Wokism is the news tendency fashionable within the western left. Authors like Jean-François Braunstein1 do not hesitate to consider this movement as a religion, with its beliefs and dogmas. At the heart of these is gender theory, which denies the biological significance of the sexes. According to the proponents of this theory, gender identity (being a man, a woman, etc.) is in no way dependent on biological sex. It is only a fluid social construct. In this “transgender” logic, since a biological woman can choose the “man” gender, men can become pregnant and give birth. The next step is to hope, surgery helping, to be able to change biological sex, even if it only exists for the moment contested scientific bases on these medical transformations with numerous undesirable effects.
The body, that despicable “meat”
The transgender ideal is in fact based on an exacerbated mind-body dualism. For its defenders, we would be only simple consciences, totally independent of the material reality of our bodies, simple supports which it is possible to dispose of at will. There is no longer a common base of truth. The only thing that counts is self-affirmation, subjective and freed from traditional identities. Gender theory is often compared to Gnosticism, this Christian current of the 2nd century AD accused of hereticism, which considered the body and the material world as the evil from which one must free oneself. With the difference that the Gnostics did not deny the existence of biological differences. They simply considered the material world as the work of the evil one and therefore sought to free themselves from it in order to regain their spiritual essence.
It is at this crossroads that gender theory meets the transhumanist ideal. We find in fact in the transhumanist movement an identical contempt for the perishable body, regularly qualified as “meat”. The only thing that counts is awareness, which it should be possible to download onto a computer or onto the clouds. This is what seeks to develop in particular Netcome start-up in the USA. Like Ray Kurzweil, who works for Google, a large number of transhumanists hope to emancipate themselves from the ultimate human limit: death. This is what the doctor and entrepreneur Laurent Alexandre also defends in France, who ensures that the developments of “technomedecine” will lead to “the death of death”. This confidence in the possibilities of medical science to transform bodies is shared by wokism. “The overcoming of the biological, the technical revival of the foundations of life as well as the scientistic obsession for the manipulation of the living constitute the striking features of an intellectual movement converging with the dominant neoliberal economic and political interests”, underlined Jacques Testart in the magazine Zilsel in 2017.
Both wokism and transhumanism are indeed congruent with the dream of economic globalization taken to its extreme, ignoring national and birth identities. Both humanity and gender must be fluid and subject to the laws of a large international market of uprooted consumers. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons for the support of Western governments (France and the United States in the lead) for these ideologies – for wokism in particular. It is no coincidence either that they are promoted by the major American cultural industries (including Disney) and the GAFAMs.
A recent report from the liberal think tank Fondapol informs us that at the end of 2018, Twitter changed its policy on “hateful conduct” in order to be able to permanently ban from its platform those who “misgender”, in other words, mistake the gender of a person, and those who “deadnamesomeone, ie those who call a user in terms related to their former gender. The network would also banned accounts of feminist activists who declared: “Men are not women” (“Men aren’t women“). Maybe Elon Musk’s takeover of the Bluebird, openly against wokism, will reverse this trend on Twitter. Case to follow.
Break free from “form”
Entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt alone embodies the convergence between wokism and transhumanism. Transgender since 1994, Rothblatt is the head of the biotech company United Therapeutics, which specializes in developing new technologies to build organs and extend the lives of patients with lung diseases. In 2018, she was the highest paid CEO in the United States. She is also the origin of Terasem, a neo-religious and transhumanist movement based in Florida. Transhumanism has indeed a mysticism, which considers the virtual experience allowed by the Internet as a kind of access to a higher reality of divine order. It is probably no coincidence that some hippies of the 1970s, fervent consumers of psychedelic substances, became convinced technophiles, followers of digital virtual worlds. This is the case of Stewart Brand, friend of Steve Jobs and coiner of the term “personal computer” or Timothy Leary, both an activist for the use of psychedelics, “the pope of LSD” and pioneer theoretician of cyberculture.
In a book published in 2011, Martine Rothblatt writes that the transgender movement is the first stage of a new revolution: that of freedom “of form”, understanding the physical world and its appearances. According to her, technology will be the means to achieve this. “Our body will disappear, but there is no logical reason for the same to happen to our personality, which we can keep in digital form. And, in the near future, programs as easy and accessible as iTunes, for example, will make it possible to revive a person in another way. affirms Rothblatt. In her view, the transgender movement, of which she is one of the leading figures, is preparing mentalities for this revolution.
A spirituality rid of materialism?
The desire to go beyond the limits of the earthly human condition is not new. It was already present, as we have seen, among the Gnostics. It is more generally at the heart of spiritualist movements that seek to get out of the shackles, moreover very real, scientific materialism. For them, humans have a spiritual identity that cannot be reduced to the physical body. But a fundamental difference exists between most of these currents and transhumanism: they do not bet on technology, the latest avatar of materialism, to access transcendence. Their ambition is also to “increase” man, in a way, but only spiritually, through inner work; not using bionic implants or nanotechnology. In this view, the human body is not inherently evil. If it works soundly, it is the instrument we need to access spiritual realities (through meditation, etc.).
For these movements, the terrestrial immortality dreamed of by transhumanists rests on the contrary on dangerous shifting sands (those of reductionist materialism, relativism and nihilism). On an illusion that will only worsen the alienation of human beings and the destruction of the planet. Thus, according to the philosopher Jean-Marc Ferry: “This spirit [transhumaniste] determines a cold and distanced gaze on the world, a gaze of death which conditions the human being for indifference, seizes his own inner nature, in order to make it as open to manipulation as the outer nature is, depriving the humanity of the imagination necessary for a projection of credible alternatives to the civilizational regime thus constituted2.”