Sunday, 1 April 2012

Civilisation: An evolutionary cul-de-sac?

On the perverted Darwinian nature of the state

I put this as a rhetorical question in order to offer an affirmative answer. If I'm right, and I'm pretty sure that I am, the implications could hardly be more profound or our recognition of them more urgent.

(This is the text of my 4th video blog, Part 1  and Part 2 on YouTube).

It is not an easy thing to recognise, given that it involves the environment in which we have been totally immersed since birth, are completely familiar with and dependent on, and the fact that our brains evolved to try and maintain the environment it depends on, especially when it has been particularly “successful” in it, as everyone who is anyone in society invariably has been. Understandably, the more successful someone is, the less inclined they are to question the political and socio-economic environment that facilitated it. Thus the difficulty in recognising the inherent flaws and non-sustainability of the artificial environment we call civilisation and the evolutionary cul-de-sac it represents.

In addition to our dependency on the socio-economic status quo, there is also the mind-boggling progress of science and technology which doesn't just distract us from, but also blinds us to its fundamental flaws, which, unless corrected, will lead, I am convinced, to the demise of western civilisation (or something horribly like it) in the course of this new century, just as they came close to doing in the 20th Century (WW1, WW2, the cold war and the threat of nuclear self-annihilation).

We have to trick our brain into recognising what it doesn't want to recognise by applying Darwinian logic to our understanding of it, of human nature, and of the social, political and economic power structures - that is, the civilisation - it has, over the centuries, given rise and shape to.

Given the evolutionary origins of human nature, this is the only logical approach to take, but it has been barred to us for more than half a century by taboos, an overreaction to initial attempts at a Darwinian approach which went horribly wrong, leading to the misconceived notions of social Darwinism and their barbaric extension and implementation by the Nazis.

Europe was quickly freed from Nazi occupation, but even now – almost 70 years after their military defeat – they continue to occupy a number of fundamentally important ideas, which they embraced, exploited, abused and discredited, to such an extent that people feared even thinking about them again: about the importance of race, for example (for one's sense of personal and group, i.e. national, identity); about eugenics; euthanasia; nationalism; and, of course, its combination with socialism, which the Nazis took, and have retained, complete possession of by incorporating it into their very name of “national socialism”; and about Darwin, when applied to politics and human society. These fears were in turn exploited by others to personal and power-political advantage and consolidated into current ideology and taboos surrounding and restricting, or preventing completely, access to and free discussion of all these ideas, by those seeking to claim a spurious moral authority for themselves, on the back of Nazism. Anyone wanting to pursue a career in politics, the media, the church or academia (especially the social sciences), must abide by them, just as in the past everyone had to abide by church ideology and taboos.

Evolution adapted human nature (emotions, motivations and behaviour patterns, notwithstanding the enormous plasticity of the latter) to the natural and very tribal environment that existed long before the advent of civilisation and the STATE, which now conflates and confounds three very different aspects this original tribal environment, posing as our original tribe or nation (representing our intra- and inter-tribal environment) itself, while at the same time facilitating society's self-exploitation (to the extent of its self-betrayal and ultimately self-destruction) as an extra-tribal environment.

This is what I mean by the “perverted Darwinian nature of civilisation”, the basic unit of which is the state, and why I judge it to represent an evolutionary cul-de-sac. It is an insight that can only be obtained from a Darwinian perspective, which, contrary to those seeking to maintain the taboo, does not have to involve a brutal and ruthless struggle for survival and domination between races or nations (this was the view the Nazis took and it certainly didn't work for them).

The human brain also evolved to “interpret” and rationalise reality, i.e. its environment (particularly its social environment) - within certain constraints, of course - to its own narrow and short-sighted advantage. This includes social scientists, who are not nearly as objective as they would have us (and themselves) believe. They rationalise reality, like everyone else, to suit themselves and what is expected of them (e.g. observing certain taboos). In our original tribal environment, this must have served well enough to ensure the survival of one's tribe or nation (which I assume to be the natural, basic units of human evolution) well enough, but not any more; not since the different aspects of our original tribal environment were conflated and confounded by the state, which organises and regulates society to serve the personal, narrow and short-sighted, self-interests of its ruling elites and favoured clients, rather than the interests and long-term survival of society at large.

The tobacco industry provides a particularly clear example of society's self-exploitation, self-harming, and ultimately self-destructiveness, with individual companies behaving like tribes, and the industry as a whole like a nation, ruthlessly pursuing their interest in selling tobacco products, despite their known harmfulness to society at large (which they viewed as their “extra-tribal environment”, there primarily to be exploited). It was this particularly blatant example of institutionalised self-harming which set me on the path to discovering the cause in society's perverted Darwinian nature. Gradually and very hesitatingly the state did take action to restrict this self-harming, but only after decades of struggle and untold harm done to human lives for the sake of one industry's financial gain (one of whose employees and advocates was and is still is an eminent and Right Honourable Member of Parliament, as well as of the current British government). As I say, this is an example, not an exception, of how the state and the economy it provides the legal framework for, work in facilitating society's self-exploitation, self-harming, self-betrayal and ultimately self-destruction.

Part 2

The state was originally created by a coalition of aristocracy, which provided the muscle and the power of the sword, and clergy, which provided the brains and the power of the word (i.e. moral authority), the power structures and rationalisation of which, they shaped and indoctrinated into the population at large, in order to facilitate their joint control and exploitation of the rest of society - back then, the peasantry. I'm not suggesting that they did this consciously; far from it; and the rationalisations they produced I'm sure they themselves sincerely believed.

As time passed, these two ruling elites were joined and in more modern times increasingly displaced by numerous other and diverse interest groups (particular professions, industries, capital in general, etc, with today's lawyers, politicians and academics being largely the successors of former churchmen), each struggling for their own advantage, while believing or feigning service to the state, the church, the people, the nation, or whatever, with the primary purpose of the STATE remaining the same: to facilitate society's self-exploitation; mainly to the advantage of its already advantaged elites, of course, although, with the rise of democracy and universal suffrage, everyone has become a client of the state and its political elite. Paradoxically, even the disadvantaged are advantaged, not just as clients, but also thanks to their role in serving state ideology, its claim to be a nation and moral authority.

So long as under the tight control of a relatively small elite, society's self-exploitation was relatively sustainable (notwithstanding its injustice and inhumanity), but not any longer. For example, individual motorisation and frequent air travel, once only for the privileged few, are now well on their way to becoming universally available to between 7 and 9 billion people, which is clearly not sustainable or even achievable even for a short period of time on our finite and vulnerable planet. But instead of facing up to this obvious truth, our brains rationalise it (economists having made a profession of it), so that it can be ignored, while we pursue our short-sighted economic self-interests and lifestyle aspirations in attempting the impossible. This was another observation which led me to recognise the perverted Darwinian nature of civilisation and of the evolutionary cul-de-sac it represents, which our brains are naturally inclined to rationalise from view. Mine too, so it was quite a struggle, but one I was helped in by my own relative lack of social and professional success and status, which otherwise would probably have blinded me completely, as it does others, even such eminent evolutionary biologists as Richard Dawkins and Desmond Morris, both of whom I much admire, and whose professional expertise would surely otherwise have led them long ago to recognise what I have.

This is what a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian, perspective has to teach us about so-called “society”; namely, that it's not a genuine society at all (which would be the modern equivalent of our original tribe or nation), but an artificial human environment (conflating and confounding the intra- inter- and extra-tribal aspects of our original environment), in which human beings are reduced to “human resources”, clients and consumers, which the state facilitates and regulates the self-exploitation of. The implications for understanding society and our situation can hardly be overstated.

The STATE is like an abusive stepparent, which did away with our natural parents (our original tribes and nations) before we had any memory of them, and brought us up to believe that it is our natural, loving parent, so that it was in a perfect position to take advantage of us. It plays us, its step-children, off, one against the other, while expecting, and when necessary demanding, our love and loyalty (that we identify with it as our tribe or nation). It has favourites, of course, whose love and loyalty it can be particularly sure of (the royal family being right at the top), and makes a big show of caring about its most disadvantaged children; not because it really cares for them, but to maintain the deception of being a loving parent (i.e. a nation).

The STATE does serve us, of course, and we are all very much dependent on it; but as a shepherd serves his flock, which isn't primarily for the flock's sake (notwithstanding any genuine concern he might feel for a lost or injured lamb), but for his own and/or his employer's sake, for the meat and wool that the flock provides and can be exchanged at market for money.

The creation and development of the STATE was obviously essential for the rise and development of civilisation, with all its positive and negative manifestations, and there can be no question of doing away it entirely. That would create a power vacuum which would immediately be fought over and eventually filled, almost certainly by something a lot worse than what we have at the moment.

Western democracy represents the most advanced development of the state, so I don't want to knock it too hard. I don't want to knock it down, since it guarantees us the freedoms we need to recognise, discuss and develop an understanding of it, of its perverted Darwinian nature, and to reform it accordingly, to change its power structures so that they serve the long-term interests and survival of society at large, instead of the narrow and short-sighted self-interests of its ruling elites and favoured clients (corporate and individual), as it does now.

The way to go about doing this, is for us first to recognise and develop and understanding of the true (perverted Darwinian nature) of the state, of civilisation and our situation within it, and then to organise OURSELVES (instead of leaving it to the state and capital to do for us), peacefully, legally and grasssroots-democratically, of course (this revolution will not/cannot be violent), into modern equivalents of our original tribes and nations. This all sounds rather idealistic, fantastical and impractical, I know, but I am pretty sure that this is the way we must go. I will have more to say about it in a future blog.

Also see:

The Paradox of Race Does and Doesn't Matter
The Method to the Madness of Post-Racial Multicultural Society and Ideology
Why I am so Critical of Post-Racial Multiculturalism
The West's Overreaction to Nazism
Political Implications of Evolutionary Psychology

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