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