The Anti-Human

Black-figured Tyrrhenian amphora (wine-jar) attributed to the Timiades Painter

There are no non-human humans, but there are anti-human thinkers and thoughts, created by anti-human cultures. Separation through ideas is a sapiens separation, which can only be remedied by reminding ourselves that the fact that we are able to have these ideas in the first place is the very thing that unites us all. It doesn’t matter that we think differently, what really matters is that we think. This revelation is the first step toward a Sapiens Positivism.

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REALITY AS A PURPOSEFUL LIE

The mystic philosophers were right when they told us that reality is elsewhere, but they were wrong in claiming that our ultimate delusion came from a lack of spiritual insight; our alienation from reality is a psychological and social delusion created by our tendency to perceive reality in lies.

In essence, however, even this delusional tendency to believe things that cannot be proven, may be a necessary element for any positive human view of reality.

Science gives us a view of reality that goes beyond the narrow confines of the world that we perceive. In this way, science is an attempt to uncover the delusional nature of our lying perceptions. The real is not really what we see and feel.

Nevertheless, scientific objectivity clashes with our attempts to forge a positive view of our place in the cosmos. Ultimately, scientific truth is nihilistic. Vanity of vanities. Everything is headed to an inescapable thermal death. All things will come to an end. There is no ultimate purpose to the Universe.

But does an acceptance of this ultimately pointless reality do humanity as a whole any good? Science tells us how insignificant and ultimately pointless we are in the Universe. The result is nihilism and a depression that bleeds down through the entire fabric of contemporary, nihilistic civilisation. Live the moment. Reality is ephemeral. And so, religion has to be saved or even restored. We need hope, don’t we? Even if that hope is a blatant lie.

But even religions are essentially nihilistic as far as humanity goes. For religions, reality is elsewhere, in the Paradise after death. And so we ask: Why is reality so negative? Why is truth so grim?

A positive view of historical human reality can only be truly comprehensible to human beings from the point of view of humanity itself. However, this statement implies an anthropocentric view, which most scientists now reject as biased; and because of that consider it to be unrealistic.

But, does this mean that in order to be realistic we have to forfeit any positive view of humanity?

In actual fact, science itself gives us a way out here; for there is cosmological data that points to a sentient-life purpose evolution of the Universe. Data exists that explains how the self-organising of the Universe was able to create conditions for organisms so complex that they can comprehend that same organisation.[i]

In order to determine reality without deluding ourselves in lies we need to look at the debate that scientists are having on the idea of a purposefully determined cosmos. In this argument the science that has to be allowed the most authority is cosmology. So, what do cosmologists and other physicists really think about the idea of a deterministic Universe; one that implies that we are evolving purposefully towards an ultimate goal?

Some scientists, like cosmologist Martin Rees and the physicist Paul Davies, are in favour of the idea of purposefully orientated evolution, whilst almost any quantum physicist would argue against the anthropocentric view, in favour of indeterminism. Nevertheless, arguments can be found, that take a middle ground. And perhaps it is here that we can resolve the debate.

We think this middle ground has been nicely described by Dan Pipono:

“There is no meaningful difference (between determinism and indeterminism). Suppose at some moment there is some kind of undetermined probabilistic event and the universe forks in one of two ways. Then mathematically we can describe the situation in two distinct ways A and B: (1) we could say that after the fork, the universe is either in state A or state B. The universe is non-deterministic because we don’t know which of A and B it is going to be before the fork. OR (2) the universe is in a state that consists of two pieces, A and B, each of which contains a copy of us. The universe is deterministic but appears non-deterministic because we don’t know which of A and B is the one that contains us. Some people will use Occam’s razor in this situation. Some will use it to argue for (1) because a universe with just A or B is simpler than a universe with both A and B. Some will use it to argue for (2) because often (2) is mathematically simpler than (1). I can’t see any way of distinguishing (1) and (2). In practice I’d use whichever is more convenient for whatever I’m trying to do.”[ii]

Like Pipono and Occam, we argue that reality needs to be viewed according to what is most convenient to what needs to be done with that reality. And what we, as humans, need to question is what is the most convenient reality for humanity; a purposeful state or a nihilistic one? If we still cannot, with true scientific certainty, resolve the debate in favour of either purpose or nihilism, which view of reality is ultimately more convenient for us; for our survival and progress?

 

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

[ii] See Dan Pipono https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-evidence-for-and-against-determinism

Our Dependence and Significance

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DEPENDENCE

We might or might not be free, but we are most certainly dependent.

Our existence depends on the air we breathe and on the space and the atmosphere that provides the kind of area in which breathable air can exist. We are dependent on atmosphere to protect us from harmful, cosmic radiation and to help stop us freezing in the frozen wasteland of the cosmos. We are dependent also on the fire within the core of our planet as well as the light that reaches us from the sun in order to provide conditions warm enough for human life to exist. Likewise, we are also dependent on the molecular structure of our body and especially our DNA to allow us to exist, be knowledgeable, reproduce ourselves and think we are free.

These are only a fraction of the things we depend on for our survival. If any one of them fails, our existence will stop. We are held together by forces and enclosed within other forces, and without these powers that ensure our physical construction and make the benevolent environment in which to move, we would not exist at all. But existence also depends on awareness, light, consciousness. Without a consciousness of existence, there is no real existence. Without life there can be no consciousness. If intelligent, conscious life only exists on Earth, then the planet Earth is the most significant point in the universe. We are necessary for the fulfilment of the universe.Everything we are dependent on depends on us for its Being.

SIGNIFICANCE

Cosmologists today talk of a finely tuned cosmos. Finely tuned to create life, as if life were a cosmic ambition. However, if that is so, why would it be? What can life give to the cosmos? But, of course, we have already answered that question – life, especially conscious life, enriches the universe with Being.

This idea implies a kind of anthropocentrism. In a numerical sense we are positioned in the very centre of the cosmos, between the macrocosm (1025) and the microcosm (10-25)[i]. However, this is a different kind of anthropocentrism to the traditional arrogant view of man as the most privileged of all creatures, in which the world is a thing put here by God for humankind to freely exploit. This new anthropocentrism doesn’t say that the universe was created for humanity, but rather that humanity was created for the universe. We are significant but also dependent. We are not the owners of the universe but rather the eyes and mind of it.

POSITIVISM

The idea of a humanity, significant in the universe and fundamental to the creation of Being in the universe, is a deeply positive one. It is also a profoundly humanistic one. We are not talking about races or nations, we are talking about humanity: humanity as a species, the homo sapiens. Thinking positively about the role of humanity in the universe is itself a form of self-preservation. And, in a world with a biosphere that is perilously close to becoming irreparably damaged by ruthlessly selfish human activity, positive thinking is vital in order to change that destructive, human behaviour.

Even the seemingly pessimistic idea that we are alone in the universe, has to be, in reality, a deeply positive incentive to ensure the preservation and good health of our biosphere, and of humanity within that biosphere.

VERSUS NIHILISM

Nihilism is constantly dragging humanity down into pessimistic fantasies of apocalyptic end days, prophesised with some degree of desire – as if our extinction would be doing the universe a favour.

Historically, pessimistic cultures have crumbled. The Aztecs and Incas both believed their time was up. Prophecy had ordained it. The Spanish conquest was pretty much assured even before it began.

Nihilism is a decadence, and nihilism and decadence provoke a cultural sense of being unworthy, and a lasses-faire attitude to any Armageddon.

[i] See Martin Rees, JUST SIX NUMBERS (THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE), Perseus, 2000, pp. 6 & 7.

Our Naked System

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Marxist doctrine argues a need for an emerging working-class self-consciousness capable of comprehending the aggressive nature of the capitalist system in order to liberate itself from it. But reality now demands that we look beyond the confines of any ideologies and their separations—whether class, cultural, linguistic or territorial—in order to become conscious of how the system infects us all, and how it uses the separating forces inherent in all ideologies to perpetuate its own selfish interests.

 

The best way to bring the oppressors down is to reveal the true nature of their nakedness. Like the Emperor parading his new clothes, the system is really quite naked of principles once we allow ourselves to open our eyes to what it tells us is there but in reality is not there at all. And once that nakedness is seen the next brave act would be to confront the emperor with the awkward truth of his real, pathetic condition. We risk stirring the emperor’s rage, but perhaps his shame will be so great that he will abdicate.

 

The world-view of the system, despite its globalising, empirical apparel, cannot tolerate any singular world-view that would be antithetical to its philosophy of dynamism. For this reason it demands separation and seems to move in a constant direction to ensure that borders will remain in some form or other. From the worldview perspective of the ideology/identity system, separations evolve into relativisms that are tolerated because they can maintain the spirit of separation and not alienate ideologies from the global empire in its entirety. But, relativism is also a step on the downward ladder to scepticism and from there to pessimism, which is always a numbing energy that invites a depressive fall into unconsciousness.

 

Of course the system ultimately fails again. It engenders a lethargy rather than a dynamism. But what the system calls crisis is essential to its own metabolism, and with the collapse, and the great misery resulting from that collapse, the system itself, driven by renewed needs and a renewed grasp of reality, will be able to catapult itself back into the dynamism that capitalism demands. A dynamism fuelled by the fantasy of perpetuity: continual growth is impossible within the closed system that is the Earth. And this is the ridiculous nakedness of the system. A farce that is no longer funny anymore, it has become emphatically dangerous.

Where are we now? and What’s to be done?

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We live in a two dimensional society: there is length and width but no height or depth. Our world is a flat plane, a cartoon reality replete with caricatures. Lacking is the third dimension that will pull us out of the flatness and allow us to properly see things for what they are, by allowing us to perceive things from all angles. The artist knows that depth is achieved by adding perspective, by understanding illumination and being able to master the shadows cast by the impenetrable and opaque. Depth is added by knowing and only by mastering shadow and perspective can liberation from the monotonous flatness of our two-dimensionality begin. Only when we have depth because we have been able to pull the flatness up will we know what to do.

The tautological knowledge creates knowing is profound. Knowing is a continual process of becoming, it is the process of unveiling, which in turn is a process of pulling forth, lifting up, stretching out, moving around, flying over and crawling under … All the things which we cannot do on the flat plane unless we know how to manipulate the art of generating perspective.

This is not a concern confined to the present: historical and futurological perspectives must also be deepened. Objectification is also required: an artist’s ability to step outside of the paradigm that is being described and lived – to stand at a point outside of the space, and outside of time, in order to perceive everything that has been hidden and understand real necessity. Objectification is needed to be able to stand over the current of the river of time in order to understand where the continuum has been flowing from. In order to perceive the reasons and mistakes that have determined certain courses of history; in order to redirect rivers, ensuring cleaner, more transparent waters that are capable of irrigating the possibilities of our optimistic futurologies. Muddy rivers will only give us a muddy, carp-full ocean of little future hope.

And so we have two tasks to concentrate on: a) the act of discovering perspective and uncovering depth, and b) that of eradicating the factors that cloud our rivers and have been pushing the historical continuum to a false inevitability for centuries.

The answer to the question must ultimately lie between what ought to be done and what has seduced our attention away from the goal. The utopia is No-Place because we are not going there. We will never get to Timbuktu if we are walking across the Americas, but that does not mean that Timbuktu cannot be reached. Maps must be drawn so that we can see why we are trapped in the maze, but in order to draw such maps we must achieve altitude and be able to stand over the labyrinth. It is a contradiction that turns the path back in on itself and to understand the labyrinthine nature of the system we must reveal the tremendous contradictions which work in its favour.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE STATE THROUGH SCIENCE

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We know from biology that states do not evolve into a better form either consciously or through an internal logic, but that natural selection is determined by exterior, environmental needs. If there is no environmental need to evolve, there is no need for natural selection. If the species’ existence is not threatened there is no need for it to change in any radical way, let alone improve itself. So, evolution is a question of need.

We think this same observation can be applied to social change. It is the environmental crisis which will necessitate a social evolution that will pull us away from the militaristic industrial and theological society we are dominated by now toward a kind of society that is equipped to deal with the current ecological crisis that threatens us with extinction.

If society is to evolve toward something that can adapt to ecological imperatives without regressing culturally and technologically, that evolution has to be led by a force that understands the imperatives we are adapting to. And what force is that? Science, of course.

The ecological nature of the crisis implies a revolution towards the moral authority of science. The moral authority of science? What is that? Doesn’t experience tell us that the “truth” of science is easily manipulated? We have seen how easy it is to make scientific arguments pale into the white background of relativity when economic or political motives need to be sceptical about certain scientific information. For a scientific morality to exist it must be equally vigilant of its own truths as it is of its grasp of the laws of the universe.

Science has always been a driving force behind all intellectual revolutions and only through its absence and/or manipulation have regimes been able to perpetuate their horrendous crimes and anti-humanitarian practices. Sure science is used by the military to advance their weaponry and authority. Likewise it has been used to exterminate the enemies of intransigent regimes and to spy on and control the citizens of those regimes. Any revolution through science, therefore, would have to be an un-anchoring of science from the military and industrial-theological powers that those militaries protect.

But, how could that be? To imagine a military without technology is absurd. Why would power give up what it needs to protect itself? So, we reason, if we are going to achieve this un-anchoring, we have to take it by force –and so the perverse cycle seems to be maintained. The only way to dislodge power is by force, creating a military substitute for the industrial-theological-military regime that we had. Naturally, this cannot be a solution.

The only way we can imagine an evolution to take place, rather than a violent revolution which would basically be a conservative return to the same, will be through a morally maturing process of the scientists themselves. Only when scientists have become a moral class will science be able to evolve the state, society, and hence, humanity.

Uroboric Will, Hegel’s Spirit & The Godless, Purposeful Universe

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We have already mentioned the Uroboros and the Uroboric Drive or Will on numerous occasions in these blog entries and it is an important concept for us. In our article “Ecology as Ideology and the Uroboric Drive” we stated:

“A vicious circle is already unravelling itself, only to take hold of its own tail again in order to swallow itself. But perhaps this most ancient image of the Uroboros, the tail-swallowing serpent, is the final revelation: that our drives are magnetic ones, folding us back toward the Uroboric state of an autarchic relationship with the world which is the perpetual result, if only in a perverted way, of any attempts to revaluate or reinvent our circumstances. Capitalism’s final end is to become a Uroboros, even if this is not its conscious eschatology. The System, whatever form it has, is manipulated subconsciously towards the Uroboric, autarchic paradise which we lost so long ago. But while for capitalism the Uroboric autarchy is a Utopian dream that can only end in a complete annihilation of the tail swallowing serpent, the ecological Uroboros has to be imagined perfectly intact and healthy.

The Uroboric drive is in Eros as much as in Thanatos. It is the ultimate unity, representing where we have come from – the autarchy of the foetus in the womb – and where we are going – our final conversion into dust or gas. At either end of the unity the condition is an ecological one. A return to the Uroboric state of being is the Being of the Great Mother, the planet Earth. As an Eros-driven force, our will to freedom is an autarchic will, as is our will for love; our sex drive; our will for community and our desire for isolation; our will to communicate; our creative drives; our willingness to share; and also our need to be protective and cautious. The essence of all of this is in autarchy.”[i]

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We think Hegel was describing this Uroboric Will when he described the Spirit as “that which has being in itself,”[ii] or “that which relates itself to itself and is determinate,”[iii] or “it is other-being and being-for-itself and in this determinateness, or in its self-externality, abides within itself; or in other words, it is in and for itself.”[iv]

But this Uroboric nature of Hegel’s Spirit is only one side of its total substance. It must also be “the knowledge of the spiritual, and the knowledge of itself as Spirit, i.e. it must be an object to itself… a sublated object, reflected into itself.”[v] Which means, in our terms, it must be in possession of an intelligence.

A need for intelligence is, in the Uroboric universe, an instinctive drive, coming from an instinct for Being and a sense of the most necessary potential. Even though the matter being driven is blind, deaf and senseless. The Uroboric Universe wants to be perceived and known, even though it has no idea that it does. Nature wants to know, but does not know that it wants it.

It has to be blind and ignorant, if not there would be much more intelligent life in the Universe. If the Universe were driven consciously by a conscious Creator, there would have to be more success stories; more stars with inhabitable planets. Likewise, if Consciousness has existed from the beginning, then there is no pressing need for intelligence. That is the narrative of most religions: humanity is not at all necessary. In fact most of the time, despite Christ’s attempt to fill us with hope and self-esteem, we are a despicable species in the eyes of God, a failed mutation of something which should have been much better. But none of this makes any sense if the Creation was planned from the outset.

So, there is no Creator, there is no God, but…  there is most certainly a purposefulness in the Universe.

Our cosmologists tell us that the Universe is finely tuned and that it has to be tuned exactly this way in order for life to be even feasible. In a numerical sense we are positioned in the centre of the Universe, between the ultimate macrocosm at 1025 and the microcosm at 10-25, in a centre that we have to be in.[vi]This anthropocentricism is not an anti-nature one of human dominance and superiority. But it does imply purpose. We are here for a reason, and that reason has been determined, not by a God, but by the Universe. It implies a partnership, the partnership between the Object of Reality and the Subject that can perceive that reality, and make reality Being. It is a partnership between Sapiens creatures that know that they know things, and the Universe that allows a space for these knowing creatures to know It.

The fine tuning of the Cosmological Constant[vii] is so precise it could hardly have been accidental. But this does not mean that the fine tuning needed a Creator. Science does not need to embrace God on this issue, and nor should it – the idea of the Absolute has been a nihilistic, anti-life pessimism that has flagellated humanity for millennia. We know from thousands of years of experiences that the Idea of God does not make us better human beings, and that in fact it has been responsible for some of the darkest periods of history and some of the most violent, cruel acts that mankind has committed. If God exists, we’d do better just let It be and ignore all the power-driven dogmas that have been born out of the idea of the One.

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[ii] Hegel, PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, Preface, §25)

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid

[v] Ibid

[vi] SEE Martin Rees JUST SIX NUMBERS (THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE), Perseus, 2000, pp. 6 + 7 )

THE CULTURE OF PURPOSE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO NIHILISM

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What are our beliefs? What do we believe in? Ironically, in our world of nihilists everyone seems to believe in something – of course we must, something has to push us along. So we have believers in the family or the economy, in God or a football team… But it is still nihilism, because what all these believers overlook is the belief in humanity itself and, therefore, the truly positive belief that our humanity is going somewhere purposeful. The opposite of nihilism is true purposefulness: a belief in human purpose. We posit human purpose  as an alternative to the nihilist idea that real purpose can only be found either in personal satisfaction, or in a supernatural satisfaction offered by a blind faith in a god in which the real will only be grasped after death.

            Seen in this way, human culture becomes a narcotic pill, taken in order to escape the pain of an otherwise total surrender to the meaninglessness of life itself. Like all narcotics, it allows one to relax and stimulate fantasies of satisfaction in one’s daily life. Culture has allowed humanity to escape from life rather than to search for real reasons to go on living. Reasons rooted in real purpose derived from the human experience of being in a universe condemned to perish.

            From the first invented god, humanity washed its hands of its own mightiest dilemma. Instead of contemplating its own capacity for understanding the tragic nature of the universe and planning a way of overcoming finality, it turned its back on the problem and left it in the hands of its fictional saviours. Gods or banks, fathers, mothers, or sons and daughters, or whatever way we have of turning away from truth – they are but patches, diazepam to cope with the tremendous stress of the complexity of the ultimate paradox: if everything must come to nothing, if all existence is ultimately vain, why do anything at all except make the most of the time we’ve got? And by surrendering we ensure that nothing meaningful will be done.    

            There is only one truly positive idea: that humanity itself is the way for the universe to overcome its own self-destruction. Everything else is most certainly infected with the sin of nihilism.