Sunday, October 28, 2007

Where humanism and post-humanism fail.

I'm going to get a bit esoteric here. This may be deeper than some of you would want or be able to follow me, so I won't be offended if you can't take this one to the house.

While the practical applications of the sciences explode at rates untold; guided as much by the fantasies of science fiction as practical schematics of engineers, we have reached a new low in philosophical evaluation of the state of nature and humanity. For the longest time we squandered all of our energies on foolish humanism, which clearly gives us no other practical application than to understand that social systems of certain sizes are dangerous, as are human beings in general. This weak paradigm lead to all kinds of butchery of language, including a dominant principle that natural and synthetic are on opposite poles(something you whole foods and organic food fans are conned out of top dollar over) despite being two totally unrelated terms. Natural is "present in or produced by nature." Synthetic means a product of synthesis, which is "an integration of two or more pre-existing elements which results in a new creation." Natural things are all things which exist in life, including human beings and actions of human origin. The perversion of language to include the idea that human action is unnatural is a intellectual fallacy of humanism.

Only "C" Student elitism could perceive human action as superior to nature, or supernatural, and therefore not a natural process. Therefore when one agues that huge granite buildings or landfills or plastics or nuclear fission are synthetic crimes of the "godlike" human over its inferior victim, nature, they are fundamentally asserting that humanity is superior to these nature, and not a part of or construct of it.

What if nature's intention or long term plan were to reformat the earths surface with plastics and metals, and we were simply the bottomfeeder catalysts doing her work? Could a man actually stop the expansion and construction of New York City, Tokyo, or Los Angeles? Are these phenomena, which are "human" and "synthetic" preventable or controllable by human means at this point?

No. Like a tsunami, tornado, or earthquake, this extreme channeling of human energy comes from a place greater than human intellect. The fact that we can't see this leads to fruitless pursuits, such as a goal of mitigating human impact on nature. Let it be known that in order to actually prevent human impact on nature, by human means, one must control humanity, even to the point of our population itself. Not that our population is particularly troubling, compared to other existing parts of nature, such as water, blades of grass, certain minerals, our presence is relatively insignificant. It's difficult to tell that from behind human eyes, as we tend to stack on top of one another in such a way as to believe the world is teeming with an out of control human population. The main operating concept here, however, is that proponents of this elitist philosophy would have to eventually consider control of human population as a means to an end of mitigating human impact on the other components of nature that we have decided are pretty enough to value. This is an unacceptable perversion of a paradigm, the likes of which already has its hints in post-humanism.

True wisdom is in the classics; submission to nature, respecting what we can and cannot affect, and that we don't really have a great understanding about what the consequences of anything we do are in the bigger picture or longer term.

Nature has proven that it favors change, and that chaos descends into order when viewed in closer perspective. This being said, a preservationist view to nature, that humanity is put on earth to try and prevent change in natural processes or that we are there to affect change in a very slow, limited way, and that any human change which happens too quickly or too radically is wrong is an arbitrary, absurd thought. We have no idea the consequences of our actions. We may well spend hundreds of millions of dollars, many man hours of work, and tons of resources on preserving a natural park which will just be tossed to the curb twenty years later by a particularly terrible storm, fire, or earthquake. If she chooses to do it with a fire caused by a lightning striking a tree it is sacred, if she chooses to do it by creating a vandal smoking meth out of a hollowed out iron wrench, its wicked.

I'm not advocating for the destruction of all plant and wildlife on the planet earth, nor am I advocating for the focus of all humanity on science and technology, I'm just calling for a realistic, reasonable perspective on human impact on the world around us. We may in fact not be the last stage in its development, propelling it towards its termination, but... maybe a minor, insignificant player in a much longer more complex system.


rev jeff said...

It's all more motivated by the survival of the human race than sympathy for the planet and the other animals. If we run out of trees we all die.
To look at it on such a broad level makes me feel like I should be nihilistic. As a dinosaur, perhaps I should be (maybe we'll cause our own extinction?).
This is almost the same argument as American exceptionalism.

Ron said...

I totally agree with the realistic view that no one truly knows...yet.
I live my life based on Karma.
But I don't expect positive consequence for positive behavior nor negative consequence for negative behavior. I abide by the serenity prayer-my conscience and make allowances for cause and effect scenarios-and then or course,I hope for the best. Nature as a humanized science as opposed to factual hard science will always be subject to the current societies morals. What is harmful and what is not, can often be argued to a stand still,until hard science intervenes. Humanism is an ongoing developmental process. One has to unfortunately determine what is manipulation and what is truth(we used to burn what we thought were witches). Only time will tell what man's role is in regard to nature... I suspect it would fall along the lines of natural predators. Until the next Ice Age.

Mike said...

humanism is now dead. an old paradigm.

Bo said...

We know that from Newton's law, every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. So basically nature creates balance. Our actions that we believe to be true/correct may not be. In the area's we are wrong someone else's action's corrects it, thus creating a balance. Buddha preached moderation which is the middle ground where balance is found. I'm not Buddhist at all, but I think that there is some truth to this teaching. When nature's balance is offset to heavily revolution or dramatic change occurs.

Ron Paul 08