SCIENCE AND METAPHYSICS

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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

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MEANINGFULNESS: Transcending Nihilism and Determinism.

Quantum Energy - Universe

THE MEANING

The Universe is meaningful, or it is not. We cannot be absolutely certain one way or the other. Intuition can argue both cases and empirical investigation merely stumbles into an empty hole.

The question of meaning is a uniquely human, or, more accurately, sapiens issue: the concern over meaning is only pertinent to organisms that can understand what meaning is. The meaning is in the capacity to understand meaning. For the natural world to be meaningful, therefore, it has to create meaning for itself, firstly by creating conditions for life that can evolve into sapiens forms capable of understanding meaning.

This process of creating meaning is itself sufficient as a teleological reason. In this way, meaning is discovered through the creation of meaning. Much like Columbus had no original intention of going to America. He intended to cross the sea to India, but once America was found, the intention of all Trans-Atlantic voyages from Europe since then have been to reach the Americas. So, just as America becomes real through the discovery of America; meaning becomes real through the discovery of meaning. An event which was brought about by the evolution of organisms with an intelligence capable of formulating the concept of meaning and the capacity to invent and reinvent what meaning is.

This realisation that meaning is the meaning of meaning, contains a powerful positivism, transcending both determinism and nihilism: The Universe is either meaningful or it is not, but the fact that we can make that distinction or ask that question is meaningful. In other words, the very fact that we can conceive the Universe to be possibly meaningless makes it meaningful. That there exists a point, any point, in the vast stretches of the Universe where that question can be formulated, gives credence to the circumstance that, during the time that the intelligence exists to formulate such a question, the Universe itself, as it is conceived by that entity, is imbued with meaning.

Yes, meaning lies in the existence of the concept of meaning. If there is a meaning to evolution it is in the creation of a capacity to understand meaning, meaningfulness and even meaninglessness. Meaning proves the meaningfulness of all things.

Nihilism is therefore unimportant, because once we have understood the concept of meaning, life is meaningful. Likewise, determinism is a non-issue. Whether this was willed or accidental, it does not matter at all. The fact is that meaning exists as a concept and will only exist while the concept continues to exist. The meaningful course is, therefore, the way that will perpetuate the concept of meaning. Real nihilism would only arise when the concept itself is lost – which is impossible whilst a living creature with a functional language exists. Meaning is embedded in all language. The nature of language is to give a meaning to existence by naming existence. I think; therefore, I am meaningful.

But this is also misleading, because we are limiting our definition of language to the words we say, when in fact language can become a far more ubiquitous phenomenon. If we define language through its function, which is communication, we see that it is the very fabric of the Universe itself because communication is an integral part of the sub-atomic structure of everything. Language communicates information and cosmologists and physicists like Vlatko Vedral and Rafael Bousso argue that information is the bedrock of the Universe. [1] We can think of no better link between what we perceive to be the material and spiritual fabrics of the Universe, and no better explanation of the dual-reality of mind and body than the fact that the Universe is structured on information.  But we want to take this concept one step further than the physicists: if meaning is embedded in language and communication, and communication is entrenched in the Universe; then the Universe must also be imbued with meaning.

This brings us again to the importance of the sapiens. It is through a self-conscious understanding of meaning, which is knowing, that the language embedded in the Universe is imbued with meaning. Sapiens give meaning to meaning. Knowing what meaning is, makes meaning meaningful.

THE ANTI-MEANING

Yet, if the meaning is there, embedded in the fabric of everything, doesn’t this also leave us in the limbo of nihilism: if everything is meaningful, then nothing is more meaningful than anything else, and, subsequently, nothing is more important than anything else. Given this kind of metaphysical scenario; how can we decide what needs to be done? Nevertheless, this is an unfair question: the essence can never be a moral pointer in itself, beyond the essential question itself – which is: Is the essence of the Universe meaningful or not? If the answer is yes; the essence is meaningful and therefore good, and this is a moral conclusion that has moral consequences, but only while we know it. Remember, only while it is known what meaning is, can meaning be meaningful. The good is something worth preserving, or as Heidegger said, something worth caring-for. And, in order to preserve what is meaningful we must protect that which knows what is meaningful: we have to protect the sapiens; we have to protect humanity and its capacity for knowing, understanding and creating meaning through the arts and sciences.

This may sound like stating the obvious, but it is not obvious at all. For the last seventy years, at least, we have been living under a shadow of the threat of self-destruction: first, through the nuclear arms proliferation of the Cold War; and afterwards by our rapacious destruction of the biosphere. Humanity is now revealed to be following an anti-meaning, a meaningless jeopardising of meaning itself by turning our backs on the preservation of meaning, which is the preservation of humanity itself.

We do well to ask ourselves how such an absurd situation could ever come about? If the essence of the Universe is meaning, how could that essence be undermined by they who possess and understand meaning better than any other entity in the Universe? Without knowing what meaning is, there is no meaning. This is the existential role of all sapiens entities in the Universe, and every time your brain clicks into conscious-thinking mode you are participating in this existential experience. Our existence makes the Universe meaningful, and that puts humanity at the very centre of things.

To live in a way that threatens our survival is, therefore, fundamentally evil; it is life in the bubble of anti-meaning. This absurdity is possible due to the structure of human thought itself. Its logical form and its dependency on measurement in order to define and give meaning to things, not only understands meaningfulness, it also defines the meaningless. The same consciousness that allows us to comprehend an idea like the One, or absolutes of Good, or Truth, immediately creates an anti-version. Against Good is Evil; against Truth is the Lie; against the One is the Void … and against Meaning is Non-meaning; against Meaningfulness is Nihilism.

The logical creation of opposites in order to understand has a lethal effect on any idea of singularity. The One just cannot be grasped for any length of time by a mind that functions within a logic of constant comparison. If there is a meaning, there must also be an anti-meaning; if there is 1, there must also be -1. Traditionally, it has only been through the anti-logic of faith that thinking has been able to overcome the logical result of that equation: 1-1=0; equals nihilism.

Post-modernism was correct in associating truth with relativity and pluralism – we give the meaning we want to reality – but to save that pluralism from the anarchy of everything is permitted, it has to be anchored in the metaphysical ubiquity of meaning itself. As everything is allowed, then nothing is meaningful is a wrong assumption, because not everything is allowed. Everything is permitted except the assumption that the ubiquitous meaning is meaningless. We can’t think meaning away, it can only go away when we stop thinking. Nihilism, therefore, is not something that is thought out or thought away. Nihilism as non-meaning, is non-thought; it is the absence of thought. And if thought is a celebration of the meaning constituting the Universe, nihilism (non-thought/non-meaning) is nothing more than a threat, albeit a very serious threat.

OUR POSITIVISM

Our positivism centres meaning where it has to be – in our minds. The meaningful is linked to thinking and awareness. The more aware we are, the more meaningful life is. All ignorance diminishes meaning and propagates meaninglessness via a lack of awareness. Knowledge nurtures meaning itself. Likewise, art and technology, when developed through an erudite process with a thirst for knowledge, expand the meaningful.

By being centred in meaning we are situating ourselves in the centre of the meaningful Universe, and that is a spiritually uplifting experience. The deeper the sapiens species delves into its own sapiens nature, the nobler it becomes and the closer it gets to the purposeful existence of the good, because meaningful, life.

[1] For more information about the information Universe watch Robert Lawrence Kuhn’s video https://youtu.be/-ATWa2AEvIY or read Vlatko Vedral, Decoding Reality https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoding_Reality

 

Dreams, Time, Death and Life

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TIME AND DREAMS

In María Zambrano’s essay on Dreams and Time[1], she argues that time in dreams is an ambiguous element because it doesn’t really exist, and that the time we experience in our waking lives is a creation of consciousness – an integral aspect of thinking. From this she comes to a very interesting conclusion, that time is a liberating force for consciousness.

Within this thought lies a profoundly humanistic proposal: the consciousness we are endowed with as human beings is a liberating force in itself, but only when that same consciousness is able to process time.

Of course, we are so immersed in time that this seems like a tautological statement: how can we not be in time? And isn’t time an oppressive rather than liberating force? Haven’t we heard so many artists and poets complain about the tyranny of time on our lives; the great dictator over existence, from which it is impossible to ever free ourselves. Yet, Zambrano’s point is that we do escape time. In fact, we escape it every time we dream, and that happens daily. Yet where we are truly free is not in the time-liberating dream, but in the time-controlled waking world.

Freedom lies in the power to decide and that is what is denied us in our dreams. The dream world is imposed on us, we have no choice unto where it will take us; we cannot make real decisions there. It is a prison-world, in which the mind seems to play cruel games on the ego-subject that slips into it. Decisions are not made, and problems are never properly resolved in dreams. Things just occur randomly, in a world with an absurd logic in which the subject experiencing the dream is essentially powerless.

Freedom lies in an ability to make decisions and all oppression resides in the power that can nullify any expression of such decisions or squash any acts of realization that may be regarded consequential of those decisions. To exist only in the dream world, would literally mean to be trapped in a nightmare.

But more importantly, the essence of being human, which lies in our conscious, sapiens mind, is also wrapped up in this freedom to make decisions, and time is therefore an integral element in that freedom. A: I am human because I can decide; B: I can decide because I am in time; C: I am human because I am in time.

Zambrano’s argument, however, is that we are both in time and out of time: in time when awake, and out of time whenever we dream. But we would take this one step further, we are also in time while we are alive, and out of time when we die.

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LIFE AND DEATH

Let’s assume that life after death exists: what then is it? If our individual consciousness can exist after our corporeal state has perished, where would that consciousness be?

In trying to imagine such a state, the best approximation we can make is to imagine death as something like an existence in the timeless space of dreams. “To die; perchance to dream” – or more precisely, not to dream but to live in the dream: perhaps in death we dream of being alive; of being in time.

But this idea of the dream-state of consciousness in death applied to Zambrano’s reflection on the totalitarian experience of consciousness within the timeless, turns all religious optimisms on their head. Death is not a release from the nightmare of life, but an immersion into the nightmare itself. The idea of reincarnation is therefore not a Buddhist notion of spiritual learning and evolution into the state that no longer needs to be reincarnated, but a yearning from the prison of death to return to the freedom of life.

The essence of modern religions, lies in the hope they offer of the after-life and their narratives that mitigate our fear of death. For the religious, death is a liberation from an imperfect, inharmonious world of constant suffering – but it is in fact quite the opposite of liberation. A consciousness in death would be drowning in the freedom-less dimension beyond time-space, in which every subject exists in an ambiguous reality, with no decision-making power and no control of the reality they float around in at all.

But what the religious lose here is humanity’s gain. Hope lies here, in this dimension of reality. Plato’s cave may lack the light of God, but it has the time-space that allows those within it to feel the power of freedom. A liberating force which has always been mitigated and undermined by all world religions and the civilisations and cultures that those same religions have architectured around their anti-human narratives directing all hope unto death.

Our greatest hope in death can only be that it is not a permanent condition: that from the time-less space of the dream of death we will reincarnate again back into time and the freedom of the deliberating, decision-making endowed consciousness.

 

[1] María Zambrano, EL SUEÑO CREADOR, Turner, Madrid,1986

OUR WINDMILLS OF IMPOSSIBLE FANTASIES

 

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The gospel of St. John, translated by King James, begins with the announcement: “In the beginning was the Word,” which is a glorious way of saying: “It all began with a word.” On the surface this may sound like little more than a nice piece of poetry, but within it is buried the simple but deep metaphysics of Idealism. Existence cannot really be said to have begun in any qualitative sense until there was the first named-thing.

It is unlikely that the first word uttered would have been an abstract concept like God, as St. John proposes. More likely it would have been a familiar object, or even more likely, the expression of a feeling; or an indicator you or me.

Language is our first musical relationship between the world and our perception of it. But did it begin musically? Perhaps not: perhaps language was first created graphically. Two lines intersecting representing a tree, the tree on the plain, where two hominoids would meet and wait to hunt the invisible beast.

This would have been a clearer beginning. In order to communicate the invisible, the invisible has to be recreated from memory and then turned into a representation of it. Rendered via some abstract – either graphically or through vocalisation. But, it’s not important which came first; the importance lies in the fact that eventually one always becomes the other – the graphic form must evolve into the vocal utterance and vice versa.

Of course, once the vocal abstraction was grasped by hominoid societies and developed to its full potential, it would nearly always be preferred to the graphic communication: it is simpler and more versatile through that simplicity.

Once language has been absorbed, minds can think and expand. It is our capacity for grasping complexity through the tool of language that makes us homo-sapiens human. But from where comes this need for complexity? Why do we bother? Isn’t the good life the simple one? Could complexity be a mistake? After all, this search for complexity was the very reason for our Fall from Paradise.

The religious notion we have that we must suffer for a nostalgia for the Paradise Lost, can be affirmed by psychology. Nevertheless, psychology would also argue that the nostalgia is more realistically our yearning to return to the perfect autocracy of the womb rather than some primordial memory of a Garden of Eden.

That is our human condition; buried in the word, and the complexity that word yearns to unveil.

Our nostalgia for simplicity, on the other hand, is a (non-Sapiens) animal one – the un-special part of us: the part without language; the non-Sapiens side of the homo sapiens.

The human being then is a dual being: both animal and Sapiens. The animal side yearns for a simple life of satisfied needs, whereas the Sapiens strives to unravel the complexity of reality in order to understand and preserve it. These two forces are, in practice, basically antagonistic to each other, even though there seems to be only one entity at work.

The struggle works on both the micro and macro-psychological levels. It is as much a battle between ego and Id as it is between Power and the People. On the personal level one may get bored and distressed by the lack of challenges in one’s life, or over-stressed and panicky by their over-abundance. In the socio-political realm, the will to simplicity and the quest for comfort is generated in order to create a passive herd of the animal class whilst the same Wealth-driven power that creates the herd, separates itself in an aristocratic way. By doing this, Wealth can appropriate the Sapiens ideal for itself; albeit through gross, anti-human segregation.

Meanwhile, words themselves become absorbed into the human struggle between simplicity and complexity. The forces of simplicity struggle, in a linguistic way, to make expression as minimally clear as possible. The lucidity and clarity of the slogan: if you can say it in a sentence, why write a chapter? If you can say it in word, why write a sentence?

Nevertheless, one can’t understand complexity by simply reducing it. An abstract of the complex does require a reduction of its complexity in order to become clear, but that reduction can never be an over-simplification of the complex nature, when by over-simplification we mean a loss of meaning via simplification.

The result of over-simplification is the creation of a perception of reality that does not quite make sense. Thus, we may live in a freedom-loving country and yet not feel particularly free at all. In the same way, one may marry the person one deeply loves only to shortly find out that they hardly love him or her at all. This radical shift in our perception of reality occurs not, as we immediately think, because conditions have profoundly changed, but rather because the words we defined our relationships with (in this case “freedom” and “love”) were never properly defined to start with.

In fact, if we follow Lacan’s chain of signification into that which does not exist, we find that neither of these terms really point to anything that exists either. They are therefore impossibilities, and because they are impossibilities we can only have the vaguest notion of them. To truly achieve clarity, we should abolish them. But instead, we do the opposite. We grab onto them as fulcrums from which we can form our own impossible fantasies around.

The impossibility of the Utopia is not one of praxis, it is a linguistic impossibility. If we want to create a better world, we have to choose our words more carefully. The word was vital for humanity and it is vital if there has to be any real human progress in the Big Arenas of the eradication of poverty and hunger; crime and war; and for real human to be made in health, creativity and technology.

Of course, the impossible desire is always functional, and it creates its own accidental results: some of which even seem to make the impossible seem real. For example, whilst one could argue that very mush been achieved in the name of “love” and “freedom”; our argument stems from the realisation that in fact so much has been overlooked, precisely because of that same obsession with the windmills of impossible fantasies.

From Khaos to Being, via Sapiens

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The original Greek χάος comes from the verb to gape and is therefore the dark emptiness, the black abyss in the yawning mouth of the Universe.

In Greek cosmology this was the word used to describe the state of non-being prior to creation. Our modern cosmology could use the term to describe the state of non-being before the Big Bang, but it doesn’t – probably because the concept is hardly a very scientific assumption; the void of Khaos would imply that there was space before the Big Bang, rather than the more generally held notion of space and time being created by the Big Bang. What’s more, chaos, as it is usually spelt, has come to mean other things, which is why we write it as khaos.

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For us, our interest in Khaos lies in the idea of a moment when non-being became the process of becoming that leads to Being, and an affirmation that such a moment was not the Big Bang. In fact, it took place millions of years after the Big Bang. The shift from a state of non-being to the process of becoming Being was a very quiet development, more like an unheard oozing than any noisy leap or an explosion of light.

Being has always been a slow process of becoming, an evolutionary unfolding, rooted in perception. It began with the first bleeps of perception from the first perceiving micro-organisms, and has developed into those complex life-forms capable of understanding and communicating their awareness, self-consciousness etc., that we call Sapiens.

In the beginning was the word …” The process to Being started with the naming of things. Being is the product of an unveiling. The Creation is not a creation as such, but a discovery or reaffirmation of the existence that would otherwise be pointlessly trapped in the yawning mouth of Khaos.

From the original notion of Khaos came the cosmological notion of a primordial state in which our cosmos in potentia is waiting to be formed in the yawning mouth. From this notion came the erroneous assumption that such a formation could only be managed by a Demiurge, the Creator, while in fact that creator is Sapiens. The Creator is all of us. Creation occurred when the yawning mouth of humanity spat out the first word.

The creator is Sapiens, and humanity (homo sapiens) is a part of that Sapiens entanglement with Being itself. Each time we utter or think a word we are taking part in the divine process of becoming that is embedded in all Being. The difference between the Universe and the Void, flows through us.

This placing of Being in the language of Sapiens, means that being is not just what is observed, understood and perceived, it also exists in the language of potential and conditionals. Being is what is, what has been, and what it could and will be. Being rejoices in us: not just in itself reflected in our perception of it, but also in our vision of its own potentials.

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Let us not be mean with Being. Give it all our love – our appreciation, understanding and preservation – and all our desire for the unleashing of its most incredible potentials, guided by our own unlimited imaginations.

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.

OVERCOMING OUR AGE OF NIHILISM: METAPHYSICS & SCIENCE

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Nietzsche said that nihilism is reached when “all one has left are the values that pass judgment – nothing else.” A Nihilistic Age is, therefore, an age when everyone is held accountable for their actions without taking any higher purposes into consideration, because there are no common higher purposes. It is a tragic age. It is our age.

The Nihilistic Age needs to be overcome if humanity is going to progress and any Superman-leap over the Last Man that is blocking our way[1] must be via an injection into values: a vaccination which will see clear, irrefutable purposeful-values that cannot be judged – being beyond judgement, because they are true.

 

In the dialectics between the two-sided judgement that is passing values, the weak will perish. For that reason, Power (which in our society is Wealth) constantly recreates these black and white arguments. There can only be one winner, Power (Wealth) itself. This Nietzsche understood, but he failed to see the way over the dilemma; failed to see that blocking the way on the tight-rope was Power itself, and that to become the Superman, the hero had to leap, not only over the Last Man, but over Power itself. Going beyond good and evil means going beyond the judgement-passing values created by Power; going beyond the separating fundamentals of identities, so deeply rooted in human cultures. This also implies a going-beyond our misapprehension of our human nature. Division and competition is deeply rooted in our Power/Wealth forged psyches – but so are so many other types of psychological traumas fetishes and complexes. The fact that they are there, does not mean that we cannot overcome them.

But how?

To begin we must question our own identities. This means we must question the failed concept we have of ourselves as a species: question our own status as Humans. Throw the term out of the window, it is too splattered with failures and pessimism. Embrace a new clearer definition of our species: we are the Sapiens-Sapiens part of larger genus of all Sapiens beings in the Universe. We are those that know ourselves, capable of understanding the very Universe itself. This is an optimism that does not currently exist.

The way out of pessimism is optimism, but optimism itself is a very dangerous thing that has created many irrational, cruel regimes.

Any enduring optimism, therefore, must itself be rooted in meaning; in an answer to the metaphysical problem of Why?. But this raises another conundrum, because the problem of the metaphysical why is that its answer must always also be metaphysical, unprovable and a question of faith. Or at least, that is what we have been led to believe from the professionals in metaphysics; the monotheistic religions. Theirs is a messianic optimism: the gift from he who dares pronounce himself to be in possession of truth. The fact that we have had two millennia of believers demonstrates the thirst we have for optimism, which is the thirst created by the dry, hot sun of pessimism.

Optimism has been rooted in meaning, but by doing so we have also perverted metaphysics by infecting it with the mythological. This was Plato’s strategy when he created the myth of the Noble Lie[2], and that Noble Lie was itself born out of a deeply pessimistic belief in the uniqueness of intelligence – only the philosophical caste can be capable of truly understanding the metaphysical; as for the rest of them, let them eat myths.

So, if we have to root optimism in meaning, we need to ask ourselves what is the nature of that meaning? We must look at the quality of the meaning: a quality that has to be gauged according to the measuring stick of truth. But how can we approach any demonstration of the metaphysical truth if the metaphysical can’t be demonstrated?

Firstly, by admitting our limitations, that the metaphysical truth can only be an approximation until we have developed our physical understanding well enough to unveil the authentic, physical nature itself. By unveiling the truth in the grey cloud of the metaphysical, what we do in fact is kill the metaphysical component of that truth. The concept of the metaphysical truth is valuable however, because it points the sciences in meaningful directions of investigations, in order to uncover authentic purposeful directions for our Sapiens-Sapiens species to take.

In this approximation-to-truth, we have a positive stance in itself: in a belief that through investigation and the development of technology, authentic meaning can be uncovered. To embrace this in a positive way, we must assume that through thinking, observing and discovering (or, in other words, through the scientific process), we will uncover the meaning of the Universe.

 

As for the inherent dangers embedded in the truth-seeking optimisms, the danger that it will collapse into a dogmatic proclamation of a truth now found, when, in reality, nothing certain has been uncovered at all, is palliated by science’s inherent scepticism.

In scientific terms, reality can only be what we think we know, but while science still operates, or while there is still a need for science, then what we know is always open to being questioned. It is the constant questioning of what is, converting what is into what it seems to be with a sceptical suspicion that it might be something completely different, that gives science it dynamism and power. Science can only uncover whilst it is obsessed with the desire and need to search. Science, per se, does not interest itself with the metaphysical why?, and yet the scientific process is always working towards uncovering that why.

Science evolved out of the Greek philosophers’ metaphysical questions, and those same metaphysical questions have never been fully extracted from science.

 

So, for our Nihilistic Age to be overcome, we need to inject values with purposeful-truths; truths that should be derived from science and scientific investigations of philosophical or metaphysical questions of why.

[1] The Last Man (der letzte Mensch): Nietzsche introduced the concept of the Last Man in his book Thus Spake Zarathustra, as the antithesis and antagonist of the Übermensch , the Overman or the Superman. The last men are a herd-like species: tired of life, taking no risks, and seeking only comfort and security; the Overman on the other hand has a clear vision of progress, but needs to overcome the Last Man if he is to advance. In TSZ, Nietzsche created a short parable describing a funambulist crossing the rope of human evolution between animal and the Overman. On his way, an imaginary clown, or demon, comes out behind the tight-rope walker and leaps over him, causing him to fall. By taking Zarathustra into consideration, our image here images the tight-rope with the lazy Last Man perched in the middle, so one must jump over him before one can cross the rope and progress in an evolutionary way.

[2] Plato brought up the idea of the Noble Lie in the Republic. It revolved around the necessity to create a myth which would convince the people of a natural division of classes in society, created by the gods.

The Sapiens Superman versus Nietzsche

Superman vs Nietzsche

When Nietzsche proclaimed that ´Life is Will to Power’ he was both right and wrong. Life as we perceive it is the life enslaved by the Will to Power, but he was wrong to deduce from this that such an apparent reality was the essence of life itself.

‘Life is Will to Power’ can be seen as a lucid evaluation of the way things are, but it should not be interpreted metaphysically or as a definitive statement on human nature.

Nietzsche’s sharp mind was able to see the dangers in and undermine the teachings of Christ and Plato, but he was unable to make the Superman (Übermensch) leap over the monkey himself and see how Power, in the human-society sense, had absorbed knowledge – and hence Plato and Christ – into itself, for its own egotistical enhancement and preservation.

Instead of being a liberating force, Power, which in our civilisation has always been Wealth-as-power, is a selfishly conservative force that is constantly moulding reality into the forms and architectures of its own interests. Interests that are often contrary to the cosmological-will itself. A universal, physical-metaphysical drive that is geared towards the creation of knowledge in what is otherwise a predominantly unconscious space.

One of the greatest leaps in the history of thought has been the need to either divorce ourselves or reclaim our marriage vows with our nature. Both ways have done little to enhance our knowledge, or enhance our lives through knowledge. The great divorce between the body and spirit is just as knowledge-numbing as the hedonistic quest of the sensualist. But even more deadly to the essential Sapiens values of the enhancement[i], are those ideas that claim their justification in nature.

Thus, Nietzsche raged against the ‘Denaturalisation of values,’[ii] and came to defend Aristocratic Power as an example of natural rank. What Nietzsche ignored was that the evolution of the Sapiens brain was an enhancing step in which life went beyond its own limitations by fine-tuning the ability to determine what its own limitations should be. The essence of physics and nature is a logical process and in this way, we see that an intuitively logical procedure is ultimately responsible for the creation of logic.

The dead-rock and all-consuming fireball universe, made up of particles of space and light, has evolved into life-creating conditions: but how? And why? By an accident; or the work of some time and space transcending creator – God? Or, why not consider evolution to be a self-evolving evolution of itself into the natural evolutionary realm of complexity – until the complexity itself finds itself willing an unravelling of itself.

An unravelling which can only take place through perception and knowing. Some millions of years after the Big Bang an intuitive mechanics has evolved in the universe. What we call the laws of physics, accidentally created but now imbued with their own tremendously creative potential and intuitively striving to Be – which is to be known – which needs a new kind of physical nature, the creation of biological organisms – life. A new complexity capable of evolving into a form which is both complex and efficient enough to comprehend the logic behind this whole incredible process that is unravelling – the Sapiens brain.

Through the evolution of the Sapiens brain, we see that life is not Will to Power, but a will to know and a desire to preserve that knowledge.

The Superman (Übermensch) doesn’t evolve through an evolution of power, but through a liberation of knowledge.

[i] For an explanation of the idea of “enhancement” see the articles WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? (parts one and two) https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/what-is-the-meaning-of-life-part-one/

https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/what-is-the-meaning-of-life-part-two-why-there-is-no-authentic-meaning-in-our-lives/

[ii] Nietzsche, THE WILL TO POWER, #37

The Purpose of the Universe

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DO WE REALLY NEED RELIGIONS?

All religions have their basis in the question: What is the purpose of this existence in this Universe?

There are two basic answers to this question: either no, there is no purpose; or yes, everything is meaningful.

Taking the latter point of view has its psychological advantages, because it creates an underlying meaningfulness to everything and makes us feel that our own lives are part of a bigger purposeful picture as well. We may think we are mere specks of star-dust, but, in fact, something marvellous is really happening in the world (and the cosmos) around us.

God, or the gods, is a simple way of saying why the Universe is purposeful. But in practice, the God-idea evolved into something sinister and perverse – dogma.

Religions as such, have taken a patent out on the concept of the Universe’s meaningfulness, and we have suffered millennia of human conflict and strife because of the defenders of the God copyright.

However, God is not a necessary component of a meaningful Universe. The Universe can be just meaningful in itself.

MEANINGFULNESS

Of course, “meaning” is just a human-made concept, and the English-language version of that concept. Without self-conscious, rational beings, there can be no meaning as such, because meaning implies an entity capable of understanding that meaning.

Hence the assumption that God is necessary for a purposeful Universe. However, homo sapiens and other self-conscious life forms exist in this Universe whether God exists or not. Life has evolved, in a non-deterministic way, through trial and error. There is no need for God in understanding the purposeful Universe. In fact, if we do feel it to be necessary to throw in a Creator, then it would make more sense to imagine that creator being blind. Existence itself is a desiring, intentional thing. Existence wants to exist and humanity, as a sapiens organism, is an integral factor in that existence.

Berkeley was right when he argued that, in a practical sense, nothing would exist if there were no consciousness. But he most probably was wrong in assuming that the Universe itself is conscious. The Universe probably created consciousness, unconsciously. However, if we affirm that the Universe is purposeful, then there must be an unconscious desire in the unconscious-Universe for the evolution of consciousness within it. This desire resides in the need to exist. The motivating current of our Universe is “To be, or not to be”, affirming the first part.

EXISTENCE AND MEANING

A desire for existence implies a desire for the preservation of that existence and ultimately an eternal existence. Eternity only makes sense if the Universe itself makes sense by being meaningful.

Meaning therefore is embodied in the existential reality of the Universe; in the meaning in the act of becoming involved in the eternal-process of knowing and being known that is the Universe’s relationship to itself and to the life it has created. Life that is the centre and purpose of its creation.

This point of view is atheistic, but anti-nihilistic. The important thing is universal achievement and the fulfilment of our essence which is always in life itself.

The nature of life then, is to exist, which means, live and rejoice in living. Its striving is to overcome the non-existence implicit in death. It is here where the authentic human nature lies – in our shared purpose with the Universe.

SEE ALSO: THE IMPORTANCE OF METAPHYSICS https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/the-importance-of-metaphysics/

THE NEW METAPHYSICAL-VALUATION (the Post-Thanatos age)

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Metaphysically speaking, we are living in cultures dominated by the Second Valuation of reality. Our Western Civilisation has been in this Second Valuation so long that is hard for us to imagine what the First Metaphysical-Valuation was like, but it would have been based on two misconceptions: a) That we were existing in and moving over a horizontal plane that extends infinitely into space; and b) That we would never die if we were not killed or made to wither away by someone’s magic, and subsequently there are people who have lived for a very long time.

The Second Metaphysical-Valuation is, basically, a complete refutation of the original fundamental ideas, and any culture or society now professing a belief in the vision of the First Valuation would be labelled ‘primitive’. In refuting this First Valuation, the Second Valuation advocates that: A) We are trapped on the surface of a sphere and that everything is cyclical; and B) We all die. Both A and B are intertwined: we all die because everything is cyclical, and everything is cyclical because we all die.

The Second Metaphysical-Valuation of reality is irrefutable, but also misleading because it hides the basis of the new, Third Metaphysical-Valuation: I) Although everything is revolving around each other, the general movement in the Universe is expansion. In fact, the underlying truth is that we are moving forward rather than circling aimlessly around; and from this II) Death is merely one of the characteristics of progress – a point of change and renewal which is necessary in the overall process of continuity and expansion.

Death is not an end, but a part of continuation, and therefore death is not death itself. The idea of continuation kills death.

This is the dawning of the Post-Thanatos age.