Elon Musk: a champion of anti-globalism?
By Roberto de Mattei | 2 November 2022
The news of Elon Musk’s 44-billion-dollar purchase of the world’s leading social media platform, Twitter, came right on the heels of his proposal for a solution to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict more favourable to the interests of Moscow than to those of Kiev. In conservative circles, this reinforced Musk’s image as an iconoclastic visionary, hostile to the globalist elites who rule the world. But is this really the case?
The South-African-born business magnate and founder of companies like the electric car manufacturer, Tesla, and SpaceX, which aims to conquer other planets, is the richest person in the world, according to Forbes, with assets estimated at 223.8 billion dollars. He presides over the Musk Foundation and, like Bill Gates, presents himself as a philanthropist who aims to improve the world. His goals include that of reducing global warming through the use of renewable energy and of establishing a human colony on Mars.
On 10 March 2018, speaking at a panel discussion dedicated to the science fiction series Westworld, Musk said:
“There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity.”
To emphasise this idea and explain his plan to conquer space, he then added:
“There’s a guy called Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, one of the early Russian rocket scientists. He had a great saying, ‘Earth is the cradle of humanity, you cannot stay in the cradle forever. It is time to go forth, become a star-faring civilisation, be out there among the stars, expand the scope and scale of human consciousness.’ I find that incredibly exciting. That makes me glad to be alive. I hope you feel the same way.”
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857–1935), the father of Russian “cosmonautics” to whom Musk refers, was not only a scientist and designer of rockets and satellites but also a philosopher of the school of panpsychism, according to which all living and non-living beings possess mental capacities, and matter itself is “thinking”. Scholars like Svetlana Semёnova (1941–2014) and George M Young incorporated his vision of the world into cosmism movement, founded by the Russian philosopher Nikolai Fyodorov (1828–1903).
Fyodorov claimed to be a Christian but denied the doctrine of Resurrection of the dead, which according to the Gospel will take place “on the last day” (Jn 6:39-40, 44, 54; 11:24), at the end of the world. He was convinced that human ingenuity, with no need for God’s intervention, could preempt the Resurrection of the dead, using the power of science to put back together their remains scattered in nature. The procedure for resurrecting the dead, entrusted to scientists, would consist in the recovery and synthesis of all the molecules and atoms that make up the remains of the dead in order to reconstitute the human body. Fyodorov proposed setting up scientific and technological centres next to cemeteries and exhuming dead bodies in order to put them through the processes of molecular synthesis and genetic reassembly. The resurrection of the dead, which would entail an overpopulation of the earth, would have to be followed by their transfer to other planets, on spaceships superpowered by advanced human technology. In his posthumously published book, Philosophy of the common task (1906–1913), Fyodorov foresaw an age in which science would allow humanity to overcome the limitations of nature, resurrect the dead and colonise the stars in order to accomodate them. (George M Young, The Russian Cosmists: The Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and His Followers, Oxford University Press, New York 2012)
The first generation of Bolshevik leaders, the so-called “builders of God”, were influenced by Fyodorov’s ideas. Michel Eltchaninoff, in a fine book dedicated to cosmism (Lenin ha camminato sulla luna, Italian translation Edizioni e/o, Rome 2022, pp. 47-70), recalls the names of philosopher Alexander Bogdanov, art theorist Anatoly Lunacharsky, writer Maxim Gorky and engineer Leonid Krasin, all with high-level involvement in the Bolshevik movement. Cosmism was not just a revolutionary fantasy of the 1920s; it proposed the creation of the “New Man”, emancipated from God and nature, as the French Revolution had done before.
In the Soviet era, scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, creator of cosmonautics, sought to implement the second part of the Fyodorov plan: the conquest of space to accommodate the resurrected dead. Tsiolkovsky, unlike Fyodorov, was a professed atheist and materialist; but like Fyodorov, he believed in the physical immortality of humanity, destined, thanks to the progress of science, to live for eternity and to populate the whole cosmos. To the names of Fyodorov and Tsiolkovsky must be added that of the Russian philosopher-scientist Vladimir Vernadsky (1863–1945) who, while having no intention of bringing the dead back to life, did intend to transform the human being into a creature interdependent with the “biosphere”, the living matter in which he is immersed. Vernadsky was also responsible for spreading the concept of the “noosphere”, a favourite of the evolutionist theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955). Vernadsky is considered the forerunner of radical environmentalism and of the Gaia hypothesis, a cosmological vision that presupposes the interconnection of all the beings (animate and inanimate) of nature and the dissolution of every boundary between man and the world. The Earth and its biosphere form that complex and all-encompassing system which seemed to provide inspiration for the 2019 Synod for the Amazon.
Cosmism is an ideology akin to transhumanism, with which it shares the evolutionist vision of the universe and the idea of a self-transcendence of human nature. This philosophical system, atheistic and pantheistic at the same time, has taken root in America no less than in Russia. Vladimir Putin has never cited Fyodorov but, in 2013, he had a town near the Vostochny cosmodrome named after Tsiolkovsky and, that same year, ordered grand celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Vernadsky. However, according to Eltchaninoff, for a few decades now, cosmism has had a second home in Silicon Valley, with heirs like Elon Musk and the Russian-born entrepreneur Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.
“Another figure of transhumanism, Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal, condemns ‘the ideology of the inevitability of death’. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, invests in rockets and in companies that work in anti-ageing … The search for eternal life and the conquest of space are connected.”Lenin ha camminato sulla luna, p. 15
Elon Musk’s reference to Tsiolkovsky confirms Eltchaninoff’s thesis, and is disturbing. The political vision of the Tesla boss is that of an anarcho-conservative who wants to make Twitter a free, uncensored social network where all are able to express their opinions. This position has aroused the hostility of globalists like Bill Gates, who attacked Musk in a panel discussion organised by the Wall Street Journal on 4 May 2022. At bottom, however, both Musk and Gates believe in the utopia of the regeneration of humanity through science, and reject Christian cosmology which affirms the existence of an order of values based on the immutable nature of man and on a transcendent God who created the universe and orders it to its end. Are the two “brother enemies” part of the same planetary conspiracy? There is no conspiracy when everything is stated openly, but there does exist a revolutionary process that opposes the New World Order of the globalists with the false anti-globalist alternative of the New World Disorder — a process with a variety of dynamics, converging in the struggle against a single enemy: the Church and what survives of the Christian West.