Superman Myth: The Destiny of Man and the Creation of God
The phrase"Manifest Destiny" refers to the doctrine, widely taught in the United States in the Nineteenth Century, that the United States' destiny was to sweep across the continent, subduing the indigenous people, characterized as savages. In the wake of this great cleansing, the land was to be surveyed and parceled out to homesteaders. The U.S. had this destiny because the European settlers were thought to be superior, both in culture and intelligence, to the people who were being displaced. Manifest Destiny thus legitimized the project of colonizing the continent and exterminating those who lived on it prior to the colonization.
Colonization of the Universe
The Superman myth incorporates the doctrine of manifest destiny, widening its application to the human race and its territory to the solar system and universe. Several futurists in the early Twentieth Century made comments to this effect. For instance, J. B. S. Haldane argued that "Man" must survive and colonize the solar system, begining with Venus:
The third projectile to arrive [on Venus] included bacteria . . . Ten thousand years of laboratory work had gone to their making. With their aid the previous life on that planet was destroyed, and it became available for the use of man and the sixty terrestrial species which he had brought with him. (J. B. S. Haldane, “The Last Judgment,” Possible Worlds, 1927, p. 304).
Olaf Stapledon made similar comments in Last and First Men: “There was nothing for it, then, but to attack Venus.”
On the other hand, either the migration to Venus must go forward, or humanity must be destroyed; for it seemed quite certain by now that the moon would fall, and at no very distant date. And though man's understanding of the Venerians was so incomplete, what he did know of them strongly suggested that they were definitely inferior to himself in mental range. The judgment might, of course, be mistaken; the Venerians might after all be so superior to man that man could not get an inkling of their superiority. But this argument would apply equally to jelly-fish and micro-organisms. Judgment had to be passed according to the evidence available. So far as man could judge at all in the matter, he was definitely the higher type.
It was hoped, of course, that in colonizing Venus mankind would be able to accommodate itself without seriously interfering with the native population. But this proved impossible. (Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men, 1930, http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601101h.html)
Yet another prediction along the same lines is J. D. Bernal's statement: "Sooner or later this pressure [falling asteroidal and metoric matter], or perhaps the imminent failure of the sun, would force some more adventurous colony to set out beyond the bounds of the solar system" (The World, The Flesh & The Devil, 27). Or, as he says a page later, "Man will not ultimately be content to be parasitic on the stars but will invade them and organize them for his own purposes" (28).
Creation of God
One view of how we are to move across the bridge of humanity to arrive at Superhumanity predicts that colonization of the universe will eventually produce God. Whereas Manifest Destiny teaches that the conquerer has divine approval and authority, in the Superman version of destiny there is no longer anyone bestowing dispensations. Instead nature, having now produced Mind in Man, may now be dispensed with as we take control of our own evolution and push Mind into a higher life form, the Superman.
Even though God is no longer a part of the story’s beginning, God does emerge at the end of the myth. That occurs when Mind finally penetrates all matter in the universe. When all material is caught up into consciousness, then the universe awakens—it becomes a pantheistic god.involves our cooperation with the spiritual force that has worked through evolution up to this time, but to take a more active role.
This was the view of Henri Bergson, who said, "[L]ife appears in its entirety as an immense wave which, starting from a centre, spreads outwards. . . at one single point the obstacle has been forced, the impulsion has passed freely. It is this freedom that the human form registers. Everywhere but in man, consciousness has had to come to a stand; in man alone it has kept on its way. Man, then, continues the vital movement indefinitely, although he does not draw along with him all that life carries in itself" (Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution, 1911, 266).
Olaf Stapledon picked up on Bergson's life force theory dramatizing it in his two science fiction novels, Last and First Men and Star Maker. In the first, he predicts a time when humans, having awakened to a group mind, realize they compose the "Soul of All."
The Soul of All is a pantheistic view of human destiny. We merge all consciousness and awaken the universe as our garment. In Star Maker, Stapledon extends the reach of the group mind even further. The narrator, who gives testimony to his experience as humanity evolves into fullness, says, ". . . my experience as the cosmical mind actually comprised eternity within it, and that within eternity there lay a multiplicity of temporal sequences wholly distinct from one another" (167). This "eternal and infinite spirit" he names the Star Maker, who, "as an eternal and absolute spirit, timelessly contemplated all his works" (167). This is an emergent creator. "Again and again . . . the Star Maker learned from his creature, and thereby outgrew his creature, and craved to work upon an ampler plan" (168).
Thus, Stapledon envisions humanity evolving into a super mind that becomes a pantheistic god, the "Soul of All," in Last and First Men and a deistic god,the "Star Maker," in Star Maker. This second version of the emergent god is a God produced by Henri Bergson's Life Force, which awakens into self-knowledge near the end of time, but then, no longer being bound by time, governs the creative process by which he was produced. He is a deistic god who sets the process of emergent evolution in motion, but he is also capable of interfering in his creation: ". . . the Star Maker, once he had ordained the basic principles of a cosmos and created its initial state, was content to watch the issue; but sometimes he chose to interfere, either by infringing the natural laws that he himself had ordained, or by introducing new emergent formative principles, or by influencing the minds of the creatures by direct revelation" (173).
So then, according to the Superman Myth, "Man" has a glorious destiny that will unfold over millions of years as he first learns to control his environment, his physiology, and his psychology. Having taken control of his own evolution, Man will eventually colonize the solar system and then the universe, evolving all the while until the myriad of individuals enter into a group mind that grows in experience and knowledge, eventually awakening into complete self-awareness as the soul of the university and into a deistic creator as the Star Maker.