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.

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

Cosmic Will (science versus religion)

The growing process, from the single fertilised cell to the adult form of a biological entity with all its necessary parts, internal organs and external limbs and sensors, is developed with such incredible attention to detail and accuracy that one cannot help but feel such a process is being directed: that is seems to have been willed.

“Willed by God,” insist the religious. But what would God will such a thing for? “Ah, the Lord works in mysterious ways that we are capable of understanding.” Yet, that conclusion only turns the problem back to the start again. If we want to escape nihilism we have to understand purposiveness, and to appreciate authentic and universal purpose we must tackle the purposiveness inherent in the Universe itself.

If we surrender to a belief that we live in a Universe that has a purpose, but one that we are incapable of ever understanding, then that is just as nihilistic an attitude as the belief in a Universe that has no purpose at all.

Fortunately, for understanding purposiveness, life displays purposeful organisation. In fact, everything about life seems to be directed toward some purpose. Not only that, the inanimate universe has its own purposeful direction as well, the extremely complicated process of the creation of life and its evolution into sentient beings; beings that are capable of asking what the ultimate purpose of the creation of intelligent life can possibly be.

This is the key question of all metaphysics – and subsequently it is inherent in all philosophy and science as well; and all religions, of course. Nevertheless, in the case of religion, once God with a capital G has been found, it gives up the chase and sinks into the nihilism buried in the idea of “God’s mysterious will”. An end-point to all argument that protects its power through unquestionable dogmas. Religious power depends on maintaining its mystery.

THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE COSMIC WILL

However, if a cosmic will exists, where is it? If something is organising the Universe, where is it?

Once candidate could be gravity. Gravity has a very peculiar way of organising things: it makes things clump together, although that same homogenising process also enhances chaotic perturbations and creates another ordered kind of heterogeneity. Gravity is also a correcting agent against the destructive laws of thermodynamics; instead of disintegrating matter it creates structures that grow with time. While most hot objects become cooler if they lose energy, self-gravitating systems grow hotter. So, without gravity the Universe could never have created conditions for intelligence life in the Universe, but does that mean that it itself is the force that actually directs its own purposiveness?

If we were to mythologise this, we could resurrect the old concepts of the good and evil forces that rule over us and determine our lives: Thermodynamics is therefore a kind of Loki, bent on the nihilistic disintegration of his unloved father’s creation; whilst Gravity is like Thor, trying to preserve it. In this Asgard of cosmic will, Electro-magnetism becomes a kind of demi-god. Its power is short-ranged and local whilst Gravity has an influence on astronomical dimensions.

Gravity is the great organiser of the Cosmos: and to create life and subsequently sentient, sapiens beings, the Universe needs to be organised.

THE SEARCH FOR PURPOSE: SCIENCE VERSUS RELIGION

The deeper we go in our scientific understanding of the Universe’s creation and self-organisation, the closer science and mythology, and even religion, seem to be. But there is an enormous difference. Science takes nothing for granted, whereas religion takes everything for granted. Science, like philosophy, insists on a need for constant questioning, whereas in religion the questioning is retarded and manipulated in order to suit its own dictatorial needs and desires.

In other words: if we truly desire to understand God or the Cosmic Will, then it is imperative that one does so through scientific or philosophical processes rather than religious ones. Through experiment and calculus rather than prayer. The Alchemists were, and the cosmologists and sub-atomic physicists are, much closer to knowing God than any Pope.

CAPITALISM AND INNOVATION

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We tend to associate innovation with capitalism. Capitalism is a dynamic system and the incentives for making huge profits from patents have inspired many great inventions and innovations. However, it is often said that innovation would not happen without capitalism and that society would be a more backward place. How true is that? Just how necessary, if at all, is capitalism to innovation?

If we look closely into the market place we start to see instances of the opposite happening. In many cases, innovation is actually retarded by the market. One example is the way that corporations delay product releases until the most potentially competitive and profitable date arrives. Once the ideal machine is invented, an inferior version of it is released at first, and it may take a decade before the original ‘ideal’ product is actually up and fully running to its full potential in the market place. But by then there could be a much better product out there. In this way, technology under capitalism is always loping behind its real potentials.

If to this system of staggering we add the notion of pre-programmed obsolescence, then what we see is a massive waste creating machine that is supposedly geared to giving us what we want whilst ensuring that the quality of what we want is sadly lacking. Why can’t we really have what we desire and need, which is a good product that will not be obsolete two years after buying it?

But even this slogan that capitalism only gives us what we want is perniciously misleading. So much necessary technology has never been produced because there was no profit to be made from them, or, the maximum profit was to be made somewhere else. Clean, hydrogen-fueled cars could have been manufactured eighty years ago, if the profit to be made in petrol was not so lucrative. In the question of car motors what was at stake were the profit margins, not clean air. Capitalism is a system of waste, enormous, unnecessary and dangerous waste.

Clean-energy technology development is loping at least thirty years behind where it could and should be. Here we see how capitalism is completely antagonistic to necessity. But progress has to be intrinsically linked to necessity. Because of this capitalism has to be suspect of actually working in a non-progressive or even anti-progressive way.

In terms of innovation, the greatest achievements we have made in the last century would have to be those made in the space race. They were achievements made with public, not private money. Capitalist innovations have so often be nurtured through the breakthroughs made by state promoted projects, especially military ones, that, rather than a great innovator, capitalism is really just a very clever parasite.

PURGATORY AND ANTI-HUMAN HISTORY

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If human history is the description of human progress towards fulfilment, then the real historical process has not yet begun. Instead of an unfolding toward a better world for all of humanity we are immersed in a process geared unto the satisfaction of the greed of power. True human fulfilment, or the procedure towards it, only exists in our fantasies and our projections of Utopias.

When I immersed myself in the historical archives of Spanish libraries, to start research on my novel Purgatory, now more than twenty-five years ago, I was conscious that I was not creating a work of historical fiction so much as opening a door towards the human historical dream within a background of anti-human history. In the 16th century the Terra Australis was such a dream: a potential paradise on earth that could, once it was discovered, redirect humanity towards real human fulfilment. Or, at least, that the journey itself towards this “impossible” and unreachable Utopia would take us there.

It is no accident, therefore, that the first of the three Spanish attempts to reach the Terra Australis Incognita (what we now call Australia) was inspired by an alchemist. The alchemists knew that human fulfilment could only be realised through science. From the alchemist’s point of view, the myth of the Fall is inherently misunderstood – it is not the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge which has caused human perdition, rather it is the discovery of that fruit that will allow for human salvation as Humanity living in harmony with the world. Knowledge and the technology that is the fruit of that knowledge, will bring humanity back to the Earthly Paradise as Humanity.

Purgatory, then, is a fictional recreation of that historical dream, spawned with a deep conviction that the Utopian dream is important. Perhaps it is the only guide humanity has. But it is also important that we understand that the magical processes of the alchemists were ignorant attempts at what can now be achieved through science.

The human historical process only begins when humanity starts to move toward the Paradise on Earth, a process that does not come through prayer but through the advancement of knowledge and the power of creative thought.

THE MEANING OF THE UNIVERSE IS THE MEANING OF LIFE

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For a scientific understanding of life on Earth (or all life as we know it) we need only study its double helix, DNA. The DNA is an archive, a library and an operating system. Life, as such, is dependent on information that is stored, read and followed. The individual is subject to the complexity and limitations of this information. What’s more, it is this double helix which also determines our individuality as much as our similarities. We are biological computers based on a binary system of base pairs: a combination of adenine and cytosine; cytosine and guanine; guanine and thymine; thymine and cytosine, etcetera … This is our four element, binary combination language – the language of life.

But the question why does life exist is a profound one, as is the question of why does anything exist. Fundamental questions that the scientific understanding of life can only satisfy up to a point. In order to find deep answers to the deepest questions we need to go beyond fact to reasons and purpose; we have to bring science back into the fold of philosophical speculation from which science originated from sometime around the 5th century BCE.

This is not to say by any means that we should abolish or even diminish the science, but, on the contrary allow speculation to fuel a science-based philosophy concerned with meaning that will pull science back into the realm of metaphysics. A future science with pre-Socratic intentions if you like.

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Nothing can come from nothing, says reason, but science demonstrates that a particle can emerge from the void and vanish again. From nothing you came and to nothing you will return. The will to have what we lack. Nothing lacks everything, but let’s start with something. From the void there came a particle. That was enough. A thing, generated by lack of everything and motivated by a possibility of anything, aggregated into a singular complexity of that everything that needed to explode and allow such potential to become forms, perhaps even become everything in an infinite, multi-dimensional way. An everything that needs time and space in order to understand it. But within that time and space it also needs something capable of perceiving it. It needs an objective observer, something fashioned with sensors. Of course if everything exists there will not only be an abundance of these organisms, and an abundance of intelligent forms of these creatures, but also, an absolute lack of them … but that doesn’t make sense, does it? Or perhaps it does …

In order for everything and nothing to exist, time and space must exist, for it is time and space which provides the separation allowing for diversity to be possible. Everything is One thing, a mass that needs to be broken apart in order to be able to perceive the real potential of everything, but included in the One is also an Absolute Zero as well as a never truly achieved Infinity. This breaking apart of the Infinite singularity is managed through the manifestation of time and space.

But what has this got to do with the meaning of life?…

Life: a double-helix DNA executive commanding its single-strand RNA clerk. Our primary communication, which is at the same time the executive communication. Constant, but silent and secretive. The secret Genetic Code. A linear codex as of the steps of a ladder. Letters in a sentence, a punctuated sentence. Life is a language, dictated by DNA. We are built on carbon foundations building other complex language systems on silicon foundations.

The goal of evolution is to produce the perfect brain that will be able to achieve the most complex understanding of the world and the universe it is a tiny part of. The universe is a universe of information transmitted through language but mainly devoid of objects capable of understanding that language and acting accordingly. But by analysing the physical form of the universe it becomes clear that it has an aim. Time and space and DNA exist because the principal aim of the universe is to understand itself; to be able to exist in a conscious and self-conscious, self-fulfilled way. This can only take place through the agent of intelligent life.

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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.

ECOLOGY AS IDEOLOGY AND THE UROBORIC DRIVE

ImageIs ecology a science or an ideology? It seems to be both, but can it be both? What does ecology as a science gain or lose through its ideological processing? How is the ideology of ecology strengthened or weakened by the science?

Žižek, in his work on ideologies, disassembles ecology into a minimum of six ideological streams: conservative; etatist; socialist; liberal-capitalist; feminist; and anarchic self-management[i]. But he argues that none of these categories is itself “true”, which is not to say that the ecological concern is not a real one, rather that the methodological angle proposed is “not true”. Or, in other words, the ideological process falsifies the attempt at establishing truth that is carried out by the science. Does this perhaps explain why ecology as a political movement, despite all the concern for climate change and the prophecies of an eco-collapse apocalypse, has had only negligible results in the polls?

Žižek is right to point out the fractal nature of the ecological movement, but its stratification also points to a political need of veiling its own nature. By painting itself in different colours, the ecological propagandists are attempting to divert our attention from the inevitably most frightening side of ecology as an ideology: its unavoidable totalitarianism. No matter where we stand, if we accept the ecological discourse we are also accepting its absolute necessity, and it is that absolutism which scares voters away, for any truly Green government would have to be a totalitarian one.

But what is a totalitarianism based on absolute necessity? Is it any different to any other totalitarianism?

How would it differ to the totalitarian regime of the globalised liberal-democracies we currently have? Well, it would not be based on an illusion, like the lie of democracy and the illusion of freedom that our capitalist system offers. The basic ecological-ideology premise is that of the need for a partnership between humanity and the world that ultimately must sustain humanity. This creates a shift of human priorities away from the fantasies of economies and the money grabbing game toward  the most obvious and irrefutable necessities of survival in a world we have become hostile to and which is becoming increasingly hostile towards us. In a sense a return to that which is so obvious that it was forgotten.

Of course the success of capitalism has always been its great inner dialectic, and in this way the stratification of ecological ideology could also be a positive thing: a government of shades of green within the great forest of the world and humanity. But capitalism has always used its dialectic and creative potential unwisely and egotistically, creating an absurdly internecine ideology out of the fantasy of perpetual growth. Ecology, on the other hand, encourages diversity within the “truthful” confines of a holistic world-view, geared toward the maintenance of a human partnership with the world.

Ecology is certainly very different to the capitalist machine we have today, but does that mean it could fall into the same traps as the anti-capitalist, communist totalitarian regimes? How would an ecological holistic differ from a communist one? What would the difference between ecological totalitarianism and communist totalitarianism be? Would the power-hungry forces not also adapt to any such total ideology of truth and take control of it for their own profit as soon as ecology was seen to be the most likely survivor in the political maelstrom? Surely a system driven by the concept of “necessity” would be easy prey for those who would like to legitimise absolute control.

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.

To use Lacan’s terms, we have an “unredeemed symbolic debt” with the Uroboric. The Uroboros acts on the constant within our reality. It is the unchangeable, ever-real force that drives the unconscious of all human will. To take the lie out of ideology would be to bring the Uroboric drive to the forefront. If art is a recalling and an uncovering then what has to be rediscovered is this Uroboric will. It is a will to necessity and will to potentiality. A will to return (Thanatos) and at the same time a will to moving forward (Eros), but above all it is a desire for the preservation through eternity in the autarchy that lies between the two conflicting drives.

The Uroboros has to be seen as that which encircles humanity. The human is within the autarchy of the world and must respect the autarchy. Alchemical symbology comes to mind: of the macrocosm and microcosm, a visual image of the Uroboric serpent encircling the Vitruvian  Man. These are our constants:

Firstly, the Uroboric system is the system of all systems; the autarchic state that all macro-psychologies aspire to.

Secondly, the human, which stands above all races and nationalities, beyond all gods and God, and all machismos and feminisms. In this simple harmonic duality, which is a singular image that could be portrayed as infinite regression[1], lies the truth within the complex lies and fantasies of all ideologies.

Ideology can only be correct, therefore, if it is geared towards the constant of Uroboric autarchy in a way that can acknowledge the human above sub-groups of humanity. Ideologies that don’t take the Uroboric into consideration are therefore perverted and Utopic, impossible fantasies that have no logical, ultimate future. The consumer ideology and that of perpetual growth (albeit in its cycles of crises) are non-Uroboric by nature. Any ideology which divides humanity is perverse: all nationalism are non-humanist because they value national interests above human ones. Freedom is likewise a perversion and a Utopic ideology of illusion unless it anchors its liberty in autarchy, for the only true freedom can be an autarchic one.

The only correct ideology as such can be one that can envisage a paradigm of anthropocentric-ecology of a humanity in the Universe-world that encloses it. Green ideology is therefore correct if it is anchored in autarchy and the Uroboros. Or, in other words, to act according to the guidelines of a science rooted in uncovering real necessity. A science dedicated to a belief in humanity, human knowledge, discovery and technology as vital forces rather than negative ones within the world that encloses us and keeps us alive.


[1] This infinite regression could be created in order to show the real partnership between humanity and the world: that the world itself exists in the intelligence of the human mind that the world created, an intelligence that the world depends on for its own Being.


[i] Slatoj Žižek, MAPPING IDEOLOGIES, Verso, London-New York, Introduction

THE ARTIST AND HUMANITY

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The artist is often advised to ask him or herself who is his or her art aimed at? Likewise the writer is asked: “who are you writing for?” But in doing so the more important question of what (what is being addressed through the artistic creation?; what are we trying to bestow?; what are we trying to communicate?) is pushed into second place or worse. The who question, which seems so important for publishers and their publicists or for arts council grants, should always be an irrelevant interrogative because in its essence it is a tautological one: the subject addressed by the artist must in its essence be a human one, transmitted for humanity. The human is rooted in the essence of the term art and any exclusion (this work is not for them) is, by that exclusion, anti-human and anti-art. Not that art has to speak lowly so that all can understand it through its simplicity; in fact it should be allowed to speak from any register, but that choice of register has to come from asking oneself what is being addressed in the work rather than who is it being addressed to.

In order to see the true potential of what the artist is addressing it is necessary to not extricate the so-called fine arts and music and literature from their cousins in the Arts or Humanities, or human sciences such as psychology, philosophy, history, sociology, architecture, etc., nor from the pure sciences. All of these activities have a common-function which is expressed in the uncovering or peeling open of reality in order to find the essence and by so doing come to an understanding of what our place, as humans, is in this reality.

The role of both art and science, therefore, is to know, and through knowing to understand. But just as art is about knowing and understanding reality, an area usually associated with the sciences, so is science about representing, which is a function traditionally attributed to the arts. Therefore we can say that all the arts and sciences have their essence in knowing, understanding, and representing reality.

Whether through fiction or non-fiction the human perception of reality is formed through our arts and sciences: reality is both truth and imagination. And if reality is truth and imagination what is non-reality other than lies. Lies are an aberration or a perversion between truth and imagination. Lies are fictions created to be passed off as truths in order to benefit the liar in some way.

Another role of art and science is to unmask these lies and for this reason skepticism and cynicism are useful, if not difficult and dangerous tools, for artists and scientists alike. Part of the role of art and science becomes the act of revealing the lies for what they are, such as when they infiltrate our imaginations through seduction or by imposition through habits or norms.

EINSTEIN’S MESSAGE FOR POSTERITY

 

294733-albert-einstein-seven-things-you-didn-t-knowI’d like to reproduce Einstein’s Message For Posterity.

“Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilise power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves.

However, the production and distributuion of commodities is entirely unorgansed so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Furhermore, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and the character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce something valuable for the community.

I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.”1

How deeply we have betrayed that trust. Where is progress?

1 Albert Einstein, OUT OF MY LATER YEARS, Philosophical Library Inc. New York, 1950, p.18