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THE HYBRID AGE (PART 32): The Living Image of the Beast and the First-Fruits of His Dark Image-Bearers

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IMPORTANT SKYWATCH NOTICE: This series is being offered in the leadup to THE UNVEILING—an urgent Defender Virtual Conference event (May 13) wherein experts from around the world will update the public on (among other things) swiftly developing Human Enhancement / Hybrid Age advances directly tied to ancient prophecy and a coming seven years of Great Tribulation. Are you aware governments are enacting legislation NOW to protect the rights of the coming Human-Non-Human genetically engineered entities?

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

—W. B. Yeats, 1919

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

—Revelation 13:15

I remember an old 1930s cartoon from back in the “rubber hose animation” era (thus named because the characters’ arms and legs flailed like rubber hoses without hinges or joints). The memory is vague, but there’s a small boy—blond, stocky build, striped shirt, and rosy cheeks—repeatedly drawn to a chemist’s table, upon which are several colorful and bubbling reagent bottles. Over and over, the scientist has to pull the young boy away and find something to distract him with. Eventually, the scientist runs down the road for something, trusting that the young boy won’t touch anything while he’s away. The boy tries to resist, but eventually he gives in to the temptation to touch the forbidden liquids. Running to the table, he says in that classic, Betty Boop-ish, shrill voiceover of the day, “Oooo… I wonder what mixing these will do!” Pouring one bubbling liquid into another does nothing at first, but after a moment, the bottle begins to glow. The young boy, fascinated by this reaction, starts haphazardly throwing chemicals around until the entire laboratory explodes. A strange, black goo forms from the wreckage and crawls into the nearby forests where it sinks into the trees. Immediately, the trees come to life, tearing their roots up from the ground to wander about causing havoc and laughing maniacally. The boy runs for help, locates the chemist, and the scientist proceeds to mix new antidotal mixtures to reverse this horror, but at each phase, he only makes it worse. The monsters of the forest grow bigger, stronger, and start reproducing at lightning speed. Before long, the mixture has gotten so out of control that it affects the animals as well, who mutate into devilish forms and breathe fire over entire towns.

I can’t remember how this cartoon ends, but I think about it now and again when I sit down to write about the subject of transhumanism. By no means does the boy or the chemist in this silly cartoon represent my opinion of the highly intelligent men and women in real laboratories today, and I understand that no mutant trees will ever suddenly come to life because an amateur got excited about glowing liquids. However, once in a while from the back of my memory, like a file that can’t be deleted or recycled, comes the ironic sound bite of that chunky little rose-cheeked boy—“Oooo… I wonder what mixing these will do!”—followed by the imagery of a panicked chemist trying everything he can think of to undo catastrophe and failing in the fight.

Whether it be a human/animal hybrid or a human/machine hybrid, the world today seems too drawn in by the archetypal glowing reagent bottles to rethink their pursuit of mixing humanity with something God never intended for us to be joined with. It will not be until a significant portion of the human race has been changed irreversibly (not just a select few volunteers or rats in a labyrinth somewhere)—and then given a period of years to show what the consequences are as a result—that we can ever know what “mixing these will do,” and I have a feeling that black-goo tree monsters are the least of our worries.

Only Here…In the Twilight Zone

In 2010, Defender Publishing released the book, Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, and Human Enhancement Herald the Dawn of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare by me and my wife Nita. At the time, the word “transhumanism” was only just becoming widely known, and some of its trends in laboratories across the globe still sounded to the vast majority like they belonged in a science-fiction story. Even I occasionally had to acknowledge that some of the red flags I was attempting to alert the world about would have made an excellent script for an episode of The Twilight Zone. The writers of that enormously successful show no doubt would have had a heyday using Forbidden Gates (and similar works now available) for fresh meat.

“Picture yourself drifting off to sleep one night,” host Rod Serling might have said as the screen zoomed in on a rural town, “and awakening into a world unlike your own. The trees, ponds, and sky remind you of back home, and the buildings are somewhat familiar in structure, but you notice there is something odd about your fellow man. A ball player in the nearby field carries out his performance with crisp, mechanical execution, moving his body in a way that suggests he’s part machine—yet when he stops and meets your gaze, he appears at a second glance to be just another average Joe. Further on, you see a small child on a sidewalk curb rapidly scribbling out solutions to advanced calculus problems on a college-level worksheet. Just behind him, a toddler in a pretty pink dress sits atop a piano bench inside a recital hall with an open window. Her fingers grace the keys like a prodigy as Nikolai Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ flows out into the street.



“Suddenly, from the corner of your eye, you spot a shadow movement in the adjacent alleyway. Approaching to investigate, you see a woman in her mid-thirties perched atop a fence like a feline. Though she appears on the outside to be nothing more than a flexible and acrobatic human, something about her arched back and penetratingly motionless stare uncovers a hidden—but certain—bestial quality.

“It is then that you realize the people in this new world aren’t just gifted. The men, women, and children of this town have been enhanced by someone—or something—making them more than human. How much of the original human remains within them, however, is a question that can only be answered here…in The Twilight Zone.”

What an interesting episode “Enhancement Town” might have been. In my imagination, I see limitless directions the plot could go. Bear with me for a moment while we visit some of those possibilities.

After all, it’s only fiction…

Certainly there would be the regret angle: Viewers are made to feel at first that they’ve landed in Utopia. Everyone including the feline-woman is polite, intelligent, talented, and beautiful—and every dream they have is realized through enhancement. Soon, it’s revealed that, beyond the surface, the people in this town are no longer happy or fulfilled, because nothing is earned and everything they want to feel or learn is a quick surgery or implant away, essentially stripping away from them the joy of human achievement through hard work and commitment. Even their relationships no longer function with any lasting depth, because, as the challenges and trials of the human experience has been alleviated—as well as the victory of conquering those challenges—they suddenly find they have very little to talk about. Through enhancement, they have come to know more than any natural human could learn in ten lifetimes, and the world around them appears to hold very little mystery anymore. Boredom is the only sensation they feel, and mundanity is their only daily reality. In the end, the audience learns that, by becoming more than human, the residents of this town long to return to mere humanity so that they may feel that familiar sense of happiness and “living” that could only be had through perseverance, trials, suffering, survival, and learning to work through differences. If only they could go back…but doing so now would effectively be corporate suicide, since their entire existence relies upon being routinely plugged into the enhancement system. Just before the close of the episode, the camera does a dramatic zoom-out, showing that this town is actually the least enhanced of its region. In the surrounding forests and cities, human-animal and human-machine hybrids go about their lives apathetically. Serling’s voice drifts in for the close: “Sadly, Enhancement Town is not the only population to buy into the appeal of instant gratification and convenience. Such priorities can never be isolated to one speck on the globe as long as the pursuit of abundance and ease remains embedded in the hearts of every man. In a world where the living have already experienced internal death, the sufferings of the human condition suddenly appear strangely, and ironically, priceless.”

That’s one idea that would have made a fascinating installment in the series.



Or perhaps there’s the bungled-experiment angle: As the camera first zooms back in on the feline-woman in the alleyway, the audience is informed through a brief dialog exchange that she is, at times, a territorial predator on the inside, and the town fears her. She was the first to be enhanced in her community, and now she exists on the outskirts like a legend. A failed experiment. She explains that she went to the same scientist as they all do, wanting nothing more in life than to sleep in the great outdoors under the stars, navigate the dark, and climb trees. The scientist agreed, and fused her DNA with that of several species within the Panthera genus—the four “roaring” felines. The alteration was only supposed to change her ability to function in and adjust to the outdoors—just a miniscule change in her biological coding. For months, she praised the scientist, camping out on her own and becoming one with the earth around her, but a year later, something unexpected occurred in her body, and she quickly found herself…different. When her family got on her nerves that Christmas, she had to fight the urge to tackle them to the floor and give them a warning bite to the neck. The idea of raw meat suddenly didn’t sicken her, and in fact, she hoped nobody would notice the neighbor’s dog had gone missing a short time later. Everything in her body was changing, and the urges she occasionally had in regard to those in her town were inhumane. Storming into the scientist’s office, she demanded answers, and after a few tests, all he could tell her was that there had been an error somewhere along the line, and now the animal part of her biological coding is rapidly replacing the human within her—side effects unknown. Feeling like a cornered animal in a mad scientist’s lab, she lashed out at him, scratched him wildly, and then bounded down the street to live in isolation from a community that fears her. Now she sits on this fence night and day, losing herself to the beast within more and more each hour. Every week or so, the scientist’s office door opens and another enhanced human emerges, completely unaware of what they may eventually become. As the episode draws to a close, the camera pans to the blank expressions of the man in the ballfield, the young mathematician, and the tiny pianist. Serling brings it home: “Who will bite next? Who will malfunction? What level of carnality or anomaly awaits down the next dark alleyway? How many failed human experiments need occur before Enhancement Town applies the brakes on so-called glorious alteration? And should they refuse to stop, how long before they face extinction?”

Another fair plot idea…

And still, perhaps Rod Serling and his crew might have taken it in a more spiritually relevant “warning” direction, as they had been known to do several times (episodes like “Still Valley,” “The Howling Man,” “Judgment Night,” and “Printer’s Devil” come to mind): The town carries on in happy celebration over its own success in enhancing the human condition, and when that crazy, unenhanced, homeless man in rags comes walking down the road to shout about God’s wrath and eternal damnation, everyone dismisses him as they always do. That meddling prophet has warned them one too many times that by giving up the wholeness of their undefiled humanity, they will also relinquish their Christian connection to God, whose promises were only ever given to humans made in His own image—an image that this town has forsaken. Wishing to hear no more, they banish the homeless man from their town forever, reminding him on his way out that they are no longer in need of God: They have transcended mere humanity as a corporate spirit already, and science and medicine can make the lame man walk, the blind man see, and the sick man well. Far from caring about what an archaic religion has to say, they continue on, obliviously reveling in the grandeur of their progressive paradise. In the end, the camera pans to a lonely prophet walking away from a modern, technoscientific archetype of Sodom and Gomorrah as the first wave of fiery judgment from heaven begins to fall to the ground behind him. Unlike Lot’s wife, he has no desire to look back. Serling’s haunting conclusion articulates what the audience has been pondering for several minutes: “As this lonely wanderer treks upon his bare feet to the next unknown destination, his unenhanced brain deliberates over the link between the Creator of the universe and the race He designed…this race to whom He gifted dominion from the beginning…this race who now seeks further dominion over the forces of nature, itself, and who will stop at nothing to replace their Creator with a golden idol called ‘mortal transcendence.’ As the sounds of destruction echo behind our exiled prophet, he walks on, resigned to admit the tragic truth: A warning unheeded is a judgment earned, and a prophet is not without honor…except in Enhancement Town.”

Alas, these precise plots were never written into the show, but what if they had been? Would things today be any different? Would our medical and scientific progress have slowed at all because a haunting voice like Serling’s made a vintage cautionary statement that penetrated society’s psyche for half a century? Probably not. It’s the will of the people that we blaze ahead, and the scariest questions along the journey toward the future are those that point only to an unknown…until a disaster is identified.

When Forbidden Gates was originally released, many people were only just beginning to truly see to what extent labs across the world are working toward the universal goal of the transcendent man—an enhanced humanity unlike anything we have ever known in life before. Terms like some of those in my subtitle—Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, [and] Nanotechnology—were still somewhat foreign to our mainstream culture. As I related then:

In recent years, astonishing technological developments have pushed the frontiers of humanity toward far-reaching morphological transformation that promises in the very near future to redefine what it means to be human. An international, intellectual, and fast-growing cultural movement known as transhumanism, whose vision is supported by a growing list of U.S. military advisors, bioethicists, law professors, and academics, intends the use of genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology (GRIN technologies) as tools that will radically redesign our minds, our memories, our physiology, our offspring, and even perhaps—as Joel Garreau, in his bestselling book Radical Evolution, claims—our very souls.[i]

What shocking concepts these were at the time to some of my readers. Only eight years later, at the time of this writing, these terms and concepts are not only well known to most people (at least in the US mainstream); they have become conversational centerpieces at dinner several times per week in an average household, and our young children are even discussing what the future looks like once we allow our humanity to be dabbled with and permanently changed in the pursuit of self-improvement. Fantasy Twilight Zone episode concepts like the ones I invented herein are no longer only valuable as possible sci-fi scripts; imaginings like these have become the potential future realities that propel bioconservative groups across the globe into preventative discussion and action, as we see today.

As much as we might wish we had another half century to prepare ourselves for the changes that are coming, anyone who has researched the dramatic shifts in the timeline of scientific developments knows that the casual “sip tea and contemplate the future” window is forever closed. We are, right at this moment, teetering at the very razor’s edge of living out a real-life Twilight Zone scenario, complete with unforeseeable plot twists and an unknown ending.

Eight years ago, I wrote that we were approaching that day and time soon.

On many levels and from many angles, we’re there…

NEXT: Slaves to the Machine

[i] Tom and Nita Horn, Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, and Human Enhancement Herald the Dawn of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare (Crane, MO: Defender Publishing, 2010), 125–126.

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