Saturday, 16 January 2010

The REVOLUTION begins here - Part 1

I finished my last post saying that having painted such a bleak, but all too realistic, picture of our situation, in my next post I would present some of my ideas on how, once recognised, we might face up to this existential challenge. So here goes:

The REVOLUTION begins (as John Lennon says in his song of that name) in each individual's head (and heart), with recognition (which John, I guess, lacked) of the perverted Darwinian nature of the power structures which underlie the existing socioeconomic order of state and economy, and of our civilisation in general. 

Notwithstanding our complete material and (often neglected) also emotional dependency on it, the whole system is fundamentally flawed, having developed over centuries or millennia as a misplaced and perverted expression of our Darwinian nature (tabooed, rationalise and thus unrecognized), to facilitate society's (self)-exploitation as an artificial environment. This is the context in which history and all the social and political sciences need to be studied and understood.

Since we can survive neither with nor without it, we have no other choice, unless we leave a ruthless Mother Nature to take her course, than to create an alternative, based, not as the existing socioeconomic order is, on the blind (subconscious) perversion of our Darwinian nature, but on a conscious, rational and humane understanding of it, and of the situation it has got us into, which we have to get out of if we want our civilisation (and our children with it) to survive and prosper beyond the middle of the current century.

I realise that recognising this is a huge, initially terrifying, step in itself, but it has to be taken before we can proceed.

Then the next step is to recognise that at the moment "we" are just a tiny, relatively powerless, minority who must cultivate hope and patience, rather than succumbing to frustration or resignation. I've put "we" in quotation marks because there will never be agreement on what this alternative should be, and we cannot afford to waste time arguing or fighting over it. We have to get a move on, which means developing a number of different alternatives, in order to accommodate our major differences. We just need some very basic rules of mutual respect, non-violence and democracy to regulate how the different alternatives interact and cooperate, analogous to those which now regulate relations between the states comprising the European Union.

At the moment we are all totally dependent on state and economy, i.e. capital, which organize society for their own (ultimately, perverted Darwinian) purposes. Creating the necessary alternative(s) requires us organizing OURSELVES, peacefully and grassroots-democratically. These alternatives cannot be created in an instant, but will require time (years) to develop. As they do so, we can transfer our dependencies, activities and vested interests to them, gradually, step by step, each of us, when we are ready and at our own pace - notwithstanding the urgency of our cause. At the moment, at least, any coercion could be totally counter productive, because people naturally and understandably, as a matter of principle, react against it. We need ourselves and others to act from conviction and of our/their own free will. This is what will drive our revolution, in contrast to past revolutions, which, no matter how well-intentioned, have always been forced through and imposed, and have thus miserably failed to achieve their goals.

In liberal democracies like Britain, there is nothing to prevent such a grassroots-democratic revolution, provided we proceed peacefully and within the law. Otherwise the state will simply crush us or incorporate us back into itself, which is what happened to all past revolutions or attempts at revolution.

This revolution must have a base so broad that it can not be easily overturned. And its most basic constituent parts (namely, millions of individuals) so robust that even if they are torn apart, they will quickly reconstitute, i.e. reorganize, themselves once favourable circumstances allow. Just as the whole material universe and the life it has given rise to (certainly here on Earth) are rooted in self-organization at the most basic, atomic and molecular, level, so too with society, where the basic units are the individual and his or her tribe.

Just as atoms, given the right conditions, organise themselves into molecules, molecules into more complex structures (e.g. cell organelles) and these into cells, which differentiate and organise themselves into specific tissues and organs, which finally constitute the finished (but evolving) organism, so too, I suggest, by analogy, with society. Only it is not for me, or anyone else, to tell another individual how he or she should feel and be inclined to self-organize, i.e. which alternative(s) to the existing socioeconomic order, they should commit themselves to.

The state, organized religion and capital currently organize society from the top down for their own perverted, subconscious (and thus unrecognized) Darwinian purposes (the pursuit and exercise of power in its multifarious forms). It is for us - those of us who will - to gradually, peacefully and grassroots-democratically turn this situation on its head.

The basic problem with so-called "society"

The underlying and unrecognized problem with "society", is the fact that it is not primarily a society at all, but an (artificial, socioeconomic) environment, which state and economy developed over the centuries to facilitate the self-exploitation of, to the main advantage of power, wealth and privilege.
From a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian, perspective it is easy to understand why this should be the case, but massive social, political and personal taboos - the product of a prodigious "prime-ape" brain that evolved tointerpret reality (its environment) to its own, now perverted, Darwinian advantage - have thus far prevented this, deluding us into seeing state and economy as serving society, rather than exploiting it.
They DO serve society, of course, and we ALL totally depend on them (for order, security, income, products and services), but as a shepherd serves his flock, which isn't primarily for the flock's sake, but for his own and/or his employer's sake, for the meat and wool the flock provides and can be exchanged at market for MONEY, the most versatile form of POWER, the pursuit and exercise of which (in all its multifarious forms) is what Homo sapiens' primordial struggle for survival and (reproductive) "success", misplaced and perverted in the artificial environment of human civilisation itself, has essentially been reduced to.
If our civilisation is to survive, we must recognise and develop an understanding of this, because it is the root cause of the problems (social, political, economic and environmental), which, unless resolved, will put an end to us.
Currently, virtually everyone still looks to either the state or the economy (or usually a combination of both) to solve "society's" problems, but they are utterly incapable of doing so, since they themselves are the primary cause of these problems. Only it is not in the state's or the economy's (capital's) perverted Darwinian self-interest (in facilitating the pursuit and exercise of power) to recognise this. And because our dependency causes us to identify our own interests with them, our brains prevent us from recognising it too.
One might reasonably doubt that there is a solution, since "society" and the power structures of state and economy which serve and exploit it have never fundamentally been any different to the way they are now. It is just that in the past "society's" privileged elites were not nearly so large or numerous, and the overall impact on the natural environment was far smaller. Now, our collective impact is totally unsustainable and rapidly leading to disintegration of the globalised economy it can only temporarily support.
Of one thing I am sure: if there is to be any hope at all of us (our civilisation) surviving this present century, we must quickly recognise and develop an understanding of the situation we are in (and its Darwinian nature), instead of continuing to deceive ourselves into believing that we can carry on more or less as we are.
It is a very scary situation we are in (another powerful force deterring us from facing up to it), but we need to be scared - terrified! - not necessarily for our own sakes, but for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Even if we cannot be sure of success, we should at least face up to the challenge. That is the very least we (who have had it so good in our lifetimes) owe to them, and to our forebears, who endured and achieved so much for OUR (their children's and descendents) sakes, but for whom state and economy couldn't give a monkey's. On the contrary, anyone making too specific a reference to them is likely to be accused of xenophobia and racism.
The political left and right are not really so different from each other as they like to imagine. Both are intent on maintaining and/or changing the socioeconomic environment to suit themselves. The political right want a state that largely restricts itself to protecting and enforcing individual property rights, which is where their main interests lie, while the political left want a state which gets involved in all aspects of society, because that is where their interests tend to lie. With both sides insisting, of course, and no doubt sincerely believing themselves, that their own interests correspond with those of society at large, since what really characterizes the human brain is not its (hugely exaggerated) rationality, but its capacity for rationalization and self-deception in pursuit of narrow, short-sighted and often perverted or totally misconceived self-interests.
No political party or movement, to my knowledge, has even the foggiest notion of our true situation and thus of how we might yet save ourselves. All are blindly intent, no matter how sincerely and well-intentioned, on leading us to oblivion.
Having painted such a bleak - but, I'm afraid, only too realistic - picture of our situation, in my next post I will present some of my ideas (which are far from fully developed) on how, once recognised, we might face up to this existential challenge.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Darwinian purpose of the state and universalist ideologies

The state and universalist ideologies (political, economic or religious) all appeal, amongst other things, to man's tribal nature, in order to create the illusion of us all belonging to the same super-tribe, which then serves as a socioeconomic environment and human resource, organized primarily by the state and capital to facilitate society's self-exploitation, to the advantage of those in power, wealth and privilege, which nowadays in western democracies, to a greater or lesser extent, includes most of us, especially academics, whose independence and objectivity, without them being aware of it, is severely compromised, rendering them incapable of recognising the true (Darwinian) nature a socioeconomic order so favourable to their own advantage and success.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The spurious "moral high ground " on which so-called liberal democracies are based

Our political and religious leaders, in claiming a spurious "moral high ground" for themselves, which they need to occupy the positions they do, refuse to recognise, or even contemplate, the Darwinian nature of society, i.e. its social, political and economic power structures.

As a consequence, hundreds, if not thousands, of millions of people are going to die in the decades ahead, as the individual's primordial struggle for survival, advantage and "success" intensifies, due to an increasing human population placing ever greater demands on Earth's finite and diminishing natural resources and carrying capacity. Basically it is what happens to a population of any organism (from bacteria upwards) when its demand on available resources (usually just nutrients) and its environmental impact (e.g. environmental pollution and degradation) exceeds sustainable levels.

In order to retain their own, personal (and immediate family) advantage, our political and religious leaders will go on insisting (and believing themselves, no doubt, since I'm not suggesting that they do this with intent) that it is wrong and deeply immoral to take a Darwinian view of society (because that, they say, is what wicked Social Darwinists and evil Nazis did), thereby preventing the rest of us (academics, especially evolutionary biologists, at the fore) from doing so and developing a real understanding of our situation, in contrast to the illusions and self-deception which dominates at the moment, which we could then use, if not to avoid the approaching catastrophe entirely (for which it is now almost certainly too late), at least to greatly reduce its scale and impact, and vastly improve our children's chances of survival and recovery.

There is another spurious claim to the "moral high ground", which our political and religious leaders are compelled to embrace and then to impose on everyone else, which rivals and is related to the first: denial of the personal, social and political importance of race and ethnicity (because of its central role in determining a deep and meaningful sense of personal and group identity). Again, Social Darwinism and Nazism are held up as examples of the "moral low ground", which, they insist, is the only alternative to their "moral high ground" of "colourblindness", of "indifference to ethnic difference", of "race doesn't matter" (i.e. is of no social or political importance except to evil "racists" like the Nazis).

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The pernicious dependency of the media on advertising

LINK to Observer editorial, The readers' editor on… a new era at the Observer, by Stephen Pritchard
The soul of any paper is found in its Comment pages, [while] advertising [is] the lifeblood of all media organisations . .
Media dependency on advertising is a Faustian pact, if ever there was one, which, notwithstanding all - I'm sure, mainly sincere - assurances to the contrary and calls for "progressive" reform, binds and blinds those dependent on it to the politico-socioeconomic status quo which is driving our civilization (not least, through advertising) towards its end.

If "the soul of any paper is found in its Comment pages" then the soul of a genuine society, of people committed to each other's well-being by a deep sense of shared identity and NATIONHOOD (as opposed to the superficial and opportunistic STATEHOOD of being "British"), must surely be intimately and democratically bound to the media organisation(s) which serve(s) it.

The soul of the society and NATION I long to belong to, which I see no reflection of in the British STATE, I would not want owned by capital (directly and/or indirectly through advertising) or by the STATE (the BBC), which has its own agenda, but by the PEOPLE who actually identify with it, and are thus prepared to pay - whatever the cost, because it is vital to their soul - for it.

If the Guardian/Observer were prepared to develop into such a media organization, serving the different NATIONS that would naturally emerge - peacefully and grassroots-democractically - if the perverse and unsustainable compulsion to equate STATE and NATION, which has been imposed on us, by the state, ever since it arose, were lifted, I would be prepared to contibute as much as I can afford (at least several hundred pounds a year) towards it. And I don't need a paper version. As far as I'm concerned, it can be entirely online - which would save a lot of costs.

For my money and committment (which would be from my soul and heart-felt), however, I would expect "unmoderated" freedom to express my own views in the Comment pages, i.e. in the threads attached to them.

Well, Stephen, what about it . . ?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The human brain evolved to INTERPRET reality to its own (perverted) Darwinian advantage

LINK to Guardian article, Decoding the decade, by Joe Moran
[The past has] nothing to teach us except how much more enlightened we are today.
This was the only bit in the article that I could really relate to, because it is so true. I remember believing it myself, or something very similar, for most of my life.

The human brain, I then came to realise, prevents us, not completely, but to a very large extent, from recognizing our OWN follies, because it evolved to "interpret" reality, i.e. its environment, to its own, very narrowly perceived (basically Darwinian) advantage, in a natural environment VERY different from the essentially artificial environment, of human civilization, it must deal with, i.e. interpret to its own advantage, today.

The main advantage it is programmed to look for, blinding it to other aspects of reality, or greatly distorting them, is POWER, in its multifarious forms (including money, the moral high ground, social and professional status, etc), which potentially will greatly enhance the individual's chances of survival and reproductive success.

This (the pursuit and exercise of POWER) is what prevents our political, religious and business leaders, in particular (but ourselves as well, of course, especially in the media) from forming a more realistic interpretation of our situation, and is the root cause of our mounting social, political, economic and environmental problems. It is driving us towards human and ecological catastrophe on an unimaginable scale.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Tribalists vs statists and universalists or Contrapot vs (the melting) Pot

Statists and universalists (i.e. apologists for the state and universalist religions or ideologies) seek to demonize and suppress tribal and ethnic loyalties (now condemned as "racist") in favour of loyalty to the state and/or a universalist religion or ideology, which usually includes "colourblindness" or "one-human-race-ism", in order to create a social and political ENVIRONMENT in which they can lay claim to the "moral high ground" for themselves and the advantages which go with it.

They will argue, of course, that this is the only way to control man's tribal nature, which would otherwise lead to tribal conflict and war, as it apparently did in prehistoric times, but this really is just a pretext for continued domination by the state and capital.

Man's social behaviour is tied, I believe, not exclusively, but to a very large extent, to his tribal nature and behaviour. Thus, if we want to create a genuine society, people must be free to form, peacefully and grassroots-democratically, genuine NATIONS, the natural extension of our original TRIBE, in contrast to the STATE, which has always been imposed from above in order to facilitate society's self-exploitation, as an environment and human resource, to the advantage of wealth, power and privilege.