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Please note, you can access all previous explanatory and inspirational WTM Emails at the end of this email. Wednesday’s explanatory emails and Friday’s inspirational emails are numbered in order of appearance, so one is odd and the other even numbered.

 

This is explanatory WTM Email 23

 

The integrative meaning of existence

 

Last Wednesday’s explanatory WTM Email explained that humans acquired our unconditionally selfless moral instincts through nurturing, and that it was the emergence of our fully conscious mind (and with it, our present competitive and aggressive human condition) that led to our species’ departure from our original nurtured, all-loving state of innocence.

 

This raised the question of how we humans became fully conscious when no other animal has achieved that state? It was pointed out that to answer this other great biological question it is first necessary to explain that there is an integrative direction, purpose and meaning to existence. So, in this email we will explain Integrative Meaning, and next Wednesday we will explain how humans became conscious.

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Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

 

 

The world’s greatest physicists, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, have said, respectively, that ‘The overwhelming impression is of order…[in] the universe’ (‘The Time of His Life’, Gregory Benford, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Apr. 2002), and that ‘behind everything is an order’ (Einstein Revealed, PBS, 1997). Yes, this ‘order’ IS apparent everywhere. Over the eons a chaotic universe organised itself into stars, planets and galaxies. Here on Earth, atoms became ordered or integrated to form molecules → which in turn integrated to form compounds → virus-like organisms → single-celled organisms → multicellular organisms → and then societies of multicellular organisms. Overall, matter is becoming ordered into larger wholes. So the direction or theme or purpose or meaning of existence is the ordering or integration or complexification of matter, a process that is driven by the physical law of Negative Entropy. (The law of Negative Entropy states that in an open system, where energy can come into the system from outside it in Earth’s case, from the sun, and, in the case of the universe, from the original ‘big bang’ explosion that created it matter integrates; it develops order.) ‘Holism’, which the dictionary defines as ‘the tendency in nature to form wholes’ (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edn, 1964), and ‘teleology’, which is defined as ‘the belief that purpose and design are a part of nature’ (Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd edn, 1998), are both terms that recognise this integrative ‘tendency’.

 

Chart showing the ordered integration of matter on Earth

Chart showing the ordered integration of matter on Earth

 

HOWEVER, for humans, the great problem with this truth of the integrative meaning of life is that for a larger whole to form and hold together the parts of that whole must consider the welfare of the whole above their own welfare put simply, selfishness is divisive or disintegrative while selflessness is integrative. So, consider-others-above-yourself, altruistic, unconditional selflessness is the underlying theme of existence; it’s the glue that holds the world together and what we really mean by the term ‘love’. Indeed, if we consider religious terminology, the old Christian word for love was ‘caritas’, which means charity or giving or selflessness; see Col. 3:14, 1 Cor. 13:1–13, 10:24, and John 15:13. Of these biblical references, Colossians 3:14 perfectly summarises the integrative significance of love: ‘And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.’ In John 15:13 we also see that Christ emphasised the unconditionally selfless significance of the word ‘love’ when he said, ‘Greater love has no-one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.’ BUT, acknowledging and accepting this truth that the meaning of life is to be integrative cooperative, selfless and loving left humans feeling unbearably condemned as bad, evil or unworthy for our divisive competitive, selfish and aggressive, seemingly-unloving behaviour. Indeed, we have been so divisive, so ruthlessly competitive, selfish and brutal that human life has become all but unbearable and we have nearly destroyed our own planet! ONLY when we could truthfully explain the good reason WHY we humans have not been ideally behaved, explain our in-humanity truthfully explain the human condition no less, which fortunately we now can would it be psychologically safe to confront, admit and accept that the meaning of life is to be integrative, selfless and loving.

 

Ancient of Days by William Blake

Ancient of Days by William Blake

 

Furthermore and this was explained in inspirational WTM Email 8 the concept of ‘God’ is actually our personification of this truth of Integrative Meaning, and if we include more of what Hawking and Einstein said we can see that they both agree. Hawking: ‘The overwhelming impression is of order. The more we discover about the universe, the more we find that it is governed by rational laws. If one liked, one could say that this order was the work of God. Einstein thought so…We could call order by the name of God’ (Gregory Benford, ‘The time of his life’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Apr. 2002; see <www.wtmsources.com/170>); and, ‘I would use the term God as the embodiment of the laws of physics’ (Master of the Universe, BBC). Einstein: ‘over time, I have come to realise that behind everything is an order that we glimpse only indirectly [because it’s unbearably confronting/condemning!]. This is religiousness. In this sense, I am a religious man’ (Einstein Revealed, PBS, 1997). As it says in the Bible, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8, 16). ‘God’ is the integrative, unconditionally selfless theme of existence. But again, the problem was that until we could truthfully explain the human condition we needed the concept of ‘God’ to remain safely abstract and undefined we couldn’t afford to demystify ‘God’, admit the truth that the meaning of life is to be integrative, selfless and loving. It is little wonder then that we humans have been, as we say, ‘God-fearing’ in fact, God-revering to the point of being God-worshipping not God-confronting!

 

When the scientist-philosopher Teilhard de Chardin wrote, ‘I can see a direction and a line of progress for life, a line and a direction which are in fact so well marked that I am convinced their reality will be universally admitted by the science of tomorrow’ (The Phenomenon of Man, 1938, p.142), he was recognising firstly how obvious the integrative, order-of-matter-developing theme of existence is; and, secondly, that this truth of the integrative ‘direction’ or theme or purpose or meaning of existence wouldn’t be able to be ‘admitted’ until the human-condition-resolved ‘science of tomorrow’ emerged, which relievingly it now has. ‘Yesterday’s’ scientists avoided the overarching, truthful whole view of the integrative meaning of existence and the issue of the human condition it raised and instead adopted a reduced view that only focused down on to the details about the mechanisms of the workings of our world they have been what’s called ‘reductionist’ and ‘mechanistic’, not ‘teleological’ and ‘holistic’ and the contrivance they developed to avoid the truth of Integrative Meaning was to assert that there is no direction or meaning to existence and that change is random. Furthermore, to avoid religion’s acknowledgement of Integrative Meaning (albeit an indirect and abstract acknowledgement in the form of the concept of ‘God’) ‘yesterday’s’ scientists claimed that religion and science were two totally unrelated realms to the point that the famous Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson has said, ‘I take a very strong stance against the mingling of religion and science’ (National Geographic Magazine, May 2006). Of course, as the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles H. Townes truthfully admitted, ‘they [religion and science] both represent man’s efforts to understand his universe and must ultimately be dealing with the same substance. As we understand more in each realm, the two must grow together…converge they must’ (‘The Convergence of Science and Religion’, Zygon, Vol.1 No.3, 1966).

 

Indeed, the great hope implicit in the reductionist, mechanistic approach was that by finding understanding of the mechanisms of the workings of our world, its practitioners would at least be assembling the means by which the human condition might one day be able to be explained which is exactly what they have achieved. Through the gradual accumulation of knowledge about the mechanisms of the workings of our world, scientists found understanding of the difference in the way genes and nerves function, which, as is explained in chapter 3 of FREEDOM, is the key insight that at last made it possible to explain the human condition.

 

Teilhard de Chardin

Teilhard de Chardin

 

So it is only now that the human condition has been explained that de Chardin’s integrative-‘direction’-or-theme-or-purpose-or-meaning-acknowledging ‘science of tomorrow’ can emerge. And it is also only now that the integrative ideals and our lack of compliance with them can be reconciled and religion and science ‘converge’. Furthermore, finding understanding of our less-than-ideally-behaved human condition is the crucial insight we needed to psychologically rehabilitate the human race. The famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung was forever saying that ‘wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own their own shadow’ because he recognised that only finding understanding of our dark side could end our underlying insecurity about our fundamental goodness and worth as humans and, in so doing, make us ‘whole’ and restore our humanity, the cooperative, harmonious integrated state. Yes, it is only now that we can at last explain the human condition that we can understand and thus heal that divisive competitive, selfish and aggressive, seemingly-‘unGodly’ condition!

 

For the full explanation of the integrative meaning of existence, read chapter 4 of FREEDOM.

 

So having now explained the integrative meaning of existence it becomes possible to explain how consciousness emerged in humans, which will be the subject of next Wednesday’s explanatory WTM Email.

 

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Discussion or comment on this email is welcomed see below.

 

 

See all previous WTM Emails

 

(Note, Wednesday’s explanatory emails and Friday’s inspirational emails are numbered in order of appearance, so one is odd and the other even numbered.)

 

Wednesday’s explanatory WTM Email 1 Why solving the human condition solves everything | 3 The false ‘savage instincts’ excuse | 5 The explanation of the human condition | 7 The transformation of the human race | 9 The historic fear of the human condition | 11 Ending the stalled state of biology | 13 One hour introductory talk | 15 FREEDOM chapter synopses | 17 Commendations | 19 Are humans innately and unchangeably brutal? | 21 How did we humans acquire our altruistic moral conscience?

 

Friday’s inspirational WTM Email 2 WTM Centres opening everywhere | 4 Can conflict ever end? | 6 ‘This is the real liberation of women’ | 8 Is God real? | 10 Anne Frank’s faith in human goodness fulfilled | 12 Bonobos nurtured cooperativeness | 14 Understanding millennials | 16 Women’s beauty | 18 Prophetic songs | 20 ‘How this liberated me from racism’ | 22 Art’s agony and ecstasy

 

These emails were composed during 2017 by Jeremy Griffith, Damon Isherwood,
Fiona Cullen-Ward & Brony FitzGerald at the Sydney WTM Centre.

 

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Please note, we encourage constructive discussion about this information and so reserve the right to moderate or decline posts that we feel are not relevant or inappropriate. In particular, with the subject of the human condition being so confronting, malice can easily occur, and where comments are deemed to be motivated not by objectivity but by malice, they will be declined. It has to be appreciated that the possibility of malice toward this subject matter is very real, and we have a responsibility to manage that as best we can.

5 Comments

  1. Professor Abed Peerally on September 22, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Very interesting. The whole philosophy of these mails is precisely my objective in my decision to write three books about the origin of the universe, the first of which was published in April, 20 this year. While this website and its author is correctly taking an anthropological and philosophical approach, with some science brought in as necessary, which is very sound, around 2012, I thought of the same theme, but against a much wider background of possible explanation. My purpose was not to centre on the human condition, as this site is focussing, but on the universal, and therefore as you also imply, felt that our condition, including the whole universe, seems to be integrated. Finally my objective is to find the ultimate explanation of the universe and of existence: the answer to me is philosophical and scientific, and you also think so. My objective is to search for the ultimate explanation, in philosophy and science, and the answer tells me we also have to bring in theology. My first book describes the context of the universe and existence, and in my second book I will describe the theory of everything, and the origin of our universe, where entropy will have an important role as my first book implies. So my next book, and my current articles in vixra, focus on science and philosophy. As your objective is to improve our appreciation of what should be the ideal human condition, my books will show that the creation process wanted us to be capable of reaching the best condition, but through evolution, or entropy. There is scope for both of us to cooperate.

  2. Tommy on June 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Yes the ‘deaf effect’ when reading and listening to this information is very real and understandable given our historic fear of the whole subject of the human condition. It is something I had to work at in overcoming by being patient and re-reading and re-watching the material presented on this website. It is explained early in ‘Freedom’ in Chapter 1.4 (https://www.humancondition.com/freedom-problem-of-the-deaf-effect-that-reading-about-hc-causes/). The commendation and comments given by Australian broadcaster/ journalist Brian Carlton are also worth reading/watching as he describes overcoming his deaf effect and his subsequent ‘intellectual epiphany’. This is found at the end of Chapter 1.5 of Freedom (https://www.humancondition.com/freedom-solutions-to-the-deaf-effect/?scroll_to=brian%20carlton&scroll_num=1) or in his commendation video is on the WTM homepage or WTM Email 17 (https://www.humancondition.com/?videoId=commendations&item=1)

  3. judy66 on June 29, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Jeremy’s themes are so large they can be overwhelming. But in my experience the logic is always there. Its just a matter of taking each concept and evaluating it against the previous. When you brake it down, the words and sentences are not intellectual or designed to confuse, quite the opposite, but I think sometimes people can be overwhelmed and think it must be some sort of intellectual presentation.

  4. John Gowers on June 29, 2017 at 2:02 am

    I am sorry to say that I have really struggled to understand and follow your writings. I had the same experience as a 12 year old trying to read and understand Tolkien. I can only take it that your audience has to be of a certain literary standard. Pity, as it is likely that you will be “over the heads” of a good many of your readers, unless of course you just wish to be part of a surviving elite.
    May I suggest that if you want to reach a greater number of people, you re-write (or translate) what you are trying to get across. In simpler English it has the promise of being interesting.

  5. PaulM on June 29, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Integrative Meaning requires understanding Negative Entropy. That is to say, matter in the universe is constantly coming together and becoming more and more complicated and former ever greater wholes. The key point there is that to form a ‘whole’ requires selflessness on the part of the constituents. AND the key point then is that humans are not selfless, they are selfish. So how do you think we humans reacted to Integrative Meaning? It implied we were ‘bad’, so of course we dismissed it. And we turned it into something called ‘God’, which was so removed from us that it wasn’t so terrible.