Thursday, 6 January 2011

Darwinian Ethics

It is contrary to everything we have learned is good and true (just as Copernican cosmology once was), but Darwinian ethics is what we need to save our civilisation, which produced Darwin and his theory of human origins, from extinction.
Applied to our understanding of life on Earth, Darwin’s theory of evolution is considered fundamental, which, of course, it is; but as soon as anyone attempts applying it to human society, which is surely as much a product of human nature, as human nature is a product of Darwinian evolution, they are confronted with a high, barbed-wired topped wall, which a strip mine-field prevents them from even approaching.
The reason given for the wall, the barbed-wire and the mine field is that beyond it lies the horrific world of social Darwinism and Nazism.
Don’t ask me how I managed it, but I’ve peaked over the wall, and although its true that beyond it there are paths leading to the aforementioned horrors, there are other paths too, leading away from them and, most interestingly, also leading away from the perverted Darwinian situation we are actually in at the moment, but don’t recognise, because of its familiarity and our rationalisations, on this side of the wall.
Recognising the perverted Darwinian nature of the existing socio-economic order would necessitate questioning its very foundations. This is what we – especially our powerful, wealthy and privileged (including academic) elites – are really scared of.
We cannot escape the fact that human nature is a product of Darwinian evolution, or that this in turn has shaped the power structures (social, religious, political and economic) of our civilisation. So what we do, is ignore, rationalise and deny it.
Interestingly, even evolutionary anthropologists and biologists, like Richard Dawkins, don’t seem to recognise what’s really going on, blinded, at a subconscious level, I can only assume, by their own apparent self-interests in preserving the status quo.
However, we urgently need to recognise and develop an understanding of the perverted Darwinian nature of our civilisation, because otherwise there is no way that we can possibly find solutions to the problems (social, political, economic and environmental) now threatening to put an end to it.
Central to these solutions will be a Darwinian ethics, i.e. ethics based on a rational and humane understanding of our own Darwinian nature, rather than – as currently – on demonisation or denial of it.
It is not for me, or anyone else, to lay down what these ethics should be, but for us collectively and grass-roots-democratically to work out. It’s going to take a while, because at the moment, very few people even recognise, let alone understand, the perverted Darwinian nature of our civilisation.
I’ll come back, either here or in another post, with some of my own ideas on the form a Darwinian ethics might take.

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