Thursday, December 31, 2009

Re: Richard Rorty, Nietzsche and Jungian Darwinism

One person thought I was saying the Oversoul was God.  The second sentence in my “Comment” reads “Jung hypothesized a sort of “Oversoul” for each species.”  The Oversoul isn’t God – although man seems to want to worship something and in the absence of God he has turned to superstitions of various kinds; so he may have wanted to worship the Oversoul if Jung’s ideas had caught on, but I don’t think they did.  The Oversoul for Homo Sapiens would presumably be more sophisticated than the Oversouls for the other species because it was, if I recall correctly, a projection of our species – like the Mandala in his book on Flying Saucers – or rather the Mandala was our Oversouls answer to the need of something to worship:  You don’t believe in God any longer?  Well here is the Mandala, the Hindu symbol of Perfection, which, Jung points out, looks like a Flying Saucer.

As to there not having been enough time to account for species through the pure randomness of natural selection.  Anthropologist accept that there hasn’t been enough time to account for species through pure uniformitarian randomness, but that is not what they see in the fossil record.  They see “jumps,” periodic “jumps” caused, they argue, by such things as climate change and climate shifts.  They find long periods of time with little change to the fossils; then there is some sort of geologic change.  They find an anomalous layer of sediment and after that the species are changed and new species occur.

And yes, another planet, or better yet planets, to pollute if that is an unalterable characteristic of our species.  Shall we instead commit species suicide because we pollute?  As soon as man gave up his hunter-gatherer existence and settled in little villages, he began to pollute.  Actually he polluted earlier but sort of randomly over the countryside.  But if he was staying mostly in his village then the pollution had to be nearby.  Archeologists love his pollutions.  They find bones of the animals he killed, arrow and spear points and even the occasional evidence of murder. 

To suggest that we shouldn’t hope for the continuation of our species because it pollutes strikes me as rather unpragmatic and shortsighted and perhaps lemming-like.

Anti-technology was a strong element in Heidegger’s philosophy.  He was perhaps a semi-Luddite.  Most nations, he believed, couldn’t handle technology and were better off without it.  Only the Germans were capable of handling technology in the proper spiritual way.  Also, there is a strong Luddite element in the Environmental camp, e.g., you want to progress through here?  You will destroy the Spotted Owl if you do, and the preservation of the Spotted Owl is more important than your “progress.”  You say jobs will be lost?  Tough!  Better to lose your jobs than destroy one species.  The pragmatics of these Environmental concerns are Luddite at heart, it seems to me.

As to war, that too seems to be a characteristic of our species -- and good justification for spreading human kind over “Twelve Colonies” (in BSG thinking) rather than grouping them together on just one planet.   As to fearing a powerful nation, well yes, humans have always done that.  Rome’s neighbors feared Rome, but Rome feared the Barbarians.  That in itself isn’t a criticism of Rome or the Barbarians, it is merely the way we humans relate to each other.  Why bother being hostile to the U.S.?  If the U.S. is replaced by some other powerful nation, say China, will not the Usual Suspects line up to be hostile to China?  This too is a characteristic of our species.

I am not a Jungian, but the Darwinian nature of the Rorty quote made me think of Jung.  Surely something more sophisticated than Natural Selection needs to be involved if we are to understand his “Darwinian picture (as an increasing ability to shape the tools needed to help the species survive, multiply and transform itself.”   If he had suggested that “nations” rather than our species need to shape these tools in order to enable us to survive against each other that would seem more understandable.  If he had said we need better tools as “survival strategies” against each other that would seem more intuitively true than saying we need them as a survival strategy for our species as a whole.

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