Friday, September 21, 2012

Tao of the Ninja Mennonite: VI

Obliquely following on the last post-- it's difficult to be currently aware of the unprecedented loss of arctic ice this summer it engendering a certain sense of impending dread. It's difficult locally to be much optimistic about this islands future if one has been paying much attention to the "geothermal" issue and taking note to the blatant lack of integrity shown by both the "for" and "against" camps. There's a lot of stuff in flames around the world this morning and it's obvious that my personal angst is shared by a lot of people.

Yet I can hear it: But hey, don't be so negative, Jay! The new Iphone is available today, that will save us all! Or some such new and shining thing or approach-- maybe not Iphones but new generations of solar panels, or new political moments like Occupy Wallstreet, or new approaches to taxation carbon credits, or any of the rest of it. But none of this "new" stuff really heartens me much, especially some of the touted "new paradigm" airy fairy stuff some spout-- as I know without a doubt the core issues facing humanity and the planet are not "epistemological" in nature-- neither are they ecological, or political, or technological. They are in fact moral issues first and foremost: issues of basic human integrity, honesty, and objectivity. Shallow minds like to shrug off our current woes as some inevitable result of human nature. This a broadly held but remarkably ignorant world view, as it's all but self-evident that if within the human mind there didn't exist the basic capacity for honesty, objectivity, and cooperative benevolence--  humanity would have never survived our pre-historical existence and our species would have been stuffed out as yet another failed evolutionary experiment a million years ago. Bullshit-- it's our obvious and unique innate capacity honest objectivity that makes us human-- this is the core of human nature itself -- not intelligence, nor language, nor thumbs: all of these we share with plenty of our earthly co-inhabitants. No, it's the ability to look at the world objectively(at least as objectively as the physical constraints of the universe allow it to be possible) to grasp the systemic import of that objective knowledge, to manipulate it conceptually, and to act in a manner that has the ability to enhance the global systemic viability-- this makes us human. From that realization of the evolutionary role of the human species--and why it might make sense for such ecological capital to be invested in one species-- it can be seen as core to "human nature" the ability to enhance, consciously, systems that otherwise would be constrained to much slower and perhaps less viable processes. Of course this terminology I use, "larger systemic viability" is me speaking the perspective of a modern, educated, atheist-- observing the emergent phenomenon of evolutionary processes and biological determinants-- paying a certain respect to the appearance of a teleological nature of the whole. Others from other times might be comfortable with simpler concepts of "God's Will" or even the Tao-- but we would hope that as we go along our innate objective "human nature" would guide us to worldviews with ever higher levels--or depths-- of objective understanding. While it may be colloquially cute to speak in these more primitive terms, and while without a doubt there's knowledge to be inherited from such world views-- for a modern mind to hold such concepts as equally as valid as the informed modern secular view, is, well, nothing short of retarded. To deliberately do so in the face of evidence to the contrary is at its core-- inhumane.

And is core to the root of our current moral crisis.

Why? Because if we can accept for the moment my assertion of the innate nature of humanity's capacity for rational objectivity-- it certainly is reasonable to suggest that as with all of our other innate capacities-- the ability for language, or mathematics, or even perhaps music-- our objective nature if not appropriately stimulated, or if deliberately stifled-- may not develop. And this is critical, as objectivity is central to moral behavior. In fact, it's very reasonable to argue that the first and foremost, and most humane moral task of any evolved human being is the utter commitment to be honestly, authentically objective. For without this, whence comes the criteria for any subsequent moral judgement? Moral judgments obviously cannot be made effectively constructively from incomplete or inadequate understandings of reality-- less so from fantasy or delusional word views-- rarely if ever from reality based on the wishing of things being a certain, often purely preferential, way.

To be continued... in the meanwhile


mrostron said...

"... the evolutionary role of the human species--and why it might make sense for such ecological capital to be invested in one species…" is a very interesting phrase.
"Make sense" might mean something like "not so maladaptive as to result in extinction" - at least for the time being. But all species do eventually go extinct or change, usually profoundly, to adapt or not to their ever changing environment. If, as proposed by supporters of the Gaia and related hypothesis, the living Earth itself has some sort of will to survive, and in some as yet unknown fashion manipulates conditions to that end; then perhaps such "ecological capital" (to use your phrase) is invested in the one species with the ability to manipulate the environment to prevent the type of past extinctions which have occurred periodically. Extinctions caused perhaps by meteorites, sudden climate changes, solar activity, magnetic reversals, the wrath of the gods, little green men or whatever. In any case poor old Gaia seems to have put a lot of her eggs in one basket if that is her gamble!

Justin said...

what I dig into is your persistence that morality is the answer to a general public and private malaise. this is related to your post, but also to my having started your sea steading book. The ineffectual or inauthentic life's persistence or even perseverance seems to run rampant for lack of moral integrity. the problem than is convincing one that their moral integrity lacks where your does not, and conversely where yours lacks, their does not. so can we go one step further and say that morality is determined by mutual parties whom singularly must hold different morals? To find solutions there must be compromise, and isn't this perhaps the human flaw? we are dependent upon each other, and it is this dependency that is often neglected in modern life everyday as less than essential. If we cannot master the cooperation of different ideas, than we will be subject to this flaw and perhaps to our end. the idea of democracy is largely misunderstood but generally held to this lofty ideal of "mutual" benefit to the affect subjugation of individualism and personal heights of accomplishment. the desire to live a lonely or most directly a nationless existence is perhaps the first step in removing the geographical prejudice while simultaneously giving geography its rightful place at the head of a table of fools. If the borders don't have to be crossed than perhaps the commerce which so very much relies on trade deficiencies and advantages would then operate from a local, consistent, and deeply moral place of necessity, rather than opportunity. If we together see that morality is framed in a geographical tradition of borders, than morality can also be said to escape these borders by actively encouraging movements which see nomadism or frontering as mutually moral and therefore embodying the definition of morality. Wherein I am freely available to others locally whom seek, regardless of where one is coming from or going to, a need for healthy existence aligned with what our vast knowledge base knows to be the current biological systems. We are freely able to move about earth, rather than forcing ourselves into the inevitable conflict of asking Earth to move around us. To summarize. Buy local!