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PDF Version What is Science?
Written by Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith, 2011
What is science? Coming from the Latin word scientia, meaning ‘knowledge’, science is humanity’s vehicle for the pursuit of knowledge, with the ultimate knowledge we needed being self-knowledge–the reconciling biological explanation of our ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted, seemingly-highly-imperfect, so-called HUMAN CONDITION!
While it’s undeniable that we humans are capable of great love, we also have an unspeakable history of brutality, rape, torture, murder and war–and the eternal question has been ‘why?’ How are we to explain our species’ seemingly extremely flawed state or condition? Even in our everyday behaviour, why, when the ideals of life are so clearly to be cooperative, , are we humans competitive, selfish and aggressive–in fact, SO ruthlessly competitive, selfish and brutal that human life has become all but unbearable and we have nearly destroyed our own planet? The famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung was forever saying, ‘wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own their own shadow’, because he recognised that ONLY finding understanding of our dark side could end our underlying psychological insecurity about our fundamental goodness and worth as humans and, in so doing, make us ‘whole’. The pre-eminent philosopher Sir Laurens van der Post was making the same point when he said, ‘True love is love of the difficult and unlovable’ (Journey Into Russia, 1964, p.145) and ‘Only by understanding how we were all a part of the same contemporary pattern [of wars, cruelty, greed and indifference] could we defeat those dark forces with a true understanding of their nature and origin’ (Jung and the Story of Our Time, 1976, p.24).
Yes, the REAL frontier for the human race–and most particularly for its designated vehicle for enquiry, science–was never outer space but inner space, the search for this makes-us-‘whole’, ‘good-and-evil’-reconciling, psychologically-rehabilitating, human-race-transforming-and-thus-human-race-saving UNDERSTANDING OF THE HUMAN CONDITION! In 1982 the author Marilyn Ferguson wrote these words about humanity’s long dreamed-of liberation from the human condition: ‘Maybe [the scientist-philosopher] Teilhard de Chardin was right; maybe we are moving toward an omega point [a final unification of our split selves]–Maybe we can finally resolve the planet’s inner conflict between its neurotic self and its real self. Our real self knows how to commune, how to create…From everything I’ve seen people really urgently want the kind of new beginning…[that I am] talking about [where humans will live in] cooperation instead of competition’ (New Age mag. Aug. 1982).
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PDF Version The immense frustration and danger for humankind is that these words were written over 30 years ago and yet the ‘urgently’ needed ‘resol[ution]’ of the ‘inner conflict’ of our human condition still hadn’t arrived–which is in truth the deeper reason for the public’s great disillusionment with science today. In the case of the Australian public, for example, a 2011 Australian Academy of Science report found a ‘staggering’ decline in the number of Australian year 11 and 12 (senior-equivalent) students studying science, from 94 percent 20 years ago to just 51 percent today (Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Dec. 2011).
So the fundamental reason people are asking ‘what is science?’ is because they want to know ‘what’s wrong with science’–why can’t it fulfil its principal task of finding the reconciling understanding of the human condition?!
But, MOST WONDERFULLY, just when we had become exasperated with its failings, science is now finally able to provide the dreamed-of, ‘’-reconciling, ‘burden-of-guilt’-lifting, ‘inner conflict’-‘resolv[ing]’, human-race-transforming EXPLANATION OF THE HUMAN CONDITION! So to the question ‘what is science?’, we can now say that it is the saviour of the human race, as it was always intended to be. (And, as I will elaborate upon shortly, this explanation of our species’ deeply psychologically troubled condition is not the psychosis-avoiding, trivialising, dishonest account of it that the biologist E.O. Wilson has put forward in his theory of Eusociality, but the psychosis-addressing-and-solving, real explanation of it.)
Before presenting this fabulous, human-race-liberating, ultimate scientific breakthrough of the real explanation of the human condition, the issue of the human condition itself, and how science has been coping with it, needs to be explained.
The truth is, the issue of the human condition has been such a terrifying subject we humans have hardly been able to acknowledge it existed, let alone admit it was the subject that science had to solve if there was to be a future for the human race.
So, what exactly is the human condition? It is the agonising, underlying, core, real question in all of human life, of are humans good or are we possibly the terrible mistake that all the evidence seems to unequivocally indicate we might be? As pointed out, while it’s undeniable that we humans are capable of great love, we also have an unspeakable history of brutality, rape, torture, murder and war. Yes, despite all our marvellous accomplishments, we humans have been the most ferocious and destructive force that has ever lived on Earth–and the eternal question has been ‘why?’
Unable–until now–to truthfully answer this deepest and darkest of questions of are we humans fundamentally good or bad, we learnt to avoid the whole depressing subject, so much so, in fact, that the human condition has been described as ‘the personal unspeakable’, and as ‘the black box inside of humans they can’t go near’! Indeed, Carl Jung was referring to the terrifying subject of the human condition when he wrote that ‘When it [our shadow] appears…it is quite within the bounds of possibility for a man to recognize the relative evil of his nature, but it is a rare and shattering experience for him to gaze into the face of absolute evil’ (Aion in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9/2, p.10). Yes, the ‘face of absolute evil’ is the ‘shattering’ possibility–if we allowed our minds to think about it–that we humans might indeed be a terrible mistake!
The truth is, the subject of the human condition has been SO terrifying–SO ‘shattering[ly]’ suicidally depressing–that living in complete denial of it has been humans’ Page 16 of
PDF Version only way of surviving. Indeed, avoiding depressing thoughts about our highly imperfect, even ‘fallen’ or corrupted condition through evasion, denial, escapism, self-distraction and block-out has been the main feature of human behaviour since humans first became conscious and the human condition emerged some two million years ago! Socrates famously said that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’, and it’s true that we needed to find understanding of ourselves, ‘examine’ the issue of the human condition, BUT it’s also true that trying to go anywhere near the subject, trying to conduct any ‘examin[ation]’ of the human condition, raised such ‘shattering’ doubts about our meaning and worth as humans that it wasn’t ‘worth’ doing if we were to actually continue ‘living’! In fact, since almost any thinking on any subject brought our mind one way or another into contact with the unbearable issue of the human condition, even that most basic task for conscious humans has been a nightmare–as the Australian comedian Rod Quantock once said, ‘Thinking can get you into terrible downwards spirals of doubt’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July 1986). Yes, the truth is the human mind has had to live on the very surface of existence, live an extremely superficial, escapist existence. So, while the plea to know ‘what is science?’ was really a subliminal cry from the heart to understand why science couldn’t solve the human condition and liberate humankind from its unbearable grip, we can now appreciate that there has been a very good reason why it couldn’t–and that was because the human race, which of course includes scientists, has been so deeply committed to avoiding the issue of the human condition that thinking truthfully and thus effectively about the all-important subject of the human condition has been all but impossible!
So, far from being practitioners of an allegedly rigorously objective and impartial ‘scientific method’, scientists have necessarily had to avoid, by whatever dishonest means possible, any truths that brought the unbearable, unconfrontable issue of the human condition into focus.
What happened was that to avoid the suicidally dangerous, yet-all-important, overarching, whole view of the issue of the human condition the vast majority of scientists necessarily became what has been termed ‘reductionist’ and ‘mechanistic’–they reduced their focus to only looking down at the details about the mechanisms of the workings of our world. The implicit hope was that by finding understanding of those mechanisms they would at least be assembling the means by which the human condition might one day be able to be explained–and that is exactly what they achieved. As will be explained shortly, through the gradual accumulation of knowledge about the mechanisms and workings of our world, scientists found understanding of the difference in the way genes and nerves function, which is the key insight that at last made it possible to present the penetrating, fully accountable, truthful, psychosis-addressing-and-solving (not E.O. Wilson’s dishonest, psychosis-denying) explanation of the human condition.
What then were the great truths that reductionist, mechanistic scientists had no choice but to avoid while the truthful explanation of the human condition was still to be found? There were, in fact, six main unconfrontable truths, the first being the truth of the integrative meaning of existence.
The world’s greatest physicists, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, have said, respectively, that ‘The overwhelming impression is of order…[in] the universe’ (‘The Time of His Life’, Gregory Benford, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Apr. 2002), and that ‘behind everything is an order’ (Einstein Page 17 of
PDF Version Revealed, PBS, 1997). Yes, this ‘order’ IS apparent everywhere. Over the eons a chaotic universe organised itself into stars, planets and galaxies. Here on Earth, atoms became ordered or integrated to form molecules → which in turn integrated to form compounds → virus-like organisms → single-celled organisms → multicellular organisms → and then societies of multicellular organisms. Overall, what is happening on Earth is that matter is becoming ordered into larger wholes. So the theme or purpose or meaning of existence is the ordering or integration or complexification of matter, a process that is driven by the physical law of Negative Entropy. ‘Holism’, which the dictionary defines as ‘the tendency in nature to form wholes’ (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edn, 1964), and ‘teleology’, which is defined as ‘the belief that purpose and design are a part of nature’ (Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd edn, 1998), are both terms that recognise this integrative ‘tendency’.
The great problem, however, with this truth of the holistic, teleological integrative meaning of existence is that for a larger whole to form and hold together the parts of that whole must consider the welfare of the whole above their own welfare–put simply, selfishness is divisive or disintegrative while selflessness is integrative. So consider-others-above-yourself, altruistic, unconditional selflessness is the underlying theme of existence. It’s the glue that holds the world together and what we really mean by the term ‘love’. Indeed, if we consider religious terminology, the old Christian word for love was ‘caritas’, which means charity or giving or selflessness; see Col. 3:14, 1 Cor. 13:1–13, 10:24, and John 15:13. Of these biblical references, Colossians 3:14 perfectly summarises the integrative significance of love: ‘And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.’ In John 15:13 we also see that Christ emphasised the unconditionally selfless significance of the word ‘love’ when he said, ‘Greater love has no-one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.’ BUT acknowledging and accepting this truth–that the meaning of existence is to be integrative cooperative, selfless and loving–left humans feeling unbearably condemned as bad, evil or unworthy for our divisive competitive, selfish and aggressive, seemingly-unloving behaviour. Clearly, ONLY when we could truthfully explain the good reason WHY we humans have not been ideally behaved–truthfully explain the human condition no less, which fortunately we now can–would it be psychologically safe to confront, admit and accept the truth of the integrative, selfless and loving meaning of existence.
Furthermore, the concept of ‘God’ is actually our personification of this truth of Integrative Meaning, and if we include more of what Hawking and Einstein said we can see that they both agree. Hawking: ‘The overwhelming impression is of order. The more we discover about the universe, the more we find that it is governed by rational laws. If one liked, one could say that this order was the work of God. Einstein thought so…We could call order by the name of God’ (‘The Time of His Life’, Gregory Benford, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Apr. 2002); and, ‘I would use the term God as the embodiment of the laws of physics’ (Master of the Universe, BBC, 1989). Einstein: ‘over time, I have come to realise that behind everything is an order that we glimpse only indirectly [because it’s unbearably confronting/condemning!]. This is religiousness. In this sense, I am a religious man’ (Einstein Revealed, PBS, 1997). As it says in the Bible, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8, 16). ‘God’ is the integrative, unconditionally selfless theme of existence. Again, the problem was that until we could truthfully explain the human condition we needed the concept of ‘God’ to remain safely abstract and undefined–we couldn’t afford to demystify ‘God’ as being the integrative, selfless and loving theme of existence. We humans have been, as we say, ‘God-fearing’–in fact, God-revering to the point of being God-worshipping–not God-confronting!
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PDF Version When the aforementioned scientist-philosopher Teilhard de Chardin wrote in his 1938 book The Phenomenon of Man that ‘I can see a direction and a line of progress for life, a line and a direction which are in fact so well marked that I am convinced their reality will be universally admitted by the science of tomorrow’ (p.142) he was recognising firstly how obvious the truth of the integrative, order-of-matter-developing theme of existence really is; and, secondly, that this truth of the integrative ‘direction’ or theme or purpose or meaning of existence wouldn’t be able to be ‘admitted’ until the human-condition-resolved ‘science of tomorrow’ emerged. ‘Yesterday’s’ scientists have been ‘reductionist’ and ‘mechanistic’, not ‘teleological’ and ‘holistic’–and the contrivance they developed to deny the truth of Integrative Meaning was to assert that there is no direction or meaning to existence and that change is random. Furthermore, to avoid religion’s acknowledgement of Integrative Meaning (albeit an indirect and abstract acknowledgement in the form of the concept of ‘God’) they claimed that religion and science were two totally unrelated realms–to the point that E.O. Wilson has said, ‘I take a very strong stance against the mingling of religion and science’ (National Geographic Magazine, May 2006). Of course, as the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles H. Townes truthfully admitted, ‘they [religion and science] both represent man’s efforts to understand his universe and must ultimately be dealing with the same substance. As we understand more in each realm, the two must grow together…converge they must’ (‘The Convergence of Science and Religion’, Zygon, Vol.1 No.3, 1966).
So, the plea to know ‘what is science?’ WAS a subliminal cry from the heart to know ‘why is science feeding us so much garbage, so many lies, so much dishonest denial?’–in particular, denial of the integrative meaning of existence, and of the insights that reconcile science and religion, specifically that God is our personification of Integrative Meaning.
The second great truth that reductionist, mechanistic scientists had to avoid was the subject of the human condition itself–the issue of why aren’t humans cooperative, selfless and loving?
Prior to the development of mechanistic science, humans had already found a human-condition-avoiding, dishonest way to justify our competitive, selfish and aggressive behaviour. We looked around and saw that nature is ‘red in tooth and claw’, brutally competitive and aggressive, and said, ‘Well, that’s why we are.’ When Charles Darwin came up with his idea of natural selection, this claimed ‘savage’, ‘barbaric’, ‘primitive’ animal behaviour excuse was given a supposed biological basis by human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic scientists through the misrepresentation of natural selection as a ‘survival of the fittest’ process. Significantly, Darwin originally left it undecided as to whether those individuals that reproduced more could be viewed as winners, as being ‘fitter’, agreeing only to use the term ‘survival of the fittest’ after being persuaded by others. In fact, it can be completely consistent with the integrative meaning of existence for someone to give their life in the cause of maintaining the larger whole of their society and thus not reproduce; as explained, the consider-others-above-yourself, unconditionally selfless, altruistic capacity to self-sacrifice for the good of the whole is the very theme of existence.
Of course, while Darwin’s friend and staunch supporter, the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, disapproved of the term ‘survival of the fittest’, calling it an ‘unlucky substitution’ (Charles Darwin, Sir Gavin de Beer, 1963, p.178), in terms of offering humans a way of avoiding the issue of the human condition by contriving an excuse for our divisive, competitive, selfish and aggressive behaviour, this so-called Social Darwinism, ‘survival of the fittest’ Page 19 of
PDF Version corruption of Darwin’s idea of natural selection was an extremely convenient, lucky ‘substitution’ because it held that when you dominated and defeated others you were simply meeting your biological obligations to be a success. As far as Social Darwinists were concerned, the purpose of existence is to selfishly ensure your own survival.
But despite this evasion, we competitive and aggressive humans were still not off the hook–because while members of most species do compete and fight with each other for food, space, shelter and a mate, not all situations in nature are characterised by selfish competition and aggression. Worker ants and bees, in particular, demonstrate extremely selfless, consider-the-larger-whole-above-self, cooperative, functional behaviour within their colonies. And, in the case of us humans, as well as a capacity to be competitive, aggressive and selfish, we also have an altruistic cooperative, selfless and loving side to our nature, as evidenced by charity workers helping the poor or rescuers putting their own lives on the line when saving others. Indeed, we have an instinctive sense of morality, what we recognise as our ‘conscience’. So, if the meaning of existence is to be selfish, as Social Darwinists maintained, then why don’t ants and bees behave selfishly–and, most particularly, why do humans have selfless, moral instincts?
Clearly, to avoid the unbearable issue of the human condition, mechanistic scientists needed to find a way around this fact that not all situations in nature are characterised by selfishness, competition and aggression. It was E.O. Wilson who finally provided a solution to this problem when, in his famous 1975 book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, he explained that while individual worker ants/bees appear to be behaving unconditionally selflessly, they are actually each behaving selfishly, because by selflessly looking after their colony and its queen who carries the genes for their existence they are indirectly selfishly ensuring the reproduction of their own genes. The point Wilson was making–truthfully enough–is that while such instances of reciprocity in ant and bee colonies involve selflessness, such ‘selflessness’ is actually a subtle form of selfishness–it is still, in essence, selfish behaviour.
The obvious reason Sociobiology became famous is because its selfish reciprocity explanation could be used–but this time dishonestly–to dismiss all selfless behaviour in nature, including our selfless moral nature, as nothing more than a manifestation of this reciprocity-based subtle variety of selfishness. Indeed, Wilson said as much when, in Sociobiology, he described his work as ‘the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior…including man’ (p.4). In his 1978 book, On Human Nature, Wilson was more explicit in his dismissal of our moral nature as being fundamentally selfish, asserting that our ‘Morality has no other demonstrable ultimate function’ other than to ensure ‘human genetic material…will be kept intact’ (p.167). In taking up the Sociobiology cause, the zoologist Richard Dawkins was also brazen in his assertion that humans are intrinsically selfish, stating in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene that ‘We [humans] are survival machines–robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes…we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes…we are born selfish’ (1989 edn, pp.v, 2, 3). The human-condition-side-stepping, selfishness-is-all-that-is-occurring-in-nature account had supposedly been confirmed.
It is true that the gene-based system for developing the order of matter normally can’t develop unconditional selflessness because if an unconditionally selfless, altruistic trait emerges it doesn’t tend to carry on. The greater truth, however, is that while unconditionally selfless traits normally can’t be developed genetically, that doesn’t mean that unconditional selflessness is not meaningful in nature, as Sociobiologists would Page 20 of
PDF Version argue–it simply means that the gene-based refinement or learning system, or genetics, is a limited tool for developing the order or integration of matter. The fact is, genetics would develop unconditional selflessness if it could, but because of the way it works, it normally can’t. Not that this greater truth stopped human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic biologists from using the fact that selfish behaviour is seemingly universal in nature to argue that selfish, self-preservation is, therefore, the natural way to behave. (The reason I have said that genetics can’t ‘normally’ develop unconditional selflessness is because there was one way it could be developed genetically and that was through nurturing, which is how we humans acquired our unconditionally selfless moral instincts, all of which will be explained shortly.)
In time, the use of the Sociobiological selfish explanation for the apparently selfless behaviour in social species such as ants and bees to dishonestly dismiss our own moral nature as also being a form of this subtle selfishness became known as the theory of Evolutionary Psychology. But given the workers in ant and bee colonies are the offspring of their queen–they are her relatives or kin–the Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology explanation of social behaviour could also be described as ‘kin selection’. It follows then that this kin selection-based explanation for the development of social behaviour in social species like ants and bees could also supposedly be used to explain social behaviour between individuals who are not immediate offspring like the worker ants and bees are, but where it could be argued that the individuals involved are genetically related. And it was in this broader interpretation of kin selection that the opportunity existed to dishonestly attribute instances of humans behaving in a unconditionally selfless, moral way to them selfishly fostering the reproduction of their own genes in the individuals they were helping–which is exactly what Evolutionary Psychologists did. They argued that the moral instincts that incline us to help others are nothing more than an instance of the subtle variety of genetic selfishness that impels an individual to help another in order to indirectly ensure their own genes carry on–which, if it was the case, would mean we don’t have unconditionally selfless, genuinely moral instincts at all. As the science writer Robert Wright wrote in his boldly titled 1994 book The Moral Animal–Why we are the way we are: The new science of evolutionary psychology: ‘What is in our genes’ interests is what seems “right”–morally right, objectively right, whatever sort of rightness is in order’, ‘In short: “moral guidance” is a euphemism’ (pp.325, 216). Not long after Wright published his book Wilson returned to the fray with his own publication, in 1998, of Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, in which he made another direct attack on our species’ wonderful genuinely altruistic, all-loving, peaceful, innocent, pre-human-condition state, the instinctive memory of which is our moral self or soul or psyche (from the Greek word psykhe, meaning ‘breath, life, soul’ (Online Etymology Dictionary)), writing that ‘[Jean-Jacques] Rousseau claimed [that humanity] was originally a race of noble savages in a peaceful state of nature, who were later corrupted…[but what] Rousseau invented [was] a stunningly inaccurate form of anthropology’ (1998, p.37).
The truth of course is that, far from being merely ‘a euphemism’, our moral instincts are, as just stated, unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, truly loving, genuinely moral instincts–they are nothing like the selfish, reciprocity-derived instincts found in many animal species. Charles Darwin recognised the true–not ‘stunningly inaccurate’–‘nob[ility]’ of our moral nature and its fundamental difference to the subtle forms of selfishness we see practiced by some other animals when he wrote that ‘the moral sense affords the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals’ (The Descent of Man, 1871, p.495). Indeed, the Page 21 of
PDF Version philosopher Immanuel Kant was so impressed by our truly altruistic moral instincts that he had the following words inscribed on his tomb: ‘there are two things which fill me with awe: the starry heavens above us, and the moral law within us’. And Darwin and Kant were not unique in their admiration, for all our mythologies recognise that we humans did once live in an unconditionally selfless, cooperative, harmonious, loving, innocent, Garden-of-Eden-like ‘Golden Age’, the instinctive memory of which is our moral soul–as the author Richard Heinberg acknowledged in his 1990 book Memories & Visions of Paradise: ‘Every religion begins with the recognition that human consciousness has been separated from the divine Source, that a former sense of oneness…has been lost…everywhere in religion and myth there is an acknowledgment that we have departed from an original…innocence’ (pp.81, 82). For example, the eighth century Greek poet Hesiod referred to the pre-human-condition-afflicted, upset-free, innocent ‘Golden Age’ in our species’ past in his poem Theogony: ‘When gods alike and mortals rose to birth / A golden race the immortals formed on earth…Like gods they lived, with calm untroubled mind / Free from the toils and anguish of our kind / Nor e’er decrepit age misshaped their frame…Strangers to ill, their lives in feasts flowed by…Dying they sank in sleep, nor seemed to die / Theirs was each good; the life-sustaining soil / Yielded its copious fruits, unbribed by toil / They with abundant goods ’midst quiet lands / All willing shared the gathering of their hands.’ Yes, as that greatest of poets William Wordsworth most beautifully described the instinctive memory that we are born with of a fully cooperative, all-loving, integrative-meaning-orientated past existence, ‘The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star…cometh from afar…trailing clouds of glory do we come, from God, who is our home’ (Intimations of Immortality, 1807). Our instincts are to be cooperative, selfless and loving. Our current psychologically troubled, competitive, selfish and aggressive behaviour emerged when we humans became conscious–but again, to confront that truth we first had to know the real reason why our original instinctive self or soul became corrupted.
Yes, while it is true that when the need for denial is critical any excuse will do, the ‘Social Darwinism’/‘Sociobiology’/‘Evolutionary Psychology’/‘selfishness-is-only-natural’ explanation for our competitive, selfish and aggressive human condition can’t be the real explanation for it. For a start, it overlooks the fact that our human behaviour involves our unique fully conscious thinking mind. Descriptions like egocentric, arrogant, deluded, artificial, hateful, mean, immoral, alienated, etc, all imply a consciousness-derived, psychological dimension to our behaviour. The real issue–the psychological problem in our thinking minds that we have suffered from–is the dilemma of our human condition, the issue of our species’ ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted, less-than-ideal, seemingly-imperfect, even ‘fallen’ or corrupted, state. We humans suffer from a consciousness-derived, psychological HUMAN CONDITION, not an instinct-controlled animal condition–our condition is unique to us fully conscious humans. The scientist-philosopher Arthur Koestler pointed out this obvious truth when he said that the murderous, paranoiac, duplicitous ‘symptoms of the mental disorder which appears to be endemic in our species…are specifically and uniquely human, and not found in any other species. Thus it seems only logical that our search for explanations [of our human condition] should also concentrate primarily on those attributes of homo sapiens which are exclusively human and not shared by the rest of the animal kingdom. But however obvious this conclusion may seem, it runs counter to the prevailing reductionist…belief that all human activities can be…explained by the behavioural responses of lower animals…That is why the scientific establishment has so pitifully failed to define the predicament of man’ (Janus: A Summing Up, 1978, p.19). Yes, you can’t think effectively if you’re lying. But again, although relating our consciousness-induced, psychological Page 22 of
PDF Version human behaviour to the instinct-controlled behaviour of other animals was a patent lie, it did serve to relieve humans of the unbearable issue of the human condition while understanding of it was not yet found.
So, overall, with the kin-selection-based theory of Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology, the ‘selfishness is all that is occurring in nature’ excuse had seemingly been upheld. In the case of humans it was being claimed that we have brutal savage animal instincts that account for our extremely competitive, aggressive and selfish behaviour, as well as some selfless instincts, which are not actually unconditionally selfless, truly altruistic, ‘moral’ instincts because they are a product of reciprocity and are therefore intrinsically selfish instincts.
HOWEVER, given we all do intuitively know that what Rousseau, Darwin, Kant, Heinberg, Hesiod and Wordsworth said about the unconditionally selfless, genuinely altruistic nature of our moral soul is true, it should come as little surprise that a backlash developed against this patent lie that our moral nature is nothing more than a subtle form of selfishness, a strategy to reproduce our genes. The truth was that kin selection failed to even begin to explain the truly altruistic, amazing, ‘distinct’-from-other-animals, ‘awe’-inspiring, ‘life’s Star’ of our species’ Integrative Meaning or ‘God’-aligned, ‘moral’ ‘soul’. Our moral instincts are unconditionally loving, universally selfless; they are not contingent upon those we help having to share our gene pool. As the journalist Bryan Appleyard pointed out about this serious limitation of the kin-selection-based theory of Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology, biologists ‘still have a gaping hole in an attempt to explain altruism. If, for example, I help a blind man cross the street, it is plainly unlikely that I am being prompted to do this because he is a close relation and bears my genes. And the world is full of all sorts of elaborate forms of cooperation which extend far beyond the boundaries of mere relatedness’ (Brave New Worlds: Staying Human in a Genetic Future, 1998, p.112).
Clearly, mechanistic scientists had to find a human-condition-avoiding way to fix this ‘gaping hole’, a way to solve this problem of the offensiveness of Evolutionary Psychology’s lie that our moral instincts are selfish.
And again it was none other than E.O. Wilson who came to the rescue with a contrived solution. Yes, in his 2012 book The Social Conquest of Earth–to the dismay of his earlier supporters–Wilson dismissed his previous Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology theory as being ‘incorrect’ (p.143) and put forward a new theory that not only contrived a non-human-condition-confronting explanation for our genuinely moral instincts, but took the art of evasive denial to the absolute extreme by also contriving a non-human-condition-confronting explanation of the human condition itself!
Known as Multilevel Selection or the ‘Theory of Eusociality’ (ibid. p.183) (eusociality simply meaning genuine sociality), this theory maintains that humans have instincts derived from natural selection operating at the individual level, where members of a species selfishly compete for food, shelter, territory and a mate, and instincts derived from natural selection supposedly operating at the group level, where groups of altruistic, cooperative members supposedly outcompete groups of selfish, non-cooperative members–with the selfish individual level instincts supposedly being the bad/sinful aspects of our nature, and the supposed selfless group-selected instincts being the good/virtuous aspect of our nature. According to Wilson, ‘Individual selection is responsible for much of what we call sin, while group selection is responsible for the greater part of virtue. Together they have created the conflict between the poorer and the better angels of our nature’ (ibid. p.241). In Page 23 of
PDF Version summary, Wilson now asserts that ‘The dilemma of good and evil [the human condition] was created by multilevel selection’ (ibid).
Before looking at the way in which Multilevel Selection/Eusociality misrepresents–in fact, avoids–the real, consciousness-derived, psychological aspect of the human condition, we need to look at the group selection mechanism that Wilson said accounts for our moral sense; because, while we do have a genuine moral sense, under scrutiny Wilson’s theory of how we acquired it completely falls apart.
While it is true that, as Wilson stated, ‘selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals, while groups of altruists beat groups of selfish individuals’ (ibid. p.243), the biological stumbling block is whether genes, which have to selfishly ensure they reproduce, can develop self-sacrificing altruistic traits in the first place. The genetic reality is that whenever an unconditionally selfless, altruistic trait appears those that are selfish will naturally take advantage of it: ‘Sure, you can help me reproduce my genes but I’m not about to help you reproduce yours!’ Any selflessness that might arise through group selection will be constantly exploited by individual selfishness from within the group. As the biologist Jerry Coyne pointed out, ‘altruism would be unlikely to override the tendency of each group to quickly lose its altruism through natural selection favoring cheaters’ (‘Can Darwinism improve Binghamton?’, The New York Times, 9 Sep. 2011).
The only biological models that have been put forward that appear to overcome this problem of genetic selfishness always prevailing are so complicated and convoluted that they seem implausible, for they involve groups warring, then peacefully merging, then separating back out into new groups–with the altruists somehow banding together into their own groups.
But despite the propensity for unconditionally selfless traits to be exploited and thus eliminated, Wilson has put forward an argument that warring between groups of early humans where extreme cooperation would have been an advantage was a strong enough force to overcome this problem of selfish exploitation and thus allow for the selection of altruism and the emergence of our genuinely moral instincts. Yes, according to Wilson, our ability to war successfully somehow produced our ability to love unconditionally!
However, as has been emphasised, standing in stark contrast to Wilson’s proclamation of ‘universal and eternal’ warfare (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.65) are not only the cultural memories enshrined in our myths and religions, and in the words of some of our most profound thinkers, that attest to humans having a peaceful heritage, but also the evidence gleaned from studies in primatology and anthropology, such as those of bonobos (Pan paniscus), which are not only humans’ closest relatives, but also an extraordinarily gentle, cooperative and peaceful species. But when discussing bonobos, Wilson merely cites an instance of bonobos hunting in a group, using that ‘evidence’ to draw erroneous comparisons with the more aggressive common chimpanzees; ‘That’s one more problem out of the way’, he seems to be saying.
In summary, our moral instincts are not derived from warring with other groups of humans, as Wilson and his Eusociality theory of group selection would have us believe. No, we have an unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, truly loving, universally-benevolent-not-competitive-with-other-groups, genuinely moral conscience. The ‘savage instincts in us’ excuse for our selfish behaviour is entirely inconsistent with the fact that we have completely moral, NOT partially moral and partially savage, instincts.
Overall then, while selfless instincts have been incorporated into the mix to counter Page 24 of
PDF Version Evolutionary Psychology’s offensive denigration of our moral instincts as being nothing more than a manifestation of selfish instincts, the same strategy of blaming our competitive, selfish and aggressive behaviour on supposed selfish, brutal instincts has been maintained.
We now need to look at how Wilson’s Multilevel Selection/Eusociality theory avoids the real, consciousness-derived-and-induced psychological aspect of our human condition.
So, if our instincts are wholly peaceful and cooperative (which they are), and we are not selfish because of selfish instincts (which we are not), from where does our selfishness–or what Wilson calls our propensity for evil–come? The answer is that it comes from a psychosis.
As pointed out earlier, our human behaviour involves our unique fully conscious thinking mind. Descriptions of our condition, such as egocentric, arrogant, deluded, artificial, hateful, mean, immoral, alienated, etc, all imply a consciousness-derived, psychological dimension to our behaviour. We suffer from the consciousness-induced, psychological human condition, not the instinct-controlled animal condition. And so it is to this psychological dimension to our behaviour that we should look for the cause of our selfishness.
And yet in Wilson’s psychological-problem-avoiding model our consciousness is merely a mediator between supposed selfish and selfless instincts. He says, ‘Multilevel selection (group and individual selection combined) also explains the conflicted nature of motivations. Every normal person feels the pull of conscience, of heroism against cowardice, of truth against deception, of commitment against withdrawal. It is our fate to be tormented…We, all of us, live out our lives in conflict and contention’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.290). Clever semblance of our conflicted condition, diabolically clever, but entirely untrue, the epitome of shonk/ evasion/ dishonesty/ denial!
(Incidentally, this idea that our condition is a result of selfish and selfless instincts within us would mean that unless we change our genes we are, as Wilson points out, ‘intrinsically imperfectible’ (ibid. p.241)–a fate that is completely inconsistent with one of our central beliefs about the real psychological nature of our condition, which is of it ultimately being able to be psychologically ameliorated or healed; as anticipated in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Your [the Godly, ideal, cooperative, integrative, peaceful] kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt. 6:10 & Luke 11:2).)
So, in finding a way to avoid the truth of our psychologically conflicted condition with a non-psychological ‘clever semblance’ of it, what Wilson has actually done is not explain the human condition but nullify it, render the issue benign, virtually inconsequential–and, in doing so, he is burying humanity into the deepest, darkest corner of alienating, dishonest denial the world has ever known! Make no mistake, Wilson’s great fake, superficial, deliberately-human-condition-trivialising account of the human condition is the most sophisticated expression of denial to have ever been invented–and thus the most dangerous. Certainly, providing humans with a ‘get out of jail free’ card–a way to supposedly explain the human condition without having to confront the issue of the extreme psychosis and neurosis of our real human condition–is immensely appealing for the now overly psychologically upset human race, but it is precisely that seductiveness that is so dangerous. This Ultimate Lie had the potential to seduce the exhausted, relief-seeking human race to such a degree that it obliterated any chance of the human condition ever being truthfully confronted and thus understood! Indeed, while denial was necessary while we couldn’t explain ourselves, taking the art of denial to the extreme that Wilson Page 25 of
PDF Version has done with his dismissal of the fundamental issue before us as a species of our human condition as nothing more than two different instincts within us that are sometimes at odds, is a truly sinister lie.
That forms a summary of all the human-condition-avoiding, dishonest, not-truly-accountable biological theories on human behaviour–the of which can be found in the freely-available, online book Freedom: Expanded Book 1.
As we will see when the psychosis-addressing-and-solving, fully accountable and thus true explanation of the human condition is presented shortly, ever since Darwin published his idea of natural selection in 1859 and revealed that instincts are only orientations not understandings, there has been sufficient base information to explain the human condition–and all the other crucial biological questions facing the human race. The problem, however, has been that if you’re committed to living in denial of the human condition, as mechanistic/reductionist scientists have been, you are in no position to find the truthful explanation of it. You can’t find the truth with lies–a point the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was making when he said, ‘The discovery of truth is prevented most effectively…by prejudice, which…stands in the path of truth and is then like a contrary wind driving a ship away from land’ (Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1970, p.120).
To explain the human condition required thinking about the human condition from a basis of honesty–particularly about the fact that humans did once live in a completely loving, unconditionally selfless state, and that it was only after the emergence of our conscious mind that our present good-and-evil-afflicted, immensely psychologically upset condition emerged. And it is that truthful and thus effective analysis of the human condition that is going to be presented here. And, with that truthful explanation of the human condition now found, we will finally see the emergence of penetrating, effective, trustworthy science.
So, again, the question ‘what is science?’ was, in fact, a cry from the heart to know why mechanistic scientists have been lying through their teeth–promenading around with big confident, authoritative, professorial smiles on their faces while all the time lying like demons–like the human race as a whole has been doing, desperately avoiding any truths that brought the issue of the human condition into focus; basically living an immensely artificial, superficial, insincere, deluded, escapist existence!
Before presenting the truthful, psychosis-addressing-and-solving, real biological explanation of the human condition it is necessary to introduce the third great truth that the human race, including the scientific establishment, has lived in denial of while the human condition was yet to be explained–which is the nature of consciousness.
Anyone who has searched the term ‘consciousness’ will have found it to be a subject cloaked with mystery and confusion, but there has been a very good reason for this, and it’s not because consciousness is an impenetrably complex subject–it’s because it raised, as has been emphasised, the unbearable issue of the human condition. In fact, the subject of consciousness brought our mind so quickly into contact with the agonisingly depressing issue of the human condition that ‘consciousness’ had become synonymous with–indeed, code for–the problem of the human condition.
In his book Complexity, the science writer Roger Lewin described the great difficulty we have had of trying to ‘illuminate the phenomena of consciousness’ as ‘a tough challenge…perhaps the toughest of all’ (1993, p.153). To illustrate the nature and extent of the difficulty, Page 26 of
PDF Version Lewin relayed the philosopher René Descartes’ own disturbed reaction when he tried to ‘contemplate consciousness’: ‘So serious are the doubts into which I have been thrown…that I can neither put them out of my mind nor see any way of resolving them. It feels as if I have fallen unexpectedly into a deep whirlpool which tumbles me around so that I can neither stand on the bottom nor swim up to the top’ (p.154). Yes, trying to think about consciousness meant trying to understand what–when we humans are the only fully conscious, reasoning, intelligent, extraordinarily clever, can-get-a-man-on-the-moon animal–is so intelligent and clever about being so competitive, selfish and aggressive; in fact, as mentioned earlier, so ruthlessly competitive, selfish and brutal that human life has become all but unbearable and we have nearly destroyed our own planet?! No wonder, as it says in Genesis, having taken the ‘fruit…from the tree of the knowledge’ (3:3, 2:17) that was ‘desirable for gaining wisdom’ (3:6)–that is, having become fully conscious, thinking, knowledge-finding beings–we humans became so destructively behaved, so apparently lacking in ‘wisdom’, that we seemingly deserved to be condemned and ‘banished…from the Garden of Eden’ (3:23) as defiling, unworthy, evil beings! Instead of being wonderful, our state of consciousness appeared to be THE great evil influence on Earth. Our conscious mind appeared to be to blame for all the devastation and human suffering in the world! That is how ‘serious are the doubts’ that thinking about consciousness produced within us!! Yes, a fearful, all-our-moorings-taken-from-under-us, ‘deep whirlpool’ of terrible depression awaited us if we thought about consciousness.
Thus, unable–until now–to explain our species’ consciousness-induced, ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted, seemingly-imperfect, psychologically-troubled human condition we learnt to avoid the whole depressing subject of consciousness and the issue it raised of the human condition. But now that we can truthfully explain the human condition, we can safely present the, as it turns out, simple explanation of consciousness.
So, what is the truthful, human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding, human-psychosis-addressing-and-solving, real biological explanation for our present competitive, selfish and aggressive human condition? And, beyond that, what is the truthful biological explanation for the origin of our human species’ unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, truly loving, genuinely moral instincts?
Firstly then, ‘how are we to resolve the planet’s inner conflict between its neurotic self and its real self’ and, by so doing, reach the unifying ‘omega point’ in our species’ development, as de Chardin anticipated? What is the dreamed-of, reconciling, redeeming, rehabilitating and HUMAN-RACE-TRANSFORMING BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATION OF THE HUMAN CONDITION?
The fully accountable and thus true explanation of the human condition begins with an analysis of what exactly consciousness is, and what was the effect of its emergence in humans, because only by confronting not avoiding the issue of what consciousness is can we arrive at the redeeming explanation of our seemingly-highly-imperfect competitive, selfish and aggressive human condition.
Very briefly, nerves were originally developed for the coordination of movement in animals, but, once developed, their ability to store impressions–which is what we refer to as ‘memory’–gave rise to the potential to develop understanding of cause and effect. If you can remember past events, you can compare them with current events and identify regularly occurring experiences. This knowledge of, or insight into, what has commonly occurred in the past enables you to predict what is likely to happen in the future and to Page 27 of
PDF Version adjust your behaviour accordingly. Once insights into the nature of change are put into effect, the self-modified behaviour starts to provide feedback, refining the insights further. Predictions are compared with outcomes and so on. Much developed, and such refinement occurred in the human brain, nerves can sufficiently associate information to reason how experiences are related, learn to understand and become CONSCIOUS of, or aware of, or intelligent about, the relationship between events that occur through time. Thus consciousness means being sufficiently aware of how experiences are related to attempt to manage change from a basis of understanding.
What is so significant about this process is that once our nerve-based learning system became sufficiently developed for us to become conscious and able to effectively manage events, our conscious intellect was then in a position to wrest control from our gene-based learning system’s instincts, which, up until then, had been controlling our lives. Basically, once our self-adjusting intellect emerged it was capable of taking over the management of our lives from the instinctive orientations we had acquired through the natural selection of genetic traits that adapted us to our environment.
HOWEVER, it was at this juncture, when our conscious intellect challenged our instincts for control, that a terrible battle broke out between our instincts and intellect, the effect of which was the extremely competitive, selfish and aggressive state that we call the human condition.
To elaborate, when our conscious intellect emerged it was neither suitable nor sustainable for it to be orientated by instincts–it had to find understanding to operate effectively and fulfil its great potential to manage life. However, when our intellect began to exert itself and experiment in the management of life from a basis of understanding, in effect challenging the role of the already established instinctual self, a battle unavoidably broke out between the instinctive self and the newer conscious self.
Our intellect began to experiment in understanding as the only means of discovering the correct and incorrect understandings for managing existence, but the instincts–being in effect ‘unaware’ or ‘ignorant’ of the intellect’s need to carry out these experiments–‘opposed’ any understanding-produced deviations from the established instinctive orientations: they ‘criticised’ and ‘tried to stop’ the conscious mind’s necessary search for knowledge. To illustrate the situation, imagine what would happen if we put a fully conscious mind on the head of a migrating bird. The bird is following an instinctive flight path acquired over thousands of generations of natural selection, but it now has a conscious mind that needs to understand how to behave, and the only way it can acquire that understanding is by experimenting in understanding–for example, thinking, ‘I’ll fly down to that island and have a rest.’ But such a deviation from the migratory flight path would naturally result in the instincts resisting the deviation, leaving the conscious intellect in a serious dilemma: if it obeys its instincts it will not feel ‘criticised’ by its instincts but neither will it find knowledge. Obviously, the intellect could not afford to give in to the instincts, and unable to understand and thus explain why its experiments in self-adjustment were necessary, the conscious intellect had no way of refuting the implicit criticism from the instincts even though it knew it was unjust. Until the conscious mind found the redeeming understanding of why it had to defy the instincts (namely the scientific understanding of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information, that one is an orientating learning system while the other is an insightful learning system), the intellect was left having to endure a psychologically distressed, upset condition, with no choice but to defy that opposition Page 28 of
PDF Version from the instincts. The only forms of defiance available to the conscious intellect were to attack the instincts’ unjust criticism, try to deny or block from its mind the instincts’ unjust criticism, and attempt to prove the instincts’ unjust criticism wrong. In short–and to return to our human situation because we were the species that acquired the fully conscious mind–the psychologically upset angry, alienated and egocentric human-condition-afflicted state appeared. Our ‘conscious thinking self’, which is the dictionary definition of ‘ego’, became ‘centred’ or focused on the need to justify itself. We became ego-centric, self-centred or selfish, preoccupied with aggressively competing for opportunities to prove we are good and not bad–we unavoidably became selfish, competitive and aggressive.
What is so exonerating, rehabilitating and healing–in fact, totally TRANSFORMING–about this explanation of the human condition is that we can finally appreciate that there was a very good reason for our consciousness-induced angry, alienated and egocentric behaviour–in fact, we can now see why we have not just been ego-centric, but ego-infuriated, even ego-gone-mad-with-murderous-anger for having to live with so much unjust criticism. We can now see that our conscious mind was NOT the evil villain it has so long been portrayed as, such as in the Garden of Eden story. No, science has finally enabled us to lift the so-called ‘burden of guilt’ from the human race; in fact, to understand that we conscious humans are actually nothing less than the heroes of the story of life on Earth! This is because our fully conscious mind is surely nature’s greatest invention and to have had to endure the torture of being unjustly condemned as evil for so long (the anthropological evidence indicates we humans have been fully conscious for some two million years) must make us the absolute heroes of the story of life on Earth. Finally, God and man, religion and science, our instinct and intellect, the integrative meaning of life and the inconsistency of our behaviour with that meaning, are all reconciled–de Chardin’s ‘omega point’ has been reached!
And BEST OF ALL, because this explanation of our consciousness-induced human condition is redeeming and thus rehabilitating, all our upset angry, egocentric and alienated behaviour now subsides, bringing about the complete TRANSFORMATION OF THE HUMAN RACE–and importantly, understanding of the human condition doesn’t condone ‘bad’ behaviour, it heals and by so doing ends it. From being competitive, selfish and aggressive, humans return to being cooperative, selfless and loving. Our round of departure has ended. The poet T.S. Eliot wonderfully articulated our species’ journey from an original innocent, yet ignorant, state, to a psychologically upset ‘fallen’, corrupted state, and back to an uncorrupted, but this time enlightened, state when he wrote, ‘We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’ (Little Gidding, 1942).
Finding the exonerating, redeeming understanding of our dark, psychologically troubled, human-condition-afflicted existence finally enables the human race to be healed and thus TRANSFORMED–it makes us ‘whole’ again, as Jung said it would. Yes, the human race moves from a consciousness-condemned, soul-devastated, human-condition-afflicted state to a consciousness-exonerated, soul-resuscitated, neurosis-free, split-selves-reconciled, omega-point-achieved, human-condition-free state. To quote Professor Harry Prosen, a former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, on this dreamed-of, greatest of all breakthroughs in science: ‘I have no doubt this biological explanation of the human condition is the holy grail of insight we have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of the human race’ (FREEDOM, 2015, Introduction).
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PDF Version Having finally found the exonerating and human-race-transforming explanation for our competitive, selfish and aggressive human condition we can now safely present the truthful biological explanation for how we acquired our original unconditionally selfless, universally benevolent, fully altruistic, genuinely moral instinctive self or soul–and thus admit the fourth, fifth and sixth unconfrontable truths: that humans once lived in a cooperative state; that nurturing played the all-important role in both the maturation of our species and in the maturation of our own lives; and, finally, that humans differ in their degrees of alienation or loss of innocence.
The question for biology is how could we humans have developed an unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, truly loving, genuinely moral instinctive self or soul? How can such instinctive behaviour possibly develop when the fundamental biological assumption is that unconditionally selfless instinctive traits cannot develop genetically because self-sacrificing traits tend to self-eliminate and for a trait to develop and become established in a species it needs to reproduce and carry on? The most selflessness that can seemingly be developed genetically is reciprocity, where, as mentioned, an animal behaves selflessly on the condition it will be treated selflessly in return, thus ensuring its continuation from generation to generation, which means the trait is, as pointed out, intrinsically selfish.
So, how did humans develop unconditionally selfless instincts? While self-eliminating genetic traits apparently cannot develop in animals, there was one way such unconditional selflessness could develop, and that was through nurturing–a mother’s maternal instinct to care for her offspring. Genetic traits for nurturing are intrinsically selfish (which, as stated, genetic traits normally have to be) because through a mother’s nurturing and fostering of offspring who carry her genes her genetic traits for nurturing are selfishly ensuring their reproduction into the next generation. However, while nurturing is a genetically selfish trait, from an observer’s point of view the nurturing appears to be unconditionally selfless behaviour. The mother is giving her offspring food, warmth, shelter, support and protection for apparently nothing in return. This point is most significant because it means from the infant’s perspective its mother is treating it with real love, unconditional selflessness. The infant’s brain is therefore being trained or indoctrinated or inscribed with unconditional selflessness and so, with enough training in unconditional selflessness, that infant will grow into an adult who behaves unconditionally selflessly. Apply this training across all the members of that infant’s group and the result is an unconditionally selflessly behaved, cooperative, fully integrated society. And then, with this training in unconditional selflessness occurring over many generations, the unconditionally selfless behaviour will become instinctive–a moral soul will be established. Genes will inevitably follow and reinforce any development process–in this they are not selective. The difficulty is in getting the development of unconditional selflessness to occur in the first place, for once it is regularly occurring it will naturally become instinctive over time.
For a species to develop nurturing–to develop this method for overcoming the gene-based learning system’s seeming inability to develop unconditional selflessness–it required the capacity to allow its offspring to remain in the infancy stage long enough for the infant’s brain to become trained or indoctrinated with unconditional selflessness or love. In most species, infancy has to be kept as brief as possible because of the infant’s extreme vulnerability to predators. Zebras, for example, have to be capable of independent flight almost as soon as they are born, which gives them little opportunity to be trained Page 30 of
PDF Version in selflessness. In the case of primates, however, being already semi-upright as a result of their tree-living, swinging-from-branch-to-branch, arboreal heritage, their arms were semi-freed from walking and thus available to hold a helpless infant, which means they were especially facilitated for prolonging their offspring’s infancy and thus developing unconditionally selfless behaviour. The exceptionally maternal, matriarchal, cooperatively behaved, peaceful bonobo chimpanzee species provide a living example of a species in the midst of developing this training-in-love process. It was our distant ape ancestors who perfected the process, and that is how we acquired our unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, instinctive self or soul, the ‘voice’ of which is our moral ‘conscience’. In light of this, we can now also understand why and when we began to walk upright: the longer infancy is delayed, the more and longer infants had to be held, and thus the greater the selection for arms-freed, upright walking–which means bipedalism must have developed early in this nurturing of love process, and in fact the early appearance of bipedalism in the fossil record of our ancestors is now being found.
The question still to be answered is why was it that humans acquired a fully conscious mind while other species didn’t? The answer is explained in , but very briefly, while mothers’ training of their infants in unconditional selflessness enabled an unconditionally selflessly behaved, fully cooperative society to develop, this training in unconditional selflessness had an accidental by-product: it produced brains trained to think selflessly and thus truthfully and thus effectively and thus become ‘conscious’ of the relationship of events that occur through time. Other species who can’t develop unconditional selflessness can’t think truthfully and thus effectively because unconditional selflessness, which they are unable to recognise, is the truthful theme or meaning of existence. As we have seen with denial-practicing, human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic scientists, you can’t hope to think truthfully and thus effectively if you’re lying. Selfishness-practicing species have an emerging mind that is dishonestly orientated, a mind that is alienated from the truth, which means it can never make sense of experience and thus never become conscious.
Thus, through nurturing we acquired our moral instinctive self or soul. Understandably, however, until we could truthfully explain the good reason humans became embattled with the human condition and thus unable to adequately nurture their children it has been psychologically unbearable to admit that it wasn’t tool use or language development or mastery of fire, etc, etc, but nurturing that gave us our moral soul and made us human–as has been said, ‘people would rather admit to being an axe murderer than being a bad father or mother’ (Sun-Herald, 7 July 2002). It is only now that we can explain why we developed such upset angry, egocentric and psychotic and neurotic alienated lives, which unavoidably made nurturing our children with real, sound love all but impossible, that we can safely admit the critical part nurturing played both in the emergence of our species and in our own lives. In truth, the nature vs nurture debate has really been about defensively trying to argue against the importance of nurturing in the lives of our children. Yes, it is only now that we can truthfully explain the human condition that we can afford to tell the real story of how we acquired the ‘distinct’-from-other-animals, ‘awe’-inspiring, ‘life’s Star’ of our species’ integrative meaning or ‘God’-aligned, moral soul–and admit that Rousseau was right when he said, ‘nothing is more gentle than man in his primitive state’ (The Social Contract and Discourses, 1755; tr. G.D.H. Cole, 1913, Book IV, The Origin of Inequality, p.198).
So nurturing is how we acquired our born-with, ‘collective unconscious’, as Carl Jung described our shared-by-everyone instinctive self or soul. Yes, our soul or psyche did Page 31 of
PDF Version indeed become ‘unconscious’, a subterranean part of our conscious mind, because we had to repress and deny it for its unjust condemnation of us–but no more; as Professor Prosen said, our species’ ‘psychological rehabilitation’ can now begin. Our instinct and intellect are reconciled–this is the end of our psychosis or soul-illness (from psyche meaning ‘soul’ and osis meaning ‘abnormal state or condition’ (Dictionary.com)), and the end of our neurosis or intellect-illness (our neuron or nerve based intellect is freed from upsetting condemnation).
To now describe the sixth great truth that the human race has had to live in denial of while we couldn’t explain the human condition, which is the existence of different degrees of alienation amongst humans.
The overall situation is that the human race started out in an innocent-of-upset cooperative, selfless and loving state but became increasingly angry, egocentric and alienated as the upsetting search for knowledge developed. Naturally, within that overall situation, humans, and groups of humans, varied in the degree they encountered the upsetting battle to find knowledge and how upset they became as a result of that exposure. While such differentiation was an understandable and inevitable outcome of life under the duress of the human condition, until we could explain the human condition, explain the good, heroic reason for upset, any acknowledgement of that differentiation between humans only led to the prejudiced view of some individuals, race, genders, generations, countries, civilisations and even cultures as being better or worse, superior or inferior, than others–the consequence of which were atrocities like the Holocaust, or the extreme injustice of the apartheid policy of racial segregation that was upheld until only recently in South Africa.
So while humans have obviously differed in their degrees of upset–even differed in how instinctively adapted to upset they became, such as becoming instinctively cynical and selfish–to mitigate the risk of dangerous prejudice developing, especially so-called ‘racist’ views of some races being deemed either superior or inferior to others, any acknowledgement of differences in upset between humans simply had to be denied. In the end, however, such denial became farcical, such as when the children’s nursery rhyme Baa Black Sheep was said to be racist and should instead be recited as ‘Baa baa rainbow sheep’ (J.D.F. Jones, ABC Radio, Late Night Live, 25 Feb. 2002). In science, the denial of the differences in the innocence of races was so extreme that when Sir Laurens van der Post dared to speak of the relative innocence of the Bushmen people of the Kalahari in his many books, he made the ‘academic experts’ ‘absolutely berserk with rage’ (ibid)!
Relievingly, with understanding of the human condition now found, the essential equality of everyone’s goodness is finally established and the denial of differences in alienation amongst people obsolete. While all humans are variously upset, all humans are equally good because upset was a result of an unavoidable and necessary battle. Humanity no longer has to rely on dogmatic assertions that ‘all men are created equal’ because it is a ‘self-evident’ truth, as the United States’ Declaration of Independence asserts–we can now explain, understand and know that our equality is a fundamental truth.
Tragically, because of our monumental insecurity about our human condition–which led to, amongst other lies, the denial of differences in alienation between humans–science has provided us with more insights into the behaviour of elephants, and of tiny little insects like tree-hoppers, than it has about our own species’ behaviour. The fact is, it was only through acknowledging such great truths as Integrative Meaning, the existence Page 32 of
PDF Version of the human condition, the true nature of consciousness, the fact that our species once lived in a cooperative, loving state, the importance of nurturing in our upbringing, and the differences in alienation between people, that the all-important, human-race-saving, liberating understanding of ourselves could be found. Referring specifically to the truth of our different states of alienation, the psychologist R.D. Laing made this point about the need for honesty when he wrote that ‘Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967, p.12). Again, it is of the greatest importance and relief that with understanding of the human condition at last found, all the great truths that have historically had to be denied can at last be safely admitted and a truthful world of compassionate, relieving and thus transforming understanding of ourselves emerge.
Finally, in response to that exasperated plea to know ‘what is science?, ‘why can’t it save us?’, we can now say that SCIENCE HAS FINALLY DELIVERED US FROM THE HORROR OF THE HUMAN CONDITION, THUS ENABLING THE DREAMED-OF TRANSFORMATION OF THE HUMAN RACE!