As I wrote recently, 2022 is a year for creation. By the end of December, I want to have completed the four Great Works I described in the previous post, as I feel that they provide a test of my abilities, a wide range of intellectually stimulating activities, and my best chance for a legacy that outlives me.
First on the list is technetism. I’ve mentioned the word before, tossing it around here and there, but now it’s starting to come together as a coherent idea. It even has its own website Technetism.org, which I’m building out on the weekends and whenever I have spare time. Also, there’s the Weekly Technetic, a Substack newsletter-type thing where I go deeper into the idea and what it means.
For this post, I just want to talk about the broad outline of what technetism is, where in my strange thoughts it was born, and what I hope to make of it.
Humanism, but better
Despite everything that has happened these past two years, I still consider myself a humanist. I still believe that humans are the greatest thinkers and creators in the known universe, and that we as a race act as a positive force for this world and, eventually, all others out there. Yes, we have a lot of problems right now, but so many of those come from people whose stated goals are at odds with the survival of our species. I want to change that. I want to provide a better path.
Technetism isn’t a religion, because a religion intends to provide answers to questions that are beyond the bounds of science. Personally, I believe that we must all find our own answers in that sphere, that what works for me isn’t the same as what works for you. We have free will, and it’s up to us to make use of it. This requires us to ask those questions, to seek answers, but we should never force others to believe as we do in the spiritual sense.
Thus, technetism is a philosophy that complements religion rather than replacing it. It’s compatible with most faiths by design, and it takes a syncretic view of spirituality, a recognition that so many religions around the world, past and present, believe enough of the same things that there is a kind of universal truth lurking in there. Finding it is the individual’s job, not that of a church. Dogma is antithetical to the search for personal revelation. I take ideas from 20th-century humanism and utopian transhumanism, early Christianity, modern forms of Stoicism, and even more exotic sources like Buddhism (though without the navel-gazing and riddle-speak of Zen) to find simple, clear statements of intent and purpose.
I won’t say it’s working, but I feel I’m in a position where it might. The core tenets of technetism are sensible and memorable, without being too overbearing. They’re meant as guidelines, not commandments, after all.
For the most part, my goal is to build something positive, something focused on creation rather than destruction, and I believe I’ve achieved that. The next step is fleshing it out, filling in the gaps. I’m sure there are inconsistencies with what I’ve written so far, and I’d like to iron those out.
Of course, you may be wondering why I would go through all this trouble. Why not join some group that’s already doing most of what I’m talking about?
The truth is, I’ve never fit in anywhere, and I know I never will. In matters such as these, I’m aware that I just don’t think like other people. I learned that at a relatively early age, and my first instinct was to lash out, to be rebellious for no reason than rebelliousness. As I grew older, I saw the folly of youth for what it was.
Destruction is never a substitute for creation. I firmly believe that should apply in every aspect of life, whether social, artistic, political, or whatever. Tearing down your enemy doesn’t lift you up in return. And while there are plenty of institutions, organizations, and groups that probably deserve to be torn down, we must have something better to replace them if we’re ever to improve as a whole.
That’s the other focus I wanted for technetism, and it’s something that few existing religious or philosophical schools accept. We’re all human. Dividing us among lines of race or sex or creed only detracts from what we have in common: intelligence, creativity, imagination, and productivity that surpass any other species that has ever existed on earth. The “us versus them” mentality that pervades every part of society these days seems tailored to hold us back by keeping us focused on our differences; even those who profess tolerance only extend it to certain subsets of the population, as any victim of cancel culture can attest.
Thus, technetism is open and welcoming. Anyone can participate. All you have to be is human and proud of it. Willing to create and to teach, because those are our race’s biggest strengths. I want us to move beyond identity politics, because we’re better than that.
I’ve also used this opportunity to expand upon some of my other unorthodox beliefs, rationalizing them in light of this new conception of the world. Technetism is explicitly a natalist philosophy: creating the next generation is the most valued sort of creation possible, because you’re directly contributing to the growth of humanity. This stands in stark contrast to the numerous anti-natalist and eugenic movements popular today. Veganism (as opposed to vegetarianism) is not compatible with the technetic ideal, as it makes you weaker for the benefit of lower animals who couldn’t care less. Likewise for modern environmentalism, which often borders on eco-terrorism with its hatred of safe and cheap transportation and power generation. These and other destructive ideologies have no place in a society that wishes to advance.
In the end, that’s all I want. I want to be better. Failing that, I’d settle for making everyone around me better. I just believe that the best way to achieve that goal is by encouraging others to see themselves as individuals who are yet a part of something greater, by spurring them to create new things because they want to improve the lives of those around them in the same way I’m trying to do.
Pure humanism, especially the secular variety popular today, lacks the recognition of the human as a spiritual being. Organized religion, by contrast, ignores our very real biological existence in favor of a somewhat nebulous concept of salvation. I’d like technetism to be the middle path, the road you can walk that lets you visit the best of both sides while avoiding the worst.
If I can make something that does that, I’ll consider this Great Work complete.