Posted by: bravo22c | 13/02/2010

Life is a materialist process.

I am bored with being told that, according to the adherents of a particular flavour of organised superstition, I am a member of a seriously flawed civilisation.  Our current society may be subject to a number of ills, and there is no doubt that we have problems to solve, but, just consider this:

‘Getting’ is hard-wired into our autonomous control system.  Primitive life forms have limited drivers:  get sustenance; survive; reproduce.  The second and third items in the list depend, of course, on the first.  These three drivers of primitive life can also be seen to be the predominating  forces behind the behaviours of all life forms on this planet.  In their primitive form, no modification is seen and life is a zero sum game – ‘I’ survive, another life form perishes. ‘I’ reproduce as many self like life forms as possible at the expense of other, non-self, life forms.

In more developed life forms, modified behaviours – herds and pack hunting, for example – embed low-level forms of  social co-operation into the operations of the basic drivers, though competition within a life form grouping where the strongest and smartest keep to themselves
the greater part of any group resources – the alpha male system – still preserves the primitive drivers in their basic form.

Only one life form demonstrates real selfless behaviour.  Humans are the overwhelmingly predominate life form on the planet.  Top of the food chain.  Masters of all we survey.  This is not, as some will unfailingly say, arrogance, just fact.  No other life form on the planet can compete with humans for dominance, or replace us at the top of the food chain – we can be culled by natural disaster or disease, but we cannot be replaced.

And so, to the point.  Despite our dominance, our (sometime) selflessness, our concessions to other life forms, (we don’t ALWAYS wipe them out,) and our  evolution of sophisticated forms of social behaviour, we are still driven by the same, primitive drivers as alll other life forms on the planet.  All human societies that have ever existed have been based on ‘getting.’  Until recent times getting sustenance was the main concern of the majority of the human race – and still is across large areas of the planet.  Any surpluses that were produced by any particular society were based on the drudgery of the many for the benefit of the few – health, wealth, art, education and any other benefit of which you might think, all were enjoyed by only a minority of people.

And then came an explosion of technological development such that, in the developed countries, all can enjoy benefits that, in the past, were reserved to the elite few.  The meanest citizen in the worst sink estate in the most over-crowded city has resources at his* disposal that are beyond the wildest dreams of Kings and Emperors of previous civilisations.  What Emperor in previous times could talk to any one of his subjects anywhere in his real m while viewing events taking place on the other side of the world, or be relieved of the pain of kidney stones?

Without the benefits of technology, life is, for most, nasty, brutish and short.  Those who hark back to earlier times as some kind of Thoreau-esque idyll should bear firmly in mind that that may have been true – but only for the few.  The ills of modern society had their counterparts in all earlier societies, so, whatever you blame for our current ‘woes,’ don’t try to blame technology.

*In too many places, women are still denied their fair share of most benefits.

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