1. What is terror? The system you live (and die) in is an evil, destructive one, what we may have once have defined as terror, political or socially motivated violence, may now be understood better as the natural expression of creatures who wish to be free from this evil. All terror, all conflict, all action leads to the dissolution of the Capitalist order and its Imperialist system. All these anti-human forces have left to them is reaction against the boiling anger and yearning of the People. Reaction is terminative, a political expression of the scientific tendency of all things to eventually collapse into chaos and disperse back into the mixture of existence. This is a truth understood since at least Democritus that has influenced humanist thought in what is so stupidly, but now all but unavoidably, called the Western World for at least 1000 years. All things tend towards their most natural state unless prevented by another force or happenstance. War is a force that takes societies, cultures, landscapes and most importantly people and grinds them down to a bloody nub approximating the raw and painful animal state that tortured and terrified 99% of our forebears. This, though, is not the natural state of humanity as a political animal, as homo philosophicus. We can only live so long as creatures before we grasp desperately at what surrounds us so that we may craft a less galling existence.
2. I see the People as the greatest moral precept. The individual is it’s most profound and terrifying expression and the community is its greatest potential. This precept is not derived from a metaphysical source. If philosophy has taught us anything the past 200 years it is that metaphysics are anything but a universal basis for moral thought and exercise.
3. The nation state is the the cause of much of the strife the world has undergone during the past 150 years. The nation state serves to prop up and justify corporate and imperial power, and exists as a focus for the people’s anxieties, irrational passions, and urge to belong to a community. No nation state, no matter how liberal in outlook, is without xenophobia and jingoism, no state exists without the idea that one is inherently an object associated with an established type: the Englishman, the Brazilian, the Russian. The nation state creates barriers against unification of the people and causes the people to fight against the common good in order to preserve the empty dignity of national expression. Nationalism is a religion, a creature of irrational belief, and like all religion it is an opiate, something that dulls the senses and the ideals of a people and persuades them not to pursue revolutionary change.
4. I think our place is as a side-effect of natural processes that make up the universe. we have to understand our feelings and our needs and our minds as extensions of a physical universe that has laws, and limits, but that is still changing and expanding in so many ways. We limit ourselves be seeing ourselves as unique or as separate from the universe and nature. we are no less natural processes than a quasar or a black hole…we are a manifestation of physics. we are self aware, but that only means we are capable of contemplating the forces that made us and as we slowly move towards a greater understanding it will bring is into closer contact with the forces that brought us into being. we have to allow ourselves to explore, and to feel, and to destroy at times. we are a small part of the universe but the smallest thing is no less than the universe in a nutshell. As to what makes us unique…I think it is the decisions we make and the individual experiences we find in the world. Each person is essentially a variation of the same animal, but there is that strange quirk in each of us that allows us be unique. In the end we are all animals and, if we want to find individuality, it must be in our thoughts and deeds.
5. Daniel Dennant, in his great book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, persuasively argues that Darwin’s conception of evolution by natural selection is an algorithmic process wherein the raw elemental matter of the Universe is formed, without a teleology, into ever more complex and fecund forms. As an indisputable member of the animal kingdom, homo sapiens are not excused from this process and our emergence as, and our progression towards, our not at all inevitable place as the dominant mammal on the planet demonstrates that our agency comes about directly as a consequence of evolution by natural selection. Humans and their special talents, skills, genius, and deficits are a stamp of our origin in nature and its elemental building blocks. There is nothing human that is not natural, of nature, and there is nothing supernatural or metaphysical in the construction or operation of our remarkably powerful, albeit often confused, minds. Hume, in A Treatise of Human Nature, wrote
What we call a mind is nothing but a heap or collection of different perceptions, united together by certain relations and supposed, though falsely, to be endowed with a perfect simplicity and identity.
Hume, who as a man of the 18th century should be forgiven his lack of technical expertise regarding neurology and brain chemistry, outlines the telelogic fallacy that beguiles the human mind and ego; we believe we are more than the sum of our parts, that nature had our emergence in mind when beginning the process of bringing life from chemical chaos. Without evolution as explained by Darwin nature becomes the last of all possible gods and one that makes human beings the apex of an erroneous pyramid of progressive animal inevitability.