New idea (sort of), that what Darwin, what evolutionists are up against is not some offense that we are “just animals,” but rather what I’m up against, the mimic meme, the great social myth that humans are different because we’re nicer, that our special development isn’t just a special version of mean.
This is our species’ false origin story now, maybe always, that we rose above the animals through “cooperation,” or “altruism,” and in that sense a “morality handed down by a god or a godly messenger” would fill the same purpose in one of those forms, in any given sentence in one of those arguments -the myth that we dominate this world because we are better and not because we are worse. I think the offense evolutionists face has the same flavour as the offense voiced in opposition to permissiveness, to leniency and the advance of liberalism generally, and that’s the larger context for it, not so much whether humans are partly divine, or whether there is a god or not – but whether our lifestyle, the social order, supported by these rationalizations is right or wrong. I don’t mean capitalism, or the patriarchy, for me, all these serve the human warrior society; capitalism means money may abuse, patriarchy means men may abuse. I mean the abuse itself, not who or what is allowed to do it, but that someone always is. That little factoid gets flipped upside-down in this false backstory of ours, that is what’s supposed to make us better.
(New readers may have some confusion. For me “abuse” includes all abuse, socially sanctioned punishments included, because punishment is a technology that includes the application of abuse. Punishment, in our world, is supposed to make us “better,” while abuse, punishment’s major component, has been shown quite robustly to make us “worse,” at least in the eyes of the law, educators, medicine, etc.)
Perhaps something here explains that while evolution generally had popularity, even its adherents had resistance to Lamarck, to the idea that we create ourselves, and that that resistance is still alive and fighting, apparently. If it’s the great machine, OK, we say, fine, evolution, and we are still created beings, formed by forces larger than ourselves and beyond our control. We are still not self-aware or self-responsible in this state, and there is still the room for and a need for God, despite the apparent conflict. Indeed, this would seem to be the creature we see in the news and any dreams we may have of great human destinies do tend to fade with experience and age. We can be managed in certain ways, but humanity cannot apparently be reasoned with.
That’s the mimic meme too, not just some parent, beating their child to “make them good,” but the larger, social idea that it has worked, and that we are good, again, that we have won the tournament against the rest of the world and bent it to our stupid, stupid will – because we are “good,” altruistic, cooperative, empathetic . . . a lovely list of words, to be sure. Evolution is acceptable if we are horrible but powerless in the process, and evolution may be acceptable if we have had a hand in it, but if that’s going to be the story, we had better look “good” in that story, or first, who wants to hear it, and second and more importantly, what good does saying it do? We’re not supposed to tell a child they’re bad, only that their action was bad, because we don’t want them to take it to heart, so how do you tell apes that their bad actions have the unfortunate effect of making them bad? Talking about abuse still, always.
I tell myself I don’t write for children. I know I’m looking for dangerous places to be – honestly it’s all just talk now, I’ve already ruined my real life by taking this issue on with my child-rearing – looking for dangerous things to think about. I hope I’m not making anyone crazy with this, but I’m operating at a very young age in my cynicism; I’m still clinging to the idea of truth above all. If I didn’t have that delusion to chase, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have anything at all.
I think I understand about crackpots now, about people that get obsessed over a viewpoint. For me, this is the heart of the matter, of all matters, and so any talk at the higher levels in these matters, cultural, political, religion vs atheism, all seem secondary, but I’m sure a lot of people have their own idea of where the heart of the matter is. I’m willing to allow that matters have more than one heart, an unknown number, no doubt, but honestly, this is the one I’ve found, and frankly, whether it’s big enough to explain all that I think it does, I can’t have the certainty I’d like about that – but it’s big enough to keep me busy for awhile yet, I think. Honestly, I am staring into the abyss, I’m not trying to share that part, but you probably see. I need something that I can fool myself is important, to keep me busy, you know what they say about idle hands.
At least until I get some sense somebody else has gotten the idea, that I’ve been able to breathe life into this meme, and see it thriving and reproducing out there in nature.
May 25th., 2019