THE PROBLEM OF WILL (PART TWO)

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(IN OUR FIRST INSTALMENT[1] WE ARGUED THAT WILL IS A COMPLEX THING, HARD TO PIN DOWN, AND THAT THAT COMPLEXITY HIDES THE POTENTIAL FOR AN UGLY REALITY – THAT FREE WILL DOES NOT EXIST. IN ORDER TO ANALYSE THIS EQUALLY COMPLEX QUESTION OF FREE WILL, WE LOOKED AT THE WAYS THAT ADULTS USE TO COERCE CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEIR FAVOURITE GAMES IN ORDER TO TRY NEW THINGS. THROUGH ASSOCIATION WE CAME TO THE AGGRESSIVE MARKETING TECHNIQUES THAT INVADE OUR LIVES AND THE ATTEMPTS BY MARKETING TO MAKE ITS WILL BECOME OURS, SUGGESTING THAT OUR PASSIVITY FACING SUCH AGGRESSIONS DEMONSTRATES A WEAKNESS OF WILL ON OUR BEHALF. FINALLY, WE CONCLUDED THAT THIS EXAMPLE TELLS US SOMETHING ABOUT WILL ITSELF)

III

We want to be happy. We want to enjoy ourselves. But does that mean that our basic drive is to achieve happiness? If it were, wouldn’t our civilisation be far more hedonistic?

We quickly grow tired of the game, even forget that we ever had a favourite one. Likewise, we grow sick of the attempts to coax us into playing new games. Non-will starts to become more real than will.

Stressed by constant cajoling, we become resistant rather than submissive. New tactics for seduction have to be employed. The System knows we will give in eventually. It is certain of its own power to manipulate any of our desires with ease. So, what does this tell us about our will?

What this narrative seems to be unfurling is the conclusion that will is not that which actually drives our desires at all. The relationship between will and desire is a kind of shimmering mirage.

Will must be something deeper. In order to get a more solid representation of it we need to root it in another kind of soil instead of the sandy stuff of desire. It needs to be allowed to grow from a more substantial, fertile terrain. Let us now imagine what it could grow into if we let our will sprout from the bedrock of Necessity.

The more that will becomes associated with desire, the weaker it becomes, whereas, in a proportional way, it is strengthened by any association with need.

So, the best way to resist the aggressive desire implanting of our surplus-creating culture is to move toward that which is really necessary. A movement which, as Nietzsche preached, will require a revaluation of all values. The revaluation of those systemic values which are oedipal norms and codifications.

Paradoxically, will is the drive that takes us toward that which needs to be done. But the paradox here is a revelation: by simply paying attention to will, rather than desire, we can put our free will back on track, in the direction of what we need. The revaluation has to be through the separation of will from desire.

The Last Men, the ignorant nihilist, and the slave to the surplus-market system – they are all weak-willed creatures, seduced by the desires imposed on them and imbued in them. Strength of will is needed in order to see the greater human purpose. The purpose beyond nihilism and beyond the oedipal system of human separation, towards a non-segregated, truly human and homo sapiens’ idea of that which really must be done. That which is necessary in order to fulfil human potential and create a truly human course of history in which we are able to establish a meaningful partnership with the world we depend on.

Desire is in our bodies and minds. In our organs and in our libidos. In our DNA and in the chemical reactions that outer stimuli produce on us. But the will depends on decision making. Will is the how we drive our machine. The towards what we decide to go unto. Will is a directional faculty. We use it to navigate with.

Desire is not will. But if we are to be able to redirect the mechanism of our will so that it in turn can take us on a different, more positive and more human journey, then we need a desire to change our will. From the will-to-want-more to the will-to-be-human.

But, in order to achieve this revolution of wills we must temper our desire. Desire to want less. Desire to break down the walls and codes of separation between ourselves as human beings. A desire to be a conscious part of the world in a conscious way. A desire to understand, and a desire to be in partnership with reality through knowledge.

[1] https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/the-problem-of-will-part-one/

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.

NIETZSCHE’S ASSAYING ANIMAL

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In his Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche, searching for the essence of the human condition, uncovered the “assaying animal” the one that quantifies and qualifies. He observed that mankind is the species that sees itself as “the being that measures values”[1] and linked this self-perception to human pride and acuteness. Mankind is the assaying animal of the market place and “mankind soon reached the grand generalisation that everything has its price, everything can be paid for”[2]. But was Nietzsche here really associating the essence of the human with the Homo-economicus? It is certainly a very neo-liberal notion that we are, and that Nietzsche did… but how true is this assumption?

 

The assaying animal is a competitive animal, but is this a truly logical assumption? Assaying is not just a process of quantification: we don’t just compare things according to size or volume, but according to quality. In fact we could say that quality is considered uppermost over quantity, in almost all human assaying, in all fields of human activity except: (a) the economy and (b) the game. In these two areas quantity is the important thing. The economy is a mathematical reality in which pride can be measured according to the more zeroes one has following a figure that is not zero. Likewise, the game is usually devised as an accumulation of points. Sure, there is the idea of sportsmanship and cheating is frowned upon, but in the long run what matters, in the game and the economy, is that one has more points than one’s opponent.

 

Games and economies are abstract inventions, but in the real, beyond these abstractions, what is essentially important is quality rather than quantity. If one is ill, one doesn’t need any overdose of alimentation, what one needs is the right kind of diet to make one well. Offer a banquet to a starving man and you may kill him. The buffet bars that offer as much as you can eat, and the publicity campaigns that imply the same, are as damaging to public health as any drugs. When the assaying is quantitative the spirit cannot be an essential quality of our nature. There can be no real fulfilment in having more. The fulfilment comes qualitatively, by having what is better.

 

Human measuring, however, whether through quantity or quality, is inherent in the concept of freedom-granting power. It has always been in the interests of Power to determine quality by quantity and reduce reality to mathematical abstraction. Only when we can see all the perverse side-effects stemming from the subjection of the qualitative by the quantitative will Sapiens[3] be able to release itself from the cruelty inherent in the sadistic, aristocratic desires for the freedom of power.

 

All economic injustices are a direct result of aristocratic fantasies for the freedom of power. Fantasies which can only be conquered by a stronger desire – that which is inherent in Sapiens – the lust for knowledge, and the revaluation of all concepts via understanding and knowledge.

 

For example, only when democracy is understood as a universal granting of access to knowledge will the status quo of power elites be finally undermined. Power is knowledge and if the civilising trend is to be a democratic one then it must be understood that the universal access, distribution and sharing of knowledge is democracy; any secrecy is undemocratic; is anti-civilisation and barbaric. And knowledge cannot be measured quantitatively but qualitatively. A Sapiens measuring will be predominantly a qualitative one. Poverty will no longer be measured according to the amount of money one has, but according to the amount of fulfilment one has. Fulfilment for Sapiens will be a knowledge-based satisfaction. We are talking about an empire of Wisdom that is shared democratically and used for sensible, practical necessities primarily and for personal pleasure secondly. Dignity through a fulfilment of what is necessity. Pleasure through the quality of the life experience in the world. This is the Sapiens future.

 

[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS, Second Essay, VIII.

[2] Ibid

[3] For more on Sapiens see my post “Where are we?” https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/where-are-we/

Nietzsche and Knowledge

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“Our treasure lies in the beehives of our knowledge. We are perpetually on our way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind,”[i] wrote Nietzsche. Our honey, the sweet fruit of our labour is the knowledge we gather. So perhaps Nietzsche would have been at least sympathetic to the idea that Knowledge is Becoming. Nevertheless, knowledge itself was not enough for Nietzsche and he chose to place absolute accomplishment in “power and freedom”.[ii] Despite his grand pretension of the revaluation of all values, he championed the Status Quo by enslaving knowledge to power, and by associating power with freedom.

We need to be firm with Nietzsche here, because it is precisely this traditional combination, embracing the death of God and the rise of nihilism, under the guise of a promise of creativity, which managed to seduce even the so-called “lefty”, post-structuralist thinkers of the 20th century. Seduced they were, by the seemingly complex psychology that Nietzsche revealed in the anti-humanism of his revolutionary reestablishment of the aristocracy and his great promise of creative freedom to all the Übermenschen.

Like many aristocrats before him Nietzsche went mad and left behind a legacy of madness: the insanity of the 20th century – a nihilistic century of Last Men who believed themselves to be Übermenschen. That was Nietzsche’s most unfortunate legacy. The legacy of placing knowledge under the yolk of power and freedom. As if it were a new thing! As if power had never before known the revelation that its sovereignty lay in its acquisition and ownership of knowledge.

In this way the guillotine had been a pruning instrument, cutting away the old wood so that new thorns could grow in its place. Through the Übermensch the roots of the cancer were revitalised and the Liberal-Democracy was able to find the crown it always lusted after. The French Revolution, the War of Independence, the Fascist and Communist revolutions, all became a manifestation, retrospectively or in foresight, of the Will to Power. The World Economy: the IMF and the World Bank, the United Nations, the USA and the EU, the invention of the Stock Exchange and creation of the Star System in the entertainment industry, of sporting hero millionaires and entrepreneuring inventor billionaires – it is there that we see Nietzsche’s new aristocracy. In the famous 1 percent that possesses such an enormous chunk of the pie of wealth.

But what happened to the real treasure that Nietzsche himself was so familiar with: that honey that lay in the beehive of our knowledge? What ever happened to knowledge itself? Why did Nietzsche forsake it? Why could he not see that the real revaluation would have to be one that placed power and freedom below knowledge itself?

Nietzsche, despite his Human All Too Human, was an Anti-humanist. He was too infected by a misanthropic cynicism to see the Sapiens in humanity, and had to resort to the Übermensch. Instead of a going-forth, bee-like, to gather Sapien-knowledge of the world in the ecological way that bees know best, he proclaimed that the bees should become hornets, take whatever they could find and sting to death any resistance. The Übermensch is the Wasp-man.


[i] Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Preface, I

[ii] Ibid, Second Essay, II

LANGUAGE IS THE HOUSE OF BEING

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“Language is the house of being”[i] said Heidegger. It is through language that the Homo sapiens knows. It is through some kind of language that all knowing takes place. Hence: knowing comes from communication.

Can we say that language, communication and knowing are basically the same thing? They are certainly interdependent. If there is a separation it would be sequentially: first came language, then communication, which resulted in knowing. A chain which is reversed if we add the concept of need to it: first came the need to know; then came the need for communication and from these needs came the manifestation of language.

“Thinking accomplishes the relation of Being to the essence of the human being.”[ii] Thinking is the instrument of knowing, or the path towards knowing. Heidegger regards it as an accomplishment in itself, but we must bear in mind Heidegger’s definition of accomplishment “as an unfolding into the fullness of essence.”[iii] For Heidegger accomplishment is a process towards the thing to be fulfilled rather than the fulfilment itself. Why does he make this distinction? The fulfilment of thinking is knowing, but is true knowing a real possibility? In the absolute sense it is certainly not, and so knowing itself is a continuous process – an unfolding of fulfilment rather than the fulfilment itself. So thinking is an unfolding which allows the possibility of another unfolding. It is the bud unfolding into the flower which will eventually develop into a fruit which carries the seed, which…

“Thinking is l’engagement by and for the truth of Being.”[iv] Thinking is brought forth in Being by Being itself in order that Being may attain its fulfilment, and the fulfilment of thinking in knowing. The Fulfilment of Being is to Be Known.

“Thinking is the thinking of Being.”[v] Why not: Being is the thinking of Being. To be is not enough, it must be a combination: to be and to be thought.

To be known and be,

Or not to be known and never be;

That is the question

 

 

RELATED READING: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/what-are-we-accomplishing/


[i] Martin Heidegger, Letter On Humanism, p.239

[ii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid, p. 240

[v] Ibid, p. 241

GLOBAL THERAPY

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If there is to be a Great (and positive) Transition in the globalised world, the dominant global culture – which is the western-inspired, economic culture – will need to be radically transformed or completely abandoned.

Of course we are talking about wiping away a system, an operation that not only would require a complete change of blood but a re-plumbing of the entire artery system… Or perhaps not…

Before the drug therapy clinic suggests radical cures like blood-changing, it will first try psychiatric therapy. The primary option should be to change the patient’s attitudes, alter their desires, or perhaps even create a new “will” for the patient. But let us go even one step further and say that: if we don’t create this new will then, even after a complete blood and artery overhaul the patient will fall back into his or her vice, which, in our universal case, is the vice of “wanting more”.

While the cultural-economic model is driven by this will to wanting more, all political or economic changes will be doomed to failure. Capitalism’s greatest success has been its nurturing of greed, even displaying an ability to transform greed into a “norm”, convincing an entire world that it is a part of “human nature” to want more. That is the basic notion that we must now attack, and the only way to do so is to revaluate the system by dissecting its own libido-ego relationship and offer a different, profound, scientific and metaphysical vision of what humanity could really be – driven not by a desire to have more but by a will to operate according to necessity, with an optimistic rather than nihilistic vision of humanity within the world.

It could be argued that we already have such ideas, propagated by religious institutions and spiritual leaders – yet religion has not only always been used by capitalism, as Marx said, as an opiate for the people, but also as a way of anchoring its own nihilistic ideology of “freedom” with a morality that the free-market in itself does not possess. The Church saves the multi-nationals from the complete chaos that they themselves would otherwise engender. But the churches and mosques, even the communist party now are all part of the system. The world needs more than just a permanent cure. It needs a new, let us repeat, scientific-metaphysical conceptualising of our place in the universe – one that can seduce not only the nihilists and sceptics, but also the devoted to their useless religious dogmas – a profound human will for absolute necessity.

WHAT ARE WE ACCOMPLISHING?

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According to Heidegger, the essence of all action is accomplishment, and this is defined as an unfolding of something into the fullness of its essence.[1]

If we can agree with this then shouldn’t we asks ourselves what steps we have made, as Homo sapiens sapiens, towards achieving the fullness of our essence? Of course this can only be contemplated once we have agreed on what the fullness of our essence might be. And the problem now is: can it be possible in a world of individualistic minds to ever answer this? Or, in other words, is the idea of real human accomplishment impossible?

And yet, perhaps the answer is staring us right in the face, for who are we when we ask this question?

We are the Homo sapiens sapiens: the double sapiens, the double knowing; knowing that we can know; that we can know where we are (in the world) and knowing that the world is in our knowledge of it; that the world is known in us. Our essence and definition has to be that of knowing. Our essence lies in our knowing, but also in our being known, for all knowing implies a being known. Being is being known: the fulfilment of existence has to pass through intelligence, for only an intelligence can know.

From this we can see that human accomplishment has to come from the labour to create the fullness of knowing. A tremendous but impossible task, like Borges’ Biblioteca de Babel, forever unfolding and opening new doors and new possibilities for newer discoveries and the renewed uncoverings of the deepest wells of our past and that which is long forgotten. But in the futility of such an enterprise lies its strongest positivism: it is an eternal task, a destiny of ever-becoming.

Perhaps we can say that this idea is nothing new, after all how very much have we accomplished so far. And yet, how little we try. How much accomplishment has been frustrated by the unfocused structures of societies that measure themselves not by their wisdom and acquisition of knowledge but through their power to accumulate and separate by wealth comparison? How much anti-sapience is embedded in our market-orientated society of consumerism?

The essence of all action may be accomplishment and the unfolding into a fullness, but we have forgotten about the necessity of funnelling all action into the unfolding of that which is the most essential – the fulfilment of our knowing.

With humanity itself diverted away from its essence, the feeling of alienation will increase, as will the need for substitute essences, gods and idols, clubs, hobbies, sports – but these are mere distractions designed to fill the void of not-knowing. A not-knowing fuelled by distraction and maintained by nurtured forgetting. A process that teaches us to forget that we need to know, and once that is forgotten then likewise we become ignorant of any need to ask again what it is that we need to know.

Humanity’s greatest mistake was to unconditionally trust in its own techni,[2] its own amazing giftedness at inventing things – especially reasons and ideas. But without the consciousness that the ecstasy derived from this gift was tugging them away from the real essence of humanity, its ability to know.

This tugging away has been our most anti-human experience – the division of castes and hierarchies, the separation and privatisation of knowledge: the idea of the patent; of the profit to be made by sharing the result but not the means of reproducing it ourselves. The discovery of the power that knowledge provides – and knowledge is the key to all power.

For any democracy to be able to be truly considered real, it must bring knowledge back to the people in an authentic way. Knowledge must become a holistic concept, the common property of all of humanity. Intellectual property is the first abuse of knowledge, the intellectual patent – the most brutal crime against human nature.

In the democracy of knowledge as the most integral human right lies an unbounded freedom, but also a communism, an ideology of the common, human property of all knowledge. Knowledge as something sacred, for the sacred can never be the economic privilege of a minority. As sacred its purity must be preserved and the transformation of knowledge into a commodity that can be owned and sold is a perversion of that sanctity.

In order for Sapiens’ accomplishment to take place the battle for the demonetarising of knowledge and techni has to be the first to be won. The labour of unfolding knowledge and creating new techni from that unfolding has to be disassociated from the economic system of production of commodities for consumption and elevated into the field of production for accomplishment. Accomplishment therefore becomes an alternative force to consumption. Instead of working in order to make money so that we can buy consumer goods, we can labour in order to accomplish important things, work in order to unfold knowledge. Only in this way will the essence of the Sapiens’ nature be able to be fulfilled. Of course we are talking about a re-structuring of the capitalist system, which, despite all its claims to progress, is anti-accomplishment.


[1] Heidegger, LETTERS ON HUMANISM, PATHMARKS, CUP, 1998, p. 239

[2] We are using the Greek term techni to combine the concepts of both art and technology

Uroboros vs. Ego : World vs. Humanity

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“The nascent ego becomes aware of pleasure-pain qualities, and from them it experiences its own pleasure and pain… The unconscious life of nature, which is also the life of the Uroboros, combines the most meaningless destruction with the supreme meaningfulness of instinctive creation…” (Neumann, 1949, p. 39)

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Human reality is a dual expression between pleasure and pain in a world of meaningless destructions and meaningful creations. A dual experience between the reality of the world’s nature and the fantasies and creations of our imaginations. The real is the great duality of Being: that we are in the world and the world is in us. A dual reality that breeds its own dualities: the agony of the ecstasy of creation, the senselessness and inherent natural necessity of destruction.

The Uroboric reality is an unconscious one, egoless. We preserve a sense of it in our subconscious for it was our prenatal reality. The unconscious being of being in the womb. With birth so to is born the ego: the self-consciousness that separates us from the Uroboric world and empowers us with contemplation of it and of ourselves. From sensory consciousness to cerebral understanding, to reason.

With its ego activated, life for the human becomes a tremendous, often overwhelming experience. At times there seems to be too much life; at others everything seems to be lacking. Yet the unconscious connection with the Uroboric is never completely lost, in fact it seems to manifest itself in the fabric of all our ideologies as a yearning for autarchy.

 

The yearning for the Paradise, for a return to the Garden of Eden, is a yearning for a return to the autarchy of the Uroboros. The simple autarchy of being-in-the-world without any other responsibility or necessity other than that of being-in-the-world.

The yearning persists, but the ego has turned against it, transforming the yearning into a melancholy that we dare indulge in only spasmodically – lest it annihilate us. The infant ego contemplates the overwhelming with more fear than wonder. Reality for the child is a constant struggle to face fear and overcome it. It is from this struggle that the idea of the hero is born, and the protector, which is another form of heroism.

Inherent in both heroism and protection there is the concept of power. Power is a struggle which has to be either provided, as a gift from the powerful hero or a god, or acquired, usually by passing a test, a quest, a coming-of-age ceremony, an initiation.

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According to depth psychology, ruling over the psychic stage of the adolescent ego is the Uroboric figure of the Great Mother of Mother Nature: the Earth Mother; the world in which we must be; the great womb enclosing our after-birth existence.

It is the Earth Mother who brings death and sickness: plagues, famine, floods, forest fires, droughts and earthquakes. She terrifies us with her thunder and will strike us down with lightning.

In the beginning we did not love the world, we could not love it, we were terrified of it. Our fantasies, instead of liberating us from our fears only worsened them – for human reality is not just being-in-the-world but being there accompanied by all the phantoms, beasts and monsters of our fecund imagination. It is not enough that there is a famine this year, there is also a terrible demon and dragon that is causing the famine.

Yet it is this fear which also fed the human ingenuity that created a human need for technology, art, science and culture. Every inventor is a potential hero. Every architect, every doctor, every sculptor… Every culture until now has been the result of our heroic need to overcome our inherent fear of the world, and in this detail we see our inherent problem with the world.

We have to stop fearing and learn to love it; learn to unselfishly live with it; to treat it with the respect that it deserves.

We are in this world and we would like to think that we control it, but that is a lie. We are never really in control. The force and power of nature is tremendous. We can but react to what nature throws at us when it throws itself at us. We do our best to protect ourselves, but ultimately we are dependent on the benevolence of the powers that be.

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 FOUR-CORNERED TRUTH

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“What is truth?” said Pilate, and washed his hands.

What the Roman Prefect understood was the enormous relativity of the concept. Even if Christ says “I am Truth” it still remains ambiguous. What does this Truth actually mean? Well, it can mean whatever you want, and that is what Christ became… whatever his promoters wanted him to be. Nevertheless the concept of Truth itself does have a meaning and a function. It is the anti-lie. If truth is relative then Truth is that which discerns the lies embedded in all relativity. For relativity can be used for honest and dishonest purposes. We have uncovered “truths” embedded in paradoxes, but we’ve also seen how the paradox is a powerful tool for covering lies[i].

Yet despite its ambiguity and elusiveness, Truth has to concern us. It is a synonym of reality and authenticity and will believe that an understanding of the triptych Truth-Reality-Authenticity is necessary for any real progress on a human level to take place. It is what really is, and this makes it the prime subject valid for humanity in the world. Truth is in the Subject and the Subject is that which encloses us. We can call it the Universe or the World. But Truth seen as the subject-world becomes a duality in which Truth has to be shared between the world and that which perceives it and brings it into true Being, and this is Intelligence. In this way we get a four-cornered truth of the World-Intelligence as Subject-Object. The world is the Subject to Intelligence because it only becomes Being if Intelligence perceives it. Likewise Intelligence is Subject to the World by perceiving and knowing and reflecting it in its brain before projecting it forward. In the same way it is also the Object of the World as it is equally dependent on the world for its own being.

Real Truth is therefore not just the Subject but the Subject-Object Uroboros. The reality of existence is that its Being depends on a Uroboric vicious circle – a paradox.  This idea, that the truth is a nasty paradox, may seem like a terrible nightmare or a liberation, but in any case it is a necessity.

The idea is not new: quite possibly, if depth-psychology theory is correct, it is the oldest idea. But though we still know it from the alchemical Uroboros and the oriental Yin-Yang, its profound relevance is not relevant to or even consciously realised by most people or their cultures.

 

That which is  not perceived does not exist. Perception illuminates that which is not and makes it that which is. Perceiving intelligence exalts that being with its knowledge. The Big Bang did not exist until intelligence made it real.  The ultimate purpose of the Big Bang, the desire behind the movement, was to create an intelligence that would evolve into something that could discover itself. Is this such a wild notion? How can a non-intelligence have desires? How could it conceive something without consciousness? Must we talk about Will or Spirit? Can we talk about these things?

Science is divided, but there are cosmologists who would have to say yes. In cosmology they now talk of the Cosmological  Constant and the Fine Tuning of the Universe. The Universe seems constructed in a deliberate way to allow life to form, and evolution on our planet would indicate that the culmination of the life forming process is “intelligence”. The intelligence that knows that it knows. If this is the truth then immediate ethical consequences can be drawn from it, the first being that our historical process of the segregation of humanity has been a totally equivocal one. From the simple idea that the Universe has a purpose rooted in the creation of and the subsequent existential partnership with Intelligence allows us to find new authenticities: a new purposefulness, a new meaning.

Our relevant beginning, our Genesis, is the beginning of the creation of the life-support system of our planet Earth. The concept of Truth as Subject-Object is a World-Humanity concept. Quality of Being depends on being perceived and “understood”. The key to our purpose is our responsibility as cognitive entities to the World-Universe that needs us for its own quality of Being.

The Big-Other narrative that we currently live in is a non-authentic one: it is a lie. The Truth is still to be discovered, but it is necessary for us to start looking for it “truthfully”, via our greatest tool for truth – science.


[i] See our article “Lacan, Poe, and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories” published in the Australian journal Going Down Swinging, #33 http://goingdownswinging.org.au/site/showcase/going-down-swinging-33/