This one was sent to me by my co-author in Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, Dr. Scott D. de Hart, and it made me think even more just how prophetic Percy (not Mary) Shelley's 1818 Frankenstein really is:

3D-Printed Human Embryonic Stem Cells Created for First Time

One really doesn't know where to begin here. Dr. de Hart and I wrote at some length in Tranhumanism, and I have commented here on this website often enough, about the DARPA-esque combinations of emerging technologies. We are familiar, of course, with the implication that each emerging technology  - genetic engineering, nanotechnology, robotics, information processing - is on its own and independently driving human progress at ever more geometrical rates. But it is when these technologies are used in various combinations with each other, that the vistas become truly breathtaking, both in the good, and bad, potentials. Here is a case in point: the combination of 3-D printing with genetic engineering, and an implied Frankensteinian implication - we are tempted to call it a "temptational imperative" - indicated by the following paragraph:

"Biomedical engineer Utkan Demirci, of Harvard University Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, has done pioneering work in printing cells, and thinks the new study is taking it in an exciting direction. 'This technology could be really good for high-throughput drug testing,' Demirci told LiveScience. 'One can build mini-tissues from the bottom up, using a repeatable, reliable method, he said. Building whole organs is the long-term goal', Demirci said, though he cautioned that it 'may be quite far from where we are today.'

"Others have created printers for other types of cells. Demirci and colleagues made one that printed embryonic stem cells from mice. Others have printed a kind of human stem cells from connective tissues, which aren't able to develop into as many cell types as embryonic stem cells. The current study is the first to print embryonic stem cells from humans, researchers report in the Feb. 5 issue of the journal Biofabrication."

Permit me to take a moment and record my reaction to these paragraphs. I must confess, I sat for some time in a rather stunned silence, particularly at the very last word in the above citations: "biofabrication." Erasmus Darwin. Percy Shelley. Viktor Frankenstein pouring over his manuscripts and studying alchemy. Biofabrication... not just a word, but an actual scientific journal!

And lest we be in any doubt: "Building whole organs is the long-term goal." But I suspect that here the good Dr. Demirci is being a bit disingenuous: if one can build whole organs - and not, pace Viktor Frankenstein, slinking about laboratories and morgues looking for "leftovers" - then why indeed not whole bodies? After all, that is determined, so to speak, by the kind of biological "context" in which they develop:

"In a lab dish, hESCs can be placed in a solution that contains the biological cues that tell the cells to develop into specific tissue types, a process called differentiation."

The same cells with the same information, developing differently depending on contextual biological clues... indeed, a kind of new alchemy, with "biofabrication" the new, jazzed-up DARPA-esque word for a very old alchemical idea: the homunculus, developed in a flask of all things, with - if one reads the texts a certain way - its own bio-contextual clues.The pattern seems, by now, all too familiar: the basic ideas have been around for a very very long time. The technological particulars - the filling in of the details - comes with time and technological advancement. But the memes themselves, the very basic kernel concepts, seem to be, in this case at least, unchanged, leaving us to wonder, once again, at the genius - or lack thereof - of the ancients, and what they might have known. And leaving us to wonder again, at Shelley, reading those same manuscripts, and prophesying of a future that is now unfolding before our very eyes.

See you on the flip side.




Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. bdw000 on February 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    There is a . . . definitional . . . . problem here.

    They say they are printing LIVE cells here. But what exactly do they MEAN by “LIVE” cells???

    Personally, I doubt that their “cells” are truly replicas of real, human cells (not that I can claim knowledge here).

    I mean, a single cell is still INCREDIBLY complex, and three-dimensional. I don’t see how they can really build a machine that can just “spit out” whatever living cells you want. Again, I claim no knowledge.

    But if the article’s language is indeed correct, this would have to be as revolutionary as you can get medically. For instance, if AIDS patients just need a few T-lymphocytes of a certain kind, just print ’em up a bunch and inject ’em. Think of how many other diseases could be taken care of this way.

    Personally, if this is true, I would have to suspect that there is some VERY advanced technolgy behind it, technology way beyond what is being revealed.

  2. marcos toledo on February 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    If this is offial science what the black projects up to as Mr.Farrell implies. One can only make us shake in fear what they are up to knowing how recklees they are. The stuff of our worst nightmares made all too real.

  3. Robert Barricklow on February 9, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Just finished watching Tim Burton’s Frankenweenies. It is a great artistic piece representing just this kind of story.
    A young Frankenstein finds the secret of bringing back the dead(his dog). Other kids, wanting to win the BIG science fair prize, begin experimenting with the stolen knowledge. All kinds of monsters ensue, from said experiments, and turn on the town in the mist of celebratious festival.
    The speed to which these “discoveries” came to life was exponentially terrifying.

    • Yaj on February 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

      There’s no great secrete of life in this Harvard research, at least if the Yahoo News piece is correct.

      Whereas fictional movies are closer to the truth, if not the exact tech and applications of said tech.

  4. Yaj on February 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Darn I thought that these various researchers had managed to print living cells out of ostensibly inanimate matter, but no they’re starting with already living cells.

    Sure this process sounds like it could help with say advanced skin grafting, but official academic science profoundly misunderstands life, and can really only measure end results not first causes, so this process isn’t going to go real far real soon.

    Now it’s very very possible that a much better version of this tech could have already been developed in the very black world, a world which uses an understanding of ORMUS, Rife, Reich, Elmer P Nemes, et al and most certainly would concur with the statement: A vital force animates matter and also provides a source for some of the now mystically existent forces in public science, eg source of charge for an electron, gravity, etc. This science could possible induce a creature’s body to recreate stem cells which could then possibly heal (rebuild) many injuries and expunge illness. Even then that’s a far cry from quickly printing a living creature with four limbs, perhaps growing one, as in various scifi movies, would be possible. But that’s a different science than what Harvard researches.

    So this Harvard and Edinburgh work will go on but it won’t meet with a lot of success, it will work about as well as those studies which use a virus (itself a problematic idea which may only exist dried out and viewed by an electron microscope) to inject genes (a simplistic catchall) into the cells of an already living being. These attempts have mostly failed to improve the health of lab rats and er human test subjects.

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