A Call to the American Reader

After Man — What?

By Satprem

YOU OF AMERICA, I hardly know your language, but I know your heart better. You are not those gadget inventors and superelectronical miracle people the rest of the world believes you to be. You are truly adventurers and hewers of new continents, though for a time you got embroiled, and perhaps entangled, in a mechanical trap of your own making – which was another way of discovering a new continent and new masteries. Your iron-clad continent has failed. Your masteries are your own self-strangulation. Inventors as you are, conquerors as you are, you have set out on all possible or impossible new paths, always athirst for – what? You are credited with the most improbable sects in the world. Even Africans can't hold a candle to you, and Hindus are children. You kick up your heels as you kick against the walls of matter, always in search of – what? And always ready to tear at your own flesh, as if to wrench some secret from that personal continent, too, which dies – why? Drugs hold no secret for you, sex can be delirious. Everything is dared, as if everything had to be contested, confronted, experienced and laid bare. No, this human continent cannot be so shallow, this iron-clad continent cannot be the end – and the thirst is still there. But the real Continent is not found. Occult realms have no terror for you – why not? This challenging why not is something very much part of your heart. That's what makes you exasperating and lovable children in a world of aging pundits. Thus, taking trips outside your body, meeting life after death, channelling dubious and indubitable spirits, hearing voices and prophesying doomsdays is just another part of exploring new paths and pounding the walls of this rebellious continent. You very well may also send rockets to Venus or the devil. Well, you are indeed a very interesting country.
     Now, this is the challenge.
     It's very simple.
     A tadpole produces a frog. A caterpillar produces a butterfly. An ape produces a man. And what does man produce? Another little whisky consumer with more mathematics, more computers, more TV's and more cemeteries – more churches and sects, to, and more rockets toward inanity? Or what comes next on the evolutionary ladder?
     What is the man after man?
     How does one make another man?
     What is there in this human body, this recalcitrant matter, these little human cells, that can produce another species? Where is the way, the passage to the other thing?
     Unless, of course, we think that nothing other than super-baboons could have ever come out of the world of baboons some few millions years ago. Baboons forever and ever?
     Such is the simple question asked of us by evolution.
     Such is the question of our time.
     We are coming to the zero point of all our churches and electronics just to solve this question. And if we refuse to solve it, it will be solved for us, shatteringly. In the dried-up swamps of the Paleozoic, huge reptiles had to solve the problem of becoming birds, not of growing another spike on their crushed backs.
     It is simple.
     Not outside the body, but inside the body.
     Not outside this continent, but inside the continent.
     Not in a scientific laboratory, but in our own flesh.
     A new continent in our continent?
     A new body from our body.
     Such is the real adventure confronting us – you Americans if you dare. The invention of the man after man. And who says it isn't possible? Evolution is the most possible thing in the world since the amoebas in their watery holes.
     This is where Mother comes in.
     No, not the guru of a super-sect – we have had enough of churches … and laboratories. We are our own lab.
     She is the elder of evolution, the adventuress into man's future, into a little human cell, freed form its monotonous genetic program and its habit of being a man with a necktie and some mathematics.
     This AGENDA is twenty-three years of experimental evolution.
     Nothing has been more important since Darwin.
     For once in human history, we have the record of the conscious transition from one species to another – and not just a record, but a path to be walked by those who dare.
     Shall we choose to forge that new species, or will it be extracted from us … shatteringly?
     This is the question that I ask of my American fellow human beings who have had enough of inventing neckties and atomic plants for a dying race.
     Shall we invent the man after man?
     And make him walk on a sunlit planet?
     O Mother, Thy Earth is beautiful and perhaps it is not yet fully the Earth.

(This letter was written in the early 1980s).

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