Voltaire famously said that if God didn’t exist then we’d have to invent one. No way we could handle the Exile, being out of paradise on our own. Candide minding his own garden while war, rapine, earthquakes, floods, pestilence, gore festivals and other assorted rolling pearl harbors swept the Earth and made the human condition miserable, Candide was insane to think he could seed marijuana and doob his life away amidst the suffering and disease. And, Jesus, when they caught up with the ever-cheery Dr. Pangloss — he of the quip: This is the best of all possible worlds — they beat the shit out of him.
In Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot sighed, Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind Cannot bear very much reality. Then Nietzsche came along with moral relativism — beyond good and evil this and will to power that — and basically tucked two in the back of the Capo’s noggin. His last words to his mother from the syphilis asylum were purportedly, Mama, I fuck up.
Now, look at us: we’re all fuckin crazy and fallin apart. God’s dead, the elite wanted to rebuild the burnt down Notre Dame cathedral with a fuckin pool on the roof, and we’ve gone and seized Nature, thrown her over a pork barrel and taken her up the poop chute while telling her to make pig sounds like Ned Beatty in his film debut in Deliverance. And Weeee’ve never been so alone in the cosmos and all Jeff Bezos can do is think about putting up a personal fulfillment center on the moon.
And then came the short-lived Trump Era, the scirocco that blew in to fill the void of a vacated pan-theism; God wasn’t in anything anymore. The rule of Blowhards had begun. And Trump was about to battle with Nature, too. And, America, the exceptional civilization that the world needed desperately, was about to take a hit and be brought to a knee-drop.
It was the worst of times. It was the worst time.
Pussygate. Russiagate. Fake News. Deep fakes. Dylan’s “Gates of Eden.” We learned that electoral votes are often manipulated, with provisional Black votes tossed aside, resulting in, according to Greg Palast, to rigged national elections from 2000 on, including the election DJ stole in 2016. In 2020, Trump was caught in Georgia (on tape; voters let you grab their pussy and everything) doing what they always do — demanding that thousands of Black votes be disqualified so he could win. He was right in saying that the election had been stolen from him — the electoral buggers actually counted all the votes this time! Thanks to the extra scrutiny that Covid-19 lent to mail-in votes.
We learned that electoral college votes can even be manipulated at the last moment in the House, and that the process can be disrupted by QAnon, a fringe group who brought us Pizzagate and who soapboxed to the Press that stolen naked kids were being delivered as toppings on pies to elites around the Belt, and who averred that “Donald Trump is secretly engineering the downfall of the deep state and its cabal of elite pedophiles.” And overturned by the Proud Boys, a name literally derived from a rejected song from Disney’s Aladdin that sings of a twentysomething man-boy making his Mama proud some day. If she’d only loved him more there’s have been no sedition and Daddy would still be alive.
And then an angry ghost emerged and declared that he, and not Trump, had written the Art of the Deal. And that DJ had driven his alcoholic brother to suicide, taunting ad tauonting him about settling for being a airline pilot (following his bliss) when he should have been taking care of the family business. And then the busy MSM gave us the infamous meme of Melania, the First Lady, wearing a bratty jacket that said on the back: I really don’t care. Do U? Recalling that wonderful song about driving your culture into a bridge to watch it burn.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit during Trump’s first pointless and partisan impeachment process, during which the only useful thing that happened was that members of Congress made money trafficking in stocks. Oy! Such chaos and corruption.
Be the Chaos. Be the Solution. Someone said. Maybe Halliburton.
But, by contrast, it was pass the bong around time at DARPA, the Pentagon’s innovative R&D branch. Good times never seemed so good. DARPA, already famous for producing stealth technology, gps, night vision goggles, laser guided bombs, unmanned drones and sensor surveillance for the warfighter, was about to make the Trump bump in the road the beginning of a foray into world building (or rebuilding) technology that would go beyond war and address the needs of humankind in crucial areas such as climate change, potable water, “new” biology and chemistry, and the continuing evolutionary miracle of electricity manipulation to bring warp speed to communications and to take control of human consciousness and remake bio.
DARPA decided to become God and Nature combined, while the MSM converged to report exclusively on the pussy Trump had grabbed in the past and would surely recidivate in the future. It’s a slippery slope: Who can blame Melania for wearing that private Metoo# message on her back? The irony was not lost. Was it?
I had a new God — and Nature, too.
Everybody now knows that DARPA was the new God revealing itself when we, the people were gifted TCP/IP and the Internet. Soon everybody in the world would be connected in a hivemind only a God could have imagined, except, of course, for Africa, which had yet to join the new Global Village, on account they were still searching for water and dying from AIDS and Zika, which is why Joseph Kony was never caught in 2012 by the online American army of children who went searching for him online with benign racism.
I’ve been a big fan of DARPA as God for a long time. When they ever solved the honey bee colony collapse pearl harbor, brought on by Monsanto’s GMO splash, by proffering the notion that — not a worry! — DARPA would be replacing honeybees with drones anyway. Phew! because without the bees pollinating flowers agriculture would be doomed. This manoeuver also made DARPA the new Nature, too — big and elegant and fresh, like she’d never been raped by Man at all.
Not long after the Trump ill-auguration in January 2017, things started percolating at the Pentagon. In 2014, President Barack Obama had suspended budgeting for gain-of-function research on American soil, citing the inability to guarantee safety, but now, under Trump, the suspension was lifted and that research would resume — overseas. But the Pentagon was after more than merely speedbagging a virus until it talked and gave up the secrets of its virility; it had a vision of a New World ordered by the miracles of science. The Pentagon wanted to remake the world, literally, one project at a time. It called on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to consider its goals and to develop and publish a framework that would be the rationale and ethical reference for the glad work ahead. The result was the 2018 publication of Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology.
The report explores and envisions potential misuses of synthetic biology, which is the field of modifying or creating biological organisms. The report also develops a framework to guide an assessment of the security concerns related to advances in synthetic biology, assesses the levels of concern warranted for such advances, and identifies options that could help mitigate those concerns.
Well, that’s how the Bing AI chatbot replied when I asked it to sum up the report. But having reviewed the publication myself a couple of years ago, I know the summary to be deficient in a couple of key ways. First, it has been filtered through a DARPA lens: The publication is imbued with the fear of being caught with the pants down, as the DoD felt it had been during the Sputnik crisis. There is a sense that America’s enemies have gone ahead in the race for creating new things with synthetic biology, including new life forms that Nature was reluctant to move into the survival of the fittest, including, perhaps, a reboot of humans themselves. No way we’d let our enemies be God and Nature first!
Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology practically begs DARPA to do Gain of Function research and to beat the shit out of some sleepy virus until it rose like a twin tower killer to seek revenge. They say, let sleeping dogmas lie, but woof, did this one ever come to life!
But there was DARPA, like Johnny on the G string, playing “Mona Lisa.” But it just so happened that in the year before the pandemic a DARPA program called Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) was wargaming with its academic and lab partners to be ready in case a real pandemic should break out. And wham! there it was. That’s when I knew DARPA had the God qualities of omniscience and omnipotence. This was confirmed in emails to me by DARPA and by partner Vanderbilt. Jim Crowe, director of the P3 research program at Vanderbilt said in his email,
Yes, we are a P3 performer site. We did conduct “capabilities demonstrations” for rapid discovery of antibodies prior to COVID-19. The discovery program we conducted in P3 for SARS-CoV2 led to the development and approval of Evushield…Antibodies we isolated for Zika, flu, and others [i.e. MERS] are in development for clinical testing.
This is the preparedness against viral enemies that NASEM was talking about. Holy serendipity, Batman! Here’s the fuller story, as published by Nature magazine’s bioengineering channel.
Within 60 days, as DARPA promised, they had created a market-ready monoclonal solution for Covid-19. And then they went all crazy and announced they and Moderna had a market-ready vaccine! Why, in August 2020, the NYT had made fun of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed that promised to have a vaccine ready by October, telling the reader that no vaccine had ever been developed in less than four years, and never had there been a coronavirus vaccine. But God Nature DARPA had the tech, mofo. And the miracle deluge of vaccines that followed Trump’s ouster from power, were granted immunity by way of the FDA’s liability-limiting Emergency Use Authorization that saw Big Pharma receive transubstantiation.
DARPA is now working on quick-turn around protein folding products in a program known as Reimaging Protein Manufacturing (RPM) program. They could cure cancer overnight or clone humans and accidentally enhance their intelligence, like the Chinese doctor did a few years ago now.
Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology references some 50 times the notion of “directed evolution,” a term that sounds like a Lamarck-Darwin oxymoron. For instance, in the section on “directed evolution” in Appendix A, the report states,
In nature, the process of evolution selects the best performers from a genetic pool that includes some degree of random variation. Researchers can use a similar process to create prototype biological components representing multiple competing variations and then select among them for the phenotypes that best match the desired outcomes.
DARPA is to avoid Darwin’s observed time-consuming natural selection.
Lots of people are worried about Open AI (which DARPA helped develop), but, I reckon, the real worry should be the mind-control devices that DARPA has helped develop and finance, such as through Australia’s brain-computer interface at Synchron (see my review). This stuff, extrapolated from the example of paraplegic browsing the internet again with his thoughts only, has sinister implications. DARPA originally saw it as a means to control an enemy’s mind by remote means. Imagine a Gitmo or Abu Ghraib situation by gizmo situation.
DARPA has technology that allows electricity-deprived areas on Earth to be lit up with power delivered from a satellite. We read: “DARPA is working on the next leap forward in energy distribution by leveraging wireless power beaming to create a dynamic, adaptive, speed of light wireless energy web.” Wham! What about dual use though?
Humans are mostly made of water. Reports are telling us that we are running out of fresh, potable water. But DARPA’s not worried, for S/He has a plan to extract water right from the atmosphere. Wham! you’re holding a glass of military grade atmo perrier. Who needs old Nature?
DARPA is working to fix the AI problem, and is working on quantum computers that will have us all walking around like duckrabbits speaking auction speed English. Only a God could do that.
DARPA is going to solve the Climate Change Catastrophe problem by geoengineering feats not seen since Superman reversed the rotation of the Earth in that movie years ago. Imagine. DARPA is going to block out the sun with climate intervention technology and save us from the nasty rays of ol’ Sol. That way we can continue with the wars we love and finding oil in the Arctic before the Chinese and Russians do.
DARPA is God. DARPA is God. DARPA is God. DARPA is God.
Don’t mess with God or Nature.