History and Nature

World News - Sept. 1, 2014

What must be done? …

To answer this question pragmatically, we need to listen to science, and science is telling us that we have to alter our energy culture and control population growth if our relationship with the planet is to remain sustainable.

The underlying message here is that nature is an integral feature of history; a feature that cannot any longer be ignored in the unfolding of the historical process. From now on, human history cannot be told or understood without also understanding nature and our effects on the natural environment that we ultimately depend on for our quality of life and survival.

That we feel separated from nature in the historical process is an illusion. That the illusion persists, despite everything we know, is mainly thanks to the efforts of power to maintain the farcical image that places civilisation outside and above nature. Nature has never played a part in the explanation of history because, once it did, the exploiting classes that wield power would have had to forfeit many of its reasons for holding onto that power. Very much of wealth’s property, for example, was accumulated by claiming a natural right to property through someone’s labour, passed down through the ages via inheritance. The truth is, nature is not something that anyone can hold a natural right to. The natural rights are nature’s own.

In the Middle Ages as well as the Renaissance, nature was made by God and obeyed His laws, which was an easy way of saying that nature had to obey the laws of the churches and kings who represented God on Earth.

The Age of Enlightenment offered a new, clear explanation of history based on reason and liberty. But again, nature is largely ignored by the powers governing civilisation. Not even in the enlightenment was science allowed to have its say to explain the historical process. History gradually became something to say about the masses; a class struggle. When a revolutionary force grew, it still lacked the common-sense insight that inexorably linked the fulfilment of human progress to the world and its ecosystem, undoubtedly vital for our existence here. For the bourgeoise revolutions of the 19th century and the omnipotent force of capitalisms that accompanied them, nature was little more than an inexhaustible source of wealth that had to be exploited to the full. We are now experiencing the beginnings of the tragic consequences of that kind of thinking.

Now, things are different; we have ecology, a science that explains nature and our absolute dependency on its well-being. The damage done to the environment by our anti-natural and anti-human historical process is now evident … and it’s time to rewrite our history books and put that evidence into real consideration.

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EQUILIBRIUM

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In the dystopian sc-fi-action film, Equilibrium, directed by Kurt Wimmer, we are presented with a totalitarian regime that controls society by abolishing feelings. In this dystopia, each member of society is provided with a drug, to be taken at regular intervals, that inhibits, like Prozac, the human side of humans – our feelings.

On a superficial level, this seems to be a critique of all dictatorial regimes, and of the evolution of power. Nevertheless, the real manipulation by the most powerful regimes today function quite the opposite: power today is ensured, not by inhibiting human feelings and allowing the logical mind to flourish, but rather by letting our sentiments and desires dominate us and, by so doing, inhibiting effective critical thought which would challenge the authority of the regime.

All totalitarian regimes have always identified their greatest enemies in the intellectual class. It is only knowledge and deep critical thinking which will be able to see through the lies they propagate and undermine the superficial veneers of happiness they have painted their societies with.

Governments and Ultimate Significance

Parliament

Governments are supposed to organise us, but … organise us to do what? To be able to answer this question democratically and function as effectively as possible in favour of the demos, the elected government would have to know the ultimate significance of what everybody knows and does, as well as the potentials behind what each one of us would like to do.

The paradox behind this fact is that no demos would ever want their government to know exactly what they know and do, or, perhaps, even what they would really like to do.

What this paradox means therefore, is that real democracy is an impossibility. Nevertheless, we have systems that call themselves democratic, and we are told that these systems are designed for our welfare, or for our security. But these claims are also paradoxical, because such justifications only make sense for a society that has already reached and understood its ultimate significance … which takes us back to the first paradox, and in this way the great leviathan of government swallows it tail twice.

To resolve these paradoxes, the demos needs to be able to have the faith that a democratic government that knew what we want, know and do, would be able to channel this perfect knowledge of its citizens into a collective, truly purposeful project directed towards real fulfilment.

 

THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN DEMOCRACY

Religion has traditionally been an escape vessel for political leaders: if the ultimate significance is a religious one, beyond our control, except by ensuring that the religious idea is allowed absolute freedom of expression, then government can concentrate on fulfilling its four-year programme without worrying about the inconvenience of its own ultimate significance.

What this succeeds in doing is to create the removal of politics from any truly purposeful organisation. When the long term is ignored, so is authentic fulfilment. The result is a general feeling of dissatisfaction and pointlessness and a retreat into hedonisms and living the day to day. If there is money around, it creates decadence. If there is not, it creates the struggle for daily survival.

 

ENLIGHTENED GOVERNMENT

But how can we ever get over the first paradox. The idea of the enlightened government is terrifying. Traditional enlightenment and power has been a terrible, often tragic, combination for societies, and they usually add up to dictatorial dogmas enforced by megalomaniacal leaders. We need enlightened government, but we fear it will only bring about oppression and tragedy.

Nevertheless, once we start analysing the ultimate significance we are proposing and the ideologies that have created past dictatorships, we find there is a fundamental difference. Traditionally, ideologies have been initiated by and for a social group, or class, race or culture. The failure of these ideologies as enlightenment has been their intrinsic nature of pitching us against them.

What we are discovering now is that the struggle between us and them has got nothing to do with the current crises except in the fact that it must be overcome. The only way that our great universal problems can be superseded is by humanity coming together and making the ultimate leap towards ultimate significance which can only come through a real identification with what each one of us really is … a member of the human race. From the human race point of view, sovereignty is a constant distraction away from the ultimate significance.

AUTHENTIC REALITY

But whether we can offer an authentic ultimate significance for social action or not, the shadow of power still hangs over the reality of all social organisation. And the form of that shadow is that governmental power is, really, the power to create reality.

Our argument is, that authentic reality which is that which offers an ultimate significance for all human knowledge, activity and desires, can only be measured from a holistically human point of view. Power on the other hand, has been traditionally self-interested, serving the needs and desires of certain factions and using lies and persuasion to convince societies that their regimes are working for them. Or, if not, that they have no other choice but to work for the regime that wields ultimate power over their lives.

What is our Mind-set?

Mindsets

“All human activity is subject to habitualisation. Any action that is repeated frequently

becomes cast into a pattern, which can then be reproduced with an economy of

effort and which, ipso facto, is apprehended by its performer as that pattern.”[i]

(Peter L. Burger and Thomas Luckmann, THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY)

 

In many ways, the socialization process is an exploitation of habitualisation by authority groups. Synonymous with habitualisation is the concept of taming. Authority uses the socializing process of habitualisation to create a concept of reality in which all its members are so deeply immersed that they accept it almost unconditionally.

In charge of a tamed society, authority is given a leeway that enables it to protect itself and act in absolutely unrestrained ways without having to implement obvious uses of force or tangible instruments of oppression.

Whatsmore … “Habitualisation carries with it the important psychological gain that choices are narrowed. While in theory there may be a hundred ways to go about the project … habitualisation narrows these down to one.”[ii] Berger and Luckmann regard this as a positive thing, seeing that it frees the individual from the burden of decision making, but, by narrowing down possibilities, the individual is being sunk into the swampy reality of reduced options that authority desires.

There is no freedom in such a reality, and yet the individual has been nurtured to believe that he or she is free, and largely accepts the discourse that his or her society is the best of all possible systems. The individual even believes that he or she can choose, even though they cannot clearly see what their choices might be.

“Habitualised actions retain their meaningful character for the individual although the meanings involved become embedded as routines.”[iii]

This embedded meaningfulness is the reality of coherence. Things are because that is how things have to be in order to ensure that things remain as they are. But this concept of reality is not in fact particularly meaningful. Rather it is a mind-set blind to possibilities of other realities. Whenever the socio-cultural rule of this-is-how-we-are and this-is-how-we-should-be comes into effect it not only destroys the roots of creativity and truly progressive notions, it also threatens the power of common-sense notions of what should be done when the correct answers to that question lie outside the framework of habitualised reality.

Berger and Luckmann themselves argue the opposite: according to them, habitualisation “opens up a foreground for deliberation and innovation.”[iv] Yet now, as wealth flaunts its riches in ways we haven’t seen since the times of the absolute monarchs; when international conflicts broil and simmer and lunatic leaders talk of pressing the button; while our economic system grows and plunders, pillaging the last remnants of natural resources, leaving us standing on the threshold of an apocalypse; with the membrane of the ecosystem tearing apart right under our noses and opening a window to the most inhospitable of climates …

While all of this goes on, habitualisation creates a lack of deliberation and innovation to handle any of these crises … And it does this over and over again.

 

[i] Peter L. Burger and Thomas Luckmann, THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY, pp.70-71

[ii] Ibid, p. 71

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid

REALITY AND COHERENCE

macroeconomic-therory

“The world of everyday life is not only taken for granted as reality by the ordinary members of society in the subjectively meaningful conduct of their lives. It is a world that originates in their thoughts and actions, and is maintained as real by these.”

(Peter L. Burger and Thomas Luckmann,

THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY)

 

For reality to exist for someone, the world has to be perceived as a coherent place. Once coherence is lost, reality itself breaks down and madness sets in. But this doesn’t mean that the coherence we perceive is real.

In fact, it may be quite the opposite: a coherence constructed out of a pattern which we are told exists but doesn’t at all. One such fantasy is the economy.

The economy seems coherent, although we hardly understand it. Its coherency comes from the fact that we are constantly told about it; about its behaviour and about what our governments and bankers do to keep it running smoothly or drive it out of crises. We know that when things go wrong with the economy it will affect our lives and condition our own behaviour psychologically and materially.

Our civilisation is obsessed with the economy, so: How can it not be coherent? How can it not be real?

And yet: it is only coherent while we believe it to be. In actual fact, it is very similar to any religion – its coherence depends on the faith of its followers. The economy has a wide collective following, but once the collective starts to doubt its coherence the aura of reality around it quickly starts to fade and its coherence becomes cracked and wobbly.

The greatest barrier against progress is not a fear of change so much as a fear that the reality we believe we are immersed in will be rendered incoherent. That is the fear we need to overcome; because the truth is, it already is and always has been essentially incoherent.

SOCIAL FREEDOM AS A FEASIBLE CONCERN

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Human societies are created around human activity and the requirements that come from the organization of that activity. Freedom, in a social sense, has to be defined by the freedom of choice that an individual has in deciding which activity he or she wants to pursue. A freedom-promoting society would, therefore, be constructed in a way that allows each person to pursue the activities they feel are the most suited to them.

Traditionally this idea of society is absurd: because the society itself has its own needs that must be met in order for the same society to function, and, as such, it requires a certain amount of its members to engage in tasks that would be of no interest to them. To compensate for this denial of freedom wages were introduced. In this way, wage-labour can be defined as a compensation for slavery.

Nevertheless, with the development of technology and especially robotics and manufacturing using 3D copiers, the idea of a social freedom can once again be imagined as a feasible thing. The implementation of automation should be seen as a process of liberating salary-compensated slaves in order to liberate their creative, sapiens potentials.

At the same time, the economy has to be adjusted that would guarantee the well-being of each member of society. The most logical evolution would be toward a non-monetary society, but before this revolutionary transition can be achieved, a universal basic-income is the most progressive economic idea. An explanation of UBI and some historical background can be found here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income .

If it is feasible, the promotion of social freedom through the development of technology should be seen as a goal for society and a part of political parties’ programmes.

I am Spartacus; I am Crassus

I-am-Spartacus

The most iconic scene in Stanley Kubrick’s historical adventure “Spartacus” comes towards the end of the film. Set in republican Rome, the revolt of the slaves, led by the gladiator Spartacus, has been defeated by the consul Crassus. Most of the slave army is dead, but a few hundred survivors have been captured by the republican soldiers, amongst them Spartacus himself. Crassus approaches them and offers to spare all their lives from a horrible death by crucifixion. But … on the condition that they turn Spartacus in. Spartacus himself stands to announce his surrender, but, before he can, the slaves who are chained to him and who are obliged to stand with him, say that they are Spartacus. One by one, all the survivors stand and pronounce their own death sentence: “I am Spartacus”.

The scene portrays an emotional example of collective sacrifice, with all the sentimental force that this kind of epic cinema can convey, ending with a close-up of a very emotional (and teary) Spartacus, who is lost for words over all the tremendous loyalty taking place around him, on his behalf.

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With the new millennium, the spirit of this scene has been taken up on repeated occasions to show solidarity for a victim, with the proclamation that “I am (the victim)”. It is a statement affirming that a “part of me” has also died, or been imprisoned, with the victim’s fate.

Nevertheless, this contemporary gesture does not change anything, apart from making that identification with the victim and expressing one’s sense of indignation or loss. Yes, there may be some cathartic self-satisfaction derived from it, but the act is fundamentally an expression of impotent resignation: If you are going to take the life of Spartacus/any-victim, then why not take us all? If there is a defiance it is a kind of game of chicken. The question asked to the aggressor is: How far are you prepared to go? Do you have the guts to kill us all?

A more active, and potentially revolutionary gesture, would have been to explain to Crassus that he too was Spartacus; and to convince him that his problem is that he does not understand that Spartacus is a part of all of us, just as Crassus is a part of all of us.

Obviously, this could not have happened in the historical film, because this revolutionary gesture never took place. The slave rebellion ended with Crassus’ victory, and the rebellion was never a revolutionary act anyway. It was merely a desperate attempt of the slave-class to acquire a sense of dignity. They did not want to overturn the Republic; they wanted to escape it.

 

Slavery is a human problem; and it is a psychological problem that is deeply embedded in our anti-human-created psyche. This provokes a vicious circle that makes it seemingly impossible to solve. One cannot resolve the psychological dilemma because the real problem is the psychology itself.

Whilst our psychology is dominated by the “I” and the “I am …”, all our political, social, economic, religious (spiritual) relationship problems will be unresolvable. The interests of all our collective “I am(s)” will never be able to exist in a harmonious way.

The only way to solve our human problems is to disassociate ourselves from the “I” and embrace the “we”. We are Spartacus, and we are also Crassus. We are the victims of terrorism, and we are also the terrorists. We are the victims of the State, and we are also the State.

From this human, psychological perspective, real solutions and real change are possible.

Crassus

Organisation: A Human Obsession

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Human beings are obsessed by the way we are organised. We are obsessed by the family, the state, our religions; we live in a gossip loving, envious society that above all loves money … All these factors exert strong organisational fields over our lives. But while it is relatively simple, for some, to stop flag-waving and escape from the grip of their local church, or stop watching reality shows and disappear from their family radar, it seems impossible to remove ourselves from the gravitational force of money.

Money is the perfect form of organisation, itself perfected by the control methodologies implemented through the organisation of the great organiser – the economy.

We are a social-animal species. We are born vulnerable and dependent on those who can nourish and protect us. Until, in theory, we leave the nest, but the independence we imagine we gain in our maturity is a myth that is never truly obtained, because we never free ourselves from the obsession we have with that which is always organising us; an obsession which leads to blind faith, and that is the worst loss of freedom. The way we are organised is the way things are: we sense that; we implicitly believe it; but does that mean that we cannot change it? Is the way things are, the way things have to be?

Despite our obsession with organisation, we also need to believe in the anti-organisation concept of freedom. Most Westerners cringe at the idea of loss of freedom. Freedom is a symbol that all human beings should aspire to. But why? If we are so obsessed with organising our lives according to the way things are, and freedom represents that which is not the way things are, why do we place so much importance on this anti-organisation concept.

Certainly, if one lives under the singular-will organisation of a dictatorship, one can dream of the liberating effects that an organisation like the one we call democracy offers. But what happens when you discover that the free world of liberal democracies doesn’t actually offer you real freedom at all? Where does one go from there? Must we surrender to blind faith, and console ourselves with the absurd, illogical belief that the organisation that controls us actually allows us to be independent and free?

The real problem lies in the fact that we never truly organise ourselves: our lives are always organised for us; within a paradigm built in order to organise most of us in a way that allows us to be exploited for its own purposes. No matter how free we think we are in this world of unlimited possibilities, for the vast majority of us, our relationship is a submissive one, determined by the power that organises us. And yet, do you ever ask yourself why we are organised in this way; or how this organisation came to be taken for granted in the first place?

True, we are a social-animal and freedom from organisation is impossible. Nevertheless, it is possible to break free and escape the nest, just as some of us really do break free from the organisation of the family. Organisation can work for everyone, in a way that allows each one of us the power to develop our talents to the fullest. We don’t have to be organised and moulded according to the will of that seemingly random, abstract force we call the economy. Yet, for a liberating organisational force to be possible, we first have to deeply question the reasons why we have been organised in this anti-liberating way in the first place. In order to see the way out, we first have to understand why we really do need to escape.

Radicalism and the Closet Alt-Right

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The capitalist-built edifice we are all living in is cracking apart. Our architects have made a thorough inspection of the cracks in the wall and recommend a demolition rather than any vain attempts to prop it up and renovate. The problem is not in the façade, but in the very foundations and supports that just cannot keep holding up this far too bulky, overgrown and overweight monstrosity.

The foundation of capitalism depends on a perpetual growth, albeit moving cyclically along, with periodical episodes of recession and even depression, but impossibly perpetual nonetheless. Impossible because this idea of eternal swelling needs an inexhaustible supply of resources to feed its insatiable hunger.

We are now at a moment in capitalism’s great banquet, when the impossibility of this eternal orgy of consumption is becoming well apparent to those of us within the building. The resources that our capitalist-edifice is sucking up out of the planet it is perched on are limited, and that limitation and its effects on the environment around the edifice are becoming frighteningly obvious and tangible.

In short, it is imperative now that we pull this edifice down and build something better – something that will blend in a harmonious way with the environment that it exists in. An environment that it needs to maintain in a healthy way to ensure its own existence and guarantee a high quality of life for all those residing in the edifice.

So, capitalism must go. And, yes, whilst being an honest analysis of the situation, this is also a radical one and a dangerous one. In fact, much of the thinking currently revolving around this crumbling-edifice syndrome is even more dangerous than the current-situation itself.

Instead of looking forward to constructing a new edifice out of the rubble of capitalism, the new radical ideologues are spending great deals of time and money in re-hashing old ideas, moving theological revolutions (ISIS and other radical evangelicals); communist nostalgias; and the ugly growing reactionary wave of the alt-right.

With the legitimacy provided by Trump’s victory taking the presidency of the United States, there has been a proliferation of alt-right ideas in the social networks by a species of closet alt-right complainers; neo-Nazis that haven’t yet come out of the cupboard, they live, like the U.S. President himself, in a space of denial, screaming forth their perverse ideology of fear and hate from the safety of their dark cubbyhole, which they wrongly assume, hides their true colours from the world outside.

The closet alt-right person will typically slip into someone’s Twitter or Facebook feed and post a radical, unmistakeably alt-right statement – something like “if the Nazis had won the war the world would be a better place,” or “Auschwitz was a leftist-plot,” or “the white-race is in danger of extinction.” Of course, anyone expressing such ideologies are flying a swastika flag and announcing that they support fascist ideologies, but when this obviousness is pointed out to them, they claim that they are not fascist sympathisers at all. Hence the term “closet” fascists.

But how should we interpret this? Because the closet alt-right denies the alt-right, does that mean they also, deep-down know that their ideas are morally repugnant, but that, nevertheless, they believe them to be necessary. Well, the first problem with their reasoning is that they can’t really be both at the same time. Authentic morality points humanity in the direction of where we ought to be, or ought to be going, and the morally repugnant indicates the exact opposite – where we should never be. Alt-right morality, therefore, can only be morally acceptable in an alt-right society – which means a racially pure and ideologically singular society of like-minded fascists. In any other kind of society, the alt-right morality is abhorrent, perverse and totally inappropriate – hence the need for the neo-Nazi to stay hidden in the closet. But Trumpism has given them wings. They know the President of the most powerful nation on Earth is one of them – he’s a closet Nazi, and they can learn from him and his obsession to vomit-forth alt-right messages from his Twitter account.

Yes, the edifice is crumbling, but the problem is universal, all of us, the whole of humanity will be affected by its demolition. Because of that, to pull it down and build a new, morally-repugnant construct for humanity would be tantamount to bringing about the end of humanity as we know it; not in order to create the Übermensch of the Aryan race that the Nazis fantasised about, but to create the most barbaric form of humanity that exists and represents the basest kind of human-being and the worst kind of human stupidity – the morally repugnant kind.

The edifice is crumbling, and we need to pull it down and rebuild. But with new ideas that will create a human partnership with the planet and the resources of nature; with technologies that will liberate all of humanity to be intelligent creators; and with a human purposiveness that is focussed on where we are going as a Sapiens entity in a Universe of information. With purposiveness comes happiness, and with happiness comes a better quality of life, but human purpose always has to be human-purpose; a purpose for all. To achieve this, we need fearless thinkers who have authentic moral view-points, cultivated around positive ideas of what humanity as whole ought to be … not from fearful, abominable preachers, whinging from the shadows of their closets.

IF WE ARE ALONE …

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We are either alone in the Universe, or we’re not alone. Until formal contact with an extra-terrestrial life-form is established we can only affirm that: Intelligent life exists beyond the planet Earth or it doesn’t.

Nevertheless, we can statistically try and calculate what the possibilities of life existing beyond Earth are, and yet … does it matter? Well, if a positive, progressive energy can be generated by the conclusion, then yes, it does matter.

*

This week, the media have been latching on to a recently published article from Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute that argues the case that statistically we are most probably alone in the Universe.[1]

The article in question, by Sandberg, Drexler and Ord, called “Dissolving the Fermi Paradox” adds very little to arguments already put forward by Ward and Brownlee in their Rare Earth Hypothesis formulated nearly twenty years ago. Despite this fact, the media have picked up on the FHI paper as if it were a totally new discovery, proving that we must be very much alone.

New or not, the Rare Earth Hypotheses argues that the astrophysical, geological, chemical and biological combinations needed to create the cocktail for the evolution of intelligent life is so complex and needs to be so precise that our own existence is a freak stroke of luck, and that the accident we are is so special and fluky that it is very doubtful that is has been repeated anywhere in our Universe.

Yet, should we now assume this hypothesis as definitive? And if we do accept it, can this ‘we are alone’ perspective be beneficial for humanity in any way?

*

There is an X-Files episode (Redux, the first episode of season 5) in which the hero, Fox Mulder, is in a motel room watching a video of symposium featuring astrophysicist Carl Sagan amongst other, in which the question of the existence of life beyond Earth is being discussed. The actual symposium was held in 1975 and was joint sponsored by NASA and the Boston University.

In this conference, it was argued, in a proclamation by Richard Berendzen, that “the amount of stars in our galaxy alone is so staggeringly large, to the order of 1011 or more; the probability of stars having planetary systems is so high, perhaps half; the probability of those planetary systems might be comparable with our own and that the stars have some kind of ecosphere … suitable for life and it’s not too hot, not too cold … it begins to lead to the sorts of conclusions … that life must exist in the Universe and it must exist quite abundantly.”

Carl Sagan then affirmed that the most optimistic estimates about the number of civilisations there would be in the galaxy is in the order of a million.

Once it had been established unanimously that civilisations had to exist in the Universe, all of the speakers at the symposium expressed the view that contact with an advanced civilisation would have to be positive and enlightening for humanity. With the exception of the scientist and Nobel Prize Winner, George Wald. Wald began his speech with a positive affirmation of life in the Universe, like the others, but ended with a very sobering reflection. The tone of his voice suddenly drops into a melancholy register and he confesses that: “I can conceive of no nightmare as terrifying as establishing such communication with a so-called superior … advanced technology in outer space.” For Wald, such an encounter would be: “The degradation of the human enterprise.” He then went on to describe this enterprise: “One of the greatest of human enterprises is our understanding; something that men have sweated out to the greater dignity and worth of man, and to see the thought that we might attach us by some umbilical cord to some more advanced civilisation, science and technology in outer space, doesn’t thrill me, but just the opposite.”

What Wald is warning us of here, is that an encounter with a superior civilisation would rob ourselves of our purposiveness. And what is implicit in this argument is that humanity could have no meaningful place in any world populated by superior beings, because all our understanding would suddenly be rendered obsolete; and, as such, the human race would itself suddenly become obsolete.

What Wald is describing here, is our reason for being, which is encapsulated in our understanding.  

 

Reflecting on this point, and on our own civilisation at this point in time, we have to conclude that our own lives are very much alienated from this meaningfulness which is our understanding of things, and this displays the tremendous decadence of our system.

But what Wald’s observation also tells us is this: That if we are not alone, it is best to believe that we are alone.

*

If we are alone it imbues humanity with a tremendous responsibility – the obligation to be sapiens; to understand; to develop the human enterprise toward the fulfilment of knowing; to enjoy the meaningful pursuit of becoming knowledgeable; and, through this understanding, participate in the very Being of the Universe.

The Universe can only really exist in a qualitative way, if there is a conscious entity within that Universe that understands that It does exist. The homo sapiens is the species that knows and reflects on that knowledge. Whether or not we are the only species that knows in this Universe, believing that we are fills us with a powerful, driving purposiveness.

Embedded in this purposiveness is a duty to prolong existence in time and increase the quality of that existence, through progress.

And, in order to do that, we have to overcome the deep, nihilistic decadence that infects our civilisation today.

But again, we run into another paradox, because the human enterprise of understanding necessitates the exploration of the possibility of discovering other intelligent life-forms, even though there is a possibility that we may encounter civilisations so superior to ours that our meaningfulness in the Universe will be totally diminished.

However, perhaps this paradox is false. When we do have the technological capabilities to encounter other civilisations the dilemma would no longer have relevance for we ourselves would be advanced enough to communicate on a partnership level with the other civilisation. Likewise, if Ufologists are right, and we are being visited by extra-terrestrial civilisations already, these civilisations are wise enough to disguise their presence from us, precisely in order not to destroy our purposiveness.

[1] SEE: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/27/aliens-exist-survival-universe-jim-alkhalili

https://metro.co.uk/2018/06/25/probably-intelligent-life-universe-depressing-study-finds-7657344/