Did you know that within the novel, Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s primary goal was “The raising of ghosts or devils…the spirits that I had invoked to aid me…the spirits of the dead hovered round and instigated me”?
The recent movie Transcendence is one in a long line of tales that begins with abiogenesis (life from nonliving matter) and progresses to transhumanism, thus spanning human history from a presumed beginning to a techno-eschaton (a technologically brought about end times/last days; end of the world as we know it).
Of such tales, very many movies, books, comics, cartoons and other media formats could be mentioned. As is detailed in the video Transcendence, Lawnmower Man, Frankenstein, Metropolis & Kabbalah's golem (found here and attached to this article), previous to 2014 AD’s Transcendence another notable movie is 1992 AD’s Lawnmower Man, we can then jump to 1927 AD’s Metropolis, then back to 1818 AD’s Frankenstein. Along such lines we can also note Charles Darwin’s 1859 AD’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life and to various points in history to the Kabbalah.
Some basic info on Kabbalah is that it was within the 13th century AD Kabbalah was elucidated. This refers to Rabbinic Judaism’s mystical magick (Rabbinic Judaism which began in Babylon and not biblical Judaism).
Rabbi Isaac Saggi Nehor (aka Isaac the Blind 1160-1235 AD) is, generally, though to have authored the first work of classic Kabbalah titled Sefer ha Bahir / The Book of Brightness.
Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha Kohen (aka Isaac Alfasi and Rif, from Rabbi Isaac al Fasi, 1013-1103 AD) is, generally, though to have authored The Treatise on the Left Emanation.
These texts, along with some written by Rabbi Jacob, brother of ha Kohen / al Fasi are thought to have influenced Rabbi Moses de Leon who wrote the Kabbalistic classic, Sefer ha Zohar / The Book of Splendor or Radiance. This text is credited, likely in order to attempt to borrow authoritative status, to Talmudic sage Shimon bar Yochai.
The relevance of the Kabbalah to the tale of Frankenstein is the concept of the golem. The claim is that via certain rituals, a Kabbalist could shape the basic humanoid form out of earth and bring it to life. The golem was a basic automaton that merely followed orders, very literally. It was basically an organic computer as it functioned on the basis of garbage in, garbage out.
This is in a manner of speaking as the point is well related in a classic tale about a Rabbi who sent his golem to go fishing. Some time passed and the golem had not retuned so the Rabbi sent someone to tell the golem to come back home. At hearing the command, the golem stood up, threw the basket full of fish in the river and returned home. You see, he was not told to bring the fish back home with him but merely, literally, to (solely, or so the golem took it) to come back home.
The concept of the golem is, of course, one of exhibiting God-like abilities as the tale is based on the Genesis record of YHVH creating Adam from the earth (although YHVH imbued Adam with a volitional mind and a soul).
The relevance to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is that while his primary work On the Origin of Species dealt with assertions about how one species supposedly changes into another; evolution has expanded and encompassed the concept of abiogenesis which is a secular form of raising a golem with the elements of the Earth forming themselves into living matter.
As noted above, such a concept has manifested within various fictional tales as wells as magickal and scientific endeavors—and combinations of magick and science such as the tranhuman / post-human / H+ movement (about which you can learn more here including, specifically, the article Transhuman golem).
Let us consider a few points of interest within the book “Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley. Firstly, note that Victor Frankenstein, the scientist (as the creature is not given a name and is thus known in pop-culture as “Frankenstein’s monster”) is also thought of as The Modern Prometheus. Prometheus is viewed as a hero by some, a villain by others (and as the one who “saved humanity” within the TV show Supernatural).
We have written much on Prometheus as per the links below but succinctly stated; Prometheus acted again Zeus’s will. Thus, he is often likened to the satan figure who rebelled against YHVH.
There are various versions of the Prometheus myth (as detailed in the Prometheus unhinged article) but the basics of that which this figure did is that he stole fire from the god and gave it to humanity. This is so that humans could mine and process copper, iron, silver and gold, he also taught writing (grammata) “mother of the muses, memory of all.” So what is wrong with that? Firstly, the point of the story is rebellion against Zeus/god and the appealing dangling carrot hung before humans so that they would accept the benefits of the technology even whilst partaking in rebelling against the false god/Zeus.
Also, in similar tales, such as within the apocryphal 1 Enoch such technologies lead destruction. Also, when we consider a Prometheus parallel myth from Egypt we find that Theuth seeks to benefit humanity by rebelling against an authority. He seeks to bequeath writing and tries to talk Egyptian king Thamus into allowing it because writing will, or so he claims, writing will improve the human ability of memory.
For his part, Thamus unleashed a world class smack down upon Theuth which states:
You who are the father of letters have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory…You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom.
Now, let us get to the Frankenstein / Prometheus book and simply note that Dr. Frankenstein is being described as one who rebels again YHVH in seeking to “be as God” (as stated by satan in Genesis 3:5) by taking His place in creating life.
The 1818 AD edition for Frankenstein has the following quotation from Paradise Lost on the title page which is very relevant within our article’s and the book’s context:
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
Within the section of the book titled Letter 4 it describes the creature as:
…a being which had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature…
Dr. Frankenstein refers to the creature, his creation, as “the demon,” “vampire,” “Devil,” “the arch-fiend,” “my fiendish enemy,” “the daemon” and “cursed and hellish monster” (within Letter 4, Chap 7, Chap 10, Chap 16 & Chap 24).
For his part, the creature states that since Victor created him, he should be Victor’s “Adam” but since Victor hates him, “I am rather the fallen angel” and also states, “Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition” (Chap 10 & Chap 15).
In Chap 2 Dr. Frankenstein notes how his first field of study was occult magickal:
The raising of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded by my favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my incantations were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own inexperience and mistake than to a want of skill or fidelity in my instructors.
Thus, his early goal was to raise ghosts or devils.
Chap 3 has Victor stating “alchymists as the principal authors I had studied” and this lead him to study chemistry (as, or so it seems, a scientific manner whereby to fill the gaps in his inexperience so as to accomplish raising ghosts or devils).
In Chap 4 Victor states:
I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed? It was a bold question, and one which has ever been considered as a mystery; yet with how many things are we upon the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries.
I revolved these circumstances in my mind, and determined thenceforth to apply myself more particularly to those branches of natural philosophy which relate to physiology. Unless I had been animated by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my application to this study would have been irksome, and almost intolerable. To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death. I became acquainted with the science of, anatomy: but this was not sufficient; I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human body.
He progressed to the point that:
I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter…I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.
So, not only does he seek to understand whence comes life but seeks animate “lifeless matter” and, as specifically noted, “animate the lifeless clay” (exactly as within the Golem tales) and finally, to review life to the dead.
He also makes a quintessential wannabe God statement:
A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.
He also make a very Eastern mysticism statement:
A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind, and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquility.
In Chap 7 he notes:
I considered the being whom I had cast among mankind…my own vampire, my own spirit let loose from the grave, and forced to destroy all that was dear to me…A being whom I myself had formed, and endued with life…my creation.
In Chap 10 the creature states of and to Dr. Frankenstein, “my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature” because Frankenstein rejected him instantly and was glad when shortly after his having come into life (by the way, within the book the moment of his coming to life is very unremarkable. No “It’s alive, alive!” but Frankenstein merely notes that it is stormy and then the creature’s yellow eyes opened).
The creature then states:
Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it. Remember, thou hast made me more powerful than thyself; my height is superior to thine; my joints more supple. But I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king, if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest me…
Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? they spurn and hate me…
Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.
Within Chap 15 the creature make even more biblical references:
Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect. He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with, and acquire knowledge from, beings of a superior nature: but I was wretched, helpless, and alone. Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me…
“Hateful day when I received life!” I exclaimed in agony. “Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred”…
no Eve soothed my sorrows, nor shared my thoughts; I was alone.
Chap 22 makes reference to the biblical story of the fall into sin via the eating of that which the Bible calls a, generic, fruit but which the novel calls an apple. Also, within the Bible Cherubs were stationed so as to keep Adam and Even out of the Garden but in the novel it is an angel:
…the apple was already eaten, and the angel's arm bared to drive me from all hope..
Chap 24 has Victor finding himself in a cemetery, the occult references will be emphasized for emphasis:
The spirits of the departed seemed to flit around and to cast a shadow, which was felt but not seen…
“By the sacred earth on which I kneel, by the shades that wander near me, by the deep and eternal grief that I feel, I swear; and by thee, O Night, and the spirits that preside over thee, to pursue the daemon who caused this misery until he or I shall perish in mortal conflict.
For this purpose I will preserve my life: to execute this dear revenge will I again behold the sun and tread the green herbage of earth, which otherwise should vanish from my eyes for ever. And I call on you, spirits of the dead; and on you, wandering ministers of vengeance, to aid and conduct me in my work. Let the cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony; let him feel the despair that now torments me.”…
a spirit of good followed and directed my steps…The fare was, indeed, coarse, such as the peasants of the country ate; but I will not doubt that it was set there by the spirits that I had invoked to aid me…The spirits that guarded me…my guiding spirit…the spirits of the dead hovered round and instigated me to toil and revenge…the spirits who assist my vengeance will endow me with sufficient strength…
Sometimes, indeed, he left marks in writing on the barks of the trees, or cut in stone, that guided me and instigated my fury…[such as] “…if you follow not too tardily, a dead hare; eat and be refreshed. Come on, my enemy; we have yet to wrestle for our lives…”
“When younger,” said he [Frankenstein], “I believed myself destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound; but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements. This sentiment of the worth of my nature supported me when others would have been oppressed; for I deemed it criminal to throw away in useless grief those talents that might be useful to my fellow-creatures.
When I reflected on the work I had completed, no less a one than the creation of a sensitive and rational animal, I could not rank myself with the herd of common projectors. But this thought, which supported me in the commencement of my career, now serves only to plunge me lower in the dust. All my speculations and hopes are as nothing; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence [again, satan is a Cherub, not an Angel or Archangel], I am chained in an eternal hell.
My imagination was vivid, yet my powers of analysis and application were intense; by the union of these qualities I conceived the idea and executed the creation of a man. Even now I cannot recollect without passion my reveries while the work was incomplete. I trod heaven in my thoughts, now exulting in my powers, now burning with the idea of their effects. From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk! Oh! my friend, if you had known me as I once was you would not recognise me in this state of degradation. Despondency rarely visited my heart; a high destiny seemed to bear me on until I fell, never, never again to rise.”
A man who befriended Dr. Frankenstein shortly before his death noted the following about Victor:
when in dreams he holds converse with his friends and derives from that communion consolation for his miseries or excitements to his vengeance, they are not the creations of his fancy, but the beings themselves who visit him from the regions of a remote world. This faith gives a solemnity to his reveries that render them to me almost as imposing and interesting as truth…
The creature also speaking within this chapter:
When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it is even so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone…
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