Utopian Social Delusions in the 21st Century

Henderson,NV, USA: Michael Starks (2017)
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This collection of articles was written over the last 10 years and edited them to bring them up to date (2017). All the articles are about human behavior (as are all articles by anyone about anything), and so about the limitations of having a recent monkey ancestry (8 million years or much less depending on viewpoint) and manifest words and deeds within the framework of our innate psychology as presented in the table of intentionality. As famous evolutionist Richard Leakey says, it is critical to keep in mind not that we evolved from apes, but that in every important way, we are apes. If everyone was given a real understanding of this (i.e., of human ecology and psychology to actually give them some control over themselves), maybe civilization would have a chance. As things are however the leaders of society have no more grasp of things than their constituents and so collapse into anarchy is inevitable. It is critical to understand why we behave as we do and so the first section presents articles that try to describe (not explain as Wittgenstein insisted) behavior. Section one starts with a brief review of the logical structure of rationality which provides some heuristics for the description of language (mind) and gives some suggestions as to how this relates to the evolution of social behavior. This centers around the two writers I have found the most important in this regard, Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle, whose ideas I combine and extend within the dual system (two systems of thought) framework that has proven so useful in recent thinking and reasoning research. As I note, there is in my view essentially complete overlap between philosophy, in the strict sense of the enduring questions that concern the academic discipline, and the descriptive psychology of higher order thought (behavior). Once one has grasped Wittgenstein’s insight that there is only the issue of how the language game is to be played, one determines the Conditions of Satisfaction (what makes a statement true or satisfied etc.) and that is the end of the discussion. Since philosophical problems are the result of our innate psychology, or as Wittgenstein put it, due to the lack of perspicuity of language, they run throughout human discourse, so there is endless need for philosophical analysis, not only in the ‘human sciences’ of philosophy, sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, history, literature, religion, etc., but in the ‘hard sciences’ of physics, mathematics, and biology. It is universal to mix the language game questions with the real scientific ones as to what the empirical facts are. Scientism is ever present and the master has laid it before us long ago, i.e., Wittgenstein (hereafter W) beginning with the Blue and Brown Books in the early 1930’s. "Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics and leads the philosopher into complete darkness." (BBB p18) The key to everything about us is biology, and it is obliviousness to it that leads millions of smart educated people like Obama, Chomsky, Clinton and the Pope to espouse suicidal utopian ideals that inexorably lead straight to Hell On Earth. As W noted, it is what is always before our eyes that is the hardest to see. We live in the world of conscious deliberative linguistic System 2, but it is unconscious, automatic reflexive System 1 that rules. This is the source of the universal blindness described by Searle’s The Phenomenological Illusion (TPI), Pinker’s Blank Slate and Tooby and Cosmides’ Standard Social Science Model. The astute may wonder why we cannot see System 1 at work, but it is clearly counterproductive for an animal to be thinking about or second guessing every action, and in any case there is no time for the slow, massively integrated System 2 to be involved in the constant stream of split second ‘decisions’ we must make. As W noted, our ‘thoughts’ (T1 or the ‘thoughts’ of System 1) must lead directly to actions. It is my contention that the table of intentionality (rationality, mind, thought, language, personality etc.) that features prominently here describes more or less accurately, or at least serves as an heuristic for, how we think and behave, and so it encompasses not merely philosophy and psychology, but everything else (history, literature, mathematics, politics etc.). Note especially that intentionality and rationality as I (along with Searle, Wittgenstein and others) view it, includes both conscious deliberative System 2 and unconscious automated System 1 actions or reflexes. Thus all the articles, like all behavior, are intimately connected if one knows how to look at them. As I note, The Phenomenological Illusion (oblivion to our automated System 1) is universal and extends not merely throughout philosophy but throughout life. I am sure that Chomsky, Obama, Zuckerberg and the Pope would be incredulous if told that they suffer from the same problem as Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger, (or that that they differ only in degree from drug and sex addicts in being motivated by stimulation of their frontal cortices by the delivery of dopamine via the ventral tegmentum and the nucleus accumbens) but it’s clearly true. While the phenomenologists only wasted a lot of people’s time, they are wasting the earth and their descendant’s future. Section one continues with other views of behavior which my reviews attempt to correct and put in context with minimal theory. The next section describes the digital delusions which confuse the language games of System 2 with the automatisms of System one, and so cannot distinguish biological machines (i.e., people) from other kinds of machines (i.e., computers). The ‘reductionist’ claim is that one can ‘explain’ behavior at a ‘lower’ level, but what actually happens is that one does not explain human behavior but a ‘stand in’ for it. Hence the title of Searle’s classic review of Dennett’s book (“Consciousness Explained”)— “Consciousness Explained Away”. In most contexts ‘reduction’ of higher level emergent behavior to brain functions, biochemistry, or physics is incoherent. Even for chemistry or physics the path is blocked by chaos and uncertainty. Anything can be ‘represented’ by equations, but when they ‘represent’ higher order behavior, it is not clear what the ‘results’ mean. Reductionist metaphysics is a joke but most scientists and philosophers lack the appropriate sense of humor. Another hi-tech delusion is that the we will be saved from the pure evil (selfishness) of System 1 by computers/AI/robotics/ nanotech/genetic engineering created by System 2. The No Free Lunch principal tells us there will be serious and possibly fatal consequences. The adventurous may regard this principle as a higher order emergent expression of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The last section describes The One Big Happy Family Delusion , i.e., that we are selected for cooperation with everyone and that the euphonious ideals of Democracy, Diversity and Equality will lead us into utopia. Again the No Free Lunch Principle ought to warn us it cannot be true, and we see throughout history and all over the contemporary world, that without strict controls, selfishness and stupidity gain the upper hand and soon destroy any nation that embraces it. In addition, the monkey mind steeply discounts the future, and so we sell our descendant’s heritage for temporary comforts greatly exacerbating the problems. I describe versions of this delusion (i.e., that we are basically ‘friendly’ if just given a chance) as it appears in some recent books on sociology/biology/economics. I end with an essay on the great tragedy playing out in America and the world, which can be seen as a direct result of our evolved psychology manifested as the inexorable machinations of System 1. Our evolved psychology, eminently adaptive and eugenic on the plains of Africa ca. 50,000 years ago, when many of our ancestors left Africa, to ca. 6 million years ago, when we split from chimpanzees (i.e., in the EEA or Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation), but now maladaptive and dysgenic and the source of our Suicidal Utopian Delusions. So, like all discussions of behavior, this book is about evolutionary strategies, selfish genes and inclusive fitness.


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