We have already mentioned the Uroboros and the Uroboric Drive or Will on numerous occasions in these blog entries and it is an important concept for us. In our article “Ecology as Ideology and the Uroboric Drive” we stated:
“A vicious circle is already unravelling itself, only to take hold of its own tail again in order to swallow itself. But perhaps this most ancient image of the Uroboros, the tail-swallowing serpent, is the final revelation: that our drives are magnetic ones, folding us back toward the Uroboric state of an autarchic relationship with the world which is the perpetual result, if only in a perverted way, of any attempts to revaluate or reinvent our circumstances. Capitalism’s final end is to become a Uroboros, even if this is not its conscious eschatology. The System, whatever form it has, is manipulated subconsciously towards the Uroboric, autarchic paradise which we lost so long ago. But while for capitalism the Uroboric autarchy is a Utopian dream that can only end in a complete annihilation of the tail swallowing serpent, the ecological Uroboros has to be imagined perfectly intact and healthy.
The Uroboric drive is in Eros as much as in Thanatos. It is the ultimate unity, representing where we have come from – the autarchy of the foetus in the womb – and where we are going – our final conversion into dust or gas. At either end of the unity the condition is an ecological one. A return to the Uroboric state of being is the Being of the Great Mother, the planet Earth. As an Eros-driven force, our will to freedom is an autarchic will, as is our will for love; our sex drive; our will for community and our desire for isolation; our will to communicate; our creative drives; our willingness to share; and also our need to be protective and cautious. The essence of all of this is in autarchy.”[i]
We think Hegel was describing this Uroboric Will when he described the Spirit as “that which has being in itself,”[ii] or “that which relates itself to itself and is determinate,”[iii] or “it is other-being and being-for-itself and in this determinateness, or in its self-externality, abides within itself; or in other words, it is in and for itself.”[iv]
But this Uroboric nature of Hegel’s Spirit is only one side of its total substance. It must also be “the knowledge of the spiritual, and the knowledge of itself as Spirit, i.e. it must be an object to itself… a sublated object, reflected into itself.”[v] Which means, in our terms, it must be in possession of an intelligence.
A need for intelligence is, in the Uroboric universe, an instinctive drive, coming from an instinct for Being and a sense of the most necessary potential. Even though the matter being driven is blind, deaf and senseless. The Uroboric Universe wants to be perceived and known, even though it has no idea that it does. Nature wants to know, but does not know that it wants it.
It has to be blind and ignorant, if not there would be much more intelligent life in the Universe. If the Universe were driven consciously by a conscious Creator, there would have to be more success stories; more stars with inhabitable planets. Likewise, if Consciousness has existed from the beginning, then there is no pressing need for intelligence. That is the narrative of most religions: humanity is not at all necessary. In fact most of the time, despite Christ’s attempt to fill us with hope and self-esteem, we are a despicable species in the eyes of God, a failed mutation of something which should have been much better. But none of this makes any sense if the Creation was planned from the outset.
So, there is no Creator, there is no God, but… there is most certainly a purposefulness in the Universe.
Our cosmologists tell us that the Universe is finely tuned and that it has to be tuned exactly this way in order for life to be even feasible. In a numerical sense we are positioned in the centre of the Universe, between the ultimate macrocosm at 1025 and the microcosm at 10-25, in a centre that we have to be in.[vi]This anthropocentricism is not an anti-nature one of human dominance and superiority. But it does imply purpose. We are here for a reason, and that reason has been determined, not by a God, but by the Universe. It implies a partnership, the partnership between the Object of Reality and the Subject that can perceive that reality, and make reality Being. It is a partnership between Sapiens creatures that know that they know things, and the Universe that allows a space for these knowing creatures to know It.
The fine tuning of the Cosmological Constant[vii] is so precise it could hardly have been accidental. But this does not mean that the fine tuning needed a Creator. Science does not need to embrace God on this issue, and nor should it – the idea of the Absolute has been a nihilistic, anti-life pessimism that has flagellated humanity for millennia. We know from thousands of years of experiences that the Idea of God does not make us better human beings, and that in fact it has been responsible for some of the darkest periods of history and some of the most violent, cruel acts that mankind has committed. If God exists, we’d do better just let It be and ignore all the power-driven dogmas that have been born out of the idea of the One.
[ii] Hegel, PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, Preface, §25)
[vi] SEE Martin Rees JUST SIX NUMBERS (THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE), Perseus, 2000, pp. 6 + 7 )