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Chapter 5 - Summary of Part I. Print

Chapter 5. Summary of Part I.

The creation of primitive savages.

Attempt at a summary.

1. Life was precarious.

2. Intelligence was lately growing.

3. New forms in the arms race.

4. Reproductive success.

5. Kinship groups.

6. The World Spirit.

7. Some speculations.

8. What is this “biological outfit” ?

     a. Augustine and the love of life.

     b. Malthus and the scare of death.

     c. Cain and fratricide.

     d. Freud and God.

     e. Biological selection.

We have now given a try at the impossible task of summarizing the first 99.8 percent of mankind’s short life as non-chimpanzees.

Which regularities have we found?

1. Life was precarious.

The life of this new group of species has been extremely precarious. Average growth of global population has been less than two persons per year. Some twenty preceding prototypes are dead and gone. We who remain can be seen as the 21st prototype for a truly wise man.

That is one of the name I will use for us, the 21st prototype”.

Long before these prototypes were expanding out over the world, life in many other forms showed the same “imperialist” tendency. Most of us have heard about the Peking man and the Java skull and recently. It is less well known that some form of Homo came to southern Caucasus around 1.8 million years, to Spain, Italy and also northern Europe between 800,000 and 700,000 years ago.[1]

These tendencies to expansion are however much older in our animal forefathers.

“Have Legs, Will Travel” was a headline concerning not the earliest Africans, but the first tetrapods, that is those animals which first developed four feet. This happened around 376 million years ago. They were remarkably able to get along a little everywhere in all climates all over the world. They had got feet, they used them, and they covered the globe.[2]

Some 370 million years later our first forefathers rose from four to two legs. But quite evidently they got the spirit: “have legs, will travel”.

The earlier prototypes, to repeat, went all the way from Africa to Beijing and Java. The 21st one filled up Africa in around 130,000 years. During the first 0.8 of the latest percent of our existence he filled up the rest of the globe.

Why?  Probably because of his biologically given capacity to have more than two living children on a given territory which carried him to an ever renewed Malthusian margin.

2. Intelligence was lately growing.

For three million years man has had a growing brain volume. In relation to his total size, this growth has been unique in the animal kingdom.

Most likely the brain volume has filled it out with an increasing and to man unique intelligence or astuteness. This is man’s master tool helping him to realize his expansion out over the globe.

3. New forms in the arms race.

With the help of his intelligence men has created new forms in the age old arms race.

In the animal kingdom, from sperms to predators, an arms race has taken place, but one based upon what we may call internal body qualities, muscles, claws and teeth.

With intelligence man has changed the arms race as one fought with external tools and weapons, that is, based on what we can call external body qualities, developing the fishing rod of the chimpanzees into nuclear ICBMs.

Natural selection, I suggested, has changed into migratory selection.

During man’s first 99 percent of existence natural selection to a large extent took place as a blind adaptation in response to new or changing environments.

That migration inside Africa has given the Africans more genetic differences than all so-called allele- or polymorph-differences in the outside world.

The selection in such material outside of Africa, however, has been speeded up by three facts: the relatively short time in which environment has changed, the newness of that environment, and the necessity to adapt oneself also to the new “artificial environment”, created by the “external arms race”.

It is my hypothesis that in this latest percent of man’s existence as non-chimp there has been interdependence and an ever faster feed back between the new form of the arms race and the migratory selection of individuals who have been able to produce and handle them. These have been the ones with a relatively high dose of adrenaline and/or a relatively high intelligence inside the kinship groups. These are the two most important characteristics which, to some more than to others, have giving a selective advantage in the further struggle for life.

4. Reproductive success.

In short, every new advance in the arms race has to some extent changed not the ends, but the means by which man’s master tool has helped the most intelligent, clever and astute to help the most adrenalinomaniac types together with the most intelligent to continue their expansion out over the globe and, thus, also the survival of their own children and their own genes.

5. Kinship groups.

These have been regular features during the 99.8 percent of man’s non-chimp existence. And all this has taken place while we lived in small kinship groups.

How big these groups were, we simply do not know. They may sometimes have been as small as 25, perhaps around 60, and in some and later cases, around 150. Hardly ever bigger. Soccer may possibly be such a popular game today because it may be very similar to these kinship groups. Eleven strong hunters with eleven wives at home make 22 individuals. Add double as many children and old parents, and you come close to the size of the kinship groups during six million years.

During 99.8 percent of his existence, that is, man’s natural perspective has been confined to that “here and now” which still dominate all our media, reflecting “what the people want” or are biologically selected to consider as important, such as soccer games.

6. The World Spirit.

Let us, with Hegel, call the sum of total history “the World Spirit”.

Then we can summarize the above points in the statement that the World Spirit for some six million years has been trying to maximize human population, P, on a given resource base, R.

Pedagogically, we might suggest that the World Spirit tends to increase the number of Ps in the direction of the infinite, that is, with so many hunters and gatherers that the world could carry. R, our globe, was a fixed entity. P filled it up to the brim, given the pre-cultural development level. The figure for this “Campbellian margin” may have been around ten million individuals.

7. Some speculations.

What so far has been given here is a rather scientifically well grounded picture.

Let us now give ourselves the luxury of speculating a bit, on things that are rather likely but not properly proved.

Can there be any doubt, I want to ask:

that normal biological evolution, that is Darwinian competition at the Malthusian margin, has ruled also these the first 99.8 percent of man’ life ?;

that our genetic outfit today is to 96 percent pure animal and to 3.8 percent pre-agricultural, leaving only 0.2 percent for the coming “cultural” period ?;

that the Malthusian margin has been a constant fact of life – as it still is – leading to an eternal Darwinian struggle inside the different human Mendelian material ?;

that man’s brain capacity, the one million billion connections inside the grey matter, is utterly important for his thinking, and especially important for his ability realistically to select what is possible inside the capacity for infinitely unrealistic dreams ?;

that the dream of being Number One, even at the price of fratricide, is the most important dream for most adrenalinomaniac alfa-males and the dream of climbing as close to one’s chosen alfa-male is the most common dream for most members of the masses ?;

that these dreams are the basic material for the next ten thousand years of mankind’s life ?; and

that we who live today, to about 99,99 percent have the same biological outfit as those we name “primitive savages” just before the emergence of agriculture some ten or twelve thousand years ago, to which we will now turn.

8. What is this “biological outfit” ?

Let us speculate one bit more and ask: in what does this “biological outfit”, selected during six million years of utterly precarious living, now consist?

I would suggest that we should concentrate upon four, among an infinite number of smaller traits. I will give a short look upon these four under the titles of

Augustine, Malthus, Cain and Freud – or God.

a. Augustine and the love of life.

The more precarious life is, the stronger must be the love of it, consciously or unconsciously, if you really want to survive. This is what the great Augustine realized when he wrote that[3]:  

“...there is no man that desires not to be, as there is none desires not to be happy: for how can he have happiness, and have no being?”

“So naturally does being delight, that very wretches, for nothing else but this, would rather endure their misery than leave the world, and though knowing themselves wretches, yet would they not die. And the most wretched of all, either in the judgment of the wise because of their foolishness, or in that of those who hold themselves blessed, if one should proffer them an immortality of misery, and tell them if they refused it, they should become just nothing, and lose all being, verily they would rejoice and choose an eternal misery before a nullity of being…....And what of brute beasts that understand not this, from the dragon to the worm? Do they not show their love of being, by avoiding death in all ways possible?”

Death, non-existence, never to be seen, is, in spite of these deep emotions, possibly genetically inherited from worms,  the state towards we all are slowly drifting, however much we dislike it.

This love of life is what in biology has become the standard explanation for all animal behaviour, the striving for reproductive success.

Or as the great bard has Romeo saying: “but this I pray, that thou consent to marry me today”, and a non-bard said when he first met the dream of his life: ”thou I would like to plant in a cage of roses”. (And in that cage I am still prisoner.)

b. Malthus and the scare of death.

The love of life is one side of a coin where the scare of death is to be found on the other; the two are indivisibly united to each other.

Here I once more want to repeat the “one great cause” of Malthus, that from the start has been at the centre of my Philosophical Park: “…..the constant tendency in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment prepared for it.”

From this insight we have the concept of “the Malthusian margin”, the point where food does not suffice any more for a family with three or more children. At that point the scare of death from hunger, or from the violence of the next competitor, sets in.

This is a situation that existed long before man. It is a general rule in nature. And so is the ensuing struggle for life around that margin, guiding the Darwinian natural selection.

c. Cain and fratricide.

If it is, as it was during six million years, so that only one brother in a family will survive, the Cain and Abel story in the fourth chapter of Genesis can well be seen as a prototype for all warfare that has come later.

Fratricide may be the natural behaviour of all A:s, striving to become Number One.

d. Freud and God.

While the strongest try to kill each other, how do the weaker react?

If you are a weaker member of a kinship group, living at a Malthusian margin, you are bound to wish that your group has the strongest possible leader, lest your desire to live will be nullified.

Freud did not know anything about the extreme precariousness of our long-term biological history. But in studying man’s metaphysical thinking he, according to a shrewd observer[4], was “reducing religion to the longing for the father…”.

Most of our religions give us some strong and omnipotent Gods up in heaven. Our longing for such a creature is so strong that even Stalin tried to exploit it to keep his society strong during the Second World War when this brutal tyrant tried to make himself into a father figure. Which might have been a good help in defeating the other tyrant, Hitler, and thus save Western Europe from a horrible experience.

e. Biological selection.

What I am suggesting is that these four elements have entered our biology.

Our inheritance comes to 96 percent from chimps, dogs, rats, mice and bacteria, to which six million years of migration have added the latest four percent.

During this latest period, I would suggest, an extremely precarious living has selected us who live today with

                 a very strong will to live;

                 a very strong scare of death;

                 a ruthless willingness to kill anything in nature to live; and

                 a deep longing for a strong father, turning into a God.

These are the most important elements that for long have ruled our human behaviour and, with small changes, still so do during the next ten millennia, to which we are now coming.

The major change is an increase in knowledge, permitting us to continue the same biological behaviour but now, thanks to a speeded up arms race, with infinitely stronger tools and weapons.

How conscious this process has become can be discussed. We love to think that the many inventions and innovations we have done, and are doing, are results of our “free will” in combination with a “higher consciousness”. While, in fact, it may be little but a form of OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder to invent tools and weapons which are slightly better than we – or our enemies – had before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


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