Is human society destined for self-annihilation or were we made for something better?
Is human society destined for self-annihilation or were we made for something better?
Certainly if one listens to the transhumanist gospel by modern pseudo religious cult leaders like the WEF’s Yuval Noah Harari, Google’s Ray Kurzweil or perennial spiritual atheist Sam Harris, it might appear that the soul-less computer program that is the human machine is merely a hackable computer whose code will be cracked any day now. The universe described by these high priests of atheism, who profess to know of the beginning, end and extremes of everything is a closed system winding down into a supposed heat death which we are told will inevitably wrap its cold meaningless hand around everything in a nihilistic big whimper.
But is this nihilistic projection true?
It certainly appears to be founded upon centuries, if not millennia of scientific thought which has led us inexorably towards these dismal conclusions. So how would we go about trying to prove to ourselves whether or not there is a bigger piece of the story being left out by forces that would prefer it if nihilism were the only conclusion we could possibly arrive at.
Let’s explore this question in a bit more detail.
Aristotle’s Slave-Master Society
Throughout history, a dispute has raged between two opposing paradigms each attempting to infuse very different meanings into fundamental concepts like “human nature”, “law”, “freedom”, “justice” and “God”.
Where one paradigm has tended to look upon the universe as a living process animated by creative growth and a loving Creator in whose image humankind was made, the other paradigm has tended to approach things somewhat differently.
If scientific thought is relegated to the material domain alone, then such transcendental concepts as “soul”, “truth”, “causality”, “design” and “intention” have very little value beyond whatever utilitarian desires an elite wishes be imbued into these words at any given moment in time and space.
Such an arbitrary idea of “freedom” and “truth” was demonstrated by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle who posited that human nature was forever destined to be controlled by a master class of elites presiding over a slave class.
In his Politics (part V), Aristotle explicitly lays out this view with the sophistication of a racist hillbilly, explaining that since it is evident that his particular society embraced slavery, it were obvious that slavery were built into the fabric of the universe itself. Think I’m exaggerating? Ask Aristotle, who said:
“Is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature? There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.”
Unlike the elder Plato who strove always for the unifying principle behind all definitions, Aristotle’s world is much more fragmented. After establishing his master-slave dichotomy as a self-evident truth that only fools would question, Aristotle goes on to build up an explanation that there are as many divergent definitions of “virtue” and “justice” as there are statuses in society. For the virtue of a slave could never be equivalent to the virtue of a master, and the justice of a tyrant could never be the same as a justice for a subject.
Despite the fact that myth-makers have maintained a lie for centuries which asserts without any authentic evidence, that Aristotle merely “advanced” Plato’s ideas, any honest reading of the works of both men demonstrate two irreconcilable paradigms. More than simply having divergent views of definitions, the WAYS OF THINKING ABOUT THINKING itself are mutually incompatible (1).
Aristotle’s Blank Slate and Impotent God
While Plato demonstrates the superior mental powers of an uneducated slave boy to the superior genetic breeding of the oligarch Meno (2), Aristotle defends the idea that slavery is immutable. Plato’s proof outlined in the Meno, Phaedo, Gorgias and Philebus rest upon the demonstrable existence of an immortal soul which must exist for discoveries of universals in nature to be possible.
Aristotle on the other hand posits throughout his writings that no such pre-existent soul with any immortal character needs be assumed to exist since we are all nothing but blank slates to be written on by material experiences.
In his De Anima, Aristotle states: “when we said that mind is in a sense potentially whatever is thinkable, though actually it is nothing until it has thought? What it thinks must be in it just as characters may be said to be on a writing-tablet on which as yet nothing stands written: this is exactly what happens with mind.”
If the mind is bound to the impressions caused by the senses alone with nothing innate or immortal pre-existing within a child, then “truth” again becomes reduced to relativism. This must be so as nothing universal or eternal is knowable through the finite, and limited senses. For we can see one or many humans, but we cannot see humanity which remains an abstract idea devoid of any principled meaning in this worldview.
Extending his lifeless utilitarianism beyond considerations of mere humanity, Aristotle goes on to posit that the universe itself is 1) static, 2) eternal, and 3) uncreative. These broad generalizations eliminate the need to even think about a Creator God as having any meaningful role to play in anything.
- Raphael Sanzio’s School of Athens is illustrated with Plato in motion, pointing towards the higher realm of ideas while holding his Timaeus contrasted with the opposing paradigm of Aristotle, stationary in his position with his palm down to the earthly domain holding in his other hand his Nicomachean Ethics
However, since Aristotle also believed in forces which he assumed were “divine” (possibly not wishing to be accused of atheism or impiety), Aristotle posited the existence of “unmoved movers” who he explained were perfect beings that had no power to act upon or understand material creation. Despite the absurdity that Aristotle’s divinity is ultimately impotent, very few thinkers addressed this absurdity. (3)
Using his infamous syllogistic rules of logic which are also the foundation of all computer coding, Aristotle concluded that since A) the Creator is perfect in his unchanging stasis, it follows that B) the less things change, that C) the more in harmony they are to God.
From that sequence of logic, it must be concluded that a lifeless rock were more perfect than organisms of the biosphere which cause much greater rates of change than non-living matter. Meanwhile, nothing changes more than the human species due to acts of scientific progress which must mean that we were the most imperfect and furthest removed from God of all creation.
If only a wise elite could reprogram humanity to abandon our unwieldy tendency to leap outside our feudal mediocrity through acts of creative discoveries, then perhaps we could be re-moulded to be unchanging, obedient and thus “good”.
Over the centuries, this worldview evolved in form but retained its core assumptions unchanged.
Kepler Bans Aristotle from Christendom
It is notable that the Aristotelian sleight of hand that turned Plato inside out was exposed by the great Pythagorean astrophysicist Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) in his 1619 opus Harmonice Mundi (Harmonies of the World). Kepler had spent decades proving that the Platonic/Pythagorean hypothesis of the Harmony of the Planets as outlined in the Timeaus dialogue was in fact true. (4)
In this 1619 book, he proves it to be so and demonstrates how he arrived at his 3rd law (aka the Harmonic law) of planetary motion.
In section 4 of this work, Kepler writes of Aristotle:
“Where he [Aristotle] draws a universal conclusion, and convicts Plato of the stupidity which is his own fantasy, and finally where to the Platonic picture of the ‘self-taught’ slave he opposes a contrary picture of his own, asserting that the mind in itself is empty not only of other knowledge and of mathematical categories, but also of species, and is just a blank sheet, so that nothing is written on it… but everything can be written on it; from this aspect, I say, he is not to be tolerated in the Christian religion.”
In part two of this series, we will explore the revival of Aristotle during the post-Renaissance age under a modified cloak. We will examine some of the major battles that were carried out between Keplerian thinkers led by Gottfried Leibniz in opposition to Aristotle’s leading heirs John Locke and Isaac Newton who attempted to stuff God and his creation back into a cage of mathematical formalism and sense perception.