Saturday, 23 October 2010

A philosophical view

My "comment" in response to an article by Neil O'Brien, "Should we only get what we deserve? It's a revolutionary idea" which I found on the Telegraph's website.

At last, someone has the courage to take a philosophical view of the social situation.

We have the pre-Socratic philosophers of ancient Greece to thank for the philosophical foundations which led to the emergence of modern material science and all the benefits (and dangers) that have come with it.

What we are still lacking is a genuinely scientific basis for understanding human society and its institutions. The foundation stones have been lying around for well over a century and often been tripped over, but not yet recognised and organised into an actual foundation on which to build a science of society.

Social Darwinists had a stab at it, but created something on which some rather nasty ideologies were based (e.g. Nazism, Jim Crow and Apartheid), the response to which was to make a taboo of any further attempts at creating a Darwinian basis for understanding human society.

However, such a basis is indispensable, Homo sapiens, after all, being not just physically, but also emotionally and behaviourally, very much a product of Darwinian evolution. To suppose that this has no, or little, bearing on the development and functioning of human societies and institutions would be absurd – although this, essentially, is the current situation.

What a Darwinian view of society reveals is this: that man has effectively domesticated himself, just as he domesticated certain animals, and for the same purpose, i.e. to exploit them (in an artificial, socio-economic environment) in continuation of his primordial struggle for survival and reproductive success. Only, in respect to human society, it is a perversion of our Darwinian nature, a form of self-exploitation, which the state was created (originally by a coalition of aristocracy and clergy), and has developed over the centuries, to facilitate - to the advantage, naturally enough, of those in power, wealth and privilege (and now including those who exploit social welfare).

Very cleverly, the STATE poses as our NATION (David Cameron's “Big Society”), as the modern equivalent of our original TRIBE, thereby conflating and confounding the two very different environments (intra-tribal and extra-tribal) which evolution adapted us to.

Within the context (environment) of one's own tribe (or nation), the notions of deserving and undeserving make sense, but not within the context of the extra-tribal environment, which one is naturally concerned to exploit in the struggle for survival and advantage.

It is the conflation of these two environments which so confuses and misguides us (and is now threatening to put an end to us), but which we are well trained, from birth and institutionalised in academia, to rationalise and prevent ourselves from recognising.

No comments:

Post a Comment