The Science of Necessity

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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

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Natural Purposiveness is Born from Necessity

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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.

On Good as Necessity via the example of a good meal

Family Eating Dinner At Table

All good, and therefore all true morality is inextricably linked with necessity. The more necessary something is the better it is. A good meal, for example, is good because (A) it serves its basic purpose (the eradication of a feeling of hunger); (B) it provides us with the vitamins and minerals our body needs to function, and (C) it brings us pleasure, and pleasure inspires us to keep living and to keep exploring life. Health requires balance and the art of gastronomy is also geared toward creating harmony. All necessity is related to life and all good is related to the harmony needed in order to preserve life and the inspire the purposiveness of life.  

Progress, Technology and Human Purposiveness

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The measure of human progress cannot be a mere technological one. Technology has become an end rather than a means to an end because we have lost sight of what authentic human-ends could be.

The classic rubric of the true, the good, and the beautiful, which are basically aesthetic objects when drawn together, would also be truly transforming ones if they were understood as pathways to human fulfilment.

This may sound odd, or absurdly romantic, but if we consider our current motor for fulfilment which is money and examine how technology has become an instrument for manufacturing profits, then we can see how progress becomes swamped in a circular movement that is totally absorbed by the singular notion of making money. The result is that, without an end-notion or a teleological principle, authentic progress towards fulfilment cannot progress at all. Something is needed to pull the activity forward and out of the nihilistic circle of money-making and money-spending in order for any human realisation to be found.

We believe, and have tried to show in many of these writings, that the principle motivating force for pulling us out of the circle has to be necessity. Only after necessity has been embraced will the great aesthetic ideas be feasible as purposeful motors for humanity as well. Only through authentic human-necessity will the seemingly non-utilitarian notions of aesthetics become powerful life-affirming elements capable of drawing forth the true Sapiens potential of humanity as a vital element in the vast idea of the Universe itself.

Our relation to the Universe is an aesthetical one, but so is our relationship with the world we live in and our very survival in this world will depend on how quickly we can make the leap forward from the economic animal of the money-system to the aesthetic being of authentic human-fulfilment.

Human purpose cannot be disassociated from the Universe which we depend on for our existence, without being fatally short-sighted. Through association with the cosmos, the ends of physics have to also be metaphysical or transcendental ones – knowledge is an unending voyage unto truth; purposeful actions are movements toward good; and all creative acts are born out of the passionate struggle unto beauty.

Once these concepts are allowed, through necessity, to become motors for our life-affirming instincts, authentic purposefulness can begin to become manifest.

Power and Life

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If any human-progress[1] has been made along the unwinding of the largely anti-human historical process, it can be found in Power’s[2] fascination with Life.

This is essentially a capitalist fascination and has resulted in life-preserving structures in civilisation like welfare and health services. But Power’s seemingly democratic interest in Life came at a price, for the mastery of Life also gives the Master the right to demand sacrifices. Capitalism’s interest in Life is generated by its need to maintain a demographic abundance to serve in its work-force. By making Life a priority, capitalism binds Life to its own economic model. Power ensures Life, but only as long as that Life is entwined within its own system. Not only does the service of Life that Power provides ensure survival, it also obliges Life to serve the Master and even die for the System in its wars: patria potestas. Power preserves you and guarantees your safety, but it may also demand the ultimate sacrifice from you if the need should arise.

By looking after the needs of Life, Power has been able to ensure that societies remain democratically docile and this has allowed democracy itself to run its course without threatening Power in any way. Nevertheless, it has also allowed for the potential of real human-progress by promoting Life as a value in itself.

The next great leap in human-progress can only come through a great Life-affirmation, that will, in itself, break the bonds binding Life to Power and to Wealth, in order for Life itself to become the driving motivator for humanity. Life is not Will to Power, Life is the very alternative to Power.

According to Foucault, the modernisation of our Western Society came through a transition in Power’s fascination with Life from life-as-blood to life-as-sex.[3]

A positive future transition would evolve in a way that moves away from life-as-sex into life-as-necessity.

If Power were to make this transition itself, then it could also save itself, but it seems easier to imagine Power being democratically replaced by Life than for it ever to be seduced by Necessity.

[1] by ‘human-progress’ we mean progress that is made for the benefit of humanity as a whole

[2] We give Power and Life capital letters to distinguish them from the common definition of those terms: by Power with a capital P we are talking about power as an invisible, but active and ubiquitous force which is firmly tied to the power wielded by all wealth and the organisational structure of the capitalist economy; Life with a capital L differs from the common definition by representing the idea of human life within the framework of the economic system driven by Power.

[3] See Foucault, HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, Vol. I, p.148.

PROGRESS, NEEDS and THE BEAUTY OF HUMAN MINDS

If we gauge progress according to the fulfilment of life’s needs through the satisfying of pleasure, then we could say that civilisation seems to do very well. This is a most hedonistic society, surely pleasure triumphs. But actually it doesn’t succeed at all. It tries hard but ultimately fails on the biological level of human life, and ignores over and over again the potential for creating pleasure on the psychological (artistic, spiritual and/or intellectual) level.

At the biological level civilisation operates in a rather perverse way. The needs to eat, defecate and reproduce have to be satisfied in a “balanced” way, whilst the civilisation of the homo economicus demands excessiveness and surplus. This in turn creates its own psychosis, as moderation is also a necessary part of the art of pleasure.

On the other hand, and this seems ironic, our psychological space needs to be constantly expansive in order to fulfil human potential. The art of psychological pleasure and the defeat of boredom has to be fundamentally concerned with finding the best way to unleash the creative and intellectual potentials of our minds. We have four areas to do this in: art, philosophy, science and technology. Four areas which are therefore interrelated as perpetrators of the art of pleasure at the psychological level, and which are retarded by the tools of Wealth.

The Big Economy reality that we live in deprecates the enormous wealth of creativity and know-how contained in the vast resource of the billions of thinking brains that make up the human race. Diverse thinking minds, all with an enormous potential that is unappreciated by the system of wealth-accumulation-for-the-wealthy that civilisation protects and propagates. The great cost of this is the enormous lack of exploitation of creativity. Yes, we do see enormous technological advances, but they are self-interested ones, and because of that “limited” advances, veiling the real technological progress that could be made if human creativity and thought were properly unshackled.

The culture of the homo economicus revolves around the cult of money. It disdains art, philosophy and science, except when it can ensure the continuation of the movement of wealth to the wealthy. In the place of these three elements of psychological pleasure we are fed another three more malleable ones: pornography, religion and sport.

But real pleasure is anchored in meaning, and the pleasure of meaningfulness is built through our humanity (unity, love, kindness and social intelligence); justice; transcendence (through hopes, humour, creativity, objectivity and spirituality); intelligence (curiosity, open-mindedness and love of learning); temperance (forgiveness, humility, self-regulation) and our courage and integrity. And in all of these ingredients lie our real potential to be authentic human beings.

KAFKA AND NECESSITY

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In Kafka’s Trial, K. confronts a priest who tells him:

“‘It is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.’

‘A melancholy conclusion,’ said K. ‘It turns lying into a universal principle.’”

But in between the priest’s observation and K.’s conclusion there is another result of this acceptance – that of turning necessity into a lie. The effect of this, of course, is that real necessities can no longer be trusted. They all become suspicious. Real purpose likewise suffers from this. Action itself becomes suspect to all sorts of vanities based on dishonesty and illusion. When necessity is rendered absurd by no longer representing that which really is, nihilism sets in. From this, we can define nihilism as that which arises when necessity loses its character.

DIVISION AND LACK: OUR ANTI-HUMAN CONDITION

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Race, religion, nationality and gender are all ideological/identity forming forces that contribute to the segregation and annihilation of humanity. Subsequently the human condition could easily be defined by division and lack: the division into anti-human identities and the continuous yearning for what is lacking that stimulates and/or is stimulated from that division. Division and lack creates a very vicious circle. The consciousness of lack engenders an identity forming sense of “difference from”. This itself creates an anchoring in the identity defined by lack that searches for more differences and more lacks to set it further apart.

But can we call such a continually dividing cycle “the human condition”? Isn’t it rather the anti-human condition? Anti-human: that which pulls us away from our condition as a species. That which pulls us away from our authentic human condition.

If this is so then the vital human question must be, how can we escape this vicious scarring circle of continual separation from ourselves? How can we heal the divisions between us and reconstruct a true sense of belonging to the species we are?

We are not talking about a complete destruction of differences. Paradoxically, difference has to lie at the base of the human condition – but what we want to dispute is the way we perceive necessary division and lack. The great Identity factors (nationality, race … etc.) need to be de-valuated in order to allow humanity-unifying principles to breathe and flourish. Nationality, language, class, etc., are principal nodal points, fixing meaning in the chain of our perception of reality. But what this creates is a growing away from the whole, when it should be a growing within the whole. The growing within would be an elevator of real human affirmation, rather than our current stepping-stone ladder, running away and leaving each one of us on a tenuous limb away from the centre which is the individual as a human being.

By stripping away the anti-human nodal points, we achieve a more transparent beginning for each individual. Each one of us is essentially born into-the-world as a part of the human species, and that human, Sapiens identity should not be removed from any human being. As long as this condition is established as a first priority, even a later re-establishment of the nodes will not be as divisive as it is now. Being named and obtaining a language to communicate with will lose their divisive qualities and instead be appreciated as an element of variegation within the whole. Languages become things that need to be acquired rather than a means of distinguishing your difference from the rest of humanity.

But where the nodes of languages may be seen as an enriching element in the human experience other nodes may need to be radically nullified – or even completely eradicated if they inherently contradict human values.

Individual identity usually moves through the nodes of name, sex, family, neighbourhood, region, society, state, religion – or lack of it – economic class, politics, clubs, and so on. But human identity, on the other hand, only needs a recognition and empathy with other humans. As a homo sapiens, humans need to know things. As a homo habilis, we need to be technological and creative, as well as needing to ensure basic needs for survival: shelter, food and drink, protection against extreme climate conditions, etc.. Contact and co-operation with other human beings should be stressed. As should communication and cohabitation. Cooperation is creative. Technological and problem solving projects are desirable. Division and lack are not.

Humanitarianism, or Sapienism, should be a process of resolving divisions and problems caused by lack, it should not be a means of exploiting it. The vicious circle of division and lack has to be broken out of if we are ever to save ourselves from the destructive self-ingurgitating effects of the maelstrom it creates.

HOW TO FIND YOUR TRUE VOCATION IN LIFE?

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Imagine a future civilisation in which our technologies are so advanced that money has been rendered obsolete. Work, as something that one needs to do to earn an income which will pay for your survival or improve your standard of living, no longer exists. Now think: in such a scenario what would I do with my time now that I have all day to do what I want? Try and imagine something that you could spend most of your time doing without really needing to do it. If something comes immediately to mind that is probably your vocation in life. If nothing does then you’ll have to look harder for it. Or perhaps you can think of many things, in which case you probably have a holistic vocation that does not limit itself to specific areas and you’ve got a Renaissance soul.

What this also gives us is a measure of progress. The standard of living in a society improves when we can all actually do what we really want to do. Only when we have liberated society from the money system will we be able to make it a vocation-driven one.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, SAPIENS, AND TALKING TO THE ANIMALS

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The idea of a World Will as a Will-to-be-Known has become a pivot around which our positive philosophy of real necessity is concerned. Through it we hope to find the human-motivator, inspiring a positive impulse for a development of intelligence as a creative movement away from our system of vulgar competitiveness and its anti-human economy of alienation and differentiation.

Let’s sum up our main point of departure: a thorough revaluation is necessary. This needs to be anchored in necessity in order to redirect progress away from the current juggernaut, all-consuming destruction of the biosphere and ecosystem. Now, up to now we have assumed that this revaluation could only come about through a humanity made up of intellectually and morally advanced Sapiens societies, and because of this our philosophy is a new positivism, or positive humanism. Nevertheless, this same positive end may very well be achieved via less human-positive means. The acquisition and perpetuation of knowledge may well be far better ensured not by our Sapiens’ carbon-based minds, but by silicon-brain intelligences created by us. It may well be that the evolution of the homo sapiens will be into this silicon form, fixed in more durable and resilient bodies that can survive in even the most adverse climatic conditions allowing for space exploration and even the survival of intelligence in a post–apocalyptic lifeless-earth scenario.

If real Being in the universe is to come about by the universe itself being known absolutely and perpetually, then humanity, as we now understand it, falls short of guaranteeing such a portentous destiny. However, even if we are too fail as survivors in the universe, perhaps we might be capable of creating the real Sapiens and intelligence and knowing will find its ultimate realisation not through a final evolutionary leap, but rather through a development of our present technological know-how and the creation of an intelligence far superior to our own.

The idea of humanity being superseded by intelligent, self-reproducing machines of its own creation is a common nightmare of science-fiction narratives. From the internecine struggles between machines and humans in the Terminator or Matrix sagas to the madness of HAL in the Space Odyssey or the complex android psychologies in Ridley Scott’s creations, the idea of a collaboration with a robot that has superior intelligence is a deeply disturbing one. And yet, in all futurology it seems that the presence of the super-intelligent robot is essential. We cannot imagine progress, even if that progress is a suicidal one, without it. In fact, the dawning of the nightmare is already upon us and anthropomimetic robots that can think more or less like a human child have already been created.

Yet twenty years ago scientists like Roger Penrose were proclaiming Artifical Intelligence to be an impossibility.[i] Twenty years ago researchers were stumbling through an erroneous association between intelligence and logic, believing that decision making was a logical process. In reality cybernetics tells us quite the opposite. The binary algorithmic brain, whilst being very good at making calculations and winning chess games, can only go so far in answering meaningful questions. Human reason is more poetical than logical and the anthropomimetic work taking place in robotology demonstrates a link between the human corporal reality and our intelligence, or our form of intelligence. In order to construct a silicon brain that can communicate effectively with humans that brain will have to be inserted into a humanoid-type body, with human-type sensors. In other words, if a manufacturing leap into a more than human body is to take place, it will have to to be created out of our own image. We might be able to build robot octopi or robot insects, but we will not be able to communicate with them on any deep meaningful level for even an octopus machine fitted with a cyber-capacity for self-learning would need to teach itself a language appropriate to its own unique perception of the world. A perception that would be incommunicable to humans, or at least at first.

Perhaps the most profound discovery being uncovered by research into Artificial Intelligence will be a mechanism allowing us to interpret the languages of different kinds of animals. Research is being carried out to find ways of communicating with apes and dolphins, but no great in-roads will be made until we decipher how the corporal experience of different species and their very non-human sensory perceptions create their own knowledge of the world around them. A knowledge which we should not underestimate. A true Sapiens will not only benefit from communication on a complete human level, but from an even greater communication with diversity itself. True wisdom may only start once we can talk to the animals.

In this sense the creation of insect-like or octopus-like robots may have an interesting Sapiens purpose. Perhaps such robots could be designed to act as translators, allowing us to have conversations with ants and birds and elephants and dogs. But for we will ever be able to ever do that we have to firstly learn how to communicate properly with our neighbours.

[i] See Roger Penrose, THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES