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Part 1. INTRODUCTION Print

Introduction.

Ch. 1. Creation of man and imperialism.
Ch. 2. Creation of IQ, the imperialist’s master tool.
Ch. 3. Darwinism in Africa – on the Malthusian limits.
Ch. 4. Mendelism out of Africa – on our genetic inequlity.
Ch. 5. Summary – on biological Human Nature.

Dear Reader!  Do remember: this is an outline, not something finished! All your comments for improvements are most welcome!

Introduction.

Content: INTRODUCTION.

 

1. The Real Meaning of the Neanderthals.

2. Whatever is, is right.

3. Right for whom?

4. Bacteria or Image of God?

5. A new world view.

6. A yet deeper question.

7. Is Evil Good?

8. Are rulers rational?

9. Is it useful to write books?

10. The demand of the A-bomb.

11. Cavafy’s Finalities

Everybody is interested in the origin of life. I am also interested in the origin of the last four billion of human lives. That is primarily what I would like to understand in this book. In order to understand what has happened in my own life-time, born in 1933, and what might happen during the present century.

 

1. The Real Meaning of the Neanderthals.

Nature has done a great experiment in its creation of intelligent creatures. Unfortunately it seems to be a failed experiment, a truly great failure. But perhaps there is a glimmer of hope yet, if we seriously contemplate and understand our human nature and predicament.

Nature has seen some twenty prototypes for modern men. The earlier ones were called Australopithecus, “southern apes”. We have named ourselves Homo sapiens sapiens, the doubly wise men. The correct name, I would suggest, is Homo sapiens praedator, man, the astute predator.

The former name we gave ourselves in the belief that we were closely related to the Neanderthals, whom we baptised as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. That was a mistake, we now know, the Neanderthals were only distant relatives. But we still keep our own misleading name.

In between the chimpanzees and us, as I said, some twenty different prototypes for ourselves have existed. All of them are now gone. One by one they have been extinguished in the cruel redundancy game of nature. When one died, another was, however, ready to carry on the fire of intelligent human life.

Now Homo sapiens sapiens, or praedator, is alone. The real meaning of our murder of the Neanderthals is that there is now no other prototype or close relative to take over and carry on this grand experiment of nature.

Which, to my mind, gives us a tremendous responsibility to use our very specific human intelligence  for the survival of our species.

2. “Whatever is, is right.”

Knowing how it is, this is a rather ugly hypothesis. But, however horrible reality may be, why not try it! For understanding the present Human Condition?!

Alexander Pope, in his Essay on Man, gave us this provocative summary of reality in 1733. He did so, equally seriously, as Thomas Aquinas half a millennium earlier suggested that “If all evil were prevented, much good would be absent from the universe.” There would, for instance, “be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution.”

“Whatever is, is right”, also one of the most influential thinkers of the world, the founder of “Thomism”, seems to suggest.

3. Right for whom?

Right, OK, but for whom is what is, right?

May it be that it is right for the non-existent World Spirit, that is, for total history? Hasn’t that established the will to live and to have reproductive success as the ultimate value for all other animals? So why not also for us?

Indeed, after some six million years of difficult ordeals for mankind, the World Spirit, measured by this criteria, in the latest centuries gave our form of life an enormous reproductive success.

Since the end of the Second World War in 1945, that is in only one single 100,000-parts of its existence, mankind has increased its numbers almost doubly as much as it did during the 99,999 previous 100,000 parts, from 2,300 to 6,500 million human individuals.

How have we done that? Have we perhaps come across something that is “right” for us? May this possibly be the political system of  democratic freedom inside a decently peaceful global hierarchy?

My own hypothetical answer to that question is presented in my latest Swedish book, with the title “Memories of an Inflated Bacteria”. In it I summarized my explanation for this progress in about this way: “To me it seems probable that it is the imperialist, amoral, multinational, IQ-discriminating legal persons in combination with a warm, Christian, forgiving, highly moral belief in God, to which mankind should say ‘thank you’ for its daily bread.”

So I still think! Why it is so, I want to try to explain in this little book. To a large extent it is built around inscriptions, like those of Alexander Pope and Thomas Aquinas, to be found in the “Philosophical Park” on Capri.

This is a second book meditating upon these inscriptions. In the first one, Meditations upon Western Wisdom,[1] I permitted myself some rather ruthlessly subjective comments to the great authors. Here I will try to be somewhat more “objective”.

4. Bacteria or Image of God?

On one of the most beautiful spots on one of the most beautiful islands of the world, Capri, my wife and I in July 2000, opened what seems to be Europe’s – the world’s ? – first “Philosophical Park”.

We had around 200 guests. The local mayor, the priest and I gave short speeches.

Even if the opening of the park was part of that years celebration of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the Christian religion, I permitted myself to put in some small pagan doubt.

“Here, to the left”, I told a group of the guests, “you will find the path of the idealists. It starts with Moses who said that man is created in the image of God, a nice idea in which I wish I could believe. And here, straight up the hill, you have the path of the realists. In the beginning of it you find Thales of Miletus. He said that everything comes from water. That is surely true also for the first bacteria, the first form of life on earth – and possibly in the universe - almost four billion years ago.”  

“Modern genetic science of the latest twenty years has shown us”, I continued, “that we who live today are direct descendents from those first bacteria. If that is true, Moses might have been wrong and we humans are nothing but ‘inflated bacteria’!”

Don Salvatore, our most sympathetic priest, who is a wise man, murmured some objection and some of the ladies present were not quite happy with my idea of their forefathers. Thus we quickly made a little compromise: Women, we decided, are created in the image of God. But we men have to be content with being nothing but ‘inflated bacteria’.

5. A new World View.

This may not only be an amusing little story. It has some deeply important implications.

Delphi invites us and the atomic bomb forces us, I suggest, to look the truth of ourselves – inflated bacteria – straight in the face!

Somebody who takes it seriously that he or she, literally, is an inflated bacterium may develop a much higher level of peaceful God-like tolerance than the God-like one.

When I shave myself in the mornings and think about the stupidities I did yesterday, I smile to my scolding wife and ask her: “What do you expect, my darling, from an inflated bacteria?”

Then, in my mirror I see a number of individuals who did me some wrong in life. I see, for instance, a bunch of corrupted law professors who kicked me out of my native Sweden when I was 35 and a highly influential member of the literary Nobel-prize-deciding Swedish Academy who for “ideological” reasons forbade the selling of my books when I was 70 years old. I must have been rather irritating, as bacteria can be.

But then I look upon these ugly ones with another smile and ask myself: “what else could you expect, Gunnar? Like yourself they, too, are nothing but inflated bacteria! Didn’t you yourself ever do some stupidity?

Finally I look, once more, at some shadowy figures far back in the mirror and I detect the faces of Stalin and Hitler, Genghis Khan and Napoleon, Nero and Heliogabalus, all swimming in the boiling oil of Dante’s Inferno and I ask myself: “weren’t they, too, but inflated bacteria?” Did they ever know what they did?

Of course, I tell myself, we must try to prevent such people from getting power in society. But why hate them? Some inflated bacteria of such sort seem to be created in each new generation. They might even be predetermined to behave in such an ugly way if they reach the highest levels of power. Which they also may be created blindly to try to do.

Shouldn’t we, I ask my mirror, instead listen to the founder of the Christian religion who, being nailed to a cross by a bunch of bloodthirsty murderers, just said: “Father forgive them because they do not know what they do!”

Do I know what I do?  Does anybody of us?

6. A yet deeper question.

Assume now that you think you have been created in the image of God. What then, instead of your wife’s loving, scolding, forgiving face do you see in the mirror?

If you have done something truly stupid, in religious eyes, if you have committed a big sin, aren’t you a bit scared that God may appear in it and ask you to sacrifice your first born son on a pyre as a holocaust to prove your total obedience to Him?

When you see your enemies, who must also be the enemies of the God who created you God-like, don’t they deserve to be treated as the Catholics treated the innocent Protestant Jean Calas only some 250 years ago? Read your Voltaire!

And behind such sinners, don’t you see a long line of tyrants who have justified their bloody tyrannies with the idea that they were created in the image of a God, to become omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent and have power over all the world?

Doesn’t such a world view often stimulate tyrannical fanaticism?

Behind my little story about the two paths of our Philosophical Park are two world views, two different ways of understanding the creation of man.

One is the cold and clear Greek view that has dominated much of the European thinking since some 2500 years. The other is the Asian-Jewish-Christian mystical metaphysics.

Between these two “Weltanschauungen” there has been a strong tension for a few thousand years. And there still is!

Why is it so?

7. Is Evil Good?

The idea of this book is to search for answers to this and similar questions by looking at man’s very long history with the help of modern genetic knowledge.

I intend to do so with the help of four main hypotheses.

The first is that imperialism is the result of a blind human instinct to expand, driven by a Malthusian-Darwinian desire for reproductive success on a limited resource base.

The second is that discrimination, too, is a human instinct. It is driven by a blind biological kinship altruism in most of history and also by the natural desire to get the best tools in the Malthusian-Darwinian struggle. 

Today, a mutation into Superbrains have changed this into a somewhat conscious discrimination or cultural selection of strong adrenalinomaniac leaders and highly intelligent tools in the randomly given Mendelian material.

From the point of view of the defeated masses imperialism certainly seems evil and so does discrimination between the chosen and the non-selected. My third hypothesis, however, is that these two evils together have created one big good, the existence of most of us who live today.

How?

The biological outfit of man has not changed during the latest 500 years and, hardly, during the latest 12,000 years. But inside it there has been discrimination. Victorious alfa-males have increasingly choosing the most able for inventions, managing and, at the end of a long chain, for food production, inside their ever bigger social units. They have discriminated between the fittest and the less fit of their human tools. Thanks to this discriminating imperialism of the alfa-males we are now able to give food to 600 times as many men and women as 12,000 years ago and, at least, to ten times as many as only 300 years ago.

If we, like St. Augustine, consider life, each single human life, as our chosen highest human value, this population explosion can be seen as a tremendous human progress, and that even if it is a result of two equally evil as blind processes.

My fourth hypothesis is, however, that in blind biology there is no such thing as “progress”, only changing processes, and that what we today see as human “progress” may – if we do not soon open our eyes to the fact that we are but inflated bacteria – turn into grave disasters.

Shouldn’t we soon realize that our copious “progress” in human life is built upon an unlimited amount of human suffering, the masses may again revolt, now with ugly weapons. This suffering is often justified by the hubristic idea that some of us are created in the image of a God while others are non-human “golems” or de-humanized animals crawling on the ground.

Our human “progress” is certainly also built on a dangerous maltreatment of our own Creator, that is, Nature? Which also may backfire!

Indeed, modern science does tell us that the latest two generations of mankind have been damned lucky animals in the Darwinian-Mendelian Las Vegas who, at the next turn of the wheel of Fortune may lose everything we now have gained?

8. Are rulers rational?

My two opposed world views have another consequence. If you believe that you are an image of God, it is easy to believe in a rather rational and well ordered society. If you are convinced that also the rulers of them are inflated bacteria or 96 percent chimpanzees, it is much harder to trust the rationality of our leaders.

This question is certainly not new. As I am sure about our animal nature, I am in no way surprised about the insight of the perhaps three thousand year old saying from Rig-Veda: “Wise in their own conceit, deluded fools go round and round, like a blind man led by a blind”.

The old Indians didn’t know anything about the modern knowledge of Malthus, Darwin and Mendel, but by deep observations of that early history they realized that mankind’s behaviour was more driven by blind instincts than by rational planning.

Modern observers have come to the same conclusion. The Swedish statesman Axel Oxenstierna, born 1611, once said, for instance: “If you only knew, my son, with how little wisdom the world is ruled!”. The wise Neapolitanean philosopher, Giambattista Vico, in 1744 summarized history in his famous expression “corso e ricorso”. And in her brilliant book on The March of Folly from Troy to Vietnam  the late Barbara Tuchman modernized Erasmus’ Encomium Morie, In Prais of Folly.

All of them testify to the truth of the Rig Veda insight!

9. Is it useful to write books?

This may well be explained by the fact that our strong emotions are at least 200 times older in our biological outfit than the weak intelligence.

If this is true, a book-writing bacteria has every reason to question his own activity. Especially if he comes across Pope Clement III who expressed his opinion about academic “nerds” already in 1595.

Clement was a clever statesman who created peace between Spain and France and enlarged the territories of the Holy See. But he had a good measure of contempt for too intelligent academics who know many details but aren’t able to take the quick decisions that reality often demands:

“Actually, in matters of business and affairs of state there is never any need to avail oneself of the work of academics since with their excessive subtleties they are more likely to ruin them than bring them to a good conclusion.” [1]

Pope Clement III’s contempt for the judgement of academics proved true also 350 years later. On July 17, 1945, some ninety American top scientists, who had been involved in the production of the atomic bomb, signed a petition to the American president, asking that the bomb not be used unless Japan refused an offer to surrender. “The president apparently never saw the petition, and apparently neither did anyone else who could act on it”.

What does the opinion of ninety top professors matter to the top politicians, even in a democratic society!

[2] And on August 6, 1945, the mass murder of Hiroshima took place.



[1] See Jonathan Haslam, No Virtue like Necessity. Yale UP 2002, p. 1.

[2] Ann Finkbeiner, The Jasons. The secret history of science’s postwar elite. Viking, Penguin 2006, p. 10.

 

10. The demand of the A-bomb.

Let me, in spite of that, continue. And this for one reason: I am convinced that the modern weapons of mass destruction will force also the statesmen to think a bit more, and more deeply, than they have done so far.

One of history’s greatest historians, Thukydides, in the introduction to his “History of the Pelopponesian Wars”, stated that he wrote that book in the hope it would help future generations to avoid the same mistakes that Athens and Sparta did 2400 years ago.

The greatest historian of the 19th century, Leopold von Ranke, in clear polemics against Thukydides, told his colleagues to forget about such elevated intentions. The young generations never learn anything from history. All that the historian could and should do, he said, was to describe history “wie es eigentlich gewesen”, how it really had been.

As an observation of reality, I fear that von Ranke’s observation was only too true.

But, again, the ABCWMD, that is the atomic, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction, force us to improve upon our behaviour.

Shortly after the Hiroshima bomb, for which he felt a great guilt, Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, concluded that we now must open our eyes to reality. With these suicidal weapons in our hands, mankind must, he said, now “prove itself more intelligent than Epimetheus who opened Pandora’s box and could not shut it again.”

How that can be done, nobody knows. So far it has been impossible. It is surely easy to resign to the fact that what has once been invented cannot be un-invented but is bound to proliferate. Even the most horribly deadly holocaust weapons!

It is, however, not worthy of the human spirit to just sit down and wait for the annihilation of the species in whatever way it may come!

So let’s at least try to live up to Einstein’s demand!

I’ll do so with two basic ideas. The first is that mankind, so far, has been exposed to a long ordeal out of which we may now come.

The second, that to do so requires an attempt to find the “ultimate” explanations for our Rig-Veda behaviour of corso and ricorso.

This can now be done with the help of our new tool, the genetic knowledge that one of its practitioners, Walter Gilbert, called “the Grail…the ultimate answer to the commandment ‘Know thyself’”. Spurred on by the warning from my favourite poet, Constantine Cavafy, who summarized the present human condition in a poem from 1911:

Finalities      

“Amid fear and suspicions,
with agitated mind and frightened eyes,
we melt and plan how to act
to avoid the certain
danger that so horribly threatens us.
And yet we err, this was not in our paths;
the messages were false
(or we did not hear, or fully understand them).
Another catastrophe, one we never imagined,
sudden, precipitous, falls upon us,
and unprepared -- there is no more time -- carries us off.”



[1]  Which you can read on www.philosophicalpark.org

 or get directly from the Parco Filosofico,

Box 79
, IT-80071 Anacapri, e-mail to

adler.karlsson@capri.it 

[2] See Jonathan Haslam, No Virtue like Necessity. Yale UP 2002, p.

Everybody is interested in the origin of life.[1] I am also interested in the origin of the last four billion of human lives. That is primarily what I would like to understand in this book. In order to understand what has happened in my own life-time, born in 1933, and what might happen during the present century.



[1] M.W. Kirschner and J.C.Gerhart, The Plausibility of Life, Yale UP 2005, and a 2006 publicity from Roche on “Explore the Basics of Life” are what has come on my desk only this week of writing, 060321..

 

Introduction.
 

 
 


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