A debut book offers radical predictions about the evolution of the human race and its future home.
According to Bhatia, allergies have been increasing for decades, rising to the level of a worldwide epidemic. Some of this is attributable to environmental causes—pollution, climate change, and the migration spawned by globalization. There are causes internal to the body as well, including the unprecedented consumption of processed and genetically modified food. But a deeper way to understand the onslaught of allergies, avers Bhatia, is as an “evolutionary mechanism,” a lever when pulled that pushes humanity to a more advanced plane of existence. As the Earth becomes increasingly uninhabitable, humans will be compelled to relocate to more hospitable environments, catalyzing an incremental but ultimately massive move to space. And a combination of sociobiological and technological innovations will also make it likely that humans will be able to rewrite their DNA, willfully participating in the next successive stages of their evolution. The ultimate goal is not the progressive enhancement of the body in adaptation to its physical context—“a never-ending loop” of transition—but rather the diminishment of the human reliance on the body in the first place. The author refers to this result as the “conscious singularity,” something akin to enlightenment or the unity of all human consciousness. In this way, humanity’s evolutionary destiny dovetails with a religious understanding of superior spirituality, delivered with far greater efficiency and speed than could be achieved through meditation or devotional practice. The author’s thesis is tantalizingly bold, and while it draws on multidisciplinary sources, remarkably original. And while Bhatia’s professional background is in finance technology, his command of the relevant scientific material is laudable. This is a very brief work—well under 100 pages—and so the argument he presents is necessarily condensed, and the pressure of abridgement makes it impossible for him to furnish a fully detailed and convincing case. In particular, the nature of conscious singularity remains vague, more poetically than empirically described. Nonetheless, this is a captivating contribution to an important discussion.
An intriguing, if all too brief, consideration of human evolution.