The Metaphysics of Evolution

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How far back does natural selection go? Is it just a biological phenomenon or can we attribute natural selection to the creation of the biological itself? Could we even go so far as the first beginning? Was the Big Bang an act of natural selection?

If so, what choice did the sub-atomic-particle intuition behind the Big Bang have when it made that natural selection? Simply choosing between To be, or not to be would have been satisfactory enough to start something. This could have developed into an intuitive but unexpressed sub-atomic longing for Being or Becoming? – implying a choice between the forever static or the always changing – and may have evolved into the particle-affirmation of Becoming into Being Known – the Being which is loved: appreciated, understood and preserved. In other words, an intuition which longs for an evolution into a state of being that is capable of understanding and appreciating that its own existence is the reason for that existence and hence the reason behind everything that it does, which would be a full and purposeful kind of existentialism (intuited at a sub-atomic level of course – despite the profound philosophical consequences of these suggestions, we are envisaging primitive decisions being made here in the same way that primitive DNA makes primitive decisions).

BUT HOW CAN THIS IDEA HELP US?

The inanimate singularity of the Universe, does not know what it does until what it does has succeeded in creating a Sapiens entity within it which is capable of interpreting what is going on. Only with the creation of Sapiens can intuitive forces become real by being known (because Sapiens entities are the only ones capable of knowing).

If this idea of a Sapiens partnership with the Universe were accepted as a truth, and became a purposeful interpretation of reality, then doors would be open for the history of humanity to radically change from an anti-human process to an authentically human historical process, because it would be the first time that human history and human purpose would be projected in a truly omni-human way.

Ingrained in this simple, metaphysical idea, is that knowing is the essential purpose of all life.

Once a human (Sapiens) partnership with the Universe is accepted, it opens the possibility of a new kind of civilisation through the creation of an authentically-human, purposeful driven empire, fuelled by the universal purpose of Becoming into Being Known – i.e. into being loved; i.e. appreciated, understood and preserved.

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Some Tests: Macauley’s Trial

Some Tests

Wayne Macauley is one of Australia’s greatest ironists. He writes from within the great bubble of Australian society in order to reveal the soapiness of that bubble. Some Tests is Macauleyan irony in its purest form, and the soapiness is everywhere.

Some Tests is also Macauley’s most Kafkaesque work, a comparison which Macauley himself could not complain of, for Kafka runs thick through all his work since his adaptation of “The Hunger Artist” in the early 80s.

Some Tests is in fact a kind of mirroring of Kafka’s The Trial. His heroine, Beth Own, a nemesis of Joseph K.: Macauley changes the sex of the protagonist; the personality is inverted; K. is arrogant and pseudo-cynical, but Beth is polite and complacent; where K. struggles to resolve the procedure against him, Beth Own has a passive, existential acceptance of what is going forward. But the most disturbing thing (for Australians) about this comparison, is that Macauley makes his Kafkaesque style work just as well in the Melbourne suburbs as it does in Kafka’s Prague; and it makes just as much sense in 2017 as it did in 1915.

But how can that be? What similarities can there possibly be between Melbourne in 2017 and Prague in 1915?

Of course, the central theme – death – is universal. It is not an Australian question but the human condition that is under scrutiny here. Some Tests brings the death theme that is in The Trial right into the foreground. Kafka’s universe is grey whereas Some Tests is full of pastel-toned primary colours. There is always an arrogant tension in The Trial where everything seems utterly incomprehensible, and everyone appears hell-bent on making everything more difficult and complicated than it should be, but Some Tests is tuned with the sweetest, polite people, full of understanding and always helpful. Yes, things are moving in an illogical manner, and things do seem more complicated than it should be, but the Australian bubble is a very soapy place with as many illogical trials as Kafka’s universe, and that is what Macauley’s irony reveals.

Yet perhaps the greatest unifying element between The Trial and Some Tests, is the ubiquitous nihilism that permeates both suburban Melbourne and bureaucratic Prague. Both K. and Beth are looking for an explanation and both Kafka and Macauley know that such an explanation is impossible in a system that is deeply nihilistic.

Macauley is also focussing on society within the biopolitical world, as Foucault called it, in which the State controls not only our social life but takes possession of our control over our physical bodies as well. Of course, biopolitics wasn’t invented by Foucault, he just put a term to the phenomenon, and Kafka’s society suffered from the same malaise on different levels, but the idea of biopolitics is probably more unsettling in the so-called democratic world and the perfect societies like Melbourne’s suburbia.

In the sense of perfection, Some Tests turns Melbourne into a new set for Huxley’s Brave New World. Australia is the lucky country, think Australians, but there is something existentially wrong in the Utopia they live in. So wrong that the Utopia is really a Dystopia. The suburbs of Some Tests sits at Fukuyama’s The End of History and Beth Own is a personification of Nietzsche’s Last Men. Beth’s world is a polite and nice place to be in, but nothing else. Struggle is not really struggle anymore, for there is no authentic purpose behind the struggle, and that creates an existential vacuum that turns the paradise into a purgatory. Beth Own has a lovely family, but that is not enough. She is really biding her time until death comes. She might as well get it over and done with as quickly as possible. Within the nihilistic scenario, we have to think of Beth Own as happy with her fate.

ON THE STRUGGLES BETWEEN EMPIRES

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All successful attempts to resist Power have eventuated in a succumbing to Power under another guise. After resisting Darius and Xerxes the Greeks were swallowed up by the economic tyranny of Athens. That brought about armed resistance from Sparta, who were victorious in a very debilitated way until all Greece succumbed to Alexander. He marched them all off in ordered phalanxes through Asia … already we must ask, where is the freedom here? … Alexander’s empires were replaced by Rome, which transferred itself into a monotheistic power by adopting Christianity, inspiring a monotheistic-power reaction in Asia via Islam. This was resisted by crusaders wanting to expand the freedom of their markets to the silk spice routes, the provoked a counter-resistance by Islam, who tried to liberate themselves from Christian aggression by pushing into Christendom, which …

It’s the same song over and over again: and there is always the same call to defend one’s freedom. Freedom from the usurper or the invader. But the lesson to be learned from this, is that the liberation is always only ever won at the price of another subjugation.

Power has never been defeated, it has only changed its appearance. Call it tyranny, empire, monarchy, dictatorship, communism, democracy – it is all the same thing: Power.

LOVE, THE REAL & THE IDEAL

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I

Reality is out there, but first it must be brought into view. But what, or more correctly who, can carry out this viewing, if not some biological form blessed with the gift of perception. And what good is being perceived if that which has the power of perception is incapable of appreciating that reality and understanding it in a meaningful way.

The capacity for appreciating, and a desire for understanding derived from that appreciation, is a kind of energy unique to Sapiens species. It is the result of a creative evolutionary process, an evolution unto the power to know and be known, a process possessing such an energetic vitality that we think it is suitable to describe it as a kind of loving, the love to know things. It may well be the same power of transference that we often use the term ‘love’ for, for all kinds of love are desiring processes of trying to know, and wanting to be known. To know one must understand, and there is nothing more vital in the success of human relationships of any level of complexity, from couples to intricate societies, than that of understanding. However, the connections between love and understanding are often not made at all when the term is expressed, producing the many vague forms that the term is used for at all levels of life.

So, if (A) reality is that which has been perceived and the understandings that have been made from that perception; and (B) the perceiving-understanding element in the Universe is the Sapiens species; and if (C) this process of wanting to know is part of what we call love, then, we can affirm (X) that the Universe without Sapiens is a loveless place, but also (Y) that the Universe with Sapiens is a reality embedded with love.

Love (the desire for understanding), is, partly, a power of transference and partly the capacity to receive information in order to make a deciphering of that information received. Love, therefore, may be felt, and confused, emotionally, but its basis is fundamentally intellectual.

And if love comes basically from transference of information, then this is also the foundation of all physics. From quantum particles to the couple in love, unto the stars and galaxies, there is a constant and necessary transference of information going on.

Love is not only that which is desired, it is also that which is needed for reality to take place at all.

In evolutionary terms, from the microcosm to the macrocosm, the highest form of transference-evolution resides in the middle of the cosmological map – in life. And in the Sapiens entities that have evolved in life.

If appreciation and understanding are evolutionary high-points in the development of transference, then love is a result of becoming that is, we believe, still becoming; still developing.

II

The Sapiens relationship with the Universe, therefore, comes through love, and this is the highest form of relationship that exists in the evolving Universe.

This is not a mystical statement; its metaphysical conclusions have been drawn from our scientific perceptions of the cosmos and from evolutionary principles. Truth is in the real as we, the Sapiens, being that Real, with a capital R, into view. The Universe becomes and will continue to become as we unveil it by perceiving it. All meaningfulness is wrapped up in this process of becoming; all meaningfulness is contained in us. We are the centre of the cosmos. All real positivism is contained in this fact.

III

There is another quality involved in love and, as such, in the Sapiens’ relationship with the reality of the Universe, and that is the desire for preservation which in its ultimate form is a longing for the eternal. In this way we can see love in the form of a triad: APPRECIATION + UNDERSTANDING + PRESERVATION = LOVE.

Love triangle

 

SAPIENS CULTURE VERSUS THE HOMO-ECONOMICUS HERD

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With the devolutionary success of the Homo economicus, the herd virtues have also devolved into obsessions with what has been bought, or, what could be bought, or should be bought. Our herd virtues are stamped by brand names. Pride in the brands I wear and carry. Quality depends more on the label than the thing itself. Identity through association. The tribe of the club. Patriotism, the act of carrying the flag.

But while our civilisation is now that of the Homo economicus, we need to remind ourselves that this reality is just a fabrication. We don’t have to be here. In fact, the alternative to the Homo economicus could well be a return to our authentic nature, the Homo sapiens. An identity with Sapiens would actually be a revolution toward an authentic individualisation of culture and society and a liberation from our current herd mentalities. But a Sapiens individuality would not be the source of competition and rivalry that we see in the pseudo-individualism of the capitalist herd. rather it would be a rejoicing in human creativity and invention generated through the acquisition and utility of Sapiens’ knowledge gained and shared.

Under the herd instinct of the Homo economicus, the individual is reduced to, or exalted as, a model, a figure to follow and acclaim, but, above all, to model oneself upon. These models are often presented as examples of the herd’s own fantasies of freedom. As archetypes of success, the models are waved about like a carrot on a stick before the donkey’s mouth. Implicit is the idea that ‘one day, you could be like this too,’ and yet, at the same time, there is the notion that these models are the supremely privileged exceptions. As superstars, they are allowed to express their individuality freely, although this is also a great fallacy for the models are under continual scrutiny from the lenses of Paparazzi cameras.

For a Sapiens society, on the other hand, individualism would be seen as a creative gift that the society itself will benefit from. Sapiens society would have no fear of the individual and even the logical antithesis of the Sapiens’ rational-animal culture, irrationality, would not be feared but channelled into the much-admired field of creativity.

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However, individualism does carry moral values and, in a society that truly values individualism, the negative aspects will have to be controlled or rejected. Selfishness or haughtiness would be immoral in an authentically Sapiens culture. Sapiens is a natural trait of our species: knowledge is information and information implies sharing. Sharing, learning – building from contemplation. Not the contemplative life of the monastery-society, but a contemplation towards progress. Authentic history is an evolution of the entire universe – being is becoming and the mind of the Homo sapiens is an important part of that becoming, whereas the Homo economicus is an aberration, a step backward, a devolution of that process. To step forward again we need to re-establish authenticity … the authenticity of the Homo sapiens sapiens.

FAKE NEWS

When President Donald Trump brazenly whines about the Fake News of his media coverage he is unwittingly – as most of Trump’s disclosures are – proclaiming a very uncomfortable truth, i.e. the basis of all the news we receive is fundamentally fake. But that’s not what Trump is saying. He’s not proclaiming that all news in the media is false, only that which gives him a bad coverage.

On the HBO programme Real Time, comedian Bill Maher made the claim that viewers of Fox News (Trump’s favourite channel) when asked about Trump’s ties to Russia said they knew nothing about it, because, concluded Maher, on Fox News  they don’t talk about the Russia-gate enquiry; and as such, Fox’s news is fake by omission. On the other hand, Trump and his supporters, argue that the rest of the media use the same tactics of falsity through omission, by never talking about all the great and wonderful things his administration is doing to make America great again.

Both Trump and Bill Maher are right … and wrong. Falsity-through-omission is perpetrated by all the mainstream media outlets at all levels and, practically, all the time, and so they are right. But what neither trump nor Maher see is that the truly grave omissions in reporting are not the one’s spurred by ideological interests, but rather the great omissions concerning the structural organisation of our civilisation that ignore the root causes of all evils. Lack of systemic criticism and the complete absence of systemic culpability is where the Fake News really resides.

We live in a civilisation that preaches the virtues of competitiveness and successfulness. This is the motor of our lives and money is the oil-blood that keeps that machine working. From this point of view, when Trump stood up before the United Nations and told every member of those supposedly united countries that he was going to put America first and that every other leader should put their own country first, it was pure madness (how can we be united if we’re all competing against each other?) but it wasn’t hypocritical. Quite the opposite, Trump was proclaiming pure market-system ideology – compete and succeed, no matter what that the demands of that competitiveness are.

But the ideology that Trump so honestly adheres to, is also insane. Seen in the context of the United Nations and international diplomacy we immediately see the dangers behind it – such a doctrine leads to wars; and in the case at hand, a possible nuclear war.

Trump may or may not be criticised for making his honest claim, but what will never be criticised will be the system itself which Trump is just a loud symptom of.

And there are a lot more serious symptoms, not just Trump. Not only wars but all violence in societies stem from this structural emphasis on competition and success. Yet, when the media report this violence, there is never any attempt to put the blame where it stands, on the competitive market structure of the global economy world itself. Poverty is another result and poverty also intensifies violent conditions. But the media don’t report on that, or debate in their in-depth analyses on how the structure might be changed … and therein lies the great Fake News.

Crime in our civilisation is not an aberration in society, but an honestly determined expression of its values to be successful – no matter what – even if it means breaking the rules.

And, of course, there is our interminable problem of biodegradation that is also deeply embedded in the system itself. This is yet another manifestation of the violence perpetrated by competition and success. Of course, with the issue of climate change there is an awareness that things have to be done, but a great lack in reporting how the system of competition and success is incapable of making the adjustments that need to be made to halt the lethal degradation.

In a psychological sense, the media seems to be in a blind state of denial to the ugly truth. in order to clean the filthy pond we’re swimming in, we have to change the water – which means we have to stop swimming, get the water and filthy scum out of the pool, and find some clean water to swim in again. And that is a lot of hard work. Yes, Donald Trump himself promised to drain that swamp for us, but he is just making it murkier than ever, and, how could we expect a billionaire capitalist ever to clean up the neo-capitalist cess-pool?

The truth is: for humanity to succeed, we must clean out the competition and success and replace it with a new purpose based on the creative potentials of an authentic humanity that is allowed to be creative without carrying the burdens that competitiveness implies. We need a systemic revaluation, a vision of a different future, and … a revolution. That’s the real news.

OUR CLIMATE & COMFORT

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Superstorm Hurricane Irma

How much does our quality of life depend on the climate? How much of civilisation is the taming of climate, or the acclimatisation of our ‘civilised’ living areas? Part climatization, part sanitation … that which makes the cities ‘comfortable’ and for the masses to gravitate towards their ‘comfortable’ centres … What makes up the core of our lives is all a consequence of the process of gravitating towards comfort: the organisation of mobility and communication; the provision of security; and the chance to find work and the subsequent salary which will hopefully be generous enough to make life comfortable in the comfort-zone centre. For most people, civilisation = comfort. And real comfort depends on the acquiring of a good climate, or more correctly, the taming of climate through acclimatisation. So, we could declare from this that: civilisation = acclimatisation.

Yet, what price is paid for this climatization and sanitation? We now see only negative effects on climate itself that operate in a vicious circle that is spiralling civilisation into a rapidly spinning vortex that threatens to blow civilisation itself into the exact opposite of what it desires. The deeper our level of acclimatisation is, the greater is its effect on the deterioration of the climate. This deterioration creates more need for acclimatisation which creates more deterioration which makes more need for better acclimatisation …  until it all collapses.

in the struggle to be comfortable we make the world more inhospitable, until climate change takes on life-threatening proportions. Present scenarios are uncomfortable and the future promises to be more uncomfortable. Is this what we want? Of course it isn’t, and what is demonstrated by the lack of political or economic will to change this ridiculous cycle, demonstrates a) the levels of denial that societies are able to perpetuate; and b) the vicious cycles’ advantageousness for enterprises, especially the energy industries, that are making vast profits from the spiralling mechanism of climate degradation.

It is hard to fight the power that corporations wield, but that difficulty is augmented thousand-fold by the range of denial that is rife in society. We know what has to be done to preserve the comfortable in a sustainable way. We know what we want, and, to get what we want, we need to vocalise it loudly enough to change the hugely profit-making spiral of destructive-acclimatisation before it’s too late to ever be comfortable ever again.

Is there a balance point in a society of extremes?

Bejamin David Steele’s lucid call for a paradigm shift and a revolution of the mind. Compulsory reading …

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Many liberals in the United States have become or always were rather conservative in personality and/or ideology. This is an old complaint made by many further to the left, myself included.

Quite a few liberals maybe would have identified as conservatives at a different time or in a different society. The US political spectrum is shifted so far right that moderate conservatives appear as liberals and typically portray themselves as liberals, but even these moderate conservatives long to push society further right into neoliberal corporatism and neocon authoritarianism. That is how so much of the political left gets excluded from mainstream respectability and legitimacy for, in big biz media and plutocratic politics, even a moderate liberal gets portrayed as a radical.

But the other thing about our society is how reactionary it is, not merely right-wing in the way seen a century ago. This forces the entire political left into…

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THINKING

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That we all think: this is what unites us and separates us. We all think – we are the same. But, how we think and what we think about – that is what separates us. However, while we are thinking, we are human; and when we stop thinking and act on instinct or by muddled logic, we are not acting in a completely human way.

The quality of humanity depends on the quality of our thinking.

Can we imagine, therefore, a quality of life based on quality of thought? For example: this place is good because it is conducive to clear thinking; that job is bad, for it does not allow us time to think; this other activity is good because it clears the muddled mind and opens spaces to think deeply in again. In such a quality-of-thought world, we would look for, and create, climates that are conducive to thinking; design cities that help us think.

The leaders of such a society would be chosen according to their merits as capable and clear thinkers who develop other thinkers and create a thoughtful society via their own thoughts. If we as a species are the animals that know; the homo sapiens; because we think; then having a world leader who makes decisions without thinking them through, is an absurdity. That this occurs, is a perversion of humanity that demonstrates that our present human condition is an anti-sapiens one, and, therefore anti-human. Humanity can only be rediscovered and societies can only become human again by thinking clearly about what we are and where we are going.

Thinking is an active way out of the decadent cycle of the simulacra culture in which we are immersed.[1]

How many of our best thoughts do we ourselves strangle or, at best, keep tightly locked away. Now, it’s time to let our good thoughts breathe, driven by human purposiveness itself rooted in thinking. It’s time to make thinking synonymous with an affirmation of the human and a negation of the anti-human.

What do you think?

[1] See our previous article DECADENCE AND STAGNATION: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/decadence-stagnation/

Decadence & Stagnation

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Decadence: when things are just too good and easy that no one bothers to push forward anymore, bringing about stagnation

But there is also another kind of stagnation: one which comes about because there just isn’t enough time to go forward; when all time is taken up with something that is essentially futile when considered from the point of view of the bigger picture. Like making money. Even the seemingly dynamic world of business, if it is dedicated only to business and not to authentically meaningful human progress (things associated with knowledge and discovery), it is essentially stagnating. Any society that is a simulacra society, hell-bent on reproducing copies rather than on developing its creativity, is a decadent, stagnating society. We are stagnant not because of what we are doing, our anthill society is always busy, but because what we are driven by, in all this anthill activity, is not creative. When production is synonymous with reproduction, then we know we have fallen into the stagnant pool of decadence.

Nietzsche talked about the residual nature of decadence[1]. That decadence is a cumulative thing. Certainly, it is nurtured both by dogma and nihilism. Only a sceptical meaningfulness can push forward in a creative way.

Sceptical meaningfulness? How can such a thing be? Surely it is a contradiction in terms.

To understand how this oxymoron combination can work, we need to see meaningfulness as a forward pushing phenomenon. Once it stops pushing forward, meaningfulness slips into dogma. Meaning is fuelled by truth, but it does not swim in truth as if truth were a lake. Truth, in order to be lasting, has to be a river.

The meanings we discover have to be like the discoveries of science. Science declares things as truths only as long as it takes for new realities to be revealed under the surface of those once-truthful things. Truth therefore is an accumulative thing, although it accumulates by stripping away at the surfaces of reality. This is the onion-nature of reality that science must always continually peel away at. Reality is just another thin surface layer that can, and must, be stripped off if we are to make headways with truth.

“Decadence has gained predominance in our value judgements,” said Nietzsche[2]. There is decadence in everything cyclical. In this way, Nietzsche’s own Eternal Return is essentially a decadent concept, for there is decadence in every complete simulacra and copy.

To get another perspective, let’s consider Nike’s famous advertising slogan “Just Do It”. This statement is also a propagation of decadence, because it incites a spirit of pure, thoughtless action. Of course Nike sells trainers, shoes for sportsmen and women, but what this statement proclaims reveals the price society must pay for the sporting culture. For sporting-culture concepts drill deep into the fabric of the civilisation that promotes them. Decadence through mechanics; through the repetition of all exercises and games. The match, and all its essential repetitiveness (in whatever sport — matches are always basically the same game) as the desired repetition; that which we are waiting for; longing to experience just once again; over and over again. Despite all its analyses, which are always trivial, empty statements and clichéd observations, to explain the binary sporting condition of win or lose; despite these attempts to enrich something which has no depth at all – sport remains the cyclical emblem of all decadent, simulacra, Sisyphus souls. The mechanical life needs a mechanical pleasure: how could we expect the brain-dead worker to stomach anything that could challenge him or her intellectually?

Whether the participation is passive or active, the result is the same: the mechanisation of society in a decadent, cyclical rhythm that goes nowhere; that is never thought out; that we just do it.

[1] Nietzsche, Will To Power, #39

[2] Ibid