The Time Has Come … (After Nietzsche)

The time has come for humanity to set itself a goal and plant the seeds of its highest hopes. There is an urgency. The anti-human has plundered the earth and now the earth groans with the pain of its scars. Very soon, the Mother Earth that has engendered us will hate us and turn against us, turning its back to us and making itself inhospitable for us. The terrain for planting our hopes is already barren and the soil will need to be turned over and well-watered for it become fertile again. The Wasteland needs the planting of trees in order to cool the terrain. Trees create conditions for growing trees in. The anti-human has become obsessed with cutting and clearing and that must now change. But what form must such a change take? To answer this we need to look more closely at what it is that needs to be altered.

Anti-human history has given birth to the most contemptible species of anti-human beings – the ones who can no longer have contempt for themselves. Nietzsche called this species The Last Men, the last humans, but really they are the last of the anti-humans.

“What will our profit be from theses high hopes?” groaned the last of the anti-humans: “Why change our anti-humanity? What can we hope to gain by changing what has always been?” the anti-humans bleated. “We want jobs so that we can make money, but your hopes only point to poverty,” screamed the last of the anti-humans with his hands pushed firmly into his pockets.

The Earth has become small, and upon it hops the anti-human, who makes everything small. He is a pestilence, like the locust, turning fertile forests into deserts.

“We civilised the world,” say the anti-humans in a whimpering chorus, blinking and forgetting that what they really did was surrender themselves to perpetual slavery and misleading themselves that they themselves are really human and not anti-human at all – they actually think of themselves as human beings whilst constantly acting in a humanistically antagonistic way over and over again.  

Becoming ill and being mistrustful are considered sinful by them, even though they no longer know what sin is. In general, they proceed with caution, lest they should be tempted to lose their anti-human traits and become human again. Anti-humans allow themselves a bit of poison every now and again, that makes for pleasant dreams, but they know not why they are living, for they are terrified of death. This horror encourages them to prolong their lives as long as possible. Even when their bodies and brains hardly function at all they are kept alive by artificial means, misleading themselves that the mere act of breathing can be interpreted as a genuine mark of authentic human (i.e., anti-human) activity.  

They hate work but cannot renounce it as they lust after the money that can only be found by working. They think it is labour and toil that gives them the moral right to live, but it really merely enslaves them to jobs that are actually unnecessary. The only aim of work is to enable the anti-human civilisation to participate in the anti-human game of wealth distribution. This game is obligatory, and because of that there is an effort to make work never too burdensome, although it should always be stressful. This paradoxical situation is taken for granted by nearly all anti-human societies. They no longer become rich or poor, which are both too burdensome.

The anti-humans are nihilists. They either live for no good reason at all or lose themselves in religious fantasies of nihilistic paradises beyond this world.  

They despise their governors but have no idea how to get rid of them. Politics has no interest for them except when they can reduce it to the most simple and absurd levels, otehrwise it is just too intellectual and difficult. Because of this the political class has to be, or at least appear to be, as simple and ignorant as the vast majority of anti-human voters who elect them. It is for this reason that politicians have no sincere interest in the people, except in their capacity as voters, which is what presumably determines the kind of government each society obtains.

Anti-humans are a homo economicus, but the economy too is too complicated to worry about. The anti-humans hate using their brains to think. They believe there is something anti-natural and anti-life in any abundance of intellect and in anything provoking a need to think. But there is hope in the current existential misery we face …

The anti-human can only change in one direction, it must become human, must become a sapiens organism again rather than the herd animal it presently is, now subjected to the tremendous lies of our anti-human course of history. For humanity to be reborn there needs to be a new enlightenment, a rebirth of the intellect and reason. We need to put argumentation back into the argument again.

ESSE EST PERCIPI

The continuing complacency by world governments to apply the systemic changes needed to combat climate change is making the idea of a mass extinction on this planet in the foreseeable future, more and more feasible, and the predicted year of total climate collapse grows ever nearer. The greatest concern is that this unfolding scenario is still only considered a marginal problem, perhaps because the forecast of the tipping point that situates it some 30 to 60 years from now[i], still seems far away and, probably the major reason for our lethargic reaction, is that there is still a lot of money to be made in fossil fuels for those who have got so, so rich by exploiting them.

For those of us with humanistic sensibilities, however, this steady and persistent procession towards our total extinction is maddening for the madness it is. For a humanist, despite the seemingly mass-suicidal death-wish, humanity is something which is inherently beautiful and profoundly meaningful in the Universe. But what is it that will really be lost if a mass extinction of all biological life forms should occur on this planet, as may very well have taken place on our neighbouring planet Mars?

To get our mind around the tremendous consequences of such a loss, we merely need to contemplate reality in an idealistic fashion as Berkeley did with the concept of esse est percipi (aut percipere), Being is to be perceived (or to perceive).

In this idea, Being and Perception are mutually dependent if we consider existence from a qualitative point of view. A Universe of mostly empty space, with an occasional ball of hot gas or frozen rock, is, qualitatively void of Being because there is no consciousness of it, and it itself is not conscious of its own existence. In short, without any passive or active consciousness of it, a thing does not qualitatively exist. To be, a thing needs to be perceived, and to be perceived, a thing needs to be.

This kind of metaphysical thinking may seem trivial at first, but if we associate all percipi with organisms threatened with extinction (i.e., all life on Earth in the age of the Climate Emergency), then it becomes clear that the extinction of life on Earth could very well mean the extinction of everything. With the end of biological entities capable of consciousness, the entire Universe, in a qualitative way, will cease to exist as well. The result would be a state of absolute non-Being, an absolute void of perception is tantamount to an absolute void, in which there is nothing to perceive anything and because of that nothing can be perceived.

Esse est percipi should now therefore be taken as a moral statement, demanding an ethical response to preserve and develop consciousness, and this demand for consciousness is one that must affect the whole of humanity as the perceived and perceivers par excellence.      


[i] ‘Collapse of Civilisation is the Most Likely Outcome’: Top Climate Scientists – Resilience

After Trump

Here, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are enduring an enormous moral crisis that is exemplified and amplified by the Donald Trump presidency in the USA.

The Trump phenomena has given us a perfect antithesis-model of the universal good, in which self-love (and self-pity) came to the fore as the most powerful driving force of the most formidable self-loving and self-pitying nation in the world. That such a super-narcissist like Trump could be elected in the nation that is the (self-proclaimed) leader of the democratic world, not only highlights the fundamental flaws in the USA’s electoral system, it shows how dangerously accepting of flagrantly immoral discourses our self-loving, self-pitying societies have either become or are capable of developing into.

That such supposedly moral and even puritanical groups as the evangelical congregations in the USA have been able to embrace the megalomaniacal candidate so warmly and enthusiastically, reveals their own profoundly shallow relationship to universal love as well as their complete lack of appreciation of any objective concept of moral good. Even the Christian teachings of moral uprightness and universal love become swamped by their self-loving/self-pitying support of their self-loving/self-pitying champion.

But while the evangelicals highlight the problem, they are only the tip of the global pandemic of nihilist self-love and pity. Moral law, if it exists at all in this nihilistic global village, has deteriorated into a state that gives ultimate credence to self-love/self-pity as a sufficient reason for duty and action. Rather than striving for the highest good in the world, those who once laid claim to the world’s moral high-ground have collapsed into the wreckage of self-loving and self-pitying patriotisms.

Likewise, virtue and happiness have become corrupted into forms of decadence and perversion. Nothing comes out of the narcissist’s office that remotely resembles virtue anymore.

But there is a positive side to Trumpism too for, through his absolute lack of morality that has highlighted the antithesis against a universally good world, he has also illuminated an image of another possibility, and his tremendous immorality has put a spot light on what an impeccably good society might be like. The very existence of a seemingly impossible entity like the immoralist, malefactor President Trump has made the antithetic element of a universally good system, which has always been considered impractical, now also seem not only desirable but possible. The positive lesson to be learned from the Trump phenomena is that if a dystopia can be made a reality, then so can Utopia be brought about.

Necessity makes the universal good an imperative, and the existence of its antithesis demonstrates the achievability of that imperative. But to get back on the road to goodness and universal love it is not to defeat Trump and what he represents in an election, we have to firstly evolve out of the nihilist state that our self-loving/self-pitying world has sunk into, embracing rational, logical truth to combat the relativity of lies, and promoting authentically humanist values over all attempts to separate humanity into races, nationalities or the politics of segregating identities. The concept of humanity is an all-inclusive ideal and once the whole is embraced the idea of the inclusivity of its parts becomes a non-issue. Humanistic purposes such as knowing, caring for the rest of humanity and the world, and the drive to improve the human condition and develop our enormous creative instincts are needed to temper and vanquish the perverting weaknesses of all self-loving/self-pitying desires.      

THE HUMAN AS A VALUE

Anatomy art by Leonardo Da Vinci from 1492 on textured background.

Whilst the human is something enormously valuable that should be treasured, in actual fact it is a worthless thing, made so by its dubious existence. Asking what humanity is, is like asking what a unicorn is: everyone knows what it should be like but no one can actually find one.  

In the conditional sense, humanity has become a should be: The human should be something we want to become, even though we already are. But: How can we become what we already are? The problem is that everything we want to become (and do become), things like our nationality, race, wealth (or lack of wealth), and religion, strip us of the human thing that we authentically are.

In a sense, our human way of life erodes our humanity. Because of this, the value of the human needs to be regained. It needs to be rediscovered in our nostalgic ability to resurrect lost things, restore them, and preserve them. Of course, there is a great irony in this process, that what needs to be discovered is that which is all around us; that we cannot find the forest because the tree we are sitting under gets in the way. But this irony only reveals the simplicity of the task once we find the will to achieve it. To rediscover we have to merely remember; recall that our humanity is that which unites us to the rest of our species; it is that which we all have in common … that we are bipods with hands that have fingers and a thumb; that we have the ability to laugh, etc.. However, an amputee is not considered non-human because they have lost a leg, or a thumb, and one can imagine human beings who never smile or laugh. No, the real determiner of the human being is rooted in our special intellect, in our special ability to communicate via language, and in our curiosity, to know things, and our creativity to invent and make things. It is in these qualities that the sapiens instincts are housed, and it is the sapiens qualities that really define the human.

Curiosity creates our restlessness and our passion for uncovering. It makes us capable of boredom, when there is nothing that sparks our curiosity, and fires our creativity. Curiosity then is a positive human value that needs to be stimulated and nurtured by any sapiens-human society. Likewise, our intellectual and high artistic values need to be resurrected as that which is valuable, where valuable is considered as that which is enriching for our humanity.  

But aren’t we curious and creative enough already? If you look around, the world is full of the fruits of our curiosity and inventive imagination: Aren’t we living in a marvellous information age in which we can enjoy the gifts of the incredible technologies we have already developed and can be purchased? Yes, and no … because in the reality expressed in that question lies the great divider of the human … in human civilisation as we have it at the moment, the fruits of our creative, collective, curiosity have to be bought. Money, and what we call the economy, is the great shredder of humanity, slicing through us like a ploughing machine through the common home of our humanity.

A civilisation geared toward what money can buy, turns its back on the human and the intellect as things of little value in themselves. Intellect in a society driven by the plutocratic impulse of making money, will be little more than a small tool toward achieving that final goal, or even an impediment to it. Intellect in our society is not valuable in itself, and its only value comes from the salary gained by the kind of job requiring intellectual skills. In the economy, the authentically human is undervalued while those with the anti-human, human-shredding skills that know how to manipulate money are the successful sub-species that has turned much of humanity into the sad-cruel figure of the homo economicus.

When civilisations become too dependent on, or become slaves to their own technologies, decadence sets in, and this truth must not ignore the most influential technological invention we have ever come up with – money. Our relationship with money has been the most obvious whilst at the same time most obscure process of human degeneration. In its essence money is a tool that can be used to facilitate exchange and make life simpler. Nevertheless, the effect of money on society has been quite the opposite. Money is now a complex thing that dominates all human societies. It creates more misery than happiness; it is responsible for the virtual enslavement of the vast majority of human beings; it is used as the measure of society and its use is, for the most part, unjust.

Money is the root of all evil: and yet we cannot live without it. We are totally dependent on the evil of it; it is the cause of all degeneracy; it is degeneracy itself. The degenerate-value of money.

To be able to remedy this essentially anti-human reality buried in the very fabric of our civilisation and to resurrect the authentic nature of the human, will require a revolutionary upheaval. Yet at the same time, that revaluation will have to come from a very simple source: through the recognition of the authenticity of what we already are – through a recognition of the authentically human. To rediscover we only have to remember.  

Purposive Philosophy via Science

The_scientific_truth

For human purpose to be positive in a non-transcendental sense, it has to be aimed at progress, which needs to imply eternal continuation in the material sense. Without eternity, all progress and achievements, and purposes are essentially nihilistic and vain.

For philosophy to describe materialistic purpose from the perspective of humanity, it needs a materialistic teleology, which needs to be rooted in science.

In teleological terms, however, science is profoundly pessimistic. The Universe is not eternal. Material reality has a use by date. Everything will one day collapse. Everything – all is vanity!

Nevertheless, philosophy should not give up and dive into nihilistic pessimism as well – and for the humanist, transcendental philosophy should be regarded as equally pessimistic as material nihilism. To be a positivist, the humanist needs to see beyond the pessimistic picture framed by science and look for optimistic paths, opening positivistic doors toward an eternal progress in the science itself. After all, this is the basic function of all technologies. The law of gravity tells us that we cannot fly, but it also was a necessary element in developing flying machines. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that the Universe is doomed to evolve into a massive frozen, inanimate state, but it could also be the key to showing us how that cosmic-truth can be altered. If we were destined to fly, and leave the Earth, then our ultimate destiny, and purposiveness, must be to remedy the fundamental flaw of the Universe, which is the death of everything.

PROPOSITION A: The fact that the evolution of the Universe is moving in an ultimately pessimistic direction gives us a positivist goal to undo that negative outcome.  

Once we look for positive gaps in the pessimistic quilt of the scientific view of eternity, a purposeful materialism becomes a dynamic, motivating force. Contemporary cosmology tells us that the Universe is structured toward the creation of life, and this itself leads to a wealth of positivistic, purposive conclusions. Even the pessimistic idea that the life-generating mechanism in the cosmos is not a very efficient one, can be interpreted in a purposive way by humanity for, as far as we know, we ourselves, as sapiens entities, are the highest evolution of life in the Universe, and that imbues our very existence with tremendous responsibility and purposiveness.

We are here, and by being here we give purpose to the Universe. We make it meaningful. With our technology we have shown that we can overcome the hardships of our environment here on Earth. Nevertheless, we have lost our way: our technological development has evolved in unsustainable proportions; our taming of the environment has developed into an abuse of that environment that threatens its destruction and our own annihilation.

The perpetuation of life in the Universe is a profoundly precarious subject that begins with the precarious problem of prolonging sapiens life on Earth.

What this tells us is that the highest good (what we should all be striving for) is our survival, and that that can only be grasped in an ultimate sense by developing our knowledge of nature. If the fine-tuned Universe exists, it has a moral implication. Even those who imbue a religious significance to Cosmological Fine Tuning could do themselves a big favour by asking themselves what this news tells us about the nature of God’s work … The morality is buried in the purposiveness embedded in the ambition.

What we see when we look at the Universe is a physics of becoming, and what we interpret in the miracle of life and its evolution into sapiens life-forms is a will for Being, which must run through this whole process of becoming. And Being, we reason, must also desire permanence. Through our sapiens minds, the Universe comes into Existence in a formal way, and our logical conclusion is that it would be normal for it to want to stay in existence.

This is our positivism: we are agents through which the Universe exists in a meaningful way. And we are the agents gifted with potential power of determining the success of the Universe’s attempts at Being through becoming and perpetuation.

What we are claiming here may sound esoteric to some, but they are philosophical statements based on scientific facts: a material philosophy nurtured by science.