The Last Battle & the Digital Age – did CS Lewis prophesy the existential threat we currently face?

Nov 2019
Lucy Wyatt, Somerset, UK


‘“Justice, Lord King!” she cried. “Come to our aid. Protect your people. They are
felling us in Lantern Waste. Forty great trunks of my brothers and sisters are already on the ground.”

“What, Lady! Felling Lantern Waste? Murdering the talking trees?” cried the King,
leaping to his feet and drawing his sword. “How dare they? And who dares it? Now
by the mane of Aslan –“’

(CS Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia, 1956)

The massacre of trees is often the first sign of trouble. It isn’t just in Narnia
that people are alerted to unwelcome change by the unexpected removal of
trees. Here in the UK 20,000 trees in the city of Sheffield alone are under
threat; 5,500 have already gone.1 The unofficial reason for the loss of these
trees is that they will interfere with the 5G rollout and the upgrade of
Sheffield into a ‘smart city’. The trees will get in the way of the microwave
signal that 5G uses, and so they have to go.

But where is the public debate? Where is the public consent? Given that we
live in a democracy, should we not be asked if we want 5G; if we want our
trees removed, even when they are not damaged or diseased? If anything, the
opposite is happening. Any attempt to question is being quashed.
Government seems to be keen to remove all local decision-making on the
matter to the point where even the need for permitted development
applications to put up phone masts in the UK will no longer be necessary.
Government does not want phone companies to have any restrictions.

And when there are protests, Local Authorities are being instructed by the
UK Digital Minister not to accept objections on health grounds to the 5G
rollout. Other evidence must be provided. As far as government is concerned,
there are no safety issues… There are no issues.

Even so, in September 2019 the British PM, Boris Johnson, gave a speech to
the UN in which he pointed out the dangers of the digital age.2 He described
it as a “gathering force that is reshaping the future”. He acknowledged that in
previous great technical advances (the printing press, the age of steam etc) we
had control and that this time we don’t. As he says “in future there may be
nowhere to hide” and that “this technology could be used to keep every
citizen under round-the-clock surveillance”.

Boris goes on to refer to the data captured, “tiny electronic shorthand”, being
stored in some “great cloud of data that lours ever more oppressively over the
human race. A giant dark thundercloud waiting to burst…”. He further states
“we don’t know who decides how to use that data. Can these algorithms be
trusted with our lives and hopes? Should the machines – and only the
machines – decide whether or not we are eligible for a mortgage or insurance.
Or what surgery or medicines we should receive? Are we doomed to a cold
and heartless future in which computer says yes – or computer says no with
the grim finality of an emperor in the arena? How do you plead with an
algorithm? How do you get it to see the extenuating circumstances? And how
do we know that the machines have not been insidiously programmed to fool
us or even to cheat us?”

Boris is aware that “digital authoritarianism is not, alas, the stuff of dystopian
fantasy but of an emerging reality”. He knows that the technology is open to
abuse and is already being used oppressively elsewhere in the world. Boris
may also have been familiar with concerns expressed by CS Lewis and some
of his contemporaries more than half a century ago.

CS Lewis, the Oxford don, author of the Narnia children book series and close
collaborator of JRR Tolkein (‘Lord of the Rings’ etc), didn’t exactly predict the
internet 70 years ago. But he was prescient in other ways. He was v bothered
about transhumanist philosophy and the way that certain groups want to
push us in the direction of technology because they believe technology and
technocracy will improve the human condition. In particular what alarmed
him was the blurring between the human being and the machine, and what
that meant in terms of moral values.

Lewis set out his views in a series of lectures he gave in 1943, with the last one
titled ‘The Abolition of Man’, and in a novel he published in 1945, ‘That
Hideous Strength’. His fear was that the elite of society would merge with
technology and eliminate the masses which they regard as ‘dead weights’. It
was Lewis’ view that ‘we destroy our own humanity if we treat ourselves
merely as a means to something else rather than as an autonomous, rational
end in ourselves’.3

Dr Alistair McGrath, an expert on CS Lewis and head of the Oxford Ian
Ramsay Centre for Science and Religion, in his July 2018 lecture on
transhumanism explains Lewis’ thinking.4 To start with, the ‘we’ in the
sentence needs clarification: who is the ‘we’? According to McGrath, for
Lewis this use of ‘we’ amounts to de-humanisation, because every new
human capacity that we invent or discover is not so much about the triumph
of humanity over Nature but is actually about the triumph of one section of
humanity over Nature and other human beings: in Lewis’ words, “What we
call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men
over other men with Nature as its instrument”. It is an implicit recognition of
power; power of some to control other people. As a consequence, in Lewis’
opinion, “Man’s final conquest has proved to be the abolition of man”.

McGrath further explains that Lewis believed in some kind of ‘natural’
morality, something like the Tao; a natural law which is not something we
construct or have control over. It is external to us and is something for which
we must have respect. But if we say that human values are human
constructions then that leads the way open for one group social group to
define those values and the oppression of others.

Lewis wrote “Man’s conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its
consummation, to be Nature’s conquest of Man. … Either we are…obliged for
ever to obey the absolute values of the Tao, or else we are mere nature to be
kneaded and cut into new shapes for the pleasure of masters who must, by
hypothesis, have no motive but their own ‘natural’ impulses”. In other words,
McGrath comments, what if some develop a value system which means ‘we
are really human and you are not and therefore we have control over you’?
As McGrath points out, the question isn’t just the manipulation but who is
doing this manipulation? And with what intended outcomes?

In 1945 Lewis wrote the following passage in his novel ‘That Hideous
Strength’, “A few centuries ago, a large agricultural population was essential;
and war destroyed types which were then useful. But every advance in
industry and agriculture reduces the number of work-people required. A
large, unintelligent population is now a dead-weight. The importance of
scientific war is that scientists have to be reserved. It was not the great
technocrats of Koeingsberg or Moscow who supplied the causalities in the
siege of Stalingrad. The effect of modern war is to eliminate retrogressive
types, while sparing the technocracy and increasing its hold upon public
affairs. In the new age, what has hitherto been merely the intellectual nucleus
of the race is to become, by gradual stages, the race itself. You are to conceive
the species as an animal which has discovered how to simplify nutrition and
locomotion to such a point that the old complex organs and the large body
which contained them are no longer necessary. The masses are therefore to
disappear. The body is to become all head. The human race is to become all
technology.”[my emphasis]

George Orwell published a review of Lewis’ novel in the Manchester Evening
News in 1945, after the atomic bombs had dropped at the end of the War.
Orwell’s review, with the title ‘The Scientists take over’, included this view of
the future, “All superfluous life is to be wiped out, all natural forces tamed,
the common people are to be used as slaves and vivisection subjects by the
ruling caste of scientists, who even see their way to conferring immortal life
upon themselves. Man, in short, is to storm the heavens and overthrow the
gods, or even to become a god himself. There is nothing outrageously
improbable in such a conspiracy. …Plenty of people in our age do entertain
the monstrous dreams of power that Mr. Lewis attributes to his characters,
and we are within sight of the time when such dreams will be realizable.”[my

In more recent times, commentators have linked Lewis’ and Orwell’s fears of
transhumanism to AI and genetic engineering, but these developments are
still in their infancy. I would argue that in our somnambulance what we
haven’t realised is that the transhumanist agenda is already playing out. It
isn’t a dystopian future but here now. The telecommunications revolution
presented to us in the 5G rollout and the intensification of 4G, the upgrading
of the ‘smart grid’, ‘smart cities’, ‘smart meters’ precisely meet CS Lewis’
criterion for de-humanisation.

The undemocratic decision to impose increasing telecommunication radiation
on an unsuspecting population without their consent is the use of ‘Man’s
power over Nature’ which ‘turns out to be a power exercised by some men
over other men with Nature as its instrument’. Electrical engineers, working
for the telecoms companies and with the support of government, are
manipulating electromagnetic forces to create artificial radio frequencies for
the use of human beings without sufficient regard for either our personal
freedoms or the physical health and well-being of all living organisms. The
digital age is not only anti-human, it is profoundly anti-Nature.

And who will benefit? As Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the US Federal
Communications Commission, is keen to point out, there is big money to be
made in the 5G rollout and, in his words, “that’s damn important”.

The masses certainly won’t benefit. Dr Martin Pall, a Washington State
University professor of biochemistry and medicine, thinks that the health
impacts will start to appear relatively quickly with a 5G rollout.6 Cancer is
already the biggest killer of children and likely to increase with greater
exposure to telecom radiation. The DNA damage we all risk could be
irreversible. And Nature certainly won’t benefit, as more birds and bees
disappear, and trees die back. It is rumoured that birds dropped dead out of
the sky in Coventry in October 2019 when 5G was switched on there.7 We
have already lost 55% of our pollinators in British uplands since 1980 8 – an
unlikely area for spraying but somewhere with phone masts etc.

Is it time for us all to wake up, rise up like King Tirian and the rest of Narnia
and prepare for ‘The Last Battle’ before it is too late? We need to assert our
humanity and our democratic rights to question:

• Why is there no consultation? Why does government want to take
away permitted development rights so that Local Authorities have no
control over the deployment of 5G? Why are Councils not allowed to
discuss the health impacts of 5G?
• Why is government relying on ICNIRP for its safety guidelines when
ICNIRP takes no account of the latest scientific research on dangers?
And in particular, no account taken of the research published in 2018
by the US National Toxicology Program showing a clear link between
mobile phones and cancer?9
• Why is the person responsible for advising Public Health England on
safe radiation levels an electronics engineer with no medical training?
• Why has the re-insurance industry, Swiss Re and Lloyds of London,
refused to underwrite the risks of this new technology? What do they
know and government know that we aren’t allowed to know?
• Why is this technology being forced upon us?

What kind of future can we expect if we continue to allow the massacre of
trees, and we the masses cannot live in harmony with Nature? What is the
point of life if there is no life?

Julian Rose ‘Overcoming the Robotic Mind: Why Humanity Must Come
Through’, June 2019 (available on Amazon)


About the author:
Lucy Wyatt is an independent researcher and writer. Born in Cambridge UK,
she has an MA from Sussex University in European Studies. Her work career
included time as an editor for stockbrokers in the City of London. After 10
years of research, she published her book ‘Approaching Chaos – could an
ancient archetype save C21st civilisation?’ in January 2010 (Amazon) in which
she explored how the ancients knew how to live in comfort and in harmony
with the Earth, providing us with a blueprint. Lucy is co-organiser of
alternative knowledge events, most recently Electric Universe UK in
conjunction with the USA’s Thunderbolts Project™. She now lives in a rural
part of the South West of the UK and has two grownup daughters.

independent Ramazzini Institute


3 Dr McGrath [see below]
4 Alistair McGrath,
University of Oxford, July 2018 lecture ‘The Transformation of Humanity – or
the Abolition of Man? C. S. Lewis and the Transhumanism Debate’
m=cellphone. The NTP’s findings were also replicated by the Italian

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