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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What is the Meaning of Life? (Part One)

Meaning of Life

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Is there a bigger question than this? Some will answer that there is none; or, that only God can know the answer; or that it’s whatever you make of it. A philosopher might argue that the word-level in the question is wrong; that we need go deeper to answer the question “What is the meaning of meaning?” before we can say what the meaning of life is. A philosopher like Nietzsche would rephrase it as “What is the value of life?” because all meaning is subject to value judgements. But in order to determine this, as Heidegger knew, we need to get down to the most basic level of questioning and ask, as the pre-Socratic Greeks did, “What is the essence of life?”[i]

Of course, we are talking about Life, with a capital L, although by answering that question one should also be a huge step closer to understanding the meaning of their own individual life; defining the generic does help us understand the specific. The generic form of it makes it, in part, a question for science, and, in another part, a question for logic. Nevertheless, the resolution of the query has been severely soiled and butchered by being taken as a theological one.

“Whatever essential characteristics value has as condition of life depends on the essence of life, on what is distinctive about this essence.”[ii]

What is the distinctiveness of life from non-life? Isn’t it life’s distinctive ability to reproduce itself; its capacity for evolving into forms that are better suited for survival; in its desire for survival itself, which could be seen as a will for an abstract concept of permanence through reproduction.

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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HUMANITY?

Yet, if the purpose of life is survival, then the evolution of the potentially life-threatening organism that humanity has become, seems like an ultimately failed process rather than a great triumph of world-will.

The reason for this resides in the fact that evolution is blind. It seems to have a purpose (survival) and a creative process capable of learning and relearning things in order to ensure the final success of that purpose (evolution), but there is no hand manipulating that process other than the achievements of the process itself.

Does this then make us a mere accidental product of a random evolution designed to survive certain inhospitable conditions arising at any given moment? If we answer in the affirmative, then we accept that there is no meaning to humanity, a nihilistic view that renders everything to the coincidental, with no footing in any certainty at all.

However, the sceptic must eventually become sceptical of his/her own scepticism. So, sceptical of scepticism we return to the question at hand: Why would life evolve into a life-threatening form like humanity? What can Life gain from humanity?

If we can find a positive answer to that question, then perhaps we can answer the query into the meaning underlying our human existences as well.

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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HOMO SAPIENS?

A word carries a lot of semantic baggage and ‘humanity’ has a lot of negative connotations for a lot of people that are embedded within our pessimistic notions of ‘human-nature’. In order to imbue our humanity with a less prejudiced vision, we will use the scientific term for our species homo sapiens sapiens. By doing this we also clearly leap beyond the reductionisms of race, religion and nationalities and treat ourselves as members of a species, which is what we ultimately are. So, what does Life gain from our species? What does Life gain from Sapiens that it doesn’t get from other non-sapiens organisms?

Immediately we have an answer: knowledge of Itself.

Through Sapiens organisms, life knows itself. Existence becomes something more than just a thing that flows over one, or that which we float in and react to. Through a Sapiens consciousness existence is grasped as something which has come from somewhere and is moving forward into something different. Knowing gives existence a sense of permanence, and a conscious creative vision that comes from the realisation that all things can change.

Here, a circle of logic closes in on itself: knowing tells us that the essence is permanence through creative evolution. But this conclusion also immediately throws us out of its apparent circle. A circle is a non-evolving cycle – evolution, however, is always a leap beyond the apparent enclosure of the self-reproducing cycle.

Nature creates evolutionary leaps genetically, in a way that is even superior to the species’ own will to survive through carbon-copy reproduction; and also technologically, via the use of tools manipulated by organisms.

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SAPIENS: THE TECHNOLOGICAL SPECIES

Homo sapiens is the technological species par excellence. Sapiens is the knowing, technological animal.

Technology and knowing evolve in a spiral way, and we could probably map their relationship in a form that would very much resemble a DNA helix.

The spiral is a dynamic form of the circle. It winds itself, but in a way that moves forward as well as around. Because it has an elongated form it can advance and change. It can progress through self-change and adapt to changing environments.

Perhaps we could call this creative process ‘enhancement’, as Heidegger did: “Enhancement implies something like a looking ahead and through to the scope of something higher.”[iii]  

(TO BE CONTINUED)

[i] Heidegger, Martin, NIETZSCHE, vol. III + IV, Harper One, p. 16

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid

Where does our Conception of God come from?

Image result for eternityYayoi Kusama: Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009

We didn’t conceive and refine the Judaeo-Christian concept of God out of natural phenomenon or even logical deduction – apart from a First Cause, there is no logical need for God. Instead, it was formed out of a mainly intuitive comprehension of Humanity’s own potential. The image we have of God is a reflection of what our own collective intellect could be capable of being and producing, and of the incredible power that a highly advanced and evolved humanity could be capable of achieving if it survives, and manages to develop in a progressive way, for millions of years to come.

At the moment we have to be considered very poor candidates for the Master of the Universe. Nevertheless, we stand at a crossroads that demands that we must now take an optimistic evolution into consideration or perish. It is time to shake off our tremendous nihilism and pessimism and admit that an anthropogenesis into a God-like species is an idea that ultimately reflects our own collective potential – albeit in a far, far distant future. Of course, the entire history of our civilisation has been a process of turning our backs on that potential; God was created in our own image to mitigate the obligation to become godly ourselves. The responsibility is awesome, but sooner or later we will have to embrace it or disappear: that is the ultimate choice between purposiveness and nihilism.

REALITY AS A PURPOSEFUL LIE

The mystic philosophers were right when they told us that reality is elsewhere, but they were wrong in claiming that our ultimate delusion came from a lack of spiritual insight; our alienation from reality is a psychological and social delusion created by our tendency to perceive reality in lies.

In essence, however, even this delusional tendency to believe things that cannot be proven, may be a necessary element for any positive human view of reality.

Science gives us a view of reality that goes beyond the narrow confines of the world that we perceive. In this way, science is an attempt to uncover the delusional nature of our lying perceptions. The real is not really what we see and feel.

Nevertheless, scientific objectivity clashes with our attempts to forge a positive view of our place in the cosmos. Ultimately, scientific truth is nihilistic. Vanity of vanities. Everything is headed to an inescapable thermal death. All things will come to an end. There is no ultimate purpose to the Universe.

But does an acceptance of this ultimately pointless reality do humanity as a whole any good? Science tells us how insignificant and ultimately pointless we are in the Universe. The result is nihilism and a depression that bleeds down through the entire fabric of contemporary, nihilistic civilisation. Live the moment. Reality is ephemeral. And so, religion has to be saved or even restored. We need hope, don’t we? Even if that hope is a blatant lie.

But even religions are essentially nihilistic as far as humanity goes. For religions, reality is elsewhere, in the Paradise after death. And so we ask: Why is reality so negative? Why is truth so grim?

A positive view of historical human reality can only be truly comprehensible to human beings from the point of view of humanity itself. However, this statement implies an anthropocentric view, which most scientists now reject as biased; and because of that consider it to be unrealistic.

But, does this mean that in order to be realistic we have to forfeit any positive view of humanity?

In actual fact, science itself gives us a way out here; for there is cosmological data that points to a sentient-life purpose evolution of the Universe. Data exists that explains how the self-organising of the Universe was able to create conditions for organisms so complex that they can comprehend that same organisation.[i]

In order to determine reality without deluding ourselves in lies we need to look at the debate that scientists are having on the idea of a purposefully determined cosmos. In this argument the science that has to be allowed the most authority is cosmology. So, what do cosmologists and other physicists really think about the idea of a deterministic Universe; one that implies that we are evolving purposefully towards an ultimate goal?

Some scientists, like cosmologist Martin Rees and the physicist Paul Davies, are in favour of the idea of purposefully orientated evolution, whilst almost any quantum physicist would argue against the anthropocentric view, in favour of indeterminism. Nevertheless, arguments can be found, that take a middle ground. And perhaps it is here that we can resolve the debate.

We think this middle ground has been nicely described by Dan Pipono:

“There is no meaningful difference (between determinism and indeterminism). Suppose at some moment there is some kind of undetermined probabilistic event and the universe forks in one of two ways. Then mathematically we can describe the situation in two distinct ways A and B: (1) we could say that after the fork, the universe is either in state A or state B. The universe is non-deterministic because we don’t know which of A and B it is going to be before the fork. OR (2) the universe is in a state that consists of two pieces, A and B, each of which contains a copy of us. The universe is deterministic but appears non-deterministic because we don’t know which of A and B is the one that contains us. Some people will use Occam’s razor in this situation. Some will use it to argue for (1) because a universe with just A or B is simpler than a universe with both A and B. Some will use it to argue for (2) because often (2) is mathematically simpler than (1). I can’t see any way of distinguishing (1) and (2). In practice I’d use whichever is more convenient for whatever I’m trying to do.”[ii]

Like Pipono and Occam, we argue that reality needs to be viewed according to what is most convenient to what needs to be done with that reality. And what we, as humans, need to question is what is the most convenient reality for humanity; a purposeful state or a nihilistic one? If we still cannot, with true scientific certainty, resolve the debate in favour of either purpose or nihilism, which view of reality is ultimately more convenient for us; for our survival and progress?

 

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

[ii] See Dan Pipono https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-evidence-for-and-against-determinism

THE MYTH OF SURVIVAL

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Recently we have received counter-arguments to our own humanistic theses using the premise that human nature is programmed or dominated by the need to survive. We agree that survival of the species is a fundamental moral necessity for humanity, but we see the association between survival instincts and human nature far too often used in developing justifications for morally questionable behavioural patterns or for defending ideological or dogmatic standpoints. For this reason, we now want to examine the biological knowledge we currently have concerning the relationship between evolution and survival or what we call the myth of survival.

First of all, let’s look at it logically. If the purpose of evolution were survival there would never have needed to be any development beyond the single-cell Bacteria or Archaea. These organisms are far older and far more resilient as a species than any of other more complex, Eukaryotic life forms like us. This world is teeming with bacteria, and there are probably more of them in a drop of water than the population of all of humanity. So what has evolving from a bacteria to do with survival?

Likewise if we look at reality from a subatomic viewpoint, particles and the atoms they make are virtually eternal and indestructible. The atoms in our bodies have been around for billions of years, since the early stages of the Universe, so it is doubtful that they are particularly concerned about “survival”.

But, if we are not programmed for survival, what are we programmed for?

The most fundamental leaps in evolution occurred at the cellular level: from single to multicellular types. Again, not for reasons of survival. But why? Complexity? Diversity? Does complexity or diversity offer any real benefits? Certainly not in terms of simple survival.

The transition from a one cell organism to one with two cells required numerous evolutionary steps, but the next evolutionary process was far more dramatic.

Now, in order to find reasons for why evolution takes place we would do well to consider how it takes place, for in the how we might find some clues that will explain the why. The how is embedded in cellular development, and so, perhaps, is the why. Or, in the words of biologists themselves: “Evolutionary mechanisms and cellular mechanisms are intertwined; each is necessary for the other and the study of one enriches the study of the other.” This quote is from the Preface of Gerhart and Kirschner’s “Cells, Embryos and Evolution”, published in 1997. The book is dedicated to the investigation into how cellular development has taken place in the creation of diversity. The first creatures with a high degree of intercellular cooperation were the metazoan animals. According to Gerhart and Kirschner, the secret of that leap contains a paradox. The gain was achieved via a loss. The morphological change came about when an organism shed its external cell wall.

Most unicellular organisms are invested with a durable outer coating to protect themselves from the environment. However, this protective shield also isolates the cell from its own kind. By shedding that exterior wall, therefore, the unicellular animal is not acting according to any survival techniques. Quite the opposite, it is making itself more vulnerable. What it is doing though, is opening itself up to the possibilities of interaction and communication with its environment. It is the first step towards being-in-the-world and everything that that implies: “By divesting itself of this outer wall, individual cells could begin exchanging living material – and information – with one another.”[i]  In a biological sense, the information age was born – over a billion years ago.

And so, after millions of years of survival, the multicellular creature decides to throw off its armour and start to exchange information with the world. Of course “decide” is the wrong term. Decision implies an intellectual process. The primordial metazoan did no more decide to do anything than we decide that we are hungry or decide that we need to pee. The need for communication came out of a natural “command”. Can we say from a “desire”? If we consider it a need we must ask: a need for what? What kind of need could be so important that it puts the primordial need for survival at risk? And the shedding of the protective coating must have been a risky venture. If the alternative is true: that there never was a need for survival as such, or at least not in the primary sense, then this would make the evolution unto information exchange the prime mover. The unicellular organism was just a first stage process, only really necessary until the organism had learnt how to progress to the next level.

Please don’t misinterpret us. The question of why evolution took place is a complex one that is better answered by biologists, palaeontologists and geologists than by us. We know that the primordial planet was a hostile environment vastly different in its atmospheric and tectonic conditions to the Earth we know today. Dramatic atmospheric and climate changes caused mass extinctions and stimulated incredible explosions of diversity in animal life. And yes, evolutionary leaps did take place when species were facing an adapt (change) or perish situation. But what we are arguing is that survival was not the logical prime mover of evolution, rather that the stimulus came from a need for communication.

This “communication” could also be its final cause: because communication is an ongoing process of constant exchange. Embedded in it is a necessity for qualitative growth in learning, and it is synonymous with “becoming”. As a final cause communication would be imbued with deep purposiveness. Arguably, the most generous form of communication is love, but that term has already been too greatly abused by religious dogma. So let us stay with communication as the real object of our human purposiveness.

[i] See Ward, P., RARE EARTH, p. 101

Our Naked System

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Marxist doctrine argues a need for an emerging working-class self-consciousness capable of comprehending the aggressive nature of the capitalist system in order to liberate itself from it. But reality now demands that we look beyond the confines of any ideologies and their separations—whether class, cultural, linguistic or territorial—in order to become conscious of how the system infects us all, and how it uses the separating forces inherent in all ideologies to perpetuate its own selfish interests.

 

The best way to bring the oppressors down is to reveal the true nature of their nakedness. Like the Emperor parading his new clothes, the system is really quite naked of principles once we allow ourselves to open our eyes to what it tells us is there but in reality is not there at all. And once that nakedness is seen the next brave act would be to confront the emperor with the awkward truth of his real, pathetic condition. We risk stirring the emperor’s rage, but perhaps his shame will be so great that he will abdicate.

 

The world-view of the system, despite its globalising, empirical apparel, cannot tolerate any singular world-view that would be antithetical to its philosophy of dynamism. For this reason it demands separation and seems to move in a constant direction to ensure that borders will remain in some form or other. From the worldview perspective of the ideology/identity system, separations evolve into relativisms that are tolerated because they can maintain the spirit of separation and not alienate ideologies from the global empire in its entirety. But, relativism is also a step on the downward ladder to scepticism and from there to pessimism, which is always a numbing energy that invites a depressive fall into unconsciousness.

 

Of course the system ultimately fails again. It engenders a lethargy rather than a dynamism. But what the system calls crisis is essential to its own metabolism, and with the collapse, and the great misery resulting from that collapse, the system itself, driven by renewed needs and a renewed grasp of reality, will be able to catapult itself back into the dynamism that capitalism demands. A dynamism fuelled by the fantasy of perpetuity: continual growth is impossible within the closed system that is the Earth. And this is the ridiculous nakedness of the system. A farce that is no longer funny anymore, it has become emphatically dangerous.