The Magus of Silicon Valley: Ray Kurzweil’s Transhumanism as Contemporary Esotericism
By Egil Asprem
The main protagonist of this paper does not appear on your list of usual suspects in discussions about Western esotericism. Raymond Kurzweil (b. 1948) is an American engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur who has founded a dozen companies and has about a fifty patents to his name. His original claim to fame was as developer of the first text-to-speech reading machines for the blind, in the 1970s. Appropriate for the theme of this conference, Kurzweilis also in the health food business: the company “Ray and Terry’s Longevity Products” specializes in food supplements that promise to increase lifespan. To those here who are musicians, Kurzweil is perhaps best known as the inventor of the Kurzweil synthesizer, which helped form the new sample-based sound of the 1980s.