Becoming and Purposiveness

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Ours is a nihilistic world: What our civilisation lacks and needs is a common, human purpose. But purposiveness only makes sense when combined with the process of becoming. The purpose is not found in what is, but rather meaningfulness is rooted in the act of becoming; or, in other words, in making real that which will come to be. Becoming is a natural purposiveness, embedded in the evolutionary nature of things. Counter-purposiveness is, therefore, located in the static and the contrary idea that the good lies in the actual state of what is.

Nevertheless, if we consider evolution from the standpoint of the evolution of ideas, it is immediately clear how important to becoming is the idea of learning. Progress has to be a building on that which came before. Memory is essential and preservation is a necessary agent for facilitating memory on a vast cultural scale. The static is a counter-purposive state, but preservation is not. Quite the contrary, preservation is replete with purpose, and in fact it gives fuel to purposeful being.  

Opposed to the positive element of preservation then, we have the negative counter-purpose of eradication.

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By observing evolutionary processes, we see how becoming is embedded in the biological nature of organisms. Likewise, if we look at the cosmological evolution of the Universe through the mathematical prism of Cosmological Fine Tuning, then we also see a process of purposive becoming take place. In both cases, there is a continual insistence on trial and error and the learning that occurs through it. If the Rare Earth scenario is correct, then, in cosmological terms, the complexity of creating life through trial and error is immense, and the probabilities of success, even in the great enormity of this Universe, are miniscule. Despite this, a steady process of becoming has been able to produce an organism capable of understanding the amazing complexity involved in the process of its own evolution, and this has to be regarded as an incredible achievement born from the natural, reflexive process of becoming itself.

Whether there was, from the beginning, a natural purposiveness in this or not; whether evolution is an accidental process or not – authentic, universal purposiveness can be derived from observation of the process and, whether this is an anthropocentric perception or not, the moral implications still hold true. Once becoming is recognised as the moral nature of things, then a moral path forward is opened for us. The past is only significant in terms of what needs to be learned in order to go forward. There is no purpose in the past except what it tells us about where we have come from and, hence, what becoming is.

The requirements of the moral laws of purposiveness derive their inspiration, not from the past or the creator, but from the future. If the essence is becoming, then humanity and all human cultures must ask themselves what we can become. Or even: What must we become? Morality needs to be orientated towards the future: Always.

Nothing is written: The moral law is part of becoming and must always be adjusted to future looking purposiveness.

Moral laws can never, therefore, be inviolable. Quite the contrary: We should expect them to evolve. Evolution is essential in becoming, and the role of preservation is needed for the learning to be able to push progress forward.

Of course becoming and progress also make demands on us, but true purposiveness is a liberating kind of duty, with a heavy enough anchor to keep the dynamic process from exploding into anarchy.  

1 thought on “Becoming and Purposiveness

  1. Pingback: The sublime in art and self-actualization | shakemyheadhollow

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