Topic: 47. PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY II

Does the human being really want to be "close to nature"?  What is the relation of self and personal identity to what we commonly understand as nature?    The close-to-nature ideology that has come down to us, and is ordinarily understood by precisely these words--close to nature--is incorporated, subtly or overtly, in the most sacred and foundational writings of Western civilization.  This I have said earlier in this blog.   Rousseau I aver has been a major influence.   He has been important precisely because of, not in spite of, his obscurity on the point of Natural Law.  Not only the Enlightenment but Christian and Catholic doctrine made the same point, differing only in characterizing so-called "nature" as either divinely or "naturalistically" ruled.   The Rousseauian close-to-nature doctrine suggests just this, finally--and here we have the major underpinning of democratic as also communistic and catholic ideology--that the human being is closest to one's fellow human beings in being, so to say, close to nature.  A certain amount of exposition may be needed to explain this point.  My house is separate from my driveway because I have different concepts and words for these things.  Yet my house and driveway are also connected to one another by something-or-other, or what we call "nature in general."  This is clear. But when we talk about a living being, that being is not connected in the this "natural" way to what is around him. Animal existence, on the other hand, of which humans still are a part, rebells againt nature understood as a universal system.  The considerations presented here as Force Theory are by no means original; I would suggest, as part of a larger study of Philosophical Anthropology, to peruse the writings of Hans Driesch and other Vitalist writers.  But Plessner, too, goes into these basic factors although in a very obscure way.  My own writings now are simple and simplistic, with the objective of moving from vital forces to social factors.  Force Theory is avowedly ideological.  We are saying only some very elemental things about the overall principles involved.   Life is spontaneous, inwardly motivated, and anti-gravitational.  Life in general is anti-natural law if by that we mean physical and chemical law and so forth.  We may even say that life rebells against other life.  Living forms fight againt their incorporation into other living forms.   Life as a "separatist" principle means essentally moving away from, not toward, all that is not the living being himself.  This last consideration, that life is self-motivated, and that the individual living form separates himself from everything else in his universe, goes to the issue of society.  That is:  is the human being "socially" inclined.  If he were, then socialism would be an easy inference.  What socialism sees, on the other hand, as the "social" nature of the human being is in fact the economic-and technological nature of humans, their mental capacity to "identify" with inert objects and universal principles; and to thus, as I have already said, "bring nature closer to themselves."The distinction that defines a form as living is that it separates itself, or is apart-ist, in relation to all other forms living and dead.  The human being may be social, but life in general in its individual manifestations is unsocial and anti-social.   We may wonder, then, how the human being becomes social.  I have already discussed this.  To live at all, as I say, is to "be apart."  We are not talking about any "aparteid-ism," directly, but about "apartness" which is basic condition of all living beings.  These are not forms of nature, precisely, so much as they are manifestations of an inward "volition" or a cause of self-movement.  I am talking about very general issues, not about political systems--but inferences become very easy.   An inference on society comes very easy.  To submit to society or "the state," as Rousseau would have us do, is not to contradict humans as species beings so much as to contradict life.  Life fulfills itself in the indepence of its forms, even while society, on the contrary, subjects all forms to static or naturalistic principles.    There are broad issues at stake, many of which are discussed by sociologists and anthropologists.  There is however a certain "social bias" of sociologists and anthropologists which turns good science into bad ideology.  That is, sociologists do not concede that being apart and apartist is as much a human motive as being connected.  America, as I said earlier in my writing (now verschoben) on Philtalk.de:  American so-called democracy is founded upon the bad science of Europeans (much of the good science they kept for themselves in the form of Fascist ideology).  The auto- or self-motivation of the individual living form rebells againt society as it rebells against nature, and in so rebelling--pulling away or apart--defines itself as an identity.  Life defines itself through anti-nature and anti-social rebellion.  Rebellion is not revolution; revolution is only substituting something new, but the same, for something old.  Rebellion in the sense suggested in Force Theory is essentially self-definition, identity, in other words the practice of the theory of Philosophical Anthropology.  I propose that Philosophical Anthropology is the true and correct revolt-ist theory. 

Does an animal have an identity?  The animal we may say is close to nature.  However, insofar as the animal exerts itself to remove itself from nature, the animal does have an identity.  The animal opposes nature, or pulls away from it, and thus defines itself as an auto-nomous, self-motivated being.  The animal appears out of nature but opposes nature.  The framework of my discussion will be straightforwardly Hegelian.  The most general tendency not only of Western philosophy but of Western (white) sentiment is that it is "better to be close to nature."  I want to address the issue of closeness, by which I would mean a lack of opposition to nature.  The Western viewpoint favors closeness to nature and decries distance from nature.  Culture itself causes distance from nature.   First of all, this question is being asked in the context, or against the very broad background of, a large body of philosophy which takes up the question of so-called "nature" and the human being's relation to nature.  This is perhaps the most general philosophical question that is ever asked--that of "nature."  In the so-called natural law concept, for instance, whether nature is of "natural" origin or of God, the human being's mission, according to the "natural law" point of view, is to be "close" to nature.   I want here to stress the word "close."   Close may mean in conformity to nature.  Also, "close to nature" may mean very little.  In any case there was a wide movement, begun apparently in the upper and educated classes of France and England, to "return to nature."  There was the widespread thought, perhaps resulting from refinements and artificialities and superfluous comforts of upper class life, that wealth--and wealth seems to be a primary factor here--means a separation from nature.  Wealth itself, in creating a barrier to so-called nature, was castigated as unnatural.  What for the animal was a straightforward life purpose was for the human just the opposite, a "separation from the source of his existence."  Later t will be stated that to overcome such a separation is in effect death.   Yet in those times, in 18th France, the idea prevailed that a nearness to nature constituted a moral life.  Union with nature was desirable in moral terms.  Force Theory, our own viewpoint, does not fall into the same category as these primitivistic philosophies.  From the standpoint of animal existence, at any rate, which humans themselves share at a certain psychological level, such primitivism is neurotic fantasy.  Life does not want to be part of nature; life rather wants to be free of nature.  This is our most general conclusion.  For our purposes, here, we want to stress the idea that, in fact, the main impulse of living beings--among them humans--is to draw away from nature.  Thus the whole direction of Western philosophy that demands that humans be (somehow) in conformity with or consistent with nature is a mis-take.  Of course the answer we give now as to the identity of an animal or man will be simplistic.  We may begin by saying that any living form, in  contrast to a non-living form, is self-sustaining and self-forming.   This form as a self-produced form is in effect an identity.  This is our first assertion.   The fact that an animal, among living beings, moves according to internal factors, and in so moving delineates a certain path of motion and a biological form (morphology) constitutes some implicit idea of self.  The living being, and above all the animal, defines its existence through its (independent) motion in violation, we may say, of oridinary laws of physics that control stones and such objects.

We ask again:  does an animal have an identity?  This will be a treatise in Hegelian philosophy, not in science.   Any answer we give as to an animal's identity or self-ness would be not only simplistic but will be--will have to be--through a tenuous and vague sort of explandation.  Identity or self-ness is a philosophical question that has to be addressed in a traditionally philosophical way.   For example, the animal (we are saying) simply by moving defines itself, and does so--here we are speaking philosophically rather than scientifically--as "other than" the world around it.  "Otherness" is a Hegelian term that does not appear, I believe, in empirical science.  But this is the way we must proceed.  That the bird flies contradicts gravitation; that is science.  But that through this opposition to gravity the bird forms itself as a distinct, inwardly or autonomously motiv-ated form, is philosophicaly true. The word "contradiction" is itself a logical, not an empirical term.    Hegelian philosophy juxtaposes  oppositional concepts to produce contradictions, in other words, that call for a resolution.  We are suggesting that "otherness" distinguishing a living being from a dead thing.  It is characteristic of living forms that they exist in logical opposition to their environment.   The life force itself has never been understood scientifically.   We do not mean to invoke a supernatural explanation of life, quite the contrary.  The science of life on the other hand deals merely with the expressions of life, not life's essence.  What may be observed of living forms is that they move independently of non-living things; and in so moving, we are saying, life defines itself.  All life moves away from matter.   Life is anti-gravitational and in that sense logically or categorically oppositional.   Such opposition--exclusion of one by the other and vice versa--sets two things in a categorical, mutually opposed relationship.  Science does not precisely describe this relationship; we must turn to traditional philosophy.   When we speak of an animal's so-called identity we must remember that this would not be a re-flective identity; only humans are capable of reflection.  But there is an entirely different problem when the term "life" is used; that is, we evoke the idea of "value."  Again this is an entirely different domain of philosophy.   Science is value neutral.  In philosophy, on the other hand, value is always a problem, in modern thinking as it was in ancient religion. 

 

To move physically but by virtue of some internal principle--in contradiction to the ordinary (non-living, pre-life) laws of physics,  is to define oneself in relation to other objects; and this self-definition is itself a self.  This is not a reflective self, however.  There is more.    From an idea of differentness that applies to living beings we can move to an idea consistent with the Hegelian framework we want to apply generally.  That is, the animal is "other" than its surroundings.  To be alive means to be "other" than one's surroundings, which are called generally "nature."  That is, the plant, animal or human is other than nature.   Conversely, not to be other is to be dead.That is, the animal is not simply active--activity is a word we might use for the falling of a stone--but re-active.  The animal, as one body among other objects, is acted upon; but this body also re-acts.   Action (we may say) is an overall physical principle or process that controls the movement of body; but the animal re-acts.  The bird reacts to falling by flying; the animal reacts to a predator by fleeing.  Re-action is action that originates within the living body.  I may refer the reader to Helmuth Plessner's Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch , considered a major and seminal work of Philosophical Anthropology.  I have long struggled with this book.  However, Plessner's main problem is to distinguish living from non-living entities; he postpones any consideration of the human being, as one living being among others, until the end of his book where there is scant mention of the real problems we now face in our own blog.  Some considerations emerge out of what we have said thus far, which could constitute the core of a more general Philosophical Anthropological study.  They are these:   Of course, here as always, when we speak of animal as opposed to man, or nature as opposed to culture, we are, for purposes of simplicity of our argument, refering to a hypothetical and abstract concept.   As the animal comes closer to nature, it also approaches death.  This idea is not hard to explain.  There it is--where the animal goes, as it must, to look for food--that the chaos of [our hypothetical] nature distroys and absorbs the relative order of the organism.  The animal always has in mind a retreat to a place of comfort and safe haven.  The animal runs from, rather than skips like a French aristocrat pretending to be a farm girl to [awk.], nature around it on account of it's, nature's, dangers.  Nature is abhorent to the animal even while it is compelling to the Rousseauian philosopher.  Nature is the proverbial vacuum aborhent to life.  The animal does not want to "return to nature," inasmuch as this would be tantamount to dismemberment and dissolution.   The animal resists--and so doing constitutes the life force itself--the gravitational pull of nature.  Of course nature supplies the food and other needs of the animal, which, nevertheless is specialized to search out just those things in nature that satisfy its needs, and avoid everything else in nature.  Focus is the trait of animals, while generality is the trait of man and culture.   The animal cannot do without food offered in nature; so the animal must leave its place of refuge and face danger.  The life of an animal has built within it a simple paradox or contradiction--one that humans attempt to resolve through culture.  Where the animal goes to look for food is where this same animal becomes someone else's food.    In going "to" nature, as it must do to find food and water, the animal exposes itself to greatest peril.  Where animals congretate, say at watering holes, is where predators go to look for food; but these same predators are themselves preyed upon.   Indeed, they are in maximum danger at these same places.  As I say, the human being himself faces this contradiction--that closeness to nature is essentially death--but, in his case, culture offers a resolution.  Culture addresses this (often fatal) contradiction in animal life, that, as I say, to approach nature from which life sustains itself is to expose this same life to its greatest danger.  The human being does not necessarily go "to" nature, so much as he brings nature--selectively and in altered form--to himself.  This is the essence of technology:  to de-construct and re-construct or reconstitute the objects of his world, so that these objects are amenable to his needs. 

The real issue of the "essence of life" is one we cannot face now.  It must suffice to say, as we have just said, that where we talk of identity, the animal does define itself in its relations with other beings and entities.  So, looking at a living being, we see that being as distinctive among entities--stones and such--that there are.  Motion itself of the being does in effect define that being; and that definition, from a certain external standpoint, constitutes the identity of that being.  We need not attribute to the animal any special "soul searching" or neurotic identity quest such as troubles human beings.  The animal world does not produce a Hamlet or young Werther.  This can be understood ohne weiteres (without further ado). The position taken here is that death is essentialy being "close to nature"; life, on the other hand, means being as far away from nature as possible.  Every animal knows this.   To rise up away from the ground is what the animal wills to do.   Yet humans have based their moral philosophy on what we will call now a certain (we may say) mentality of death.  This means that the human being, even while rising up, builds his life around an opposite ethics--that to "return to the soil" of nature.   The human being is a paradox.  He connects to nature by becoming, essentially, his culture--which consists of arrangements of dead things.  His ethics demand that he merge with a world which, although created by man to rise above dead matter, essentially emerses the person in this same matter.   Culture is dead, inert matter; yet the human lives within it and around it.  Culture is a world unlike that of animals, yet which world humans are content to come together with.   Through culture the human comes closer to so-called nature than an animal wishes to be.  A stone, say, is dead; how would a plant or animal "want" to be like a stone?  This is what is finally the issue.  But the human being exhibits, through culture, an entirely different point of view.  He alters nature; but this is only possible by being "close" to nature.  This essential change in the original strategy of life virtually constitutes culture, which is the human mode of living.  Technology is the paradox of a plan to come close to nature by opposing nature.  In his moral philosophy, on the other hand--in his ideals of how human beings should live together and "with nature"--the dominant cultural point of view is to "return to nature."   An entirely pervasive, we may say dominant, theme of Western philosophy has been this ideal of "closeness to nature."   We find this in Rousseau and Monbodo; and in German romantic and conservative trends.  Thus, for instance, Spengler deplores the time in history when Kultur descends into Zivilization.  The former is "close to nature," the latter departs from nature.  Even in communist theory, in for instance Engels' discussion of the Mark--the ancient pastoral society of the Teutons--there is a sense of the lost paradise when humans were part of nature, not, as now, through culture, alien to nature.  Furthermore, the prevailing ethical and moral philosophy of the West is based upon the naturalistic (close-to-nature) premise.  Of course we have not begun to talk about the oriental philosophies--Hinduism, Taoism etc.--which all have the view that human life will somehow merge with the larger world.  This is contrary to the movement of life in general, which reists and opposes dead nature.  We may understand human culture as opposing nature in the short term, as does every living thing, but finally "affirming" nature in the expressed wish to "return to nature."   With Force Theory we take an entirely opposed view.  For an animal, for instance, closeness to nature is death. This is the struggle of life in general:  to form itself out of--that is, away from--nature.    The animal in every movement it makes resists being "close to nature."  We still have not raised the issue of human ethics.  To emerse oneself in a mass of one's fellow human beings is the command of all times.  This is Kant's Categorical Imperative but also the teachings of the religions of the world.  Humanitarianism is simply the "return to nature" as this nature is constituted by the human species.  Force Theory would essentially contradict this premise.  To live--to live at all!--is to resist such absorbtion, to assert oneself, in other words, as an individual.  That is, as an individual person or entire race.  This is our basic "moral"premise developed in the present essay. 

Great philosophies emerge in times of great wars; mine is a philosophy in time of small--piddling--wars and will count, no doubt, as a small philosophy.  Still, there is important work to be done.  Earlier, in about the year I was born (1939), the beginning of WWII, there appeared a new study called Philosophical Anthropology.   This was sustained in Germany through the War years when, coincidentally, the German self-concept was shaky and troubled.   Germans were then in what could be called a search for self.   There is the important consideration that, in fact, Philosophical Anthropology emerged--partly as a reaction--out of a broad body of philosophical and metaphysical speculation.  All these thinkers of this war period focused on the issue of human identity.  Indeed, German identity was scarcely mentioned; from Nietzsche to Klages, the speculations concerned the general human beings as an entire species.  For the sake of simplicity and order, I will have to mention only several thinkers who seem--if only for the extremism of their positions--such as Ludwig Klages and Oswald Spengler.  Both men were occuped with the Kulturfrage.   Not life or even mind were at the center of their speculations; rather culture was their emphasis.  Culture was seen as dividing the human being from "nature."   For Spengler, human existence was properly "natural" only when, like the roots of a tree which grow around and among the stones and earth where they are planted, it, human nature, was inseparable from nature.  Culture on the other hand "alienated" the human from nature.  This concept of alienation, which began with Hegel and Fichte, remained a constant theme of German philosophy throughout the turbulent years.  It is Ludwig Klages, however, that I want to stress specifically.  For him culture--or the human mind in general (Geist--came, as it were from an outside source, as an intruder in human life and disrupted the relation between man and nature.  From a trivial perspective Klages appears as a sort of theoretical environmentalist.  His conclusions were radical, proposing as it were to virtually ban culture from human existence.  I say "as it were."  No serous viewpoint would propose that the human being lay down all of his tools and take up the life of animals, climbing trees and foraging with other creatures that scamper here and there.   My owns viewpoint has departed over the years from that of Klages and Spengler whom I still admire.   What is being proposed presently is that the drastic and cataclysmic separation that has occured "between man and nature" occured not between culture and nature,  but between man and culture.  (1)First, as we proposed above, the animal separated itself from nature   (2) Secondly, culture (contrary to Klages and Spenglers' views) re-connected man with nature, since it, culture, in-volved man with nature.  (3)Third, the human being confused himself with nature through his technics.  A tool, we are saying, is an object but one that can be and is confused by the human with the human being himself.  In the long period of culture the human being lost that identity--the sense of being re-active, separate and "other"--that he once shared with animals.  (4) Culture has caused the need for the human being, not to define himself as he was originally defined, but to re-define himself.  He now is not simply re-acting to nature--that re-active existence was absorbed into and lost in culture--but to re-flect upon nature as opposed to himself.  This is where Philosophical Anthropology enters:  as a human effort to re-define himself.  Insofar as a human being can still live, in a figurative sense, as an "animal" he does not need Philosophical Anthropology.  The latter study is at an elite stage of formation wherein it is set apart from the everyday life of humans.  We propose it here from the lofty perspective of pure theory.  To summaraize our position so far:  (1) Solely by acting, and acting independently from and in opposition to other objects, the animal defines its self or identity.  (2) Through his culture, which is an in-volvement or a re-involvement with nature,  the human has blurred this definition or identity.  3.Through mind--and an instinctive aversion to self-effacement, which among animals is simply a fear of death--the human re-defines his self or identity.  I may had that although primarily an intellectual feat, this cannot be carried out without radical violence to the institutions and persons around the person.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-12-14 15:11:26)

Re: 47. PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY II

The anthropological and scientific side of PA was possibly more a diversion than the essence of the study.  The image of so-called Man was, we are saying, an orienting concept for a people in turmoil.  Of course such speculations were the work of a handful of scholars.  Still, they were living heir to a long line of productive philosophical speculation.  We resume that speculation here.  Later we will move on to present our real core concept, that of race, as the fulfillment of the white identity quest.  But there is no hurry for that.  In the meantime there is the issue of the process where a being, having established himself as a living being, the human being defines himself as specifically human.  From re-active life the human rises to a re-flective life.  The theme of "alienation from nature" dominates German conservative literature.  I call this a "romantic" thesis.    Ludwig Klages would be the most radical, and for our purposes the exemplary, exponent.  An animal, we are saying, is "close to nature," but the human being, on account of his intellect (Geist) is separated from nature.  We have already established, however--and we depart from Klages here--that the animal is separated from (what we are c.alling hypothetically) nature.  Meanwhile the human being, on the contrary, is brought "closer" to nature precisely because of his intellect.  The animal, we aver in an entirely simplistic way, when approaching an object simply passes around it, avoiding it altogether; this is the animal's re-action to the object.  The human approaches the object, reaches for it with hands, and in-corporates that object into his life.  In this the human is "closer" to that object than is the animal.  But there is more.  At this point we do not abandon Klages' "romantic" thesis so much as we qualify it.  I want to mention Oswald Spengler's  distinction between Kultur and Civilization which is both a romantic and a conservative thesis dominating German literature in the pre-fascist era of the '20s and 30's.  Spengler says simply that the relation between the human and his culture in culture's early phase is "natural" in this sense:  that  the human being is "grown together" with his culture, like (to use a homely example) a man wearing an old shoe.  The shoe and the foot are "grown together."  I want to make the issues as simple as possible.  Force Theory enters the discussion at this point.   What we say here, in this blog, is that the human being comes closer, not further from, nature through his intellect and through the collective wisdom of humans in general imparted through language.  And furthermore, modern or civilized man is indeed "closer" to nature than primitive man, inasmuch as the former interests himself in a much wider world of phenomena.   There are stars and genes and many things in our world that are absent from that of primitives.   The fact for instance that I know about stars etc. makes me closer to nature than primitive man.  Here we can disregard the entire thesis of German pre-War literature regarding so-called "Naturvoelker."  There is no such thing.  Primitive humans, relative to civilized humans, are indeed more, not less, separated from nature by their own ignorance.  Indeed, even while re-action and re-flex defines the identity of an animal,  ignorance is a basic condition wherein identity is maintained.  Primitive people share this ignorance, thus this enduring isolation from nature.  This is a defendable thesis about the distinction between primitive and civilized humans.   But we pass on to the kind of alienation which is specific to civilized humans--the separation of the human from his original, instinctive self.  Here again we must be precise in choosing words.  It is not that civilized  men need to bring themselves closer to nature; on the contrary, they need once more to separate themselves from nature.  This is what we call an identity quest and one that is unique to the most civilized men on earth:  having once defined themselves as animal beings, by separating themselves from so-called "nature," through culture they have in-volved themselves so intensely with nature that they no longer can distinguish themselves.  In very general terms this is what I'll call the disease of liberalism, humanitarianism or whatever else about the human comes under heading of "self-lessness," "heroism" and so forth.  The human in coming close to nature has extinguished is original "defined" self.  This self, having been separated from nature--but rejoined through culture--must re-define itself.  I have mentioned introspection, introversion and racialism as the new definition of the human being having passed through the temporary condition of self-effacing civilization.

Earlier we said that the "stick" prefigured all that we know as civilization.  As soon as the human raised the stick as a tool, he was set in an unwavering and inexorable course that has ended, we are saying, in the effacement of the individual's identity.  Culture that began as an extension of self has, in effect, absorbed the self into it.  And because culture is the human connection with nature, the self is absorbed into nature as a whole.  This is an intellectual process that humans but not animals are capable of.  Yet, through mind, the effort made by an animal to separate itself from nature, is reversed.  Through mind the human being becomes nature.  And in that regard the human is also self-less.  This is what we say of the ideal citizen, the gute buerger, that he is "self-less."  The qualities that we recognize as those of a man of society began, we are saying, at the outset of culture.  It is not too much to say that a man became a patronizer of humanity in all its lowly comings and goings as soon, we are saying, as this human picked up a stick.  He became the stick--a part of nature--and in this regard something other than a self-ish self that he had once been in an earlier animal existence.  Thus by this inevitable "dialectic" that, in the case of humans, is intellectual and logical, the person has marched from where he had a clear identity--a definable sense of separation from the surrounding world--to where he is now.  He is connected to nature, but is also absorbed into nature.  This new connection sets up a reaction in life in general:  the human being must, as a living being, dis-connect himself from nature.  Thus he becomes an individual and a racialist.  He asserts his self, just as as animal he once asserted it.   That is where we are left now:  to re-establish the individual's sense of self. 

The animal, we said, is secure in its identity insofar as that identity consists merely in the animal's autonomous movement.  The animal's identity is not a reflective one, of course,  in the troubled and neurotic sense that dominates Western philosophy.   The identity of the animal consists in the mere separation from natural objects through it's own, the animal's, movement.  Self-direction and self- or auto-motion is self-definition, in other words, the self itself.  Any other definition of self or identity is, we are say, or re-flective is neurotic and pathological.  Of course to be human means to have a universal human pathology, that is confusion as to identity.  What is straightforward to the animal is convoluted and distorted--we may even say "moral"--to the human being.  The human of course inherits this simple, unreflective and straightforward identity of his animal past.  But there is more.  Through culture, even in its earliest forms, the human re-connects with nature.  The romantic thinkers--and we mention especially the extreme position of Klages [which name in German means "complainer"--took the position that a separation appeared between man and culture at the time of the earliest culture, which was a creation of Geist (intellect).  Klages was radical; but Western philosophy is dominated, from Neo-Hegelianism to existentialism and neo-Marxism with the theme of alienation.  That alienation has come to mean a separation from the human from the culture of his creation.  Here we mean something else.  The human being has always been a part of his culture, from its earliest beginnings in the paleolithic period, to the highest forms of civilization--manufacture, commercialism etc.  Culture is human in-volvement with nature.   

We can be more detailed and documented on this point.  That is, the human being, unlike the animal which merely "passes things by," the human being stops and involves himself with these same things.  He understands these things and uses him.  This is what it means to be human as opposed to an animal.  But there is more.  In becoming part of nature, the human looses the separateness from nature that constituted his original identity.    But there is more.  Civilization is not just things but is also people.  Individiual selves are absorbed into the technology of their time; but they are also absorbed into the masses of people who live through and around these technics.  The self-effacing mentality of the later periods of civilization are codified as equalitarian and humanitarian morality.  What we propose now, with Philosophical Anthropology, is a new quest for identity.  This does not need to be proposed, it will happen on its own.  What we said earlier can be repeated:  We say that solely by acting, and acting independently from and in opposition to other objects, the animal defines its self or identity.  Secondly, through his culture, which is an in-volvement or a re-involvement with nature,  the human has blurred this definition or identity.  Again, through mind--and an instinctive aversion to self-effacement, which among animals is simply a fear of death--the human re-defines his self or identity.  I may had that although primarily an intellectual feat, this cannot be carried out without radical violence to the institutions and persons around the person.

The human being has created around himself, as culture, a "new nature."  It is possible in this sense to talk about culture as nature itself, but a certain, we may say, "second nature.  The old nature (and again, this is a crude simplification) was essentially hostile to the human being as it was to the animal; the second nature is amenable to the human's needs.  Other than to go to nature for food--which was already a dangerous act--the animal tried to escape from it.  The human became different than the animal.   To the animal, if it were able to understand such ideas, a so-called return to nature would be absurd.  This would seem to the animal to be a neurotic fantasy, an insane death-wish.    The animal on that account would only wish to live apart from humans.  As it is, in the process of domestication, animals are literally degraded in mind and body by human culture.The analogy of gravitation as it applies to a bird, as contradicting the flight of the bird, applies to life in general--and human life, too.  The human being like any animal strives to rise above the proverbial "dust" of Biblical fame.  Over the entire period of evolution and biological history there has been a consistent theme of an "escape from nature."  Nature is dead; and to be "natural" is to die.  As human or animal alike, we rise out of this dust and we return to it--although the human like the animal wants to put off this return as long as possible.  But the human being, unlike the animal--which runs from nature--is not yet finished with nature, so long as he can alter nature to suit himself.  The human creates a second nature as culture--and then in effect "returns" to this second nature.   In effect, instead of running from innert matter, as does an animal, the human gives himself over to it and dissolves in it.  Culture already lends itself to this subsiding of human beings; it creates for the human being a zone of carefree comfort.  Such comfort is already death.  Human values and morality are in essence a philosophy of dying. This idea has been expressed before; it is not new in this blog.  Here we attempt to put human morality whose basic idea is self-effacement--to obliterate life itself as a rising above and outside nature--into a larger system of being.  That is the grand plan here.  It is not too much to assume that culture is, speaking roughly, a kind of coffin.  Culture is still inert matter, and the human being, in being "cultural," is already like this proverbial dust.  The human being in becoming his own culture, in effect returns to nature--essentially, he dies.  The Biblical dust that is the fate of man as a cultural being is equivalent, we are saying, to the return of the animal, in dying, to the dust of nature.   The human has a natural--we may say lazy--inclination to subside into the comforts of culture.  We now appear to be giving a negative account of culture where only praise has been given the uniquely human way of life.  To praise culture, and to make culture the basis of all value and morality, is to be a cultural being.  But the morality of culture is essentially a death-wish of sorts.  To efface the self is to degrade the human being into a natural substance, not of original nature but of the ersatz nature.  Morality and the idea of The Good is a central thought at this time.    As expressed as an idea or ideology, culture is a point of view that demands of the human being that he submit to it.  This paradox of human existence, which sets him apart from the animal as one who approaches nature--by changing it, then living with it--has no good resolution.  Life generally "strives" or asserts itself to escape from the proverbial dust of nature; the human being voluntarily and with certain effort re-involves himself with such nature.  This is what culture is--an re-turn to nature.  Contrary to ideologists such as Rousseau, who fantasized of a "return to nature," the human being turned away from nature as soon as he first raised a stick to use as a tool.  The tool mediated the first human's relation with nature--but immediately the stick became, in fact, that same nature.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-12-02 15:17:54)

Re: 47. PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY II

These issues are not as difficult as they first appear.  Clarity is gained by drawing out the nuances of each word we say.   The law of nature is essentially this:   nature says, "if you want to live at all (be life, a living creature), remove yourself from me!"  Man, in recognition of nature's own proclamation, creates for himself culture; he pulls away from nature, as an airplane of human creation overcomes gravity.  Culture does create a certain distance of man from nature, but using the material of nature.  What this means--that man uses nature to remove himself from nature--that man comes closer to nature, not more distant;  culture essentially means bring nature closer to the man.  Nature, in this sense--as the pull or gravitational force drawing what is not nature, that is life, into it--now becomes more threatening than before.  An animal has an instinctive aversion to nature which the human being, comfortable in his culture as ersatz nature, lacks.  (The Philosophical Anthropologist Irwin Strauss, whom I met once in Kentucky, said that the human being is distinct from other beings in his effort to "overcome gravity"; i have long meant to find Google sources for Strauss.)   But this culture is simply an alteration of existing nature.  In respect of what I've called "deadness," culture remains the same as nature.  As I say, in the fundamental respect wherein culture pertains to the human being as a living being, this new cultural nature remains, as before, inert (dead) matter.  However, culture says to man:  come live within me comfortably.  This we may regard as a trap.  This is the same gravitational pull that nature exerts upon life, that draws itself into its "natural laws" of physics and inertia.  Culture exhorts the human in effect to die.  The Jesus story illustrates this point.  Jesus is the exemplary moral example of culture.  If we examine the medical and healing consequences of Jesus' stay on earth, they are very quite inconsequential.  Jesus' effect as a practical doctor was piddling.  We note, as the Bible says, Jesus cured one man of leprosy; a blind man's vision was restored; and the guests at a wedding had wine (or some such story).  In the total scope of human misery, this is little "good" to have done.  The true significance of Jesus is in his descent from heaven where there is "eternal life" to the place--of human making--where there is death.  In effect he effaced his (eternally living) character to merge with mortal humans.  At this point we may raise the issue of human society, or, in other words, the human being's relationships with other humans.  Jesus' main message was one of self-effacement.  The human being through Jesus' example would merge with the nature around him, which was now one of human culture--including religion and the morality of humanism--as an ersatz nature, but one whose basis is essentially dead matter.  In a broader sense we may say Jesus advocated a sort of materialism like Fourier and Engels.  This is a "worship" of "matter," that might be called commercialism.  Communism in this context would mean a "moral" co-existence with one's fellow human beings.  It is important to consider that human beings themselves take part in culture; as such they themselves become in principle "matter."   Society--appropriate to the main moral message of Jesus--translates the issue of life, here living human beings, into one of inert or dead matter.  A factory consists of machines--and human beings.  Considered thusly, the merging of the individual person into a mass of so-called workers is tantamount to absorbtion into the lifelessness of culture as ersatz nature.  But society in this regard is no different than a factory:  society is a creation of general culture and the essential mode of relationship within this structure is impersonal and self- (life-) effacing.  Society as a factory of sorts absorbs human into itself and effaces him as an individual person.   It is in this context--of culture as a (inherently hostile) second nature--that we form the basic ideology of Force Theory.  This is not an anarchist view, really, so much as a superficially nihilistic view.   The nihilism of Force Theory consists of a recognition of what culture and society and civilization essentially are.  We temper this nihilisim, here, however, by stating a problem--the adversarial relation between nature and life--as a problem to be solved in the future.  Force Theory speculates on a compromise or resolution to the contradiction that the human being faces in relation to the culture of his creation.  Force Theory on the other hand still remains as the seriously revolutionary philosophy.

The identity of an animal is formed through its, the animal's, separation--is being "other" than and "opposed to"--(what we are calling, hypothetically) nature.  To become "one with nature" is to die, essentially.  Thus when we are told that it is good to be "one with nature," or "together with nature," we might reasonably assume that we are being admonished to die.  An animal, if it could understand such things, would ahbore closeness to nature as nature abhores a proverbial vacuum.  But there is more.  Human ethical systems, whether secular or sacred, tend strongly to advocate a "closeness to nature."  Hinduism, Christianity, Bhuddism are major examples of this.  There are strong threads running through German philosophy which, in fact, have long been the inspiration for my own viewpoint.  There is a certain "back to nature" ideology which dominates American sacred writings, such as the Declaration of Independence.  Reference to humans as having all been "created equal" contains this same naturalistic premise.  Democracy advocates a certain resting place for humans in their natural condition, which was one of equality.  The attempt of ideologists of the founding fathers, in France and America, was to connect the principles of society with those of nature; and to assert that humans, in closing together with nature, would come together among themselves.  This is what Franklin and Jefferson said, much in the spirit of Rousseau and primitivistic ideology (the "nature people" such as Indians), were proposing possibly in reaction to the friviolity of French aristocrats.  At this time we could attempt an exposition of the term State of Nature as used by Rousseau, Locke and Hobbes.  Their accounts of the State of Nature differed one from the other; we might be at loss to understand these ideologies in any terms.  It must suffice to say that in the term State of Nature a certain sentiment is expressed that, what is original and ab-original is "right" and "just."  "Nature shows the way," is an apt expression.  The point of view expressed is, as I have already said, that humans through their artifice have departed, slowly or rapidly, from an "ideal state" in which all humans were originally comfortable.  It is finally difficult to distinguish the sentiment of the Garden of Eden story to Rousseau's philosophy.  This primitivism has been enhanced by certain class distinctions that begin to appear, more and more, in evolved civilizations.  Already in the West there had been minor revolts against materialism of the upper classes.   There is not sufficient space here to examine the nuances and see how they all point in the same direction.   In general what we are saying that, from the perspective of a lowly animal, who already lives "close to nature" but whose main purpose in life is to free itself from nature, such "nature-ism" would seem suicidal.  We now examine the problem of culture from a general viewpoint.  While nature is assumed to be "natural," culture is assumed to be artificial. Force Theory, as we present this ideology as derived from Eugen Duehring, culture is falsely cateogorized as artificial.   The words artificial and natural are assumed to be oppositional.  We are denying that culture is artificial, other than in the point that culture is man-made.  Culture is not strictly speaking artificial, other than in that one point--that it is man-made.  Culture is assembled from naturally existing objects and put together--again in a way in accordance with natural principles--in an arrangement that is amenable to so-called human nature.  This, we repeat, does not substitute artifice for nature so much as present to human beings a nature that is amenable to human needs.  Nature as culture is also culture as nature.  To be close to culture--which humans are willing to do, even when separating themselves from raw nature--takes us back to the issue faced by animals.  That is, to be close to culture is to be close to nature in the sense of closer to absorption in, or dissolution in, the cosmos out of which life first appeared.  We are saying that to be cultural is to be close to nature.   This is a process or direction that began as soon as the earliest humans first raised a stick for some purpose.  The purpose was a human or animal one; but the stick itself became a "new nature," but one more amenable to human lives.   I have already stressed, elsewhere in this blog, that as part of this ersatz nature, here called culture, has come the comforts of modern human life.  But there is more.  We see, too, that by merging with nature, now called culture, humans lose the identity which, even as animals, they had striven to achieve.  Earlier they had defined themselves through acts wherein they separated their selves from nature.  Now, at this time, by re-connecting to nature through culture, they lose that identity.  I have defined Philosophical Anthropology and Force Theory as a sort of identity quest.  That is true.  The future mission of human beings must be to free themselves from culture as they once freed themselves from nature.   This means in essence to free themselves from most if not all human attachments that exist only through culture.  Through culture humans are connected to nature; through culture, also, they dissolve their identities as individual persons.  They are deracinated.  In connecting to the world through culture, human beings connect with one another, not as ("racial") individuals, however, but as degraded objects of nature.  It must be noted that a primary human instinct that co-exists with any social instinct is an impulse to stay separate from other humans.  Society brings humans together; instinct, as an extension of life generally as an impulse to freedom from nature, compels humans to separate themselves from one another.  Culture is absolutely social.  Instinct is essentially anti-social.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-12-06 15:12:56)

Re: 47. PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY II

Nihilisim is "nothing-ism."  That is where we now have arrived, inevitably, in a chain of logic.  We put ourselves in opposition to the beliefs of humanity which are also the basis of whole civilizations.  In opposition to these views we consign ourselves to the backwaters and desolate outregions of the world.  Force Theory in these terms will never be "accepted"; but what we talk about--the void or dark side of the universe--are nevertheless real.  What have we said so far about democracy and humanitarianism or secular liberalism?    As the Jesus story is soothing and uplifting, so also the ideals of humanity and democracy admonish only to accept and nurture the suffering peoples of the world.  Such ideals comfort not only those who are their object but those who hold them.  In this religion of humanity there is solice.  What democracy asks for is not equality.  The real goal of democracy is not  equality, as I say, as it is anonymity.  To disappear within the masses of people, where one is no longer challenged to do anything, is an aspiration of many human beings.  To lower oneself to the level of the unassuming masses is the point of religion and democratic theory alike.  It appears that democracy and humanitarianism are going to hold their ground as "positive," that is uplifiting and upstanding, viewpoints.  To hold such views is to ask for social acceptance.  We may subject these views to a theoretical criticism, as we have done in this blog as Force Theory; that will not change the public philosophy, which has endured over the many centuries.   To offer valid criticisms of hopeful and humanitarian views is not difficult.  To call humanitarianism what it is, optimistic and idealistic, does not dampen the enthusiasm of religionists, it may even encourage greater efforts to assuage the suffering of the world.  As I said before, to "do" The Good is only to degrade the goodness of The Good.  Conversely, to attack Evil--even while not dampening Evil--does no good; such attacks on so-called Evil are a ritual of religion.  These are ideas I have held for many decades and write them down here only to warm them up a bit.  They are ideas inspired originally by Nietzsche, if only in his phrase "beyond good and evil."  Nietzsche himself got his inspiration from Max Stirner, anecdotally; but in any case the ideas have percolated through a vast literature primarily in Germany.   I have read his essay several times; and have followed these ideas as they have coursed through Spengler and other German conservatives.  What we are left with in these philosophies is a hopeless confrontation with what people continue to believe, notwithstanding their real material and personal interests.  The ideas presented in the present blog could be characterized not simply as anarchistic and racialistic but as nihilistic as well.  I want to accept this point as I know it will be profered.   A word should be said about nihilism, or "nothing-ism."  Nihilism says essentially that, depending on the precise frame of reference (metaphysical or ethical) nothing is real; or that nothing is of value.   If we reject democracy and the values written in our most sacred documents, then there appears left--of course we are speaking only theoretically--only a great void or darkness.  I talked about the God is dead movement started, perhaps, by Nietzsche.  I assume that what Nietzsche was talking about was not the facticity of God but rather the value that God expressed, inasmuch as--since facts cannot yield values--there would have to be some Platonic Good or Christian God to account for value.  Nietzsche said in the modern world this value is gone.  We have to correct him; this value persists.  We do not mean to slay the beliefs of the people; our purpose here is only theory.  Also, we have, but without regret, wandered--again theoretically--into a cul de sac of logic.  That is, if we destroy the values of democracy and equality, what is there "beyond" these values?  We are left with a dark, valueless world.  We aver--and here there would be no disagreement from philosophers or everyday people--that nihilism is a "negative" philosophy in total contradiction to all the values--which are by definition "positive" ideas--that there are.  Force Theory has dug this grave for itself.  But is it really a grave or a new beginning?   The phrase God is dead! originated with Nietzsche but, ironically--since Nietzsche was philosophically conservativism--in the radicalism of pre-revolutionary Russia.  "God is dead; and anything is possible!" was the phrase attributed by Turgenev to one of his characters.  There is no work of serious philosophy that would espouse nihilism--which, as I say, means nothing-ism--nor is there a secondary work that would give credence to such a view.  My own view is that this bias began with the first human culture--with the first technics and, simultaneously, use of technics in social relations.  This makes the nihilism presented in this blog all the more radical:  that it turns itself against not only the civilization of today, so-called "capitalism" or "communism," but the whole of human culture.  This would be a thorough nothing-ism.  It would be the most radical philosophy of all, proposing as it does a theoretical return virtually to the state of animals.  That is precisely correct.  However, the view presented as Force Theory also flies in the face of the fact that my personal views as a writer, gained in a lifetime of normal experience, are not nihilistic.  There is nothing in my own life that would suggest this.  We turn to another possibility.  Nihilism offers no solution to any problem; it states categorically that there is no solution to any problem.   What nihilism does, on the other hand, is to pose a question.  That question is this:  It is not nihilism that contradicts culture, but that culture contradicts itself.  Culture in ex-pressing its own logic and agend ends, finally, in nothing.  Nihilism is simply the theoretical recognition of that fact.  On the other hand we may fully embrace the adage that "where there is life there is hope."  That may be our motton.  What that adage expresses is the idea that life, not culture--which is made of dead things--is what we value and cherish.  If there is value at all, it comes directly from life.  And the so-called values of culture, which in admonishing humans to return to an anonymous mass or essential inert matter of theoretical democracy, deny life.  Nihilism here means only to turn away from culture and embrace life, which--as the animal knows--is not matter.  Nihilism is not a theoretical position we need here to embrace, so much as it is one we have to face.  Ahead of us is a road where our decisions cannot be based on culture or reason; they must be provided by instinct, life and race.  If I accept the idea that this artifact is "good," I logically have to accept the idea that this or that person whom I do not care for is my "brother."   The only recourse I have from this fatal philosophy, begun already in the Paleolithic of humanity, is nihilism.  I accept that philosophy, only to propose a question and, as an answer to that question, a new living and racial society.

Traditonally since Plato the notion of value has been connected with a concept of freedom.  What--that being or principle--was regarded as free was more than useful-- good in the sense that a thing or action is useful--but good in some sense detached from anyting everyday and utilitarian.   There had to be, of course, some thing or principle to which humans were once subjugated to for freedom to be a meaningful concept.  Freedom is independence from something or someone.  Plato considered the senses themselves degrading and encumbering; he aspired to the pure regions of abstract thought.  In our present speculations we are not however so interested in the truth or untruth, correctness or incorrectness, of this (virutally) universal Platonism as we are in the political and social application of Platonism.   In general, this principle or thing from which man was to be free was called "nature."  In these terms, freedom as the source of value and ethical rightness was freedom from nature; and what made this freedom possible, or essentially was the freedom itself, was mind.  The so-called Good was "other" than nature.  The Good was regarded as free of nature in the same essential way that life is "opposed" to gravity.  A tree grows upward--in violation of the downward pull of nature.  This is a point I made earlier in this blog.   But the first assertion of Platonism regarding "freedom through mind" raised a new problem.  Assuming life and inert matter are different "substances" or principles, is what mind is to be free of life or is it nature? Again the concept of mind was vague depending on different traditions; in Hinduism this mind was less intellectual and more "spiritual."  Arguments among theologians and scholars hang around the questions about the precise definition of mind.  While the drift of these traditions is that mind constitutes an escape or freedom from nature, there is still an issue as to whether mind escapes from the realm of stones and such inert things, or from the principle of life.  Of course, throughout Western philosophy there has been a clear bias in favor of mind and opposed to, on the other hand, a reality--constituted essentially instinct and (we are saying) race--that we could identify as life.  For us there is no eluding this argument, as convoluted as the issues may seem.  I want to (try to) keep the issues simple for readers--and for myself!   There is an overwhelming vortex of speculation that makes up Western literature.  A connection not difficult to make, however, is that between a notion of value or The Good and, on the other hand, freedom from nature.  Philosophers only vaguely grasp mind as something real; but also nature as a concept remains vague in the many threads of argumentation that there have been over the centuries and in the different religious and scholarly traditions.  Again Plato has been the great influence in Western philosophy.  Finally, insofar as this ethical freedom carries over into political theory, the individual person becomes free through mind, although not so much the individual mind--such freedom would be anarchy--as through a collective mind.  This mind is established through culture and society.  Thus it is through the collective mind, finally, that true value is evoked or connected to actual human lives.  I mention Hegel in this connection.  Several thoughts have been presented; we must try to keep our argument simple, not only for the sake of the reader but for the writer.  Freedom is, or is through, the collective mind.   Hegel for instance establishes how, through dialectic, individual interaction is parlayed into a group mind or "Spirit," which is not only the focus of collective life but is the source of value or The Good.  Except for human collective life--whose highest expression is the State--there is no value.  This equasion is made in the great body of Western wisdom, not only of religion but of academia.   The idea is simple.  The point of view advocated here--in "violent" contradiction with the consensus sapientes of Western civilization--is that the sole freedom we can talk about is that of life from inert nature.  The plant and animal are already "free" insofar as they pull against the "gravitational" pull of matter.  Thus any special freedom that the human being claims for himself, that is apart from the freedom that living beings show in general, has to be viewed with suspicion.   Any so-called freedom of mind from nature is false where this is a "transcendental" freedom from life.  Mind, rather, because mind involves the human being in inert matter, actually contradicts the animal impulse to remove life from nature.  Mind which engages humans in inert matter contradicts the aspiration of life away from nature.   Mind provokes a rebellion of life which we perceive in new forms of human relationships through instincts that we know as race.

Society is a way human beings have of living together.  This is sociology 101.  Force Theory, as sociological counter-culture, wants to know if society has some provision wherein humans can live apart and separately.  It does.  This would be Force Theory 101.  But we have to clearly define our terms "together" and "separately."  Human beings come "together" for different reasons; and the reasons that they have of coming together determine, essentially, how they will exist together.  These reasons may be family and reproduction; I have talked about these motives in my book Utopia of the Instincts now available in as Instauration at Whitenewsnow.com.  But once humans come together, are they going to simply stay together forever?   Furthermore there are reasons to come together that are called business dealings.  We can understand these.  But having concluded business, are these partners going to simply settle down together and live as a happy family?  We don't think so.  There is the distinct possibility, all too real, that human beings may not like one another; they may want to part.  They may want to shut one another out of their lives?   Religion admonishes against this.  Nietzsche made the remark appropriate here:  "Society has lost the ability to excrete!"  This is precisely what we are talking about in this paragraph.  There can be an orderly or disorderly exist of humans from this or that particular society, or this or that particular relationship.  But there is a possiblity that we still have not yet talked about.  Humans may live closely together simply because they are forced to do so.  This is a condition best defined as slavery.  But here--because democratic theory is based precisely on the idea that, having consented to government, humans will be, by virtue of that government, forced to live together.  They cohabit in the same sense that humans, somewhere in a ghetto house, have to live together because there is no where else to go.   In an affluent soicety such coercion is more subtle; yet government and the state coerce this state of existence.  This fact is more difficult to comprehend if only because it is an everyday reality.    Human beings, we say, finally, are forced to come together.  Democracy, prompted by Rousseau, calls this state of being "freedom."  That humans are given no free choice to live together but must do so, rather, under command of the state, is stated clearly in the sacred documents of America and many other countries.     This is a idea that, first stated by Rousseau and later made an object of speculation and wonderment by scholars.   Rousseau said that in a State of Nature, the original condition of humanity, people instinctively and spontaneously subject one another to all sorts of coercion and misery.   That is a true idea, certainly.  But Rousseau goes on to say that such people decide, in some sort of awakening, to exit this State of Nature and enter, rather, a State of Society in which rights are conceded to the State.  In commiting themselves to the State or government, human could be free of the coercion inflicted upon them by their fellow humans.  The State of Nature is followed by a State of Laws.  We have to pause here, as scholars commonly do, to reflect upon Rousseau's imaginative but convoluted notion.   In Rousseau's arcane writings there is no unabivalent commitment to democracy; nor is there such a commitment by the American government, which acknowledges its theoretical roots in the Natural Law ideas of France and England.  "Forced co-existence,"  which idea is basic to American society, is accepted with dull, unthinking acquiesence as just normal reality.   The idea of "forced freedom" is clearly a paradox.   This is what we are left with, however, not only in modern sociology but in the actual practice of democracy.  As I stated earlier, what we attempt to do in this essay on Philosophical Anthropology is to get as much consistency as possible in social theory.   Force Theory, for one thing, tries to excise this sort of unresolved and unresolvable contradiction.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-12-11 15:20:45)

Re: 47. PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY II

An animal lives between rest and work.  He (we use "he" as more personal; my reasoning will shortly be clear) passes back and forth from one polar position to the other.    He is moving always toward rest and away from work; or he is moving toward work and away from rest.  Moving in the direction of rest, the animal is "becoming" what he is:  a being apart from the rest of nature.  His identity--apartness--is "safe."   And we can now say that at rest he has "become."   Whatever it was that he was becoming, he now has fulfilled himself as.   He is passing, in other words, to a position--here called "rest"--where he is unmoved and untroubled by anything around him.   He now is a being or thing unto himself, an identity apart from inert matter.  Not only does nothing change him, but nothing threatens to change him from the being that he is.  This is clear.   But there is more to the life of an animal.   Moving in the opposite direction, on the other hand, he is dis-integrating.  That is because "work," as I define the word, means in-corporating what is natural--"material"--into himself.  He is making something that was not a part of himself a part of himself.  This in-corporation is not only a physical but a psychological process.  Even to assimilate food is an uncertain and troubling act.  Food itself we are calling "nature."  And to eat is to put what was outside one's body inside his body.    While the animal preys upon other living beings, the animal himself may become prey, that is, die.  Pursuit of food exposes him to threat of death, from objects that lie here and there, from sharp things, from beings like himself only bigger and fiercer.  This struggle never stops so long as the animal must leave his safe haven.  The point where the animal feels at home and secure enough to rest is not nature, precisely, so much as a safe haven from nature.   A safe haven is sequestered away from nature; from the standpoint of nature, the safe haven is a vacuum.  But the animal--precisely by work--has protected himself.  But the animal also must pass, sooner or later, to a place where there is only work; this place is not secure or protected.  By "unprotected" we mean that the animal is in danger of becoming, himself, nature.  Threats surround him not only from without, as predators and climatic factors, but within as food grasped and assimilated only with difficulty.  Where the animal seeks food is a place in which he is threatened with dis-integration.  We say, in agreement with all the philosophers of the past, that work is basic to the animal--and to human beings.  Work on the other hand is not what the animal or man is.  Here we have a fundamental disagreement between Force Theory and the majority of philosophical systems.  We make no assumption that the human being is "made for" and "destined to" work.  It is still may be that the human or animal, either one, may have to work; but his objective is to "become" to be a being that is not engaged with nature.  Identity is apart-ness.  Work is engagement with nature in such a way as the person, on certain terms and in a special "safe" way, allows himself to approximate nature.  Mind itself is an organ or principle based on this assumption, that "compatibility" with nature is the answer to the inevitable necessity of getting food and fulfilling other needs.  Compatibity with nature, or closeness to nature, is an issue of expediency.  Thus, as a "value," Force Theory affirms rest and opposes work.  We look mostly in vain for predecessors:  Oscar Wilde saw that the human being is naturally not inclined to work.  He was correct.  Also, S.Freud postulated that the goal of human activity is sleep.  We concur that Freud was at least partly right.  Where we challenge existing philosophies is in the point that value in living derives from work; we say that the real goal of human effort is to free the human from nature, that is, in effect, from work.  Of course there are all sorts of psychological problems in freeing oneself of work, when, after all, we have evolved instinctively to accept work.  Schopenhauer points out the danger of boredom.  But communism for one thing, and the so-called Protestant work ethic, both stipulate work as the fulfillment of human life.  That is false.  Finally, the distinction between man and animal is that man enlists nature for "work," while the animal avoids nature to do the work he has to do.  Society must be understood as an arrangement of human beings for work.  I have said a number of things about the closeness of work to nature; the suggestion would be, logically, that society as a thing of work is like nature.  I have also said that nature is inert matter that animal and human alike assert themselves against; inasmuch as to counter nature is the essence of life itself.  Society in these terms would be a certain approximation of death, but a version of death (we are saying) that, paradoxically, allows a human to live.  That is the human, unlike the animal, "approximates" death in order to live.  We call this approximation "society."  Society envelops the person in a scenario reminiscent of inert matter.  Thus it would be false to say, as do even the most respected theories of democracy and so-called "freedom," that society is the source of value.  The opposite is true.  Force Theory, in accordinace with the premise that work is "a sort of death," proposes theefore to create a society that is not a society.  I will explain.

The person's idea that he should be "close to nature" is a neurotic fantasy; but it is also a statement in the political ideologies of our time.  By close to nature we do not mean a walk in the woods but a very arcane notion, and a premise of culture.  That premise is that the human does not depart from nature, as Rousseau would have it, but that he becomes more involved in nature through culture.  Culture is nature albeit an altered, human-friendly version of nature.  In this new nature the self is not freer--more independent or volitional--than was the original living being, plant or animal, but precisely the opposite.  The human being is closer to nature than before, if by nature we mean inert--dead--matter.  We may ask the question of the "self."  Every animal we have already said has a self or identity.  What is the relation of self and personal identity to what we commonly understand as nature?    The close-to-nature ideology that has come down to us, and is ordinarily understood by precisely these words--close to nature--is incorporated, subtly or overtly, in the most sacred and foundational writings of Western civilization.  This I have said earlier in this blog.   Rousseau I aver has been a major influence.   He has been important precisely because of, not in spite of, his obscurity on the point of Natural Law.  Not only the Enlightenment but Christian and Catholic doctrine made the same point, differing only in characterizing so-called "nature" as either divinely or "naturalistically" ruled.   The Rousseauian close-to-nature doctrine suggests just this, finally--and here we have the major underpinning of democratic as also communistic and catholic ideology--that the human being is closest to one's fellow human beings in being, so to say, close to nature.  A certain amount of exposition may be needed to explain this point.  My house is separate from my driveway because I have different concepts and words for these things.  Yet my house and driveway are also connected to one another by something-or-other, or what we call "nature in general."  This is clear. But when we talk about a living being, that being is not connected in the this "natural" way to what is around him. Animal existence, on the other hand, of which humans still are a part, rebells againt nature understood as a universal system.  The considerations presented here as Force Theory are by no means original; I would suggest, as part of a larger study of Philosophical Anthropology, to peruse the writings of Hans Driesch and other Vitalist writers.  But Plessner, too, goes into these basic factors although in a very obscure way.  My own writings now are simple and simplistic, with the objective of moving from vital forces to social factors.  Force Theory is avowedly ideological.  We are saying only some very elemental things about the overall principles involved.   Life is spontaneous, inwardly motivated, and anti-gravitational.  Life in general is anti-natural law if by that we mean physical and chemical law and so forth.  We may even say that life rebells against other life.  Living forms fight againt their incorporation into other living forms.   Life as a "separatist" principle means essentally moving away from, not toward, all that is not the living being himself.  This last consideration, that life is self-motivated, and that the individual living form separates himself from everything else in his universe, goes to the issue of society.  That is:  is the human being "socially" inclined.  If he were, then socialism would be an easy inference.  What socialism sees, on the other hand, as the "social" nature of the human being is in fact the economic-and technological nature of humans, their mental capacity to "identify" with inert objects and universal principles; and to thus, as I have already said, "bring nature closer to themselves."The distinction that defines a form as living is that it separates itself, or is apart-ist, in relation to all other forms living and dead.  The human being may be social, but life in general in its individual manifestations is unsocial and anti-social.   We may wonder, then, how the human being becomes social.  I have already discussed this.  To live at all, as I say, is to "be apart."  We are not talking about any "aparteid-ism," directly, but about "apartness" which is basic condition of all living beings.  These are not forms of nature, precisely, so much as they are manifestations of an inward "volition" or a cause of self-movement.  I am talking about very general issues, not about political systems--but inferences become very easy.   An inference on society comes very easy.  To submit to society or "the state," as Rousseau would have us do, is not to contradict humans as species beings so much as to contradict life.  Life fulfills itself in the indepence of its forms, even while society, on the contrary, subjects all forms to static or naturalistic principles.    There are broad issues at stake, many of which are discussed by sociologists and anthropologists.  There is however a certain "social bias" of sociologists and anthropologists which turns good science into bad ideology.  That is, sociologists do not concede that being apart and apartist is as much a human motive as being connected.  America, as I said earlier in my writing (now verschoben) on Philtalk.de:  American so-called democracy is founded upon the bad science of Europeans (much of the good science they kept for themselves in the form of Fascist ideology).  The auto- or self-motivation of the individual living form rebells againt society as it rebells against nature, and in so rebelling--pulling away or apart--defines itself as an identity.  Life defines itself through anti-nature and anti-social rebellion.  Rebellion is not revolution; revolution is only substituting something new, but the same, for something old.  Rebellion in the sense suggested in Force Theory is essentially self-definition, identity, in other words the practice of the theory of Philosophical Anthropology.  I propose that Philosophical Anthropology is the true and correct revolt-ist theory.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-12-14 15:18:20)

Re: 47. PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY II

Society is a whole that is less than the sum of its parts.  What we are asking, finally, is a point of value.  That is, if society is more than the sum of the parts--that, say, the "consciousness" or Hegelian Geist of society is more than the sum of its individual human members--we could infer that your life or mine is "worth" less than society's life.  We could suggest that a sacrifice on your part or mine might be justified on grounds that society is a higher value than either of us.  The implications of this proposition are simply staggering.  By saying society is worth more than any of us separately, we have conceded ourselves, in effect, to society.  But of course this is only what we hear and read in our sacred documents written at the founding of our Nation.  Social entities--above all nations--are consistent in that point.  We have, in a word, with the statement that society is worth more than the sum of its part, justified all the wars and miseries on behalf of society.  When society has sacrificed our individual needs to its own needs, it has acted in a philosophically consistent way.  Through our combined interaction and cooperation, we have created a being that justifiably demands our personal acquiescence and sacrifice.  This high rank of society in nature is consistent with Hegelian philosophy.  We accept the Hegelian dialectic method; we deny that the dialectic fulfills itself in the Geist of the State.  Here we will take the bold step of suggesting that society is not "worth" even one of its members.  Society--the Nation State or by whatever name it goes by--does not think.  Only, the individual person thinks for society.  A society is never brighter than its brightest person.  But there is much more to consider.  The brightest person is likely to be inhibited and tied down by the politics of the people around him.  So that actually, for some hint or suggestion of intelligence in human life we must look to the individual person in the conduct of his own life.  That is an appropriate sphere wherein choices are made for better or worse.  Society is an example of a kind of devolution, wherein the greater organism descends to the level of a primitive, bovine ancestor.  The intelligence in life is entirely an individual one that frees itself from any larger whole

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-12-18 16:58:50)