This review first appeared on Transhumanity in 2002. Transhumanity was the late lamented magazine of the World Transhumanist Association (now Humanity+). I was editor of Transhumanity at the time.
“The World, the Flesh, and the Devil” (WFD), a transhumanist classic, is available online at the URL given below . I have known this for some time but until now I had never taken the time to read the book in full. What stimulated me to do so was realizing that it is quoted as a seminal reference in two books that I am reading again: Olaf Stapledon’s “Star Maker” (a SF classic), and Frank Tipler’s “The Physics of Immortality”. Both these authors state that WFD marked the beginning of the line of thought that culminated in their own work. WFD is subtitled “An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul”: our rational soul can progress toward a better future by overcoming limitations associated with the physical world, human physiology (the Flesh), and human psychology (the Devil). Continue reading John D. Bernal’s The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, a transhumanist classic