Have We Been Denying Our Human Nature for Four Hundred Years?


(Marco V Morelli) #1


(h/t @care_save)

Yeah, I’ve probably had enough of “Eurocentric modernism” by now (as a world philosophy; I still love the literature!). Interestingly, Rajani Kanth echoes some of Peter Sloterdijk’s thinking about human intimacy in Spheres.

We have become unhinged from our own human nature as heat-seeking mammals,” says Kanth. “What we really crave is warmth, security, and care — the kinds of things we get at home and in close social units.” Our greatest human need, he says, is something far more humble than launching rockets: we want to huddle.

Only issue I see is that we still need to deal with global, technocratic AI conscious-colonialist networks—and how do we do that in “social economies of affection,” which are necessarily small in scale, without having some way of conceptualizing/networking these economies, on a planetary scale, to provide a viable alternative (or counterbalance) to the hypercapitalist matrix?


(Caroline Savery) #2

I read this article a few weeks ago and dug it. I’ve already incorporated it into my longform “Trump pieces.”

Real quick–I read this passage written by Gary Snyder yesterday that discussed the parallels of the re-growth of species after a disturbance in an ecosystem (succession and the process of diversification towards “climax” over time) with the development of a globalized culture. He said our current culture is immature, a monoculture, to which I’d add: a pioneer species–aggressive, uniformly colonizing disturbed soil. He thus implies the next phase of globalized cultural evolution is toward greater diversity of cultures and peoples, catalyzing energy in sentient, distributed structures, networked in interreliance. This world I and many I know wish to move toward.


(T J Williams) #3

Great article.

Michael Mann (The Sources of Social Power, Vol. 1 (1986)) has a very interesting take on social organization as consisting of “networks” of ideological, economic, political, and military power. These emerge as groups of people identify needs and associate to meet them by pooling ideas and resources. (Sloterdijk is growing on me I must admit, but the idea that society is a fluid collection of relationships rather than a rigid assembly of individuals is found at least as far back as Toynbee.) Because of his essentially ‘open-ended’ conception of society, Mann leaves “interstices” from which new networks can emerge. No one is really in control of the pace and ultimate shape of change, but I would say that visions are important when there is that room and constant fuel for change. I really think it is still about the truth in the cliché of “think globally, act locally”. There is nothing wrong with false starts and small beginnings when you’re up against history.

On the alarm bell side of things is the diminishing “diversity of cultures and peoples” (re Wade Davis of National Geographic) under the aggressive colonization of the modern world. If we don’t find a way to preserve some of those wisdoms… the image of someone hanging from a branch with an ax, busily hacking away at the trunk of the tree comes to mind…


(Marco V Morelli) #4

Actually, the idea of looking at networks has come up in a couple places for me recently. One is in the “actor-network” theory of Bruno Latour, which we discussed very cursorily our last Spheres call, but the other is an NPR show I was listening to in the car last week. The segment was for the “TED Radio Hour” on the subject of “how things spread,” a featured speaker, Nicholas Christakis, talked about his looking at the behavior of networks for predicting contagion, not only of germs, but of behaviors and ideas. What I found particularly interesting was the notion that “interventions” (for good or ill) could be performed on the network level to affect all the participants.

Interesting also to think about “interstices” (niches?) as places where new networks can emerge. An open-ended conception of society in this regard seems very important!


(Durwin Foster) #5

If the Wikipedia entry on Kanth is correct, Kanth certainly has a dim view of his own gender! I’m personally suspicious of this as being a “not like the other guys” phase of male gender identity development. It still entails a subconscious identification with conventional masculinity, which one is seeking to overcome.


(Sue Stevenson) #6

Can you talk a bit more about what the interventions are, Marco?


(Marco V Morelli) #7

There are many. For example, a divestment strategy. This could work economically or socially. If a network is empowered by the attention we give it, then by withdrawing our attention we weaken it. Social media networks are extremely subject to shifts like this.

Introducing a new form of value exchange, that cuts out rent-extracting intermediaries, could be another form of intervention. We see this with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but there is no reason a community can’t create its own currency, with its own ontology and rules that reflect its values, and then network its currency with those of other decentralized actors to create an alternative finance system. The technology is emergent or already exists, and does not require a violent revolution: what’s lacking is the social coordination.

The global mafia of plutocratic nihilism is only powerful because we use their money, and their networks, which we don’t own and thus don’t control. But we can still create other kinds of spaces and systems to serve our purposes, if we believe we have a better idea about how to live and what’s important on this planet.

That’s the game everyone is playing on one level or another, I suppose…


(Durwin Foster) #8

Marco and Caroline, I am beginning to explore this: Waves. However, I would vote for “integral bucks” rather than “LitCoin” since not all of us are writers. E.g. I am a therapist.


(Marco V Morelli) #9

My only problem w/ “integral,” from a branding perspective, is that it’s just so overused. Integral this or integral that. But only “integralists” know what the word means. To everyone else it’s just abstract and doesn’t connect. This leads to the perception of an insular community, which becomes self-fulfilling. This is not a ding on “integral theory,” which is a real thing and would be very good to study and apply here. I just haven’t seen that the word scales very well in communicating with the wider world.

Waves, btw, looks very interesting. It seems that ever day I hear about an emergent new project like this. That’s a good sign, I think…


(Durwin Foster) #10

BeingCoin? KnowingCoin? LovingCoin? LOL. I like the last one.


(Sue Stevenson) #11

BeingCoin, haha :slight_smile: I like that, it sounds cute.

What about GoldenCoin? A nod to its value. UsCoin. WeCoin. FreeCoin.

Oh, I don’t know. I’m trying to think of something smart and snappy but ye olde brainfog is foggy.


(Sue Stevenson) #12

I can’t help feeling that one very important thing we need to do to move forward is to address our collective trauma on a physical level.

The work of people like Peter Levine has really brought to light how we carry old traumas in our bodies, and that our bodies know how to deal with the physical aspects of trauma if we let them do so.

We are a collectively traumatised species, and many of us don’t even know that the emissary rules where the master should. For us to move forward in the way we need to, we need to start addressing on an actual physical, biological level, the damage that our capitalistic world has foisted on us. The level to which we are dissociated from our own bodies is the level we are dissociated from the earth, and we are thirsting for reconnection to both.


(john davis) #13

I would add Marco that we are addicted to a narrow aspect of the spectrum, most of which is filtered by the mono-phasic social arrangements. Our networks are dominated by this mono-phasic culture, trapped in waking states only, over valuing what we have conscious access to.

The cognitive revolution is an advanced form of mental constipation and those who identify themselves as Wilberian styled Integralists ( I don’t!) are prone to be driven by meta- theory and seem to have a huge dose of the deficient mental. FB and most of our networks are still dominated by the deficient mental. I include myself here as I am looking for a job, at the age of 63, with no family ties and FB participation is not going to help me. When you got money in your pockets and you are young love flows, when you are old and poor you are kicked to the gutter. Luckily, I have a lot of company in the gutter and we are looking up at the stars.

I use the term Integral loosely as a place holder for something that hasn’t happened yet but could if we had enough interest in sponsoring that possibility. There are alternate Modernities, for example, made up of painters in Africa, who couldn’t get into Paris art schools but who painted anyway. Alternate Modernity is a new way of thinking about the art of the many pasts that we have explored as humans in the middle of nowhere. and this interplay is really fascinating and not what you see at the Met.

I imagine that there are many Alternate Postmodernists as well and no doubt by the time we have finished Bubbles we will be able to map this better than we have in the past. Most of the the action is occurring at the periphery, off to the side, what we are avoiding as too ephemeral or too weird to put into words. It is worth the effort to put the weird, the uncanny into words.

In the meantime, if we pay attention to what falls in the cracks, our dreams, our telepathic communications with animals, our sexual fantasies and taking long bike rides, rather than taking the car, and exchanging odd and weird things with others, the odd weird stuff that you want to avoid, that is probably what will be taking us closer to where we want to be. We should listen carefully to people on their death beds, lean over, close your eyes, feel the whispering in your third ear. They have a lot more to teach than can be captured on a pie chart…

The affective is most important, not what is said but how it is said, the analogue is much smarter than the digital. The affective is the interface between the implicate and the explicate. Cognition in service to the affective dimensions, the subtle dimensions, would vastly improve our chances of survival. But survival at our current level of development is sort of missing the point.

Maybe there are Alternate Integralists waiting in the wings. A poly-phasic culture, that was planetary, could happen, couldn’t it?


(john davis) #14

I agree Sue and I would add that we are also dissociated from our Sublte bodies even more that we are from our physical bodies. To sense the energetic connections we block by our over reliance on left brain strategies is initially overwhelming. We are so much smarter than the current regimes want us to be and when the balance is right and the affective dimensions are allowed to sit at the same table with the big talk generated by the Left brain we can change our situation. Language can make a leap forward when it comes from the mouth of babes.

We are re-traumatized by the intrusiveness of the social media, bombarded by the noise generated by our devices and unless we intend to do otherwise we will get sucked into that dissociation reflex too. A massive self defense program!

We need to learn how to breathe deep, to turn thinking into breathing. Levine is a good guide.


(Marco V Morelli) #15

The AI are near! :smile:

I do see that we have to tune into the dark channels of sensory flows that aren’t algorithmically selected necessarily, but carry essential information.

Thanks, @johnnydavis54, as always, for encouraging us to broaden our bandwidth receptivities—and I think “integral” is not a bad theoretical word to describe the general capacity to synthesize polyphasic information flows.

To give meta-theory its due, we do have a framework now for understanding the exteriority (i.e., objectivity) of gross, subtle, and causal bodies without falling into material reductionism.

And trauma is certainly present in all bodies, and the more I learn about it, the more I see and feel it like landmines in the intra- and interpersonal field. Certainly, part of what we have to do is find and create “clearings” where we can begin integrating and implementing what we’re learning through these explorations and exchanges.


(Sue Stevenson) #16

You guys are great.

And I agree, Johnny (I missed your response, argh). I think the traumatised physical body blocks off the subtle body and oh, what a flat, useless world it seems when you get around with only a quarter of your body :blush:

And how beautiful Life is when we’re fully full.

Have you had any luck on the job front Johnny? I hope so, and that you saw a UFO when you were lookimg at the stars :slight_smile:


(Adelheid Hörnlein) #17

Just reading the title of the article: It is far more than hundred years that humans try to get rid of their human nature and make huge efforts to become someone/something else. That’s all from me at the moment, I don’t like any more to read and discuss theoretical things which go further and further from real life experience…