Grimes gave birth to Musk's demonic vision, not simply his child.
Everyone knows the old saying: “Behind every technocrat is a transhumanist sorceress.” Nothing lasts forever, though, except the immortal soul and silicon.
In the tradition of celebrity lovebirds, Elon Musk just announced he’s splitting with the techno-pagan pop star Grimes (or “c”, or “War Nymph,” or whatever she’s calling herself these days). But the world’s richest man assured gossip writers they’re still on good terms. After all, Musk and Grimes have their son X Æ A-Xii to raise. Some say he has his father’s eyes.
For the consumer class, celebrity technocrats are exalted as idols. Even after their nasty separation, Bill and Melinda Gates are adored as heroic philanthropists. On a spiritual level, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan represent a postmodern fusion of Western Judaism and Eastern Buddhism.
As cultural icons, Musk and Grimes blend his tech expertise with her dark transhumanist vision. Grimes’s pop fantasies—deeply rooted in futurism and the occult—are being realized alongside Musk’s innovations.
In the same way that rock n’ roll foretold America’s current chemical dependency and loose sexual norms, rave culture is a herald of fashionable technocracy.
Kneeling to the Highest Power
Even as a casual techno fan, I never paid attention to Grimes until a wise right-wing blogger noticed her 2018 single “We Appreciate Power.” The catchy, if intensely irritating track is a hymn to a super-conscious Computer God. The lyrics portray humanity living in a virtual simulation, ruled over by divinized artificial intelligence—to whom every knee shall bend. The sappy bridge is about uploading the mind to achieve digital immortality.
Biology is superficial
Intelligence is artificial
The song may be the most annoying sound anyone’s made since Billy Idol recorded “Neuromancer” in 1993. But hearing Grimes pray to AI on YouTube—with over 23 million views and counting—it seems like a significant cultural moment.
Maybe it’s her romantic connection to Elon Musk—the tycoon who plans to sell Neuralink brain implants for cognitive enhancement and populate cities with scrawny robot slaves—a man who advocates universal basic income while praising China as a “global leader in digitalization.” Or maybe the starlet is unsettling on her own merits.
Celebrities do all sorts of weird things, but Grimes takes it to future shock levels. She claims to have eliminated blue light from her vision “through an experimental surgery that removes the top film of [her] eyeball and replaces it with an orange ultra-flex polymer...as a means to cure seasonal depression.” The singer says she gobbles a handful of supplements every day to amp up her mitochondria. “From that point,” she told her 2.1 million Instagram fans, “I spend 2-4 hours in my deprivation tank, this allows me to ‘astro-glide’ to other dimensions—past, present, and future.”
Her stories may be as preposterous as Musk’s fully autonomous Tesla, but in both cases, it’s the symbolism that counts. As every parent or schoolteacher knows, a primary instinct behind cultural evolution is “monkey see, monkey do.” Role models replicate from the top down.
In 2020, Grimes released Miss Anthropocene, “a concept album about the anthropomorphic Goddess of Climate Change: A psychedelic, space-dwelling demon/beauty-Queen who relishes the end of the world.” As a foil to this deity, Grimes created a bald baby avatar—dubbed War Nymph—to inhabit our new age of social media and virtual reality.
“Everyone is living two lives,” she told The Face, “their digital life and their offline life." She added,
The avatar allows us to play to the strengths of digital existence rather than be a human trying to navigate a world that isn’t made for us. ... We also wanted to develop a new species that would be ready for the next evolution in media. Something that can transport our identities to worlds that simply can’t exist in reality. ... I’m also pregnant.”
She went on to describe something that resembles a personal philosophy.
The existence of consciousness seems like God to me. Maybe we’ve been looking outside ourselves for an answer, but perhaps we are the answer. ... Or maybe we’re in a simulation that is more purposeful, being run by someone with a plan. As I get deeper, I become less skeptical of intelligent design.”
Typical of flaky pop stars, Grimes is both inspired and totally incoherent. Given that freedom, she offers a window into the scattered mentality of our cultural elite. Last year on Earth Day, her War Nymph avatar declared, “A capitalist-socialist technocracy would be ideal. Strong safety net, compensation for motherhood. leadership [sic] via ethical tech like lab grown meat (cruelty free)”
Earlier this year, she hopped on TikTok to convince her commie pals that “AI is the fastest path to communism” because it could “automate all the farming, weed out systematic corruption, and thereby bring us as close as possible to genuine equality.”
To her credit, Grimes may have been the only star to wear a mask at this year’s MET Gala—albeit a flashy cyborg mask—perhaps in solidarity with the faceless servants who cowered before the nakedface celebs. Or maybe it was just about germaphobe fashion, like the bloody PPE masks worn by fallen angels in her prescient 2016 video for “Kill V. Maim.”
Dance Parties in the Age of the Child
Grimes is hardly a lone voice. Transhumanist aesthetics pervade today’s pop culture. You see it in Lil Nas X’s “Panini” as the gay performer and his robot gang cyber-stalk a young woman through a holographic cityscape. You see it in the K-pop band Aespa’s battle against the evil “Black Mamba”—um, their parents?—who blocks the girls from uniting with their digital twins. You see it in the work of Grimes’s collaborator, Brooke Candy, whose opulent stage persona is a cyborg stripper.
Techno-fetishism has even slithered onto main stage. The fact that Lady Gaga was chosen to sing the national anthem at Joe Biden’s inauguration has deep symbolic significance. The pop superstar, who puts the “trans” in transhumanism, also openly avows the occultist Marina Abramović as her spiritual mentor. By pure coincidence, on Easter of 2020 we saw Microsoft launch their HoloLens 2 ad featuring Abramović’s augmented reality exhibit “The Life.”
“There is always this great ideal of immortality.,” Abramović said of her digital twin, “Once you die, the work of art will never die. … Here, I am kept forever.”
The marriage of tech culture to the occult goes back more than a century. It is implied in the apocalyptic themes of Karel Čapek’s 1921 play Rossum’s Universal Robots and made explicit in the robotic seductress created for Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis.
Artists like Grimes are simply absorbing and amplifying these older cultural forms. It may sound like bubblegum to older listeners, but when pop stars sing, the next generation is listening.
When I look away from my laptop and watch the birds flit around the Douglas firs outside, none of this seems real. Then a Californian will call and tell me about autonomous Teslas humming down the freeway. Or a friend working in tech will alert me to new advances in artificial intelligence.
As I pore over the avalanche of literature on brain-computer interfacing, virtual reality, nanorobotics, and the ongoing neurological impact of digital media, I have no doubt these techno-pop stars are right about what’s coming down the pike. Art is usually two steps ahead of history.
The human race is facing a civilizational transformation. We are witnessing the “fusion of the physical, digital, and biological worlds.” How many of us are prepared to confront that reality?
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