Globalisation and Humanity

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The global economy can only be possible if it rejects the national and embraces the human. To be truly global, it cannot be driven by Americans or Chinese, it has to be the work of humanity. In reality the nation state should already be a thing of the past, but, while the global economy has evolved rapidly and with enormous energy, the political globalisation of the world has stagnated or even regressed into separatisms rather than unifications.

Globalisation is, in fact, a great dilemma for a capitalism which has traditionally bred the segregation of nations and peoples in order to create the conflicts necessary for the kind of dynamic markets it loves the most. In fact, segregation is so embedded in the identity of capitalism that globalisation-through-capitalism itself becomes one great paradox and sounds like an oxymoron.

Of course globalisation-through-capitalism doesn’t really exist because while we know that a process of globalisation through capitalism is going on, we also know that in order to ever complete this process the world will have to become politically-one, in harmony with itself, and this scenario is anathema to capitalism.

So, the question arises concerning capitalism’s real desires for the globalisation process: How global can we really get in the eyes of capitalism?

Capitalism nurtures itself on rivalry – but: What kind of rivalry does it prefer?

To answer this question, we first have to consider how rivalry can be measured qualitatively. Perhaps it could be measured according to levels of complexity: the rivalry in Lebanon is not the same as the rivalry for the State of California. Lebanon is far more complex, as is all of the Middle East, compared to the U.S.A. When economists and politicians talk about needs for regional stability, they are expressing a desire to lessen the complexity of rivalries in certain regions. Paradoxically, this simplification, as understood by liberal capitalism, demands a totalitarian organisation that must be implemented by invasive war.

The question of the relationship between capitalism and war is a thorny one for capitalism; so thorny in fact that it should have been reason enough to look for an alternative to the system. It never has been, but that does no mean that the thorniness has gone away.

In order to grow, capitalism needs to open up new markets and expand its geographical roads. It also needs access to cheap new materials and regions where labour costs are lower as well. On a common-sense level, no one should want war, but underlying that common-sense there is another pragmatic field that knows there is a profit in war, and there is certainly profit in conflict. Investment in the military is a major business interest for large corporations – and not necessarily only for those that manufacture arms. Our contemporary conflicts generate inflation and create substantial profits.

Neo-liberalism might argue that peace is necessary in order to secure free trade and allow for the unfettered flow of capital, but, when they say this, we need to ask what are the consequences of the rivalry involved in the liberation of markets. Conflict is created through exploitation and the fermenting of inequalities and poverty that are an essential part of the fuel that drives the great engine of capitalism and its rivalry-driven economies. So, it is hypocritical for the capitalist to say it desires peace, for a capitalist-peace is a beehive of humming rivalry and implicit in the noise is an element of dissidence.

So, does capitalism need war to maintain its momentum? Probably not, in the short-term; probably yes, in the long-term. It is hard to envisage a capitalist-motivated universal peace movement, precisely because capitalism would have to change too many of its traditional practices in order to ensure such a peace … It is this essential need for war that makes capitalism profoundly incapable of driving the globalisation process.

In the world today, Power-as-Wealth resides in the dominant, capitalist corporations. If war does guarantee substantial profits and promises an increase in inflation then, especially in times of low-inflation or deflation, the companies may find themselves praying for a war just as, centuries ago, farmers prayed for rain. But, the difference in that analogy is that war can be manufactured whereas rain was beyond the farmer’s control. In short, war will constantly be a temptation whilst Power-as-Wealth resides as the pilot and chief-architect of the structure of our System. And wars need States to wage them.

A real globalisation that would absorb States is, therefore, by no means an objective of capitalism, simply because it is not, and never will be, an objective of the corporations wielding power. A real, global, human, stateless panorama would be useless for corporations because they would lose the pieces they need to move around the board; pieces which allow them to keep the game going.

As pieces of a game, the Nation States are not truly held in any authentically patriotic way by the corporate system, they are merely the pieces of the game that make it possible to play. The nationalist pride that is so prevalent around the world today is really one great farce. While our politicians espouse the virtues of patriotism, especially if a war or an election campaign is coming, the real allegiance in the capitalist-driven system is always a corporate one. Since the 1980s, the real value of wages has declined, whilst capital-gains have skyrocketed.

No, capitalism cannot be expected to be a driving force in globalisation, and with the pressing needs of the climate emergency and the urgency of global solutions to solve it, capitalism is equally powerless to act there.

Our Emperor is capitalism, and it is standing naked before us. We need to find a political force that can find global solutions to the existential crisis we are drowning in, and that force must come out of humanity itself. Humanity needs globalisation, and globalisation needs humanity to drive it.

A proper globalisation, political as well as economic, would be not just a political leap forward for humanity, it would also be a profoundly spiritual jump, allowing humanity to be properly born as a concept, allowing for the unleashing of the enormous creative and innovative powers of a human, Sapiens collective. In fact, the leap created by the authentic unification of humanity may be regarded as a transhuman one, whilst in fact it will merely be the liberation of what we really are, the first step for humanity to reach its home, the global world of humanity.

 

Final Aim

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God or no God, the ultimate aim for humanity can only be determined cosmologically.

This statement is as true as: “we must all die.” In order to overcome nihilism, we need to find a positive relationship between cosmological problems and the problem of finding a value and purpose for life.

The idea of a fine-tuned universe[i] offers a first step to the elaboration of a philosophical method capable of offering a value and purpose for sapiens entities. In a determined universe, fine-tuned by the self-same cosmos to create conscious biological entities, advanced, sapiens life-forms assume an integral and even necessary function for the universe. From a universal perspective, consciousness is an essential ingredient, lacking at first, and so created out of necessity by the non-sentient universe so that it can perceive itself.

If God does exist, we must imagine It to be blind.

The most thorny problem is the concept of will or determination in the universe. If fine-tuning exists, how can it come about accidentally?

To leap beyond this conundrum, cosmologists have come up with the idea of the multiverse[ii], or the idea that an infinite number of universes have to exist in order to make our precision-made, godless universe possible. In a dynamic infinity, everything is not only possible, it is logically necessary.

The multiverse is an attempt to justify fine-tuning without the presence of any hand of a Creator, but for us, the multiverse idea is equally troublesome because it immediately drops us once again into nihilism and thwarts our attempts to find a value and purpose for life through the cosmological nature of things. For us, the determining hand of the blind, cosmological creator is found quite simply in the evolutionary process of the universe, and in its sub-atomic nature, which is based on information sharing[iii]. Particles share information and learn. Nature is self-learning. As Vlatko Vedral says: “information is capable of explaining itself,” [iv] and this idea mitigates the need to find a Creator. In the beginning there was information, and that information has evolved into the vast expanse of the universe we know today, which is an incredibly intricate mass of information and communication. Physics orders itself into what we perceive to be laws.

Seen in this way, sub-atomic physics becomes a kind of epistemology. If the essence of everything is information, then the study of that essence is a science of knowledge, or a science of the essence of knowledge – which has to be information.

Sapiens entities, like humanity, are not only made up of information, as everything in the universe is, we are also capable of understanding that information, even of modifying it – and it in these capacities of comprehension and modification that makes us not only a desired result of the universe of information’s evolution, but we are also a valuable, perhaps even absolutely necessary tool, for the modification of the universe. Our understanding of the laws of physics tells us that the universe is destined to die. But what if an extremely advanced sapiens civilisation were capable of changing the nature of the universe itself, much as we on Earth have shaped our own environments through technology: could that be the Final Aim of the evolving universe? Could it be to create its own salvation?

If so, this gives us our own great value and purpose of life: Not to save ourselves, but to be the saviours of the entire universe.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_universe

[ii] https://youtu.be/bf7BXwVeyWw

[iii] See Vedral: Everything is Information https://youtu.be/QfQ2r0zvyoA

[iv] Ibid

Knowledge as a Moral Imperative

Knowledge-Philosophy

Where does society stand before knowledge? The State may have a ministry of science and education, but how often will the term knowledge come up in a political campaign or a parliamentary debate? Knowledge, and especially the consciousness of our knowledge, is a defining element of our species, and yet it seems we have forgotten that. However, because of this marriage between knowledge and the human, when we overlook the importance of knowledge, we are also taking our humanity for granted and run the risk of being less human, or even something that is no longer human at all.

Of course knowledge needs science, and it needs to be precise and have universal validity. Nevertheless, within all truth there is buried a paradoxical element, and knowledge must not allow that paradoxical nature of truth obscure it. But likewise, and paradoxically likewise, it must investigate the paradoxical, because it is the paradoxical in truth that allows knowledge to avoid dogma. For this reason, it must be constantly on its guard against the traps of scepticism and relativisms that lead to nihilisms.

Knowledge for human beings is a moral imperative. The primary clauses of any democratic constitution should remark on the assurances the State will make to encourage the search and acquisition of knowledge, as well as the guarantee of the distribution of knowledge and the promotion of its accessibility in the society.

At the same time, societies should be sceptical about the monopolising of knowledge, either by the state itself or by the media monopolies created by the marketplace. In this respect, information needs to be regulated via the concept of knowledge and protected by precision and universal validity, in order to defend citizens against ideological relativisms and misinformation. Censorship is an enemy of knowledge, except when it is used to censor misinformation and nonsense.

Knowledge needs science, but it also needs philosophy. It is through philosophy that all human activity is raised to consciousness, which also allows the discovery of universal validity that is embedded in science as well as the discovery of the great driving force of authentic purposiveness. Society needs morality to hold it together, and philosophy offers a quality control in the design and understanding of moralities. Education is a distribution of facts, but it is also an infusion of morality that is best imparted from the philosophical standpoint of discovery through questioning and the channelling of knowledge and experience into well-being.

As for the psychological paradoxes that grow into and undermine the façades of well-being and the impossible quest for happiness that has to be dealt with whenever welfare states are created, philosophy is the best investigator in the complex field of paradoxes and universality of masks and lies.

Philosophy, and knowledge through it, is a constantly progressive force that, striving to know, discovers through that striving that there is always so much more to know. This is one of philosophy’s many self-contained paradoxes and the value of not giving in to the constant dismay these paradoxes first produce. Discovering the beauty of them, though persistence, is the primary task of a positively progressive attitude to philosophy.

The Death of the Novel

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In his book of essays, The Art of the Novel, Milan Kundera discusses the death of that particular art form. Such a death, he argues, is brought about when the novel removes itself from history, as in the literature of the Soviet Union where novels could only confirm the official line of things and by doing so remain entrenched in the status quo. For Kundera, therefore, the spirit of the novel depends upon its historical position, a place that allows it to reveal the human condition to us from beneath the mind-numbing effects of the actual. Novels are, Kundera says, “part of a process which is the conquest of being,” participating in a “succession of discoveries” that are related to the historical process itself.

The idea of the historical process as a succession of discoveries that unfold and enrich humanity, is a humanistic perspective, and literature, and the novel, are without a doubt art forms driven by humanity-enriching purposes. Nevertheless, in our own analyses of the historical process, we have seen that history has never been a humanity-enriching progression. In fact, what we have discovered is that historical evolution has taken humanity further and further away from itself into the segregating tribalism of the national state or religious sects. History has been a process of dividing humanity instead of developing its potentials through unity. For this reason, we talk about the anti-human historical process – but if history is anti-human, what does that tell us about the novel’s role in that development? And, if we agree that our historical process needs to be redesigned in order to eliminate its anti-humanism and make it authentically human for once, what should the novel’s role in that revolution be?

In the first place, however, Kundera’s perception of the nexus between the novel and the historical process is a limited one. He is right to point out the way the novel’s evolution has reflected social changes, but he is mistaken in seeing that reflection as the means itself when the real nexus is the analysis of what it sees, and, through that analysis, its power of being critical.

What dictatorial censorship, like the Soviet one, must do is castrate the novel by chopping out its ability to criticise. Made impotent in its critical faculty, the novel is thereby rendered useless. Kundera’s argument, therefore, is that chopping in any form, even by well-intentioned capitalist editors, is potentially deadly for the novel itself. But a very dangerous question arises here: Is criticism only possible, therefore, because the anti-human historical process is so humanly flawed?

If this is so, then we have to ask ourselves if a truly-human process of progressive history would eliminate the need for criticism, which in turn would create a debilitating process for the mind akin to those created by dictatorship?

Or, in other words: Is the novel important to us only because the System (civilisation) we are immersed in is so defective?

We believe that Kundera, from his experience with Stalinism, would agree that it would. However, beginning an authentic-human historical process is not the same as completing the historical process, which was the purpose of communism.

By understanding the creative forces of humanity in a positive, universal way, guided by art, science and technology rather than ideology and religion, would be far more transformative than the evolutions and incomplete revolutions that have so far been produced by any anti-historical processes we have.

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Rather than dying, the novel would be in the front line of this pro-humanity transformation: both as an analyser and a critique of the new process. The novel, therefore, will not die with authentic-human history, rather its current moribund prestige will be rekindled and rejuvenated as wider appreciation will be made of its essential role in human (Sapiens) evolution.

Kundera admits in his book that the novel itself could have had a different history. He points to the different callings that the novel makes: The call to play (Tristan Shandy and Jacques the Fatalist); the call to dream (Kafka); the call to think (Musil and Broch); the call of time (Proust). There are other calls: the call to freedom (Joyce’s Ulysses); the call for justice (Zola, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy).

But the novel, like humanity has been more fettered than liberated by the anti-human historical process and our novelists now need to imagine new callings that can transcend the anti-human and embrace the calling toward an authentic Sapiens humanity. Yes, an evolution toward human authenticism, centring  history as a process of human-progress, would imagine more callings as the abstract and conditional perspectives of individuals are opened up. One of the major victories that humanity would gain through an authentic-human historical evolution would be the liberation of minds beyond the actual and into the abstract and conditional realms of the potential.

Where Kundera is most definitely right and acute in his book, is when he speaks of the Spirit of the Novel, and that Spirit needs to be analysed and continually vindicated in opposition to the spirit of the market-place or the spirit of selling books. Novels are meant to be written, published and read: and this implies distribution and/or accessibility, but it does not imply sales. A novel’s success has to be measured by how much pleasure it has produced by doing what novels do best, which is … to stimulate the mind. But even here we need to be careful of over-simplifying success: A novel that can stimulate the minds of millions might be considered more successful than another which only managed to reach a handful of readers, but the quantitative degree of that success is no real reflection of the qualitative importance of the two books. A book that is never read may be qualitatively far superior than another that is consumed by billions. We see here the importance of accessibility and distribution: a great, human civilisation would be geared towards ensuring the accessibility of quality. An authentically human ethics would have to always prioritise the production of quality above quantity in art.

Kundera says that “the spirit of the novel is the spirit of complexity,” a spirit which is also antithetical to the reductionist spirit of the market-place and its demands for simplicity.

Biblioteca-de-Babel-Erik-Desmazieres

Authentic History vs Anti-history

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We are immersed in an anti-historical process that is unintelligible, incalculable and impersonal. To embrace all these terms, we can use the concept of, as Marx did, alienation.

In order to mitigate the effects of its own alienation, the anti-historical process has created identity-forming ideologies like nationalism and religion to operate as a nexus between the alienated individual, humanity, and the anti-historical process.

An authentically historical process, on the other hand, would be geared towards human progress through humanity itself. The process would therefore be personal because it represents what we all are and cannot help not being, i.e., human. It will also therefore be more intelligible and because of that more calculable and consistent. In a world designed for the well-being and progress of humanity concepts like freedom and justice become less ambiguous.

When one knows why we are doing things, satisfaction and happiness through purposefulness and meaning are much easier to find and the authentic historical path forward for us is revealed.

Harold Skimpole: Art, Time & Money

 

Harold Skimpole is a character from Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House”. He is described as being innocent, like a child who knows nothing of time or money.

From this description we could conclude that Dickens is saying that time and money have eaten up our innocence. Dickens was writing at a time when the Industrial Revolution was pushing capitalism to its full potential and carving a new world-order designed to produce unlimited wealth on the one hand, and abject poverty on the other. A revolution that has endured centuries and continues to steam-roller forward through our own innocence-starved lives. But now, the concept of time-and-money has taken away far more than just our innocence: it has robbed us of our freedom, and, most especially, of our humanity.

In Bleak House, Skimpole has the airs of an artist: an amateur artist; a pure artist. Art, in its pure form, is always a gift – and we can see an association between the pure artist and innocence, because anyone who gives freely must be either innocent or mad. And yes, there is also an association between innocence, the simpleton, and madness. But art, as a gift, is the antithesis of capitalist ideology, because a gift is, in its essence, outside the economy and beyond the realms of time and money.

An authentically human system cannot ignore true art, and a truly human economy would have to understand the incompatibility between art (that which must be given) and the false-necessities created by the ubiquitous presence of money. A truly human economy, therefore, should be designed in a way that allows art to be created in a space beyond time and money, or, in other words, outside the money system itself.

 

PROPOSITION A:

The existence of art has to challenge the ubiquitous nature of the money system.

 

When Skimpole says: “… go after glory, holiness, commerce, trade, any object you prefer; only – let Harold Skimpole live!” in effect Dickens is saying that the capitalists can build society anyway they want. However, the world they are building stifles Skimpole, and if Skimpole is a symbol of the artist, then Dickens is saying that the time-and-money system is choking art.

But Skimpole is a survivor, who has still not been swallowed up by the System. Somehow he manages to maintain his autonomy, perhaps because “he still had claims too, which were the general business of the community and must not be slighted,” or because he is anti-materialistic himself: “I covet nothing”; or because: “I feel as if you ought to be grateful to me for giving you the opportunity of engaging the luxury of generosity. I know you like it … I may have come into the world expressly for the purpose of increasing your stock of happiness.” Forget your worldliness and play with me, he says, which is what any pure artist would say as well.

Art is the gift of escape, but it is also the gift of progress-through-creativity, and because of that it is not only a gift it is a fundamental feature of humanity whose essence is to become through a continual process of becoming. Only through art can humanity ever really conceive itself to be progressing freely. Art is an essential ingredient in any definition of freedom. And, as Skimpole asserts: “the base word money should never be breathed near it!”

Skimpole can only exist in the time-and-money system by being a charlatan, and as a charlatan he is unscrupulous at ensuring his survival. But Dickens is also blaming the system for Skimpole’s unscrupulousness. Skimpole has no choice, just as art or any artist has no choice. In order to survive in this world, everyone needs money, artist or not. Skimpole uses his charms to maintain his independence from the System, but the System is still there and he is still inside it. He is an impossible man, but in his absurdity resides something that the world that makes him absurd also needs: His creativity.

In the eyes of capitalism, Skimpole is a parasite, just as all artists are who cannot justify themselves in the world of the free market are parasites. But let us remember that some parasites achieve greatness as well: those who, doomed to be amateur nobodies in their poverty-stricken lives, became superstars after their death. A most poignant example is Van Gogh, whose work now brings in millions and yet he never sold a painting in his life. Likewise, Dostoevsky was a struggling unfortunate; as was Beckett.

Art in the civilised world now seems to be the heading the same way as the nomad. There is no space for the real artist in the free-money-market world. And, like any nomadic society, the artist will be forced to eventually conform to the system or perish.

Of course, the irony of this, is that art is one of the defining features in the identity of the civilised world against the barbarian. By reducing the artist to the level of the parasite, civilisation reveals a triumph of barbarism within its own walls. It has its pinacothecas and museums, but these only display its own hypocritical attitude toward the artist, who, like Skimpole, is only a parasite until proven otherwise.

Nihilism & the Irrational

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Nihilism (which is derived through rationality) and the relativism it creates (which is also rational) paradoxically opens up an enormous space for the irrational. The relativism inherent in nihilism that declares that everything is possible, therefore authorizing any opinion from a subjective point of view, is also stating that the irrational is valid as well, and while this opens doors for creative thinking it also drags the nihilist standpoint down into an abysmal hole where rationality drowns in relativity.

This is important because we exist in fundamentally nihilistic societies that seem on the surface to be driven by rationality, but are in fact deeply irrational. Nationalism, for example, is absurd if considered from the logic of human reason because all nationalism segregate humanity and national pride is an anti-humanist concept. Nevertheless, nationalisms, and their supposedly more benevolent sisters that are called patriotisms, have thrived in the modern, nihilistic world, despite the horrors that these concepts have procured (just think of wars and ethnic cleansings). Likewise, in the very midst of our contemporary world, we see a resurgence of logically absurd religious sentiment everywhere. While we applaud the technological advances of our civilisation, we also give credence to the mythological fantasies promoted by religious groups who still wield enormous power in our societies. As such, we live in a heterotopia: the world we think we live in, does not really exist at all.

Relativism, of course, is a synonym of scepticism that operates in reverse gear, taking the sceptical idea that everything is questionable, it turns it on its head and says that all things are just as questionable as each other and this, therefore gives them the same degree of validity: ergo, everything is valid.

So, from nothing is valid, we now get everything is valid, and this makes everyone happy in the feeling of freedom they have in order to be as irrational and carry out any illogical or down-right stupid act they feel like.

Yes, we still have the System to save us from anarchy, and the System can always use the extremisms of the logically absurd groups it associates with to enforce controls that would be impossible in a truly rational society rooted in holistic purposes and the central idea of humanity rather than floating aimlessly in an ocean of nihilism.

The Abstract and the Conditional versus the Casserole of Duties

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All human activity and progress has come from our ability to conceptualise reality abstractly and conditionally. The future is not built on dreams, but on the idea of what is possible; of what we could do if …

Nevertheless, despite all the conditional possibilities thrown at us every day in a civilisation driven by publicity campaigns, contemporary society offers little room to let our minds wander into the now dangerous realm of the abstract.

The contemporary human condition is full of the obligations of the here and now: family responsibilities; work obligations; needs to find work; to buy; to pay one’s debts. Obligations that have their own spaces, but which seep into the other spaces, constantly mixing and creating a thick stew of obligations. And it is this casserole of duties that we come to call the System. A thick-stew system that gives us less and less space in which to look for the abstract and conditional.

In the casserole of duties, life is enclosed in the actual. Whenever gaps appear, they are quickly plugged by consumer needs or the indoctrinations of the games used by the System to divert thoughts that may start to wander, fixing them by immersing them in the actuality of the game, so that when the current match finishes the arrival of the next great sporting event is already immanent.

Everything is designed to promote the here-and-now and inhibit the conditional, and, by so doing, foster the real and the factual, extinguishing our thoughts until we are left empty of possibilities and full of the actual.

The modern man and woman is full of the System, and the irony is that our very social complexity in the System alienates us from our humanity.

While we are full of the System, we have no room to progress as humans; no room to discover our vital, creative potential within the future potentials of all imagined conditionals.

Erlebnis & Thumos

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THUMOS (Homer): “There is no general consciousness in the Iliad … The thumos, which later comes to mean something like emotional soul, is simply motion or agitation. When a man stops moving, the thumos leaves his limbs. But it is also somehow like an organ itself, for when Glaucus prays to Apollo to alleviate his pain and to give him strength to help his friend Sarpedon, Apollo hears his prayer and ‘casts strength through his thumos’ (Iliad, 16:529). The thumos can tell a man to eat, drink or fight … Achilles will fight ‘when the thumos in his chest tells him to and a god rouses him.’ (9:702f) But it is not really an organ and not always localised …” [1]

 

ERLEBNIS (Dilthey): “… any cognitive, affective or conative act or attitude which is conscious, but distinguished from the object to which it is directed, and not itself the object of any other act or attitude. Erlebnis are too intimate to be focal. We do not know, feel or will them; we know, feel and will through them.”[2]

 

Whilst reading Dilthey’s idea of Erlebnis, I could not help but be reminded of the Greek idea of Thumos. On the surface they seem completely different concepts: Thumos is an inspiring agent whilst Erlebnis is a vehicle through which our inspiration is made possible (but fundamentally, that could be the same thing). Erlebnis is experience itself, whereas Thumos is a motivating force, yet Dilthey says that we know, feel and will through these experiences, and that is what gives Erlebnis the feeling of ThumosErlebnis is also a motivator.

Homer places thumos like an organ in our body, and makes it a kind of receiver, through which the gods are able to stimulate and move us to action, or turn us off at their will, and the god Apollo uses Achilles like a toy in this manner.

But what is Apollo? Does Erlebnis describe what the Greeks believed was an intervention between the gods and mortals?

The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy describes Erlebnis as immediate experience: “(it) denotes experience in all its direct immediacy and lived fullness,” and should be contrasted with Ehrfarung: “denoting ordinary experience as mediated through intellectual and constructive elements.” Erlebnis is the experience that is not mediated by the intellect – it is pure and direct – which for the Greeks meant that it came straight from the gods; straight from Apollo.

C.D.P.: “As immediate, Erlebnis eludes conceptualisation, in both the lived present and interiority of experience. As direct, Erlebnis is also disclosive and extraordinary: it reveals something real that otherwise escapes thinking … Typical examples include art, religion and love, all of which show the anti-rationalist and polemical uses of the concept.”

By drawing a link between thumos and Erlebnis a new light is shed on each one.

In Julian Jayne’s thesis on the Bicameral Mind, he claims that thymotic inspiration was a fundamental feature of the human mind some three millennia ago, and he sees vestiges of it remaining in what is now called schizophrenia. But Jaynes’ thesis was more concerned with the neurological significance of thumos than with the inspirational power of direct experience. For Jaynes, the inspirational power of our pre-self-conscious ancestors, came from the voices they heard in their schizophrenic minds (part of Jaynes’ theory is that the human mind evolved away from a commonly schizophrenic condition some three millennia ago when the proliferation of city-states formed closer human communities in which hearing voices became an annoyance rather than an inspiring tool).

But could it be that, whilst the voices have disappeared, the direct inspiration of experience has not – and this is what Dilthey was expressing through his concept of Erlebnis.

 

[1] Julian Jaynes, THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND, Mariner 2000, p. 69

[2] Wilhelm Dilthey, SCIENCE OF PHILOSOPHY (translator’s preface)

Our Cancer & Its Cure through TELOS

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The doctrine of continual growth and perpetual accumulation of profits is a cancer to the world, it is our cancer. Half of the world are in denial that we have cancer, while most of those belonging to the other half who can admit to the severity of our illness, do not really know what kind of cancer it is (which is not surprising as the doctors, the media, have not really explained the seriousness nature of our illness very well at all).

You cannot put band-aids on cancer, you have to attack it at its roots, and the roots of this cancer are unbridled consumerism within a consumer market that is constantly growing demographically (that is what the doctors don’t tell us).

Buying second-hand or making your own is good, anti-consumerism (i.e. anti-capitalist) practice but as far as the cancer goes, it’s just a band aid. Every day, it seems, something new becomes a non-sustainable practice: driving cars or flying in planes has gone over the threshold, clothes are no longer a sustainable commodity, eating meat is no longer a sustainable act … capitalist recommendations: eat insects!

All these things are symptoms of the cancer and while we attempt to whittle them down the tumour devouring the planet keeps growing. Call it consumer-practices, capitalism, whatever, it is the System that we are immersed in that needs to be changed. It’s time to think big, not small. It’s too late to just do your own little bit, and to change the System we need to start talking about the fact that systemic-change is what is really needed. Only then will we be able to bring that change about and cure the cancer.

But to do that we need more than a will for a revolution, we have to have an idea of what we will evolve into if we pull down the system.

Once we look at the situation philosophically, we get a broader, more objective image than tackling it from a political stand-point. The philosophical view tells us that we are living in a deeply nihilistic era, and it is this nihilism that creates the ironically fertile field for consumerism to thrive in.

So, to change the system we need to change our philosophical standpoint: instead of a nihilist society we need to find a purposeful one. And that is where the idea of telos[1] comes in.

TELOS

The final-cause, and, subsequently, the fulfilment, of any human being, has to lie in the final-cause of humanity. But the only final-cause imaginable has to lie in perpetuity. The secret of all final-causes rests in continuity, in an eternal process of becoming. Once it all ends – if everything is suddenly reduced to nothing – then all has been in vain. This is the deep truth that our nihilistic civilisation chooses to ignore.

We hold the key to our fulfilment only if we are able to ensure the continuation, perpetuity and progress of humanity.

In order for the social-experience we are immersed in that we call civilisation to be meaningful and fulfilling, we must look for the teleological significance of civilisation? What should it be? How can we re-structure civilisation so that it does have a human and teleological significance?

To begin to answer these questions we first of all need to call a spade a spade. The System we live in is the cancer that threatens our existence and, logically, our perpetuity. Secondly, we need to identify ourselves as what we are in our essence, i.e. human beings, homo sapiens, the one who knows, who thirsts for knowledge and who will ultimately find fulfilment in that perpetual search for knowledge.

[1] Greek for ‘end’ ‘purpose’ or ‘goal’; from it comes teleology, which is a reason or explanation for something as a function of its end, purpose, or goal