The Spirit of Lack

There is a common belief propagated by both psychology and philosophy that the self-conscious mind finds itself cut off from any of the satisfaction and security created by a feeling of being reconciled with the world. This idea echoes the biblical concept of the Fall with its message that humanity has been condemned to an eternal yearning for a return to the Paradise lost.

Alienation is a real, psychological phenomenon and the source of untold human anxiety. The basis of this angst lies in our lack of a sense of wholeness. However, if we approach the problem of fulfilment as a question of the development of our sapiens potential rather than the loss of our relationship with the natural world, then the anguish becomes rooted not in what we have lost but in what we have not yet been able to obtain. The more we learn the more we realise how ignorant we are.

Our natural thirst for learning is so unconsciously strong that many just give up. The vanity of trying to learn everything is overwhelming. Buried in all human self-consciousness is this spirit to know our world and the Universe around it. It is the most powerful driving force we have if it is allowed to blossom. It can be seen in our so-called Oedipal complex and it is responsible for all human greatness as well as all our dismal failings. It is forward looking and the dissatisfaction and insecurity we feel in our lives is derived from the subconscious fear that we are not progressing, or not progressing enough, or even that we are falling behind.

What the myth of the Fall does, however, is turn that drive-for-knowing completely around so that our yearning works in a perversely backwardly orientated and nostalgic way. This not only distorts the perspective of our feeling of alienation, it also instils a fear of our authentic drive for knowing. From this fear came the Faust myth, which reinforces the biblical idea of the relationship between knowledge and the devil.

It is what we lack that we desire. And it is the power that makes lack a motivating spirit in itself … the spirit of lack. But fir that spirit to be purposive and positive the lack it strives to obtain has to be situated in the future, as that which needs to be obtained, rather than struggling for that which has been left aside. Only when we can escape from the nostalgic narrative that burdens all human societies, will we be able to make substantial and meaningful progress toward authentic human fulfilment.

The stars are so far away. We know this now, but we also know that we must try and reach them, just as we were able to reach the most distant isles and sail around our world. We see where we must go, but the vision is frustrating because we know that our own lives will be too short for us to get there, that humanity itself will become extinct before we can achieve our ultimate purpose.

But this is a short-sighted pessimism, what we constantly forget is that we are just part of a process which has still hardly even begun. A human process that has been constantly thwarted by the anti-human historical process propagated by our civilisations, but also an authentic and real potential in humanity that has to one day evolve, because it needs to evolve.   

Necessity deems that our epoch be a birth or death time, a period of transition or disintegration. An evolution unto the sapiens spirit of humanity or a decay into the self-swallowing finality of the anti-human process that our civilisation is pushing us toward. To avoid this finality the human spirit must break free of the anti-human historical narrative and allow an authentically human historical process to emerge at last.

Our humanity, as such, is in a foetal stage, evolving within the womb of its own nemesis, the anti-human, waiting to be born.

This will happen when our sapiens from has grown from its lava body, metamorphosing into a shape that it is too big for the anti-human structure of civilisation to bear anymore. The birth of the authentically human will be difficult at first, the new spirit of lack will have to learn how to crawl forward by itself and nourish itself, but when it is born it will be protected by purposiveness and the hunger to know and create anew from the new authentically human perspective that is anchored in a deeply forward-looking, anti-nostalgic spirit of lack.