‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:4 How has science coped with the issue of the human condition, and the dangerous ‘trap’ involved in the way it coped?
In light of what has now been explained about our species’ extremely committed denial of the human condition, how has science—as humanity’s designated vehicle for enquiry into the nature of our world, particularly into the all-important issue of human nature—coped with the human condition? Well, given it is practised by humans who have had no choice but to avoid the suicidally depressing subject of the human condition, science has necessarily been what is termed ‘reductionist’ and ‘mechanistic’. It has avoided the overarching whole view of life that required having to confront the issue of the human condition and instead reduced its focus to only looking down at the details of the mechanisms of the workings of our world, in the hope that understanding of those mechanisms would eventually make it possible to explain, understand and thus at last be able to both confront and ameliorate or heal the human condition. (I should explain the actual origins of the terms ‘mechanism’ and ‘reductionism’. The physicist Isaac Newton’s famous law of gravitation explained that from the big bang onwards, mechanical cause and effect interactions of atoms formed stars, planets, life and eventually our DNA and conscious brain. As will be explained later in chapter 4, another law of physics called Negative Entropy reveals that this development of matter was actually towards the integration of matter into larger and larger wholes (atoms to molecules to single-celled organisms, to multicellular organisms, to societies, etc), however, because this truth of the integration of matter implies that we humans should behave integratively, that is be cooperative and selfless, we couldn’t afford to admit to the integrative meaning of existence while we couldn’t explain our corrupted, competitive and selfish disintegrative human condition. So that’s why science has preferred to avoid the overarching truth of the issue of the human condition and only acknowledge the strictly ‘mechanical’, robotic, ‘deterministic’ Newtonian view of our world—hence the real meaning of ‘mechanistic’. In the case of ‘reductionism’, in par. 40 (and much more will be said about this later) it was explained that to avoid the truth that we humans have cooperative and loving moral instincts biology maintained that our distant ancestors were competitive and aggressive savages like other animals. ‘Reductionism’ is the philosophical belief that all human behaviour can be ‘reduced’ to—i.e. explained by—the behavioural responses of other animals, which again was a way of avoiding the overarching truth of our psychologically corrupted human condition. Later in pars 222-223, quotes from physicist Paul Davies and polymath Arthur Koestler elaborate on these origins of the extremely human-condition-avoiding strategies of ‘mechanism’ and ‘reductionism’.)
Of course, the great danger inherent in the reduced, mechanistic, whole-view-evading, resigned-to-living-in-denial-of-the-human-condition, hiding-in-Plato’s-cave, fundamentally dishonest approach is that it could become so entrenched, so habituated to its strategy of denial, it could resist the whole-view-embracing, human-condition-confronting, out-of-Plato’s-cave, truthful explanation of the human condition when it was finally found and continue to persevere with its dishonest strategy to the point of taking the human race to terminal alienation and extinction. Yes, despite the arrival of the truthful scientific paradigm being science’s great objective and fundamental responsibility—and the only means by which the human race can be liberated from its condition, and thus transformed—the risk is that the established dishonest scientific paradigm might not welcome or, indeed even tolerate, its arrival!
What has just been said in the above two paragraphs is so critical it needs to be further explained and emphasised.
If we were to stand back and consider the situation the human race has been in—where it needed to find understanding of humans’ less-than-ideally behaved, competitive, aggressive and selfish human condition in order to liberate itself from the insecurity of not knowing why that divisive condition emerged—then we can see that there was a very serious obstacle that had to be overcome: how on earth could the human race investigate a subject that virtually everyone was too terrified of to go near? Well, if we then imagine a group of objective thinkers were elected to address this problem—an enlightened board of directors overseeing our situation, if you like—the rationale of their thinking would surely have been that all the human race could do was investigate the nature of our world while all the time avoiding any truths that brought the unbearable issue of the human condition into focus—and just hope that with sufficient understanding of the nature of our world found someone who didn’t find the issue of the human condition unbearably condemning and confronting would then be able to assemble the explanation of the human condition from those understandings. No other strategy was possible, and, as mentioned, that is the strategy the human race took.
Human-condition-avoiding, whole-view-evading, so-called reductionist or mechanistic science had to complete the difficult and painstaking task of finding all the pieces of the jigsaw of the explanation of the human condition, but unable to look at the whole picture its practitioners were in no position to put the jigsaw together—that final task required a whole-view-confronting, denial-free thinking approach. I have drawn the following picture to illustrate the strategy. (Note, not all the captions in this drawing will be able to be understood at this early stage of the book; however, the essential roles played by human-condition-avoiding science and human-condition-confronting science in finding the key unlocking insight into our human condition should be sufficiently clear. Our ideal-behaviour-demanding, ‘condemning moral conscience’ was briefly referred to in chapter 1:3 and will be more fully described shortly in this chapter; the concept of truthful, cooperative-meaning-accepting ‘holistic’ thinking will be fully explained in chapter 4:2, with inductive and deductive science explained later in par. 581; while the reason deductive or mechanistic science is described as having been ‘supposedly objective’ rather than actually objective, is provided in pars 590 and 1151.)
As was briefly explained in chapter 1, and will be fully explained in chapter 3, the all-important ‘piece of the jigsaw’ that finally made it possible for the human-condition-confronting, truthful thinking approach to find the explanation of the human condition that is presented in this book was the discovery by human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic science of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information—that genes give species orientations but nerves give rise to a conscious mind that needs to understand existence, with the inevitable clash between the two learning systems explaining the psychologically upset state of the human condition.
However, while the two approaches taken by human-condition-avoiding science and human-condition-confronting science have now played their part and the explanation of the human condition has been found, there remains one final step to fulfil our board of directors’ plans to save humanity—and it is at this last step that a very dangerous ‘trap’ exists, which our enlightened board of directors would have to have recognised. That most dangerous of traps is the possibility that the all-dominating world of mechanistic science might become so attached to its human-condition-avoiding mechanistic approach—so habituated to living in Plato’s dark cave of denial—that it might not tolerate the world-saving insight into the human condition that has now been found. In terms of what our board of directors thought could be done to mitigate or avoid this trap, the reality is that all they, or anyone, could do was just hope that there would be a sufficient number of scientists who could appreciate that finding the fully accountable, exonerating and rehabilitating understanding of the human condition made the need for science to be mechanistic obsolete, and that the responsibility now for science as a whole, and for scientists individually, is to acknowledge and support that world-saving insight.
The critical question then is, will there be enough integrity, courage and vision amongst scientists for this understanding to receive the support it now needs to survive—because, as the science historian Thomas Kuhn said, ‘In science…ideas do not change simply because new facts win out over outmoded ones…Since the facts can’t speak for themselves, it is their human advocates who win or lose the day’ (Shirley Strum, Almost Human, 1987, p.164 of 297—Strum’s references are to Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd edn, 1970). And as will be documented later in chapter 6:12, despite support from some very eminent scientists like Harry Prosen, the current situation is that, as of early 2016, the scientific community is failing to demonstrate the integrity, courage and vision necessary to guarantee the understanding survives. Indeed, two of the main themes running through this book are the enormous struggle for acceptance, within both the scientific community and the wider world, that this all-important understanding (along with all the other critically important truthful explanations of human behaviour that accompany it) is having to endure, and the dire consequences for the human race if that acceptance fails to eventuate.
And the consequences are dire, because if sufficient support for these understandings doesn’t develop, humanity can only become more and more psychologically upset until it eventually becomes terminally psychologically upset—in particular, so committed to denial of any truth that brings the issue of the human condition into focus (which, as we are going to see in this book, is most truth) that the human race perishes in a horrific state of terminal alienation!
So it is most distressing that the scientific establishment hasn’t taken the lead in recognising the importance of this explanation of the human condition and has, instead, been treating the explanation as an anathema. By this conduct, and by perpetuating its own dishonest path with the development of an extremely dangerously dishonest account of the human condition itself by someone who has been lauded as the ‘living heir to Darwin’, science is completely failing its responsibility of ensuring humanity avoids the horror of terminal alienation.
Yes, in 2012, E.O. Wilson published his ‘summa work’, The Social Conquest of Earth, the opening sentence of which truthfully recognises that ‘There is no grail more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to understanding the human condition’ before going on to claim to, as the book’s dust jacket says, present ‘the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origins of the human condition’. But, despite all the accolades this book has received, including The New York Times rating it one of ‘The 100 Notable Books of the Year’ (and the nod to Darwin’s throne that also appears on the book’s dust jacket), we have to wonder whether, given the human condition has been such a terrifying, unapproachable subject, Wilson has actually been able to confront, think effectively about and, by so doing, find the long sought-after, human-race-liberating, holy ‘grail’ of science of the explanation of the human condition—or has he, in fact, not actually confronted and thought truthfully about the human condition at all, and, therefore, not presented the liberating and ameliorating understanding of ourselves that we humans so desperately need? As we are going to see further on in this chapter, the answer is the latter; indeed, rather than delivering the dreamed-of relieving insight into our ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted lives, Wilson, who turns out to be the quintessential exponent of dishonest, human-condition-avoiding mechanistic science, is taking the human race so deep ‘underground’ into the darkness of Plato’s human-condition-avoiding cave of denial that he is effectively locking humanity onto a path to the utterly tortured, permanent darkness of terminal alienation that Michelangelo’s and Blake’s paintings at the beginning of this chapter so dramatically depict!!
I must emphasise the extreme seriousness of what has occurred. Instead of opening the shutters and letting the liberating light of understanding stream in upon the agonising dilemma of our human condition, which in effect is what Wilson claims he has done, he has actually taken the human race into the deepest and darkest corner of truth-avoiding denial and alienation it has ever known! The appearance is that mechanistic science is taking humanity to terminal alienation and extinction!
So it is most significant—and relieving for the human race—that this exposé of Wilson’s completely dishonest, condemning-humanity-to-the-torture-of-unspeakable-levels-of-psychosis account of the human condition is now countered by the denial-free, human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding, alienation-removing-not-increasing, psychologically-rehabilitating-and-thus-human-race-transforming, real biological explanation of the human condition, which was outlined in chapter 1 and will be fully explained in chapter 3. Further, it is this fully accountable and thus true explanation of the human condition that finally makes it both possible and psychologically safe to also provide the fully accountable, real and true answers to the three other (only slightly less important) outstanding holy grails in science: the meaning of existence; how humans acquired our altruistic moral instincts—as well as a rebuttal of scientific theories that have been put forward on the subject; and how humans became conscious when other animals haven’t—explanations that are presented in chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively. Chapter 8 will then provide the denial-free, real and true account of humanity’s journey from ignorance to enlightenment that these fully accountable, true explanations make possible—an account that includes the reconciling understanding of the lives of men and women, the explanation of sex as humans have practised it (including homosexuality), the explanations of religion and politics, and many, many other denial-free explanations of human behaviour.
In short, this book has the power to transport humanity from a world of ignorant darkness and excruciating, human-condition-afflicted bondage that Plato’s cave so honestly depicted, to a liberated world bathed in the light of redeeming, relieving and psychologically rehabilitating understanding. The book’s concluding chapter (9) describes how this fabulous transformation can, and, with this new presentation that has the supportive ‘deaf effect’-eroding introductory videos, will now occur.
(Much more can be read about mechanistic science’s strategy of investigating the human condition while avoiding it, including the role the Greek philosopher Aristotle played in developing the strategy, at <www.humancondition.com/freedom-expanded-science-was-invented>.)