De-Legitimizing Human Parasitism
Posting 53, January 31, 2013, The Top-down Culture of Human Parasitism, is a statement of basic political consciousness. It describes the results of a cultural history far more sinister than any mere conspiracy. There is room for optimism, but not in denying or attempting to evade the malaise of the culture or the difficulties for individuals in attempting to live in freedom and justice (equality). Bottom-up human parasitism, petty crime such as theft, has never been legitimized, is always recognized as vicious and criminal. However, top-down parasitism has been completely distorted by the most gifted apologists for oligarchy, distorted into appearing as a contribution to the human community. That is why top-down human parasitism merits special deconstruction and the strongest condemnation. If there were to be a collective institution established to protect the human interconnectedness, its purpose and function must be to disable top-down parasitism, to de-legitimize it, expose the viciousness of its many forms, dismantle it, prevent it from re-emerging. That would be the decisive force for justice, and the necessary focus of any authentic democracy, any institutional and political representation of ordinary people.
Freedom and Time
Political consciousness needs to be combined with consciousness of basic personal interiority, the elemental source of freedom and equality. Since one crucial intent and effect of top-down parasitism is to externalize reality, a required part of any defence is to prevent that with an effort to rebalance, to internalize reality with attention to interior powers, indeed to the transcendent freedom of interiority.
Time is a crucial issue with respect to freedom. Past and future do not exist in nature. All there is to nature is the strictly exclusive actuality of an infinitesimal present. Time as complex structures of a past aligning with future is entirely a feature of the interiority of particular lives, of individual intelligences, each surviving by projecting creative aspirations constantly onto the mutability of their future. Interior to every intelligence is a gushing horizon of pre-linguistic, pre-cultural, (innocent) inspiration, curiosity, and questioning. Freedom (transcending unfree nature) is in the mutability of an individual’s future, under the force of inspiration, curiosity, and questioning from that interior horizon. Freedom depends entirely on a person’s self-adjusting his or her orientation by means of judgments of the probabilities of various events and developments in future time, judgments of a variety of personal powers and possibilities, and judgments of means for projecting aspirations onto actuality in the future. There can be no freedom of nature since nature lacks the past and future of intelligence. Every human intelligence is, therefore, an autonomous interiority of orientation in time, crucially discontinuous from nature and pre-existing culture. This freedom-unfreedom dualism is humanist dualism, basically the same as what is often called “Cartesian dualism”.
Humanist Philosophy is the Assertion that Thinking Matters because Freedom Matters
To say that the poisoned culture of top-down human-on-human parasitism has not pervaded humanist philosophy, is to say that it has not pervaded the experience of freedom available to every individual in his or her own interiority, which is the focus, the subject matter, of humanist philosophy: the freedom of the interiority of intelligence. Philosophy isn’t the source of that freedom, but only a record of recognizing it, a reminder of that recognition. It is also to say that the innate freedom of intelligence is an innocence which is never completely muted by an ambient culture poisoned by legitimized top-down human parasitism. In its innocence, intelligence is always free, and in its freedom, intelligence always transcends the poisoned culture.
Humanist philosophy is thinking about the encounter between freedom and unfreedom. “Interiority” is another word for thinking. The case could be made that philosophy is an effort to understand and practice freedom, and that thinking is the crucial act of freedom. Philosophical humanism is an assertion of the force and utility of individual thinking. If subjectivity or interiority has no innate force or foreseeable effect then thinking can’t be decisive in creating the future and doesn’t matter.
When someone suggests overcoming “Cartesian” dualism, the question that must be posed is this: Does this overcoming of dualism preserve individual freedom or exclude it? It is difficult to conceive an alternative to dualism that does not exclude individual freedom. People who are anti-humanist are, on the face of things, devoted to the idea that individual thinking as such has no original force and doesn’t matter. Thinking as an act of freedom is completely different from thinking as unfreedom (say, passive spectator consciousness). Moreover, such exclusions of individual freedom have been construed as justifications for oligarchic human-on-human parasitism.
There are only two historically familiar ways to evade humanist dualism: materialist monism and idealist monism. Materialist monism is the option illustrated by communism, for example, and is typical of science. On that view, all events are pre-determined by eternal laws of physical nature. In fact, dialectical materialism is an attempt at a science of history in which material laws of nature, including biological (Darwinian/ Freudian) drives, determine, in a dialectical causal chain, the formation of every economic system and institutional state, and drive the formation of ideas and ideologies. Individual thinking is not a force in the historical process, nor in creating personal biographies, in the view of materialist monism.
Idealist monism is illustrated in a philosophical tradition that could be called Fichtean Romanticism, in which the existence of “things in themselves” is denied, and all existence is a vast intelligence (an interiority of non-actuality) or some aspect of intelligence such as will (a will to live, to become self-aware, a drive to reproduce, the will to power). However, on that view, the force of the grand-scale cosmic interiority reduces the force of individual thinking to triviality, to merely a local eruption of cosmic Being, a conduit for messages from a strict singularity such as God or Logos, messages sometimes delivered through specially “chosen” individuals or groups. Again, individual thinking as such is not an effective force in the historical or personal life-building process.
Both of those exclusions of individual freedom are used to legitimize top-down human-on-human parasitism, in support of the poisoned culture, and neither one is any good on the issue of time.
Copyright © 2013 Sandy MacDonald. The moral right of the author is asserted.