Monday, April 11, 2016
Is there a realistic way out of the disillusionment and nihilism of modern life?
With “singularity” (machines as smart as humans) and transhumanism we have had the devaluing of nature rather than its exaltation, which has led to this hypertrophied belief in machines. Really? You would rather have machines run things? That could lead toward death rather than life.
This escape from reality really began long ago with the Asian Vedas, and Greek Plato, who featured a philosophy of abstract ideas mainly unconnected to living objects. Religion and politics tend to go in that direction. (see theological materialism).
To be fair, singularity and transhumanism could be seen as the response to the present political and cultural nihilism and disillusionment of modern life. But that is looking at machines positively. Looked at negatively it looks more like intelligent machines are serving highly intelligent nerdish creators of the machines. What would Stalin or Mao have done with such intelligent machines? (Hitler would probably not have liked them much.)
The disillusionment and nihilism of modern life has also led to the rise of nationalist's like Donald Trump in the U.S., the Le Pen's in France, and so on. Libertarians and modern liberals endorse the individual, the conservatives endorse the group, but then modern liberals endorse the idea of Big Government taking care of all of us from cradle to grave, and conservatives affirm the individual capitalist. This gets confusing.
Society or the individual, which is it? It's both, or we can have both, as common sense and as the sociobiological sciences have been telling us: in real life selfishness beats altruism within groups, but altruistic groups beat selfish groups. This is the real origin of altruism. Political correctness (or cultural Marxism) denies this common sense and often smears group-selection with the charge of “racism.” But here is more deviousness: it is usually bonded groups seeking power who define group-selection as racist. Human beings are something aren't they?
Is there a realistic way out of the disillusionment and nihilism of modern life? I think there is. New Politics will one day endorse group-selection as the primary unit of selection by endorsing not racism but ethnopluralism. States and regions will go back to what they were in the first place, ethnostates, where a variety of ethnic cultures, and localism, can flourish, if protected by some kind of federalism. Machines will aid human beings, not rule them. This will reflect reality, assuming we can survive until then.