Sunday, October 7, 2012

Evolve or Die

First, a little background about my education might give some context on where I'm coming from.  I double majored in history and political science in college.  There's several areas that historians focus on beyond period and place.  Some are cultural historians, some social, others military.  My focus was intellectual history, also called the history of ideas.

On the political science side, my focus was on American government for most of my education, but towards the end I started to focus on totalitarianism.  I was very interested in how a democratic society could transform into a totalitarian regime (i.e. the Weimar Republic Germany transforming into Nazi Germany).

So combining what I learned in college, and what I've learned since, from these disciplines, I think I've come up with a theory for the intellectual evolution of the human species.  Bear with me.

I see human intellectual evolution as a maze.  The goal, as in any maze, is to get to the end point, but this maze is different in that there are two endpoints.  I sincerely believe that a Type 1 society is the final stage of human intellectual evolution (in terms of how society is organized), but there are two possible outcomes.  The first is a sort of advanced, democratic type 1 society, the alternative being a totalitarian type 1 society.

It might take a minute for that to be clear.  A type 1 society can exist either as a free society or a totalitarian society.  For those who might not know what I mean by "Type 1 society," I'm referring to something akin to Star Trek.  The idea is that the world is organized as one body of people with one specific purpose: the perpetual survival of the human species.  It would be like how the United States is organized in terms of Federal => State => Local government, except a type 1 society would be organized as World => National => State/Local/Whatever government.

Just as state goals are held as important but at once subborned to national goals--i.e. a state goal cannot interfere with a national, federal goal--a type 1 society would function in a similar way: national goals are subborned to world goals.

Back to the main point, we're in a maze.  Sometimes we hit dead ends and we have to go back and find a new path.  Those dead ends are points in history where we as a species arrived at a bad place intellectually, and a change in course was required if we were to endure.  Well, we hit a similar point with the rise of totalitarianism.  It wasn't a dead end though: it was a fork in the maze.  Instead of the maze being horizontal, the fork went virtical.  Upwards leads to an advanced democratic society--what that looks like, I don't know--and down leads to a totalitarian world, much like Orwell's 1984.

The problem, though, is that we didn't take a fork.  When we got there, we were so insistent on making horizontal progress that we refused to make virtical evolutions.  We were scared.  We saw what fruits totalitarianism would bear, but we also feared what any advanced form of democracy might look like.  We were convinced that what we had previously discovered--America's current form of democratic-republican government--was it.  We thought we had reached the pinnacle, so there was no need for further evolution.

So instead of choosing a direction, we set out to break through the divide and barrel through the wall.  We continue breaking through the wall to this day, only the problem is that we don't have the tools to do so.  We're breaking through with our hands and stone, bloody and beaten.  Because of the horrible toll it's taking on us, we're becoming deformed as a species, and eventually we won't even look human.

We will break through the wall and get to the end, to be sure.  But we'll come out of it as monsters.  And once we break through, and all that's left is the end, gravity will kick in, and we'll fall straight to the bottom.  On our current course, we will end up as one totalitarian world, and we will have lost our human will to fight it.

So what do we do?  Well, the only thing we can do is go back.  We have to go back to the fork in the road and figure out how we can take the path up.  We cannot continue on our current intellectual path, because it's only making this country--and the world--worse.  We have to evolve.  Democracy, republican government, are not the final solution.  There is something beyond American government that will take us to where we need to be.

We will be one world no matter what.  A day will come when the human species finally becomes cognizant of the need for togetherness and singularity of purpose.  If we continue to stifle our intellectual evolution, if we remain stubborn in our assertion that 21st century America is as good as it gets, we will end up as a totalitarian world.  That world is death: death of the human spirit and character.

Evolve or die.


Silverfiddle said...

A world ruled by the UN would not be an advancement.

Being a liberty lover, I am rooting for things going in the opposite direction, a further fracturing of power structures, with more autonomy for smaller groups and regions.

One ironic outcome of the EU project, which is striving to erase borders, had been the resurgence of regional independence movements (Scotland, Catalonia, Northern Italy, etc).

Human nature is to be free, not march towards becoming an anonymous part of the amorphous borg.

Jack Camwell said...

The colonies felt the same way in the late 18th Century. Eventually they realized that the only way they were going to survive as a new nation was to have greater national purpose, so they did away with the Articles of Confederation and wrote up the Constitution.

The colonies maintained their individual cultural identities and goals, and no one's freedom suffered as a result. To this day, the states in the United States hold their culutral traditions and their individual state goals.

Fracturing is exactly why the world is such an awful place, Silver. Wars are faught over resources and ideas. If the human species bands together to provide for the species as a whole, wars won't be faught over resources. If the world banded together to hunt down and punish terrorists, and ensured that everyone was allowed to practice their faith peacefully, then wars wouldn't be faught over ideas.

Like I said in my article, the world is headed towards Type 1 or destruction. We simply cannot continue on the way we are now if we hope to survive. I'm not suggesting the UN rule the world, because the UN is useless. It would have to be something different.

I don't really know much of anything about Star Trek except for the humans were a type 1 society in which they were all still free and happy. Why would you assume that everything would turn out like the borg?

One world doesn't mean we all have to be the same. It just means that we have to stop killing each other over resources and ideas.

Silverfiddle said...

I contend that such consolidation is what is causing so much agitation and outright hatred here in the United States.

The federal government has gone way past its constitutional bounds, imposing ham-handed, one-size-fits-all "solutions" on a diverse population.

I believe the constitutional model strikes the right balance.

Leave national defense, diplomacy, international trade to the federal government, and leave the rest to the states. Gay marriage is not a federal issue, nor is health care, housing, farms subsidies or the myriad other issues DC screws up daily.

Unfortunately, killing one another is more in our human nature than banding together for the common good.

We are self-interested creatures. Altruism is a luxury.

Jack Camwell said...

We're not talking about the world government imposing social standards on other countries. All I'm talking about is pooling resources to ensure the survival of the human species.

We're not as self-interested as you say. If we were all rugged individuals, then the nation-state would not exist. Right now, there are 311 million Americans who participate in a society with general goals for continued prosperity and safety.

The reason war exists today is for 3 reasons.

1. Resources.

2. Ideas.

3. No joint police.

If no nation is in want of resources, then why would they go to war over resources? If we all buy the notion that the human species' only chance for survival is one world dedicated to the cause of humanity as a whole, why would we go to war over ideas?

If there was a world government actually dedicated to ensuring that all nations adhere to the universal declaration of human rights, and actually banded together to stop interlopers and what not, then why couldn't we achieve this?

You think that because we're a nation with its own self-determination that somehow you're more free. You're wrong. We're less free because every second we stay fractured is one second closer to our imminent destruction.

Imagine if the entire PLANET came down on nations that support terrorism. There would be far fewer terrorists because there'd be virtually no harbors for them. Imagine if the entire planet came down on North Korea when they threatened to use nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Il would have shut up pretty quickly.

I know this is all pie-in-the-sky, so maybe this is just serving as a prediction. If we don't destroy ourselves first, we will end up 1 world no matter what. If we don't go back and re-examine democracy and discover the next stage, we'll end up as Orwell's 1984.

We'll be 1 world, but 1 world that loves Big Brother.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, the average American family pays $700 a month to pay for the military, and they pay $2 a month for UN peace-keeping missions that have created the least violent decade in modern history.

Look it up.

Why you think being arrogant and belligerent is always the best way to go is beyond me. Especially when considering the ridiculous amount of money you crazy cons want to throw at the military all the time.


Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: Give us some sources for your data please.

@ Jack: All I'm talking about is pooling resources to ensure the survival of the human species.

Good luck getting anything close to a global consensus on what even the first step would entail.

No, grand unified field theories are progressive urges and always eventually involve a strong man and force.

I urge you to go back and read some more Orwell. One of his many collections of essays perhaps, or even just "Homage to Catalonia."

Jack Camwell said...

"No, grand unified field theories are progressive urges and always eventually involve a strong man and force."

Right, which is why I'm not talking about using force and what not. I'm not talking about totalitarianism... I'm talking about the next stage beyond democracy.

There IS something beyond democracy, we just haven't discovered it yet.

I'm probably one of the last persons on the Earth you want to tell to "go back and read some more Orwell." I've read plenty of Orwell, and I actually used him as the basis for my studies in how democracy degenerates into totalitarianism.

I absolutely HATE saying this, but I wrote a paper for a graduate course on the history of democracy about Orwell's language theory and how it pertains to the rise of totalitarianism. It's not like I haven't done my studying or reading into him. I've probably done way more due dilligence on Orwell than most people.

Silverfiddle said...

I know you have the best of intentions Jack. I'm just not into standing around the big Christmas tree and singing I'd like to buy the world a coke...

FreeThinke said...

I'll short-circuit my own thoughts on the subject, take the easy way out and say, "From what you've said here, Kurt, I'm with you, 100%."

The Central Problem of Existence, as I see it, is how to strike the delicate balance we must maintain between Liberty and Security -- between Freedom and Safety in order to enjoy the best possible society.

The "masculine" side of our nature strongly favors liberty, while the "feminine" given the choice generally opts for "security."

The paradox we call Life largely consists of a long series of polar opposites -- Yin and Yang, if you will.

Masculine - Feminine
Love - Hate
Dark - Light
Danger - Safety
Beauty - Ugliness
Comfort - Suffering
Want - Plenty
Fulfillment - Desire
Riches - Poverty
Justice - Injustice
Freedom - Safety

Etc., etc., etc. Blah blah blah blah blah!

This POLARITY is a VITAL component of EXISTENCE. There's no way to eliminate it. What we like to think of as "fairness" DOES not -- and CANNOT -- exist, EXCEPT in the way choose to respond to individual circumstances.

"They that can give up essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

~ Franklin (1706-1790)

We're all familiar with that statement by now to the point where it's become a cliché.

The point of life is to LIVE it. It way be tempting and intriguing to envision a better world, and one should always pray then strive to keep hope alive, but -- corny as it may sound to our cynical ears today -- it really is "better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness."

Another way of putting it was expressed in the corny old Sunday School song called Brighten the Corner Where you Are.

"BLOOM WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED" is another way of saying it.

And then there is that terrible piece of cheap, theatrical music that nevertheless expresses noble sentiments and dispenses good practical advice that became popular for use during services in the Catholic Church back in the Seventies:

Let there be peace on earth -- AND LET IT BEGIN WITH ME

There's the the rub, Jack.

YOU and I cannot do ANYTHING to control what OTHERS think and do. We only have the power to exercise governance over OURSELVES.

ALL Itopian theories lapse into tyranny whenever anyone has tried to put them into practice.

That's because Utopian ideology runs contrary to human nature, which is individualistic, competitive, fractious, and fiercely independent. Ergo, it requires a Top Down invariably oppressive, suppressive, repressive regime to ENFORCE unnatural standards of egalitarianism on unruly populations.

AT THE SAME TIME -- and here's where the PARADOX comes in -- human beings, DESPITE their competitive, disputatious nature, ALSO have some sort of HIVE instinct that causes them to band together in hierarchical structures that ensure enough safety and security to enable them to perpetuate their kind.


Learn that, and you'll free yourself of a great deal of anxiety and consternation, and also save yourself a great deal of time and energy that would be better spent doing good deeds or pursuing creative projects.

Best to ya!

~ FreeThinke

Jack Camwell said...

Thank you for the thoughtful response, FT.

The point of my article is that we as a species has largely accepted our fate and the nastiness of the human condition. That's the problem.

Now, I'm not saying that what I'm proposing is even possible. That's something that I want my readers to understand about my position. I fully accept the fact that we may never get to this stage of human evolution, but it's not because of human nature--or at least, it's only because of one aspect of human nature.

It's not our individualism that's going to keep us from evolving, it's our stubbornnes that will ruin us. You and Silver have both expressed the attitude that will keep us from moving forward. That is not meant as an insult to either of you, it's just an observation.

I'm not talking about the balance between security and liberty, and to continue with that is to keep your mind trapped. I'm talking about a world in which both exist as fully as possible--more fully than it exists in today's world. Totalitarian force does not need to be applied to achieve such a goal--we haven't used it so far here in America (for the most part, but that's an entirely different discussion).

You once said on some thread somewhere else that I need to deal with the realm of the possible, because that's what politics is. I DO deal in the realm of the possible, but ask yourself this: what if every human that has ever lived ONLY dealt in the realm of the possible?

We wouldn't be where we are today, that's for certain. Good politicians are ones who deal in both the realm of the possible and the realm of what they can MAKE possible.

It's vision, FT. Vision is something that the great men and women of history had that ordinary humans did not have.

If we continue to be Panglossian about this, then you're right: we'll never evolve. But we simply cannot continue on this path, FT, because we will inevitably destroy ourselves. Being fractious and insular was okay when the world was populated with like, two hundred million humans.

But now, there are 7 billion of us on the planet, all clamoring for resources and killing each other over ideas. On our current course, we maybe have fifty years left until the earth's resources run out--and yes, they WILL eventually run out.

Unfortunately, I think we only maybe have twenty-five to forty years before we actually just plain destroy all humanity.

And don't you worry, I do plenty of good deeds. Hell, I work with people with disabilities for a living. No one can say to me that I haven't done my share, and then some, to ensure that everyone--even the disabled--has a chance to live a life of liberty and happiness.

Anonymous said...

I had a comment typed out before that just seemed plain dark and scary, would definitely have given people the wrong idea about my views on the subject.

To put it very simply, most creatures on this planet only evolve due to stress. Our attitude on this united world would have to be an evolution of culture.

It would not be an utopia as much as it would be a superior system of government.

Unfortunately, I personally feel that two things would have to happen in order to see this realized.

The first thing that would have to happen is a reboot of the species through a worldwide cataclysm. This is pretty much non-negotiable in my view. You have to start with a much smaller world population.

This next part is going to make me very unpopular, but the reason it makes me unpopular is why it is standing in our path, looming like the Himalayas through the eyes of a mere mortal. A great obstacle in our road towards unity.

The second thing that must happen is a total abandonment of all religious and supernatural pretense. Everywhere. It is an old human concept that has clung on for far, far too long. It is simply too simple to just point at some external force and lay blame or give praise. It removes the individual from the equation and actually dulls our collective sense of self.

Until people trust each other enough to work together, either out of choice or necessity, then none of this will happen.

Again, this is the watered down version of a post I was working on, I don't want to start a flame war on Jackie's blog.