10. The development of extremely dangerous Critical Theory
So now to explain how the dishonest biological theories of both the Left and the Right led to the rise of the fraudulent, patently dishonest, extremely dangerous contrivance that is Critical Theory.
Firstly, in terms of the progression of ever-increasing levels of upset that is being charted in this book, I described how the human race had arrived at the point where upset had become so extreme that it was decided we just had to leave the horrifically aggressive and selfish world we are living in and by any false means possible create a selfless and loving, human-condition-free world that the human race had always dreamed of achieving. As I summarised, the focus of politically correct post modernism was still mostly on relieving yourself of the guilt of your corrupted condition, so what was needed was a program that contrived a way that would allow the focus to be on the progression of the whole human race towards a more ideal state where all humans lived cooperatively instead of competitively.
The question then was, what possible means could be invented to achieve that now desperately needed, dreamed-of transition? As just described, right-wing thinkers were arguing that it was only natural for humans to be competitive, selfish and aggressive because we supposedly have savage, ‘must-reproduce-our-genes’ instincts, and, to counter that individualistic, selfish view, left-wing thinkers argued that we are also naturally selfless and cooperative using the biologically impossible ‘group selection’ theory and, when that failed, adding the idea of a matrix of vague mechanisms to achieve it. In the end, these polarised, equally biologically flawed views proved unreconcilable, and biological thinking became stalled—to the point where the documentary suggested we should ‘call the whole thing off’.
Unable to confront the human condition and find the reconciling and psychologically rehabilitating, true instinct vs intellect explanation of our corrupted condition, and the true nurturing explanation for our selfless moral instincts, what left-wing thinkers did was revert to the ideology of Karl Marx who had, as previously mentioned, decided that ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways [those various ways were the ‘nature is red in tooth and claw’ justification for selfishness versus spurious biological attempts to argue for selfless behaviour]; the point is [not try to understand our nature but] to change it [just make it cooperative/social/communal]’; as Marx also wrote, ‘the alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution’ (The German Ideology, 1845-1846). Basically, Marx had already recognised the problem of the ‘red in tooth and claw’, ‘selfishness is the law of the jungle’ world we live in, and because that is seemingly all science will tell us, we have to in effect bypass science and just dogmatically impose the cooperative, ideal world that is needed. What Marx realised is that the way to avoid this ‘we are naturally savage, competitive and aggressive’ idea was to limit any discussion of our selfish and selfless human nature to only acknowledging that we do all have some basic needs which, as the political theorist Norman Geras summarised in his 1983 book Marx and Human Nature, is ‘for other human beings [selflessness], for sexual relations, for food, water, clothing, shelter, rest and, more generally, for circumstances that are conducive to health [selfishness]’ (p.72 of 126). In fact, Marx took this ‘all we have is some basic needs’, ridiculously false idea to the extreme by maintaining that we are essentially born a ‘blank slate’, that our mind has no innate traits and can be inscribed at will. The fraudulent beauty of this idea that our ‘nature’ was a ‘self-creation’ (Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of )1844) was that Marx was then able to argue that it was social pressures that created our behaviour, and so all we need is a ‘practical movement’ to ‘change’ society in order to create a more loving world.
So yes, when biology stalled in a polarised state of disagreement, left-wing thinkers went back to Marx’s thinking and repurposed it to achieve their mechanism for transforming the world into a more equitable and cooperative state—fake the arrival of a human-condition-liberated new world. Again, this left-wing thinking is CRITICAL THEORY. As the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Critical Theory says, ‘Believing that science, like other forms of knowledge, has been used as an instrument of oppression, they caution against a blind faith in scientific progress, arguing that scientific knowledge must not be pursued as an end in itself without reference to the goal of human emancipation. Since the 1970s, critical theory has been immensely influential in the study of history, law, literature, and the social sciences’ (; accessed 19 Jul. 2021). And the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains that ‘a “critical” theory may be distinguished from a “traditional” theory according to a specific practical purpose: a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human “emancipation from slavery”, acts as a “liberating . . . influence”, and works “to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of” human beings…a critical theory provides the descriptive and normative basis for social inquiry aimed at decreasing domination and increasing freedom in all their forms’ (; accessed 19 Jul. 2021).
When Critical Theorists argue that ‘Believing that science, like other forms of knowledge, has been used as an instrument of oppression’ and that ‘they caution against a blind faith in scientific progress’, they are following Marx’s view that ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways [namely the ‘nature is red in tooth and claw’ justification for selfishness versus spurious biological attempts to argue for selfless behaviour]; the point is [not to try to understand our nature but] to change it [just create an equitable, cooperative/social/communal new world].’ So they argue ‘scientific knowledge must not be pursued as an end in itself without reference to the goal of human emancipation’. They claim we have to bypass ‘traditional’ biological thinking ‘to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of human beings’. And since they blame our divisive behaviour on the ‘oppressi[ve]’ domination’ and ‘slavery’ of social structures, we must ‘free’ ourselves from those social constructs to achieve ‘human emancipation’.
In short, Critical Theorists are Marxist in that they blame our corrupted condition on social constructs, in particular, capitalism. As Marx wrote, ‘Under private property [capitalism]…Each tries to establish over the other an alien power, so as thereby to find satisfaction of his own selfish need. The increase in the quantity of objects is therefore accompanied by an extension of the realm of the alien powers to which man is subjected, and every new product represents a new potentiality of mutual swindling and mutual plundering’ (Human Requirements and Division of Labour, 1844). Marx is saying capitalism, the accumulation of possessions and wealth, caused us to become selfish, or at least perverted the fulfilment of our basic needs so that selfishness spiralled out of all control.
Of course we can now understand that the truth is it was our upsetting battle with our instincts that unavoidably caused us to become selfish, not capitalism. Capitalism actually supplied us with the self-distracting materialism we needed while we heroically searched for self-understanding (see par. 111 of TI, and pars 289, 1092, 1119 & 1224 of FREEDOM). Our whole journey for the last 2 million years has been to find understanding of ourselves, find our meaning, find our identity, find understanding of why we are the way we are, namely competitive, aggressive and selfish when the ideals of life are so obviously to be cooperative, loving and selfless—basically, find the explanation of our corrupted, ‘fallen’ human condition. We needed to find that real validation of ourselves if we were to truly bring an end to the unavoidably upsetting angry, egocentric and alienated effects of searching for that understanding. As the philosopher Gerald Cohen said, ‘Marxist philosophical anthropology[’s]…conception of human nature and human good overlooks the need for self-identity…[it] underestimated the importance of phenomena, such as religion and nationalism, which satisfy the need for self-identity’ (Reconsidering Historical Materialism, 1978, p.163), and that ‘there is a human need to which Marxist observation is commonly blind, one different from and as deep as the need to cultivate one’s talents. It is the need to be able to say not what I can do, but who I am’ (ibid. p.348).
So the next question is, having bypassed ‘traditional’ ‘science’, how exactly did Critical Theorists contrive a way to achieve ‘human emancipation’ and ‘create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of human beings’?
What Critical Theorists did is not only call on the thinking of Marx, they even conscripted Sigmund Freud’s analysis of our psychological state, which was very clever because they could then be seen to be addressing everyone’s intuitive awareness that we suffer from psychosis! The entry on Critical Theory in the Encyclopaedia Britannica describes this sophisticated approach: ‘Marxist-inspired movement in social and political philosophy originally associated with the work of the Frankfurt School [in Germany]. Drawing particularly on the thought of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, critical theorists maintain that a primary goal of philosophy is to understand and to help overcome the social structures through which people are dominated and oppressed.’
Marx had argued that workers tolerate the apparent injustice of the ‘dominant ideology’ of the status quo of capitalism, which encompasses the religious, political, economic and cultural aspects of an oppressive capitalistic society, because their mind is so dominated by it they can’t see that they are being oppressed by it. The Frankfurt School, a movement founded in the 1920s by a group of left-wing social scientists, brought together Marx’s idea of controlling ‘dominant ideology’ with the theories of Sigmund Freud, who had discovered that humans have a ‘personal unconscious’, a repository of repressed thoughts and emotions that are too painful to acknowledge consciously, including supposedly unacceptable primitive instinctive urges such as sex and aggression—all of which supposedly subverts our conscious thinking. The Frankfurt School argued that the reason that oppressed people around the world had not risen up in a great ‘Marxist revolution’ against supposedly unjustly oppressive structures like capitalism was because this ‘false consciousness’ created by both society and their own repressed unconscious prevented them from seeing the true oppressive nature of the society they laboured under. Therefore, in order for the masses to rise up, the Frankfurt School worked on a system that would teach people to overcome ‘false consciousness’ by thinking critically about everything they had previously taken for granted. The result being Critical Theory, which sought to identify the hidden biases within standard modes of thinking, such as classism, racism and sexism, that supposedly allow for continued abuses of power. Once people could see through their ‘false consciousness’ and identify their ‘oppressors’, then the ‘revolution’, which was the forcible and dogmatic imposition of cooperative ideals, would supposedly naturally occur. As Max Horkheimer, one of the school’s founders, wrote, the ultimate goal of Critical Theory was ‘to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them’ (Critical Theory: Selected Essays, 1982, p. 244).
So the Frankfurt School combined Marx’s idea of a controlling ‘dominant ideology’ of capitalism, which encompasses the religious, political, economic and cultural aspects of capitalistic society, with Freud’s discovery of a ‘personal unconscious’ which supposedly subverts our conscious mind, to supposedly explain why we have a ‘false consciousness’ that contains hidden biases like classist, racist and sexist thoughts—which they then attempt to dogmatically eradicate in ourselves and in society. As I mentioned, capitalism actually supplied the self-distracting materialism we needed in order to carry on our corrupting search for knowledge, ultimately for self-understanding. In the case of religion, as has already been explained, when we humans became overly upset from participating in humanity’s heroic battle to find knowledge, we needed to be able to defer to religious faiths because they offered relief from our own corrupted condition.
With regard to Freud’s theory of the ‘personal unconscious’, Freud did recognise that we have a repressed unconscious or psychosis that affects our ability to think truthfully, which we can now understand is all the denial we have had to practice of our 2-million-year corrupted condition while we couldn’t truthfully explain it. We are enormously, immensely, astronomically ashamed and thus insecure about our corrupted condition and as a result practice blocking out from our mind the truth of our original all-loving and all-sensitive instinctive self or soul; the result of which is, as Freud bravely recognised, the ‘repressed unconscious’ part of ourselves. And the extent of this denial or block-out or alienation or soul-repression or psychosis obviously will vary according to how exposed we have each been in our life to all the upset in the world. It follows that (as I describe in chapter , and in ) there are differences in alienation between individuals, races, genders, ages, generations, countries, civilisations and cultures. And as a result of these differences we do all naturally suffer from insecurity about our particular state of alienation compared to other people’s states of alienation, and so we are all naturally variously prejudiced—the more innocent are prejudiced against the more alienated, who to them seem to be ‘bad’, and the more alienated have retaliatory prejudice towards the less alienated for their either direct or implied condemnation of them; and so we are all prone to being classist, racist, sexist, ageist, and so on. But again, the only way to end all that insecurity within us was to find the healing understanding of our corrupted human condition. The dogmatic imposition of ideality on our upset reality just added more denial/alienation/unconscious bias—and worse still, it kills the freedom we need to be able to continue the upsetting search for knowledge in order to find the psychologically redeeming and relieving understanding of ourselves.
(In my book How Laurens van der Post Saved The World I describe and explain at some length the journey of acknowledgement of our corrupted condition that Freud bravely initiated with his recognition of a ‘repressed unconscious’ part of ourselves, and how Freud’s associate, Carl Jung, then bravely added to Freud’s recognition of a ‘repressed unconscious’ within us by recognising the foundation insecurity within that ‘repressed unconscious’ of a repressed awareness of a collective, shared-by-all instinct within us that Jung termed our ‘collective unconscious’. Sir Laurens van der Post and myself added the critical clarification that our ‘collective unconscious’ is actually the repressed instinctive memory within us all of a time when our ape ancestors lived in a completely cooperative, selfless and loving state prior to becoming conscious and developing our present corrupted condition—a memory we repressed because we couldn’t explain why we had destroyed such a wonderful, all-loving and all-sensitive state.)
Yes, what was so extremely dangerous about Critical Theory’s overall practice of dogmatically imposing a cooperative, ideal world was that the dogmatic imposition of selfless, cooperative and loving ideal/politically correct behaviour oppresses and stifles the all-important freedom of expression needed to find knowledge, ultimately the all-important self-knowledge, the redeeming, rehabilitating and transforming biological understanding of our psychologically distressed human condition that actually brings about the cooperative, selfless and loving world that is so desperately needed.
The great paradox of the human condition (which is what the Adam Stork analogy finally explains) is that we have had to be free from our dogmatically oppressive and dictatorial cooperation-and-selflessness-demanding moral instinctive self or soul if we were to carry on our soul-corrupting, anger-egocentricity-and-alienation-producing, competition-and-selfishness-occurring, heroic search for knowledge. Again, in the words from the song The Impossible Dream from the musical the Man of La Mancha, we had to be prepared to ‘march into hell for a heavenly cause’ (lyrics by Joe Darion, 1965); we had to be prepared to lose ourselves if we were to find ourselves; we had to suffer becoming angry, egocentric and alienated until we found sufficient knowledge to explain ourselves and by so doing actually end and heal our corrupted condition.
So, as I mentioned earlier, dogma is not the cure for the troubled state of the world, it is in fact the poison because it blocks the search for the rehabilitating understanding of ourselves that is needed to actually save the world. The truth is the Left is not ‘progressive’ as it deludes itself it is, but regressive. It was actually the right-wing who supported the upsetting anger-egocentricity-and-alienation-producing battle to find knowledge that held the moral high ground, not the pseudo idealistic left-wing. The real way to bring an end to our selfish and divisive condition where ‘people are dominated and oppressed’ and ‘create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of human beings’ and achieves ‘the goal of human emancipation’ and ‘freedom’ from our corrupted angry, egocentric and alienated human condition depended on continuing the upsetting search for knowledge until we found the true, psychologically redeeming and rehabilitating, instinct vs intellect biological explanation of the human condition—which, thank heavens, has finally been found, but is yet to be widely acknowledged. So again, Marx was wrong when he said, ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is [not to understand the world but] to change it [just make it cooperative/social/communal]’, because the whole ‘point’ and responsibility of being a conscious being is to understand our world and our place in it—ultimately, to find the redeeming and psychologically healing understanding of our seemingly horribly flawed, 2-million-year upset, now totally mad and deranged, human condition. We humans needed answers for our upset, distressed mind, not dogma; we needed brain food not brain anaesthetic; we needed to be able to think our way to sanity, not become brain-dead robots. De-braining ourselves was never going to work. To avoid the fast approaching terminal levels of alienation/psychosis we simply had to find the psychologically healing understanding of ourselves.
When the author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote that ‘We are living through deeply anxious days, and if we are to relieve our anxiety we must diagnose its cause…What is the meaning of man? To this question no answer is being offered, and I have the feeling that we are moving toward the darkest era our world has ever known’ (A Sense of Life, pub. 1965, pp.127, 219 of 231), he was recognising that the survival of our species depended on finding understanding of ourselves. So to effectively stop that search was the ultimate crime against the whole conscious-thinking human race! The truth is the left-wing culture of dogmatically enforcing cooperative, selfless and loving behaviour has been leading humanity not to freedom from the human condition as it deludes itself, but straight off the cliff of hope and down into the chasm of extinction; to death by dogma!