Topic: 43. SELF-DOMESTICATION

Humans have long domesticated animals; but have they domesticated themselves?   Certainly they have thought of this.   Self-domestication is a concept that has been separated, unconsciously if not consciously, from the concept of slavery.  Slaves are favored for a slavish point of view and, in this sense, they are selectively bred..  Plessner mentions but does not discuss domestication gruendlich (rigorously).  He says, tellingly, but only in this short sentence, that, if the human being is "domesticated," who is it but the man himself who is domesticator?  (Stufen p. 348). There is a contradiction between what the human is and what he makes.  Nowhere does this paradox appear more clearly than between the human being nature has brought forth and the ideal of Man that human beings themselves create.  Humans, having appeared, in effect re-create themselves.   Man's re-creation of Man has been a theme of Hegelian philosophy but reached its most visible point in Engels' communist utopia.  A new man was supposed to appear with a new society.   In anticipation of the new man, on the other hand, Engels already assumed an ideal of what a human should be.   Engels' ideal of man was one of several that have been processed through thousands of years of culture.   Society rose to approximate the man; not the other way around.  All through history, we are saying, the human being while domesticating animals according to the humans' own purposes, have thought of domesticating themselves.  The paradox of human self-domestication is that, while a person may think of domesticating his neighbor--essentially, making a slave of him--the man never desired to domesticate himself.  This is precisely the paradox of culture:  that even as the human being imagines a perfect human being, he thinks of himself, individually, as already perfect.  We are compelled at this point in our discussion to look more thoroughly at the overall idea of domestication.   In fact, the issues raised in this topic are already familiar to most owners of pets and domesticated animals.  Our line of argument is straightforward.  A German Shepard is a dog breed that is artificially maintained by human beings.  Were it not for human agency, this breed as any other "pure bred" type would disappear into the mass of anonymous dogs. 

At the risk of appearing merely clever I have proposed a topic within Philosophical Anthropology:  "Dogs:  a Study of Human Nature."  Still, dog breeds are a stone that needs to be turned over in the event there is something interesting there. Comparing human beings as we do dog breeds is not what we propose to do; rather we are now raising the issue of the role of culture in animal domestication.  Domestic animals are a feature of culture.  And how they are bred--or on the other hand left to degenerate in form--reflects upon how humans would breed humans themselves, if in fact they could.  The small experiments along this line--slaves in the old South and Suma wrestlers in Japan--reveal the futility of this attempt.  Humans have failed to breed themselves as a perfect form of culture.  We disagree with Spengler who observed that Greeks came to look like their early statues.  We say here, rather,  human races are not of culture but of "nature."   It is true that the effect of domestication is both of two things.  First humans breed varieties and "breeds" that conform to human purposes.  But secondly, neglecting to maintain a breed causes the untended breeds to melt into an anonymous mass of entartet or decadent and polymorphic forms, ones which however breed among themselves.  Oswald Spengler refers to the spottedness of certain animals as a degeneration of the original animal coloring through which it camoflaged itself in a free ranging state.   To selectively breed animals for human purposes raises the paradoxical fact that domestication means decadence. Animal forms become decadent, we say, not in being selectively bred so much as, following selective breeding by humans, in being left to breed among themselves.  Here is where all the spotted and discordant features appear among animals.   Decadence can be defined, precisely, following human agency,  as simply a lapse into a certain Gattungswesen or generic type.  Applying this principle to humans themselves, in the absence of a "racist" selectivity of a type of human being there results, finally, a lapse into a kind of species-being that conforms to the idea "dog mut."   Humans who fall away from a specific form may be called the "muts" of humanity.   We are making a different point about dogs than the one that comes up, continually, in the realm of "scientific racism":  that, as there are dog breeds so are there breeds of human beings.  This point has been exhausted in the literature on race.  What we are proposing here is revealing, not so much about biology as about culture.  Strong human types come about through nature.  These features may be the African ability to tolerate strong sunlight or the Eskimo's tolerance of cold.  In any case, even as culture does not replace nature in producing distinctive human types, culture still gives humans an opportunity to breed randomly among themselves wherein the features that distinguished the human species are scrambled together in a mixed breed--or what we are calling a decadent--randomness and formlessness.

Strong races breed themselves to "form" in the following way.  They allow a casual breeding out by members of their own groups; but strictly prohibit allowing alien genes to come into their gene pool.  Whites are this way.  They congratulating themselves in allowing some of their members to breed out, even with negroes; the only thought of white people in this context is to get rid of persons who are not perfectly white, or what is the same, do not perfectly think of themselves as white.  So in the sense that humans are breeding themselves, they are also domesticating themselves to their own purposes.  These thoughts and others were first set in motion, not in precise form but as questions, in my first classes in Philosophical Anthropology at Tuebingen under Bullnow.  Later, but only severals years later, I personally met Helmuth Plessner in Lexington Kentucky at a convention of Philosophical Anthropologists and Phenomenologists.  In fact, of the most prominent people in this field I have been priviledged to have personally meet several.   Philosophical Anthropology is largely a focus on issues that philosophers in general think to be below them; even as more appropriate to animal breeders than proper philosophers.  But a corollary idea of domestication is self-domestication which is a frequent topic among Philosophical Anthropologists.  Gehlen and Plessner raise the issue but their treatment is incomplete.  Plessner accepts without explanation the idea that the human is a domestiziertes Tier.  His is a very unsatisfactory treatment of an important issue.  Here we must start from scratch.  We are saying that the term self-domestication is self-contradictory.  The point here is this:  Before there can be domestication of any kind there must be a self that to begin with is strong and commanding.  To become domesticated means, precisely, that a being is subject to a commanding will outside itself.  Domestication always means subjugation of some being other than oneself.  Were one to domesticate oneself, that would be to enslave oneself--a contradiction.  We are saying something rather simple that will not cause confusion.  We are saying that domestication means simply to carry the principle of slavery to the level of genetics.    Here one does not coerce humans to be slaves; one simply breeds them.  Seeing self-domestication in these terms, this practice would be tantamount to self-castration or even suicide.  We are in this logical dead end when we talk about self-subjucation of any kind.  In fact, we can say that the self itself is a high product of evolution and nature above which there is nothing at all that is superior or overriding.  The self is always domesticator, never what or whom is domesticated.  Where the topic of domestication and self-domestication is raised, by what writers--and I can mention a number--we may raise later. LBolk, J Heuzinge, H. Plessner names a few--we will later say.  Here there will be no attempt at an original contribution, except one this one point, that, in other words, self-domestication is a term that logically contradicts itself.  Whoever is enslaver cannot be enslaved; whoever is domesticator cannot be domesticated.  The bred slave is the lowest sort of creature.  We've already talked about dogs.  The point about the domesticated animal is that, while subject to purposes of human masters, the dog is also freed from the trials and tribulations of raw nature.  The slave likewise is both created for a purpose other than its own purpose; but it is also sequestered from the raw forces of nature.  The former source--from humans--means that the slave is formed and not random; but the latter principle, whereby the slave is protected, results in a contrary force from which other and free-ranging species are free.  That force is the natural "downhill" tendency to fall into decadence.  So we are saying, it is not the artifical way in which domestic species are selected that makes them, from our point view, pathetic; it is the lack of other forces that keep them, as Spengler would say, "in form."   Even as humans selectively breed animals, giving them distinctiveness and uniformity, they also sequester them from outside forces, opening the prospect that, "free" from these forces, these beings slide into degenerative biological chaos.   The obvious fact is that humans do selectively breed animals into distinctive forms; but humans also create for these animals and all others of their species a general state of freedom wherein the species in general can deteriorate into genetic chaos.  It is this later feature of the state of domestication  that here attracts our attention and becomes center of our focus.  Animals are bred to distinctive forms; they also are allowed degeneration that no other species, human beings included, can experience. 

We have already said that the word self-domestication entails a self-contradiction.  The state of being domesticated is a condition of powerlessness and impotence.  A man can castrate himself, but once castrated he lacks all such decision-making ability for the future.  The parallel between castration and domestication is clear.  Self-domestication would entail a momentary act that, once completed, would preclude all similar future acts.    We turn at this point to another, and much more serious matter.  Do individual human beings, if they are unwilling to domesticate themselves as individuals, think--surreptitiously, of course--of domesticating other persons.  Certainly it is well-documented that this thought arises off and on.  Bringing the issue closer to home:  does my neighbor think of "breeding" me as a slave, as he would breed a dog or some other animal?   He might for instance think of selecting and securing those children of mine who are suitable as slaves; and he would set the others free to go where they will.  I suspect he has these thoughts because I have the same ones about him (!).   Human beings have been domesticating animals for thousands of years.  Critical to this process has been the distinction in men's minds between humans and animals.  Animals, being relatively stupid, are more amenable to being bred in one way or another to suit purposes that are not their own purposes.  There is something contrary about humans and suspicious, always, about the intentions of other men.  Much in our discussion depends on how we define slavery.  I want here to point out the great deficiency of Philosophical Anthropology in discussing the highly relevant issues of slavery and the domestication of human beings.  Reasons for this deficiency may be found in the precise political conditions of post-war Germany and the likelihood that any discussion would provoke charges of revived fascism.  We are not now under these same constraints.  America is freer than Germany for discussion if only because America is so big and diverse as to be unmanagable.  The real challenge for a philosophically inclined person is, in such a large group, to find people with whom to converse.  The issue before us, as we have been saying, is not slavery so much as selective breeding and domestication. Humans are contrary and slippery and will not generally tolerate slavery with one exception:  where there is great need.  Need and necessity are the conditions of human slavery.  But once slavery is established, the temptation arises to selectively "breed" those persons who are suitable as slaves.  This was tried in old Sparta where the most rebellious among slaves were killed.  One might breed slaves as he would other animals and do so, we are saying, for a perfectly mundane purpose such as tilling the fields washing clothing.  These are the same tasks that machines do today--slavery being, in competition with machines, a highly impractical and difficult alternative.  But there is a much more serious question that arises in the course of our discussion.  Does culture inherently and by virtue of what culture essentially is "breed" a type of human, not to do mundane everyday work but to approximate an ideal of moral perfection?    We are not talking, finally, about picking cotton or cocoa beans but about being a model citizen.  Society and civilization finally would, under certain terms, having risen to an ideal of moral perfection--or what is the same, of perfect citizenship--aspire to breed, selectively and in the same way one would breed a dog or cow--precisely that citizen.

Domestication has a corollary that is not often talked about.  That is, a consistent German Shepard breed has the byproduct of "dog."  We have the spotted, multi-formed mass of dogs precisely because, paradoxically, we selectively breed certain dogs into distinctive forms.  We let the others (excepting pit bulls, which are selectively killed) simply go into a general population called "dogs."    Canis familiarisas a species is the product of the human effort to selectively breed distinctive forms of the species, while also casting off those imcompatible individuals to fend for themselves.  I want to be clear on this issue.  The species c.fam. is the result of a sort of reverse evolution wherein, even as certain dogs are favored and bred as isolated groups, non-selected dogs are protected and left to breed at random.  Mut populations of dogs arise that are polymorphic and randomly diverse.  The select bred animals can still breed outside their sequestored population but outside dogs cannot breed into these special groups.  Apart from human protection, C.familiaris could not survive in competition with other species.  Dogs are truly a degenerate species.  We except from this rule the special breeds, like German Shepard, which are carefully managed; but these are bred to human purposes.  We turn now to the heikle Thema (sensitive subject) of domestication of human beings.  Clearly, culture sets forth an "moral" ideal of what a human being should be.  It is not far from such a consideration to the idea that, indeed, culture would "breed" such a person.  Culture does indeed favor such a person in his success and in his family, if only in a very general way to, in other words, avoid crime and to contribute materially to his community.  This fostering by culture of certain humans as opposed to others is tantamount, we are saying, to selective breeding.  But as in animal domestication, this very highly principled intention has the purposeful domestication of animals, that a "mut" population of humans is thereby enabled.  Humanity as we know this group of beings is the unintended and negative byproduct of the idealism of human culture.  Humanity in general is decadent, we are saying, and, in the absence of human groups who selectively breed themselves, this group in the long run incompetent to compete with even the lowest species.  The human species is a "dog" population that is the consequence not of natural selection or any selection, but of a purely random neglectt on the part of creative humans.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-09-19 14:34:09)

Re: 43. SELF-DOMESTICATION

A chimpanzee in a cage sees a banana suspended slightly outside the cage.  Beside the chimp is a stick.  The chimp uses the stick to draw in the banana to where he can reach it with his hand.  This is an experiment we have all heard of, very simple and homely in its conception.   We now take this situation, which is already a cliche of science, and make it even more tedious but also better defined for our future purposes.  That purpose now is to consider every dimension and aspect of the chimp in relation to the banana.  To begin with, the banana could already be in the cage; I call this the Garden of Eden scenario.  The chimp would then not need the stick and would probably (except perhaps in play, which is normal chimp behavior) just leave it lying there.  But in this case, the banana is suspended where it can be reached only if the chimp uses the stick.  This much we have already said.  The chimp extends his arm with the stick and reaches the fruit; but he draws the fruit in with the stick to where he can, as I say, reach it with his hand.  Then the chimp has the fruit with him in his cage.  The cage we can call "the separation" or "obstacle" because, obviously, it separates the animal from the fruit or whatever is outside the cage.  Certain aspects of this experiment can be drawn out and emphasized for comparison, in fact, with human culture in this culture's most advanced stages. While elementary in our observations we are relevant on a theoretical level.   The first consideration is that human culture, like the chimp's stick,  fulfills a need; and where that need does not exist, culture lies inert, perhaps at the very feet of humans or perhaps such culture does not exist at all.  Here we have the Garden of Eden phenomenon where the fruit is first in the cage and the chimp does not use the stick.    We know of course that the Garden of Eden is a myth which explains the onerous fact of work as necessary to human life.  For the chimp in this case it is necessary for him to see the relevance of the stick in his cage and to use the stick accordingly.  This for the chimp is "work," indeed technological work in precisely the sense that such work engages his human relatives.  We pass on from this homely point to still another at the same level of analysis.  All these considerations contribute to our Philosophical Anthropological analysis, begun, as I said earlier, by the founders of this discipline in Germany.  I also said that, while Hegelians start with some grand cosmic conception--self-objectivication, alienation of the objectified other, opposition to the objectified other, and so forth--Philosophical Anthropologists begin with the primal facts of life as exhibited by the first proto-human ancestors.  Here we have lowered ourselves beyond even the earliest humans, and are talking about chimpanzees as if they were human.  The can be human, actually.  The main point I am making now would seem to contradict an earlier focus of this blog--on the "stick."  We were saying that the stick prefigures all that is in culture, in the past, present and future.  But there appears to be more than what we earlier stated.  In these actions of the chimpanzee--to reach the stick and draw it to him--are prefigured the main elements of human culture.  That is, if humans have their object (food, or whatever) with them, they will not resort to sticks.  But there is still one further possibility.  That is, that humans domesticate their food so that it is always "with them" where they do not have to "reach"--technologically--for that food.  Thus the former hunter has captured his animals and keeps them right with him so that they do not have to be chased.  But there is more.  The former hunter, now turned herder, "domesticates" his animals so that, even were they to be untended they would not escape but would remain near the humans.  Thus, once having had to "chase" and technologically subdue nature, they have brought nature "close" to them; nature--or rather domesticated nature--is compatible now with human purposes.  I want to stress that the act of domesticating plants and animals as food sources is as much a part of culture as is the creation of tools and technics as hunting weapons.  Of course we have been talking all along--and this is a significant point--about nature as an external phenomenon.  Nature is "separate" from the human, where nature is apart from man on account of some barrier such as a hill or even just pure space in itself; but then through culture is brought close to man.  Nature as a purely external phenomenon may even be right at hand with humans where they scarcely have to extend their arms in order to touch nature.  Be that as it may, the reality I am speaking of is still something outside of, and separate from, the human being.  There remains, on the other hand, the nature within the man.  At some point this nature within the man collides with the nature outside man, precisely because this external nature, so orderly and convenient, depends on the man.  And humans in this context depend upon one another.  What is created finally in the creation of an artificial world is an artificial man--who is the human being's conception of himself.  While the human being draws nature closer to himself, he becomes, precisely through this connecting act, "separate" from himself.  He becomes to himself an alien "other" and thereby virtually opposed to himself.  In this manner culture, which is the objectification of the human being, comes to contradict this very creator.

Re: 43. SELF-DOMESTICATION

Culture resolves the contradiction between the individual person, who is still "of nature' and not "of culture," with the ideal of the "moral person."  This is something the person is supposed to rise or aspire to.  But in this aparent resolution arises a new contradiction.  The moral person confronts the real one as an "alienated other."  There is a final challenge and a final confrontation.  The resolution to this confrontation is the idea of race, in which the human being unites with other beings, or rather reunites with them, on a level that is not now of culture but is of nature.  We go on here to take up an earlier theme: A person may be educated to a high standard of civil virtue.  Hypothetically, on the other hand, he may also be bred to it.  To educate is something cultural; breeding is a biological process.  We have all along been slowly moving toward this distinction; such will be a necessary cornerstone in Force Theory.  In the beginning of this blog, somewhere, I announced that the blog's mission was to connect human biology, in theory, with culture.  To create a person through education is one thing, we are saying, to breed him in a certain way is another.  Education seems the easier course; to create a person biologically is more difficult.  Animals can be bred for certain purposes; in fact, animals are selected as breeds which are amenable to further breeding to create new breeds.  The process of domestication would seem an obvious solution to human "imperfection" as measured by the standards of culture.  We raise in this connection the obvious fact that education often just does not accomplish anything at all;  most people are relatively impervious to it.  I look in vain into the eyes of my students for some sign they are becoming educated; I most often find no glimer there.  Having spent my entire life in education I see this clear weakness in the attempt by culture to, through education, produce a higher type of human being.  Thus when we educate a person to be virtuous, or make that attempt, or just preach to him, in the final result he is not virtuous at all. Teaching is a more prolonged process of preaching.   But education in moral standards, while this makes work and incomes for idle white people, is like water off a proverbial duck's back.  The criminals are still criminals and the virtuous are no more virtuous than before.   Yet much effort goes into this kind of education, undertaken by a self-appointed clique of social and religious activists.  I have made my living this way.  We do not need here to lapse into an attitude of cynicism and irony.  In fact, precisely the ineptitude of the moral teachers and preachers gives some cause for hope that, after all, the majority of us are still "free" as creatures of nature to pursue goals that are not legislated by people--fellow human beings--who simply do not like us.  Yet there is more.  The sense of legislators of virtue is that, as I say, education is not enough and firmer measure are called for.  There is a pervasive sense throughout a society that, in fact, were virtue to be bred rather than inculcated by teaching that virtue, in other words, would be enduring and would enforce and re-enforce the tenants of society and culture.  We may look to the historical record to try to document the idea that, indeed, a society might try to breed its citizens rather than just educate them.  Here we have to say, in the most causual perusal of writen records that there are, that conscious and deliberate attempts in this direction are rare.   That is to say there are few conscious attempts in this direction.  On the other hand, the idea that "virtue pays" and "crime does not pay" translate into actual breeding oportunities, or lack of them,  for human beings in everyday situations.  Virtuous people, we suggest, have more offspring than non-virtuous persons.  This would tend to lead to a type of person consistent with the idealistic image of a human. 

A serious direction in anthropology has been the idea that culture is a "system" independent of biology.  Culture and society, it is said, are transcendent, exist in their own sphere and follow their own laws.  This idea has been fomented by the Jewish scholar Levi-Strauss, who reduces culture entirely to categorical sysmbols.  Culture is equated with language as a system of symbolic meanings.  Here, with Force Theory, we do not deny this distinction between culture and nature; in fact we suggest with Ludwig Klages that culture is not only independent of biology and nature, it is opposed to or contradicts the essential idea of nature.  What this contradiction is we will shortly say.  Culture has allowed the human being to prevail in the world; humans have expanded as cultural beings.  But although humans have produced culture, culture has not yet produced human beings.  The act of producing humans has been left to nature.  The biological being is prior in this sense to the cultural being.    Here in the act of breeding a human being to a standard of culture we have arrived at the point where culture and biology actually intersect, but with categorically violent consequences.  Culture could theoretically educate a person to a standard of virtue, as we have already said; but in attempting to breed a person to a cultural standard entails a contradiction.  Culture is defined as a thought process which is strictly speaking not biological.  Culture and society exist only insofar as they are not biological but perform certain tasks, necessarily, in ways that are superior to the same biological ways.  (An arm with a stick is superior for some purposes to the naked arm.)   The contradiction between culture and nature is that a cultural being is emasculated in the same way that a castrated person is emasculated and incapable of further decisions, although the person has castrated himself.  Culture presupposes a docile being incapable of creating culture. The creative act of making culture is itself an act of mastery which culture does not promote, indeed culture discourages this.  For culture to breed its own citizens would be like a farmer breeding himself and his children for the same purposes, and in the same terms, as he breeds his farm animals:  mindless and bovine and sheepish.   This is the being that culture would produce were culture able to do so.  Indeed, biological nature has wrought a creature capable of culture; but it is our foregone conclusion that culture itself, by itself, would be incapable of doing so.  Consequently, when culture proposes to actually breed humans to its, culture's, own purposes, this thought would be in categorical contradiction to the way humans and their culture came about.  We may then suggest that, in response to the intrusion of culture into matters--breeding--originally in the domain of nature, nature, rising to the occasion, would neutralize culture.  The name of nature's aggressive opposition to culture is "race."

The individual, we are saying, is nature's own creation.  Individuals, we say, are constituted physically and psychologically through genetics, which have had a history that long precedes culture.  Psychology is the record of human experience, genetically transmitted, for countless millenia.  Our mere learning, on the other hand, or the knowledge we acquire the the short span of our lives, is largely imparted through culture, language and formal teaching.   We are not now going to argue the issue of so-called nurture and so-called nature; this has been argued for hundreds of years, since the Greeks.  Though we do not presently argue the issue, we certainly will take a stand here.  That stand is this:  the human psychology is largely constituted through a certain genetically transmitted personality; the person does not acquire his personality from surroundings, he is simply born with it.  Hormones etc. make up the personality.  We hereby pronounce on this controversial topic in the name of Force Theory simply as a matter of (what Catholics are not afraid to call) dogma.  Force Theory, as a racial hypothesis, is clearly on the side of heredity over against environment as an explanation of human behavior.  But there is more.  The individual is the receptor of information from the species and race's surroundings.  The individual maintains himself at all costs.  Thus when culture is what threatens the biological form, the individual passes this information to what may be called the species' immune system.  This is a process too complex to thoroughly describe.  Suffice it to say that threats to the species are transmitted through the individual.  Reaction to these threats, however, is the result not of an individual's perception but by the perception of the entire species.  Nature as a whole process, founded over billions of years, defends itself as an established order of creation and dissolution.  In nature there is a processual rise and fall.  The response to a threat against an individual, which is a threat to the whole species, is a racial one.  The race is the strategy of an entire order of nature to defend itself from any threat; that threat being, in the present, an attack by culture on nature.  Race, as I said earlier, is pure becoming of nature.  But this response is in relation to culture as an interloper in nature and a thing interferring with the spontaneous, natural process of creation.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-09-21 15:49:19)

Re: 43. SELF-DOMESTICATION

Instinct is a concept that, against a background of official and intellectual resistance, has recently been undergoing slow refinement. Even now social policy makers stand by a notion that humans have no instincts and are "open"--to use a word that has come up in the context of Philosophical Anthropology--to experimental social relations.  That is, humans can be manipulated, in this notion, as parts of a machine.  Force Theory does not accept the idea that humans are "open" in this way--nor does FT have to.  Science is coming around to our way of thinking.  That is one subject--instinct--where FT does not bear a burden of proof, inasmuch as science now bears this burden for us.   Honest science is supporting rather than refuting the idea of instinct or inborn or "forced" behavior.   "Brain Sex," a recent documentary program on public television is a case in point.  In this film, old, "politically correct" opinions were all but totally overthrown.   For Force Theory, as an ideology based on Philosophical Anthropology, the focal issue would be the aforesaid concept of man.  What we are asking, then, appropriate to our main task, is whether there may be a concept of Man that is inborn with humans, is genetic and in that sense beyond the manipulative machinations of culture.  If culture proposes a concept of Man, there is another concept, of different origin, that poses to culture a serious obstacle.  This alternative concept, quite apart from any consideration of science or how the species Homo sapiens is scientifically described and categorized, originates in the psyche of the individual person.  He is born with it and it never leaves him.  At this point in our discussion we may refer back in time to the origins of psychiatric analysis, and specifically CG Jung, and his conception--purely intuitive and not empirical--of archetypal images that exist in the human brain.  Jung's views were rather fanciful and probably less compelling than his colleague Freud's ideas.  On the other hand, modern psychology is moving by stages toward a certain confirmation and justification of Jung's "archetypes."   A great deal of research, quite empirical and respectable, is done lately on the subject of "self-image," related to the issue of self-esteem.  Apparently humans have built into their conscious and unconscious minds an idea of who they, as individuals, "should" be.  We conclude that the human being has a concept of "Man"--essentially of himself in ideal form, as he "should" be--that he is born with in the same way, essentially, as he is born with arms and legs.  The concept that he has of himself as he "should" be is as much a part of him as his senses and emotions.  Were he to lack this self-image, which genetically does happen occasionally, he would lack also direction and orientation in life and society.  But it is important to consider that this self-concept is not only not provided to him by culture and society; it is categorically other than society's view of "Man."   Success in living in society would consist, for the person, in somehow understanding the distinction between the two ideas of Man--his own and society's--and articulating them together.  Thus, while I have suggested two notions of Man--that of culture which comes to humans historically and, on the other hand, the highly theoretical and new conception of Man provided by the (highly obscure and arcane) study of Philosophical Anthropology--there is still another, a third, conception.  That would be the conception that the individual has of Man--essentially, that is, of himself.  But in the course of history, finally, this individual notion and the cultural idea collide.  Unlike the contradictions which culture has resolved, on the other hand, the new resolution of the contradiction between the individual and society--essentially, between the instinctive concept of Man and the invented, cultural concept--is resolved on the level of biology.  The colliding concepts of culture and biology are resolved into the biological phenomenon of race.  Race appears to support the individual in the face of any outside threat; in this case the threat is the human being's own culture.

Is there a "racial instinct"?  We've heard the expression, "birds of a feather flock together."  Do humans have the same "flocking" instinct?  Arriving as we have at this point in our argument it is time to discuss race not only in its scientific basis but its metaphysical foundations.  We must leave no stone unturned.   Force Theory avers that there may be something we could call a racial or flocking instinct; but that is not the focus of our discussion.  Force Theory does not want to have to present a purely biological conception of race, believing, as we do, that race in fact is a phenomenon of both culture and biology.  I want to digress momentarily to suggest that classical American racial theory, of Lathrop Stoddard and Madison Grant and others, writers who influenced me in my younger years, has made some implicit assumptions that are unprovable.  We may still assume the existence of racial instincts, or "contents of the racial unconscious" (CG Jung), simply because the human unconscious is still a vague unexplored region.  Racial instincts may be hidden along with all the other instincts that there are.   These early implicit assumptions, which were never really examined openly, may have retarded and stiffled American racial theory.  That is because there are no clear racial instincts unmixed with all the other instincts that there are.  I can carry out this idea in more detail.  That is, while birds do flock together, especially when they are traveling about as geese do, when settled in a place these same birds tend to stake out territories individually; at this time they do not flock together but are rather hostile precisely to birds of their own species.  We may muddle about with all these ethological and zoological observations; but we are left with one conclusion.  To suggest that the flocking of birds is "racial" is not sound science and will get us nowhere in constructing a consistent racial theory.  What is being suggested at this point is that race is a phenomenon both of instinct and culture.  Force Theory has its feet planted in both both biology and cultural anthropology.  We are saying that race as such is a phenomenon of biology, precisely, but that the occasion and specific form of race is determined by history and culture.  Primal man, under conditions of hunting and gathering, where humans are spread over great areas, yet have clan ties to people many miles away, there is no sense of race at all.  The only ideas among hunters are "relative" and "stranger."  As societies grew and as infrastructures came more complex, and as people perceived as "strangers" came together, new ways of thinking about one's neighbors emerged.  Race, we are saying, is a categorical way of distinguishing between friends and strangers.  Of course such distinctions are always made in terms of human features that are somehow visible; and biological traits are the most visible of traits.  Again, cultural habits tend to follow lines of gender and age, but also of  demography generally which includes race.

The effect of culture is to degrade nature and biology.  I have spoken already of the effect of animal domestication on species in general.  In breeding animals to certain forms and for certain purposes the species as a whole, free of natural forces and natural selection, have bred themselves in the direction of chaos.   Paradoxically, this degradation comes as a result, precisely, of the human's effort to achieve this form in certain spheres.  There is the further consideration that humans attempt to selectively breed themselves for such purposes and to such standards,  only to reduce the broad mass of human beings to a state of amorphous "equality."  We may refer to the attempt to build highly structured and hierarchical government systems; and to the effect this has in degrading the mass of ciitizens who pay homage to such government.  But there is more.  There is no level of activity where efforts toward form do not have a corresonding effect as degrading agents.  Television was a masterful invention, we affirm; but the effect of television has been to dull and lower the aesthetic tastes of the masses of viewers. At this point we begin to lapse into cynicism.  Suffice it to say that race is a biological "correction" to a cultural deficiency.  Race restores form to human lives and relationships; though such form is biological and instinctive rather than formal and cultural.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-09-23 15:54:37)