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Similarity, Community, Values and Human Nature - Part II


Just What's in those Genes?

This section will address the investigation of 'Similarity' and where it may possibly exist. The following quote defines and places this inquiry into a perspective that allows for intelligent discourse. The limits upon which, are acknowledged from the outset, only because that is the nature of the process.

"The limits are looked for, behind which there is no additional world and yet where not only nothingness need be. Man seeks clear consciousness of the possible orientation in the world by pointing out that Being itself never appears anywhere in the world or as the world, but only as fragmented being. With this presupposition of the consciousness of limit I am able to live with the world as with that about which pertinent, objective orientation is possible, and yet I need not surrender to the world, but I can live related to Being itself, which I cannot orient in the world." - Karl Jasper


Since ever conscious mind exists in the environment of our physical body, we are a product of a three dimensional world and all the elements that go into its make up. This is not to exclude a realm beyond our physical unit or that a world exists, outside the elements of this phenomenal experience. So what are the similarities? Let us look. Is there a constant temperature around us? Or does a consistent level of wind flow over a surface? How about the amount of rainfall for any given area? An inquiry along these lines will just illustrate the countless changes in the physical space that surrounds us. So what direction should be taken? If a commonality is verifiable, it may well be the totality of this external environment, taken as a whole. Traditionally it has been called 'nature'. Its varied and complex attributes and characteristics, all apply to each of us, just in different places and at altered times. None can escape from the rules, laws or relationships that provide the balance to this intricate and delicate system of physical order.

This enclosed passage from, 'THE ABOLITION OF MAN', by CS Lewis is very apt.

"The Chinese... speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the reality beyond all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road... It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar. 'In ritual,' say the Analects, 'it is harmony with Nature that is prized.' The ancient Jews likewise praise the Law as being 'true' (Psalm 119:151)... This conception in all its forms, Platonic, Aristotelean, Christian, and Oriental alike, I shall henceforth refer to for brevity simply as 'the Tao'... It is the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others are really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are... This thing which I have called for convenience the Tao, and which others may call Natural Law, or Traditional Morality, or the First Principles of Practical Reason, or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self contradictory .... What purport to be new systems, or (as they now call them) 'ideologies,' all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they possess. If my duty to my parents is a superstition, then so is my duty to posterity. If justice is a superstition, then so is my duty to my country or my race. If the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a real value, then so is conjugal fidelity. The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed, they would find that they destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary color, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in."

So when it comes for mankind to interrelate among his own kind, by what method does he employ? Every tragic war, broken economic system and cultural institution, falls prey to the abandonment of its own kind of balance. So what is the glue that keeps a symmetry in place? Is it in the architecture, the arts, the education, the government or social institutions, the religions or the commerce he conducts and the food he grows? No, there are thousands of languages and tribes that populate the globe. They all have differences. There are scores of methods to perform the same reoccurring tasks, all have differences. And there are millions upon millions of pressures that directs one to find which milieu to adopt. But they are difference and many times conflicting? So where is the Similarity? Once again, over centuries the concept of 'Civilization' has been the term used to encompass the broadest unity of all these varied inferences and achievements. This notion recognizes the 'best' that each and every culture, every society and every organized effort has to offer. But it also, rejects each and every failure that is judged by the totality of the 'collective' human experience, to be avoided; if mankind is to achieve their own balance.

Is there any other Similarity? Well; the individual person, soul, being; or any other term you wish to accept, must be considered. But it is almost ridiculous to think that people have anything in common, when viewing their individual behavior. DNA science has concluded that all of mankind has a common genetic source. But how do we account for the differences among the races, ethnic groups within each race and among each member of an immediate family? And how does one reconcile that 'Apes' constitute 98.8% of this same genetic makeup? What possibly is in that 1.2% difference that separates man from a beast in the wild? Again, history has designated the term, Human Nature, as the concept of what it means to be human. But an in-depth analysis of this nature will be the subject for another time. Should we then conclude that the only really true similarity within man is his common nature, based upon his genetic formulation from a single source and has a portion of that make up, quite unique from other species? Well, if you fuse this three prong stool, you will have the legs of Nature, Civilization and Human Nature. But is that all the answer, or is there; or at least, could there be another factor or dimension? One outside the scientific boundaries of empirical experience and the laws of physics; which can or may be judged to exist and be real, but is unable to be verified through, or by, all the methods of proof; that civilization deems appropriate to accept.

Nature alters her patterns and manifestations, but the balance of her order is ever present; left to her own guidance. Popular culture changes with each era, but civilization persists throughout the millenniums. The totality of the human wisdom from all the ages, is not possessed by any single individual; but is available for all those to draw upon, who are willing to learn, and make the effort to critically question, and have the integrity to accept that which it teaches. So what can we conclude that is Similar? Our shared physical environment, allows for the individual consciousness of each unique, by 'common nature' person, to attain civil order and cultural achievement, when the lessons of the collective knowledge is observed. But is that, alone; ENOUGH?

An analysis of these three elements and how they relate to answering this last question, will continue . . .

Our current age has fought the battle, to kill the need, to accept there must be a God. Has the balance of nature been disturbed, because of this denial? Has the truths of human experience and civilization been abandoned, with this absence? And has man become lost from purpose and meaning, because of his refusal to accept that this need is basic to his nature? The war is not yet over, but can only be won if the existential questions are posed, and their answers are not feared . . .

The popular school class philosophical question has been made current by the 'Secular Humanist'. IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST, AND NO ONE IS THERE TO HEAR IT; WHO HAS THE EXPORT RIGHTS?


Civilized ages inherit the human nature which was victorious in barbarous ages,
 and that nature is, in many respects, not at all suited to civilized circumstances.
Walter Bagehot

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