The World is our World

There are two kinds of universes. Firstly, the kind that is perceived in different ways by each and every perceiving entity (Universe A), and, secondly, the universe that encloses and supports these perceiving entities (Universe B). The latter is that which allows perception to take place and part of it is the World. The World is the space in which conditions allowing for consciousness via a conscious, knowing, sapiens life exist.

This description of reality gives us a basic truth: the World is the part of the Universe made purposeful through Sapiens’ perception of it, and each sapiens entity has his or her own singular universe constructed according to the possibilities granted by its place in space and moment in time. Likewise, these individual realities are enriched by the possibilities engendered by the imagination of each and every sapiens entity BUT enclosed within the physical necessities that make up the form of the all-encompassing Universe that is the prime necessity making Sapiens possible.

The World is our world, open to all our possibilities, but at the same time restricted by the physical laws of the Universe and the fragile equilibrium that makes life on Earth possible. Each sapiens stands at the centre of the Universe (as the creator of his or her universe), but depends on the World and its ability to produce and maintain life (and life’s possibilities) primarily for its purposeful existence and, secondly, for its possibilities within the restrictions of that existence.

 These restrictions are determined by each subjects’ position in time and space. Possibilities are modified by our accumulation (through education and culture and through the other possibilities allowed or disallowed us by societies).

By anchoring ourselves with the metaphysical truth, we are able to find an equally true teleology or final purpose, and through that a general purposiveness for sapiens entities.

The metaphysical truth that there are two kinds of universes, points to an inseparable connection between the multifarious universes coming from Sapiens’ individual perceptions and consciousness and the reality of the all-encompassing Universe itself. Both forms of the Universe need each other, and must never betray each other. So tightly are they linked that any betrayal would mean the annihilation of both universes. The existence of one, therefore, depends on the existence of the other.

The perpetuity of this existence, however, depends on certain laws that must be, firstly, discovered by Sapiens, and secondly, respected.

The general purposiveness (and meaning) in life has to be anchored to the idea of maintaining a perpetual relationship between universe A and universe B, or between Sapiens and the World.

Through perception, Sapiens has the ability to reveal the Universe whilst, through the creative powers of the Sapiens’ imagination, humans are also able to fashion different worlds of our own, each one replete with its own culture and society.  

Sapiens’ creativity is a fundamental feature in the relationship between universe A and universe B. Through universe A, the universe B is not only brought into a purposeful Being (I am known, therefore I am ), it is also enriched and enlarged through the worlds imagined and created from that imagination via the inventive and creative power of Sapiens’ minds and their arts and technologies.

In our relationship with universe B, therefore, we have two purposes that fold over into a singular circular meaning of life: to know that universe and to create within it according to our own imaginations and use of the knowledge we accumulate through contemplating the universe we know.

The first law of purposiveness for Sapiens therefore, which is also a moral imperative, is to be creative and knowledgeable.

But from this conclusion arises another question. If this is an authentic moral imperative for humanity: How can our societies go about fashioning the creative and knowledgeable sapiens entities that are so imperative for a purposeful relationship with the World?

Unconcealment (Part Four): Metaphysics as unconcealment

Continued from Part Three: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/pauladkin.wordpress.com/3386

13.

Returning to the question of Being – Unconcealment is an ontological necessity. Without Unconcealment, Being is impossible. In the ontic field, through an analysis of cosmological fine-tuning, we see that the cosmos has evolved towards Unconcealment by creating conditions for life forms that can be aware. What cosmological fine-tuning suggests is that there is a certain determinism towards Being. In moral terms Being is an absolute good, and anything that threatens Being should be considered an absolute evil.

In the 16th century, the metaphysical thinker, Giordano Bruno, intuited this idea of existential Unconcealment when he talked of universal Providence, to which, he said: “I apprehend three attributes … Mind, Intellect and Love, with which things have first, Being, through the Mind; next ordered and distinct Being, through the Intellect; and third, concord and symmetry, through Love.”

Existential Unconcealment elevates humanity and has moral repercussions in our own lives, especially ecological ones. Without sapiens life on Earth, Being itself is threatened with annihilation. The first priority of homo sapiens must be: not to allow ourselves to become extinct. This is a moral imperative, and our civilisation should adapt itself accordingly. If not, it must forfeit its right to be considered a civilisation. At the moment, we have to admit that we belong to an evil empire that threatens the perpetuity of Being itself.

Let me be quite clear: without Being there is Nothing. “To BE or NOT to BE,” needs to be written like that, with capital letters, emphasising the dramatic nature of this concept. Being is everything, and if unconcealing, sapiens life on Earth is threatened, then everything is threatened. The Apocalypse won’t be brought about through the wrath of God, but it will be caused by the disappearance of that which makes the concept of God possible. Without the Unconcealment of Being, everything is exiled to the ontic purgatory of the un-perceived, concealed, infinity of Non-Being.  

The Science of Necessity

necessity-is-the-mother-of-inventions

In our previous pots (Intelligence and Being[1] and Natural Purpose is born from Necessity[2])we made necessity a force; a physical law of nature. But, how can that be?

Within metaphysics there is the Necessitarian Theory which puts forward the idea that the “Laws of Nature are the principles which govern the natural phenomena of the world”. But this was more of a nomic debate between must and is [3], and a questioning of free will which is certainly not where we want to go. Necessity is also implied, if not stated, in much of the debate on final causes and purposiveness in biology, and, again, championed by theologians, but that is not where we want to go either.

A surprising upholder of final causes and purposiveness as a driving force in biological design was Kant. For him, mechanistic materialism was not enough to explain biology.[4] Nature needs more than just an understanding of its laws to explain it.

But to avoid the philosophical pitfall of tripping over into theology when unravelling metaphysical ideas, perhaps the best way to tackle this would be through an examination of the information used by systems – mechanical or biological – in order to drive themselves. Traditionally we have called much of this information laws: But how do these laws happen? Why must systems act in a certain way? Doesn’t this obligation imply necessity?

If atoms in water must solidify at 0ºC, and must agitate and become gaseous at 100ºC there is a certain force of necessity involved. Once we have established that all natural-laws contain the element of necessity, we see that necessity is everywhere, running throughout the very fabric of the entire universe, on the cosmic and the sub-atomic levels. Things happen because they must; because necessity demands it.

Science thinks it understands phenomena when it has been able to understand its laws, or, in our terminology, when it has understood its necessity – although knowing that something happens necessarily is not the same as knowing why it happens. It is in this field of trying to understand why, that those who ask the question are drawn into the problematic area of teleology and final causes.

Or perhaps not … The answer to the question of why organised systems come about may have nothing to do with final causes – the finality in each law may be just the singularity of each separate law. Initially, the necessary function of each law may simply be that it works. Nevertheless, once a system becomes complex, it needs the individual elements that make it up to all work in a necessary way.

Could we say that physical laws, and therefore needs, evolve as the system evolves? Structurally there is really nothing static in the Universe, everything is changing or inter-changing. Everything is dynamic, evolving into systems that seem in macro-cosmological terms to be stable.

It is this dynamism that eventually produces, in at least one tiny speck of the Universe, conditions for life. With the emergence of organisms, complexity takes on a whole new form. Really there are three stages of complexity in the Universe: (i) the mechanical stage of organising matter; (ii) the organic stage of evolving life forms; and (iii) the perceptive and idealistic stages in the evolving of minds.

In each stage there are laws or needs which deal with: a) lack; b) the problems of the maintenance and preservation of the system; and c) the needs for adapting, changing and progressing through creativity. The interesting thing here is that at all three stages the systems are liable to fall into internecine relationships with themselves. There seems to be an effort to regulate itself and find equilibriums and conditions which are self-regulatory, but the overall rule seems to be that this is impossible, at least in an absolute sense. While systems seem to strive for regularity and permanence, any absolute permanence seems to be impossible. All systems must eventually collapse, even though this seems to be the opposite of the intentions of the needs.

But, if the intentions are real, then the Universe is imbued with purpose; with a struggle; with the need to overcome its own internecine tendencies and evolve into regularity and permanence or at least to keep moving in that direction through the progressive evolutionary forces of adapting, changing and creating.

Looked at in this way, the final cause is in the process and is embedded in progress and becoming geared towards permanence.

[1] https://wordpress.com/post/pauladkin.wordpress.com/3120

[2] https://wordpress.com/post/pauladkin.wordpress.com/3117

[3] Internet Enciclopedia of Philosophy www.iep.utm.edu/lawofnat

[4] See Stanley N. Salthe, DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION; COMPLEXITY AND CHANGE IN BIOLOGY, p. 270

Natural Purposiveness is Born from Necessity

deism

The purposiveness of nature is not a product of design, but of necessity. The Universe needs perceiving, living organisms in order to exist. It needs sapiens creatures capable of perceiving and understanding it in order for its existence to be comprehensible. The underlying fabric of everything is necessity.

Existence was born out of a need intuited by the infinite lack of the void, and the presence of need in that metaphysical equation points toward a universal purposive meaning.

In evolutionary science, need, through adaptation, determines or explains evolutionary processes – and it can also explain the process out of the inanimate universe into worlds with life. If we can admit that the first amphibian didn’t develop its lungs in a purely accidental fashion, then why should we assume that life on earth had to have been formed in a purely accidental way?

But this need is a great problem for science, because it leads to an idea of the deterministic universe, which allows room for the idea of God, which opens the door to religions, which leads to a lot of very unscientific hogwash and the negation of science.

Yet, must determinism be rejected because of this. What is God? The fact that the Universe has an a priori element in its creation doesn’t oblige us to admit the validity of scripture. Not at all. To suggest that the Universe is deterministic and that the origin of its necessary existence is necessity itself, does not have to be an invitation to pray. There may be a deistic element in saying the Universe was born from need, but, historically, deism has always be associated with atheism by religions and should not be problematic for science.

How is necessity understood by science? To what extent can science be understood by understanding necessity? Can we say that all necessity exists like oxygen exists, or like the platypus exists, waiting to be discovered through observation and analysis? Can we therefore imagine a science of necessity dedicated to the uncovering of authentic needs?

Or perhaps these questions are irrelevant: scientific validity is already subject to necessity and possibility. All causes contain a certain amount of accident, and because the accidental is buried in cause, indetermination must also be embedded in results. But is it valid to ask what the necessity is behind a cancer? Or what is the necessity involved in a hurricane? Surely it is: for only through understanding its necessity can we possibly understand why things exist.

Everything exists for a reason that includes both necessity and possibility. It is there because it could be and because it had to be given the circumstances.

This should not be confused with fatalism. If what has to be is not desirable then, if we understand that it has to come about given the current conditions, we can go about taking steps to change those conditions and avoid the otherwise imminent outcome. This is pure common sense. But in order to avoid what is inevitable we have to firstly understand what is inevitable.

THE DANGERS OF DETERMINISM

 

sistine-chapel-ceiling-hands-adam-god

Last week we published an article examining the positive depths of the idea of a purposeful, deterministic Universe[1]. However, as some readers pointed out, determinism has also got its negative side, and we are going to look at that now …

It was Kant who warned us of the dangers of allowing God into the equation when tackling the notion that purposiveness exists in nature. For Kant it was quite simple: using God to explain natural science is no good for either science or theology. It produces an overlapping of boundaries and that creates uncertainty in both camps.[2]

But: Why is this so? If we can deduce that the Universe seems to be fine-tuned towards the creation of life[3], what is wrong with attributing that fine-tuning to an omnipotent, eternal force like God?

Well, our first objection is that the concept of God is by no means a neutral one. It has too much semantic baggage, and those that claim ownership of that luggage are adamant about the enlightened stand-point of their perspective. Likewise, it is hard to see religions embracing cosmological arguments as a proof of the existence of God, simply because cosmological fine-tuning is not found in the Scriptures and when seen from the scientific point-of-view, the science undermines the Scriptures or renders them unimportant. If God did fine-tune the Universe, it is very doubtful that It would be the same God who is said to have communicated with us via the prophets. Once fine-tuning, or any other scientific explanation of creation is accepted, the Scriptures no longer make any sense.

So, if science explains the deterministic, fine-tuning of the Universe it cannot use the term God to describe how or what could have been involved in the process that allowed this fine-tuning to come about.

Kant’s own warning was: “We must scrupulously and modestly restrict ourselves to the term that expresses just as much as we know, and no more – namely, an end (purposiveness) of nature … For the purpose of keeping strictly within its own bounds, physics entirely ignores the question whether natural ends are ends designedly or undesignedly. To deal with that question would be to meddle in the affairs of others – namely, in what is the business of metaphysics.”[4]

Of course, what cosmological fine-tuning implies is that yes, things seem to have been designed, or that there seems to be a design embedded in the structure of the Universe, driving it towards a certain end. Whether this end is willed or desired by the Universe is not a question that can be properly answered by science, but neither is it a pertinent question for theologians who would need to try and apply fine-tuning to the scriptures or vice-versa. That would be an absurd task.

The question here then becomes: If the implications of cosmological fine-tuning is a metaphysical question, who should deal with that metaphysics if it goes beyond the scope of theology and science?

To answer that we must consider where metaphysics came from, and we find its origins in Greek Pre-Socratic thought; the same thinkers who gave birth to philosophy and science. Through the Pre-Socratics, and metaphysics, science and philosophy are genetically tied. The first philosophers were trying to explain the essence of reality by defining the essence of nature; this is what science does through theory and experimentation, and it is also what metaphysics does through logic.

Cosmological fine-tuning is a logic-deduced concept derived from scientific data made from observations of the cosmos. It creates a metaphysical field that needs to be explored philosophically, and it implies the existence of a deterministic Universe, or an infinite Multiverse, and that suggests deep, positivistic repercussions for humanity.

Cosmological fine-tuning is a controversial subject for science, as are all deterministic ideas. Physics and mathematics might tell us that the nature of the Universe is incredibly precise and that, without this minute precision in its structure, the Universe would have been incapable of evolving as it did, but this also implies that we are the results of such an incredibly precise mechanism that the least likely explanation is that the cosmos was a beautiful accident exploding out of the Big Bang. And this makes theologists clap their hands and scientists blush.

To save themselves from the theologians, scientists have come up with an equally speculative idea that our Universe is not a real singularity and we should talk of a Multiverse made up of an infinite possibility of universes.

Quantum physics has opened the door to the realm of the speculative and allows, if not demands, very creative thinking. In a way it has pushed cosmology back into the area of philosophy again – especially towards the primal area of the Pre-Socratics. Scientists are now daring to think within the dangerous space of infinity and recently even sacred concepts like time, the Big Bang and Thermal Death have been questioned.

If philosophy is focussed on necessity, and if our necessity is rooted in the survival and permanence of the sapiens species, our humanity, then the positivism inherent in purposiveness has to be embraced, and the fine-tuned cosmos has to be interpreted as a positivistic inspiration for humanity. The Universe has allowed the conditions for life to be created and evolve into a creature that is aware enough to perceive and to try and understand the very nature of its own creator. And if we permit our own destruction, we are threatening the destruction of all perception of the Universe as well … This is philosophy as positive incentive, as a rediscovery of humanity as a vital force within the cosmos.

If we want to survive as a species and evolve as sapiens, then we must embrace concepts like permanence and progress as virtues. But permanence and progress together. Progress seen as that which will create valuable things that can endure. Endurance is what we see when we marvel at the pyramids or when we tackle the classics in literature, or stand before the great masterpieces of art and music. But the value of endurance must not be limited to conservative sentiments that lead to decadence, rather, endurance can only be guaranteed through progress as human and sapiens concept.

[1] https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/the-depth-of-determinism/

[2] Immanuel Kant, CRITIQUE OF JUDGEMENT, p.209

[3] https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/the-importance-of-metaphysics/

[4] Kant: Ibid, p. 210

Transcendental Reality – from the Big Bang to the Virtual Laboratory of Being, via Plato

Matrix-and-Internet

In order for reality to exist it needed to create an object/subject capable of perceiving it, but in order to do that, it had to firstly manufacture a physical space for that perceiving-subject to evolve in. This needed to be constructed in such a way that life could evolve within it.

The problem is analogous to our relationship with our computers. If we can imagine things from the computer’s point of view … well, from the perspective of an AI computer that would be capable of having a point of view …For that AI consciousness, reality is out of the box that the physical universe is contained in.

Nevertheless, something in that same out-of-the-box reality is responsible for programming the operating system that allows the AI to exist, be conscious of its existence, and even be capable of understanding its own condition as an artificial form of reality created in order to understand the real. Even though that reality is outside of the box and hence alien to the AI’s own immediate environment.

A question arises from this: Could an artificial intelligence ever come to really understand that which it’s been designed to do without being able to leave the box and experience the authentically real for itself?

In fact, this dilemma seems to be a moot point, having been made irrelevant by the fact that an intelligent computer does have access to input from outside. Actually, the imagined world of the Cyberentity would be mostly formed by its perception of the information that it could gather from the Internet, which would be information about the other reality, outside of the box, that is our world.

So, here the analogy breaks down, or does it? Here, perhaps, Plato was right. Everything that exists in the physical world has been created from information uploaded into it from the pre-physical or transcendentally Real dimension.

Thus, we also have the Biblical “God created the Universe in his own image” …

Or perhaps not … Could our physical reality have been a different kind of computer to the ones we are accustomed to be using?

Imagine that we want to build a device that could actually teach us about ourselves by clearly revealing to ourselves what we are from a purely objective stand-point. Our main aim therefore, would be to fabricate something which would provide an objective perception of us and, at the same time, be able to communicate its impartial perception of us to us, in a language that we are capable of understanding.

It might be considered that the best way to do this would be not to invent a super-AI observer of us, who could teach us, like a Messiah (we already know how flawed that process is), but rather to fabricate a virtual, but distorted image of a civilisation, that we could observe from a safe and impartially-perfect distance. If the civilisation were flawed we could learn from its mistakes, if it were perfect and Utopian, we would have a model to learn how to improve our own societies from.

In order to make this didactic universe, we would need to programme an environment capable of evolving in its own original way, but in a direction in which the creation of perception, consciousness, self-consciousness and curiosity were all possible. At the same time, the process would need to be monitored by us, so that, the internal language of the organisms evolving in the process can be learned and understood by us. Only if we allow a language of evolution that’s alien to our own, and therefore objective because distorted image of ourselves will the experiment provide scientifically important results (a mirror-image of ourselves would not give us the distance needed to truly learn from our observations of it). Only if we are constantly monitoring the language in order to understand its idiosyncrasies will we be able to draw purposeful conclusions and enjoy a meaningful experience from the experiment.

The fact that it is conceivable that we, or an Artificial Intelligence, could be capable of conducting such an experiment, opens a mind-boggling window into the question of reality. In fact, the very existence of virtual-reality questions the nature of our own perceived-world in exactly the same way that Plato did. We are not only capable of imagining the creation of a virtual universe, the purpose of which would be to understand our own being, we could also very well be the results of such a fabrication by an entity outside of our own box.

It also tells us that consciousness of the virtual does not have to be a nightmarish experience, like the one depicted in the Matrix films, but rather it provides a purposeful meaning for our existence in terms of the entire multiverse – in and out of the box experience of Reality. If the scenario we have imagined here is correct, and we are the virtual creations of the universe, then it means that we are the objects that the universe learns from, which turns us into the didactic material that the universe absorbs.

And the moral lesson this teaches, is that the essence of the universe is moulded by our example and that is a tremendous responsibility.

Yet, if this is so, what needs to be done?

Perhaps the best way to solve this question will be to create our own virtual-universe laboratory … and by doing so extend reality further into the infinite regressions of the multiverse. Infinity is a reality, but it is found not in expansion but in regression.

Cause and Effect

cause-effect

The effect cannot be the cause of its cause (Kant) – but the result can be an inspiration for beginning the process of its own creation. This causal nexus is true of anything that is created from an idea, or all things which are the products of visionaries. The cause of the thing comes from the fact that it has been imagined (nexus of ideal causes). In many cases, if there had not been an imagining of the result the initiative to create it would never have taken place. And so, in our technological reality, cause and result are closely intertwined, because most inventions are imagined and made to satisfy a perceived need: forks came about from an idea of the need to save our fingers from getting sticky when we ate.

But how does this help any metaphysical understanding? Can we apply this idea to the question of the first cause? Can intuition be enough to create something out of nothing? How can this relationship exist without a mind to start the creative process? For it to be possible the nothing has to be capable of intuiting something, which would imply that the nothing would possess awareness; and this suggests that the nothing is not nothing at all but awareness, which is something; even though, in the beginning it would be an awareness of nothing, which is a very poor form of consciousness indeed. Of course, next to nothing, any something is everything, so in the long run this intuition of something has limitless scope.

The dilemma might point us in the direction of the idea of God (before anything there was an eternal thingy that made everything out of itself); or perhaps we could assert that the primordial God is awareness (omnipresent in everything that is aware). Likewise, it brings up the concept of determinism (Awareness blending into purposeful Will), and also suggests a way of envisaging a purposeful universe without the necessity for God (unless a religion can be made in which God actually does become Awareness). Through intuition of a nexus finalis, in which entities-with-awareness (sapiens life-forms) are able to fully know the Universe in one great act of love (Being through knowing and being known, as well as appreciating and preserving what is known), a determined future opens up for us. An idea which can have enormous practical benefits for humanity, because it positions us in a purposeful place within the evolution of everything (the Universe).

But perhaps you think this is a pointless argument: that we are trying to prove the unproveable. In fact, we are not trying to “prove” anything: what we are aiming at is a pragmatical solution to the insalubrious effects of nihilisms; to wrestle with the ingrained pessimism that is debilitating humanity. Why do people prefer the non-purposeful over the purposeful?

Part of the blame for this must be heaped on the religions, for they dogmatise the purposeful universe and distort it in order to drive purpose in the direction of the interests of power. If purpose is a tool for power, then many will reject it. The irony of this is that even the resultant nihilism has itself become a tool for that power, especially now that power nurtures itself via an economic system of anarchic capitalism. For this system, purpose is too directional itself and offers too much clarity for the system which requires relativity in order to mask its real purposes. Purpose is therefore a threat to the system that can only be tolerated by allowing it to be projected through the distorting glass of religion.

In this way, we can see that there is nothing more radical in this world than real purposiveness; by which we mean the examination of a non-theological, cosmological, nexus finalis direction to the Universe.

Progress does not come about through cause and effect alone, but only through effect-driven causes inspired by purposive ideas. The Universe is the effect-driven result of the condition of nothing that allows for the possibility of everything. But our Universe is also a refined everything, stabilised through the filter of intuitive purposiveness. A purposiveness which is denied by the global money-driven civilisation we have now created, propelling us into a chaos of pessimisms and cynicisms regarding our own humanity. To find harmony in our lives, we need to harmonise our way of living with the same intuitive purposiveness possessed by the universe; we need to open our eyes and see where we are all going; where our ancestors will be at the end of time; and imagine what they will emerge as when the final evolution eventually takes place.

The Depth of Determinism

Vitruvian_macrocosm

If we accept the deterministic conclusion implied by Cosmological Fine Tuning[1]that our physical universe is geared towards the creation of life and that this creation of life is the purposive aim of a purposive Universe, then the next question to be asked is – Why is this so?

The Idealist reasoning of existence, that the subject only exists when there is an object to perceive it, suggests that existence itself is the aim of this cosmological plan.

If the Universe is purposive, then there is a reason behind evolution. A deterministic development of the Universe, driven to develop sapiens life forms, would indicate that the cosmos desires more than mere existence itself, it needs to be perceived and known in a state that we call Authentic Being.

What is the purpose of being known? How could knowledge, via these sapiens entities, be a necessary element in the cosmos?

Perhaps these particular questions are irrelevant within the cosmological plan, nevertheless, they are essential for any desire to establish deep human purposiveness and combat nihilism. A school of study and debate on these questions and the purposiveness enshrouded in Authentic Being could create more human progress in ten years than capitalist ideology has managed in five hundred years.

Human purposiveness can only truly be appreciated once we examine the role of life in the Universe. Why is the Universe here? Why are we here? Once we have accepted these queries as valid concerns for all of humanity, we will start to see the authentic purposiveness in our art and technology, and the retarding effects of our economy.

[1] An explanation of the basic principles of Cosmological Fine Tuning can be found on our entry The Importance of Metaphysics @ https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/the-importance-of-metaphysics/

Pleasure and Preservation – the need for an Aesthetics of Humanity

humancosmos

Pleasure gives us a purposiveness to preserve that which we like.

This idea is Kantian[1]. In linking pleasure with preservation, it also ties it to the will for permanence and removes it from pleasure as a hedonistic love of the ephemeral.

In this way, we find that there are two kinds of pleasure: the superficial (ephemeral) one and the deeper one that is tied up with this will for permanence.

Kant was investigating aesthetics when he brought this up, and in fact it is this double pronged idea of pleasure which explains the need for aesthetics as a need for understanding the pleasure that things can give us in order to understand the need to preserve them.

It there is a necessary purposiveness in preserving humanity, then perhaps this can be inculcated via the development of an aesthetics of humanity, a way of looking at ourselves that will foster the deeper pleasure instincts of the will for permanence.

By dwelling on the beauty that is humanity we encourage ourselves to strengthen the human and mould ourselves into good human-beings: a concept which can only be properly understood once we have learned to see the beautiful within what humanity is.

An aesthetics of the human would need to be disinterested in anything other than the authentically human. Any study of this aesthetic would therefore have to distance itself from the ugly humanity that we are, in order to find the beautiful humanity that we should be.

This concept should not be seen as Idealist, but rather as a kind of positivistic deconstructionism. The only way to know what we should be as authentic human beings, is to dismantle the errors that have shaped us into the monstrous form that humanity is today. Only by unveiling the ugliness of what we are now, can we see the beauty of what we should have become (and can become in the future). This unveiling demands a dismantling of all interests that divide humanity: all nationalisms; racial or religious divisions; as well as all economic interests and ideologies of class.

An aesthetics of humanity might not only be a way to ensure the permanence of the human race, it could also create an authentic design and composition for humanity or for human progress.

Technology, seen from the perspective of the aesthetics of humanity, is either an ornamentation that takes away from the genuine beauty of humanity, or it is an extension of the beautiful picture itself.

Objective purposiveness is either external, i.e. the utility; or internal, i.e. the perfection of the object,”[2] said Kant. But our line of thinking sees perfection coming through utility. Once we understand the utility of humanity in the cosmos, then we can begin to conceive where the road to perfection starts.

[1] See Immanuel Kant, CRITIQUE OF JUDGEMENT, Oxford Classics, OUP, p. 51

[2] Ibid, p.57

SCIENCE AND METAPHYSICS

Vitruvian_macrocosm

HAS SCIENCE MADE HUMANITY BETTER?

Thinking through historical processes in order to develop a positivist philosophy from which he could develop a secular religion for humanity, Auguste Comte saw three intellectual stages through which human thought had passed: A) the theological stage, with its belief that supernatural characters are at the root of all things; B) the metaphysical stage (occurring between 1300 and 1800) in which abstract forces like ‘nature’, rather than personalized gods, explain everything, and C) the positivistic stage, characterized by a belief in science.[1]

Comte has identified a real progression, but the problem with this evolution is that in fact there is no real progress, at least not between B and C, because science is really nothing more than an analysis and explanation of nature. So, rather than being a great leap forward for humanity, our scientific era is more accurately a period in which nature is better explained than it had been before. Yes, this is a good thing. It is always good to know things better. But, from the positivist point of view that Comte was expressing, and with the advantage of the hindsight of two centuries that Comte himself did not possess, we must ask ourselves: How has our understanding of nature made humanity a better kind of human being? Comte saw science as a progress away from nature. Yet, while science seems to explain everything, it just explains nature, which explains everything – and in Comte’s simplification, that was already happening in the metaphysical period before.

The illusion created by ideas such as Comte’s of positivistic progress away from nature, has in fact had deeply scarring results. The most obvious wound being that which has necessitated the creation of the science of ecology. The irony of ecology is that it is a science created out of the necessity to put nature back on track, because of the damage done to it by the application other scientific developments of contaminating technologies. Through the understanding of nature that ecology gives us, we now understand the urgency to put nature back into the metaphysical space it had before scientific revelations tampered with it. The scientific period that Comte labelled as positivistic has, in fact, been dangerously nihilistic, precisely because it uprooted itself from the metaphysics of nature and lost all respect for the nature that sustained it. The most positivist action we could take now, would be to put all the technology sciences under the umbrella of ecology. In a sense, this would mean embracing the wisdom of the metaphysical age again in which everything is connected, a connection needs to be respected above all else.

The environmental damage we have wreaked on the planet has been far from positivistic, and the only positivism remaining in our nihilistic world is the perverse, suicidal cult of growth and expansion.

In order to continue viewing science as a positive element for human progress, we need to project all sciences through the microcosmical lens of ecology and the macrocosmic eye of cosmology, for it is through these two lenses that metaphysical notions are starting to once again filter into the intellectual mesh of our present age.

THE NEW METAPHYSICAL AGE: COSMOLOGY, ECOLOGY AND SAPIENS-CENTRISM

Perhaps the most important scientific theory for any new-age positivism, is the idea of the cosmological constant, the tiny force of dark matter that is so necessary for existence and is, numerically, so precise that it emboldens existence with deterministic meanings. The Big Bang may have been an accidental phenomenon, but from it developed a physical nature which now works deliberately in the direction of producing conditions to allow the evolution of life forms and the creation of self-conscious Being. The Universe is a physical process geared toward positive evolution, and human beings, as sapiens organisms capable of understanding things, are a central part of Being.

Armed with cosmological and ecological arguments, it is time to swing the pendulum back to the metaphysical age. Cosmology and ecology refuel a human positivism, but to drive the positivistic wagon we need a philosophical pilot. A pilot that is motivated by a belief in the necessity of humanity as a purpose for his or her own mission. The philosophical pilot of the positivistic wagon has to see beyond our nihilistic notions of humanity and put our consciousness and awareness back in the centre again: a sapiens-centrism in which humanity becomes the subject of the universe again (just as in Comte’s metaphysical age).

Sapiens exist in order for the macrocosm and microcosm to be perceived. We stand at the centre of the Universe. Being can only Be whilst sapiens organisms exist. Being is enriched when Sapiens develops its knowledge and creativity to the full.

DETERMINISM

If the observance of natural laws indicates a determinism that is positive for humanity in that it gives a meaningful answer to the question why we are here, then such a determinism must be considered desirable and worth promoting. If this determinism also indicates ecological values, then this gives us further reasons for embracing the concept. Our survival in a world that is suffering daily deterioration under the impact of our non-ecological behaviour, may depend on it. The problems facing humanity in our relationship with our planet cannot be resolved in a nihilistic system driven by the ethics of growth and sadly lacking in the spirit of real sustainability. For humanity to survive, it needs a positive reason why humanity is here. It needs a sapiens-meaning, rather than squabbling individual reasons.

A METAPHYSICS BIRTHED FROM SCIENCE

But Comte was right enough in seeing that where the three stages of his history cohabitated in the same society, the metaphysical state enacted a kind of deontological mediating role within the antagonistic space between theology and rationality.[2]

What Comte could never dream of, however, was the possibility of a science driven and fuelled by a metaphysics. Metaphysics for Comte was always an ingredient buried in the theological notion and therefore something that science had to eradicate in order for culture to make positive progress. But what happens when the metaphysics is birthed out of science (ecology and cosmology) rather than God? How can theological myths stand up to so much truth?

Likewise, science is equally troublesome if by science we refer to those individuals and their corporations who use the technologies created by science to accumulate power and turn themselves into a race of oligarchical technocrats. When we talk about a science-based metaphysics we are talking about a new relationship with science, undermining the ethical relativity of our present, nihilistic civilisation suffocated by its philosophy of perpetual growth. A ecological-cosmological science-metaphysics demands an equality with nature: Sapiens is in the world, and the world is in Sapiens.

SCIENCE-BASED METAPHYSICS

Rather than being a mediator, the science-based metaphysics will probably find itself being attacked from both sides (from both the science-technology world and the world of religion), for it must certainly be seen as a threat to both sides. Between the emperors of accumulation and the dogmas of monotheisms, the only weapon available to science-based metaphysics is the shield of truth. The same shields the monotheisms wielded when they erected their own theological revolutions. But this truth is stamped not with the vague ambiguity of scriptures, but with the authoritative seal of scientific evidence itself. In this way, it is not a threat to the antagonistic systems of science and religion, it is a fusion of the two. And what a powerful new peace-maker this is.

Ecology and the inherent metaphysics embedded in all ecological thought which is that we are all in the world and the world must be protected from our own mad, degradation of the world, is a nascent, antagonistic force against the System. Antagonistic but necessary. Its attack on the system has to be directed more and more forcefully as solutions to the ecological-problem are constantly thwarted. While ecology may be a threat to the System, our System is presently a threat to existence and must therefore be transformed or eliminated. A positive logic that accepts Being over Non-being tells us irrefutably that, despite its present lack of real power, a science-based metaphysics must triumph over the nihilists, technocrats and theologians. Science-based metaphysics is a logical necessity.

 

[1] Ritzer, 1996:14, quoted in Mike Gane, AUGUSTE COMTE, Routledge, New York, 2006, p.23

[2] Ibid