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.