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mercredi, 24 mai 2017

Chinese Eugenics

 

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Chinese Eugenics
 
Evolutionary psychologist, NYU Stern Business School and University of New Mexico; author of The Mating Mind and Spent

Ex: https://www.edge.org

China has been running the world's largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China's ever-faster rise as the global superpower. I worry that this poses some existential threat to Western civilization. Yet the most likely result is that America and Europe linger around a few hundred more years as also-rans on the world-historical stage, nursing our anti-hereditarian political correctness to the bitter end.

When I learned about Chinese eugenics this summer, I was astonished that its population policies had received so little attention. China makes no secret of its eugenic ambitions, in either its cultural history or its government policies.

For generations, Chinese intellectuals have emphasized close ties between the state (guojia), the nation (minzu), the population (renkou), the Han race (zhongzu), and, more recently, the Chinese gene-pool (jiyinku). Traditional Chinese medicine focused on preventing birth defects, promoting maternal health and "fetal education" (taijiao) during pregnancy, and nourishing the father's semen (yangjing) and mother's blood (pingxue) to produce bright, healthy babies (see Frank Dikötter's book Imperfect Conceptions). Many scientists and reformers of Republican China (1912-1949) were ardent Darwinians and Galtonians. They worried about racial extinction (miezhong) and "the science of deformed fetuses" (jitaixue), and saw eugenics as a way to restore China's rightful place as the world's leading civilization after a century of humiliation by European colonialism. The Communist revolution kept these eugenic ideals from having much policy impact for a few decades though. Mao Zedong was too obsessed with promoting military and manufacturing power, and too terrified of peasant revolt, to interfere with traditional Chinese reproductive practices.

But then Deng Xiaoping took power after Mao's death. Deng had long understood that China would succeed only if the Communist Party shifted its attention from economic policy to population policy. He liberalized markets, but implemented the one-child policy —partly to curtail China's population explosion, but also to reduce dysgenic fertility among rural peasants. Throughout the 1980s, Chinese propaganda urges couples to have children "later, longer, fewer, better"—at a later age, with a longer interval between birth, resulting in fewer children of higher quality. With the 1995 Maternal and Infant Health Law (known as the Eugenic Law until Western opposition forced a name change), China forbade people carrying heritable mental or physical disorders from marrying, and promoted mass prenatal ultrasound testing for birth defects. Deng also encouraged assortative mating through promoting urbanization and higher education, so bright, hard-working young people could meet each other more easily, increasing the proportion of children who would be at the upper extremes of intelligence and conscientiousness.

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One of Deng's legacies is China's current strategy of maximizing "Comprehensive National Power". This includes economic power (GDP, natural resources, energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, owning America's national debt), military power (cyberwarfare, anti-aircraft-carrier ballistic missiles, anti-satellite missiles), and 'soft power' (cultural prestige, the Beijing Olympics, tourism, Chinese films and contemporary art, Confucius Institutes, Shanghai's skyscrapers). But crucially, Comprehensive National Power also includes "biopower": creating the world's highest-quality human capital in terms of the Chinese population's genes, health, and education (see Governing China's Population by Susan Greenhalgh and Edwin Winkler).

Chinese biopower has ancient roots in the concept of "yousheng" ("good birth"—which has the same literal meaning as "eugenics"). For a thousand years, China has been ruled by a cognitive meritocracy selected through the highly competitive imperial exams. The brightest young men became the scholar-officials who ruled the masses, amassed wealth, attracted multiple wives, and had more children. The current "gaokao" exams for university admission, taken by more than 10 million young Chinese per year, are just the updated version of these imperial exams—the route to educational, occupation, financial, and marital success. With the relaxation of the one-child policy, wealthier couples can now pay a "social fostering fee" (shehui fuyangfei) to have an extra child, restoring China's traditional link between intelligence, education, wealth, and reproductive success.

Chinese eugenics will quickly become even more effective, given its massive investment in genomic research on human mental and physical traits. BGI-Shenzhen employs more than 4,000 researchers. It has far more "next-generation" DNA sequencers that anywhere else in the world, and is sequencing more than 50,000 genomes per year. It recently acquired the California firm Complete Genomics to become a major rival to Illumina.

The BGI Cognitive Genomics Project is currently doing whole-genome sequencing of 1,000 very-high-IQ people around the world, hunting for sets of sets of IQ-predicting alleles. I know because I recently contributed my DNA to the project, not fully understanding the implications. These IQ gene-sets will be found eventually—but will probably be used mostly in China, for China. Potentially, the results would allow all Chinese couples to maximize the intelligence of their offspring by selecting among their own fertilized eggs for the one or two that include the highest likelihood of the highest intelligence. Given the Mendelian genetic lottery, the kids produced by any one couple typically differ by 5 to 15 IQ points. So this method of "preimplantation embryo selection" might allow IQ within every Chinese family to increase by 5 to 15 IQ points per generation. After a couple of generations, it would be game over for Western global competitiveness.

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There is unusually close cooperation in China between government, academia, medicine, education, media, parents, and consumerism in promoting a utopian Han ethno-state. Given what I understand of evolutionary behavior genetics, I expect—and hope—that they will succeed. The welfare and happiness of the world's most populous country depends upon it.

My real worry is the Western response. The most likely response, given Euro-American ideological biases, would be a bioethical panic that leads to criticism of Chinese population policy with the same self-righteous hypocrisy that we have shown in criticizing various Chinese socio-cultural policies. But the global stakes are too high for us to act that stupidly and short-sightedly. A more mature response would be based on mutual civilizational respect, asking—what can we learn from what the Chinese are doing, how can we help them, and how can they help us to keep up as they create their brave new world? 

dimanche, 21 juin 2015

Claude Reiss : "Aucune espèce n'est un modèle biologique pour une autre."

TVL - Claude Reiss :

"Aucune espèce n'est un modèle biologique pour une autre."

00:05 Publié dans Ecologie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : écologie, biologie, sciences, sciences biologiques | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

dimanche, 17 mai 2015

L’ADN des Britanniques est moins saxon, moins viking et moins celte qu’on ne croit

L’ADN des Britanniques est moins saxon, moins viking et moins celte qu’on ne croit

Ex: http://www.breizh-info.com

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Des groupes génétiques bien identifiés et différenciés

Édimbourg (Breizh-info.com)

La prestigieuse revue Nature a publié récemment une étude passionnante sur les origines génétiques de la population britannique, The fine-scale genetic structure of the British population. Œuvre d’une solide équipe de chercheurs(1) de l’University of Oxford, de l’University College London et du Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (Australie) emmenée par le statisticien Stephen Leslie, elle repose sur une analyse détaillée de l’ADN de 2 039 britanniques « de souche ». Des comparaisons avec des prélèvements provenant de 6 209 personnes de dix pays voisins ont permis de mettre en évidence leurs liens avec d’autres populations européennes.

L’étude a montré une relative homogénéité de la population du sud et du centre de l’Angleterre. Cependant, les Saxons représentent moins de la moitié de l’ascendance de cette population – plus probablement entre 10 et 40 %, soit moins qu’on ne le pensait jusque-là compte tenu des bouleversement apportés dans la langue, les noms de lieux et l’agriculture par les invasions saxonnes. Malgré leur longue présence attestée, les Vikings auraient laissé très peu de traces génétiques, sauf dans les Orcades, qui ont fait partie de la Norvège de 875 à 1472 ; et même là, leur place dans le « profil ancestral » des habitants actuels ne dépasse pas 25 %.

En revanche, trois groupes de populations européennes ont apporté une contribution spécialement importante au peuplement actuel ; ils se situent en Allemagne de l’ouest, en Flandres et dans le nord-ouest de la France. Ce dernier groupe est spécialement apparenté aux populations du Pays de Galles, d’Irlande du Nord et d’Écosse de l’ouest.

Faut-il y voir la trace d’un unique peuplement celtique des deux côtés de la Manche ? Sur ce point, les auteurs de l’étude sont clairs : « nous n’avons constaté aucune évidence d’une population ‘celtique’ générale dans les parties non saxonnes du Royaume-Uni ». De nombreux groupes génétiques distincts voisinent en Irlande du Nord, en Écosse et au Pays de Galles. Les populations galloises apparaissent comme les plus proches des premiers occupants de la Grande-Bretagne installés au Royaume-Uni après la dernière ère glaciaire. Le profil ancestral de la Cornouaille est très différent de ceux du Pays de Galles mais proche de celui du Devon.

On espère qu’une étude du même genre viendra éclairer la génétique de la population bretonne avant que les migrations et l’immigration contemporaines ne l’aient rendue illisible.

_____________

(1) Stephen Leslie, Bruce Winney, Garrett Hellenthal, Dan Davison, Abdelhamid Boumertit, Tammy Day, Katarzyna Hutnik, Ellen C. Royrvik, Barry Cunliffe, Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium, Daniel J. Lawson, Daniel Falush, Colin Freeman, Matti Pirinen, Simon Myers, Mark Robinson, Peter Donnelly, Walter Bodmer

Illustration : extrait partiel d’une figure de l’étude Fortune
[cc] Breizh-info.com, 2015, dépêches libres de copie et diffusion sous réserve de mention de la source d’origine.

vendredi, 13 mars 2015

Le dernier loup: le grand retour de l'éthologie

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LE DERNIER LOUP : LE GRAND RETOUR DE L’ÉTHOLOGIE
 
Un film beau et cruel comme la vie

Jean Ansar
Ex: http://metamag.fr

Le dernier film de Jean jacques Annaud renoue avec ce qui fait l'originalité et le succès de cet immense cinéaste français. Il fera vite oublier le médiocre "Or noir" et viendra rappeler le souffle de "L’ours", des "Deux frères",  de "La guerre du feu", du "Nom de la rose" ou de "7 ans au Tibet".

Le souffle de la vie et la beauté des images sont au rendez vous de ce "Dernier loup", film franco-chinois qui est une ode aux peuples premiers, en l’occurrence aux mongols et à leur conception du monde. Un peuple dont le dieu totem est le loup. Gengis khan, le plus grand conquérant du monde, a adapté la stratégie de la meute dans son art militaire.


L’histoire est classique


C’est un  « eastern » où le loup joue le rôle du bison et l'administration communiste celui de l'homme ennemi de la nature et des mongols, ces autres indiens. 1969, Chen Zhen, un jeune étudiant originaire de Pékin, est envoyé en Mongolie Intérieure afin d'éduquer une tribu de bergers nomades. Mais c'est véritablement Chen qui a beaucoup à apprendre, sur la vie dans cette contrée infinie, hostile et vertigineuse, sur la notion de communauté, de liberté et de responsabilité, et sur la créature la plus crainte et vénérée des steppes, le loup. Séduit par le lien complexe et quasi mystique entre ces créatures sacrées et les bergers, il capture un louveteau afin de l'apprivoiser. Mais la relation naissante entre l'homme et l'animal ainsi que le mode de vie traditionnel de la tribu et l'avenir de la terre elle-même, est menacée lorsqu'un représentant régional de l'autorité centrale décide par tous les moyens d'éliminer les loups de cette région.


Cela étant ce film n’est pas manichéen et l’administrateur chinois ne veut que le bien des mongols par le progrès et il détruit avec bonne conscience un équilibre naturel fragile. Le loup lui-même est cruel,  le louveteau mord la main qui le nourrit et la meute est impitoyable pour les ruminants.

 
C’est un grand film éthologiste sur les rapports des animaux entre eux, des animaux et des hommes, sur le comportement et l'agressivité comme ressort de la survie. Les écologistes n’aimeront pas ce film, trop brutal et sanglant pour leur exquise sensibilité. Leur monde est celui où le loup mongol cohabiterait avec le mouton chinois. Mais le mongol comme le loup sait que, s’il renonce à sa cruauté vitale, il disparaîtra mais ne deviendra pas mouton. Il n’y a pas de théorie du genre dans la vraie vie.


L'Éthologie : apprendre la vie


Ce film devrait plus que d’autres relancer l'intérêt pour cette science formidable mais souvent ignorée pour des motifs politiciens qu’est l’Éthologie. Le terme "éthologie" signifie étymologiquement « étude des mœurs ». Ce domaine, sous le nom générique, englobe surtout l'étude du comportement animal tel qu'il peut être observé chez l'animal sauvage ou domestiqué, dans son milieu naturel ou en captivité. L'éthologie humaine quitte le champ d'investigation des spécialistes de l'instinct animal pour décrire le comportement individuel et collectif. Il faut inclure dans cette signification l'étude comportementale des êtres humains et des relations homme-animal. L'éthologie se définit originellement comme l'étude des comportements instinctifs puis, actuellement, plus généralement, comme la biologie du comportement.

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Le plus célèbre des éthologistes est Konrad Lorenz. Il a popularisé l'éthologie dans des livres admirables, mais voilà il n’est pas politiquement correct. Konrad Lorenz, est un biologiste et zoologiste autrichien titulaire du prix Nobel de physiologie ou médecine. Lorenz a étudié les comportements des animaux sauvages et domestiques. Il a écrit des livres qui ont touché un large public tels que "Il parlait avec les mammifères", "les oiseaux et les poissons" ou "L'Agression, une histoire naturelle du mal". En 1940, il devient professeur à l'université de Königsberg où il occupe la chaire d'Emmanuel Kant. Il est mobilisé en 1941 dans l'armée comme médecin psychiatre et fait prisonnier par les Russes en 1944 puis déporté en Arménie soviétique jusqu'en 1948. Dans ses travaux ultérieurs, Lorenz se servira de cette expérience (enthousiasme nationaliste et constat des dégâts du lavage de cerveaux chez les allemands nazifiés et les russes communisés) pour élaborer une critique des dérives de l'instinct d'agression chez l'homme, de la psychologie de l'endoctrinement et du danger de celui-ci.


De 1949 à 1951, il dirige l'institut d'éthologie comparée d'Altenberg puis l'Institut Max Planck de physiologie comportementale (un des 80 instituts de recherche de la Société Max-Planck) de Buldern (1951-1954) puis celui de Seewiesen (Bavière) (1954). Il reçoit en 1973, conjointement avec Karl von Frisch et Nikolaas Tinbergen, le prix Nobel de physiologie ou médecine pour leurs découvertes concernant « l'organisation et la mise en évidence des modes de comportement individuel et social » ; il s'agit du seul prix Nobel jamais remis à des spécialistes du comportement. Leurs travaux constituent les fondements d'une nouvelle discipline de la biologie : l'éthologie.


Devenu humaniste et écologiste, il est cependant diabolisé


Konrad Lorenz fut membre du parti nazi à partir de 1938. Eugéniste, il fut également membre du « département de politique raciale » du parti, produisant conférences et publications. Adoptant pleinement l'idéologie nazie il écrivit, par exemple, dans une lettre à Oskar Heinroth, lors de la déclaration de guerre de la Grande Bretagne à l'Allemagne : « Du pur point de vue biologique de la race, c'est un désastre de voir les deux meilleurs peuples germaniques du monde se faire la guerre pendant que les races non blanches, noire, jaune, juive et mélangées restent là en se frottant les mains» . La controverse publique sur l'affiliation de Konrad Lorenz au parti nazi prit naissance lors de sa nomination pour le prix Nobel. Cette controverse porta sur un article publié dans le Journal de psychologie appliquée et d'étude du caractère (Zeitschrift für angewandte Psychologie und Charakterkunde) en 1940, « Désordres causés par la domestication du comportement spécifique à l'espèce » (Durch Domestikation verursachte Störungen arteigenen Verhaltens). Cet article fut publié dans un contexte de justification scientifique de restrictions légales contre le mariage entre Allemands et non Allemands. Jamais Lorenz ne cacha cette publication, il la cita abondamment et il reprit ces idées dans la plupart de ses livres. Il y développe le concept de l'auto-domestication de l'homme, soit que la pression de sélection de l'homme par l'homme aurait conduit à une forme de dégénérescence de l'espèce humaine dont les plus touchées sont les races occidentales. Les souches primitives étant celles qui ont été épargnées par cette dégénérescence.

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Il s'agit d'un article foncièrement anti-suprémaciste aryen. Cette publication lui retira toute possibilité d'une carrière politique et signa son abandon de tout contact avec la vie politique. Il dit à ce propos: « L'essai de 1940 voulait démontrer aux nazis que la domestication était beaucoup plus dangereuse que n'importe quel prétendu mélange de races. Je crois toujours que la domestication menace l'humanité ; c'est un très grand danger. Et si je peux réparer, rétrospectivement, l'incroyable stupidité d'avoir tenté de le démontrer aux nazis, c'est en répétant cette même vérité dans une société totalement différente mais qui l'apprécie encore moins. »


Ce fut le style de cet article, adoptant un ton délibérément politique et non scientifique, publié dans un contexte de haine raciale que les détracteurs de Lorenz soulevèrent. La remise du prix Nobel à Lorenz entraîna un grand remous dans la communauté des sciences humaines, en particulier au sein de l'école de behaviorisme américain. Le long combat que Lorenz fit contre les théories de cette école, sur les comportements innés et acquis, lui valut beaucoup d'ennemis. Notons, entre autres, l'article de Lehrman de 1953, dans Quarterly Review of Biology : « Une critique de la théorie du comportement instinctif de Konrad Lorenz » citant le caractère et les origines « nazis » des travaux de celui-ci qui démarra la guerre.

La controverse au sujet de l'article de 1940 prit véritablement racine après la publication dans Sciences en 1972 d'un discours prononcé au Canada par Léon Rosenberg, de la faculté de médecine de Harvard, et la publication par Ashley Montagu, un anthropologue opposé à la théorie des instincts de l'homme de Lorenz, de la conférence d'Eisenberg : « La nature humaine de l'homme ». Dans cette conférence, l'article de 1940 est critiqué comme s'il s'agissait d'un article à caractère scientifique et actuel. Il s'agit d'une demie-page (sur plus de 70) des pires passages politiques cités hors contexte et se terminant par : « Nous devons - et nous le ferons - compter sur les sentiments sains de nos meilleurs éléments pour établir la sélection qui déterminera la prospérité ou la décadence de notre peuple… ».

 
Si cette dernière proposition semble prôner un eugénisme nazi, l'affirmation que les meilleurs éléments ne sont pas nécessairement « aryens » et donc que certains devraient céder leur place à des représentants d'autres races, était totalement suicidaire à l'époque. Lorenz laisse sous entendre, dans sa biographie, qu’il fut mobilisé lors de la guerre germano-soviétique et envoyé sur le front de l'est pour cette raison.


Les médias s'emparèrent de ce scandale et le montèrent en épingle. Lorenz fut alors présenté comme un partisan pro-nazi. ….. Le mal absolu n’allait pas épargner l’éthologie. Les rapports avec les animaux, d’Alain de Benoist à Franz olivier Giesbert, sont de nouveaux d'actualité. L'éthologie devrait reprendre tout sa place,  sans occulter le travail de Lorenz, qui aurait aimé ce « dernier loup ».

dimanche, 08 février 2015

75% des espèces comestibles cultivées ont disparu en à peine un siècle

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75% des espèces comestibles cultivées ont disparu en à peine un siècle

Auteur : Camille Labro
Ex: http://zejournal.mobi

La biodiversité est en danger, et notre monde avec. Saviez-vous qu’en un siècle, 75% des espèces comestibles cultivées ont disparu (chiffres FAO) ? La société moderne a réussi à éradiquer des milliers de végétaux qui nous accompagnaient, et nous nourrissaient, depuis la nuit des temps.

Aujourd’hui, les multinationales semencières (Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Limagrain, Bayer…) tentent de s’arroger le monopole des graines, pour privatiser le vivant et prendre le contrôle de ce que plantent agriculteurs et jardiniers, et, par ce biais, l’essence de ce qui nous fait vivre.

Alors que de tout temps, les paysans ont collecté, préservé, replanté et échangé leurs graines librement, l'Europe s'est inventée un catalogue officiel des graines autorisées – notamment de nombreux hybrides F1, qui ne se ressèment pas et doivent donc être rachetés chaque année par le cultivateur. Tout agriculteur qui plante autre chose et vend les fruits de sa production, est aujourd’hui considéré hors-la-loi.

La graine, c’est une chose minuscule, qu’on a tendance à négliger. Elle est même parfois perçue comme une nuisance : on jette les noyaux, on crache les pépins, on retire les germes. Pourtant, elle est fondamentale. Elle est à l’origine de la vie. Les industriels ne s’y sont pas trompés, qui fomentent depuis bientôt 30 ans leur mainmise sur le vivant à travers ces pépites organiques.

Mais il n’est pas trop tard. Face à eux, des gens se battent un peu partout. Militants philosophes et féroces, comme Vandana Shiva, la "diva verte" indienne, organismes luttant pour la "libération des semences", comme l’association Kokopelli, le réseau Semences Paysannes, les Incroyables Comestibles, Graines de Troc, ou encore le mouvement Colibris… Et aussi, envers et contre tout, une poignée de paysans amoureux de variétés anciennes, de leurs noms poétiques, de leurs formes biscornues et de leurs goûts délicieux. J’en parle autant que je peux dans mes pages…

Pour défendre la production, préservation et dissémination de graines fruitières et potagères traditionnelles, Philippe Desbrosses, pionnier de l’agriculture biologique et fondateur de l'association Intelligence Verte et de la ferme expérimentale de Sainte-Marthe, a lancé le projetGraines de Vie, qui propose à tout citoyen d’apprendre (gratuitement) à cultiver et préserver les graines, mais aussi à les répandre, et à répandre le savoir.

Pour plus d’informations, il suffit d’aller sur le site ici, où interviennent de passionnants défenseurs du sujet, comme Cyril Dion (Colibris), la réalisatrice Coline Serreau, le botaniste-écologue Jean-Marie Pelt et bien d’autres. Je vous invite vivement aussi à planter votre première graine en contribuant à leur campagne de financement participatif ici (il ne reste que quelques jours !).

« Comme l’eau ou l’air qu’on respire, les graines sont un bien commun de l’humanité, qui nous permet de vivre, dit Cyril Dion. Les privatiser, cela s’apparente à perdre une démocratie, car la démocratie, c’est avoir, collectivement, le contrôle de choses dont nous dépendons pour vivre. »

Alors, réveillons-nous, citoyens ! Et plantons, récoltons, partageons, disséminons furieusement, pour préserver la liberté et la diversité de notre planète, de nos assiettes et de nos vies.


- Source : Camille Labro

mardi, 13 janvier 2015

Du bioconservatisme

 

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Du bioconservatisme

par Georges FELTIN-TRACOL

 

 

L’histoire des idées politiques contemporaines en Europe et en Amérique du Nord insiste sur la très grande plasticité sémantique du « conservatisme ». Si, pour François Huguenin, le conservatisme est impossible en France (1), celui-ci diffère tant aux États-Unis qu’en Grande-Bretagne, en Allemagne, en Espagne ou en Italie (2). Chaque conservatisme suit la spécificité de son esprit national et de son époque. Par exemple, le conservatisme de l’Anglais Disraeli, tenant d’une alliance entre le peuple et la Couronne, n’est pas celui, oligarchique et sociétaliste, du fade et incapable David Cameron qui légalise le mariage pour tous, promeut l’atlantisme et encourage le multiculturalisme de marché. En Allemagne, le conservatisme organique de Bismarck ne correspond ni au « jeune-conservatisme » inclus dans la Révolution conservatrice du temps de Weimar, ni au pseudo-conservatisme chrétien d’une Angela Merkel, véritable tenancière pour le parrain yankee de l’ergastule soi-disant européen.

 

Il est donc très difficile de définir le conservatisme hors de tout contexte socio-historique précis. Et voilà que dans le cahier scientifique du Monde, un chirurgien urologue belge, Laurent Alexandre, range le député Vert français au Parlement européen José Bové parmi les « ultra-bioconservateurs (3) » ! Laurent Alexandre est très certainement un médecin émérite, expert dans son domaine. En revanche, dès qu’il quitte son champ de compétence professionnelle pour s’aventurer dans le monde des idées, son avis n’est que celui d’un citoyen lambda. S’il catalogue ainsi l’action de l’ancien éleveur du Larzac, c’est parce que son propos se veut assez favorable au transhumanisme. « Plutôt transhumains que morts devient notre devise, s’exclame-t-il (4) ! » Parce que « la manipulation technologique de l’homme a déjà bien commencé, […] des rapprochements inattendus apparaissent. Ainsi, José Bové était jusqu’à présent un militant d’extrême gauche. Dans le nouvel ordre biopolitique, il se retrouve, avec les catholiques intégristes, parmi les ultra-bioconservateurs. Il est résolument contre la fécondation in vitro (F.I.V.) pour les couples hétérosexuels stériles ou homosexuels et il s’oppose aux thérapies géniques pour le traitement des maladies génétiques. Il a déclaré, le 1er mai 2014, sur la chaîne catholique KTO : “ Je crois que tout ce qui est manipulation sur le vivant, qu’il soit végétal, animal et encore plus humain, doit être combattu ” (5) ».

 

Cette prise de position a surpris le petit milieu des Verts. Elle est pourtant conforme au personnage, méfiant envers toute technique. Rares sont ceux qui savent que José Bové a écouté au sein d’un cénacle libertaire informel bordelais entre 1971 et 1973 le philosophe, théologien protestant et professeur d’histoire du droit Jacques Ellul (1912 – 1994). Le journaliste Jean-Luc Porquet qualifie d’ailleurs le syndicaliste paysan d’« Ellul mis en pratique (6) ». À travers une remarquable trilogie philosophique, Ellul avertit ses contemporains de la nature profonde de la tekné (7).

 

En 2003, alors secrétaire exécutive du conseil du développement durable de l’U.M.P., le député de l’Essonne, Nathalie Kosciusko – Morizet qui prétend admirer l’œuvre de la philosophe Simone Weil dont son essai magistral L’Enracinement, osait déclarer que « parler de la France réelle, comme le fait Bové, a des relents d’idéologie maurrassienne (8) ». Avant Patrick Buisson et peut-être bientôt l’arriviste ponot droitard Laurent Wauquiez, Bové se voyait assimilé à un disciple du penseur de Martigues… Gageons que l’ineffable N.K.M. n’a jamais pris la peine d’ouvrir le moindre livre de Maurras, pas même L’Avenir de l’intelligence. Peut-être par crainte de se retrouver dépassée, submergée, engloutie par les analyses remarquables de cet essai majeur écrit en 1905 ?

 

José Bové aurait pu se voir reproché bien plus. En effet, au printemps 2002, il a estimé que « la résistance menée par les chouans était légitime et juste. Si j’avais été à ce moment-là en Vendée, j’aurais été chouan (9) ». C’est au fond somme toute logique puisqu’il veut d’abord et avant tout « se battre contre la mondialisation et faire avancer le droit pour les paysans et pour les peuples de se nourrir comme ils l’entendent (10) ». Cette affirmation d’attachement au sol, à la terre, aux terroirs est gaussée et minorée par un Britannique, un certain Robert Acroyd qui avance « que vous, les Français, vous êtes pour nous des paysans. Pour les Anglais, les Français sont des bouseux accrochés à leur lopin de terre, anxieux de l’agrandir par tous les moyens. Prêts à tuer frère, oncle, neveu, nièce pour quelques arpents. […] Les Anglais, eux, se voient avant tout comme des marins. Ils ont sillonné les mers, grimpé dans les cordages par gros temps, pris les vaisseaux ennemis à l’abordage. Les Anglais ont d’eux-mêmes l’image d’un peuple viril. Un peuple de guerriers qui se moque de vous parce que vos ancêtres étaient des serfs attachés à la plèbe (11). » Les Rosbifs, un peuple de guerriers ? Surtout des couards, inventeurs de l’embargo économique, du droit comme arme de guerre totale et du bombardement aérien de terreur…

 

Certaines causes défendues par José Bové sont de facto des combats conservateurs en faveur de la préservation de toutes les formes naturelles du vivant. « Depuis la création des O.G.M. et des animaux transgéniques à la fin du XXe siècle, écrit Yves Eudes, on sait que l’unité fondamentale du vivant permet des mélanges entre toutes les créatures, même les plus éloignées sur la chaîne de l’évolution. En théorie, un humain pourrait donc être doté d’une vue aussi perçante qu’un aigle, de l’odorat d’un chien de chasse, de l’ouïe d’un lièvre, de la force d’un orang-outang ou de la faculté de navigation d’un oiseau migrateur (12). » Il faut rapprocher le fantasme transhumaniste à une réflexion de Trotsky qui vécut aux États-Unis, d’où le tropisme américanocentré inhérent aux trotskistes. Dans une société future surgie de la « Révolution communiste mondiale », le fondateur de la IVe Internationale se félicitait par avance que « l’homme sera plus fort, beaucoup plus perspicace, beaucoup plus fin. Son corps sera plus harmonieux, ses mouvements plus rythmiques, sa voix plus musicale. La moyenne humaine s’élèvera au niveau d’Aristote, de Gœthe, de Marx. Et au-dessus de cette crête de montagne s’élèveront de nouveaux sommets (13) ».

 

Certes, « il n’y a plus de conservateurs, objecte Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, parce qu’il n’y a plus rien à conserver. Religion, famille, aristocratie, toutes les anciennes incarnations du principe d’autorité, ce n’est que ruine et poudre (14) ». Et pourtant ! Il y a encore à conserver la vie, les milieux naturels, les paysages sans lesquels toute communauté humaine s’étiolerait définitivement. Si le conservatisme politique a failli, a trahi et rallié le Progrès mortifère, une nouvelle réponse adaptée émerge : le bioconservatisme, ultra ou non. Sous ce nouveau vocable devraient se rejoindre l’identitaire et l’écologiste. « L’écologiste comme l’identitaire ont des approches en “ contexte ”. Une volonté d’assurer, de respecter ou de s’inspirer des permanences (traditions, coutumes, équilibres naturels, etc.). L’inverse exact de l’utopie (u-topos : sans le lieu). L’un et l’autre sont des conservateurs face à un monde qui se détruit, perd de sa grâce, de sa beauté, de sa mémoire chaque jour. La synthèse de ces deux sensibilités semble évidente (15). »

 

Ce rapprochement, plus que souhaitable, est proprement révolutionnaire et donc réfractaire aux hochets et autres sinécures brandis par le Système qui a su si bien apprivoiser l’extrême gauche du Capital. Une inclination conservatrice et/ou identitaire apparaît parfois au sein de certains courants écologistes. Les Français connaissent-ils Winfried Kretschmann ? Depuis mai 2011, grande première en Allemagne !, ce Vert est le ministre-président du Land du Bade-Wurtemberg. Catholique convaincu, professeur d’éthique en retraite et chef de file des « réalistes » au sein de son parti, il estimait que « les Verts n’ont pas besoin de devenir conservateurs pour remporter les élections du Bade-Wurtemberg. Nous sommes conservateurs. Notre ambition est de préserver la planète. Notre programme d’énergies renouvelables est une révolution industrielle. Nous voulons faire de notre pays le modèle d’une modernisation basée sur un développement durable. Cela ne concerne pas que l’écologie, mais également la finance, le système social et la démographie. Ce sont des concepts qui privilégient le long terme, constituent notre éthique et nous distinguent des autres partis. Nous sommes donc conservateurs mais pas dans le sens habituel du monde politique. […] Avec notre “ green new deal ”, nous sommes bien plus proches de ce tissu de P.M.E. qui constituent le Mittelstand allemand que les partis conservateurs (16) ». Le 30 novembre dernier, les électeurs suisses se prononçaient sur une votation intitulée « Halte à la surpopulation – Oui à la préservation durable des ressources naturelles » qui proposait une limitation de l’immigration nette en Suisse à un taux de 0,2 % par an en moyenne afin de protéger la nature et de limiter le besoin en constructions nouvelles. Cette initiative populaire revenait au groupe Écopop (Écologie et Population). La consultation ne reçut l’approbation d’aucun parti politique, pas même l’U.D.C., cette incarnation des nationaux-pétochards. Elle fut rejetée par 74 % des électeurs. Les médiats, bien sûr, désinformèrent énormément. Ainsi peut-on lire que  « les experts s’évertuent de démontrer qu’immigration et dégradation de l’environnement ne sont pas liés et que l’économie a besoin de main-d’œuvre étrangère (17) ». Un gigantesque mensonge soutenu et approuvé par les libéraux dont Nicolas Lecaussin de l’Institut de recherches économiques et fiscales (18).

 

La convergence de l’écologie, du « conservatisme » culturel, de la cause identitaire et de la réfutation du libéralisme constitue une magnifique occasion de renouvellement des idées à un moment où « certains mouvements révolutionnaires, remarque Christophe Bourseiller, semblent avoir fait le deuil de la révolution et se perçoivent davantage comme des forces réformatrices, ou des laboratoires d’idées. De même, l’altermondialisme, produit de l’extrême gauche, n’est en réalité qu’un courant réformateur, appelant de ses vœux ce que Raoul Vaneigem nomme un néo-capitalisme régulé par l’éthique (19) ». Le positionnement bioconservateur de José Bové n’est pas qu’écologique, il est aussi politique puisque, à l’instar des premiers conservateurs nourris aux penseurs de la Contre-Révolution, il estime que la logique interne de l’État est, aujourd’hui, « totalement dictée par l’économie. Ceux qui gèrent se voient imposer d’énormes contraintes. L’État n’est plus le lien des réponses aux questions que nous nous posons : les organismes génétiquement modifiés, la modification des règles de l’O.M.C. et leur réappropriation par les  citoyens. L’État-nation peut disparaître, cela ne changera pas grand-chose (20) ».

 

Plus que révolutionnaire, on perçoit vite que ce bioconservatisme se veut radical. Pour l’ancien situationniste exclu, ex-« Enragé de Nanterre », aujourd’hui proche de L’Encyclopédie des Nuisances, René Riesel, « radical » signifie « prendre les choses à la racine, c’est critiquer les bases techno-scientifiques de la société moderne, comprendre la parenté idéologique profonde entre le progressisme politique ou social (c’est-à-dire la “ mentalité de gauche ” telle que la définit Theodore Kaczynski) et le progressisme scientifique. L’industrialisation est depuis la “ révolution industrielle ” en Angleterre une rupture absolument fondamentale avec l’essentiel du processus d’humanisation. Sans civilisation paysanne, c’est la civilisation tout court qui se défait, on le constate aujourd’hui (21) ». Naguère responsable de la Confédération paysanne qu’il quitta dès 1999 en désaccord complet avec Bové qu’il qualifie de « clown à moustaches », Riesel considère dorénavant la lutte du Larzac comme « l’avant-garde de la domestication, une distribution de Prozac généralisée (22) ».

 

Toutefois, chantre des souverainetés alimentaire, agricole et énergétique, José Bové persiste paradoxalement à souhaiter une autre mondialisation et des sociétés ouvertes aux flux migratoires. Or, au soir de sa vie, Jacques Ellul lui-même s’interrogeait sur les étrangers immigrés qui « exécutent souvent un travail que les Français ne voudraient plus faire les besognes les plus pénibles ou les plus répugnantes, si bien qu’ils sont des “ pauvres ” (même s’ils ont assez d’argent pour en envoyer à leurs familles restées dans le pays d’origine, on le sait parfaitement). Ce sont les pauvres de notre société d’opulence (quoique, le fait est remarquable, on n’en trouve pas chez les “ clochards ”) (23) ». Par un parallélisme étonnant, des analyses de Jacques Ellul se recoupent avec certaines réflexions du sociologue Jules Monnerot. « On pouvait être tranquille tant que le tiers monde n’avait pas d’idéologie mobilisatrice. Une révolte anticoloniale de tel ou tel pays, ce n’était pas très grave. Mais maintenant, le tiers monde est muni d’une idéologie puissante mobilisatrice, l’islam. Celui-ci a toutes les chances de réussir contrairement au communisme qui était encore importé d’Occident. Et c’est pourquoi le communisme échoue peu à peu dans les pays d’Amérique latine qui l’avaient adopté […]. Au contraire, l’islam est du tiers monde. Il gagne à une vitesse extraordinaire toute l’Afrique noire, il mord de plus en plus largement en Asie. Or, c’est une idéologie à la fois unificatrice, mobilisatrice, et combattante. À partir de ce moment, nous allons être engagés dans une véritable guerre menée par le tiers monde contre les pays développés. Une guerre qui s’exprimera de plus en plus par le terrorisme, et aussi par “ l’invasion pacifique ”. […] Et en même temps se produira inévitablement l’infiltration croissante des immigrés, travailleurs et autres, qui par leur misère même attirent la sympathie et créent chez les Occidentaux des noyaux forts de militants tiers-mondistes. Les intellectuels, les Églises, le P.C., pour des raisons diverses, seront les alliés des immigrés et chercheront à leur ouvrir les portes plus largement. […] Cette présence des immigrés, avec la diffusion de l’islam en Europe, conduira sans aucun doute à l’effritement de la société occidentale entière. Par suite de la déraison manifestée depuis vingt ans par nous, l’Occident va se trouver, sur le plan mondial, d’ici vingt-cinq ans, dans l’exacte situation actuelle de la minorité blanche d’Afrique du Sud, face à la majorité noire (24). » Il est probable que les prochaines années voient la figure d’Ellul devenir une référence néo-conservatrice anti-musulmane appropriée au choc délétère des civilisations… Le penseur réformé atteint peut-être là ses limites d’autant qu’il a tenu des positions pro-sionistes.

 

N’en déplaise aux décroissants chrétiens, le christianisme ne peut pas répondre totalement au défi de la mondialisation. En revanche, « l’hindouisme, avec ses dieux faiseurs de miracles, est peut-être mieux armé que les monothéismes pour combattre la mondialisation, pense l’écrivain indien Tahir Shah (25) ». L’hindouisme, c’est-à-dire une forme particulière vivante de polythéisme que devraient retrouver les Européens.

 

Un processus est certainement en cours comme en témoigne l’inquiétude de Nicolas Truong. « Une autre force révolutionnaire se déploie en Occident, celle des néofascistes qui, à l’aide d’une critique anticapitaliste adossée à une pensée de l’identité, des affinités électives relayées par des mots d’ordre guerriers, prône une sorte de soulèvement conservateur et qui, eux aussi, se socialisent dans les luttes. De ce conflit des insurrections pourrait naître un monstre inquiétant (26). » Concevons donc ce monstre ! Le discours antilibéral, écologiste, identitaire et, en dernière analyse, anti-mondialiste est crucial, car « la mondialisation, explique Jean Malaurie, expression habile du libéralisme, favorise des régimes mafieux où l’information est normalisée (27) ». Dans ces conditions difficiles, « sont écologistes ceux qui savent que nous faisons partie d’une chaîne de vie complexe qu’il nous faut comprendre et respecter dans son organisation et sa diversité. Sont localistes ceux qui savent que le local est le niveau d’organisation où peuvent se réaliser le mieux et simultanément les aspirations à la liberté, à la responsabilité et donc à l’efficacité raisonnable. Sont identitaires ceux qui savent que nous sommes une substance de population plus ancienne que nos institutions, dérivées et secondaires (28) ». Valoriser le peuple est dorénavant essentiel, car « la pensée vient toujours de l’arrière : du peuple (29) ». Avis aux Z.A.D.istes de Roybon, Sivens et Notre-Dame-des-Landes, l’avenir du bioconservatisme ne peut être que populaire !

 

Georges Feltin-Tracol

 

Notes

 

1 : François Huguenin, Histoire intellectuelle des droites. Le conservatisme impossible, Perrin, 2013.

 

2 : Sur ce vaste sujet, lire Philippe Beneton, Le conservatisme, P.U.F., coll. « Que sais-je ? », n° 2410, 1988; Luc Gaffié, Les idées du conservatisme américain, New Forums, 1990; Nicolas Kessler, Le conservatisme américain, P.U.F., coll. « Que sais-je ? », n° 3364, 1998.

 

3 : Laurent Alexandre, « José Bové, ultra-bioconservateur », dans Le Monde, le 15 octobre 2014.

 

4 : Idem.

 

5 : art. cit.

 

6 : Jean-Luc Porquet, Jacques Ellul, l’homme qui avait presque tout prévu, Le Cherche Midi, coll. « Documents », 2003, p. 232.

 

7 : Cette trilogie se compose de La technique. Ou l’enjeu du siècle (1954), Économica, coll. « Classiques des Sciences Sociales », 1990; Le système technicienne, Calmann-Lévy, coll. « Liberté de l’Esprit », 1977; Le bluff technologique, Hachette, coll. « La Force des Idées », 1988. Une autre personnalité politique française qui aurait suivi l’enseignement ellulien serait le député – maire de Bègles, apparenté Vert et chantre du laïcisme et du gendérisme, Noël Mamère, que Bruno Gollnisch renomme avec facétie sur son site officiel de « Fête de fin d’année Parent 1 ».

 

8 : dans Le Figaro, le 11 août 2003.

 

9 : dans La Lozère nouvelle, le 8 mars 2002.

 

10 : dans Libération, le 20 août 1999.

 

11 : dans Le Nouvel Observateur, les 6 – 12 mars 2003.

 

12 : dans Le Monde, le 6 août 2005.

 

13 : Léon Trotsky, Littérature et Révolution, Vienne, 1924, édition allemande, p. 179, cité par Jules Monnerot, Sociologie de la Révolution, Fayard, coll. « Les grandes études contemporaines », 1969, p. 251.

 

14 : Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, Mesure de la France, Grasset, 1964, p. 93.

 

15 : Laurent Ozon, France, les années décisives. Entretiens 2013 – 2014, Éditions Bios, 2014, p. 25.

 

16 : dans Le Monde, les 21 et 22 novembre 2010, souligné par nous. Sur les Verts allemands et certaines de leurs tendances conservatrices, voir Thomas Keller, Les Verts allemands. Un conservatisme alternatif, L’Harmattan, coll. « Environnement », 2000.

 

17 : Christian Salvadi, « La Suisse vote de nouveau sur l’immigration », dans Le Monde, le 29 novembre 2014.

 

18 : Nicolas Lecaussin, « Oui à l’immigration… sans État-providence », dans Le Figaro, le 18 décembre 2014. Il est toujours grotesque d’observer que les chantres les plus exaltés du libéralisme sont des fonctionnaires d’université ou des membres d’instituts d’onanisme neuronal et non des patrons de petites ou moyennes entreprises, des artisans ou des membres de professions libérales…

 

19 : dans Le Point, le 19 octobre 2006. Ancien situationniste, Raoul Vaneigem est bien l’anti-Guy Debord puisqu’il a accepté d’être récupéré et intégré dans la Société du spectacle.

 

20 : dans Le Nouvel Observateur, les 17 – 23 février 2000.

 

21 : dans Libération, les 3 – 4 février 2001. Alias Unabomber, Theodore John Kaczynski est un terroriste néo-luddite emprisonné à vie dans les prisons fédérales de haute sécurité des États-Unis, cf. Theodore Kaczynski, L’effondrement du système technologique, Xenia, 2008, qui réunit l’ensemble de ses écrits.

 

22 : dans Marianne, les 18 – 24 août 2002.

 

23 : Jacques Ellul, Islam et judéo-christianisme, P.U.F., 2004, p. 43, souligné par l’auteur.

 

24 : Jacques Ellul, Le bluff technologique, op. cit., pp. 280 – 281. Dans une longue note de cet ouvrage, Ellul estime qu’« aujourd’hui, le grand thème d’une France multiraciale, avec l’invasion musulmane, achève cette destruction de la cohérence culturelle française (n. 26, p. 181) ».

 

25 : dans Le Figaro littéraire, le 24 mai 2001.

 

26 : Nicolas Truong, « Un désir de soulèvement », dans Le Monde, le 5 décembre 2014.

 

27 : Jean Malaurie, dans Le Nouvel Observateur, les 23 – 29 décembre 1999.

 

28 : Laurent Ozon, op. cit., pp. 26 – 27.

 

29 : Jean Malaurie, art. cit.

 


 

Article printed from Europe Maxima: http://www.europemaxima.com

 

URL to article: http://www.europemaxima.com/?p=4119

 

lundi, 22 septembre 2014

Milieu gegen Gene?

Milieu gegen Gene?

von Ernst Hofer

Milieu gegen Gene?
 

Sozialbiologische Ansätze sind heute nachhaltig diskreditiert. Andreas Vonderach macht sich damit seit Jahren unbeliebt.

Wer aus dem gesellschaftlich „erlaubten“ Schema von Soziologie und Politikwissenschaft ausbricht, riskiert unwiderruflich als Nazi oder Biologist beschimpft zu werden. Dabei verläuft die Entwicklung in den Naturwissenschaften und der Psychologie durch neue Forschungsergebnisse immer mehr in eben diese Richtung. In zunehmendem Maße werden die Erblichkeit und die genetische Determiniertheit bestimmter Verhaltensmuster und Befähigungen erkannt.

Vonderach stellt klar, dass neben biologischen auch soziale Prägungen eine Rolle spielen, aber eben nur in einem bestimmten Umfang. In seinem Buch Sozialbiologie: Geschichte und Ergebnisse geht er der Geschichte der Sozialbiologie und ihren neueren Forschungsergebnissen nach.

Darwin, Galton und der Beginn der Eugenik

An den Anfang stellt Vonderach Charles Darwin. Mit seiner Theorie der Selektion und der dadurch bedingten Artenbildung legte er den Grundstein für sämtliche sozialbiologischen Theorien. Danach muss unweigerlich der Begriff des Sozialdarwinismus folgen und erklärt werden. Unterschieden werden muss zwischen einem rein ökonomischen Sozialdarwinismus im Sinne des Laissez-​faire–Prinzip des Manchester-​Kapitalismus und einem nach außen gewandten Sozialdarwinismus, der den Kampf zwischen verschiedenen Menschengruppen beschwört. Letzterer wurde durch Ernst Haeckel und seinem Fortschrittsoptimismus in Deutschland bekannt.

Begründer der Erblichkeitstheorie von Intelligenz war ein Vetter von Darwin, Francis Galton. Galton war methodischer Vorreiter der Psychologie. Er entwickelte viele Test zur Begabung von Menschen, die heute noch in Gebrauch sind. Seine wichtigsten Erkenntnisse fasste er im Buch Hereditary talent and character von 1865 zusammen. Darin verglich er die Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse von 415 herausragenden Männern der englischen Geschichte. Im Ergebnis stellte sich heraus, dass die Begabung zu hervorragenden Leistungen mit dem Grad der Verwandtschaft zu anderen Hochbegabten korreliert.

Eugenik in Deutschland

Galton begründete mit der Eugenischen Bewegung auch die pessimistische Variante des Sozialdarwinismus. Nach ihr würden (aus dem damaligen Blickwinkel betrachtet) in einem Jahrhundert die unteren sozialen Schichten die oberen zu 82 Prozent überholt haben. Galton fand mit dieser Hypothese viele Anhänger im gebildeten Milieu.

In Deutschland entwickelte sich in den 1890er-​Jahren unabhängig von Galton unter den Privatdozenten Alfred Ploetz und Wilhelm Schallmayer eine eigene eugenische Bewegung. Die zu befürchtende Degeneration der Bevölkerung schlossen beide aber nur deduktiv ohne empirische Belege aus der darwinschen Evolutionstheorie. 1910 rief Ploetz dann auch eine Gesellschaft für Rassenhygiene ins Leben, wobei Ploetz unter Rasse – leicht missverständlich – keine Großgruppe oder Unterkategorie des Menschen verstand, sondern lediglich die gesamte menschliche Population.

Der Sieg der Milieutheorie

Etwas später entwickelte sich in den USA unter Franz Boas der Kulturrelativismus. Boas war der Ansicht, dass nur das jeweilige soziale Milieu prägend für die Entwicklung eines Menschen sei und die genetischen Grundlagen nahezu irrelevant wären. Kurz nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg standen sich in der Debatte um genetische Anlage und Umweltbeeinflussung Boas-​Schüler und physische Anthropologen gegenüber. Als Bestätigung galten der Fraktion um Boas explizite Untersuchungen der Boas-​Schülerin Margaret Mead, die Feldforschungen auf der Südseeinsel Samoa durchführte. Ihr Ergebnis, dass die Kinder auf Samoa frei von gesellschaftlichen Konventionen, unbeschwert aufwüchsen, galt lange Zeit als Bestätigung von Boas Theorie.

Der Behaviorismus entstand zur selben Zeit auch in den USA. Der Tierpsychologe John Watson schloss aus jahrelangen Rattenversuchen, dass tierisches und menschliches Verhalten nahezu unbegrenzt konditionierbar ist. Der Behaviorismus wurde in der Folgezeit zur wichtigsten Grundlage linker Pädagogik. Nachdem sich die Eugeniker durch die menschlichen Experimente im Nationalsozialismus diskreditiert hatten, wurden der Boassche Kulturrelativismus und der Behaviorismus nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg zur uneingeschränkten Grundlage aller politischen Entscheidungen.

Die Eugenische Bewegung löste sich selbst auf, ihre Fachzeitschriften benannten sich um oder befassten sich nicht mehr mit dem Thema. Der einzige Wissenschaftler, der sich weiterhin mit eugenischen Maßnahmen auseinandersetzt, ist der nordirische Psychologe Richard Lynn. Die einzige noch verbliebene Fachzeitschrift ist das Mankind Quarterly. Eugenische Maßnahmen finden heute auf freiwilliger Basis auf Zypern und unter orthodoxen Juden in Israel statt.

Neuere Erkenntnisse zur Erblichkeit von Intelligenz

In den 1960er– und 70er-​Jahren gab es wieder eine engagierte Fraktion von Forschern, welche die Erblichkeit von Intelligenz für gegeben hielt. Sie stützten sich dabei auf Zwillings-​und Adaptionsstudien. Danach nähern sich eineiige Zwillinge, die ein völlig gleiches Erbgut haben, in ihrer Intelligenz stark an, auch wenn sie in unterschiedlichen Milieus aufgewachsen sind. Häufig haben sie auch die gleichen Verhaltensauffälligkeiten. In den Adaptionsstudien wurde herausgefunden, dass adoptierte Kinder in Intelligenztests ähnlich den biologischen Eltern abschneiden und nicht ähnlich zu der neuen Familie, in der sie aufgewachsen sind.

Zu dieser Fraktion gehören weitgehend prominente angloamerikanische Psychologen wie Hans Jürgen Eysenck, Richard Herrnstein, Arthur Jensen und Cyril Burt. Als sie in ihren Studien auch den geringen Intelligenzquotienten der afroamerikanischen Bevölkerung thematisierten, sahen sie sich der vehementen Kritik durch Anhänger der Milieutheorie ausgesetzt.

Jede Zeit hat ihre Wissenschaftstrends

Derzeit geht man von einer Erblichkeit der Intelligenz von etwa 80 Prozent aus. Der Rest wird durch das Umfeld geprägt. Einem völligen Determinismus wird also nicht mehr das Wort geredet. Die deutschen Übersetzungen der Bücher von Eysenck, Herrnstein, Jensen und Burt fanden auch die Unterstützung des damaligen Leiters des Wissenschaftsressorts der Zeit Dieter Zimmer. Auch die Ergebnisse des Behaviorismus sind durch die Ethologie von Konrad Lorenz und die Humanethologie von Irenäus Eibl-​Eibesfeldt stark eingeschränkt worden.

Dennoch sieht Vonderach nach wie vor ein starkes Überwiegen der Milieutheorie in der westlichen Politik. Alle Parteien gehen in ihren politischen Überlegungen durchgängig von der Milieutheorie aus und nicht von der Erblichkeit wesentlicher Faktoren, die für den Sozialerfolg wichtig sind. Grundsätzlich ist Vonderachs Buch sehr informativ und gut zu lesen. Man merkt an allen Stellen, dass der Autor von der Materie reichhaltige Kenntnisse besitzt. Jedoch behandelt er die einzelnen Teilgebiete an manchen Stellen zu knapp und stellt den Stoff dann auf zu wenigen Seiten dar. Der Fairness halber muss hier noch angesprochen werden, dass Vonderach im Anhang eine ausführliche kommentierte Bibliographie zu den einzelnen Kapiteln beigefügt und somit eine Grundlage gelegt hat, auf der gezieltes Weiterlesen möglich ist.

Andreas Vonderach: Sozialbiologie: Geschichte und Ergebnisse. 221 Seiten, Verein für Staatspolitik 2012. 15,00 Euro.

mardi, 04 mars 2014

Se descubre el origen europeo de los perros

chiens.jpg

Se descubre el origen europeo de los perros

por Juan Ritamo

Ex: http://eloccidental.es

Según un reciente estudio publicado en la revista Science el origen de los perros está en Europa, y no en Asia, como se pensaba hasta ahora. De esta manera sugiere que los primeros en domesticar lobos fueron los cazadores recolectores europeos hace entre 18.800 y 32.100 años.

El estudio analiza el ADN mitocondrial de 18 cánidos prehistóricos de Eurasia y América, hallados en yacimientos y cuevas de Bélgica, Rusia, Suiza, Estados Unidos, Alaska, Argentina y Alemania, y lo compara con un exhaustivo muestrario de perros de muy diversas razas, lobos y coyotes modernos

“Hemos visto que los perros actuales están estrechamente emparentados con los cánidos prehistóricos europeos. Y ese parentesco es mayor que el que existe entre los cánidos prehistóricos europeos y los lobos asiáticos, lo que sugiere que el origen de los perros está en la domesticación de lobos de Europa y no de Asia”, explica la investigadora del CSIC Jennifer Leonard, de la Estación Biológica de Doñana.

Este informe no viene sino a confirmar la larga y estrecha vinculación de estos animales con la etnia Europea. Los “mejores amigos del hombre” han convivido con los humanos en muy diversas situaciones. En varias etnias de la América precolombina y como aún ocurre en Oriente los perros han sido usados como alimento, mientras que en Oriente Medio son considerados como impuros al ser asociados a los chacales. 

 

00:05 Publié dans Sciences | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : chiens, canidés, zoologie, sciences, biologie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

dimanche, 07 avril 2013

Scientific American über die Realität von Rassen

Scientific American über die Realität von Rassen

By Michael Polignano

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

 Übersetzt von Deep Roots

English original here

[Scientific American, dessen Titelseite oben zu sehen ist, ist übrigens das amerikanische Mutterschiff der deutschen Ausgabe „Spektrum der Wissenschaft“, in der neben deutschen Beiträgen auch Übersetzungen aus Scientific American mit ein bis zwei Monaten Verzögerung erscheinen.]

Anmerkung des Herausgebers [Greg Johnson]:

Dieser Essay stammt aus Michael Polignanos Buch „Taking Our Own Side“, das hier [3] als Hardcover, Paperback und PDF erhältlich ist. [Anm. d. Ü.: Dieses Buch kann ich sehr empfehlen – ich habe es auch.]

Finnische Übersetzung hier [4].

16. Dezember 2003

Das wissenschaftliche Studium der Rassen befindet sich an einem Scheideweg. Durch die Kartierung des menschlichen Genoms wissen die Wissenschaftler mehr über Rasse und Rassenunterschiede als je zuvor. Aber da die Gesellschaft immer mehr in die Lüge von der Rassengleichheit investiert, wird es für Wissenschaftler immer schwerer, diese Wahrheiten auszusprechen. Außerdem haben egalitäre Spin-Doctors in einem verzweifelten Versuch, die schlimmen politischen Konsequenzen der rassischen Wahrheit abzuwenden, eine große Menge Desinformation über die kürzlichen genetischen Entdeckungen verbreitet.

Man sagt uns zum Beispiel, daß die Unterschiede zwischen den Rassen vom genetischen Standpunkt aus vernachlässigbar sind, eine Sache von bloß ein paar Genen. Daher sollen wir schlußfolgern, daß Rassenunterschiede vernachlässigbar sind, Punkt. Rassenunterschiede, sagt man uns, sollten überhaupt keine praktischen Implikationen haben.

Aber das ist genauso absurd, wie wenn man argumentieren würde, daß es – nachdem feste Objekte aus dem Blickwinkel der subatomaren Physik großteils leerer Raum sind – bloß reines Vorurteil ist, daß wir lieber auf einer Straße fahren statt über eine Klippe.

Die Wahrheit ist: aus kleinen genetischen Unterschieden erwachsen große physische, spirituelle, kulturelle und politische Unterschiede. Falls die Genetiker diese Unterschiede nicht sehen können, dann suchen sie vielleicht an der falschen Stelle.

Man sagt uns auch routinemäßig, daß es eine größere genetische Variationsbreite innerhalb der Rassen gibt als zwischen ihnen. Es kann einen Unterschied von 100 IQ-Punkten geben zwischen einer extrem klugen und einer extrem dummen weißen Person. Aber es gibt nur 30 Punkte Unterschied zwischen dem Durchschnitt der Weißen und dem der Schwarzen. Daher, sollen wir schlußfolgern, sollten wir uns nur mit Individuen befassen und die Gruppendurchschnitte ignorieren.

Das Problem bei diesem Argument ist, daß Gesellschaften nicht aus isolierten Individuen bestehen, denn Individuen sind Bestandteile und Produkte von Fortpflanzungspopulationen. Fortpflanzungspopulationen, die über einen langen Zeitraum isoliert und unterschiedlichen Umweltbedingungen ausgesetzt waren, werden zu verschiedenen Rassen.

Und wenn die durchschnittliche Intelligenz – oder irgendeine andere wichtige Eigenschaft – zweier Fortpflanzungspopulationen, die dasselbe geographische Gebiet teilen, sich dramatisch unterscheidet, dann muß es zu Konflikten kommen. Die überlegene Gruppe wird sich unvermeidlicherweise über den hemmenden Effekt der unterlegenen ärgern, und die unterlegenen Gruppen werden die unmöglichen Standards verübeln, die von der überlegenen aufgezwungen werden.

Aber die praktischen Implikationen der rassischen Wahrheit sind schwer zu leugnen, und die Wahrheit sickert durch, manchmal an unwahrscheinlichen Stellen. Ein Beispielsfall ist der Titelartikel der Ausgabe Dezember 2003 von Scientific American, das trotz seines Titels üblicherweise so politkorrekt ist wie jedes Nachrichten- oder Unterhaltungsmagazin. Die Titelseite zeigt sechs weibliche Gesichter, die verschiedenen Rassen anzugehören scheinen, zusammen mit dem Bildtext: „Does Race Exist? Science Has the Answer: Genetic Results May Surprise You.“ [„Gibt es Rassen? Die Wissenschaft hat die Antwort: Genetische Resultate könnten Sie überraschen.“] Im Inhaltsverzeichnis lesen wir: „Gibt es Rassen? Vom rein genetischen Standpunkt, nein. Trotzdem können genetische Informationen über die Abstammung von Individuen manchmal medizinisch relevant sein.“

Das hat meine Aufmerksamkeit geweckt. Wenn Rasse medizinisch relevant ist, warum ist sie dann nicht genauso auch psychologisch relevant, kulturell relevant, moralisch relevant und politisch relevant? Und wenn die Wissenschaft von der Genetik solche drängend relevanten Unterscheidungen als unreal oder winzig betrachtet, ist dann nicht etwas faul an der genetischen Wissenschaft oder an unserer Interpretation und Anwendung ihrer Befunde?

Die Autoren des Artikels, Michael Bamshad und Steve Olson, argumentieren, daß „Menschen unter Verwendung genetischer Daten grob in Gruppen sortiert werden können.“ Diese Gruppen scheinen weiters geographisch getrennt zu sein – zumindest vor den massiven Bevölkerungsverschiebungen der Moderne. Nun ist dies ein riesiges Eingeständnis, denn die Existenz genetisch verschiedener Menschengruppen ist gewiß ein Teil dessen, was mit „Rasse“ gemeint ist, und genau das, was von jenen verleugnet wird, die behaupten, daß Rasse bloß ein „Sozialkonstrukt“ ist.

Die Basis für die Behauptung, daß Rassen „vom rein genetischen Standpunkt aus“ nicht existieren, ist der Konflikt zwischen genetischen Klassifizierungen und traditionellen rassischen Kategorien. Solche Kategorien beruhen nicht auf einer Analyse der Gene (Genotyp), sondern auf dem sichtbaren Ausdruck dieser Gene (Phänotyp). Dies mag stimmen, aber es beweist nicht, daß „Rasse nicht existiert“. Es beweist nur, daß es einen Konflikt zwischen genotypischen und phänotypischen Rassedefinitionen gibt.

Zum Beispiel merken die Autoren an, daß sub-saharische Afrikaner und australische Aborigines ähnlich aussehen und sich ähnlich verhalten, daß aber genetische Marker anzeigen, daß sich ihre Vorfahren vor langer Zeit getrennt haben. Aber der Konflikt zwischen den Klassifikationsschemen ist eher real als scheinbar, denn Australoide und Negroide sehen sich nur für das ungeschulte Auge ähnlich. Jeder, der Mitglieder der beiden Gruppen miteinander vergleicht, wird leicht die Unterschiede sehen, und mit ausreichend Erfahrung ist es buchstäblich unmöglich, sie miteinander zu verwechseln.

Die Autoren merken auch an, daß die sozialen Rassedefinitionen von Region zu Region variieren: „jemand, der in den Vereinigten Staaten als ‚schwarz’ klassifiziert wird… könnte in Brasilien als ‚weiß’ betrachtet werden und als ‚farbig’… in Südafrika.“ Aber dies ist ebenfalls ein Versuch, die Unterscheidung nach Phänotyp zu diskreditieren, indem man nur auf ihre gröbsten Formen verweist. Jedoch können phänotypische Klassifizierungsschemen in Gesellschaften mit einem großen Maß an Rassenvermischung recht komplex sein, um die Komplexitäten der zugrundeliegenden Genotypen wiederzugeben:

Die frühen französischen Kolonisten in Saint-Domingue [heute: Haiti] identifizierten 128 unterschiedliche Rassentypen, die recht präzise nach einer mathematischen Skala definiert wurden, welche durch einfache Berechnungen der Abstammungsanteile bestimmt wurde. Sie reichten vom „wahren“ Mulatten (halb weiß, halb schwarz) durch das Spektrum von marabou, sacatra, quarterón bis hin zum sang-mêlé (Mischblut: 127 Teile weiß und ein Teil schwarz)… Die Soziologin Micheline Labelle hat 22 rassische Hauptkategorien und 98 Unterkategorien gezählt (für variierende Haartypen, Gesichtsstrukturen, Farbe und andere Unterscheidungsfaktoren), die in den 1970ern unter Haitis Mittelklasse in Port-au-Prince verwendet wurden. Innerhalb jeder Kategorie waren die Worte oft genauso einfallsreich, wie sie beschreibend waren: café au lait („Milchkaffe“), bonbon siro („Zuckersirup“), ti canel („ein wenig Zimt“), ravet blanch („weißer Kakerlak“), soley levan („aufgehende Sonne“), banane mûre („reife Banane“), brun pistache („erdnußbraun“), mulâtre dix-huit carats („18karätiger Mulatte“)… [1]

Ein tieferes Problem mit der Betonung des Genotyps durch die Autoren ist, daß, auch wenn unterschiedliche Genotypen zu ähnlichen Phänotypen führen können – die Natur kann verschiedene Mittel einsetzen, um dasselbe Ziel zu erreichen – die Kräfte der Evolution sich keinen Deut um spezifische Genotypen scherten, sie „scherten“ sich nur darum, wie sich jene Genotypen in einem Individuum ausdrückten. Daher ist der Phänotyp vom praktischen Gesichtspunkt aus wichtiger als der Genotyp.

Die Autoren geben jedoch zu, daß phänotypische Rassenkategorien gut funktionieren, um Gruppen nach ihrer Neigung zu gewissen Krankheiten zu unterteilen, wie Sichelzellenanämie (am häufigsten unter Afrikanern) und zystische Fibrose (am häufigsten unter Europäern). Die Allele für Sichelzellenanämie und zystische Fibrose nahmen an Häufigkeit zu, weil ihre Träger (d. h. jene mit einer Kopie vom Vater oder der Mutter; zwei Kopien sind für die Krankheit nötig) gegenüber parasitischen Mikroorganismen resistent waren, die jeweils in Afrika und Europa vorkommen. Ein weiteres Beispiel ist, daß bewiesen wurde, daß derselbe Polymorphismus im CCR5-Gen den Krankheitsverlauf von AIDS bei Weißen bremst, aber bei Schwarzen beschleunigt.

Wegen der zunehmenden genetischen Beweise für die medizinische Relevanz von Rasse hat die US Food and Drug Administration der unvermeidlichen Kontroverse getrotzt und im Januar 2003 empfohlen, daß Forscher bei klinischen Versuchen Rassedaten sammeln.

Daher die extrem vorsichtige Schlußfolgerung der Autoren: „In Fällen, wo die Zugehörigkeit zu einer geographisch oder kulturell definierten Gruppe mit gesundheitsbezogenen genetischen Merkmalen korreliert worden ist, könnte es wichtig sein, etwas über die Gruppenzugehörigkeit eines Individuums zu wissen.“

Dies ist ein weiteres riesiges Eingeständnis. Denn wenn rassische Unterschiede medizinisch relevant sind, warum sind sie dann nicht genauso auch kulturell, sozial und politisch relevant? Zum Beispiel bedeutet die Tatsache, daß Neger im Durchschnitt mehr Testosteron produzieren als andere Rassen, daß schwarze Männer ein höheres Risiko für Prostatakrebs haben. Aber höhere Testosteronproduktion bedeutet auch, daß schwarze Männer mehr zu aggressivem Verhalten neigen. Wenn also Ärzte schwarze Männer rassisch profilieren sollten, warum sollten das dann nicht auch Polizisten tun?

Verglichen mit Weißen, haben Schwarze auch einen niedrigeren IQ und ein niedrigeres Empathieniveau, ein schwächeres Gefühl für persönliche Leistungsfähigkeit und Verantwortung, eine größere Neigung zu Soziopathie und Psychosen, weniger Verhaltenshemmungen, größere Impulsivität, höhere sexuelle Aktivität und geringere elterliche Investition etc. Sicherlich haben diese rassischen Unterschiede ebenfalls wichtige praktische Implikationen.

Wenn man die nervösen Einschränkungen und vorsichtigen Wortklaubereien der Autoren wegschnippelt, dann gibt „Does Race Exist?“ zu, daß es eine genetische Basis für Rassenunterschiede gibt und daß diese Unterschiede praktische Bedeutung haben. Dies ist ein ermutigendes Zeichen im heutigen Klima der ideologischen Rassenverleugnung™. Offen gesagt ist es bemerkenswert, daß es überhaupt in Scientific American veröffentlicht wurde.

Eine Erklärung dafür, daß es veröffentlicht wurde, könnte man im Leitartikel „Racing to Conclusions“ von John Rennie und Ricki Rusting finden. Sie beginnen damit, daß sie das Scheitern von Proposition 54 in Erinnerung rufen, der kürzlichen kalifornischen Wählerinitiative, die der Regierung auf vielen Gebieten verboten hätte, rassische Daten zu sammeln. Obwohl Proposition 54 die Sammlung rassischer Daten für Gesundheitszwecke ausdrücklich erlaubte, behaupteten viele Ärzte und medizinische Gruppen, daß die Maßnahme Bemühungen behindern würde, Krankheiten nachzuverfolgen und zu behandeln, die sich auf verschiedene Rassen unterschiedlich auswirken. Die Redakteure stellen diese düsteren Prophezeiungen in Frage, nicht weil Proposition 54 ihre Besorgnisse zerstreut hätte, sondern weil sie den Artikel von Bamshad/Olson mißverstanden und fälschlicherweise behaupten, daß seine Autoren fest gegen die Verwendung rassischer Klassifizierung in der Medizin seien. Man fragt sich, ob der Artikel in Druck gegangen wäre, wenn die Redakteure ihn verstanden hätten!

Die Redakteure zitieren die Schwierigkeiten rassischer Klassifizierung, besonders der Klassifizierung gemischtrassiger Individuen. Dann beklagen sie, daß „Rasse in der Forschung als Surrogat für genetische Unterschiede“ benutzt wird, als ob die Korrelation zwischen den beiden bedeutungslos wäre. Sie verweisen auf die Empfehlung der FDA und zitieren J. Craig Venters Bemerkung: „Die selbstzugeschriebene Rasse als Surrogat dafür zu verwenden, eine Person direkt auf ein relevantes Merkmal zu testen, ist ähnlich, als würde man das Durchschnittsgewicht einer Gruppe aufzeichnen, statt jedes Individuum zu wiegen.“

Natürlich kann man von Venter erwarten, daß er gegen rassische Klassifizierungen in der Medizin ist. Damit ist er nicht nur politisch korrekt, sondern nimmt auch eine Position ein, von der er beträchtlich profitieren könnte, nachdem seine Firma Celera die erste war, die das menschliche Genom sequenziert hat und wahrscheinlich die erste wäre, die das individuelle Gensquenzieren massenmarktfähig machen würde.

Die Redakteure lassen jede Erwähnung der Vorteile rassischer Klassifizierung in der Medizin weg. Wer den Hauptartikel nicht liest, würde unrichtigerweise schlußfolgern, daß Rasse in der Medizin keine Verwendung hat. Noch ein Beispiel dafür wie die Medien die Wahrheit verdrehen und verzerren. Zum Glück kann jeder, der den Artikel liest, die Verdrehung durchschauen. Wenn solch eine Geschichte jedoch von den Breitenmedien gebracht würde, dann könnten Sie sicher sein, daß die Verdrehung alles ist, was das Publikum bekommen würde.

Das Titelbild riecht ebenfalls nach politisch korrekter Rassenverleugnung™. Die Bilder von sechs attraktiven Frauengesichtern aus scheinbar verschiedenen Rassen wurden von Nancy Burson unter Verwendung eines Morphing-Programms geschaffen, das dazu bestimmt ist, verschiedene Rassenmerkmale zu simulieren. Nur die blonde, blauäugige Frau ist echt. Die anderen Bilder wurden durch Abänderung ihres Bildes geschaffen. Aber man kann sehen, daß die darunterliegende Knochenstruktur, Lippen und Nase der Frau unverändert bleiben, obwohl diese zwischen den Rassen beträchtlich variieren. Nur Hautfarbe, Augenfarbe und Haarfarbe scheinen zu variieren. Die offensichtliche Botschaft des Fotos ist, daß Rasse nur eben bis unter die Haut geht. Die Welt besteht bloß aus Weißen mit unterschiedlichen Farbschattierungen. Was kann das schon schaden?

[5]

LionAndLamb.png

 

Das erinnert mich an ein Bild in einem Bilderbuch, das ich als Kind gesehen habe, wo Löwen sich an Lämmer kuscheln und Wölfe mit Schafen tanzen, wo allein die äußerliche Erscheinung Tiere unterscheidet, die ansonsten tief drinnen alle gleich sind und daher in der Lage, in Glück und Harmonie zu leben.

Anscheinend hängen manche Erwachsene immer noch solchem Wunschdenken an.

Source: http://fjordman.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/scientific-american-uber-die-realitat-von-rassen/ [6]


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/06/scientific-american-uber-die-realitat-von-rassen/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/ScientificAmericanRace.jpg

[2] here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/05/scientific-american-on-the-reality-of-race/

[3] hier: http://www.counter-currents.com../2010/12/taking-our-own-side-paperback/

[4] hier: http://www.counter-currents.com../2011/05/scientific-american-rodun-todellisuudesta/

[5] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/LionAndLamb.png

[6] http://fjordman.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/scientific-american-uber-die-realitat-von-rassen/: http://fjordman.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/scientific-american-uber-die-realitat-von-rassen/

vendredi, 15 juillet 2011

History and Biology

History & Biology

By Revilo Oliver

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

American Opinion, December 1963 (part 4 of 4 of History and the Historians)

teinture-cheveux-grossesse.jpgHistory is the record of what men do. Scientific discoveries and technological applications of them are often events of historical importance, but do not affect our understanding of the historical process since they shed no light on the behavior of men in civilized societies.

For example, the recent use of atomic fission to produce a more powerful explosive has no significance for a philosophy of history. Like the many changes in the technology of war that have occurred throughout history, this one will call for changes in tactics and strategy, alters to some extent the balance of power in the world, and may well occasion the fall and extinction of a world power so fat-headed that it does not understand the importance of technological superiority in warfare. But all this is merely history repeating itself. It is true that the improved weapons set bands of addle-pated neurotics throughout the country shrieking as wildly as a tribe of banshees out on a week-end spree; but that is merely another instance of the rather puzzling phenomenon of mass hysteria. It is also true that Communist agents have been scurrying about the country to brandish the phrase “nuclear holocaust” as a kind of up-to-date Jack-o’-Lantern to scare children. But while it is the historian’s task to understand the International Conspiracy in the light of such partial precedents as are available, the new weapon will not help him in that. He will merely marvel that a large part of our population is not only ignorant of history in general, but evidently has not read even the Old Testament, from which it would have learned that atomic bombs, as instruments of extermination, are much less efficient that a tribe of Israelites armed with the simplest weapons (see Joshua vi. 20 et passim).

As an exception to the general rule, however, our century has brought one new area of knowledge in the natural sciences that must profoundly affect our understanding of history both past and present–that is as relevant to the rise and fall of the Mitanni and the Hittites as it is to our future. Distressingly enough, the new science of genetics raises for the historian many more questions than it answers, but it discloses the existence of a force that must be taken into account in any philosophy of history.

Multiplex Man

Civilized human beings have long been puzzled by the mysterious diversity of human beings. It is possible, indeed, that mystery was part of the process by which some people were able to rise from barbarism to civilization. The perception requires mental powers that are by no means universal. The aborigines of Australia, for example, who are probably the lowest from of human life still extant, have a consciousness so dim and rudimentary that they multiplied on that continent for fifty thousand years without ever suspecting that sexual intercourse had anything to do with reproduction. Most savages, to be sure, are somewhat above that level, but no tribe appears to have been aware of its own diversity, let alone capable of thinking about it.

Human beings capable of reflective thought, however, must have begun early to marvel, as we still do, at the great differences obvious among the offspring of one man by one woman. Of two brothers, one may be tall and the other short; one stolid and the other alert; one seemingly born with a talent for mathematics and the other with a love of music.

Many were the theories that men excogitated to explain so strange a phenomenon. One of the principal grounds for the once widespread and persistent belief in astrology was the possibility of explaining the differences between two brothers by noting that, although engendered by the same parents, they were conceived and born under different configurations of the planets. In the Seventeenth Century, indeed, Campanella, whose plan for a Welfare State is the source of many of our modern “Liberal” crotchets and crazes, devised a whole system of eugenics to be enforced by bureaucrats who would see to it that human beings were engendered only at moments fixed by expert astrologers.

Again, the doctrine of metempsychosis, once almost universally held over a wide belt of the earth from India to Scandinavia, seemed to be confirmed by the same observations; for the differences between brothers were understandable, if their bodies were animated by souls that had had far different experiences in earlier incarnations.

There were also some theoretical explanations, such as the one that you may remember having read in the stately verse of Lucretius, that were sound bases for scientific inquiry, but they were not followed up. Until the last third of the Nineteenth Century, men learned nothing of the basic laws of heredity. Darwin’s knowledge of the subject was no better than Aristotle’s, and Galton’s enthusiasm for eugenics was no more firmly founded than was Plato’s. It remained for a humble and too modest priest, Father Johann Gregor Mendel, to make one of the most important scientific discoveries ever made by man.

Father Mendel’s Versuche über Pflanzen hybriden was published in 1886, but the famous professors in the great universities could not take a mere priest seriously–certainly not a priest so impudent as to contradict Darwin–and so they went on for decades pawing over problems that father Mendel had made obsolete as the epicycles of Ptolemaic astronomy. He was simply ignored and forgotten until 1900, when three distinguished biologists discovered independently and almost simultaneously some of the laws that he had ascertained and formulated.

It required some time for systematic study of genetics to get under way, and research has been greatly impeded by two catastrophic World Wars and by the obscurantism of Communists and “Liberal intellectuals.”

In Russia and other territories controlled by the Conspiracy, Marx’s idiotic mumbo-jumbo is official doctrine and the study of genetics is therefore prohibited. There are, however, some indications that research may be going on secretly, and it is even possible that, so far as human genetics are concerned, the knowledge thus obtained may exceed our own; for the Soviet, though usually inept in scientific work, has facilities for experiments that civilized men cannot perform. In the mid-1930′s, for example, there were reports that experiment stations in Asiatic Russia had pens of human women whom the research workers were trying to breed with male apes in the hope of producing a species better adapted to life under Socialism than human beings. It was reported a few years ago that the Soviet is now trying to create subhuman mutations by exposing their human breeding stock to various forms of irradiation. One cannot exclude the possibility that the monsters who conduct such experiments may incidentally find some significant data.

In the United States, the situation differs somewhat from that in Russia. Geneticists are permitted to continue their studies in peace so long as they communicate only with one another and do not disclose to the public facts of which the American boobs must be kept ignorant. Since it requires rare courage to provoke a nest of “Liberal intellectuals” or rattlesnakes, the taboo thus imposed is generally observed.

Grim Genetics

Despite the restraints placed on scientific investigation, and despite the awesome complexity of genetic factors in so complicated a creature as man, it is now virtually certain that all of the physiological structure of human beings, including such details as color of eyes, acuity of vision, stature, susceptibility to specific diseases, and formation of the brain are genetically determined beyond possibility of modification or alteration except by physical injury or chemical damage. Some of the processes involved have been well ascertained; others remain unknown. No one knows, for example, why the introduction of minute quantities of fluorine into drinking water will prevent development of the brain in some children and so roughly double the number of mongolian idiots born in a given area.

It is far more difficult to investigate intellectual capacities, since these must involve a large number of distinct elements, no one of which can be physically observed; but all of the evidence thus far available indicates that intelligence is as completely and unalterable determined by genetic inheritance as physical traits.

Moral qualities are even more elusive than intellectual capacity. There is evidence which makes it seem extremely probable that criminal instincts, at least, are inherited, but beyond this we can only speculate by drawing an analogy between moral and intellectual potentialities.

Many persons find the conclusions thus suggested unpleasant, just as all of us, I am sure, would be much happier if the earth were the immobile center of the universe and the heavens revolved about it. But although vast areas in the new science of genetics remain unexplored, and although the complexity of many problems is such that we cannot hope to know in our lifetime many of the things that we most urgently need to know, the principles of heredity have been determined with a fairly high degree of scientific probability. They are, furthermore, in accord with what common sense has always told us and also with the rational perception of our place in the universe that underlies religion.

We can blind children, but we cannot give them sight. We can stunt their minds in “progressive” schools, but we cannot give them an intelligence they did not inherit at birth. It is likely that we can make criminals of them by putting them (like the somewhat improbable Oliver Twist) in Fagin’s gang or its equivalent, but we cannot induce a moral sense in one who was born without it. We have always known that it is easy for man to destroy what he can never create.

One Certainty

The Mendelian laws and hence the finding that human beings, physically and intellectually, at least, are absolutely limited to the potentialities they have inherited — which may be impaired by external action but cannot be increased — are the accepted basis of all serious biological study today. From the standpoint of scientific opinion, to deny heredity is about equivalent to insisting that the earth is flat or that tadpoles spring from the hair of horses.

The point is worth noting, for even if you choose to reject the findings of genetics, that science will enable you to demonstrate one very important truth.

Our “liberal intellectuals,” who have done all in their power to deride, defile, and destroy all religion, are now sidling about us with hypocritical whimpers that the facts of genetics ain’t “Christian.” This argument does work with those whose religion is based on the strange faith that God wouldn’t have dared to create a universe without consulting their wishes. But if you inquire of the “intellectual,” as though you did not know, concerning scientific evidence in these matters, the chances are that he will assure you, with a very straight face, that he is, as always, the Voice of Science. Thus you will know that he still is what he has always been: a sneak and a liar.

The Warp of Culture

Given the facts that all men are born unequal; that the inequality, apparent even among children of the same parents, increases with differences in genetic strains; that civilization, by the very fact of social organization and the variety of human activity thus made possible, accentuates such differences; and that the continuity of a culture depends on a more or less instinctive acceptance of the common values of that culture — given those facts, it becomes clear that historians who try to account for the rise and fall of civilizations by describing political, economic, philosophic, and religious changes without reference to genetic changes in the population are simply excluding what must have been a very important factor, however little we may be able to measure it in the past or the present.

Whatever should be true of statutory and often ephemeral enactments in human jurisprudence, it is undoubtedly true of all the laws of nature that ignorance of the law excuses no-one from the consequences of violating it. And it may be unjust, as it is certainly exasperating, that we must often act with only a partial and inaccurate knowledge of such laws. But that is a condition of life. Societies are like individuals in that they must make decisions as best they can on the basis of such information as is available to them. You may have stock in a corporation whose future you may find it very difficult to estimate, but you must decide either (a) to sell, or (b) to buy more, or (c) to hold what you have. What you cannot do is nothing.

The scope of genetic forces in the continuity of a civilization, and, more particularly, of Western civilization, and, especially, of that civilization in the United States was illustrated by one of the most brilliant of American writers, Dr. Lothrop Stoddard, in The Revolt Against Civilization (Scribner’s, New York, 1922). The book was out of print for many years, for our “liberal intellectuals” promptly decided that the subject was one that American boobs should not be permitted to think about, and accordingly shovelled their malodorous muck on both book and author, in the hope of burying both forever. Copies of it disappeared from many libraries, and the book became hard to find on the secondhand market (I obtained my copy from a dealer in Italy).

I commend The Revolt Against Civilization, not as a revelation of ultimate truth, but as a cogent and illuminating discussion of some very grim problems that we must face, if we intend to have a future. The book, you must remember, was written when problems in genetics seemed much simpler than they do now in the light of later research, and when Americans felt a confidence and an optimism that we of a later generation can scarcely reconstruct in imagination. Some parts of the book will seem quaint and old-fashioned. Dr. Stoddard assumes, for example, that the graduates of Harvard are a group intellectually and morally above the average: That probably was true when he was an undergraduate and when he took his doctorate; he did not foresee what loathesome and reptilian creatures would slither out of Harvard to infest the Dismal Swamp in Washington. And when he urged complete toleration of Communist talk (as distinct from violence), he was thinking of soap-box oratory in Bug-House Square and the shrill chatter of parlor-pinks over their teacups; he did not foresee penetration and capture of schools, churches, newspapers, and political organizations by criminals who disseminate Communist propaganda perfunctorily disguised as “progressive education,” “social gospel,” and “economic democracy.”

But the book remains timely. What were sins of omission in 1922, when we were, with feckless euphoria, repeating the blunders that destroyed past civilization, are now sins of commission, committed with deliberate and malicious calculation by the enemies whom we have given power over us. And we should especially perpend Dr. Stoddard’s distinction between the ignorant or overly-emotional persons who “blindly take Bolshevism’s false promises at their face value,” and the real Bolshevik, who “are mostly born and not made.” That dictum is as unimpeachable as the poeta nascitur, non fit, that it echoes.

The Optimistic Pessimist

Since Stoddard wrote, the horizons have darkened around us. A recent and stimulating book is Dr. Elmer Pendell’s The Next Civilization. The title may remind you of an article that Arthur Koestler published in the New York Times on November 7, 1943 — an article whose bleak pessimism startled all but the very few readers who were in a position to surmise, form the hints which Koestler was able to smuggle into the pages of the Times, that he, an ex-Communist, was able to estimate the extent to which the Communist Conspiracy had already taken control of the government of the United States. Koestler, stating flatly that we would soon be engulfed in a Dark Age of barbarism and indescribable horror, called for the establishment of monasteries that, like the monasteries of the early Middle Ages, would preserve some part of human culture as seed for a new Renaissance in some distant future. Dr. Pendell, although he does not entirely deny us hope for ourselves, is primarily concerned with preserving the better part of our genetic heritage as seed for a future civilization that may have the intelligence to avoid the follies by which we are decreeing our own doom.

Dr. Pendell very quickly reviews the historical theories of Brook Adams, Spengler, Toynbee, and others to show that they all disregard the fact that decline in a civilization is always accompanied by a change in the composition, and deterioration in the quality, of the population.

We know that such changes took place in every civilization of which we have record. The majority of Roman citizens in 100 A.D. were not related at all to the Roman citizens in 100 B.C. We know that the great Roman families died out from sheer failure to have enough children to reproduce themselves, and we have reason to believe that all classes of responsible Romans, regardless of social or economic position, followed the fashion of race suicide.

Since the Romans had the preposterous notion that any person of any race imported from any part of the world could be transformed into a Roman by some magic in the legal phrases by which he was made a Roman citizen, the children that the Romans did not have were replaced by a mass of very diverse origins. Some of the importations undoubtedly brought with them fresh vigor and talent; some were incapable of assimilating civilization at all and could only imitate its outer forms without understanding its meaning; and some, while by no mens inferior in intelligence and energy, had a temperament which, although eminently suited to some other civilization, was incompatible with the Roman. For some estimates of the deterioration of the population of the empire that the Romans founded, see the late Tenny Frank’s History of Rome (Holt, New York) and Martin P. Nilsson’s Imperial Rome (Schocken, New York).

When Dr. Stoddard wrote, we were merely behaving as thoughtlessly as the Romans: Carpe diem and let tomorrow take care of itself. But now, as Dr. Pendell hints and could have stated more emphatically, the power of government over us is being used, with a consistency and efficiency that must be intentional, to accelerate our deterioration and hasten our disappearance as a people by every means short of mass massacre that geneticists could suggest. To mention but one small example, many states now pick the pockets of their taxpayers to subsidize and promote the breeding of bastards, who, with only negligible exceptions, are the product of the lowest dregs of our population, the morally irresponsible and mentally feeble. An attorney informs me that in his state and others the rewards for such activity are so low that a female of this species has to produce about a dozen bastards before it can afford a Cadillac, and will have to go on producing to take care of the maintenance. Intensive breeding is therefore going on, and the legislation that was designed to stimulate it may therefore be said to be highly successful.

The United States is now engaged in an insane, but terribly effective, effort to destroy the American people and Western civilization by subsidizing, both at home and abroad, the breeding of the intellectually, physically, and morally unfit; while at the same time inhibiting, by taxation and in many other ways, the reproduction of the valuable parts of the population — those with the stamina and the will to bear the burden of high civilization. We, in our fatuity, but under the control of persons who must know that they are doing, are working to create a future in which our children, if we have any, will curse us for having given them birth.

When Dr. Pendell tells us what we must do, if we are to survive or even if we limit ourselves to the more modest hope that human civilization may survive on our planet, is to reverse the process — to encourage the reproduction of the superior stock and to check the multiplication of the inferior — he is unquestionably right. He may also be right when he urges that we must do more than desist from interfering with nature for the purpose of producing biological deterioration — that we must, instead, interfere with nature to ameliorate and improve our race. But here, I fear, Dr. Pendell, although he almost despairs of our civilization and looks to the next one, is yet too optimistic. There are two practical difficulties.

Our Coup d’Etat

Dr. Pendell proposes voluntary eugenic associations and “heredity corporations,” which, no doubt, would help a little, as he argues, but which, as he is aware, would not have much more effect than a few buckets of water thrown into the crater of Mauna Loa. At this late date, to accomplish much for ourselves or even for our putative successors, we must use at least the taxing power of government, if not its powers of physical coercion, to induce or compel the superior to have children and to prevent the inferior from proliferating. So here enters on the stage that most unlovely product of human evolution, the bureaucrat, whom we shall need to apply whatever rules we may devise. And –if you can stand a moment of sheer nightmare, dear reader — imagine, just for five seconds or so, what mankind would be like, if the power to decide who was or was not to have children fell into the hands of a Senator Fulbright, a Walt Rostow, and Adam Yarmolinsky, a Jack Kennedy, or a Jack The Ripper.

For that dilemma, of course, there is an obvious solution — but, so far as I can see, only one. You, my dear reader, Dr. Pendell, and I must form a triumvirate and seize absolute power over the United States. Unfortunately, I can’t at the moment think of a way of carrying out our coup d’etat, but let’s leave such details until later. Assume that we have that power, which we, certainly, are determined to use wisely and well. What shall we do with it?

Dr. Pendell is certainly right. We must breed for brain-power: We must see to it that the most intelligent men and women mate with one another and have many children. And we can identify the intelligent by testing their “I.Q.” and by their grades in honest college courses (as distinguished from the childish or fraudulent drivel that forms so large a part of the college curriculum today).

Let us not digress from the subject by questioning the relative validity of the various tests used to determine an “intelligence quotient.” And we shall ignore the exceptions which, as every teacher knows, sometimes make the most conscientious grading misleading. Father Mendel, to whom we owe the greatest discovery ever made in biology, failed to pass the examination for a teacher’s license in that field. A.E. Houseman, one of the greatest classical scholars in the world, failed to obtain even second-class honors at Oxford, and was given a mere “pass.” But such exceptions are rare. Let us assume that we can test intelligence infallibly. Is that enough?

It is always helpful to reduce generalizations to specific examples. Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the great English poets; Albert Einstein, although fantastically over-advertised by yellow journalism, was a great mathematician. Both were brilliant men in more than one field of intellectual activity (Shelley is said to have exhibited a considerable talent for chemistry, among other things, and Einstein is said to have done well in courses on the Classics). Both, I am sure, would have placed themselves in the very highest bracket of any intelligence test, and (if so minded) could have been graduated summa cum laude from any college curriculum that you may advise. Both were, in their judgement of social and political problems, virtually morons. Merely a deficiency of practical common sense, you say? Yes, no doubt, but both acted on the basis of that deficiency and used their intellectual powers to exert a highly pernicious influence. One need not underestimate either the beauty of Shelley’s poems or the importance of the two theories of relativity to conclude that the world would be better off, had neither man existed.

But we must go farther than that. It is odd that most of the persons who urge us to foster “superior intellect” and “genius,” whether they recommend eugenics or educational subsidies or other means, simply ignore the phenomenon of the mattoid (see Lothrop Stoddard, op. cit., pp. 102-106, and the article by Max Nordau there cited).

A mattoid is a person possessed of a mentality that is, in the strict sense of the word, unbalanced. He is a Shelley or Einstein tilted just a few more degrees. He exhibits an extremely high talent, often amounting to genius, in one kind of mental activity, such as poetry or mathematics, while the other parts of his mind are depressed to the level of imbecility or insanity. Nordau, who was an acutely observant physician, noted that such unbalanced beings are usually, if not invariably, “full of organic feelings of dislike” and tend to generalize their subjective state of resentment against the civilized world into some cleverly devised pseudo-philosophic or pseudo-aesthetic system that will erode the very foundations of civilized society. Since civilized people necessarily set a high value on intellect, but are apt to venerate “genius” uncritically and without discrimination, the mattoid’s influence can be simply deadly. Nordau, indeed, saw in the activity of mattoids the principal reason why “people [as a whole] lose the power of moral indignation, and accustom themselves to despise it as something banal, unadvanced, and unintelligent.”

Nordau’s explanation may be satisfactory so far as it goes, but moral insanity is not by any means confined to minds that show an extraordinary disproportion among the faculties that can properly be called intellectual and can be measured by such things as intelligence tests, academic records, proficiency in a profession, and outstanding research. The two young degenerates, Loev and Leopold, whose crime shocked the nation some decades ago although the more revolting details could not be reported in the Press, were reputed to be not only among the most brilliant undergraduates ever enroled in the University of Chicago, but to be almost equally proficient in every branch of study. One could cite hundreds of comparable examples.

Most monsters that become notorious have to be highly intelligent to gain and retain power. Lenin and Trotsky must have had very active minds, and the latter, at least, according to persons who knew him, was able on occasion to pass as a cultivated man. Both probably had a very high “I.Q.” All reports from China indicate that Mao Tse-tung is not only extremely astute, but even learned in the Chinese culture that he is zealously extirpating. A few Communists or crypto-Communists who have been put in prominent positions may be mere stooges, but the directors of the Conspiracy and their responsible subordinates must be persons of phenomenally high intelligence.

It is clear that there is in the human species some biological strain of either atavism or degeneracy that manifests itself in a hatred of mankind and a list for evil for its own sake. It produced the Thugs in India and the Bolsheviks in Russia (cf. Louis Zoul, Thugs and Communists, Public Opinion, Long Island City). It appears in such distinguished persons as Giles de Rais, who was second only to the king of France, and in such vulgar specimens as Fritz Haarmann, a homosexual who attracted some attention in Germany in 1924, when it was discovered that for many years he had been disposing of his boy-friends, as soon as he became tired of them, by tearing their throats open with his teeth and then reducing them to sausage, which he sold in a delicatessen. And it animates the many crypto-Communist who hold positions of power or influence in the United States.

It is probable that this appalling viciousness is transmitted by the organic mechanisms of heredity, and although no geneticist would now even speculate about what genes or lack of genes produce such biped terrors, I think it quite likely that the science of genetics, if study and research are permitted to continue, may identify the factors involved eventually — say in two or three hundred years. I know that we most urgently and desperately need to know now. But it will do no good to kick geneticists: The most infinite complexity of human heredity makes it impossible to make such determinations more quickly by the normal techniques of research. (Of course, a brilliant discovery that would transcend those methods is always possible, but we can’t count on it.)

It is quite likely that at the present rate, as eugenicists predict, civilization is going to collapse from sheer lack of brains to carry it on. But it is now collapsing faster and harder from a super-abundance of brains of the wrong kind. Granting that we can test intelligence, we must remember that at or near the top of the list, by any test that we can devise, will be a flock of diabolically ingenious degenerates. And even if we could find a way to identify and eliminate the spawn of Satan, we should still have problems.

What causes genuine “liberal intellectuals”? Many are pure Pragmatists. They have no lust for evil for its own sake; they wouldn’t betray their country or their own parents for less than fifty dollars — and not for that, if they thought they could get more by bargaining. Others are superannuated children who want to go on playing with fairies and pixies, and are ready to kick and bite when disturbed at play; but they have the combination of lachrymose sentimentality and thoughtless cruelty that one so often finds in children before they become capable of the rational morality of adults. But all of our “liberal intellectuals” were graduated from a college of some sort, and many of them, I am sure, have a fairly high “intelligence quotient” by modern tests. I do not claim or suggest that they are the result of hereditary defects; I merely point out that we do not know and have no means of finding out. We can’t be sure of anything except that our society now has as many of those dubious luxuries as it can endure. And yet we are going to encourage them to raise the intellectual level.

Come to think of it, my friends, I guess we’d better postpone our coup d’etat for a couple of centuries.

The Shape of Things to Come

For a neat antithesis to Dr. Pendell’s book and, at the same time, a very significant application of genetics, I suggest Roderick Seidenberg’s Anatomy of the Future (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill; 175 pages). Mr. Seidenberg — I call him that because I haven’t been able to find out whether or not it should be “Dr.” — told us what our future was going to be in an earlier book, Posthistoric Man (same publisher; 256 pages), which, according to the “liberal” reviewers, made him a gigantic “philosopher of history.” In the present volume, however, he has condescended to tell us again and in fewer pages — which may make this one the better bargain.

Mr. Seidenberg, according to Mr. Seidenberg, has surveyed with his eagle eye the whole course of human history and, what is more, the whole course of biological evolution since life first appeared on this planet. That is how he knows about the “ineluctable determinism” that is going to put us in our places.

The Prophet takes his departure from the now familiar phenomenon called the “population explosion” (see American Opinion, April 1960, pp. 33 f.). He says that an increase in the number of human beings automatically increases the “complexity” of society.

Of course, we have been hearing about this “complexity” for years. I am sure that you, poor harried reader, have reflected, every time that you leap into your automobile, how much simpler life would be, if you had to worry about the health of your horses, the condition of your stable, the quality of your oats and hay, the disposition and sobriety of your coachman, the efficiency of your ostlers, and the reliability of the scavengers whom you have hired to keep clean your mews. And I know that whenever you, in Chicago, pick up the telephone to call your aunt in Miami, you remark, with may a bitter oath, how much less complex everything would be, if all that you had to do was find and hire a reliable messenger who would ride express to her house and deliver your hand-written note in a month or so — if he was not waylaid on the road, and if his horse did not break a leg or cast a shoe, and if he did not decide to pause at some bowsing-ken en route for an invigorating touch of delirium tremens. Sure, life’s gettin’ awfully complicated these days; ain’t it a fact?

Well, as we all know, life’s getting complexer every minute ’cause there are more Chinese and Congolese and Sudanese than there were a minute ago; and that means, according to Mr. Seidenberg, that we have just got to become more and more organized by the minute. And the proof of this is that, if you want to resist the ever increasing organization and socialization of society, you have to join some organization, such — I interpolate, for I need not tell you that Mr. Seidenberg would never mention anything so horrid — such as The John Birch Society. The need to join organizations to resist the organization of society proves the point, for, as is obvious, if you in 1776 had wished to resist the rule of George III, you would not have needed to join the patriots of your colony. And if, in 490 B.C., you had wished to resist the Persian invasion of Europe, you would have had no need to join, or cooperate with, your fellow Athenians who marched to Marathon. In those days of greater individualism, you, as an individual, could have stood up alone on your hind legs and stuck out your tongue — and that, presumably, would have scared Darius and his armies right into the middle of the Hellespont. But alas, no more! So, you see, History proves that the day of the individual has passed forever, and the day of Organization has come.

You must not smile, for Mr. Seidenberg is in earnest, and even if he is a bit weak in knowledge of past and present, his projection of the future has seemed cogent not merely to “liberals,” but even to thoughtful readers.

Forward to Irkalla!

Mr. Seidenberg bases his argument on inferences that he draws with apparent logic from three indisputably correct statements about the contemporary world and from a widely accepted biological theory.

1) We have all observed that we are being more and more subjected to a Welfare State, which, with Fabian patience, takes away each year some part of our power to make decisions for ourselves regarding our own lives. It is perfectly obvious that if this process continues for a few more decades (as our masters’ power to take our money to bribe and bamboozle the masses may make inevitable), we shall have lost the right to decide anything at all, and shall have become mere human livestock managed by a ruthless and inhuman bureaucracy at the orders of an even more inhuman master.

2) Our Big Brains agree with Mr. Seidenberg in believing, or pretending to believe, that “the kernel of marxism…consists in elaborating…the social message of Christ.” They assure us, therefore, that it is simply unthinkable that Americans could ever be so wicked as to fight to survive. Thus we have got to be scared or beaten into One World of universal socialism in which, as Walt Rostow, Jack Kennedy, and others now gloatingly and openly tell us, not only our nation but our race must be liquidated and dissolved in a vast and mongrel mass of pullulating bipeds.

3) The number of human beings — anatomically human, at least — is undoubtedly increasing at an appalling rate. The United States is already overpopulated for optimum life, although no critical reduction in our standard of living would be necessary for the better part of a century, if our masters permitted us to remain an independent nation. But our increase is nothing compared to the terrible multiplication of the populations of Asia and Africa, caused, for the most part, by our export to those regions of our medical knowledge, medicines, food, and money. Although we Westerners might stave off a crisis for a few decades by working harder and ever harder to support our betters and to speed up the rate at which they are breeding, it is clear that we (unless we do something unthinkable) must soon be drowned in the flood that we, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, started but did not know how to stop. So, even if we did not have Master Jack and his accomplices or employers to arrange for our liquidation, the sheer multiplication of the human species would produce the same result anyway.

One has but to glance at a graph of the world’s population to see that it is rapidly approaching the point at which the vast human swarm can be kept alive, even on the level of barest animal subsistence, only by the most expert management of every square inch of earth’s arable surface plus expert harvest of the very oceans themselves. In that monstrous human swarm jammed together on our planet, like a swarm of bees hanging from a limb, there can be no privacy, no individuality, no slightest deviation from the routine that must be maintained just to keep alive the maximum number that can subsist at all.

Now the theory of biological evolution, as usually stated, provides that species must adapt themselves to the conditions of survival. Men, having bred themselves into a maximum swarm, become mere units of the species, and will obviously be most efficient when they perform every action of the routine by an automatic reflex. This means that thought and even consciousness will become not only unnecessary but intolerable impediments to the efficient functioning of the human animals. Obviously, the human minds must disappear in order to permit billions of human ants to make the globe an ant-hill in which they can all live in perfect socialism.

That is what “ineluctable determinism” makes ineluctable, but Mr. Seidenberg, who is as adroit in twisting words as any editor of the New York Times, shows you how nice that will be. The Revelations of Freud have shown that we are now just bundles of instincts. Mankind will necessarily evolve to the higher state of what Mr. Seidenberg calls “pure reason.” As he explains, “pure reason” is now found only among the forms of life that are biologically superior to us because better adapted to environment. The examples which he gives are “ants, bees, and termites,” whose “essentially unchanged survival during sixty million years testifies to the perfection of their adjustment…to the conditions of life.” We must strive to become like them — nay, the “ineluctable determinism” inherent in the “population explosion” and the need for a “more advanced society” will make us, willy nilly, just like ants and termites — intellectually and spiritually, that is, for Mr. Seidenberg does not seem to entertain a hope that human beings will ever be able to crawl about on six legs.

In this perfected socialist world there can be no change and hence no history: That is why the perfect man of the near future will be, in Seidenbergian terminology, “post-historic.” Everybody will be happy, because there will be no individuals — only organisms that are part of a species and have no separate consciousness. To see how attractive the inevitable future is, you have only to reflect, dear reader, how much happier you would be, if you were an ant or a cockroach in your basement. You could operate by what Mr. Seidenberg calls “pure reason.” You could not possibly be affected by religion, art, literature, philosophy, science, capitalism, racial discrimination, or any of the other horrid things that will have to be blotted out anyway in the interests of Equality and Social Justice. You could never have a thought to trouble you. You would have no consciousness; hence you would not know that you exist, and would have no organ that could feel pain when somebody steps on you. What more could you want?

If you are so reactionary as to prefer to be conscious, even at the cost of being unhappy from time to time, you may be amused by the similarity of Mr. Seidenberg’s vision of the future to the scene described in one of the oldest of the Babylonian tablets, on which the cuneiform characters represent an oddly sibilant and staccato language: a-na maat la tari kak-ka-rifi-ti-e ila istar marat ilu sin u-zu-un-sa is- kun, etc.

“To the land whence none return, the place of darkness, Ishtar, the daughter of Sin, her ear inclined.”Then inclined the daughter of Sin her ear to the house of darkness, the domain of Irkalla; to the prison from which he that enters comes not forth; to the road whose path does not return; …to the land where filth is their bread and their food is mud. The light they behold not; in unseeingness they dwell, and are clothed, like winged things, in a garment of scales…”

Of all of mankind’s nightmarish visions of a future existence, that Babylonian conception of the dead as crawling forever, like mindless insects, in a fetid and eternal night has always seemed to me the most gruesome.

Joy is not Around the Corner

Mr. Seidenberg’s ecstatic vision of the New Jerusalem has, I am sorry to say, imposed on a least two men of scientific eminence who should have known better. They permitted themselves to be confused by the theory of biological evolution. If man evolved, over a period of 500,000 years or more, from an ape (Australopithecus) that discovered that by picking up and wielding a long bone it could increase its efficiency in killing other apes, is it not possible that our species can go on evolving and become, in another 500,000 years or less, the perfectly adjusted biped termites that Mr. Seidenberg predicts? Heavens to Betsy, I’m not going to argue that point. Granted!

And isn’t the “population explosion” a fact? Sure it is, but don’t overlook one detail — the time factor. At the present rate, the globe, sometime between 2000 and 2005 A.D. — that is to say within forty years — will be infested by 5,000,000,000 anatomically human creatures, the maximum number for which food can be supplied by even the most intensive cultivation. And then, to keep the globe inhabitable at that bare subsistence level, it will be necessary to kill every year more people than now live in the whole United States — kill them with atomic bombs or clubs, as may be more convenient.

I shall not argue about what human beings could or could not become by biological evolution in half a million years: We all know, at least, that there is going to be no biological evolution in fifty years. And, if we stop a moment to think about it, we also know that the world is not going to have a population of five billion. Not ever.

The population of the world is going to be drastically reduced before the year 2000. [See Oliver's later revision of his prediction in his article "What Hath Man Wrought? [2]" -- Editor]

The reduction could come through natural causes. It is always possible — far more possible than you imagine, if you have not investigated the relevant areas of scientific knowledge — that next week or next year may bring the onset of a new pestilence that will have a proportional mortality as great as that of the epidemic in the time of the Antonines or the Black Plaque of the Middle Ages. Alternatively, the events described in John Christopher’s brilliant novel, No Blade of Grass, could become fact, instead of fiction, at any time. And there are at least three other ways, all scientifically possible, in which the world could be partly depopulated in short order by strictly natural forces beyond our control.

But if Nature does not act, men will. When things became a bit crowded in east Asia, for example, the Huns and, at a later time, the Mongols, swept a wide swath through the world as locusts sweep through a wheat field. And wherever they felt the inspiration, they were every bit as efficient as any quantity of hydrogen bombs you may care to imagine. In the natural course of human events, we shall see in the near future wars of extermination on scale and of an intensity that your mind will, at present, refuse to contemplate. The only question will be what peoples will be among the exterminated.

If the minority of the earth’s inhabitants that is capable of creating and continuing (as distinct from aping) a high civilization is exterminated (as it now seems resolved to be), or if for some reason wars of extermination fail to solve the problem, civilization will collapse from sheer lack of brains to keep it going, and the consequent reversion to global savagery will speedily take care of the excess in numbers. In a world of savages, not only would the intricate and hated technology of our civilization be abolished, but even the simplest arts might be forgotten. (Every anthropologist knows of tribes in Polynesia and Melanesia that forgot how to make canoes, although without them it became almost impossible to obtain the fish that they regard as the most delicious food, or how to make bows and arrows, although they needed them for more effective hunting and fighting.) A world of savages in 2100 probably would not have a population more numerous than the world had in 4000 B.C.

The ordinary course of nature and human events (separately or in combination) will, in one way or another, take care of the much-touted “population explosion,” and Mr. Seidenberg knows it. You have only to read him carefully to see that all his talk about history, biological evolution, and “ineluctable determinism” is strictly for the birds — or, at least, bird-brains.

Do-It-Yourself for Socialists

Like all internationalists, Mr. Seidenberg envisages a One World of universal socialism.

Every student of history and mankind (as distinct from the ignorant theorists who prefer to chirrup while hopping from cloud to cloud in Nephelococcygia) well knows what is needed for a successful and stable socialism. And our intelligent socialists know it, too. There are two essentials, viz.: (1) a mass of undifferentiated human livestock, sufficiently intelligent to be trained to perform routine and often complicated tasks, but too stupid to take thought for their own future; and (2) a small caste of highly intelligent planners, preferably of an entirely different race, who will direct the livestock and, with the aid of overseers who need be but little more intelligent than the overseen, make sure that the livestock work hard and breed properly and do not have unsocial thoughts. The owners must be so superior to the owned that the latter will not regard themselves as of the same species. The owners must be hedged about with a quasi-divinity, and their chief, therefore, must be represented as an incarnate god.

Mr. Seidenberg knows that and tells us so. Our blissful future, he says, is assured by the emergence of “administrators [whose] special talents place them above other men.” The most important of these special talents is enough intelligence to understand that “moral restraints and compassions [and] …the attitudes and values upon which they were based have become obsolete.” On the basis of such progressive thinking, “the relatively small elite of the organizers” will manipulate the “overwhelming social mass” and guide it toward its destiny, “the mute status of unconscious organisms.”

The Chosen Few will do this by promoting “the spiritual and psychological dehumanization of man” and “a vast organizational transmutation of life.” For this glorious purpose, various techniques are available; for example, as Mr. Seidenberg tells us, “there is, plainly, more than a nihilistic meaning in the challenging ambiguities of modern art.” And, in a masterfully managed society, “the gradually inculcated feeling of helplessness…will make the mass of humanity ever more malleable and dependent upon the complex functioning of society, with its ensuing regimentation under organized patterns of behavior.” But the Supermen will use, above all, “a scientific program of genetic control to assure the complete adjustment of the human mass to its destiny” and Reactionaries and other American swine, whose “anachronistic stance” and silly efforts to avoid “the mute status of unconscious organisms” show that they “belong essentially to the past.”

As for the Supermen, who form “the nucleus of an elite of administrative functionaries and organizers ruling over the vast mass of men,” you can bet your bottom dollar (so long as Master Jack permits you to have one) that that Master Race has no intention of becoming like the bipeds that it will supervise and selectively breed for more and better mindlessness until it has attained its “historic” goal, “the settling of the human race [as distinct from its owners] into an ecologic niche of permanent and static adjustment,” which, as Mr. Seidenberg says in a moment of candor, in simply “living death.” Obviously, when this goal has been achieved, human beings, deprived of mind and even consciousness, will differ from the Master Race as much as ants and bees now differ in intelligence from human beings. Glory be!

To any attentive reader of the book, it is clear that the author, under the guise of a transparently inconsistent prophecy about a distant future, is presenting a plan for a near future that is to be created, in spite of history, in spite of nature, and in spite of mankind, by the purposeful and concerted action of a small band of “elite” conspirators, comparable to, if not identical with, the directors of the International Communist Conspiracy.

To publish such a plan in a book sold to the general public seems a fantastic indiscretion, even when one allows for the breath-taking effrontery that our Internationalists are now showing in their confidence that Americans have already been so disarmed and entrapped in the “United Nations” that, for practical purposes, it’s all over except for the butchering. When I first read these books, therefore, I was inclined to believe that the author was trying to warn us.

The Veiled Prophet of Doylestown

My inquiries, necessarily hasty and perfunctory as I write this article to meet a deadline, have elicited almost no information about Mr. Seidenberg. I do not know what region on earth was blessed with his nativity, what academic institutions bestowed the benison of their degrees upon him, or even what may be his liaison with the University of North Carolina. He is said to be an architect, but he is not listed in the 1962 edition of the American Architects’ Directory. He is said to practice that art in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, but an informant in that town reports that he is not listed in the telephone directory as an architect, although there is listed under his name, without indication of profession or occupation, a telephone which did not answer, when called on successive days.

I do not have the facilities of the FBI, so all that I really know about Mr. Seidenberg, apart from his books, is that he surfaced momentarily on February 22, 1962, in the pages of the New York Times, to emit a yip for the abolition of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. (And if you wonder why anyone should now yip against a Committee that appears to have been virtually silenced by the concerted howling of our enemies after the release of Operation Abolition, I can only tell you that, according to persons who should know, the Committee has amassed in Executive Sessions testimony which, if published, would expose some of the most powerful anti-humans in Washington.)

Mrs. Sarah Watson Emery, in her excellent book, Blood on the Old Well (prospect House, Dallas, cf. American Opinion, October, 1963, pp. 67 ff.), reports that the elusive Seidenberg, in a conversation with her, “clearly implied that he wrote the books in order to bring about the ghastly future” that he “so confidently predicts.” If Mrs. Emery is right, Mr. Seidenberg’s books are inspirational literature for the Master Race of “administrators,” who are now taking over the whole world. They can own and operate the world forever in perfect Peace, if, by a scientific application of genetics, they reduce human beings to the status of mindless insects.

Is One World Feasible?

You, my patient reader, may be a member of the Radical Right and hence unenthusiastic about the happiness that is being planned for you. If so, I confess that I, whom a learned colleague recently described as a “filthy Fascist swine,” share your misgivings. But let us here consider the Seidenbergian ideal exclusively as a problem in genetics. Is it possible?

Probably not, by the hit-and-miss methods that the Conspiracy has thus far employed.

As Mr. Seidenberg carefully points out, “Russia [under Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev] and America [under Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Kennedy] are basically akin by reason of the dominance of their organizational trends,” but — hélas! — even today “the collectivization of society is only in its incipient stages in Russia.” And the reason is obvious. Although Ulyanov (alias Lenin) and Bronstein (alias Trotsky) butchered millions of reactionary Russians who wanted to be individual human beings, and although Dzhugashvili (alias Stalin) butchered millions more, and although Saint Nick (formerly Khrushchev) shot, hacked to pieces, or starved seven million in the Ukraine alone when he as just a local manager for the Communist Conspiracy, the nasty Russians are still unregenerate. Although the world’s vermin have had absolute control of Russia for almost half a century and have certainly worked hard to exterminate every Russian who had in himself a spark of self-respect, human decency, or even the will to live, observers agree that the recent failure of crops would have precipitated a crisis and possibly even a revolt of blind desperation, if Master Jack had not ordered his American cattle to provide the wheat that Comrade Nick needed to keep his own restive cattle fairly quiet. And it is quite likely that if the Conspiracy were to lose control of the United States and so be forced to retreat somewhere in the world, the Russian people would revolt anyway. The most systematic butchery has not destroyed the genetic transmission of human instincts. And it is unlikely to do so for centuries, at least.

Americans are apt to be even more refractory, and I am sure that One Worlders, now that they think their final victory almost achieved, must be giving thought to the problem of what to do with them. (And I need not remind you that advanced minds are not troubled by “moral restraints” and the other “attitudes and values.”) The American kulaks were useful and even necessary to fight wars “to make the world safe for democracy” and to finance with “foreign aid” the Communist conquest of the world, but when that goal has been achieved, they are likely to be a real nuisance.

There are rumors, for example, that Master Jack is planning to send the U.S. Army — which, as purged by Yarmolinsky and his stooges, will presumably be a docile instrument for the abolition of the nation it was established to defend — to seal off one area of the country after another, drive the white swine from their homes, and search them to confiscate such firearms or other weapons as they may have in their possession. It may be necessary to beat a few hundred of the white pigs so that their squealing will teach the other livestock to obey their owner, but, according to the rumors, nothing more than that is contemplated. But even if the operation is successful, one can foresee endless trouble. Human instincts are more or less fixed by heredity.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Mr. Seidenberg foresees “long-range genetic manipulation designed not only to improve the human stock according to the social dictates of [the proprietors of] a collectivized humanity, but above all to eliminate, in one manner or another, any traces of anti-social deviation.”

Those are, doubtless, sound general principles, but what, specifically, is to be done with the Americans when the “United Nations” takes them over? One could, as Mr. Seidenberg delicately hints in one passage, just castrate all the males. (If this idea seems shocking to you, remember that that’s just your “anachronistic stance.”) Or one could adopt the policy which the Soviet, according to a report that was leaked “from U.N. official sources” and reported in the now defunct Northlander (September, 1958), uses in Lithuania, where all potentially troublesome males were rounded up and shipped to Siberia and then replaced in their own homes by public-spirited Mongolian males eager to improve the quality of the Lithuanian population. A Baluba or a Bakongo thus installed in every American home would not only effectively end “discrimination” and promote the “World Unity” desiderated by Internationalists, but would also — according to a “scientific” study made by a Professor Of Sociology in a tax-supported American university and reported both in his class-room lectures and in his broadcasts over a radio-station entirely owned by that university — fulfill the secret yearnings of all American womanhood.

This may seem a perfect solution (if you have a “One World” viewpoint), but it has, I fear, its drawbacks. Balubas and such are just fine for exterminating white men in Africa and creating chaos under direction from Washington and Moscow, but I suspect that anyone who tries to regiment them to do work is in for a powerful lot of trouble. After they have served their purpose, it will be necessary to exterminate them, too. And the Masters, after they have blotted out the civilization they hate, are going to need workers, not cannibals and other savages, if, in keeping with the Seidenbergian vision, they are to rule the world forever.

Now Americans and Europeans are excellent workers. What is needed, obviously, is not to destroy them but to convert them, as Mr. Seidenberg predicts, into true zombies, that is to say, creatures that have no will or personality of their own and therefore do whatever they are told. But that transformation, so far as I can learn from geneticists whom I have consulted, is genetically impossible by any process of selective breeding within any reasonable length of time — say a thousand years or less. This, I am sure, our author realizes, for after admitting that “the art of brainwashing and, even more so, the science of controlling society by pharmaceutical manipulation, are in their infancy,” he places his hope for the future in “the ever increasing techniques and the ever more refined arts of mental coercion.” Presumably, the human mind and will can be destroyed by drugs, or perhaps by an improved technique of lobotomy, to produce the kind of “mental health” requisite in the zombies who, like mindless insects, are to work to support the Master Race of the future. But this is not genetics, and the qualities thus induced in individuals cannot be transmitted genetically. The Masters, therefore, will be put to the trouble of operating on each generation of biped insects as it is produced — and, what is even worse, there is some reason to doubt that the zombies would or could reproduce themselves.

So, you see, the New Dispensation of which Internationalists dream is by no means assured, either historically or biologically. For that matter, it is even possible that enough Americans may object in time to frustrate the “determinism” that only their ignorance, apathy, or cowardice could make “ineluctable.” But I cannot speculate about that possibility here. I have sought only to show you, as dispassionately as possible, what kind of thoughts very advanced minds are thinking about you these days.

Source: http://www.revilo-oliver.com/news/1963/12/history-and-biology/ [3]


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/07/history-biology/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/schwabe-deathofthegravedigger.jpeg

[2] What Hath Man Wrought?: http://revilo-oliver.com/rpo/What_Hath_Man_Wrought.html

[3] http://www.revilo-oliver.com/news/1963/12/history-and-biology/: http://www.revilo-oliver.com/news/1963/12/history-and-biology/

vendredi, 06 mai 2011

The Coming Chinese Superstate

Richard HOSTE

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Review: Richard Lynn
Eugenics: A Reassessment
Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers 2001

eugenics.jpgOne of the only valid points made by the critics of Bell Curve was that if the science was accepted, then eugenics, which Hernstein and Murray refused to endorse, becomes the rational solution to society’s ills. Steven Pinker, the next major public thinker associated with the hereditarian position, likewise refused to follow his own logic far enough. One scholar who doesn’t flinch is psychologist Richard Lynn. Eugenics is not only right, but we have a duty to increase the frequency of genes for positive traits and reduce the frequency of genes for negative traits. Once you determine that something is a genetic problem it cries out for a genetic solution. Eugenics: A Reassessment looks at the history of eugenics, the ethical case for it and its future. Here Lynn goes beyond his role as a psychologist and gives us his own theory of the coming end of history.

The Rise and Fall of Eugenics

Eugenic ideas existed long before the publications of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man. In The Republic, Plato pictured a society where rulers, soldiers, and workers would be bred on the same principles of the breeding of plants and livestock, about which much must have been known in 380 B.C. Still, it was the discovery of evolution that was the catalyst of these ideas taking off in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Biologist, statistician, and psychologist Sir Francis Galton was the main prophet of eugenics. He spent his life forming organizations, writing, and spreading the word about humanity’s potential for improvement. He carried out the first studies that showed nature to be more important than nurture in determining intelligence and character.

By the early 1900s eugenics was endorsed by practically all biologists and geneticists, politicians such as Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill, and thinkers across the political spectrum, including Bertrand Russell, H. L. Mencken, and George Bernard Shaw. Lynn makes the distinction between positive eugenics, encouragement given to society’s best to produce children, and negative eugenics, trying to set limits on the breeding of the inferior. It was the latter that was easier to legislate on.

The first American sterilization law was passed in Indiana in 1907 “to prevent the procreation of confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles, and rapists.” By 1913 similar acts had been passed in 12 states and a further 19 had laws on the books by 1931. The constitutionality of these laws was challenged in court and in 1927 Buck v. Bell went to the supreme court. The case centered around a mentally retarded woman who was born to a mentally retarded mother and gave birth to yet another retard. Her hospital applied to have her sterilized, and Christian groups protested. The court ruled 8-1 in favor of sterilization. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the following in the famous decision.

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the state for these lesser sacrifices . . . in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute the degenerate offspring of crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit for continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccinations is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

Unfortunately, over the twentieth century only about 60,000 American sterilizations would take place, which amounted to less than 0.1 percent of mentally retarded and psychopathic people. Sweden did a little better, sterilizing the same amount, totaling one percent of the entire population. In Japan, 16,520 women met the same fate until their law was repealed in 1996. In Denmark, a third of all retards over a ten year span. Unsurprisingly, the all-time champions of sterilization were the Germans, who sterilized 300,000 people after their sterilization law was passed in 1933.

As Lynn points out, it’s not all that unusual for a scientific theory to be accepted and then rejected. What makes eugenics unique is that it’s a rejected theory that turned out to be true. While the importance of heredity in determining individual and group traits is well-established, by the end of the twentieth century to call something eugenic was to condemn it. The author blames horror at the crimes of Nazi Germany and the increasing value given to individual over social rights. In recent years courts in the US and Britain have said that parents can have retarded women in their care sterilized, ruling against civil liberties organizations who’ve joined with Christian groups in arguing that all people have a right to as many children as they can produce. While these legal decisions aren’t made on eugenic grounds, we should be thankful for the effect.

The arguments against eugenics don’t hold up. First is the claim that we can’t decide what positive and negative traits are. It’s hard to argue with Galton’s original three characteristics of intelligence, health, and character (close enough to conscientiousness in modern psychology) being desirable. Who would argue that disease could be preferable to health or stupidity to genius? It’s a case of moral relativism taken to the extreme.

Lynn looks at other characteristics we may select for but doesn’t find any beyond Galton’s original three. Society needs a wide range of people on the continuum of extraverted/introverted and neurotic/relaxed in a way that it doesn’t need a wide range of propensity to break the law or catch diseases. He also says that beauty provides no social good, and people have different definitions of it. Here is the only place I part ways with the author. Among environmentalists (people who care about the environment, not anti-hereditarians), beauty is seen as a legitimate reason to preserve certain forests and trees that provide no economic good. It’s why we save redwood trees but not swamps. As far as the lack of a universal standard, Peter Frost demolishes that as a PC myth. Even if everyone didn’t agree that blue eyes and white skin were the most beautiful, every race could select based on their own standards.

The idea that eugenics wouldn’t work is also answered here. If we determined that it wouldn’t be possible to select for certain traits in living organisms, then not only eugenics but horticulture, animal domestication and even evolution itself would all have to be rejected too. As a matter of fact, heritability of running speed among horses has been found to be between 15 and 35 percent heritable, lower than the lowest estimates for intelligence or psychopathy among humans. Any trait that is passed on genetically can be made more or less common or enhanced among a population.

Classical Eugenics

Lynn differentiates between classical eugenics and new eugenics, the use of biotechnology. A section is given to each.

The only country to practice classical positive eugenics in the modern world has been Singapore, under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew. Higher earners were given tax breaks for children and a government unit was set up to bring college graduates together in social settings like dances and cruises to encourage relationships and procreation. In three short years, the results were impressive.

Births in Singapore

 

Education Level of Mother 1987   1990  
  Number Percent Number Percent
Below Secondary 26,719 61.3 26,718 52.3
Secondary and above 16,012 36.7 24,411 47.7

Between 1987 and 1990, births to college educated women went from 36.7 percent of all births to 47.7. Obviously, it’s not hopeless, and the problem of dysgenics can be corrected if a government sets its mind to it. In Nazi Germany, loans were given to couples determined to be of good genetic stock. For each child they produced, 25 percent of the loan would be written off. Whether such things can be done in a democracy, especially a multi-racial one, is a different question.

The biggest victory for negative eugenics has been the liberalization of abortion laws. Although justified as based on a “woman’s right to choose,” those who have unintended pregnancies are usually of low intelligence and those with anti-social tendencies. Thus, increasing the availability of abortion is eugenic. Those who are concerned about good breeding should support causes traditionally associated with the left like abortion on demand and making birth control freely available.

The Promise of Biotechnology

The most exciting part of this book is the section on the new eugenics, and how biotechnology may make all the questions raised here obsolete. Prenatal diagnosis can now screen for some of the most common genetic diseases, and the fetuses can be aborted. In the 1990s, this was estimated to reduce incidences of genetic disorders at birth by 5 percent. As the technology becomes better and more widely available we can expect the rate of genetic disease to drop. It’s a matter of time before embryos can be screened for other traits like beauty and intelligence.

Gene therapy is the attempt to help an individual by inserting genes for positive traits. These genes are then passed on to offspring. In the 1980s, this technology was used on mice to treat a heredity disease and by the 1990s was used to treat human disorders. Like prenatal screening, it’s only a matter of time before this technology can be used for the selection of whatever parents desire.

Embryo selection consists of taking a number of eggs from a woman, fertilizing them with the sperm of a partner in vitro, testing each for desirable traits and inserting the best embryo. The second, third, and fourth best can be saved for possible future use and the rest discarded. When Lynn’s book was written in 2001, it was possible to test for sex and thousands of genetic diseases.

In the twenty-first century it will become possible to test embryos for the presence of genes affecting numerous other characteristics, including late-onset diseases and disorders; intelligence; special cognitive abilities, such as mathematical, linguistic, and musical aptitudes; personality traits; athletic abilities; height; body build; and physical appearance. It will then be possible for couples to examine the genetic printouts of a number of embryos and select for implantation the ones they regard as having the most desirable genetic characteristics.

Before this happens some technical issues need to be addressed, such as identifying the desirable genes. That’s going to happen over the next few decades. Right now it’s possible to hormonally stimulate a woman to produce around 25 embryos at one time. With this technology, even parents of poor stock will be able to produce at least average children. Couples can be expected to produce embryos within a range of 30 IQ points; 15 over the parents‘ average to 15 below. With embryo selection the IQ of a population will have the potential to be raised 15 points in a single generation. Average intelligence can be expected to keep increasing until we hit our limit and new mutations pop up, the way average speed among thoroughbreds has been rising without the fastest times doing so in decades. In 2001, in vitro fertilization cost between $40,000 and $200,000 in the US and $3,000 to $4,000 in Britain, due to lower health care costs in general. Today, it’s a fraction of that. Like all technology, the quality can be expected to improve and the price to drop.

Western governments may outlaw all these technologies, but they will be legal somewhere, and as these options became cheaper and better known more couples will travel to take advantage of them. The situation will be similar to when abortion was only available in certain US states or European countries, and women desiring to have one would simply take a bus.

Not everybody will be able to afford biotechnology, and some ethicists reject it on those grounds. Of course, there are all kinds of things that rich people can afford that the poor can’t; we don’t outlaw them all. Lynn optimistically points out that no technology that can help humanity has ever been successfully suppressed. The inherent quality gap between the genetically engineered upper class and the ‘natural’ lower class will continue to grow until the former decides to sterilize the latter or forces them to use biotechnology themselves.

Why China is the Future

In 1994 China passed the Eugenic Law. All pregnant women were required to undergo embryo screening and abort fetuses with genetic disorders. This was a follow-up to the famous one-child policy introduced in 1979 that brought the birth rate down to 1.9 per woman.

Attitudes of elites and those who work in the relevant fields are likely to determine what technologies are accepted and how liberally they’ll be used. A survey was conducted between 1994 and 1996 asking geneticists and physicians around the world whether they agreed with the statement “An important goal of genetic counseling is to reduce the number of deleterious genes in the population.”

Country Percentage of Geneticists and Physicians Agreeing with Eugenic Goals
China 100
India 87
Turkey 73
Peru 71
Spain 67
Poland 66
Russia 58
Greece 58
Cuba 57
Mexico 52
Major 

 

Western

Democracies

<33

In addition to the negative attitudes of the elites towards anything eugenic, other reasons we can expect these ideas not to win fast acceptance in the West are the value placed on individual rights, democracy, and the existence of low IQ minorities who would be disproportionately affected by any measures aimed at improving the genetic quality of the population. While many countries in the third world might feel positively about eugenic measures, the attitudes in China are the most favorable and when that is combined with the advantages of an authoritarian government, a lack of dysgenic immigration, and a high IQ starting point it’s not hard to believe that the Chinese will continue to be the most enthusiastic and efficient users of biotechnology.

So how will this nation of a billion people treat the rest of the world after it’s raised its IQ to 150+? Lynn might be too optimistic here. He believes the Chinese will colonize the world and try to improve the IQs and living standards of their subjects. The Europeans will be kept around for their biological uniqueness and admired for their cultural accomplishments, the way that the Romans subjugated the Greeks but appreciated their philosophy and art. If the Chinese decide that the Europeans should be preserved they’d be doing more for them than whites are currently doing for themselves. A global eugenic superstate led by by the Chinese will be the “end of history.”

Lynn’s forecasts the next 100 years with a stone-cold detachment. The first government to utilize the power of biotechnology will take over the world. Thanks to third world immigration and egalitarianism, the decline of the West seems inevitable and eugenic policies unlikely. The future of humanity being in the hands of the dictators in Beijing may not be the most comforting idea in the world, but at least the reader of Eugenics may be convinced that intelligence and civilization will continue somewhere.

For a review of Richard Lynn’s Dysgenics see here.

jeudi, 05 mai 2011

The Fall of Man: Richard Lynn's "Dysgenics"

Richard HOSTE

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Review: Richard Lynn (photo)
Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations
Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 1996

rlynn-2s-300x282.jpgWhen it comes to population, quality matters more than quantity. While educated Westerners never tire of sprinkling their conversations with the word “overpopulation,” voicing concern about population worth is taboo. Put it this way: you have to spend the rest of your life in a city filled with Nigerians or Japanese. You can either pick the ethnic makeup or the amount of people in the city. Which would you choose? As it’s settled that genes influence character and intelligence, could these traits be declining in some or all populations? Has it to some extent? Anecdotes exist about single educated women and fertile welfare queens, but hard data is needed.

While support for eugenics has been around since the time of Plato, the first person to worry about genetic deterioration was French physician Benedict August Morel. He’s an obscure figure today and much better known is the more important Sir Francis Galton, who coined the term eugenics in 1883. He thought that more genes for lower intelligence and poor character were concentrated in the lower classes, whose higher fertility would lead to a decline in genetic quality. Galton spent his life working to reverse the trend. He eventually convinced Darwin himself of the danger. Biologist Alfred Russell Wallace wrote:

In one of my last conversations with Darwin he expressed himself very gloomily on the future of humanity, on the ground that in our modern civilisation natural selection had no play and the fittest did not survive.

It wasn’t until 1974 that Nobel prize winning physicist William Shockley called the process dysgenics. Darwin went on to despair over the excessive breeding of “the scum.” Data has always been needed on whether his fears had been justified. Richard Lynn brings together studies and data from the last 200 years dealing with the connection between fertility and intelligence/socioeconomic status from all over the world. How afraid should we be?

Selection throughout Time

The conditions that hunter-gatherers lived in insured an upkeep of genetic quality. Usually there was a chief who had to have a certain amount of intelligence to acquire and maintain his position. He had the most access to females, there would be relatively high ranking men who had one wife and many of the unfit never bred. Mutations that popped up which adversely affected health would be weeded out. Early nation-states continued with polygamy.

With Western man’s transition to civilization selection was weakened but not eliminated. The higher social classes enjoyed better nutrition so had better health and children more likely to survive into adulthood. Christianity struck a blow against the Western gene pool by enforcing celibacy among the priesthood but probably more than made up for it by prohibitions against adultery. Most who have children out of wed-lock then and now have/had lower intelligence and less self-control. Overall, the years 1500-1800 were good for Europe’s gene pool. In England from 1620-1624 the middle classes reported 4.4 children per woman compared to 2.1 for the working class. Part of the reason why is life expectancy. In Berlin from 1710-1799 the average life expectancy for the upper class was 29.8 years compared to 20.3 for the lower class. The numbers for Geneva, Rouen and Neuruppin in the 18th century are similarly tilted towards the former. This didn’t mean that everybody died when they were 20-30 years old but that more of the lower classes were dying in childhood before they could mate.

Lynn understands that for these numbers to mean anything it would have to be shown that there was social mobility. If everybody was stuck in their own class with no opportunity to rise or fall then we would expect different social classes to be similar and not worry about differences in fertility. Pitrim Sorokin looked at a wide range of societies and found that there has never been one with no social mobility at all. The closest thing has been the caste system in India, but even these classes weren’t absolutely closed. Economist historian S.J. Payling concluded that there was significant social mobility in Europe from at least the 14th century on.

Natural Selection Breaks Down: Health and Intelligence

Mutations occasionally pop up in any population. Since the vast majority are adverse, stable fertility for an entire population still means deterioration. The maintenance of the quality of the population requires not just a stable population at all levels but the active weeding out of the unfit. The results of the slacking of selection in our modern world is apparent in disease. Today, almost 1% of children born have a mutation for a common genetic disorder. Due to carriers of bad genes surviving and new mutations, it’s estimated that the rates of hemophilia, cystic fibrosis and phenylketonuria are increasing every generation by 26%, 120%, and 300% respectively. Humanity requires that we save children that can be saved but breeding for those with diseased genes needs to be restricted. Lynn hints that better genetic screening and selective abortion can offset some of the consequences of modern medicine.

American psychologist Theodore Lentz was the first to devise a method for finding the relationship between intelligence and fertility. He tested the IQs of children and found out how many siblings they had. Assuming that children have the same IQ as their parents, if those with lower IQs had more brothers and sisters than children with high IQs then it could be determined that dysgenics is happening. In 1927 Lentz calculated an IQ drop of 4 points per generation. Calculations in Britain found a drop of about 2 points per generation. These surveys didn’t include the childless but since they are disproportionately those with higher IQs the studies actually underestimate the extent of dysgenic fertility. Reviewing various studies and using findings from twin and adoption cases showing that IQ is 82% heritable, Lynn calculates a genotypic IQ decline of 5 points in Britain from 1890-1980. In the US he calculates a drop of 2.5 IQ points for whites and 6.2 for blacks over three generations. Interestingly, women are shown to universally have more dysgenic fertility than men. This is partly because low IQ men probably have a harder time finding mates than low IQ women.

The Fall of Greece

Greece is a particularly interesting example. Papavassiliou (1954) looked at IQ, socioeconomic status and fertitlity for men and came up with the following results.

Intelligence and Fertility in Greece, 1950s

Socioeconomic StatusNumber SurveyedMean IQNumber of Children
Professionals 41 117.2 1.78
Skilled Workers 80 100.9 2.66
Semi-skilled Workers 27 91 4
Unskilled Workers 67 82.2 5.56

My calculations give an IQ of 96.9 for the parent generation and an IQ drop of 4.9. Using a heritability of .82 for IQ puts the IQ of the children’s generation at 92.9 (IQ of parent generation – .82 x 4.9). Lynn has found elsewhere that the IQ of Greece is 95. This low (for Europe) figure is surprising considering the country’s historical accomplishments. Papavassiliou’s data may solve the puzzle.

Does the Flynn Effect Disprove Eugenics?

While science has shown that traits for IQ and socioeconomic status are heritable and those with poor genes are outbreeding those with good genes, actual performance on IQ tests in the industrialized world has risen over the last century. How can this be? This seeming paradox is called the Flynn effect, after the scientist who estimated IQ gains of about 3-4 points per decade over the 20th century.

We can rule out the effect of increased familiarity with written tests or better education because these gains are present in children as young as two years old. It is doubtful that it is due to increased stimulation because adoption studies show that the effect of shared environment is negligible; two biologically unrelated people raised in the same house are no more alike than any two random strangers. Lynn’s explanation is that the Flynn effect is due to better nutrition. This seems like the best explanation, as over the same time period height and brain size have increased by one standard deviation: the same as the increase in IQ.

So while genotypic intelligence, which can be seen as underlying genetic quality, has decreased, actual performance, phenotypic intelligence, has seen an increase. This increase can’t last forever and the evidence shows that in the developed world, with even the poorest suffering from obesity, the Flynn effect has hit its ceiling. We can now expect a decrease in observed intelligence in the developed even discounting low IQ third world immigration.

The Case of Character

Francis Galton and the early eugenicists weren’t only concerned with the decline in intelligence and health but what they called character: a moral sense, ability to delay gratification and work towards long term goals and sense of duty. Modern psychologists call this conscientiousness and Lynn gives a working estimate for it being 66% heritable. The news here is even worse than the data on intelligence.

Looking at criminals and psychopaths and their number of siblings yields a decline in consciousness that is twice the rate of the decline in intelligence. This has had real life consequences

The straightforward prediction is that the high fertility of criminals has led to an increase in the number of genes in the population responsible for crime and this will show up in increasing crime rates. These increasing crime rates have certainly occurred in most of the economically developed nations during the second half of the twentieth century. In the United States, crime rates approximately tripled between 1960 and 1990; in Britain they quadrupled, and similar increases have occurred in many other countries.

Rates of out-of-wedlock births tell a similar story. Western populations are morally worse than ever and we can expect the modern welfare state to continue to accelerate the decline. Unfortunately, most social scientists and policy makers are too steeped in the environmentalist dogma to deal with these problems.

Does the Universality of the Problem Mean It’s Hopeless?

While there are no direct studies for IQ and fertility in the third world we can check to see how socioeconomic status and education, both correlated with IQ, relate to number of children. Lynn calls the birth rate of the lowest class over the birth rate of the highest class the dysgenic ratio. For example, if those in the lowest class have 3 children per woman and the higher class have 2, the dysgenic ratio is 3/2 = 1.5. Anything over 1 indicates dysgenic fertility and anything under 1 indicates eugenic fertility. While a number over 2 is high for modern Western nations, ratios have been calculated at 3.1 for Columbia, 2.6 for Guatemala, 2.7 for Mexico and 3.1 for Brazil. Muslim and African countries have lower ratios, but only because even the highest classes have large numbers of children. In a worldwide survey the only exceptions are Bangladesh, Fiji and Indonesia who have ratios of 1.01, 0.93, and 0.86 respectively. The developing world can be expected to remain “developing” indefinitely.

So dysgenic fertility is found everywhere: among rich and poor and every race. Does that mean it’s hopeless? We won’t know until we at least acknowledge and try to deal with the problem. Communism once controlled half the planet and today its equivalent is globalization and the supposed triumph of liberal democracy. While communists can say that true communism “has never been tried” and continue to be liberals, the legacy of Nazism poisons the eugenics movement. Of course, blaming the ideas behind eugenics for the crimes of the Nazis is as silly as blaming the ideology of the welfare state for Soviet labor camps. So there is no rational reason why eugenics can’t capture the hearts and minds of policy makers the way it did 100 years ago. While the facts of differential fertility may discomfort our feminized elites we must never stop repeating that the cost of doing nothing is the end of civilization. There’s no virtue in ignoring that.

Source: HBD Books

lundi, 07 février 2011

Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ist der abendländische Mensch vom Aussterben bedroht?

IrEE.jpg

Schon vor 15 Jahren wurde von Eibl-Eibesfeldt eigentlich bereits alles gesagt zur gegenwärtigen Misere. (Ich stimme ihm dabei zu 100 Prozent zu) Aber es hat nichts verändert. Das zeigt doch wohl, daß die bestehende gesellschaftliche Struktur wahrscheinlich nicht mehr aus sich heraus reformfähig ist....

Lesenswertes Interview mit Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt aus dem Jahr 1996

Sagen Sie mal, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt ...
IST DER ABENDLÄNDISCHE MENSCH VOM AUSSTERBEN BEDROHT?
Von Michael Klonovsky
http://www.focus.de/politik/deutschland/deutschland-sagen...
IST DER ABENDLÄNDISCHE MENSCH VOM AUSSTERBEN BEDROHT?
Eibl-Eibesfeldt: So gefährlich ist die Situation nicht. Der abendländische Mensch ist sehr dynamisch, findig, einfallsreich und neugierig, und er wird seine Probleme sicher meistern.

FOCUS: Sie warnen seit Jahren vor den Folgen der Immigration; zugleich schauen Sie so gelassen auf die Zukunft des Abendländers?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Es geht mir zunächst einmal um die Erhaltung des inneren Friedens. Entscheidend ist deshalb auch, wer einwandert. Die europäische Binnenwanderung hat es immer gegeben, mitunter auch massive Immigrationswellen und kriegerische Überschichtungen. Aber die Bevölkerung im breiten Gürtel von Paris bis Moskau hat etwa die gleiche Mischung, sie ist anthropologisch nah verwandt. Die europäischen Nationalstaaten haben das Glück, relativ homogen zu sein.

FOCUS: Der Begriff des Ausländers müßte also durch den des Kulturfremden ersetzt werden?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ich würde sagen: Kultur-fernen. Die integrieren und identifizieren sich nicht so leicht. Bei den innereuropäischen Wanderungen wurden die Leute integriert.

FOCUS: Und das ist Bedingung?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Es gibt diese schöne Idee, daß Immigranten ihre Kultur behalten und sich als deutsche Türken oder deutsche Nigerianer fühlen sollen, weil das unsere Kultur bereichert. Das ist sehr naiv. In Krisenzeiten hat man dann Solidargemeinschaften, die ihre Eigeninteressen vertreten und um begrenzte Ressourcen wie Sozialleistungen, Wohnungen oder Arbeitsplätze konkurrieren. Das stört natürlich den inneren Frieden. Die Algerier in Frankreich etwa bekennen sich nicht, Franzosen zu sein, die sagen: Wir sind Moslems. Vielfalt kann in einem Staate nebeneinander existieren, wenn die Kulturen verwandt sind, jede ihr eigenes Territorium besitzt und keine die Dominanz der anderen zu fürchten braucht – wie etwa in der Schweiz.

FOCUS: Also müssen die Türken in Deutschland die Deutschen fürchten?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Gegenseitig. Wenn man über Immigration Minoritäten aufbaut, die sich abgrenzen und ein anderes Fortpflanzungsverhalten zeigen, wird das Gleichgewicht gestört. Immigrationsbefürworter sagen: Die werden sich angleichen. Nur: Warum sollten sie eigentlich? Deren Interesse kann doch nur sein, so stark zu werden, daß sie bei Wahlen eine Pressure-Gruppe darstellen, die ihre Eigen-interessen durchsetzen kann.

FOCUS: In Amerika werden die Weißen in hundert Jahren vermutlich Minderheit sein . . .

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Das hat in erstaunlicher Offenheit das „Time-Magazine“ ausgesprochen. Die Amerikaner haben gerade kulturferne Immigranten gefördert in dem Glauben, man dürfe nicht diskriminieren. Aber Diskriminierung – auf freundliche Weise – betreibt ja jeder! Die eigenen Kinder stehen uns näher als die der anderen, die Erbgesetze nehmen darauf Rücksicht, und es ist ja auch schon diskriminierend, daß kein Fremder in meinen Garten darf. Auch ein Land darf seine Grenzen verteidigen. Wenn jemand den Grenzpfahl in Europa nur um zehn Meter verschieben würde, gäbe es furchtbaren Krach, aber die stille Landnahme über Immigration soll man dulden?

FOCUS: Das gebietet der Philanthropismus, sofern der nicht ein evolutionärer Irrläufer ist.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Es wird nicht in Rechnung gestellt, daß wir, wie alle Organismen, in einer langen Stammesgeschichte daraufhin selektiert wurden, in eigenen Nachkommen zu überleben. Europäer überleben nun mal nicht in einem Bantu, was gar keine Bewertung ist, denn für den Biologen gibt es zunächst einmal kein höheres Interesse, das sich im Deutschen oder im Europäer verwirklicht – nicht mal in der Menschheit.

FOCUS: Solche Ansichten haben ihnen den Vorwurf des Biologismus eingetragen, wobei Sie sich im Lasterkatalog der Wohlmeinenden noch zum Rassisten oder Faschisten hocharbeiten können.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Die Leute, die so de-monstrativ ihren Heiligenschein polieren, tun das ja nicht aus Nächstenliebe, sondern weil sie dadurch hohes Ansehen, hohe Rangpositionen, also auch Macht, gewinnen können – früher als Held, heute als Tugendheld. Der Mensch kann alles pervertieren, auch Freundlichkeit oder Gastlichkeit, und wenn die Folgen sich als katastrophal erweisen, schleichen sich die Wohlmeinenden meist davon und sagen: Das haben wir nicht gewollt.

FOCUS: Aber dieses Verhalten ist doch evolutionär schwachsinnig.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Sicher. Es sterben ja immer wieder Arten aus. Fehlverhalten im Politischen kann eine Gruppe immer wieder gefährden, wie man zuletzt am Marxismus gesehen hat.

FOCUS: Was sollten wir also tun?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Wir müssen von dem fatalen Kurzzeitdenken wegkommen. Wie alle Organismen sind wir auf den Wettlauf im Jetzt programmiert. Wir sind aber zugleich das erste Geschöpf, das sich Ziele setzen kann, das seinen Verstand und seine Fähigkeit, sozial zu empfinden, fürsorglich zu sein, auch mit einbringen kann.

FOCUS: Was bedeutet das praktisch?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ein generationsübergreifendes Überlebensethos. Ich würde vorschlagen, daß sich Europa unter Einbeziehung Osteuropas großräumig abschottet und die Armutsländer der Dritten Welt durch Hilfen allmählich im Niveau hebt. Wenn wir im Jahr 1,5 Millionen Menschen aus der Dritten Welt aufnähmen, würde das dort überhaupt nichts ändern – das gleicht der Bevölkerungsüberschuß, wie Hubert Markl unlängst betonte, in einer Woche wieder aus, solange es keine Geburtenkontrolle gibt. Man kann gegen eine Bevölkerungsexplosion in diesem Ausmaß sonst nichts tun, bestenfalls das Problem importieren, wenn man dumm ist.

FOCUS: Das ist dann, wie Sie schreiben, „Überredung zum Ethnosuizid“?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Die heute für die Multikultur eintreten, sind eben Kurzzeitdenker. Sie sind sich gar nicht bewußt, was sie ihren eigenen Enkeln antun und welche möglichen Folgen ihr leichtfertiges Handeln haben kann.

FOCUS: Ist der moderne Westeuropäer überhaupt noch vitalistisch erklärbar? Leistet er sich aus evolutionärer Warte nicht zuviel Luxus wie Immigration, Feminismus, Randgruppendiskurse, den Wohlfahrtsstaat?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Das wird sich wieder moderieren, wie man in Wien sagt . . .

FOCUS: Über Katastrophen?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Nicht nur. Ich glaube, daß die Leute Vernunftgründen doch zugänglich sind. Konrad Lorenz hat gesagt, es sei doch sehr unwahrscheinlich, daß von einer Generation auf die andere alles kulturelle Wissen auf einmal hinfällig und überholt ist. Die Tradition mitsamt der Offenheit für Experimente in gewissen Bereichen und die Bereitschaft zur Fehlerkorrektur, das zusammen eröffnet uns große Chancen. Aber alles umzubrechen und Großversuche wie das Migrationsexperiment anzustellen, das ja nicht mehr rückgängig zu machen ist, halte ich für gewissenlos. Man experimentiert nicht auf diese Weise mit Menschen.

FOCUS: Sie sagen, daß Xenophobie – Fremdenscheu, nicht Fremdenhaß – stammes-geschichtlich veranlagt ist.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Das ist in der Evolution selektiert worden, um die Vermischung zu verhindern. Die Fremdenscheu des Kleinkindes sichert die Bindung an die Mutter. Später hat der Mensch das familiale Ethos zum Kleingruppenethos gemacht. Mit der Entwicklung von Großgruppen erfolgte eine weitere Abgrenzung. Die ist unter anderem an Symbole gebunden, die Gemeinsamkeit ausdrücken sollen. Beim Absingen von Hymnen überläuft viele ein Schauer der Ergriffenheit, was auf die Kontraktion der Haaraufrichter zurückzuführen ist. Es sprechen da kollektive Verteidigungsreaktionen an; wir sträuben einen Pelz, den wir nicht mehr haben.

FOCUS: Das ist alles etwas Gewordenes. Kann sich nicht eines Tages den türkischen Deutschen und den deutschen Deutschen beim Abspielen der gemeinsamen Nationalhymne gemeinsam der Pelz sträuben?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Wenn das über Integration erfolgte, ja. Eine langsame Durchmischung kann durchaus friedlich verlaufen, und es kann etwas Interessantes herauskommen. Wir sprechen aber davon, ob in einem dichtbevölkerten Land über Immigration das Gesundschrumpfen der Bevölkerungszahl aufgehalten werden soll. Das fördert sicherlich nicht den inneren Frieden, sondern könnte selbst zu Bürgerkriegen führen – wir haben ja bereits das Kurdenproblem. Das ist nicht böse gemeint, es zeigt eben, daß diese Gruppen ihre Eigeninteressen ohne Rücksicht vertreten. Ich verstehe da übrigens auch die Grünen nicht, die sich gegen jede Autobahn sträuben und klagen, daß das Land zersiedelt wird. Dann kann man nicht zugleich alle reinlassen wollen.

FOCUS: Würden Sie bitte zu den folgenden Personen einen Satz sagen: Edmund Stoiber.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ein sehr klarer, engagierter Geist; ein Lokalpatriot, der aber auch gut nach Bonn passen würde.

FOCUS: Alice Schwarzer.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Das Anliegen der Gleichberechtigung ist berechtigt, man sollte aber nicht die Rolle der Frau als Mutter abwerten.

FOCUS: Jörg Haider.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ein stürmischer, sicherlich national betonter Mann, ein Hitzkopf, aber natürlich kein Rechtsradikaler – es wählen nicht 23 Prozent der Österreicher rechtsradikal.

FOCUS: Madonna.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Was soll man dazu sagen? Lustig, daß es so etwas gibt.

FOCUS: Nietzsches „Zarathustra“ hat die Ära des „verächtlichsten Menschen“ beschworen, des „letzten Menschen“, der alles klein macht und meint, er habe das Glück erfunden . . .

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Das ist sicherlich kein wünschenswerter Typus, denn der will ein passives Wohlleben ohne Dynamik.

FOCUS: Interessanterweise hat dieser letzte Mensch, wenn auch mit russischer Hilfe, den Zweiten Weltkrieg gegen die blonde Bestie gewonnen.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: War das der letzte Mensch? Das waren doch ganz tüchtige, mutige Leute. Ich würde sagen, wir haben den Krieg verloren, weil wir den Satz Immanuel Kants vergessen haben, man müsse sich auch im Krieg so verhalten, daß ein späterer Friede möglich ist. Man kann daraus übrigens lernen, daß Inhumanität kein positiver Selektionsfaktor ist.

FOCUS: Wie auch immer, der letzte Mensch steuert scheinbar unaufhaltsam der Weltzivilisation entgegen. Halten Sie einen globalen Einheitsmenschen für vorstellbar?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ich kann mir vorstellen, daß es große Blöcke geben wird, in denen der Bevölkerungsaustausch eine ziemlich einheit-liche Population hervorbringt. Aber der Verlust an Differenzierung wäre schade. Das würde eine Weltsprache bedeuten oder eine Sprache des eurasischen Blockes. Niemand würde mehr spanische oder italienische Autoren lesen . . .

FOCUS: Aber Sie als Ethologe müßten solche Verluste doch in den Skat drücken können. Die verschiedenen Sprachen sind doch bloß Neandertaler.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Dann bin ich eben ein Neandertaler. Ich liebe die kulturelle Buntheit. Die Neigung, sich abzugrenzen und eigene Wege zu gehen, ist schon im Tier- und Pflanzenreich ausgeprägt. Artenfülle ist die Speerspitze der Evolution, da wird dauernd Neues probiert. Der Mensch macht das kulturell, und wenn er seine kulturelle Differenzierung verliert, verliert er sehr viel von dem, was ihn zum heutigen Menschen gemacht hat. Wir wissen, daß es andere Möglichkeiten gibt; der Ameisenstaat ist perfekt. Die Frage ist nur, ob wir uns das als Individuen wünschen können.

FOCUS: Jetzt sind Sie so anthropozentrisch.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ich gehöre der Gattung Homo sapiens an. Ob sich die Humanität bewährt, für die ich ja plädiere, wissen wir nicht, aber ich sehe durch die ganze Geschichte, daß sie sich bewähren könnte.

FOCUS: Das Glück des letzten Menschen scheint unverträglich mit der Idee zu sein, als Glied einer Generationenkette zu existieren.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Das ist ein schrecklicher Irrglaube. Wer keine Kinder in die Welt setzt, steigt aus dem Abenteuer der weiteren Entwicklung aus.

FOCUS: Das ist denen ja egal.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ja, aber die Natur sorgt schon dafür, daß dann deren Gene nicht weiterleben. Ich glaube, daß diese Leute um einen Teil ihres Lebensglücks betrogen wurden. Zum Individuum gehört das Bewußtsein, daß man eben nicht nur Individuum ist, sondern eingebettet in eine größere Gemeinschaft und in einen Ablauf von Generationen und daß wir den Generationen vor uns unendlich viel verdanken.

FOCUS: Es handelt sich also um das freiwilliges Ansteuern einer evolutionären Sackgasse?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Ich kann im Hirn des Menschen über Indoktrination und dauernde Belehrung Strukturen aufbauen, die diese Menschen gegen ihre Eigeninteressen und gegen die Interessen ihrer Gemeinschaft handeln lassen. Ein Kollektiv kann ja von religiösem Wahn befallen werden und sich umbringen.

FOCUS: Da haben wir den Bogen zurück zur Eingangsfrage: Schafft sich der westliche hedonistische Individualmensch kraft nach-lassender Vitalität allmählich selbst ab?

Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Zu allen Zeiten haben Gruppen andere verdrängt, und es gibt sicherlich kein Interesse der Natur an uns. Aber es gibt ein Eigeninteresse. Man muß nicht notwendigerweise seine eigene Verdrängung begrüßen.

„Wenn man über Immigration Minoritäten aufbaut, die sich abgrenzen, wird das Gleichgewicht gestört“

„Das Kurdenproblem zeigt, daß fremde Gruppen ihre Eigeninteressen ohne Rücksicht vertreten“

„Inhumanität ist kein positiver Selektionsfaktor“

„Wer keine Kinder in die Welt setzt, steigt aus dem Abenteuer der weiteren Evolution aus“

SKEPTISCH-HUMANISTISCHER VERHALTENSFORSCHER

HERKUNFT: 1928 in Wien geboren

BILDUNGSWEG: Studium Naturgeschichte und Physik, 1949 Promotion (Zoologie) in Wien

KARRIERE: 1949-69 Schüler und Mitarbeiter von Konrad Lorenz. 1963 Habilitation (Uni München). Seit 1975 Leiter der Forschungsstelle f. Humanethologie der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (in Andechs). Seit 1992 Direktor des Instituts f. Stadtethologie Wien

jeudi, 27 janvier 2011

George Montandon et Louis-Ferdinand Céline

George Montandon et Louis-Ferdinand Céline

par Alain CAMPIOTTI

Ex.: http://lepetitcelinien.blogspot.com/

De l’admiration de la révolution bolchevique à l’adhésion totale à l’antisémitisme nazi: la dérive mortelle du Dr Montandon, Neuchâtelois, médecin à Renens, ami de Céline et ennemi juré de la «Gazette de Lausanne».

Vatslav Vorovsky est un bolchevique vétéran, vieil ami de Lénine. Il était souvent à Genève avec lui au début du XXe siècle pour fabriquer les journaux du parti. Quand il revient en Suisse, en 1923, c’est en tant que diplomate soviétique, pour participer à la conférence de Lausanne sur la question turque. Il est descendu avec sa délégation à l’Hôtel Cecil. Le soir du 9 mai, un homme s’avance vers sa table, au restaurant, sort un pistolet et l’abat. L’assassin, Maurice Conradi, dont la famille avait été spoliée en Russie où elle s’était établie, revendique haut et fort son crime. En automne pourtant, il est acquitté, sous les applaudissements du public. Son procès, tenu sans rire au Casino, s’est transformé en réquisitoire contre l’URSS.

Les bolcheviques n’ont plus beaucoup d’amis au bord du Léman. Sauf le Dr George Montandon, de Renens. Cité par la partie civile, le médecin, qui durant deux ans a parcouru la Russie ravagée de Vladivostok aux pays baltes, est venu dire que la «terreur blanche» était bien pire que la «terreur rouge». Il est rentré de Moscou avec de la sympathie pour le nouveau régime. La police de sûreté vaudoise pense même qu’il est au parti. Il écrit dans Clarté, la revue philocommuniste de Romain Rolland. Mais en même temps, le Dr Montandon collabore de longue date à la Gazette de Lausanne, dont il est par ailleurs actionnaire. La Gazette n’aime guère les rouges. S’ensuivent des tensions qui deviennent, l’année suivante, explosives. Le docteur veut la tête de Charles Burnier, le directeur du journal, et il ne lésine pas sur les moyens, publiant des pamphlets de plus en plus violents et insultants. Le dernier est intitulé «Burnier fumier», avec une illustration d’une belle grossièreté. Le directeur dépose plainte, le Tribunal fédéral s’en mêle, et George Montandon écope de dix jours de prison. Mais il triomphe: entre-temps, Charles Burnier a été viré. «Ma condamnation est un honneur, écrit-il. Je paie mon attitude de sympathie à la Révolution russe.» Pour échapper à l’arrestation, le docteur prend le bateau vers Thonon, puis émigre avec sa famille à Paris.

A-t-il de l’humour, cet homme à tête de croque-mort? Il est né en 1879 à Cortaillod, fils d’un industriel riche et influent, député au Grand Conseil neuchâtelois. Après sa médecine faite à Genève, Lausanne et Zurich, il se prend de passion pour l’ethnologie, va l’étudier à Londres et à Hambourg. En 1910, il est en Abyssinie, soigne le vieux roi Ménélik II avec qui Arthur Rimbaud trafiquait ses armes, parcourt le pays en tous sens au point qu’une montagne prend son nom, Toulou Montandon. La Gazette publie au retour les longs reportages du docteur aventurier.

Quand éclate la Grande Guerre, Montandon ferme son cabinet de Renens et s’engage pour deux ans dans un hôpital militaire français. Après la révolution d’Octobre, il récidive et convainc le CICR de lui confier une mission compliquée: organiser en pleine guerre civile, par Vladivostok, le rapatriement des prisonniers austro-hongrois dispersés en Sibérie centrale. De toute évidence, l’expédition lui plaît. Il a son train, qui va et vient dans la plaine infinie. A ses moments perdus, il fait un peu de recherche ethnographique, ramasse des arcs et des lances, mesure des crânes. Il côtoie les soudards blancs qui dans la neige se réchauffent à la vodka. Il s’arrête à Omsk chez un fromager suisse émigré qui voudrait «sortir de cette maison de fous». Il connaît des chefs bolcheviques, en particulier Boris Choumiatski, qui tente de contrôler pour Moscou les immensités sibériennes et dont Staline fera son tsar du cinéma, persécutant Eisenstein, avant de l’envoyer recevoir sa balle dans une cave. Il fréquente les hordes du baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, ce général balte qui tente de se tailler un empire militaro-mystique au cœur des ténèbres mongoles. Il est arrêté trois fois par la Tcheka, la dernière fois à Moscou, accusé d’espionnage et enfermé à la Loubianka où il entend les pires rumeurs, et les hurlements d’une femme.

Sorti de cette aventure, George Montandon en tire un livre, Deux ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolcheviques. Drôle de bouquin, récit picaresque plein de détails ferroviaires et militaires, de rodomontades naïves dans une langue un peu surannée, mais dans lequel on découvre des fulgurances. Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, autre docteur, n’a encore rien écrit, mais on dirait parfois du Céline. Montandon parle de l’égalité obtenue «par libre consentement ou par contrainte» qu’il observe chez les Russes, et il s’exclame: «Le costume bourgeois: néant! L’allure digne et repue du bourgeois: renéant! L’orgueil bourgeois, la morgue bourgeoise – voici, voici l’essentiel – l’orgueil bourgeois, la morgue bourgeoise: néant de néant! Les jeux sont faits, rien ne va plus! En comparaison de notre moisissure, la démocratie américaine nous avait déjà montré quelque chose de remarquable, mais voici qui est beaucoup plus fort. Ici, si l’un a plus que l’autre […] il semble en avoir honte comme d’un vice. […] Aujourd’hui, en Russie prise dans son ensemble, l’orgueil de classe est évanoui, le monocle est tombé.»

La Gazette de Lausanne n’accepte pas de parler de Deux ans chez Kol­tchak. Mais George Montandon n’est plus là, il s’est vengé à sa manière, et maintenant, à Paris, il met le même entêtement qu’en Afrique ou en URSS à conquérir, cette fois, les sommets universitaires qu’on vient de lui refuser à Neuchâtel. Il côtoie la crème de l’ethnologie française, Marcel Mauss, Paul Rivet, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, s’en fait des amis, puis surtout des ennemis. Il obtient un poste, pas celui qu’il visait, en tire de la hargne. Il écrit, utilisant les observations accumulées dans ses voyages, alignant des types humains, les organisant en familles, les classant: «La race, les races». Il commence à parler un peu des juifs, qui sont avant tout «une raison sociale, et non une race uniforme». Dans le climat intellectuel de l’époque, ses écrits ne choquent pas. Il traite ensuite de «l’ethnie française», et ses écrits se durcissent. L’ancien admirateur de Lénine est désormais lu avec intérêt par les idéologues racistes allemands. Cette dérive intellectuelle l’amène finalement à rencontrer celui qui l’attendait, l’autre docteur: Céline. C’est en 1938. L’auteur du Voyage au bout de la nuit est tout occupé par ses pamphlets antisémites. Il s’inspire de Montandon dans Bagatelle pour un massacre, le cite dans L’Ecole des cadavres. Ils sont amis, jusqu’à la fin.

Quand l’armée allemande occupe la France, la haine antisémite du Neuchâtelois n’a plus de frein. Dans La France au travail, le nouveau nom donné à L’Humanité confisquée aux communistes, dont le rédacteur en chef est, sous le pseudonyme de Charles Dieudonné, le fasciste genevois Géo Oltramare, Montandon traite les juifs d’«ethnie putain» qui, «s’imposant aux Français: a) faisait bêler la paix, b) sabotait l’armement, c) et surtout dégoûtait la femme de la maternité grâce à sa presse avec ses rubriques quasi pornographiques, dirigées par des putains juives». Ailleurs, il promet aux belles actrices juives de les défigurer en leur coupant le nez.

Céline reconnaît chez le Suisse sa propre haine. Il envoie un mot de recommandation pour que son ami trouve un emploi dans l’administration des «questions juives»: «Parfait honnête homme, un peu suisse (comme J.J.), docteur en médecine (et autrefois un peu communiste), et par-dessus tout un grand savant.» Montandon obtient son emploi. Désormais, c’est lui qui établira pour le Commissariat général les certificats de non-appartenance à la race juive, qui offrent une protection à ceux qui peuvent se les payer, car les factures du docteur sont salées. Ce commerce macabre finit par indisposer Céline lui-même.

Le 3 août 1944, une camionnette s’arrête devant la villa au numéro 22 de la rue Louis-Guespin, à Clamart. Deux ou trois hommes en descendent. Ils sont armés. Marie Montandon, qui ouvre la porte, est criblée de balles. Les assaillants montent à l’étage, trouvent le docteur dans son lit, malade, et ouvrent le feu. Puis ils prennent la fuite. George Montandon n’est que blessé. Il appelle une ambulance qui le conduit à l’Hôpital Lariboisière, géré par l’armée allemande. Quelques jours plus tard, le conseiller du Commissariat général aux questions juives est emmené en Allemagne. Il meurt le 30 août, à Fulda.

Céline, qui soignait George Montandon, n’avait pas vu son ami depuis trois mois. En 1952, dans Féerie pour une autre fois, il a parlé de lui une dernière fois: «Il savait pas rire Montandon, il était gris de figure, de col, d’imperméable, de chaussures, tout… mais quel bel esprit! tout gris certes! pas une parole plus haut que l’autre! mais quelles précisions admirables! […] Bébert qu’est pourtant le malgracieux! le griffeur, le bouffeur fait chat!… il comprenait le «charme Montandon»…»

Alain CAMPIOTTI
Le Temps, 6/1/2011

 

mardi, 02 novembre 2010

Céline e il dramma biologico della storia

Céline e il dramma biologico della storia

di Luca Leonello Rimbotti

Fonte: Italicum [scheda fonte]


celine.jpgInfernale manipolatore della parola oppure sacerdote ideologico della décadence?  Inventore nichilista di quadri solo letterari, oppure geniale interprete politico di una civiltà al tramonto? Insomma: il fin troppo noto anarchisme di Céline è una posa individualista, oppure un vero e proprio manifesto sociale e antropologico? Possiamo ancora oggi leggerlo in tanti modi, Céline. Ma, se vogliamo andare al fondo della sua anima, tra gli squarci e gli urli, le maledizioni e le ingiurie è possibile trovare netta e precisa un’interpretazione della storia europea. Céline è un analista del tracollo dell’Europa, rappresenta un sensore sensibile agli smottamenti e alle derive, denuncia e preavverte, minaccia e sibila oltraggi alla maniera di un apocalittico profeta antico: magari l’“Ezechiele parigino” di cui parlò Pol Vandromme. C’è in Céline la sensiblerie di un osservatore straziato, che ha sottomano la disintegrazione della civiltà europea e ne grida i misfatti, attraverso le sue storie disperate, ma anche attraverso pagine e pagine di lamentazioni millenaristiche. Céline sa di trovarsi di fronte a uno sbocco, nel centro di uno snodo di epoche, dal cui scioglimento dipenderà l’avvenire del suo mondo. E il suo mondo è l’Europa tradizionale. L’Europa nordica franco-germanica. L’Europa dei popoli sani che fanno la civiltà e la storia.

L’Europa delle aristocrazie di stirpe. Céline – è stato osservato – fu allievo del de Gobineau nel soffrire la decadenza come un’ingiuria ineluttabile, forse anche necessaria. Come una fine obbligata, soltanto dalla quale poi ripartire per un nuovo inizio. Già molti anni fa, nel 1974, lo studioso Paolo Carile rilevò la filiazione di Céline dalla inquadratura gaubinista e dall’antropologia di Ėlie Faure, e la rilevò dalla sua lettura degli eventi moderni come dramma biologico della storia, al culmine del quale si attua il precipitare dell’ordine antico in una sequela di accelerati sfaldamenti.


Faure era un critico d’arte socialista che spiegava le aggregazioni estetiche come esito di combinazioni positive di sangue e di influssi ambientali, e in questo modo si confrontò con l’ideologia di Gobineau, di cui però rovesciava gli assunti: gli incroci come esiti positivi, come moltiplicatori delle possibilità creative. Nondimeno, egli attribuiva alla forza dinamica ìnsita nei popoli e negli individui il valore di un condizionamento, attraverso il dispiegarsi di dispositions ethnobiologiques determinanti nel formare l’anima collettiva. Céline, che fu in rapporti col Faure, si abbeverò a questa dimensione di un’energia occulta che sanziona le predisposizioni, e Carile appunto ne scorse la manifestazione nel concetto céliniano di âme, l’anima “ancorata ad un’interpretazione strettamente biologica che non accetta gli slanci mistici fauriani”, quale compare, ad esempio, in Mea culpa del 1936. “Céline si credeva depositario di una profezia la cui rivelazione era fondamentale per la salvezza dell’umanità”, ha scritto molti anni fa Vandromme. Difatti, sembra sempre di sentire rintoccare la campana apocalittica di un ultimo evento, di una imminente catastrofe che attende l’Europa nel fondo del suo declino. E questo, tanto nelle sue storie di trascinamenti nei degradi scuri della psiche metropolitana, quanto nelle filippiche nevrotiche dei suoi luciferini e brutali pamphlet. Con, al centro, ogni volta, l’allucinazione dello sfacelo fisico e mentale, dell’abbrutimento, la febbricitante sofferenza per l’oscenità della lenta, sicura consunzione che attanaglia l’individuo spoglio e isolato, così come le plebi, i popoli, l’Europa intera.
Si è individuato nell’inizio del 1942 – con la brutta piega presa dalla guerra “tedesca” - il momento del distacco di Céline da ogni furore di lotta positiva: ciò che fino a quella data egli ancora riteneva possibile attraverso la violenta liberazione di tutte le energie ancora inespresse dalla Francia e dall’Europa germanizzate, cioè un arresto della nostra civiltà sull’orlo dell’abisso e un raddrizzamento dei fini e dei modi, da allora in poi divenne disperata ricerca di un precipizio in cui gettare l’uomo e la sua incapacità di salvarsi. Il fatalismo céliniano non è tuttavia rassegnato: è esibizione di volontà di rovina. In questo, egli rappresenta al meglio la tragicità di un modo d’essere incapace di interpretare la realtà, altrimenti che nei modi manichei del trionfo o della catastrofe. E allora, se il trionfo non poteva più aversi, si sarebbe dovuto volere la catastrofe. E tanto più grandiosa e definitiva, tanto meglio.

“Cronista tragico”, si definì Céline in un’intervista del 1960. Cronista in grado di intercettare e di rappresentare il tragico dell’epoca, come a pochi era stato concesso. Poiché, così aggiunse, “la maggior parte degli autori cercano la tragedia senza trovarla”. Lui invece la trovò, si agitò al centro del ciclone e sospinse il dramma fino ai suoi limiti radicali. Lo psicodramma di Céline – che non fu certo il solo nella sua epoca a vivere questa dimensione dell’assurdo totale – rappresenta il destino europeo sotto la specie di una tragedia personale elevata a simbolo di un mondo e di una generazione.


L’ossessione per la degenerazione psico-fisica dell’uomo occidentale diventa in Céline una sorta di  manifesto bioetico, depotenziato forse per l’ambiguo estremismo del linguaggio popolaresco, che cerca nell’argot dei bassifondi la parola infame per descrivere le brutture della vita; ma potenziato, d’altra parte, proprio dalla consapevolezza, vissuta forse come bagaglio d’esperienze del “medico dei poveri”, dell’illimitata miseria delle masse umane urbanizzate e rese indegne, ignobili, dalle logiche della società capitalista moderna. La purezza, in questo quadro, è un vero richiamo al mito di un’unità di specie che è andata perduta per la violenza e le ingiustizie del mondo. Una purezza introvabile ormai, il paradiso perduto dell’uomo nel suo eterno inganno moralista. Già nel Viaggio al termine della notte, Céline tratteggia la sua rabbia per l’impossibilità fisica di igienizzare l’umanità povera, per redimerla, per dunque ripulire dal male la razza e restituirla a una qualunque dignità. Le parole con cui rappresenta la mescolanza oscena dei miserabili della banlieue e dei quartieri poveri – da lui ben conosciuta di persona – sono l’attestato del suo dolore per un disfacimento ormai irrefrenabile: “la razza…è un ammasso di malandati, pidocchiosi, miserabili che sono capitati qui per causa di fame, peste, tumori e freddo…da tutte le parti del mondo…”.

Ed ecco qua, pertanto, una prima applicazione di quella consapevolezza per il “dramma biologico della storia” di cui dicevamo, e che Céline vedeva chiaramente all’opera nel cuore parigino della France eternelle. Un cuore marcio, scolpito con tutte le putredini della mescolanza. Questo orrifico affastellamento di destini assemblati dal caso è la risultante del tradimento che l’uomo moderno ha compiuto nei confronti della nobiltà dell’appartenenza di stirpe. Céline il bretone, orgoglioso della sua nordicità, della limpidezza dei suoi trascorsi ereditari di terra e di sangue, vive la lacerazione dolorosa di una realtà, quella della cosmopoli parigina, borghese e progressista, liberale e capitalista, che affoga ogni nobile istinto nella primitiva lotta per il possesso materiale, per il lusso. Sopra sta la borghesia che si rimpinza le budella e, dice Céline, si dimentica sempre di passare alla cassa per pagare. Sotto sta la massa dei disperati disonorati, condannati alla perversione di pagare il benessere altrui con la propria allucinante miseria. Non più un popolo, ma feccia senza nome. Non più nemmeno massa, ma semplice turba depravata, scavata dalla malattia, finita dal degrado.

Questo è il “socialismo nazionalista” di Céline: una rivolta del sentimento estetico, prima ancora che sociale. Una rivolta per la sanità del corpo e della mente liberati, un gridare carico d’odio in nome della vendetta per le masse deturpate dall’alcool, dal lavoro logorante e animalesco, dall’assenza di ogni segno di nobiltà. Poiché – lo scrisse proprio Vandromme – ciò che vuole questo anarchista (più che anarchico), irrazionalmente devoto alle sue radici celtiche di purezza, è per l’appunto la restaurazione di un mito aristocratico di nobiltà.

 
“Céline crede nella sola cosa necessaria, nel ritorno a una vita nobile”, ha commentato infatti Vandromme. Una nobiltà che appartiene alla concezione tradizionale e antimodernista della vita, di cui Céline fu uno dei massimi rappresentanti novecenteschi. “Vedo l’uomo tanto più inquieto quanto più ha perduto il gusto delle favole, del mito, inquieto fino alla disperazione…” scrisse Céline in Les beaux draps. E aggiunse che l’uomo moderno è come preda di una comune pazzia acquisitiva, un tormento superficiale per i beni materiali che gli fa dimenticare ogni dimensione legata all’irrazionale, al bello, al superiore, al gratuito. Ogni dimensione legata insomma alla natura, rappresentando la società progressista essenzialmente l’anti-natura. E questa anti-natura si esprime sinistramente nel dilagare di tutto ciò che è basso e informe, dando vita a una specie di Sodoma universale, in cui l’impuro imbratta ogni retaggio, corrompe ogni antica bellezza. “Il fatalismo biologico lombrosiano che implica il naufragio di ogni capacità autodecisionale non è lontano da certe pessimistiche considerazioni antropologiche di Céline”. Questa osservazione di Carile ci mostra quanto centrale fosse nel dottor Destouches l’apprensione per il destino del corpo dell’uomo europeo, aggredito da tutte le degenerazioni della massificazione e dell’edonismo borghese. Davanti allo spettacolo di corruzione dei corpi e delle menti, Céline reagisce con l’insulto e con l’odio forsennato, oppure con il gesto picaresco dello sberleffo, l’ironia, la rigolade. Ultimo rifugio – come nel “lazzarone” napoletano – di un’umanità di vinti condannata al disonore e all’anonimato sociale.


Della sua epoca fortemente ideologizzata e rivoluzionaria, densa di contraddizioni sociali e di aperture politiche chiliastiche, Céline apprese l’inclinazione radicale verso l’apocalisse. Interpretò il fascismo come un’arma di raddrizzamento del piano inclinato e in favore di un sorgere dell’élite nuova, della giovane aristocrazia che imponesse nuovi codici di etica comunitaria e di onore sociale. Il tutto inquadrando nel contesto di un amore viscerale per la carne, per il corpo fisico dell’uomo, elevato a simbolo sommo dell’ideale di purezza. Le pagine che, ad esempio, Céline dedicò alla bellezza estetica della danza, di cui era ammirata interprete la moglie, gli accenti lirici che spese a proposito del bel gesto armonico, dell’aggraziato flettersi del corpo, della grandezza dell’arte perché in-utile, non monetizzabile, gratuita, sono l’attestato di questo amore celiniano per l’incanto della purezza, priva di prezzo ma grandemente preziosa. Un sovramondo che aveva il suo tenebroso contraltare nel sottomondo dei deformi, degli sfiancati, dei ruderi umani che erano gli avanzi antropologici del capitalismo borghese.

Leggiamo un attimo quanto sempre Carile scrisse circa l’antropologia etica di Céline: “Céline riprende le tesi tipiche della sua generazione al fine di giustificare il proprio elitismo, frutto di un movimento psicologico di difesa dalla pessimistica sensazione della decadenza della civiltà europea. In tal modo lo scrittore, ergendosi contro il mondo moderno, crede di far barriera contro la tecnologia e il consumismo dilaganti che caratterizzano la nostra epoca ‘decadente’. L’elitismo razzista – continuava Carile – lo preserverebbe da quanto ai suoi occhi è simboleggiato negativamente dalla routine democratico-borghese. La sua ribellione lo porta ad esaltare l’irrazionalismo, la gratuità della danza e nel contempo a sublimare il proprio orgoglio aristocratico di ‘autentico celte’; dato che si considerava uno degli ultimi esempi di una razza etnicamente intatta, al di qua della torre di Babele dei popoli e delle culture imbastardite del suo tempo”. In questa analisi c’è tutto quanto il significato epocale della figura e della scrittura di Céline, questo Spengler narratore dei bassifondi del tardo impero europeo, che invoca con fanatismo disperato un’ultima resurrezione del popolo.


Céline sapeva di essere uno dei pochi capaci di andare davvero fino in fondo. Le sue scelte oltranziste – dall’antisemitismo al filogermanesimo, da Sigmaringen alla cocciuta ostinazione postbellica di non rinnegare nulla – gli attirarono un carico d’odio che soltanto oggi viene meno, per via di certi biografi che però fanno anche di peggio, dato che vogliono fare di Céline non il felino ungulato che era, ma un cappone da cortile, solo un po’ bizzarro. Lo sapeva che imboccando la strada di una difesa antropologica ed etnica dell’uomo europeo si sarebbe guadagnato una fama luciferina. Lo sapeva almeno dai tempi di Bagatelles quando, rivolgendosi a se stesso, scrisse: “Ferdinand,…t’auras le monde entier contre toi”. Avere tutto il mondo contro di sé…È il destino dei veri profeti.
                                                                                                                               


Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

jeudi, 16 septembre 2010

Konrad Lorenz, uno scienziato antimoderno

konrad_Lorenz.jpg

Konrad Lorenz, uno scienziato antimoderno

di Stefano Di Ludovico

Fonte: Centro Studi Opifice [scheda fonte]

I pregiudizi scientisti e progressisti di cui è impregnata la nostra cultura ci portano spesso a vedere in ogni visione alternativa rispetto al mondo moderno il portato di mentalità antiscientifiche ed arcaiche, sogno di visionari metafisici che ignorano i fondamenti e le regole più elementari del sapere positivo. Sembra quasi che la critica al mondo moderno sia prerogativa di culture inevitabilmente “altre” rispetto a quel sapere che di tale mondo si reputa a fondamento, e che la scienza sia necessariamente al servizio della modernità e della società a cui essa ha dato origine. La figura e l’opera di Konrad Lorenz smentiscono clamorosamente tali pregiudizi: universalmente considerato uno dei maggiori “scienziati” del XX secolo, padre dell’etologia moderna e Nobel per la fisiologia e la medicina nel 1973, è stato al tempo stesso uno dei più lucidi e feroci critici della modernità e dei suoi miti, anticipatore di molte di quelle tematiche oggi fatte proprie dai movimenti e dalle culture ambientaliste e no-global.
A rileggere la sua opera, sviluppatasi lungo l’arco di un quarantennio, dal dopoguerra agli anni Ottanta del secolo appena trascorso, ci ritroviamo al cospetto di un vero e proprio “profeta” dei mali che affliggono il nostro mondo e dei problemi che la nostra generazione è chiamata ad affrontare. E tutto ciò da una prospettiva che pur rimanendo fedele ai fondamenti positivisti ed evoluzionisti della sua visione di fondo, ha saputo essere al tempo stesso radicalmente anticonformista ed “inattuale” rispetto ai valori ed alle tesi di cui quella visione si è fatta spesso portatrice. Ci sembra essere proprio questa, alla fine, la cifra del pensiero di Konrad Lorenz, uno scienziato “antimoderno”. A diciotto anni dalla sua morte - avvenuta nel 1989 - proprio oggi che molte delle sue analisi si sono rivelate profetiche e che l’eco delle polemiche, anche accese, che hanno accompagnato la sua vicenda culturale ed umana si va ormai spegnendo, è possibile, e al tempo stesso doveroso, guardare alla sua opera con maggiore interesse, curiosità ed obiettività, attribuendole la valenza e la riconoscenza che meritano.

Konrad Lorenz nasce a Vienna nel 1903. Studia medicina a New York e a Vienna, laureandosi nel 1928. Nel 1933 consegue anche la laurea in zoologia, assecondando i suoi veri interessi che si stavano orientando sempre più verso il mondo animale e l’ornitologia in particolare. Nel 1937 diventa docente di psicologia animale e anatomia comparata presso l’Università di Vienna e, a partire dal 1940, di psicologia all’Università di Königsberg. Scoppiata la guerra, combatte nell’esercito tedesco. Durante il conflitto viene fatto prigioniero dai russi; così dal 1944 al 1948 è trattenuto in un campo di detenzione sovietico fino alla fine delle ostilità. Nel 1949 viene pubblicato L’anello di Re Salomone, destinato a rimanere la sua opera più celebre, dove Lorenz rivela quelle doti di abile ed affascinante divulgatore che resero i suoi testi famosi nel mondo, avvicinando alle tematiche etologiche e naturalistiche un vasto pubblico di non addetti ai lavori; doti confermate nel successivo E l’uomo incontrò il cane, del 1950. Nel 1961 diviene Direttore dell’Istituto Max Plank per la fisiologia del comportamento di Starnberg, in Baviera, carica che manterrà fino al 1973. E’ proprio a partire da tali anni che, accanto a testi a contenuto prettamente scientifico, Lorenz inizia ad estendere i suoi interessi alla sfera sociale e culturale, per arrivare ad affrontare le tematiche dell’attualità del suo tempo, lette all’interno di un’ottica che faceva tesoro di quanto via via egli stava maturando e scoprendo in ambito naturalistico. Dall’etologia animale si passa così all’etologia umana. Tali nuovi interessi iniziano per la verità a fare capolino già nelle opere a carattere scientifico, rivelando la vastità degli orizzonti e delle prospettive che fin dagli inizi hanno accompagnato la sua ricerca.

L’opera Il cosiddetto male, del 1963, che affronta il tema dell’aggressività intraspecifica, è un tipico esempio di tale prospettiva. In questo scritto Lorenz sostiene che l’aggressività, al pari di diversi altri istinti quali la sessualità o la territorialità, sia un comportamento innato, come tale insopprimibile e spontaneo, impossibile da far derivare dai soli stimoli ambientali. Essendo un istinto innato, l’aggressività è in quanto tale “al di là del bene e del male” (di qui anche il carattere ironico e polemico del titolo del libro; modificato, in alcune delle edizioni successive, nel più neutro L’aggressività), componente strutturale di ogni essere vivente e svolgente un ruolo fondamentale nell’ambito dei processi evolutivi e quindi della sopravvivenza della specie. Basti pensare al ruolo che la conflittualità intraspecifica gioca nell’ambito della delimitazione del territorio, della scelta del partner nella riproduzione, dell’instaurazione delle gerarchie all’interno del gruppo. Lorenz sostiene altresì che gli stessi istinti “buoni”, ovvero quelli gregari e amorosi, derivino evoluzionisticamente dalla stessa aggressività, essendo modificazioni selettive di questa indirizzati a finalità differenti, tanto che sopprimere l’aggressività significherebbe sopprimere la vita stessa. Il libro suscitò polemiche violentissime, dato che Lorenz non limitò le sue riflessioni all’ambito animale, ma le estese anche a quello umano e storico-sociale. Le accuse si sprecarono e la polemica, dal terreno scientifico su cui Lorenz intendeva mantenerla, scivolò, com’era prevedibile, su quello politico ed ideologico: gli diedero del razzista e del guerrafondaio. In realtà il proposito del testo era quello di criticare le correnti comportamentiste e behavioriste, allora molto in voga, secondo cui tutti i comportamenti derivano in ultima analisi dalle influenze e dagli stimoli ambientali, modificati i quali sarebbe possibile modificare gli stessi comportamenti, aggressività inclusa. Per i comportamentisti, quindi, non vi sarebbe nulla di innato. Lorenz, al contrario, considera l’istinto un dato originario, geneticamente condizionato: in quanto tale, esso vive di vita autonoma, non vincolandosi necessariamente all’azione di quelle influenze ambientali aventi la funzione di stimoli scatenanti. Anzi, secondo Lorenz più un istinto non trova occasione di scatenamento, più aumenta la possibilità che esso si scarichi prima o poi in maniera ancor più dirompente, anche in assenza degli stimoli corrispondenti. Se così non fosse, per Lorenz sarebbero difficilmente spiegabili i fenomeni di aggressività cosiddetta “gratuita”, così diffusi sia nel mondo animale che tra gli uomini. Lungi dal costituire un’apologia della violenza e della guerra, l’opera di Lorenz intendeva innanzi tutto mettere in guardia da ogni posizione utopica circa la convivenza umana e la risoluzione dei conflitti, risoluzione che, per essere realistica e antropologicamente fondata, non poteva prescindere da dati e analisi che egli riteneva incontrovertibili. Al contrario, proprio la mancata conoscenza del funzionamento dei comportamenti innati poteva portare a risultati opposti a quelli auspicati, finendo per favorire proprio l’innesco di comportamenti deleteri per la pacifica convivenza. Sostenendo l’impermeabilità di fondo ai condizionamenti ambientali degli istinti basilari dell’uomo come di tutte le specie animali, Lorenz vuole evidenziare così le illusioni insite nella convinzione secondo cui l’educazione e la trasformazione dell’assetto politico-sociale sarebbero di per sé sufficienti a modificare e plasmare i comportamenti umani. E questo non perché egli negasse ogni valore alla cultura o alla dimensione spirituale dell’uomo, quasi a volerlo ridurre a un animale tra i tanti e per ciò vincolato esclusivamente ai suoi istinti. Alieno da ogni visione irenistica e bucolica dell’uomo così come della natura in genere, critico di ogni antropologia che risentisse del mito rousseauiano del “buon selvaggio”, egli sottolineò piuttosto come la “pseudospeciazione culturale” tipica della specie umana ha portato i gruppi umani – siano essi i clan, le tribù, le etnie o le moderne nazioni - una volta raggiunto un determinato grado di differenziazione reciproca, a relazionarsi in modo molto simile a quello delle specie animali più evolute, specie tra le quali, come accennato sopra, la conflittualità intraspecifica gioca un ruolo fondamentale all’interno dei processi adattativi. Lorenz evidenzia come diversi comportamenti risalenti a fattori culturali rivelino una fenomenologia sorprendentemente simile a quelli di origine genetica, facendo risaltare così una certa convergenza tra le dinamiche animali e quelle umane, convergenza che in fenomeni come non solo l’aggressività, ma anche ad esempio la territorialità, l’imprinting, il gioco ed i riti risalta con chiarezza.

E’ soprattutto però con opere quali Gli otto peccati capitali della nostra civiltà, del 1973 e Il declino dell’uomo, del 1983, che le problematiche del proprio tempo e la critica alle convinzioni ed alle ideologie dominanti diventano i temi centrali della sua ricerca; temi che, comunque, continuano a trovare ampio spazio anche nelle opere a contenuto scientifico di questo periodo. Tra queste ricordiamo L’altra faccia dello specchio, del 1973, dedicata alla disamina dei processi conoscitivi della specie umana da un punto di vista storico-evoluzionistico, Natura e destino, del 1978, dove viene ripreso il confronto tra innatismo e ambientalismo, e Lorenz allo specchio, scritto autobiografico del 1975. Nel 1973, intanto, tra le ennesime e strumentali polemiche scatenate in particolare dagli ambienti culturali di sinistra, viene insignito, come accennato, del Premio Nobel per la fisiologia e la medicina, unitamente ad altri due etologi, Nikolaas Tinbergen e Karl Ritter von Frisch. Pur di infangare la sua figura, non bastando le meschine accuse già rivoltegli in occasione de Il cosiddetto male, per l’occasione vennero tirati in ballo presunti atteggiamenti di condiscendenza verso il regime nazista, strumentalizzando ad arte tesi espresse a suo tempo in merito all’eugenetica. In realtà, ciò che non gli veniva perdonato erano le posizioni controcorrente verso i miti progressisti-rivoluzionari così prepotentemente in voga nel clima caldo degli anni settanta, così come il temperamento libero e non curante verso il “politicamente corretto”, che lo portavano a confrontarsi senza pregiudizi con gli ambienti intellettuali più disparati, come dimostra l’attenzione mostrata verso il GRECE, il “Gruppo di ricerca e studio per la civilizzazione europea”, fondato in Francia da Alain De Benoist, dalla cui collaborazione nacque anche un libro-intervista pubblicato nel 1979 con il titolo Intervista sull’etologia. Sempre nel 1973 si stabilì ad Altenberg, in Austria, assumendo la direzione del Dipartimento di sociologia animale dell’Accademia Austriaca delle Scienze. Tra le altre più significative opere ricordiamo L’etologia (1978), vasta sintesi del suo pensiero etologico, e i due libri-intervista Salvate la speranza (1988) e Il futuro è aperto (postumo del 1996, in collaborazione con il filosofo Karl Popper), in cui torna ad affrontare anche tematiche più specificatamente filosofico-sociali.

Gli otto peccati capitali della nostra civiltà, destinata a diventare una delle sue opere più note, vuole essere un’analisi delle cause della decadenza della civiltà e dei pericoli che incombono sull’umanità. Come il successivo Il declino dell’uomo, è un’opera intrisa di un cupo pessimismo, a volte radicale, pessimismo che in seguito lo stesso Lorenz avrebbe ritenuto esagerato. Gli otto “peccati capitali” della civiltà sarebbero a suo dire i seguenti: l’abnorme aumento della popolazione mondiale; la devastazione dell’ambiente; la smisurata competizione economica tra gli individui; l’affievolirsi dei sentimenti; il deterioramento del patrimonio genetico; l’oblio della tradizione; l’omologazione culturale; la proliferazione nucleare. Come vediamo, si tratta di “peccati” ancor oggi all’ordine del giorno e con i quali l’attuale umanità continua a fare i conti, ma che al tempo di Lorenz ancora non venivano individuati e denunciati come tali in tutta la loro gravità. Addirittura tali “peccati” rischiano per Lorenz di portare l’umanità verso l’estinzione. Questa visione apocalittica gli è suggerita, secondo un’ottica seguita un po’ in tutte le sue opere, dal parallelo che egli istituisce con il mondo dell’evoluzione animale e naturale in genere. Più che eventi causati da specifici accadimenti storico-sociali, essi vengono letti infatti quali veri e propri fenomeni degenerativi dell’evoluzione umana: come avviene per molte specie viventi che, ad un certo punto della propria storia evolutiva, imboccano un vicolo cieco avviandosi verso l’estinzione, lo stesso sembra stia accadendo per la specie umana. “Quale scopo – si chiede Lorenz – possono avere per l’umanità il suo smisurato moltiplicarsi, l’ansia competitiva che rasenta la follia, la corsa agli armamenti sempre più micidiali, il progressivo rammollimento dell’uomo inurbato? A un esame più attento, quasi tutti questi fatti negativi si rivelano però essere disfunzioni di meccanismi comportamentali ben determinati che in origine esercitavano probabilmente un’azione utile ai fini della conservazione della specie. In altre parole, essi vanno considerati alla stregua di elementi patologici”. Al di là delle legittime perplessità e delle riserve che una simile chiave di lettura – vincolata ad un’impostazione in ultima analisi biologista ed naturalista dei processi storico-sociali – può suscitare, l’opera di Lorenz rappresenta una delle più lungimiranti e pionieristiche denuncie della società moderna, di cui vengono con vigore demistificati i miti ed i valori fondanti. Fenomeni che secondo la tradizione del pensiero moderno venivano considerati quali espressione della più intima natura umana – la competizione economica, la ricerca del benessere materiale, l’indefinito progresso tecnologico – vengono denunciati, al contrario, quali vere e proprie “patologie”, che stanno allontanando sempre più l’uomo dalla sua vera essenza, riducendolo a mero strumento delle forze tecno-economiche da egli stesso messe in moto. “La competizione tra gli uomini – afferma – che promuove, a nostra rovina, un sempre più rapido sviluppo della tecnologia, rende l’uomo cieco di fronte a tutti i valori reali e lo priva del tempo necessario per darsi a quella attività veramente umana che è la riflessione”. Estraniatosi dal mondo e dai ritmi della natura, l’uomo vive ormai in una nuova dimensione puramente artificiale, dove sono le leggi ed i ritmi della tecnica a regolare la sua vita. Ciò ha condotto a stravolgere l’identità e la specificità stesse dell’uomo, con il progressivo inaridimento dei sentimenti e delle emozioni, l’estinzione del senso estetico, la distruzione delle tradizioni e delle istituzioni che avevano da sempre regolato la convivenza umana prima dell’avvento della società industriale. Lorenz arriva a sostenere che la situazione dell’umanità contemporanea può essere paragonata a quella delle specie animali allevate ed selezionate a scopi produttivi, presso le quali l’addomesticamento ha determinato una vera e propria alterazione dei loro caratteri naturali.

In tal senso, Lorenz pone le basi per un ambientalismo che, non limitandosi a denunciare la perturbazione degli ecosistemi o la devastazione dell’habitat naturale dell’uomo, mette l’accento sulla necessità di recuperare un’esistenza più conforme ai dettami ed ai limiti della natura; natura accettata e fatta propria anche nella sua dimensione tragica e dolorosa. Il progetto della modernità di voler bandire il dolore e la fatica dal mondo è visto infatti da Lorenz come una vera e propria iattura: “il progresso tecnologico e farmacologico favorisce una crescente intolleranza verso tutto ciò che provoca dolore. Scompare così nell’uomo la capacità di procurarsi quel tipo di gioia che si ottiene soltanto superando ostacoli a prezzo di dure fatiche”. Nella società del benessere e del comfort “l’alternarsi di gioia e dolore, voluto dalla natura, si riduce a oscillazioni appena percettibili, che sono fonte di una noia senza fine”, noia che è alla base di quella illimitata ricerca del “piacere” – che della “gioia” è solo la caricatura parossistica - su cui fa leva la società dei consumi.  In tal senso Lorenz, che si impegnò spesso anche sul piano delle battaglie concrete intervenendo nei dibattiti pubblici e partecipando a molte iniziative ambientaliste, espresse anche posizioni controcorrente e trasversali rispetto a certo ambientalismo anche oggi prevalente, difendendo, ad esempio, la legittimità della caccia, e battendosi invece contro l’aborto, ritenuto una pratica innaturale. Al tempo stesso prese le distanze da ogni naturalismo inteso quale ritorno ad utopici quanto irrealistici “stati di natura”, in quanto vedeva la dimensione culturale e spirituale come consustanziale all’uomo, che privato di essa sarebbe privato quindi della sua “natura” più autentica.  Lo stesso studio del mondo animale, che ha impegnato tutta la sua vita, non è stato mai inteso da Lorenz in senso puramente tecno-scientifico: “vorrei dire innanzitutto che io non ho cominciato a tenere degli animali perché ne avevo bisogno per scopi scientifici: no, tutta la mia vita è stata legata strettamente agli animali, fin dalla prima infanzia… Crescendo ho allevato gli animali più diversi… Mi sono comportato sempre in questo modo: per conoscere a fondo un animale superiore, ho vissuto con lui. L’arroganza di certi scienziati moderni, che credono di poter risolvere tutti i problemi studiando un animale soltanto a livello sperimentale, è stata sempre estranea alla mia mente”. Più che il canonico approccio “scientifico”, quello di Lorenz sembra essere, almeno nelle sue finalità ultime e al di là dei suoi fondamenti epistemologici, un atteggiamento di tipo “intuitivo”, volto ad una comprensione complessiva dei fenomeni naturali e alieno da ogni visione meramente sperimentale e quantitativa. Ciò che davvero gli interessava era alla fine risensibilizzare l’uomo moderno al legame simpatetico con il mondo degli animali e della natura in genere, legame andato quasi completamente perduto per l’uomo civilizzato. Questi paga tale perdita anche con l’estinzione del senso estetico, che per Lorenz si lega strettamente al contatto con l’incredibile varietà della forme naturali e la grandezza della creazione che sovrasta l’uomo. Per Lorenz i sentimenti estetici sono infatti parte del patrimonio genetico dell’umanità, e hanno svolto anch’essi, quindi, un compito importate nel corso dell’evoluzione umana ai fini adattativi; mentre oggi l’uomo si va pericolosamente assuefacendo al “brutto” che domina incontrastato nelle nostre metropoli, dove ogni senso della bellezza sembra essersi obliato. La disarmonia che caratterizza la vita del moderno uomo inurbato si lega ad un altro infausto fenomeno, quello della sovrappopolazione, che Lorenz non vede solo nell’ottica economicistica - anche oggi spesso prevalente nei movimenti ambientalisti e terzomondisti - dello squilibrio tra risorse disponibili e popolazione, ma sempre in rapporto a dimensioni “esistenziali” più profonde, ancora una volta suggeritegli dagli studi etologici. Come ogni specie vivente ha bisogno, in base all’istinto di territorialità, di un suo ben delimitato “spazio vitale” (inteso in senso “psicologico” e non solo materiale), anche l’uomo difficilmente può adattarsi a vivere tra folle anonime di individui sconosciuti, dato che il forzato contatto ravvicinato e permanente con “estranei” genera inevitabilmente tensione ed aggressività, favorendo l’insorgere di quelle patologie tipiche della modernità quali stress e nevrosi.

La radicale critica della società moderna portò Lorenz a scontrarsi violentemente con la cultura progressista che monopolizzava il dibattito intellettuale degli anni sessanta e settanta ed ispirava i movimenti politici alternativi di quegli anni, movimenti che auspicavano una “rivoluzione” che andava, per molti aspetti, nel senso contrario a quello indicato da Lorenz. Critico verso ogni ottimismo progressista che esaltasse “le magnifiche sorti e progressive” dell’era della tecnica, Lorenz denunciò con altrettanto vigore l’ideologia del “nuovismo”, che egli considerava espressione di puro infantilismo, dato che è tipico dei bambini l’ingenuo entusiasmo verso tutto ciò che si presenta come “nuovo”. Contro i miti contestatari giovanili, Lorenz difese invece le tradizioni, la cultura e le strutture sociali sulle quali si erano funzionalmente rette le comunità e le società del passato, con accenti che non ci aspetteremmo da uno scienziato del XX secolo, come difese il principio di autorità nei processi educativi, vedendo in tutto ciò il portato di dinamiche socio-adattative coerenti con i dettati dell’evoluzione naturale. Lo stesso concetto di “rivoluzione” era del resto vivacemente contestato da Lorenz, dato che “la natura non fa salti” e che l’evoluzione procede per passi lenti e spesso impercettibili. Per questo l’incomprensione generazionale tra padri e figli che caratterizzava quegli anni era da lui vista come un fenomeno deleterio e pericoloso per un armonioso sviluppo della società. La stessa valorizzazione della fatica e della sofferenza andava contro le spinte moderniste di gran parte del movimento contestatore, che le considerava assurde sopravvivenze di secoli oscuri che grazie al progresso della tecnica e allo sviluppo economico l’uomo si sarebbe lasciato completamente alle spalle, essendo la liberazione dal dolore e il perseguimento del benessere “diritti” inalienabili che a tutti dovevano essere garantiti. Indifferente alle critiche che gli venivano mosse, forte delle sue convinzioni, Lorenz non si peritò di mettere in discussione lo stesso principio dell’uguaglianza tra gli uomini, che egli vedeva come una malsana distorsione del legittimo riconoscimento dell’eguale dignità di ogni uomo così come di ogni essere vivente. Secondo Lorenz l’egualitarismo, unito a quella che egli chiama la dottrina “pseudo-democratica” di ispirazione comportamentista secondo cui sarebbe possibile cambiare gli uomini a piacimento se solo si muta il contesto ambientale in cui essi si trovano a vivere, altro non è che un falso mito espressione della progressiva omologazione culturale che caratterizza la società moderna; omologazione di cui egli individuava le responsabilità nello strapotere del mercato, delle multinazionali e dei mezzi di comunicazione di massa. Il mondo moderno è caratterizzato da “una uniformità di idee quale non si era mai vista in nessun’altra epoca della storia” – sottolinea Lorenz - a tutto detrimento del pluralismo culturale, che, quale espressione del più vasto fenomeno naturale della diversità biologica, è un patrimonio da salvaguardare come uno dei cardini su cui si reggono l’evoluzione e la possibilità di riproduzione della vita stessa. Lorenz ritiene pertanto l’ineguaglianza un fattore costitutivo della natura, senza il quale essa perderebbe la sua forza creativa ed espansiva, non solo in termini biologici, ma anche e soprattutto a livello sociale e culturale, in quanto è proprio “l’ineguaglianza dell’uomo – affermò - uno dei fondamenti ed una delle condizioni di ogni cultura, perché è essa che introduce la diversità nella cultura”. Allo stesso modo egli individuava già allora nella perniciosa influenza della cultura americana le origini dei mali che attanagliavano l’umanità: “le malattie intellettuali della nostra epoca – sostiene - usano venire dall’America e manifestarsi in Europa con un certo ritardo”, così come al dominio delle ideologie egualitarie e pseudo-democratiche “va certamente attribuita una gran parte della responsabilità per il crollo morale e culturale che incombe sugli Stati Uniti”.

Figura proteiforme, difficilmente inquadrabile secondo gli schemi consueti, Lorenz visse profondamente le forti contraddizioni e i radicali cambiamenti che caratterizzarono il suo tempo. La sua complessa disamina della società moderna, intrisa di un così esasperato pessimismo, sfugge anch’essa a facili classificazioni, suscitando spesso sbrigative prese di distanza così come semplicistiche ed entusiastiche adesioni. Se il parallelismo che egli pone tra i processi evolutivi del regno animale e le dinamiche storico-sociali può lasciare perplessi, prestando il fianco ad accuse di riduzionismo biologista, lo sfidare gli apologeti del progresso tecno-scientifico sul loro stesso terreno dell’argomentazione positiva spiazza molti dei suoi detrattori. Anche i suoi toni a volte apocalittici possono sembrare eccessivi ed ingiustificati; ma non bisogna dimenticare che Lorenz scriveva in un periodo in cui i problemi da lui diagnosticati stavano per la prima volta presentando i loro risvolti devastanti su scala planetaria, senza che si fosse ancora sviluppata una forte sensibilità condivisa verso di essi. Come accennato, Lorenz stesso rivide progressivamente alcune delle sue posizioni e ritenne non più giustificabile il radicale pessimismo che aveva espresso, costatando come le tematiche su cui aveva richiamato l’attenzione fin dagli anni sessanta erano sempre più al centro del dibattito culturale e ormai nell’agenda di impegni di molti gruppi e movimenti politici e ambientalisti. “Colui che credeva di predicare solitario nel deserto, parlava, come si è dimostrato, davanti ad un uditorio numeroso ed intellettualmente vivo” - riconosce Lorenz, e “i pericoli della sovrappopolazione e dell’ideologia dello sviluppo vengono giustamente valutati da un numero rapidamente crescente di persone ragionevoli e responsabili”. Per questo Lorenz finì per prendere le distanze dai “catastrofisti”, da coloro che credevano possibile figurarsi con certezza l’avvenire dell’umanità predicando la sua prossima fine, dato che, come recita il titolo del succitato libro scritto con Karl Popper, il “futuro è aperto”, e l’irriducibilità ad ogni possibile determinismo costituisce pur sempre la cifra dell’uomo e della storia. Se il futuro è certamente aperto e la critica all’ideologia sviluppista non è più patrimonio di isolati predicatori nel deserto, è pur vero, però, che molti dei “peccati della civiltà” stigmatizzati da Lorenz restano ancor oggi impuniti, se non si sono addirittura aggravati. Di fronte alla sua disamina, si ha anzi l’impressione, a volte, che molte delle sue riflessioni e degli allarmi lanciati appaiano scontati e banali; e ciò non perché l’odierna umanità abbia risolto o quanto meno imboccato la strada giusta per risolvere i mali denunciati, ma - ed è quel che è più disperante - semplicemente perché vi si è ormai assuefatta. Ecco perché, al di là di quanto è stato fatto o resta da fare, e al di là dei giudizi e dei convincimenti di ciascuno, riteniamo quanto meno indispensabile e di grande attualità, oggi, la rilettura della sua opera.


Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

jeudi, 29 avril 2010

Biologie et sociologie de l'auto-organisation

Archives de SYNERGIES EUROPEENNES - 1988

Biologie et sociologie de l'«auto-organisation»

 

par Robert STEUCKERS

 

Le phénomène d'auto-organisation sociale  —qui se perçoit en filigrane derrière les théories de la «dé­mocratie organique» (1), nostalgiques de la solida­rité holiste des isolats ruraux d'avant la révolu­tion industrielle, derrière l'engouement ré­cent pour le self-help  (2) et l'intérêt que celui-ci a suscité chez les Saint-Simoniens, dont no­tamment le politologue Ro­senvallon (3)—   a des racines essentiellement cogni­tivo-biologiques, comme le démontre avec brio Gil­bert J.B. Probst (réf. infra).

 

Mais, dans ce domaine fécond autant qu'interdisciplinaire, il y a d'abord une question de vocabulaire. Lorsque l'on parle d'or­ga­nisation, on devrait tout de suite songer à «organique» et ne pas simplement penser à un quelconque mode statique de régulation structu­relle. Dans l'acception sémantique du terme «organisation», les traditions philosophiques grecque et allemande percevront d'emblée la dimen­sion organique/somatique/cognitivo-bio­lo­­gique, tan­dis que le gros de la tradition so­ciologique américaine  —qui a le vent en poupe depuis 1945—  ne voit der­rière le vocable «organisation»  qu'un simple fait de gestion mé­canique, qu'un procédé de régulation sans res­sorts intimes profonds.

 

De cette différence d'approche et d'acception dé­coule un problème de sociologie: dans les tra­ditions euro­péennes  —abstraction faite de la mise au pas «américanotrope»—  la notion d'organisation sera or­ganique, donc sera auto-organisation holiste dans les collectivi­tés/com­munautés, ce qui implique que la lo­gique ultime de l'organisation s'alimentera à une source intérieure et ne sera pas impulsée de l'extérieur; dans la tradition américaine, issue d'un empirisme mécaniciste anglo-saxon, l'orga­nisa­tion sera le fait d'un chef d'orchestre extérieur, manipulant des pions interchangeables pour s'assurer le plus de profit possible. La fu­sion partielle des deux traditions dans notre après-guerre a de ce fait engendré une confusion sémantique désorientante, que nous allons, avec Gilbert J.B. Probst, tenter de dissiper.

 

Une vision organique de l'«auto-organisation»

 

D'où, lorsque nous parlons d'organisation, nous n'entendons pas le résultat de l'action d'une par­tie d'un tout, ou d'une volonté extérieure non liée soma­tiquement au tout, qui formerait et diri­gerait, mais le fruit d'un faisceau d'interactions constantes au sein même d'un système en tant que tout. De ce fait, un système auto-organisé, c'est-à-dire organisé selon ses lois intérieures propres, comme une plante, une forêt, un pro­cessus minéral ou physico-chimique, un re­groupement animal comme une fourmilière, une harde de cerfs, un troupeau de buffles, une tribu de singes ou une société humaine, possèdera les qualités sui­vantes: complexité unitaire dyna­mique et processuelle, non déterminée et auto­nome, interactive et faisant ré­férence à soi-même. De ces qualités, il découle que l'organisation n'est jamais une hiérarchie pour la hié­rarchie, où la domination s'exerce pour la domination et où règnerait un ordre pour l'ordre. L'organisation n'a donc pas une dimension constructiviste. L'intuition de ce phénomène est ancienne. Les Grecs déjà l'avaient perçu. L'organisation est un «organon», non une insti­tution. L'auto-organisation est toujours d'abord un phénomène processuel et non institution­nel.

 

Dans les idéologies contemporaines, la notion d'auto-organisation, souvent saisie très confu­sément, a été appréhendée en trois étapes ma­jeures:

1) L'étape dite de la «main invisible», née au XVIIIième siècle et réchauffée régulièrement de nos jours par les penseurs libéraux.

2) L'étape de la théorie conservatrice organique de l'auto-organisation, s'étendant de 1920 à 1960, avec les écoles organicistes en sociologie dont la plus cé­lèbre fut celle d'Othmar Spann (4).

3) L'étape qui se dessine depuis 1960, où l'auto-or­ganisation n'est plus perçue en tant que procès de ré­tro-activité stabilisante, comme dans la deuxième étape, mais comme «auto-organisation innovative».

 

L'approche que nous établissons dans le cadre du présent exposé se place sur le terrain théo­rique, épis­témologique, et non sur le terrain pra­tique des nou­velles «auto-organisations» spon­tanées, en marge des structures politiques ou so­cio-caritatives officielles et destinées à pallier aux lacunes de celles-ci. Ces nou­veaux réseaux d'auto-organisation sont notamment les Bürgeri­nitiativen  ouest-allemandes (5), les structures informelles d'entraide entre voisins en Grande-Bre­tagne (6), les divers modes de self-help (7), etc. Notre objectif n'est pas de recenser ici ces multiples manifestations de solidarité al­lant au-delà des struc­tures figées et bureaucra­tiques de l'Etat-Providence, mais d'observer comment fonctionnent les choses au plus pro­fond d'elles-mêmes, de repérer ce qui se passe naturellement, de façon à affiner nos instru­ments conceptuels et à ne pas succomber aux séduc­tions faciles des slogans de toutes sortes, slo­gans qui sont trop souvent produits d'une igno­rance des res­sorts intimes des êtres et des struc­tures vivantes.

 

La «main invisible»

 

Les théories organiques de la «main invisible» postu­lent une spontanéité anarchique, analogue au grouil­lement désordonné d'une végétation sauvage qui n'en reflète pas moins l'ordre sup­posé du monde. Cette doctrine de la «main invi­sible», dans sa facette orga­nique, a été appelée «catallaxie» par le théoricien Frie­drich A. von Hayek (8), idole des protagonistes de la vague néo-libérale qui suivit l'arrivée au pouvoir de Thatcher et de Reagan. Pour Hayek, le marché, en tant que grouillement prolixe d'actions éco­nomiques, produit spontanément un ordre catal­lactique, une ca­tallaxie, au sein de laquelle il y a ajustement mutuel de nombreuses économies in­dividuelles. Développant ses arguments en notre siècle, Hayek a quelques no­tions de cyberné­tique et sait ce qu'est un feedback, une rétroac­tion, un rééquilibrage interne. Les pion­niers de l'idée libérale du marché, comme Adam Smith ou Mandeville, n'avaient évidemment pas une notion aussi précise de la cybernétique. Et, cou­plée au progressisme messianique, leur idée d'auto-régulation du marché a perdu son inno­cence organique et s'est dévoyée dans la linéarité quantitativiste et expansive. L'idée vaguement para-cybernétique de la catallaxie libérale des origines était trop faiblement étayée pour résister à l'emprise d'une idéologie dominante, consis­tant en un cocktail de rationalisme progressiste, de mécanicisme rigide et d'économisme expan­sif. La position idéologique de Hayek est dès lors indéfen­dable: le libéralisme réel, celui que l'on a pratiqué dans l'histoire, était un bricolage idéologique boîteux, incapable de produire une harmonie durable et efficace (donc une «catallaxie») mais, au contraire, générateur de multiples dysfonctionnements sociaux et poli­tiques.

 

La pensée organiciste conservatrice

 

La seconde grande phase de la pensée organi­ciste, qui va de 1920 à 1960, est conservatrice. Contre l'emprise croissante et la faillite morale de l'expansionnisme économiste et rationaliste, la pensée organiciste conservatrice des années 20 et 30 met l'accent sur la stabilité des ordres natu­rels organiques et sur leur adaptativité constante. Le principal phare intellectuel du conservatisme organiciste est indubita­blement l'Autrichien Othmar Spann (1878-1950). L'un de ses biographes récents, Walter Becher (9), résume succinctement les reproches que Spann adresse au libéralisme catallectique, qui est incons­cient chez Smith et Mandeville et conscient chez Hayek. Sa critique s'adresse bien sûr à Hayek et a in­fluencé toutes les écoles orga­nicistes solidaristes, ap­partenant à la mou­vance chrétienne-corporatiste d'avant-guerre et, plus partiellement, à la mouvance démocrate-chrétienne personnaliste de notre après-guerre (10).

 

Pour Spann et les organicistes, le marché n'est pas un «billard neutre» où les boules-marchan­dises et les boules-services s'entrechoquent mais un terrain pré­cis, variant selon les circonstances géographiques et historiques. Les circonstances déterminent les va­riables de toute action écono­mique: il n'y a donc pas d'action économique standard, posée par des indivi­dus standards, mais des actions économiques va­riables, posées par des individus différents, c'est-à-dire diffé­renciés par les circonstances spatio-tempo­relles. Contrairement aux affirmations de l'école néo-li­bérale, pour Spann et ses disciples, l'agent écono­mique n'agit pas seul face à l'absolu, sans arrière-plan social (familial, régional, national, corporatif, etc.), mais comme représentant d'un réseau d'intérêts col­lectifs, de sentiments parta­gés, de mobiles déterminés par l'histoire, etc. Dans l'optique de Hayek, pour faire prospérer l'ordre économique, il faut agir en fai­sant abs­traction de tous contextes et sentiments so­ciaux et solidaires et ne faire que ce qui va dans le sens des intérêts de ma propre individualité. Pour Spann, il n'y a pas d'acte économique décon­textua­lisé, dégagé d'un tissu social précis, ayant son his­toire et ses circonstances. Penser comme Hayek, c'est favoriser la dislocation de l'éco­nomie et préparer le terrain aux tentatives to­talitaires de type marxiste/communiste.

 

Outre l'excellence de sa critique apportée au réduc­tionnisme décontextualisant des libéraux, l'organicisme conservateur, assez idéaliste et «platonicien» (11), pose le contexte comme trop fermé sur lui-même, trop stable. Le contexte donné, dans l'optique conservatrice, est là une fois pour toute, juxtaposé à d'autres contextes également fermés sur eux-mêmes. L'étape sui­vante du développement de la pensée conserva­trice organiciste a été celle de la cybernétique de première mouture (que nous convien­drons d'appeler «cybernétique I» dans le pré­sent ex­posé). Le biologiste Paul Weiss a étudié dans les années 20 les réactions systémiques et les rap­ports cycliques au sein même des systèmes bio­logiques. Le tout, dans cette optique, n'était pas la simple somme arithmétique de ses parties; tout système présentait un jeu d'interdépendances circulaires, faisait référence à soi seul. Ludwig von Bertallanffy, en fondant la théo­rie systé­mique en biologie, concentra son atten­tion sur les capacités d'auto-régulation dans les sys­tèmes biologiques qu'il percevait désormais comme ouverts (progrès considérable par rapport aux ferme­tures organicistes antérieures) (12). L'ouverture im­plique l'interdisciplinarité et le re­fus non seulement du réductionnisme décon­textualisant mais aussi du ré­ductionnisme de la fermeture et de l'isolement.

 

Dans les années 30 et 40, Norbert Wiener, Wal­ter Cannon et W. Ross Ashby se préoccuperont intensé­ment des mécanismes de rétro-couplage, nécessaires à la stabilisation des systèmes et à leur adaptation. L'objectif de cette biocyberné­tique, prenant le relais de la pensée organiciste assez incomplète des socio­logues conservateurs, restait toutefois de créer un modèle de gestion «homéostasique», tenant en laisse une ou plu­sieurs variables du système de façon à ne pas permettre de trop fortes déstabilisation.

 

La «déstabilisation innovative»

 

L'organicisme conservateur, dans sa phase la plus sophistiquée, celle de la biocybernétique, s'est donc essentiellement concentré sur les phé­nomènes de ré­tro-couplage, de servo-méca­nisme, de stabilisation, de multi-stabilisation ou d'adaptation. L'objectif de ces recherches, quand elles étaient appliquées aux domaines so­ciologique et politique, était de maintenir en place les systèmes, de réparer les systèmes «abîmés», de les reconduire à un état de stabilité ac­ceptable et jugé bénéfique, de les contrôler selon des principes correcteurs de déviances.

 

A partir des observations du Japonais Ma­ruyama, consignées dans un article de la revue American Scientist  de 1963 (13), la commu­nauté scientifique internationale a dû conclure à l'existence d'une phase II de la cybernétique («cybernétique II»), se préoccu­pant davantage des changements, des instabilités, des déviances dues à des procès amplifiants, des flexibi­lités, des apprentissages et des auto-organisations in­novatifs, etc. Maruyama estimait dès 1963 que la cy­bernétique, au lieu d'être conservatrice, cor­rectrice et stabilisatrice, devrait bien plutôt ren­forcer les dé­viances constructives (deviation-amplifying-pro­cesses). Les modèles orientés vers la stabilité et l'adaptativité peuvent conduire à la rigidité, donc à l'homéostase pathologique.

 

Or la santé, dans un corps comme dans un tissu so­cial, c'est précisément de briser les homéo­stases pa­thologiques (Cf. Watzlawick) (14). L'anarchisme proliférant de la catallaxie et la sta­bilité par rétro-cou­plages constants ne peuvent dès lors plus être perçus comme des modèles optimaux. A la «cybernétique II», Maruyama as­signe d'abord la tâche de parfaire un équilibre entre les forces intérieures conservantes et les forces dynamiques instabilisantes mais innova­tives. Dès lors une organisation, qu'elle soit orga­nique et propre à la logique interne d'un corps animal ou végétal ou d'un tissu ou d'une collectivité vivante, ou qu'elle soit extérieure, propre à une création hu­maine comme une entre­prise, une association, une armée, etc., n'est jamais un ordre immuable mais bien un or­gan(ism)e vivant.

 

Une biocybernétique innovante

 

Les logiques conservatrices, qui veulent mainte­nir à tout prix le statu quo, sont condamnées à la dispari­tion: que l'on songe aux exemples histo­riques que sont certaines facettes de l'Ancien Régime en France et la Kleinstaaterei  en Alle­magne (division du pays en une mosaïque de petites principautés). Cette logique du «devenir», dépassant les diverses logiques de l'«être», ne se retrouve pas seulement dans les disci­plines cybernétiques mais aussi dans les domaines physico-chimique (avec Prigogine, Capra, etc.) et biologique (p. ex. la théorie des «fulgurances» chez Konrad Lorenz et la biologie de la connaissance de Rupert Riedl, etc.). En so­ciologie, de nombreux au­teurs ont tenté de transposer ces éléments d'épistémologie cyber­nétique dans leurs théories de la pratique; son­geons à Edgar Morin, à Luhmann, à Et­zioni et bien d'autres.

 

L'instabilité fondamentale du monde et des choses implique que, pour être efficace, il faut intérioriser une logique à vitesses multiples, ca­pable de faire face à n'importe quel aléa, n'importe quel bouleversement. Le chef d'en­treprise, le responsable, l'homme poli­tique ne peuvent plus manipuler des logiques fermées ni conserver des structures obsolètes et rigides mais, au contraire, approfondir leurs connais­sances en (bio)cybernétique, se donner une dis­ponibilité d'esprit calquée sur ces connaissances, et être prêts à affronter dans la souplesse les dé­fis de toutes sortes auxquels la praxis quoti­dienne et l'Ernstfall  (l'irruption du tra­gique im­prévu) peuvent les confronter. Deuxième im­plication de l'«instabilité fondamentale» pour l'homme politique: il doit cesser de percevoir son rôle comme celui d'un constructeur, d'une sorte d'horloger extérieur à une machine qu'il fabrique et manipule. Il doit bien plutôt se consi­dérer comme un catalyseur, un impulseur, un accélérateur des rétro-couplages positifs et des instabilités innovatives.

 

Un exemple: l'explosion démographique

 

Friedrich Vester, professeur de biocybernétique pour la plupart des grandes entreprises alle­mandes (15), montre, à la lumière de quelques exemples très concrets, comment raisonner à l'aide d'une nouvelle logique axée sur les dé­couvertes de la biocyberné­tique, de la biologie de la connaissance et des métho­dologies basées sur les ressorts intimes des structures et des êtres vivants. Parmi les exemples choisis par Vester, il y a l'explosion démographique que connaît aujourd'hui notre planète. En 1830, la Terre comptait 1 milliard d'individus. En 1930, ce chiffre avait dou­blé et atteignait 2 milliards. En 1960, on passait à 3 milliards. De 1970 à 1980, on est passé de 3,5 à 4,5 milliards, pour at­teindre 5 milliards en 1987. Face à ce boom, notre civilisation est évidemment à la croisée des chemins: il s'agit de poser le bon choix ou de cou­rir à la catastrophe en persistant dans des er­reurs anciennes. L'accroissement démogra­phi­que planétaire est dangereusement déstabili­sateur dans le monde, tout comme le déclin dé­mo­graphique, fait inverse, est déstabilisateur en Europe (nos législations sociales ont été forgées au moment où nos coupes démogra­phiques étaient ascendantes). La déstabilisation due à l'explosion démographique globale n'est pas inno­vante, tandis que la déstabilisation due au recul des naissances en Europe et dans le monde développé (16) conduit à un tassement des capa­cités innovantes de l'humanité. 

 

Quels sont les implications de cette déstabilisa­tion globale? D'abord, l'accroissement démo­graphique provoque un changement très et trop rapide des don­nées, dans tous les domaines imaginables. Du coup, la planification doit se faire sur un terme de plus en plus long, ce qui exige un «saut qualitatif» de notre mémoire. En effet, les structures cognitives de l'homme sont restées au stade atteint il y a 5000 ans. Elles sont inadaptées au bombardement massif de données nouvelles que doit enregistrer notre époque tré­pidante. Vester nous esquisse brièvement  —une brièveté didactique—  l'histoire des structures cogni­tives de l'homme.

Au stade premier, nous avons l'homme primitif, le chasseur-cueilleur imbriqué dans son environ­nement.

Au stade second, l'homme sédentarisé, retranché de l'immédiateté du monde grâce aux éléments de média­tisation que sont ses outils, l'urba­nisation, la technologie, etc.

Au stade troisième, non encore pleinement ad­venu, nous avons l'homme conscient des res­sorts de la cy­bernétique, qui sait corriger le tir, qui englobe le risque et les aléas dans ses cal­culs, ce qui lui permet de se passer de toutes les formes de téléologie reli­gieuse ou laïque.

 

Au stade premier, la planification porte sur une jour­née.

Au stade second, la planification porte sur une année: on doit prévoir la saison prochaine, les récoltes, etc.

Au stade troisième, la planification devra porter au moins sur 100 ans. Les plans quinquennaux des ré­gimes totalitaires ont été, sur le mode hard,  une pré­figuration de cette nécessité. Au­jour­d'hui, dans les grandes entreprises et banques, les plans de finance­ment tablent sur des espaces-temps de 10 ans. La so­lution totali­taire d'hier et la praxis actuelle des banques cor­roborent l'inadéquation de la catallexie li­bérale, laquelle «laisse faire» sans se pencher sur les in­nombrables paramètres (dont les faits sociaux et collectifs) qui font la trame du monde. L'engouement néo-libéral, assorti de son refus passionnel de toute planification, n'aura été qu'un combat d'arrière-garde, n'englobant même pas dans ses préoccupations des pro­blèmes aussi évidents que la pollution, les explo­sions ou les déclins démographiques, tous phéno­mènes qui ne peuvent être réglés que par l'intervention politique... A condition, bien sûr, que le politique soit aux mains de personnes compétentes et non pas de «bricoleurs», animés par quelques slo­gans idéologiques simplets et une soif de prébendes inextinguible. A titre d'exemple, Vester cite, dans le cadre de l'ac­croissement anarchique de la population sur le globe, l'épuisement des matières premières qui implique une planification rigoureuse (tant pour l'exploitation des ressources que pour leur distribu­tion) et, surtout, une diversification des sources d'énergies. L'explosion démographique brésilienne provoque la mort de la forêt amazo­nienne dont l'humanité entière a besoin, vu qu'il s'agit d'une ré­serve indispensable de chloro­phylle, donc du poumon de la Terre (17).

 

Vers la fin du stade second, nous avions une techno­logie agressive et conquérante, suscitant une expan­sion continue déstabilisante, laquelle devra, au stade troisième en advenance, être remplacée par une tech­nologie correctrice, en­globant les nouvelles pratiques de recyclage et tenant compte de l'exiguïté territoriale de notre planète surpeuplée. Les défis au politique sont nombreux: peut-on planifier sur le très long terme, sur les 100 années minimales dont parle Ves­ter, quand les élections se déroulent de quatre ans en quatre ans, de six ans en six ans ou de sept ans en sept ans (les septennats de la Présidence française). Les délais sont trop courts, ce qu'avaient déjà perçu les tenants des solutions totalitaires dans les années 30 (Manoïlesco) (18). Sans pouvoir renoncer à la partici­pation politique d'un maximum de ci­toyens, nous sommes confrontés à la nécessité de planifier sur le très long terme dans le cadre d'une continuité rigou­reuse, ne pouvant être soutenue que par une élite non politicienne, dont chaque représentant se forme et renforce son sa­voir pendant plusieurs décennies de son exis­tence. Les savants devront-ils dicter leurs ordres aux politiciens? Et, si oui, par quels moyens coercitifs?

 

Les défis de la biocybernétique et des nouvelles re­cherches en biologie nous permettent

1) de redéfinir l'organicisme méthodologique en le débarrassant de tous ses colifichets roman­tiques et de ses recours à une hypothétique transcendance.

2) De critiquer les mécanismes électoraux des sociétés contemporaines (19).

3) De mettre en évidence la nécessité des planifica­tions à long terme et, ipso facto, de l'inanité des en­gouements néo-libéraux.

4) D'inclure le tragique dans tous nos calculs et donc de mettre fin aux reliquats de prophétisme bonheuri­sant, d'eudémonisme niais, que véhi­culent les idéolo­gies occidentales.

 

Ces quatre pôles de notre interventionnisme métapoli­tique pourront être sollicités sans plus de fioritures littéraires et donc être «servis» uti­lement à un public plus vaste et plus sobre, no­tamment aux techniciens et aux professions mé­dicales. Dans cet orbite, la biolo­gie est mobilisée au profit de notre projet dans un plan plus vaste. La biologie ne sert plus seulement à dé­crire et énumérer les phénotypes humains, à étayer le discours médical, à socialiser la santé par le biais de l'eugénisme mais sert à asseoir une épisté­mologie ex­tensible à l'ensemble des disciplines. Notre biohuma­nisme devient de ce fait moins étriqué.

 

Robert STEUCKERS.

 

Gilbert J.B. PROBST, Selbst-Organisation, Ordnungsprozesse in sozialen Systemen aus ganzheitlicher Sicht, Verlag Paul Pa­rey, Berlin/ Hamburg, 1987, 180 S., DM 39,80.

 

Le texte qui précède est la version écrite d'un cours donné lors d'un séminaire d'avril 1988, dans le cadre des «universités» organisées par le comité de rédaction d'Orientations.   

 

Notes:

(1) Alain de Benoist nous donne une excellente définition de la «démocratie organique» dans son ouvrage: Démo­cratie: le pro­blème,  Ed. Le Labyrinthe, Paris, 1985.

(2) Il convient de se référer à un ouvrage très important du socio­logue américain John Naisbitt, Megatrends. Ten New Di­rections Transforming Our Lives  (Futura-Macdo­nald & Co., London & Sidney, 1984). Une édition fran­çaise de ce livre est également parue. Ecrit dans la foulée du thatchéro-reaganisme, l'ouvrage cherchait essentielle­ment à jeter les bases d'une straté­gie de survie dans la so­ciété qui semblait s'annoncer, c'est-à-dire une société où les institutions de l'Etat-Providence auraient été «déconstruites». Non exempts de relents universalistes (avec, notamment, un plaidoyer pour une «économie mondiale»), les chapitres du livre expliquent et tentent d'accentuer des tendances inéluctables comme l'informatisation de l'industrie et des techno­­logies, une at­tention accrue pour le long terme, la néces­saire décentra­lisation des grosses instances politiques et écono­miques, le recentrage de l'entraide sociale sur les communautés charnelles ou soudées par une «proximité» quelconque, l'assomp­tion des hiérarchies trop rigides au bénéfice des «réseaux communicatifs dynamiques», un déclin des lo­giques binaires de l'«ou bien... ou bien» au profit des lo­giques à dimensions mul­tiples, etc. Deux chapitres (le 6 et le 7) concernent en fait l'«organicité» (et sa traduction po­litique, la «démocratie orga­nique/participative»).

(3) Cf. Pierre Rosanvallon, La crise de l'Etat-Providence,  Seuil, 1981. Lire surtout le chapitre trois de cet ouvrage, consacré aux solidarités, où l'auteur plaide pour un «réencastrage» de la solida­rité dans la société et un ac­croissement de la visibilité so­ciale. Ces mouvements so­ciaux contribueront, dit-il, à créer un espace «post-social-démocrate»; nous ajouterions que, pour nous, la «post-so­cial-démocratie» signale, implicitement ou ex­plicitement, un effondrement des présupposés mécanicistes de la phi­losophie politique rationaliste et positiviste que le socia­lisme, pour son malheur, a hérité de l'illuminisme et du libéra­lisme. Cet effondrement provoque la réapparition timide d'éléments organicistes, dont le self-help  est une expression.

(4) Pour redécouvrir Spann, lire deux ouvrages récents consacrés à son œuvre: 1) Walter Becher, Der Blick aufs Ganze. Das Welt­bild Othmar Spanns, Universitas, Mün­chen, 1985. 2) J. Hanns Pichler (Hg.), Othmar Spann oder die Welt als Ganzes, Böhlau, Wien-Köln-Graz, 1988.

(5) Cf. Alberto Tarozzi, Iniziative nel sociale. Utopie proget­tuali e nuovi movimenti sui problemi della casa e del nucleare nella Rft,  Franco Angeli editore, Milano, 1982. Voir surtout pp. 30 à 53.

(6) Pierre Rosanvallon, op. cit., pp. 128-129.

(7) John Naisbitt, op. cit., pp. 131 à 157.

(8) F.A. Hayek, Droit, législation et liberté,  PUF, 1980 (vol. 1) et 1981 (vol. 2). Cf. surtout dans le volume 1, pp. 41 à 65. Et dans le volume 2, pp. 129 à 161.

(9) Walter Becher, op. cit., pp. 169 à 172.

(10) Cf. Michel Bouvier, L'Etat sans politique, tradition et mo­dernité,  L.G.D.J., Paris, 1986. L'auteur, avec une remarquable précision, classe les différentes doctrines po­litiques catholiques du siècle, où l'on retrouve des linéa­ments d'organicisme. En pre­nant acte de son panorama, on comprend plus aisément le passage d'une formulation corporatiste, parfois fascisante, à une formulation plus personnaliste, parfois socialisante. Bouvier nous introduit dans l'arsenal des argumentaires catholiques et dé­voile ainsi leur souplesse d'adaptation.

(11) Les interprétations de Spann, formulée par la «destra radi­cale» italienne, mettent l'accent sur la platonisme du sociologue viennois. Cf. l'introduction à Il vero Stato  de Spann par le Gruppo di Ar (in Othmar Spann, Il vero Stato, Ar, Padova, 1982).

(12) Cf. Frans Thoen, «La notion de système chez Lud­wig von Bertalanffy», in Orientations,  n°3, mai-juin 1982. Cf. égale­ment, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, «Hasard, nécessité, évolution», in Krisis,  n°2, avril 1989.

(13) M. Maruyama, «The Second Cybernetics: Deviation ampli­fying mutual causal processes», in American Scien­tist, 51, pp. 164-179. Article cité par G.J.B. Probst, réf. infra.

(14) Cf. l'œuvre de P. Watzlawick en général et, plus précisé­ment, le volume collectif de P. Watzlawick, J. Helmick Beavin et Don D. Jackson, Une logique de la communication, Seuil, 1972.

(15) Cf. Frederic Vester, Neuland des Denkens. Vom technokra­tischen zum biokybernetischen Zeitalter,  Deutsche Verlag-Ans­talt, Stuttgart, 1980. Frederic Vester, Unsere Welt - ein ver­netztes System,  dtv, München, 1983.

(16) Cf. à ce propos, le texte d'un professeur de la Uni­versity of Pennsylvania, Daniel R. Vining, Jr., «Below-Replacement Fer­tility in Five Regions of the World», in Mankind Quarterly, Vol. XXIX, 3, 1989, pp. 211-220.

(17) Cf. l'analyse du Professeur Wolfgang Engelhardt, «Drittwelthilfe und Naturschutz» (in Mut,  n° 255, No­vember 1988), Directeur Général des Collections de Sciences Naturelles de l'Etat de Bavière. Le Prof. Engel­hardt démontre bien à quelles catastrophes peut conduire l'entêtement des dirigeants du Tiers-Monde quand ils veu­lent absolument construire chez eux des structures indus­trielles comparables à celles de l'Europe du XIXième siècle. La volonté de la bourgeoisie brésilienne de construire des complexes de hauts-fourneaux fonction­nant au charbon de bois scelle la mort de la forêt amazo­nienne.

(18) Cf. Mihail Manoilescu (orthographe allemande), Die ein­zige Partei als politische Institution der neuen Regime,  Otto Stollberg, Berlin, 1941. Cf. également, Gottfried Neeße, Partei und Staat,  Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, Hamburg, 1936.

 

mercredi, 09 décembre 2009

Alimentation: un enjeu culturel majeur

Archives de SYNERGIES EUROPEENNES - 1994

 

Alimentation: un enjeu culturel majeur

 

 

repas333.jpgC'est un fait aujourd'hui admis par la quasi-totalité de la communauté scientifique et médicale: la transformation de l'alimentation dans les pays modernes et industrialisés est une des causes principales d'une dégradation de la vitalité des populations qui y vivent.

Car en l'espace de 60 ans, notre alimentation a profondément changé.

Ces changemenls ont porté sur les proportions, la nature et la quantité de nos aliments, mais aussi sur les formes que prennent nos prises alimentaires.

Ainsi, les denrées qui étaient jadis l'objet d'une survalorisation culturelle parce qu'elles étaient, entre autres facteurs, rares et difficiles à se procurer sont aujourd'hui pour la plupart encore (comme sous l'effet d'une crispation culturelle) l'objet d'une valorisation totalement injustifiée, sans rapport avec leur “intérêt” vital, nutritif et gustatif, ni leur statut récent de produits accessibles, abondants et banalisés.

L'alimentation moderne est déséquilibrée par un apport excessif de produits d'origine animale (viandes, graisses, laitages, etc.), de sucres “visibles” (gâteaux, sucre blanc, boissons gazeuses, confiseries, etc.) et “invisibles” (sauces catégorisées comme aliments salés et contenant beaucoup de sucre: moutarde, ketchup, etc.).

Elle est aussi déséquilibrée par un manque important de produits vivants: céréales et farines fraîchements moulues, pains complets, légumes et végétaux divers, etc.

Les conséquences de ce déséquilibre sont accentuées par une dégradation sensible des qualités vitales, nutritives et gustatives de nos aliments, dues aux conséquences de l'application systématique de logiques économiques (productivité, uniformité, rentabilité...), à la production alimentaire (conservation par traitement aux gaz, congélation, lyophilisation, mises en boîte ou en sachets, etc.), parfois sous le couvert d'arguments sanitaires (pasteurisation, stérilisation (sic!)), traitements chimiques divers, avant et après récolte, (pesticides, exfoliants, engrais chimiques, hormones, colorants et autres agents de texture ou de sapidité etc.).

Nous retrouvons ces polluants dans la presque totalité de nos aliments, à l'exception des produits d'agriculture biologique ou eubiotique, préservés pour l'essentiel de ces pollutions. Les industries agro-alimentaires s'appuyant sur les progrès conjugués de la génétique et de la chimie organique parviennent à contourner, à tromper les indices de reconnaissance et d'identification traditionnels de nos aliments. Qui n'a pas déjà été désagréablement surpris par le goût insipide d'un fruit d'apparence superbe?

Comme si cela ne suffisait pas, nos méthodes de transformation et d'accommodation, ont, elles aussi considérablement changé. Nos contemporains pressés, privilégient les modes de cuisson rapides et intenses, et donc agressifs et dévitalisants (friture, micro-ondes, cocotte-minute, barbecue, etc.) aux modes de cuisson lente et douce, et ne consomment presque plus d'aliments crus et vivants.

Nous sommes suralimentés, et en même temps sous-nourris.

Le bilan de cette involution est catastrophique. Sur le plan biologique, il se traduit par une augmentation foudroyante du nombre des maladies dégénératives, de la carie dentaire et des infections à répétition (rhumes, angines, cystites etc.) aux cancers, scléroses en plaques, maladies nerveuses, cardio-vasculaires, etc.

Un certain nombre de médecins et de chercheurs ont identifié la nature des carences dont souffrent nos populations. Ils ont, en conséquence, entrepris, avec le peu de moyens mis à leur disposition un travail de redéfinition des normes alimentaires, accompagné d'un effort d'information du public, en s'appuyant sur une argumentation médicale (Les risques d'une mauvaise

alimentation pour la santé).

Ces efforts ne rencontrent qu'un succès relatif.

L'alimentation, en effet, est un acte culturel majeur, ce qui signifie que les motivations des hommes dans le choix de leurs aliments, sont culturelles, avant d'être biologiques. Ceci explique les difficultés des scientifiques, et le peu d'écho qu'ils rencontrent auprès d'un public tout entier sous l'emprise des médias (et donc de leurs annonceurs), qui n'ont, c'est l'évidence, pas intérêt (pour l'instant) à voir évoluer trop vite les habitudes alimentaires de la population.

Il reste donc à entreprendre une critique radicale des pratiques alimentaires modernes sur des bases culturelles. Il faut repenser notre alimentation pour ne plus la subir, et cela ne sera pas le fait des scientifiques.

 

Frédéric CORBIN.

 

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jeudi, 17 septembre 2009

On The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages

Klages.jpg

On The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages

by John Claverley Cartney


Without a doubt, "The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul" by Klages is a great work of philosophy. -- Walter Benjamin


Out of Phlegethon!
Out of Phlegethon,
Gerhart
Art thou come forth out of Phlegethon?
with Buxtehude and Klages in your satchel… -- From Canto LXXV by Ezra Pound


Oliveira said, "Let’s keep on looking for the Yonder, there are plenty of Yonders that keep opening up one after the other. I’d start by saying that this technological reality that men of science and the readers of France-Soir accept today, this world of cortisone, gamma rays, and plutonium, has as little to do with reality as the world of the Roman de la Rose. If I mentioned it a while back to our friend Perico, it was in order to make him take note that his æsthetic criteria and his scale of values are pretty well liquidated and that man, after having expected everything from intelligence and from the spirit, feels that he’s been betrayed, is vaguely aware that his weapons have been turned against him, that culture and civiltà, have misled him into this blind alley where scientific barbarism is nothing but a very understandable reaction. Please excuse my vocabulary."
"Klages has already said all of that," said Gregorovius. --
From Chapter 99 of "Hopscotch" by Julio Cortázar


Ludwig Klages is primarily responsible for providing the philosophical foundations for the pan-Romantic conception of man that we now find among many thinkers in different scientific disciplines, for example, Edgar Dacqué, Leo Frobenius, C. G. Jung, Hans Prinzhorn, Theodor Lessing, and, to a certain extent, Oswald Spengler. -- From "Man’s Place in Nature" by Max Scheler


In the field of scientific psychology, Klages towers over all of his contemporaries, including even the academic world’s most renowned authorities. -- Oswald Spengler


"The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul" by Ludwig Klages ranks with Heidegger’s "Being and Time" and Hartmann’s "The Foundation of Ontology" as one of the three greatest philosophical achievements of the modern epoch. -- Erich Rothacker


Klages is a fascinating phenomenon, a scientist of the highest rank, whom I regard as the most important psychologist of our time. -- Alfred Kubin


Ludwig Klages is renowned as the brilliant creator of profound systems of expression-research and graphology, and his new book, entitled "Concerning the Cosmogonic Eros," possesses such depth of psychological insight and so rich and fructifying an atmosphere, that it moved me far more deeply than I have ever been moved by the writings of men like Spengler and Keyserling. In the pages of this book on the "Cosmogonic Eros," Klages almost seems to have found the very words with which to speak that which has hitherto been considered to be beyond the powers of speech. -- Hermann Hesse


When we survey the philosophical critiques of Nietzsche’s thought that have been published thus far, we conclude that the monograph written by Ludwig Klages, "The Psychological Achievements of Nietzsche," can only be described as the towering achievement. -- Karl Löwith



Prelude: The Intellectual Environment

Ludwig KlagesDURING THE CLOSING YEARS of the 19th century, the limitations and inadequacies of the superficial positivism that had dominated European thought for so many decades were becoming increasingly apparent to critical observers. The wholesale repudiation of metaphysics that Tyndall, Haeckel and Büchner had proclaimed as a liberation from the superstitions and false doctrines that had misled benighted investigators of earlier times, was now seen as having contributed significantly to the bankruptcy of positivism itself. Ironically, a critical examination of the unacknowledged epistemological assumptions of the positivists clearly revealed that not only had Haeckel and his ilk been unsuccessful in their attempt to free themselves from metaphysical presuppositions, but they had, in effect, merely switched their allegiance from the grand systems of speculative metaphysics that had been constructed in previous eras by the Platonists, medieval scholastics, and post-Kantian idealists whom they abominated, in order to adhere to a ludicrous, ersatz metaphysics of whose existence they were completely unaware. 

The alienation of younger thinkers from what they saw as the discredited dogmas of positivism and materialism found expression in the proliferation of a wide range of philosophical schools, whose adherents had little in common other than the will to revolt against outmoded dogma. "Back to Kant!" became the battle-cry of the neo-Kantians at Marburg. "Back to the things themselves!" proclaimed the "phenomenologist" Edmund Husserl; there were "neo-positivists," "empirio-critical" thinkers, and even the invertebrate American ochlocracy lent its cacaphonous warblings to the philosophical choir when William James proclaimed his soothing doctrine of "Pragmatism," with which salesmen, journalists, and other uncritical blockheads have stupefied themselves ever since.

A more substantial and significant revolt, however, emerged from another quarter altogether when several independent scholars began to re-examine the speculative metaphysical systems of the "philosophers of nature" who had flourished during the Romantic Period. Although the astonishing creativity of these men of genius had been forgotten whilst positivism and materialism ruled the roost, of course, men like Nietzsche, Burckhardt, and Bachofen had preserved elements of the Romantic heritage and had thereby, as it were, already prepared the soil in which younger men would sow the precious seed of a Romantic Revival. By the turn of the 20th century the blossoms had emerged in the form of the philosophers of the "vitalist" school. In France, Henri Bergson became the leading proponent of philosophical vitalism, and his slogan of élan vital as well as his doctrine of évolution créatrice thrilled audiences in the salons as well as in the university lecture halls. In Hungary, the astonishingly gifted philosopher and physicist, Melchior Palágyi—a thinker of an altogether higher order than the superficial Bergson—conducted profound research into celestial mechanics, which clearly anticipated the theory of relativity; he developed the theory of "virtual" movement; and his critical powers enabled him to craft a definitive and withering refutation of Husserl’s pseudo-phenomenology, and his insights retain their validity even now in spite of the oblivion to which the disciples of Husserl have consigned them. 

In the German-speaking world the doctrines of Lebensphilosophie, or "philosophy of life," achieved academic respectability when Wilhelm Dilthey became their spokesman. Sadly, candor demands that we draw the reader’s attention to the troubling fact that it was Dilthey who inaugurated a disastrous trend that was to be maintained at German universities for the next hundred years by such able obfuscators and logomachs as Heidegger and his spawn, for, to put it as charitably as possible, Dilthey was the first significant German philosopher to achieve wide renown in spite of having nothing significant to say (that is why, perhaps, Dilthey and Heidegger furnish such mountains of grist for the philosophical proles who edit and annotate and comment and publish and—prosper).

Among these "philosophers of life," there were "amalgamists," among whom we find Hans Driesch, who sabotaged his own project by indulging in futile attempts to combine the irreconcilable doctrines of Kantian idealism and vitalism in his theory of the "entelechy," which, although he proclaimed it to be a uniquely vitalistic notion, is always analyzed mechanistically and atomistically in his expositions. The profound speculative metaphysics of Houston Stewart Chamberlain also succumbed to the Kantian infection, for even Chamberlain seems to have been blind to the ineluctable abyss that divides vitalism and Kantianism. 

Finally, and most significantly, we encounter the undisputed master-spirit of the "vitalist" school in the German world, the philosopher and polymath Ludwig Klages, whose system of "biocentric" metaphysics displays a speculative profundity and a logical rigor that no other vitalist on the planet could hope to equal. 

The Early Years

Ludwig Klages was born on December 10, 1872, in the northern German city of Hannover. He seems to have been a solitary child, but he developed one intense friendship with a class-mate named Theodor Lessing, who would himself go on to achieve fame as the theorist of "Jewish Self-Hatred," a concept whose origins Lessing would later trace back to passionate discussions that he had had with Klages during their boyhood rambles on the windswept moors and beaches of their Lower Saxon home.

In 1891 he received his "Abitur," and immediately journeyed to Leipzig to begin his university studies in Chemistry and Physics. In 1893, he moved to Munich, where he would live and work until the Great War forced him into Swiss exile in 1915.

Klages continued his undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Physics during the day, but at night he could usually be found in the cafés of Schwabing, then as now the Bohemian district of Munich. It was in Schwabing that he encountered the poet Stefan George and his "circle." George immediately recognized the young man’s brilliance, and the poet eagerly solicited contributions from Klages, both in prose and in verse, to his journal, the Blätter für die Kunst

Klages also encountered Alfred Schuler (1865-1923), the profoundly learned Classicist and authority on ancient Roman history, at this time. Schuler was also loosely associated with the George-circle, although he was already becoming impatient with the rigidly masculine, "patriarchalist" spirit that seemed to rule the poet and his minions. Klages eventually joined forces with Schuler and Karl Wolfskehl, an authority on Germanistics who taught at the University of Munich, to form the Kosmische Runde, or "Cosmic Circle," and the three young men, who had already come under the influence of the "matriarchalist" anthropology of the late Johann Jakob Bachofen, soon expressed their mounting discontent with George and his "patriarchal" spirit. Finally, in 1904, Klages and Schuler broke with the poet, and the aftermath was of bitterness and recrimination "all compact." Klages would in later years repudiate his association with George, but he would revere Schuler, both as a man and as a scholar, to the end of his life.

The other crucial experience that Klages had during this last decade of the old century was his overwhelming love affair with Countess Franziska zu Reventlow, the novelist and Bohemian, whose "Notebooks of Mr. Lady" provides what is, perhaps, the most revealing—and comical—rendition of the turbulent events that culminated in the break between the "Cosmic Circle" and the George-Kreis; Wolfskehl, who was himself an eyewitness to the fracas, held that, although Franziska had called the book a novel, it was, in fact, a work of historical fact. Likewise, the diaries of the Countess preserve records of her conversations with Klages (who is referred to as "Hallwig," the name of the Klages-surrogate in her "Mr. Lady": she records Klages telling her that "There is no ‘God’; there are many gods!" At times "Hallwig" even frightens her with oracular allusions to "my mystical side, the rotating Swastika" and with his prophecies of inevitable doom). When the Countess terminated the liaison, Klages, who suffered from serious bouts with major depression throughout his long life, experienced such distress that he briefly contemplated suicide. Fate, of course, would hardly have countenanced such a quietus, for, as Spengler said, there are certain destinies that are utterly inconceivable—Nietzsche won’t make a fortune at the gambling tables of Monte Carlo, and Goethe won’t break his back falling out of his coach, he remarks drily. 

And, we need hardly add, Klages will not die for love…

On the contrary: he will live for Eros.

Works of Maturity

After the epoch-making experiences of the Schwabing years, the philosopher’s life seems almost to assume a prosaic, even an anticlimactic, quality. The significant events would henceforth occur primarily in the thinker’s inner world and in the publications that communicated the discoveries that he had made therein. There were also continuing commitments on his part to particular institutions and learned societies. In 1903 Klages founded his "Psychodiagnostic Seminars" at the University of Munich, which swiftly became Europe's main center for biocentric psychology. In 1908, he delivered a series of addresses on the application of "Expression Theory" (Ausdruckskunde) to graphological analysis at one such seminar.

In 1910, in addition to the book on expression-theory, Klages published the first version of his treatise on psychology, entitled Prinzipien der Charakterologie. This treatise was based upon lectures that Klages had delivered during the previous decade, and in its pages he announced his discovery of the "Id," which has popularly, and hence erroneously, for so long been attributed to Freud. He came in personal contact with several members of rival psychological schools during this period, and he was even invited—in his capacity as Europe's leading exponent of graphology—to deliver a lecture on the "Psychology of Handwriting" to the Wednesday Night Meeting of the Freudian "Vienna Society" on the 25th of October in 1911. 

The philosopher also encountered the novelist Robert Musil, in whose masterpiece, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, Klages appears—in caricatured form, of course—as the eerie and portentous prophet Meingast, that "messenger from Zarathustra’s mountain." The novelist seems to have been most impressed by the philosopher’s speculations in Vom kosmogonischen Eros concerning the ecstatic nature of the "erotic rapture" and the Klagesian "other condition" (andere Zustand). Paradoxically, however, Musil’s novel presents Meingast [Klages] as a manic and domineering worshiper of power, which is quite strange when one considers that Klages consistently portrays the Nietzschean "Will to Power" as nothing but a modality of hysteria perfectly appropriate to our murderous age of militarism and capitalism. Anyone familiar with the withering onslaught against the will and its works which constitutes the section entitled Die Lehre der Wille in Klages’s Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele must, in addition, feel a certain amazement at Meingast’s ravings concerning the necessity for a "determined will"! Another familiar (and depressing) insight into the resistance mounted by even sympathetic writers to the biocentric philosophy can be derived from a perusal of Musil’s Tagebücher, with its dreary and philistine insistence that the Klagesian rapture must at all costs be constrained by Geist, by its pallid praise for a "daylight mysticism," and so on. Admittedly, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften will remain an astonishing and beautifully-crafted masterpiece of 20th Century belles lettres, in spite of its author’s jejune "philosophical" preachments. 

During this same period, Klages rediscovered the late-Romantic philosopher Carl Gustav Carus, author of the pioneering Psyche: Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Seele ("Psyche: Towards a Developmental History of the Soul") in which the unconscious is moved to center-stage (sadly, the Jung-racket falsely credits their master with this discovery). The very first sentence of this work indicates the primacy attributed by Carus to the unconscious: "The key to the understanding of the conscious life of the soul lies in the realm of the unconscious." During the Romantic Revival that took place in the Germany of th 1920s, Klages would edit a new, abridged version of Psyche, in which Carus is purged of his logocentric and Christian errors. Klages, however, fully accepts Carus’s definition of the soul as synonymous with life, a formulation that he rates as epochally significant. He finds Carus’s statement to be as profound as the aphorism of Novalis in which he locates the soul at the point of contact between the inner and outer worlds. 

In 1913, Klages presented his Zur Theorie und Symptomatologie des Willens to the Vienna Congress of International Societies for Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy. In that same year, Klages delivered an address entitled Mensch und Erde to a gathering of members of the German Youth Movement. This seminal work has recently received its due as the "foundational" document of the "deep ecology" movement when a new edition was published in 1980 in coordination with the establishment of the German "Green" political party. 

In his Heidnische Feuerzeichen, which was completed in 1913, although it would not be published in book form until 1944, Klages has some very perceptive remarks on consciousness, which he regards as always effect and never cause. He cautions us to realize that, because our feelings are almost always conscious, we tend to attribute far too much importance to them. Reality is composed of images [Bilder] and not feelings, and the most important idea that Klages ever developed is his conception of the "actuality of the images" [Wirklichkeit der Bilder]. He also savages the insane asceticism of Christianity, arguing that a satisfied sexuality is essential for all genuine cosmic radiance. Christ is to be detested as the herald of the annihilation of earth and the mechanization of man. 

The pioneering treatise on "expression theory," the Ausdruckskunde und Gestaltungskraft, also appeared in 1913. The first part of his treatise on the interpretation of dreams (Vom Traumbewusstsein) appeared in 1914, but war soon erupted in Europe, swiftly interrupting all talk of dreams. Sickened by the militaristic insanity of the "Great War," Klages moved to neutral Switzerland. In 1920 he made his last move to Kilchberg, near Zurich, Switzerland, where he would spend the rest of his life. 

The first substantial excerpt from the treatise that would eventually become his Hauptwerk (Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele) was published as Geist und Seele in a 1916 number of the journal Deutsche Psychologie. He soon turned his attention to the more mundane matter of the contemporary world situation, and in 1918, concerned by the spread of "One World"-humanitarianism and other pernicious forms of "humanism," Klages published the classic Brief über Ethik, in which he re-emphasized his opposition to all ethical and individualistic attempts to improve the world. The modern world’s increasing miscegenation has hatched out a horde of mongrels, slaves, and criminals. The world is falling under the dominion of the enemies of life, and it matters not a bit whether the ethical fanatic dubs his hobbyhorse Wille, Tat, Logos, Nous, Idee, Gott, the "Supreme Being," reines Subjekt, or absolutes Ich: these phrases are merely fronts behind which spirit, the eternal adversary of life, conducts her nefarious operations. Only infra-human nature, wherein dwells a principle of hierarchical order in true accord with the laws of life, is able to furnish man with genuine values. The preachers of morality can only murder life with their prohibitive commands so stifling to the soul’s vitality. As Klages’s disciple Hans Prinzhorn cautions us, the vital order "must not be falsified, according to the Judæo-Christian outlook, into a principle of purposefulness, morality, or sentimentality." The "Letter on Ethics" urges us to avoid all such life-hostile values, and to prize instead those moments when we allow our souls to find warmth in the love which manifests itself as adoration, reverence, and admiration. The soul’s true symbol is the mother with her beloved child, and the soul’s true examples are the lives of poets, heroes, and gods. Klages concludes his sardonic "Letter" by informing the reader, in contemptuous and ironical tones, that if he refuses to respond to these exemplary heroes, he may then find it more congenial to sit himself down and listen, unharmed, to a lecture on ethics! 

In 1921, Klages published his Vom Wesen des Bewusstseins, an investigation into the nature of consciousness, in which the ego-concept is shown to be neither a phenomenon of pure spirit nor of pure life, but rather a mere epiphenomenal precipitate of the warfare between life and spirit. In this area, Klages’s presentation invites comparion with the Kantian exposition of "pure subjectivity," although, as one might expect, Klages assails the subjectivity of the ego as a hollow sham. The drive to maximize the realm of ego, regardless of whether this impulse clothes itself in such august titles as "The Will to Power" (Nietzsche), the "Will to Live" (Schopenhauer), or the naked obsession with the "Ego and its Own" (Stirner), is merely a manifestation of malevolent Geist. Klages also ridicules the superficiality of William James’s famous theory of "stream of consciousness," which is subjected to a withering critical onslaught. After James’s "stream" is conclusively demolished, Klages demonstrates that Melchior Palágyi’s theory more profoundly analyzes the processes whereby we receive the data of consciousness. Klages endorses Palágyi’s account of consciousness in order to establish the purely illusory status of the "stream" by proving conclusively that man receives the "images" as discrete, rhythmically pulsating "intermittencies." 

We should say a few words about the philosopher whose exposition of the doctrine of consciousness so impressed Klages. Melchior Palágyi [1859-1924] was the Hungarian-Jewish Naturphilosoph who was regarded as something of a mentor by the younger man, ever since 1908, when they first met at a learned conference. Like Klages, Palágyi was completely devoted to the thought-world of German Romantic Naturphilosophie. Klages relied heavily on this thinker’s expert advice, especially with regard to questions involving mechanics and physics, upon which the older man had published outstanding technical treatises. The two men had spent many blissful days together in endless metaphysical dialogue when Palagyi visited Klages at his Swiss home shortly before Palágyi’s death. They were delighted with each other’s company, and reveled even in the cut and thrust of intense exchanges upon matters about which they were in sharp disagreement. Although this great thinker is hardly recalled today even by compilers of "comprehensive" encyclopedias, Palagyi’s definitive and irrefutable demolition of Edmund Husserl’s spurious system of "phenomenology" remains one of the most lethal examples of philosophical adversaria to be found in the literature. Palágyi, who was a Jew, had such a high opinion of his anti-semitic colleague, that when Palágyi died in 1925, one of the provisions of his will stipulated that Ludwig Klages was to be appointed as executor and editor of Palágyi’s posthumous works, a task that Klages undertook scrupulously and reverently, in spite of the fact that the amount of labor that would be required of him before the manuscripts of his deceased colleague could be readied for publication would severely disrupt his own work upon several texts, most especially the final push to complete the three-volume Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele. One gets the impression that Klages felt the task that had been imposed upon him was also one of the highest honors, and Klages’s high regard for Palágyi’s thought can best be appreciated when we realize that among the numerous thinkers and scholars whose works are cited in his collected works, the contemporary philosopher who is cited most frequently, and at the greatest length, is none other than Melchior Palágyi. 

Klages published his influential anthropological-historical study, Vom kosmogonischen Eros, in 1922, and in the Selbstbericht which serves as an introduction to this work he details the points of agreement and the points of disagreement between his views and those of Friedrich Nietzsche. 

In 1923 Klages published his Vom Wesen des Rhythmus (a revised edition of which would be issued in 1934). Then in 1925, two fervent admirers of Klagesian biocentrism—one was Niels Kampmann who would go on to publish some of Klages’s works in book form—brought out the first issue of a scholarly journal, the brilliant Zeitschrift für Menschenkunde, which would continue to publish regularly until the rigors of war eventually forced the editors to suspend publication in 1943 (eight years after the end of the war, the journal began a new career in 1953.)

A revised and enlarged edition of the treatise on characterology appeared in 1926 with the new title Die Grundlagen der Charakterkunde. Klages also published Die psychologischen Errungenschaften Nietzsches in this same year, a work which, more than a quarter of a century after its initial appearance, the Princeton-based Nietzsche-scholar Walter Kaufmann—surely no friend to Klages!—would nevertheless admire greatly, even feeling compelled to describe Klages’s exegesis of Nietzsche’s psychology as "the best monograph" ever written on its subject.

A collection of brief essays entitled Zur Ausdruckslehre und Charakterkunde, was brought out by Kampmann in 1927; many of them date from the early days of the century and their sheer profundity and variety reinforce our conviction that Klages was a mature thinker even in his twenties.

The first two volumes of his magnum opus, the long-awaited and even-longer pondered, Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele, finally appeared in 1929. One year later the Graphologisches Lesebuch appeared, and the third and final volume of Der Geist hit the book-shops in 1932, a year that seems to have been a very busy one indeed for our polymathic philosopher, since he also found time to revamp his slender monograph entitled Goethe als Naturforscher, a short work that can only be compared to the Goethe-books of H. S. Chamberlain and Friedrich Gundolf for breadth of scholarship and insight into the creativity of a great seer and scientist (this study was a revised edition of a lecture that had originally been published in the Jahrbuch des Freien Deutschen Hochstifts in 1928). 

Hans Prinzhorn, the psychologist, translator of D. H. Lawrence and compiler of the landmark treatise on the artistry of the mentally-disturbed, had long been a friend and admirer of Klages, and in 1932 he organized the celebration for the sixtieth birthday of the philosopher. The tributes composed the various scholars who participated in this event were collected and edited by Prinzhorn for publication in book-form, with the title Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag.

National Socialist Germany, World War II, and their Aftermath

Shortly after the NSDAP seized power at the beginning of 1933, one of Klages’s disciples established the Arbeitskreises für biozentrisches Forschung. At first the German disciples of Klages were tolerated as harmless philosophical eccentrics, but soon the Gestapo began keeping a close eye on members and contributors to the biocentric circle’s house organ Janus. By 1936 the authorities forcibly shut down the journal and from that time until the fall of the regime, the Gestapo would periodically arrest and question those who had been prominent members of the now-defunct "circle." From 1938 onwards, when Reichsleiter Dr. Alfred Rosenberg delivered a bitter attack on Klages and his school in his inaugural address to the summer semester at the University of Halle, the official party spokesmen explicitly and repeatedly condemned Klages and his friends as enemies of the National Socialist Weltanschauung.

Klages traveled widely during the 1930s, and he especially enjoyed his journeys to Greece and Scandinavia. In 1940 he published Alfred Schuler: Fragmente und Vorträge. Aus dem Nachlass, his edition of Alfred Schuler’s literary remains. The "Introduction" to the anthology is a voluminous critical memoir in which Klages rendered profound tribute to his late mentor. However, in the pages of that introduction, Klages introduced several statements critical of World-Jewry that were to dog his steps for the rest of his life, just as they have compromised his reputation after his death. Unlike so many ci-devant "anti-semites" who prudently saw the philo-semitic light in the aftermath of the war, however, Klages scorned to repudiate anything that he had said on this or any other topic. He even poured petrol on the fires by voicing his conviction that the only significant difference between the species of master-race nonsense that was espoused by the National Socialists and the variety adopted by their Jewish enemies was in the matter of results: Klages blandly proclaims that the Jews, after a two-thousand year long assault on the world for which they felt nothing but hatred, had actually won the definitive victory. There would be no re-match. He sneered at all the kow-towing to Jewry that had already become part of the game in the immediate post-war era, because, he reasoned, even as a tactical ploy such sycophantic behavior has always doomed itself to complete and abject failure. 

In December of 1942, the official daily newspaper of the NSDAP, the Völkischer Beobachter, published a vicious and ungracious attack on Klages in the edition that appeared on the philosopher’s 70th birthday. During the war years, Klages began compiling notes for a projected full-dress autobiography that was, sadly, never completed. Still, the notes are fascinating in their own right, and are well worth consulting by the student of his life and thought.

In 1944, Barth of Leipzig published the Rhythmen und Runen, a self-edited anthology of Klages’s prose and verse writings stemming from the turn of the century (unfortunately, however, when Bouvier finally brought out their edition of his "Collected Works," which began to appear in the mid-1960s, Rhythmen und Runen, along with the Stefan George-monograph and such provocative pieces as the "Introduction" to Schuler’s writings, were omitted from the set, in spite of the fact that the original prospectus issued to subscribers announced that these works would, in fact, be included. The reasons for this behavior are—need we say?—quite obvious).

When the war ended, Klages began to face true financial hardship, for his market, as well as his publishers, had been devastated by the horrific saturation bombing campaign with which the democratic allies had turned Germany into a shattered and burnt-out wasteland. Klages also suffered dreadfully when he learned that his beloved sister, Helene, as well as her daughter Heidi, the philosopher’s niece, had perished in the agony of post-war Germany, that nightmare world wherein genocidal bestiality and sadistic cruelty were dealt out by occupying forces with a liberal hand in order most expeditiously to "re-educate" the survivors of the vanquished Reich. Although Klages had sought permission from the occupying authorities to visit his sister as she lay dying, his request was ignored (in fact, he was told that the only civilians who would be permitted to travel to Germany were the professional looters who were officially authorized to rob Germany of industrial patents and those valiant exiles who had spent the war years as literary traitors, who made a living writing scurrilous and mendacious anti-German pamphlets). This refusal, followed shortly by his receipt of the news of her miserable death, aroused an almost unendurable grief in his soul.

His spirits were raised somewhat by the Festschrift that was organized for his 75th birthday, and his creative drive certainly seemed to be have remained undiminished by the ravages of advancing years. He was deeply immersed in the philological studies that prepared him to undertake his last great literary work, the Die Sprache als Quell der Seelenkunde, which was published in 1948. In this dazzling monument of 20th century scholarship, Klages conducted a comprehensive investigation of the relationship between psychology and linguistics. During that same year he also directed a devastating broadside in which he refuted the fallacious doctrines of Jamesian "pragmatism" as well as the infantile sophistries of Watson’s "behaviorism." This brief but pregnant essay was entitled Wie Finden Wir die Seele des Nebenmenschen?

During the early 1950s, Klages’s health finally began to deteriorate, but he was at least heartened by the news that there were serious plans afoot among his admirers and disciples to get his classic treatises back into print as soon as possible. Death came at last to Ludwig Klages on July 29, 1956. The cause of death was determined to have been a heart attack. He is buried in the Kilchberg cemetery, which overlooks Lake Zurich. 

Understanding Klagesian Terms

A brief discussion of the philosopher’s technical terminology may provide the best preparation for an examination of his metaphysics. Strangely enough, the relationship between two familiar substantives, "spirit" [Geist] and "soul" [Seele], constitutes the main source of our terminological difficulties. Confusion regarding the meaning and function of these words, especially when they are employed as technical terms in philosophical discourse, is perhaps unavoidable at the outset. We must first recognize the major problems involved before we can hope to achieve the necessary measure of clarity. Now Klages regards the study of semantics, especially in its historical dimension, as our richest source of knowledge regarding the nature of the world (metaphysics, or philosophy) and an unrivalled tool with which to probe the mysteries of the human soul (psychology, or characterology [Charakterkunde]). We would be well advised, therefore, to adopt an extraordinary stringency in lexical affairs. We have seen that the first, and in many ways the greatest, difficulty that can impede our understanding of biocentric thought confronts us in our dealings with the German word Geist. Geist has often been translated as "spirit" or "mind," and, less often, as "intellect." As it happens, the translation of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes that most American students utilized in their course-work during the 1960s and 1970s was entitled "The Phenomenology of Mind" (which edition was translated with an Introduction and Notes by J. B. Bailey, and published by Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1967). 

Lest it be thought that we are perversely attributing to the word Geist an exaggeratedly polysemic status, we would draw the reader’s attention to the startling fact that Rudolf Hildebrandt’s entry on this word in the Grimm Wörterbuch comprises more than one hundred closely printed columns. Hildebrandt’s article has even been published separately as a book. Now in everyday English usage, spirit (along with its cognates) and soul (along with its cognates) are employed as synonyms. As a result of the lexical habits to which we have grown accustomed, our initial exposure to a philosopher who employs soul and spirit as antonyms can be a somewhat perplexing experience. It is important for us to realize that we are not entering any quixotic protest here against familiar lexical custom. We merely wish to advise the reader that whilst we are involved in the interpretation of Klagesian thought, soul and spirit are to be treated consistently as technical philosophical terms bearing the specific meanings that Klages has assigned to them. 

Our philosopher is not being needlessly obscure or perversely recherché in this matter, for although there are no unambiguous distinctions drawn between soul and spirit in English usage, the German language recognizes some very clear differences between the terms Seele and Geist, and Hildebrandt’s article amply documents the widely ramified implications of the distinctions in question. In fact, literary discourse in the German-speaking world is often characterized by a lively awareness of these very distinctions. Rudolf Kassner, for instance, tells us that his friend, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, inhabited a world of soul [Seele], not one of spirit [Geist]. In speaking of Rilke’s world as that the soul, Kassner is proclaiming the indisputable truth that Rilke’s imagination inhabits an innocent, or pagan, world, a realm that is utterly devoid of such "spiritual" baggage as "sin" and "guilt." Likewise, for Kassner, as for Rilke, the world of spirit is the realm of labor and duty, which is ruled by abstractions and "ideals." I can hardly exaggerate the significance of the spirit-soul dichotomy upon which Kassner has shed so much light in these remarks on Rilke as the man of "soul." If the reader bears their substance in mind, he will find that the path to understanding shall have been appreciably cleared of irksome obstacles.

Therefore, these indispensable lexical distinctions are henceforth to function as our established linguistic protocol. Bearing that in mind, when the reader encounters the Klagesian thesis which holds that man is the battlefield on which soul and spirit wage a war to the death, even the novice will grasp some portion of the truth that is being enunciated. And the initiate who has immersed his whole being in the biocentric doctrine will swiftly discover that he is very well prepared indeed to perpend, for instance, the characterological claim that one can situate any individual at a particular point on an extensive typological continuum at one extreme of which we situate such enemies of sexuality and sensuous joy as the early Christian hermits or the technocrats and militarists of our own day, all of whom represent the complete dominance of spirit; and at the opposite extreme of which we locate the Dionysian maenads of antiquity and those rare modern individuals whose delight in the joys of the senses enables them to attain the loftiest imaginable pinnacle of ecstatic vitality: the members of this second group, of course, comprise the party of life, whose ultimate allegiance is rendered to soul

Before we conclude this brief digression into terminological affairs, we would advise those readers whose insuperable hostility to every form of metaphysical "idealism" compels them to resist all attempts to "place" spirit and soul as "transcendental" entities, that they may nevertheless employ our terms as heuristic expedients, much as Ampére employed the metaphor of the "swimmer" in the electric "current."

Biocentric Metaphysics in its Historical Context

Perhaps a brief summary will convey at least some notion of the sheer originality and the vast scope of the biocentric metaphysics. Let us begin by placing some aspects of this philosophical system in historical context. For thousands of years, western philosophers have been deeply influenced by the doctrine, first formulated by the Eleatic school and Plato, which holds that the images that fall upon our sensorium are merely deceitful phantoms. Even those philosophers who have rebelled against the schemes devised by Plato and his successors, and who consider themselves to be "materialists," "monists," "logical atomists," etc., reveal that have been infected by the disease even as they resist its onslaught, for in many of their expositions the properties of matter are presented as if they were independent entities floating in a void that suspiciously resembles the transcendent Platonic realm of the "forms." 

Ludwig Klages, on the other hand, demonstrates that it is precisely the images and their ceaseless transformations that constitute the only realities. In the unique phenomenology of Ludwig Klages, images constitute the souls of such phenomena as plants, animals, human beings, and even the cosmos itself. These images do not deceive: they express; these living images are not to be "grasped," not to be rigidified into concepts: they are to be experienced. The world of things, on the other hand, forms the proper subject of scientific explanatory schemes that seek to "fix" things in the "grasp" of concepts. Things are appropriated by men who owe their allegiance to the will and its projects. The agents of the will appropriate the substance of the living world in order to convert it into the dead world of things, which are reduced to the status of the material components required for purposeful activities such as the industrial production of high-tech weapons systems. This purposeful activity manifests the outward operations of an occult and dæmonic principle of destruction. 

Klages calls this destructive principle "spirit" (Geist), and he draws upon the teaching of Aristotle in attempting to account for its provenance, for it was Aristotle who first asserted that spirit (nous) invaded the substance of man from "outside." Klages’s interpretation of this Aristotelian doctrine leads him to conclude that spirit invaded the realm of life from outside the spatio-temporal world. Likewise, Klages draws on the thought of Duns Scotus, Occam and other late mediæval English thinkers when he situates the characteristic activity of spirit in the will rather than in the intellect. Completely original, however, is the Klagesian doctrine of the mortal hostility that exists between spirit and life (=soul). The very title of the philosopher’s major metaphysical treatise proclaims its subject to be "The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul" (Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele).

The indivisible body-soul unity that had constituted the living substance of man during the "primordial," or prehistoric, phase of his existence, in time becomes the focus of spirit’s war against life. Spirit severs the vital connection by thrusting itself, like the thin end of an invasive wedge, between the poles of body and soul. History is the tragic chronicle that recounts the ceaseless war that is waged by spirit against life and soul. When the ever-expanding breach between body and soul finally becomes an unbridgeable abyss, the living substance is no more, although no man can predict how long man may endure as a hollow shell or simulacrum. The ceaseless accumulation of destructive power by spirit is accompanied by the reduction of a now devitalized man to the status of a mere machine, or "robot," who soullessly regurgitates the hollow slogans about "progress," "democracy," and the delights of "the consumer society" that are the only values recognized in this world of death. The natural world itself becomes mere raw material to be converted into "goods" for the happy consumer. 

A Unified System of Thought: Graphology

Let us now turn to a more detailed survey of the elements that comprise the biocentric system of metaphysics. The thought of Ludwig Klages comprises several structural components, which form a series of interdependent and increasingly comprehensive fields of research. Although each component may be profitably examined as a discrete entity, we can only grasp the full grandeur of Klagesian thought when we study the various components in the context of their interrelationships within the comprehensive system that the philosopher has constructed, for it is only when we view his thought as a unified system that we can comprehend its truly unsurpassed metaphysical profundity. Thus, graphology constitutes one element of expression-research, which, in its turn, constitutes one element of characterology. Characterology, finally, is the indispensable element that enables us to formulate a coherent interpretation of the nature of the universe, viz. philosophy in the strict sense. 

Although graphology didn't initially interest the "natural science" psychologists, the investigations that were conducted by Klages eventually evoked the interest of psychiatrists and applied psychologists, who would eventually incorporate some of his teachings in the curriculum of German universities. Graphology was also utilized in such fields as child-guidance and clinical psychology. 

Klages was preceded in this field of research by a host of investigators, most of whom relied on intuitive guesses and inspired leaps of deduction in developing their own, occasionally quite profound, theories. Klages, in fact, pays explicit tribute to these pathfinders in numerous of his graphological publications. (Americans might be startled to learn that Edgar Allan Poe himself has an honorable place in the illustrious line of graphological prophets!) Nevertheless, it was only at the end of the 19th century that the interpretation of written script was erected upon an enduring scientific foundation by the Frenchman J.-H. Michon and the German Wilhelm Preyer.

The most renowned of Klages’s contributions to graphology is his idea of the Formniwo, or "style-value." With the aid of this tool, the researcher can discriminate between various exemplars (handwritten samples) under examination, and can apply a general overall evaluation (negative, positive, or, even, ambiguous), without the guess-work and shoddy formulations of earlier students, who relied on "isolated signs" to guide them. Klages employs this concept of "style-value" to examine organic, or "holistic" entities, and his evaluation proceeds from a global perception of the personal expression through to a more detailed scrutiny. The procedure begins with an analytical inspection carried out on three levels: 1. the person’s driving-forces or motivations ("interests"); 2. the person’s creative impulses and level of intelligence; and 3. the person’s civic or political virtues. Klages tells us frankly that if we are aware of a person’s emotional makeup, the degree to which he or she is a productive and community-minded member of the polis, and how creative the person is, we know pretty much how that person will react to a life-situation.

We can best understand a person’s emotional life and the level of his intelligence through an analysis of the characteristic rhythm that his handwriting displays. Rhythm is manifested in the harmony of spaces and forms, as evidenced in the margins, the spaces between the lines, and between the letters and words. Here we find the most accurate indications as to the nature of the inner life of the person, and how rich or poor is his thought. The creative elements are best observed in the simplification and improvement that we find in the person’s handwriting. Just as mankind is dependent upon the creative genius for improvements in the cultural and technological fields, and upon the simplifications in technique that are brought about by the inventor, so too will these characteristics be evident in an individual’s handwriting. The creative person is always interested in improving his "tools," as it were. The degree to which the person will be a coöperative and responsible member of the community is reflected in the legibility and fluency of his handwriting. The legibility of a man’s exemplars is obviously going to indicate his ability to communicate successfully. The fluency will demonstrate the person’s level-headedness and sincerity.

The five keys to the evaluation of style are: 1) Rhythm. Klages tells us that there are inherent rhythmic patterns that govern the universe. We are able to recognize and gauge these rhythms in the spatial patterns of a person’s handwriting by examining whether the margins are contextually harmonious, viz., we must scrutinize a particular exemplar with an eye to determining the natural configurations (structural harmonies) formed by the gaps that intervene between the lines, between the words, and also between the individual letters. Because disharmonies are arresting—they "leap to the eye," as it were—we have no difficulty in establishing the grade of spatial rhythm in an exemplar. The rating of handwriting’s rhythm is more a matter of insight and intuition than of expert reasoning. 2) Symmetry. In a harmonious exemplar we find that the person does not overdevelop one zone at the expense of another zone; i.e., we do not find the bottom loop of a q to be exaggerated as against the upper zone stroke. In short, where we find such a deviation, or loss of proportion, we must assign the exemplar a low grade. An examination of the individual character’s height (as from the bottom of the q to its summit) cannot furnish us with a sufficient basis upon which to evaluate the overall symmetry of a person’s handwriting. Where we find excessive width, pressure, slant, loops, bars, dots, flourishes, or any other such deviation, we must recognize a disturbance of symmetry. The letters, whether they are capitals or minimum letters, must be well developed in a gradual fashion, avoiding a deflated narrowness as well as an inflated width. In short a character is to be judged both on its height as well as on the amount of space that it covers. Wide lower zone loops in an overall narrow handwriting or conjoined with deflated small letters, indicate a lack of symmetry; and unevenness of pressure or slant belong as well to the category of disproportions. 3) Creativeness. Although very few people exhibit a high degree of symmetry in their handwriting, it is a fact that even fewer display creativeness. Most people will not be grieved by this fact, as most people would rather belong to the bovine throng than to the creative elite—even in their handwriting! Only perhaps one in a thousand are willing to become heretics, to break away from the sweaty masses, to display the slightest signs of independence and boldness, to write an individual hand. In fact, only a genius is capable of inventing new and finer characters and connections, even though such creations might make for easier writing without impaired or compromised legibility. However, we must realize that an original hand and a creative hand can be two different things, for an original scribe is not always creative, but a creative person always will compose an original script. An original script must merely avoid the existing patterns; but an original script must add something to the already existing fund of patterns. A creative script must facilitate writing, and only he who writes a great deal, one who must confront and develop his ideas on the wing, as they come and go, will desire more easily written characters, and will experience the urge to create them. Such a person is ordinarily well educated, and will continue to improve his script throughout his life because he is demanding and discriminating. Klages emphatically asserts that eccentricity alone cannot indicate the creative scribe. All innovations in script will be simpler and easier to write—purpose is the rule for the creative scribe, and not merely unnaturalness. 4) Legibility. A letter is written in order to be read, obviously, and any letter that cannot be deciphered by the addressee has clearly failed of its purpose. We do not normally read from letter to letter, or from word to word. Instead, we read from cluster to cluster of words and only stumble when we come across an unfamiliar expression, or an illegible one. In consequence, the only method that we have to establish objectively the legibility of an exemplar is to remove words at random from their context and scrutinize them. Very often, the most intelligent writers will not pass this test. 5) Speed. The elementary law of creativeness is violated if the sample has not been written spontaneously, if it has required an inordinate amount of time in which to be produced. What is needed here is time saving simplicity. In fact, slowly produced writings often give evidence of criminal tendencies in the scribe. Although such scribes will attempt to furnish a genteel, legible, and conforming script, they often attempt to patch up their initially unworthy efforts by closings open letters, by straightening out faulty strokes, and by re-crossing their t-bars. The overall impression such exemplars give is one of uncleanness. A fluently produced sample, on the other hand, will show a right-slanted writing, with irregularly placed i-dots, with most dots placed ahead of the letter itself, with other letters and letter connections with garland shapes rather than angles or arcades, with the left margins tending to widen as the scribe reaches the bottom of the page, with smooth, light, and unbroken strokes.

Klages definitively refuted the doctrine of "fixed signs," which had so misled his predecessors, who erroneously ascribed "atomistic" character traits to discrete signs without perceiving the contextual matrix from which the signs are born. The biocentric investigator does not concern himself with expressive fragments: for life can only be found in organic wholes. To summarize: idiosyncratic traits are revealed in such formal elements as evenness, regularity, tempo, distribution, pressure, breadth, consistency, variety, connectedness, "angle of incidence," and initial stress of the handwritten sample, which is a permanent record of expressive gesture, a residue of living being, an examination of which can eventually enable us to embark upon ever more profound investigations of the inner life of man. (The major graphological texts published by Klages are: Die Probleme der Graphologie ["The Problems of Graphology"], published in 1910; the Handschrift und Charakter ["Handwriting and Character"], of 1912, which has gone through 26 editions; and the Einführung in die Psychologie der Handschrift ["Introduction to the Psychology of Handwriting"], which appeared in 1928.) 

A Unified System of Thought: Expression Analysis

From this brief glance at the narrow field of biocentric graphology, we now proceed to a more comprehensive division of the Klagesian system of thought, viz. the "analysis of expression" (Ausdruckskunde). According to Klages, the larger part of our knowledge of the inner life of those around us stems from our ability to comprehend the meanings inherent in each person’s gestures and facial expressions. This knowledge is not mediated by consciousness, for we must grasp the inner life of another directly, if we would grasp it at all. Every expressive movement is the precipitate of a lived impulse, and, unlike the viewpoint advanced by certain "behaviorists," these impulses are not reducible to the simple antithetic pair: pleasure or pain. Every expressive movement can be interpreted so as to reveal the form, duration, and sequence of the inner impulses. Klages subtly differentiates between several types of movements: the expressive movement, the mechanical movement, and the volitional movement. The expressive movement is regarded as one aspect of the impulse movement; the reflex movement is regarded as an element of the expressive movement; the mechanical movements earlier existed as impulse movements and are to be grouped under this head; volitional-movement is an impulse-movement controlled by the will. The types of movements are differentiated by their relationship to their aims. Volition movements are shaped by expectations of successful outcomes. Expressive movements are symbolic enactments; thus, the facial expression that embodies terror is the symbolic performance of the motions that represent the actions of one who would escape from a situation that evokes terror. 

Klages rejects the Darwinian theory of expression, which interprets all expressive movements as the rudimentary remains of actions that once were purposive. This view reflects Darwin’s insistence on rationalizing the "mechanisms" of nature, in spite of the obvious fact that expressive gestures have their origins in the subjectivity of the organism in which they arise. Pace Darwin, Klages insists that the living being never responds to the same stimulus with the same response: it responds to similar impressions with similar reactions. Instincts are similar only in species that are similar, and the process of individuation can only be consummated after the development of judgment and will. The will is not rooted in the affects, for its task is to bind, or repress, the affective life. The power of the will can be expressed as a quantum of driving force that is non-qualitative. It harnesses life in order to direct it to a goal, and the regulation of volition-movement is completely different from expressive movement. The expressive movement has no aim other than itself; the impulse-movement derives its aims from its environment; and for the volitional-movement, the conscious willing of the aim is of the essence. Actions (in contrast to pathic, dream-like states) are volitional movements (handwriting belongs under this head). Since the personality comprises a constellation of dynamic relationships, every movement expresses personality in its essential nature, for the character of an individual is revealed in every action. However, one must study aspects of expression that are outside the realm of volition, not subject to the control of consciousness, and beyond the governance of intention and learned skills. Volitional movement expresses the personality of the willing person; it does not originate in vitality, for it is chained to the causal nexus originating in the conscious mind. By itself, the volition is not expressive; the important thing is the individual course of the movement. There is present in all of an individual's expressive movements a unity of character, and any movement on the part of a person will assume that type or manner of movement which is characteristic of that individual. Klages asserts that the writing movement, for instance, is the manifestation of the will to express oneself with the aid of a certain writing system, the volition, which is the current state of some personality. Therefore, handwriting is a volitional movement and carries the idiosyncratic stamp of any personality.

Volitional movements cannot exist without impulse movements, but the impulse movement can exist without the volitional one. Every state of the body expresses an impulse system, and every attitude finds its appropriate expression. Every movement of the body is a vital movement that has two constituent parts, the impulse and the expressive. Therefore, an expressive movement is the visible manifestation of the impulses and affects that are symbolically represented in the vital movement of which it is a component part. The expression manifests the pattern of a psychic movement as to its strength, duration, and direction.

Now how is it possible for human beings to perceive, and to interpret, the expression of the soul? Klages answers this by explaining that the capacity for expression is coördinated with the human being's capacity for impression. Impression is split into two functions: a passive ("pathic") one, which receives the impression; and an active one, which makes it possible for one to become aware of one's own nature as well as that of others—only through this objectification can expression have meaning. It is the very foundation of all genuine research into the study of expressive gestures.

Klages cautions the student to avoid all vain quests after qualitative states of expressive movement; instead, we must examine vital "essences," because, in the end, isolated segments of expression must not be divorced from their organic matrix. This point of view recapitulates Klages’s criticisms of the graphological theory of "isolated signs," which can never reveal the global structure that embodies the elements of personality.

The study of expressive movement does not derive its findings from the analysis of purely "objective" states, for the entities examined by the biocentric researcher are experienced as living beings. Klages’s affirmation of the value of expression is in perfect harmony with his high evaluation of the pathic or ecstatic abandonment of the ego in a surrender to the actuality of the living images. We can locate an individual’s capacity for such self-abandonment on a continuum that is graduated according to the living content. According to the entity in which it occurs, each rhythmic pulsation gives birth to another and yet another vital content, whether it is manifested as a faint arousal of the soul or as pathic frenzy. Paradoxically, one person’s rage may be shallower and feebler than the mere breathing of another person. The man who able to observe this, and who is thereby enabled to understand the implications of his observations, so that he can distinguish authentic personality from the mere precipitate of its psychic activity, such as a handwritten exemplar, has perceived the agency through which each formal, or functional, element alternately expresses a ‘minus’ character or a ‘plus’ character. He is able to determine, as between one instance of expressive movement and another, whether he is witnessing the strength of a vital impulse or the weakness of an antagonistic inhibition, and can then correctly evaluate the character’s true traits.

The power of creativity, or formative ability [Gestaltungskraft], which is the measure of one’s capacity for enhanced intensity of expressive force, has its only source in nature. However, every vital impulse is impeded by certain binding forces, or inhibitions. This duality is referred to by Klages as the "dual significance of expression." Thus, if we witness an individual’s performance of a violent act, this act may be the result of the attractive force of the goal towards which he is aiming; or it may, on the other hand, indicate merely a lack of inhibition on the part of the person in question. The will to domination may indicate strength of will, of course; but it may also indicate an embittered affective life. Likewise, sensitivity may arise from emotional delicacy; but it may also be the result of emotional irritability. Such judgments can only be validated on the basis of a global examination of the individual under review. 

As we shall see shortly, Klages’s philosophy holds that the historical evolution of culture can only be interpreted as murderous record, a chronicle of ever-mounting horror in the course of which the vital power of expressive forces recedes before the soulless world ruled by the will, most perfectly embodied in the all-powerful state. But the enlightened biocentrist will turn from this dead Dingwelt (thing-world) to seek refreshment in the en-souled Ausdruckswelt (expression-world).

A Unified System of Thought: Characterology

From the study of expressive movement we proceed to characterology (Charakterkunde). Just as graphology led to the more comprehensive science of expression, the science of expression, in turn, provides the fund of empirical observations that supports the biocentric characterology. Klagesian characterology, in fact, constitutes the most comprehensive study of the human being that has ever been formulated. (Characterology, in its turn, constitutes the indispensible structural component of the biocentric scheme of metaphysics). 

The Grundlagen der Charakterkunde presents Klages’s system of psychology in great detail, and because his psychological exposition in that treatise is so intimately interrelated with the philosophical exposition contained in Der Geist and in his other philosophical publications, we will treat the characterology and the metaphysics as indivisible aspects of one vast symphony of thought. However, we will say a few words at this point about the most original feature of biocentric characterology, viz., the presentation of character as a dynamic structural system, comprising such elements as the material (Stoff), the structure (Gefüge), the specific type or idiosyncratic quality (Artung), the architectonics (Aufbau), and the constitutional disposition (Haltungsanlagen). 

The material comprises such innate capacities as recollection, cognition as it is embodied in conceptual thought, critical "penetration" (or acumen), intensity, sensibility, and many other capacities, all of which are innate, i.e., conditioned by the genetic endowment of the particular character. From the outset, Klages rejects with some contempt the inadequate "tabula rasa" tradition of British empiricism, which he correctly traces back to its source in Locke and his school. This innate material occurs in various combinations that vary from person to person, and although Klages ordinarily voices opposition to methodologies that are based upon quantitative "formalism," he agrees that the material is measurable in at least a metaphorical sense, for it constitutes our personal possession, the "capital," as it were, with which we are equipped. 

The structure comprises such differentiations as: temperamental or reserved, wandering or fixed, emotionally stable or unstable. Within each personality there is a unique tempo of affective excitability that can be analogized to an emotional wave, whose quantum of reactivity is functionally related to an individual’s internal organic processes. Unlike the purely innate capacities, the characteristics can be adequately expressed as a correlation between the magnitude of an impulse and the force of resistance to that impulse (we had occasion earlier to refer briefly to this relationship as it pertains to the analysis of expressive gestures). 

The quality relates to the formal aspects of volition and the tendencies of the affects, which unite to form the system of drving-forces or "interests." Specific driving-forces are by their nature directional, as we can see by examining the different goals toward which a greedy person or domineering person seem to be impelled. Architectonics constitutes the correlated interrelationships that weave all the other elements of the character together. 

Finally, the dispositions (or attitudes) comprise those traits that are obvious even to the cursory glance of an external observer, and among these traits we find courage, talkativeness, diffidence, and obnoxiousness. 

However, the most important of all the elements that make up the character is the qualitative estimation of an individual’s capacities of feeling and volition. Volition is a limited instantiation of the will, and the will is of the very essence of spirit; in fact the will is the darkest and most destructive of spirit’s manifestations, the demon of negation, the very essence of the void. 

The constellation of the driving-forces constitutes the personality, and these driving forces are as diverse and multiform as life. The drive is manifest as an urge that issues in a movement, and that movement is generated under the influence of the non-conceptual, vital experience of a power to which Klages has given the name symbol. The driving-forces are polarized, for a drive that has its source in an excess of energy (thus entailing an impulse to discharge energy) must be contrasted with the drive that arises out of a lack of energy (which will give rise to the attempt to recoup energy). There are drives that can be stirred without regard to time, as well as drives that manifest periodicity 

The instincts are opposed to the will. The will devises conscious, purposive projects that are in conflict with the immediate desire for gratification of the instincts. In opposition to the world as it is felt, the will erects conscious purposiveness and the life-hostile, moralistic codes of ethics. The authentic content of the personality is drawn from the living world, but the will ruthlessly imposes form upon that content by constricting, inhibiting, directing, or suppressing the instincts and affects. The will possesses no original, creative power of its own. The will is incarnated in man as the ego, which can be expressed metaphorically as the rudder on a vessel whose only function is controlling the vessel’s course. The will-as-ego is characterized by self-awareness and insistent activity. The instinctual drives, on the other hand, give birth to an unconscious, "pathic" surrender to the living cosmos. The instincts and affects are revealed in the love for knowledge, Eros, the quest for truth, and the admiration of beauty. The will reveals its nature in duty, conscience, ambition, greed, and egomania. The will seeks to repress or extirpate the vital impulses, and the destructive effects of the will in action can even be fatal to the organism, as we can see in the case of the political revolutionary who embarks on a fatal hunger-strike. The shattered health and twisted mind resulting from the obsessive asceticism of the religious zealot is too familiar to require further elaboration.

Philosophical Works

The strictly philosophical writings of Ludwig Klages comprise a wide range of materials. In length they range from pithy articles contributed to various lexicons and encyclopedias, through extended essays and revamped lectures, and culminate in his full-dress, formal treatises, the most comprehensive of which is the epochal Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele [3 volumes, 1929-32]. Der Geist contains an astonishing 1500 pages of text as well as an elaborate scholarly apparatus devoted to source notes and ancillary material, the closely-printed text of which would make a fair-sized book on its own! 

One of his shorter essays, the Brief Über Ethik, which was published shortly after the German defeat in 1918, is of exceptional interest to the student of race. Unlike many of his optimistic contemporaries, Klages viewed the catastrophic mongelization that was poisoning the Aryan race as an ineluctable doom, the fatal and irremediable dissolution of life under the savage assault of triumphant spirit. In the Brief, his intense study of the psychological aspects of man’s disastrous evolution, enabled him to trace the 20th century’s accursed proliferation of "slave"-types and men without character to a single poisonous source, for the production of such wretched types, he proclaims, "has arisen, arises now, and will arise, always and everywhere, as the direct result of racial bastardization and pollution of the blood!" On similar grounds, he excoriates the modern world’s monstrous plague of moralistic fanaticism in the Brief, asserting that the rapidly increasing legions of ethical preachers constitute one more manifestation of the dysgenic breeding that is destroying our culture. The moral maniac’s twisted psyche within as well as his distorted physiognomy without clearly demonstrate that such a creature "is merely the spiritual expression of tainted blood!" Because the modern world regards the man of ethics, will, and reason as the sole proper vehicle of ego and spirit, no one should be surprised that traditional and healthy value must go to the wall. Race, breeding, nobility, depth of soul, beauty, courage, and blood, are one and all devoid of substance to the moralist and the egalitarian crusader. To them, man is his mind, his morals, and his ego, and the man who has given his sole allegiance to ego and spirit, has simultaneously surrendered all interest in the particular man. Henceforth he compulsively devotes his attentions to man as generality. Klages ridicules all respect for "humanity," that ghost of an abstraction, as a willful repudiation of every vital power of discrimination, and he who stubbornly refuses to immerse himself in the undiffentiated ochlocratic mob will always be assailed as an enemy of "mankind." This humanitarian insanity is, paradoxically, also the root of the murderous career of Christian and post-Christian civilization, for those who preach so incessantly of "love" and who babble so cretinously of "compassion," have but one response to those who do not endorse their "spiritual" values: that response is murder. The egalitarian can never face the obvious fact that wherever and whenever you order a man to love, you have guaranteed that he will respond with hate.

The racialist theoreticians whom Klages most admired and cited most pertinently in his collected works were Gobineau, Ludwig Woltmann, and L. F. Clauss. Klages’s analysis of the racial dimension of the science of expression is indebted to the analytical studies of race and expression published by Clauss, especially in the formulation by Klages of what we will call the racial continuum of expression and excitability. No objective observer would wish to deny the obvious fact that the Mediterranean division of the Aryan race is typically characterized by a greater ease of expression than is found in the Nordic Aryan. Klages enforces the validity of this truth quite vividly through the ingenious use of national stereotypes as illustrative heuristic expedients; thus, his typological extremes extend from the Italian, in whom we find the maximum ease of expressive gesture as well as the greatest degree of temperamental excitability, passes through the various intermediary increments, and arrives at the opposite extreme of the racial continuum of expression, where Klages situates the only possible candidate for title of least expressive and most temperamentally reserved of European Aryans, viz., the Englishman.

In his critical exposition of the doctrine of the "temperaments,"Klages extends his investigation of individual differences to encompass an analysis of the capacity for stimulation of the will that is peculiar to the different races. Several qualities that are falsely considered by many researchers to be permanently and deeply rooted in man, e.g., the tendency to seek for perfection and the adoption of an "idealistic" point of view, vanish almost completely in the course of a lifetime. On the other hand, the least variable property of a character is this "capacity for stimulation of the will," which Klages calls the "constant of temperament." The magnitude, or degree, of the capacity for such stimulation varies significantly between the races as well, and because it constitutes a temperamental "constant," it provides a permanent index of racial differences. The Oriental race, for instance, is characterized by a will that is far less excitable than the will of the Aryan, and Klages draws upon the great Count Gobineau for an illustration: "Consider…buying and selling as they are practiced in an Oriental bazaar. An Oriental will bargain for the same article with perfect equanimity for days on end, whereas the European loses patience after an hour, and often much sooner. Joseph Arthur de Gobineau makes a fine artistic use of these differences of character in his Nouvelles Asiatiques." 

Like Gobineau, Woltmann, and Clauss, Klages was a universal scholar who possessed the same wide-ranging vision and the treasures of living wisdom that all of these men shared. And we can be apodictically certain that every one of these scholars would have rejected with utter scorn the narrow-minded theory, endorsed even by many modern writers who consider themselves to be the true heirs of the great racialists of yore, which holds that the quality of a man can be reduced to a mathematical expression. Without a doubt, Klages would have felt that the egalitarian lunacy that now rules the world is only slightly more ludicrous than the attempts that are made by modern anti-egalitarians to reduce man to his IQ. And when certain writers attempt to place characterology on a "scientific" basis through the use of factor-analysis—in other words, by pouring even more formalistic mathematics into the sauce!—we can imagine his ironic smile as he whispers: sancta simplicitas

Klages traces the origins of the modern, mongrelized world’s moralistic fanaticism and criminality back to its source in another devastatingly ironic essay, Das Problem des SOKRATES, in which he dismantles the beloved figure of Socrates as if he were a defective toaster-oven. Because Socrates is regarded by Klages as the very antithesis of the true philosopher, we will examine in some detail this unconventional and irreverent analysis of Socrates and his thought. Without qualification or proviso, Klages launches his attack. He sees Socrates as an utter fraud, a dissembling hypocrite, a complete ignoramus in scientific matters whose arrogance and lack of curiosity are truly astonishing. Why did Socrates ignore the truly epochal cosmological discoveries that were being made by the Hylozoists? A true philosopher would have been enthralled by the discoveries of these great scholars, but Socrates could care less. Heraclitus, Protagoras, and the Hylozoists were the true philosophers, not this rachitic ghoul, this professional sponger and house-guest, this most sophistical of sophists who habitually sought to diminish the genuine achievements of his hated contemporaries, not by surpassing them, but by dismissing them instead as contemptible—sophists

No figure in the intellectual history of Greece had a more skilful touch when it came to lodging dust in his spectators’ eyes. We witness the Socratic gambit par excellence when this logomach employs the most childish word-games conceivable in order to transform his blatant lack of creative talent into that which he has successfully persuaded all subsequent generations was, in reality, the most dazzling array of talents ever united within one mortal frame. Socrates obviously couldn’t master science: therefore science is an unworthy avocation! A prominent Sophist has arrived in town, and the word is out that he has prepared his lectures with a scrupulous care for formal elegance and a proper observance of the canons of logic: therefore, says Socrates, he’s nothing but logic-chopping hustler with a fancy prose style and a yen for a fast buck! From the dawn of time this has been, is now, and ever will remain, the bitter complaint leveled by the work-shy parasite against the gainfully employed citizen.

In addition to his other dubious gifts, Socrates is also an unparalleled expert at forestalling criticism, for his hidden motivation seems almost childishly transparent when we find him assuring his audience, with all the candor and guilelessness of a Uriah Heep, that the only thing that he knows is that he knows nothing! And this pish posh and flummery is still luring philosophical yokels to the Socratic side-show 2,400 years later! 

In fact, the whole repertoire of Socratic methods is exactly what Hegel and Klages say that it is: a bare-faced and unworthy swindle. Furthermore, although hardly any commentator has drawn attention to the fact, Socrates was completely successful in one of his more sinister ploys, for his most subtle dialectical maneuvers can even be said to have ominous political implications in addition to their philosophical ones. We are alluding to the sly manipulation whereby Socrates assures his auditors that the truths that they seek are already within them, for his seemingly innocent claim conceals the fact that by this very means Socrates is engineering a monstrous and underhanded tyranny over naïve youths who can scarcely realize that, invariably, everything that they will "discover" within them has already been planted there by an autocratic and mendacious charlatan! 

But what of the great martyr to "free thought," the plaster bust whom endless generations have been taught to revere as a saint and genius? Nonsense, says Klages. Not for the first, and certainly not for the last time, Klages confounds our expectations by explicitly endorsing his predecessor Hegel’s view, for Hegel effortlessly proved that Socrates got just what what coming to him. Hegel found that the conduct of the court during the trial of Socrates was legally unimpeachable and he wholeheartedly endorsed the verdict of the court. Klages also draws on Hegel’s account when he directs our attention to this charlatan’s truly mortal offenses against Athens, for who among this sophist’s accusers could forget for one moment the brutal crimes that were committed against the citizenry of Athens by Kritias, who in addition to being one of the the dearest pupils of Socrates, was also the bloodiest of all the Thirty Tyrants? And was not another cherished apostle—and, perhaps, a bit more—of Socrates, i.e., the slimy Alcibiades, known by both court and citizenry as the conscienceless traitor who bore the ultimate responsibility for the defeat and downfall of Athens in the Peloponnesian War? This obvious truth was disputed by no sane Athenian. 

No Greek thinker known to history, in fact, has a flimsier claim to the august title of true philosopher than this mongrelized gargoyle whose moral mania and theatrically grandiose death anticipate both the ethical idiocy and the shabby demise of the founder of the Christian cult, and Klages explicitly speaks of Socrates as the ancient world’s first Christian martyr. In the end, the only genuine achievements that can be credited to Socrates, Klages insists, were in the fields of epistemology and philosophical linguistics. And in all candor, who would seek to challenge the view that Socrates had about as much capacity for meaningful metaphysical speculation as your average floor-polisher? The rest is smoke and mirrors, a petty swindler’s sleight of hand.

Another brief philosophical text by Klages has become his best-known and most controversial work. In 1913, publisher Eugen Diederichs and the organizers of the anniversary celebration of the "Battle of the Nations" (which had taken place at Leipzig during the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon) invited the philosopher to address the representatives of the German Youth Movement. He delivered his Mensch und Erde, a stunning and prophetic attack on the enemies of Mother Earth, which was later published in a commemorative volume featuring a striking piece of cover-art by the neo-pagan painter Fidus. This seminal work has only recently received its due as the first statement of the philosophy of "deep ecology" when a new edition was published in 1980 in coordination with the establishment of the German "Green" political party. In this "roll-call of the dead," Klages laments the destruction of wildlife and landscape by encroaching "civilization," and, in attacking the very idea of "Progess," Klages praises the chthonic gods who have been driven into the underworld. He deplores the extinction of animal species and their wild habitats, the loss of ancient forests, and the annihilation of aboriginal peoples. He condemns Capitalism, Christianity, and utilitarianism as weapons aimed at the destruction of the ecology. Even tourism is excoriated as just another agent of environmental destruction, and Klages laments the murder of the whales long before such a concern was widespread . 

"Without a doubt," Klages says, "we are living in the age of the waning of the Soul," and he insists that when Spirit has finally silenced the "primal song of the landscape," the earth will be converted into "one gigantic Chicago interspersed with agriculture." Our machines are attended by machine-men, whose noisy and glittering amusements are unable to conceal the fact that the world has been stripped of all life-enhancing symbols and ritual observances. Our hearts are barren, and "their inner rivulets can no longer water the blossoms of song and holy feasts; there remains only this bleak and grey workaday world," in this age of soul-destruction. 

"Progress" is simply an "unfettered lust for murder," and all of nature must perish "before its poisonous breath." Our age has lost all "knowledge of the world-creating, world-weaving force of all-unifying Eros." "Originating with Socrates and coming through Kant all the way down to the present age, the hoarse demand of the Will resonates in every one of the refractions, disguises, and transformations assumed by our ethical systems, that it is the duty of man to control himself, to subject his desires to the rule of reason, to moderate his feelings when he can’t manage to exterminate them entirely." Moralistic preachers, devoted to the "improvement" of man, are nothing but criminals against life, whose immunity to the lessons of experience is reflected in their oblivion to the data of our historical experience. The "inborn" conscience, as a matter of fact, is not at all an original fact of existence, for it cannot be found anywhere else in the animal kingdom; conscience is merely spirit’s poison at its work of destroying the soul of man. Under this influence, the soul can no longer dwell amid the pulsating flux of images, for a despotic rationality, in tandem with this moral mania, finally substitutes for the endless "becoming" of the actuality of the world of nature, the disconnected, dead world of "being." "Whatever falls under the ray of intellect is immediately turned into a mere thing, a numbered object of thought connected only mechanically with other objects. The paradox enunciated by the modern sage, ‘we perceive but what is dead’, is a lapidary formulation of a profound truth." Klages tells us that Life must soon perish, "for the hour of returning has been missed."

The philosopher’s meditations on the myths and mysteries of the ancient Mediterranean world form the substance of the treatise entitled Vom kosmogonischen Eros, which appeared in 1922. Paradoxically, perhaps, in view of the anti-Socratism that we’ve been discussing, Klages follows the classic Platonic exposition in the "Symposium" regarding the nature of Eros, which is held to be compounded of antitheses such as wealth and poverty, fullness and emptiness, possession and want. This insight accounts for the dual nature of all striving, for every impulse and every desire arises from a lack of something that we yearn to possess and perishes at the moment when that which we have yearned to possess falls into our hands.

The duality that constitutes the substance of man is also clarified in the Eros-book. In primordial ages, man’s nature comprised the connected poles of body and soul, whose vital bonds it is spirit’s mission to sever from the moment that man enters into the realm of recorded history. Klages also clarifies the unique status of the image in his course of his exposition of biocentric phenomenology: "Wherever we find a living body, there we also find a soul; wherever we find a soul, there also we find a living body. The soul is the meaning of the body, and the image of the body is the manifestation of the soul. Whatever appears has a meaning, and every meaning reveals itself as it is made manifest. Meaning is experienced inwardly, the manifestation outwardly. The first must become image if it is to communicate itself, and the image must be re-internalized so that it may take effect. Those are, in the most literal sense, the twin poles of actuality." (Klages’s exposition had, for once, been anticipated by Friedrich Paulsen, in whose textbook, "An Introduction to Philosophy," we find the following remark: "Either we must regard the entire body, including the nervous system, as a system of means external to the soul, or we must regard the entire body as the visible expression, or physical equivalent, of life" [emphasis added]). 

Life is not governed by spirit, for "the law of spirit" demands that spirit divorce itself utterly from the "rhythms of cosmic life." Only the living image possesses a truly vital autonomy, for the image alone is independent of spirit. The image remains totally unaffected by whether or not the receiver of the sensuous image recollects its visitation afterwards. The thing, on the other hand, is thought into the world of consciousness. It exists as a dimension of a person’s inwardness. Life is not directed towards the future, for the future is not a property of actual time. The great error of Promethean man was in his elevating that which was to come to the same stage of actuality as the past. The "man of ‘world-history’" is a man dedicated to voids. He has annihilated and is annihilating the actuality of what has been in order to devote himself more completely to the projects of a hallucination called the future. He insists on shattering the fruitful connection of the near and the far in order to erect in its place the present’s Wandering Jew-like fascination "with a distant phantasm of futurity." Actual time is a "stream coursing from the future into the past." 

This "cosmogonic Eros" of which Klages speaks is the life-creating son of the Mother Goddess of the prehistoric Ægean world, and must not be confused with the vapid cupids that can still be found on ancient Roman frescoes, whose pale plaster descendants so gaudily adorn the walls and ceilings of the palaces of rococo Europe. A more authentic incarnation is found in the Theogony of Hesiod, in which the poet calls Eros one of the first beings, born without father or mother. Likewise, in the Orphic hymns, Kronos is his father; Sappho calls him the offspring of Earth and Heaven; and Simonides traces the descent of Eros to the union of Aphrodite and Ares. Hesiod’s treatment, by far the most profound, portrays Eros as the force of attraction upon which the very existence of the material world depends. When Hesiod makes Eros the offspring of the rainbow and the westwind, he is indicating, by the use of metaphor, that spring, the season in which they prevail, is the time of love. For Hesiod, Eros is "the most beautiful of all the deathless gods." The historical aspect of Klages’s text is largely an apologia for the Weltanschauung of Bachofen, with its forthright celebration of the "world of woman" and the life of "primitive" peoples (his most elaborate presentation of the Magna Mater and her world will appear in the crucial chapter on the "Great Mother" in Der Geist, which bears the telling subtitle "Marginal Observations on Bachofen’s Discoveries"). 

Eros is to be distinguished from "love" and "sex," both of which are tied to that obnoxious entity the "self" (Selbst), which tends to become the center of gravity in the life of man as history progressively tears his soul from the earth, turning the richly-endowed individual into a hollow mask and robot, divorced from Eros and earth. All Eros is Eros of distance (Eros der Ferne), and a moment’s reflection will suffice to demonstrate that nothing is more characteristic of our modern planetary technology than its tendency toward the annihilation of distance. Likewise, the will-to-possesion, the impulse for domination, and the thoughtless addiction to "information" that characterizes modern man are all condemned by Klages as attempts to lift the veil of Isis, which he sees as the ultimate "offense against life." "The intellectual will to power is the crime against life itself, causing man to meet life’s vindictive retaliation." For behind the veil, there is "nothingness," which is to say spirit and the will to desubstantialize the cosmos. This "modern man" has traveled very far indeed from the Naturvölker, who prefer life to cogitation, and who experience the erotic bond without commingling their precious egos, whose desire is impersonal and not focused upon an insane idealization and apotheosis of the loved one. For Klages, the most vital manifestation of Eros is not the "love unto death" of sentimental "tragedy," but is, instead, a surrender of the will to the impersonal forces of the cosmos. There is an Eros of the home as well as of the homeland, an Eros of the implement that we have fashioned with our own hands as well as an Eros of the art work that we have created with the implement’s aid. Eros inhabits, in fact, any object of perception to which we feel intimately connected, and all such objects and events become living symbols of our joys or of our sorrows. The ego has nothing to do with these erotic bonds, anymore than it has anything to do with maternal love.

Soul and Spirit

The very title of Klages’s metaphysical treatise, Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele, "The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul," refers to the ceaseless and savage battle waged by spirit against the soul. The mounting onslaught of spirit against the living soul has constituted the innermost essence of the life of man. Whereas spirit once existed in a temporary and uneasy symbiosis with the soul, in the course of human history spirit’s destructive power waxes ever stronger, until spirit eventually abandons the symbiotic compromise that endured whilst the powers of life were still exalted, and erupts into the waning empire of the living soul as a savage and unyielding dæmon whose malevolent career reaches its grisly climax in our apocalyptic age of "virtual" reality, compassion-babble, hydrogen bombs, and racial chaos. 

But just what is this "soul"? In the first place, the soul is not something exclusively human, for all phenomena possess soul, viz., the sea, animals, mountains, the wind, and the stars. In fact, all phenomena are "en-souled." Now the soul possesses two poles, the archetypal soul and the substantial soul, or, to look upon these matters from a slightly different angle, a passive receptor pole and an active effector pole. The passive receptor pole is, in the thought of Klages, the truly characteristic aspect for the soul’s life. From its birth, the soul leads a pathic, or passive, dream-existence, in which its life is filled with visionary images. The soul only becomes released for activity in the phenomenal world when the bearer of that soul is confronted by the polarity of another soul, which forces each soul to reveal its nature to the other. The original characteristics of the soul are night, dreaming, rhythmic pulsation, infinite distance, and the realm of the unconscious.

The "elementary" substances that constitute the earth originated under the complex influence of telluric and cosmic forces, and the symbiotic interaction of all telluric phenomena was required in order to bring the animate world into being. According to the doctrine of the "actuality of the images," the plant represents the transitional stage between the element and the living creature. (The botanist Jagadis Bose performed experiments that he felt conclusively demonstrated the capacity of plants to experience pain). The plant experiences life in the form of growth and maturation, as well as in the creation of offspring through the processes familiar to natural science. Spontaneous movements of various kinds are characteristic of plant-life, viz., the turning of the leaves and buds to the light, the sending of the root-system into the soil in order to extract nourishment from the earth, the fixing of supportive tendrils to fixed surfaces, etc. Klages draws our attention to the fact that there are several varieties of plant that are indubitably capable of self-motility. There are, at this threshold of another realm of being, organisms such as sea squirts, mussels, oysters, sponges, and zoophytes, which become fixed in their habitat only after the early stages of the lives. (When Verworrn published his experiments on the psychical life of the protista in 1899, he attributed sensation to these organisms, a position that certainly has much to recommend it. But when he attempted to demonstrate that even the will is in evidence at this stage of life, one can only shake one’s head in disbelief, for that which this author adduces as evidence of volition in the protista is the simple phenomenon of reaction to stimuli! Thus, Verworrn equates the reactive responses in the protista to the action of the will in man, in whom the "volitional" processes are more highly developed. This is certainly a case of blindness to a difference of essence.) 

In the next developmental stage, i.e., that of the animal, the soul is now captured in a living body. The drives and instincts make their first appearance during this phase. The characteristic functions of the creature comprise physical sensation (as represented by the body-pole) and contemplation (the psychical pole). The living body is the phenomenon of the soul, and the soul is the meaning of the living body. However, in opposition to the realm of the lower animals, wherein sensation dominates contemplation, we find that in the higher animals, contemplation is strengthened at the expense of the physical sensations, as the result of spirit’s invasion of the life-cell, which occurs at this time. Now if one were to consider "the waking state" to be synonymous with consciousness itself, than one must consclude that consciousness is present in animal and man alike. According to Klages, however, it is only the capacity for conceptual thought that characterizes consciousness, so that we must attribute consciousness proper only to man. In the animal, the image cannot be divorced from the sensory impression. In man, on the other hand, the content of the visual image can be separated from the act of perception that receives that content throught the sensorium. Therefore, although the animal undoubtedly possesses instincts, only man is truly conscious.

The biological processes that constitute plant life and animal life are also operative in man, but with the intervention of spirit (at least during the initial phase of development, during which spirit and life maintain some kind of balance), he is capable of creating symbolic systems of communication and expression, viz., art and poetry, as well as myth and cult. The processes of life establish the polar connection between the actual images of the world (or, the "macrocosm") and the pathic soul that receives them (or, the "microcosm").

The human soul comprises the totality of the immediate experiences of man. It is the soul that receives its impressions of actuality in the shape of images. "The image that falls upon the senses: that, and nothing besides, is the meaning of the world," Klages insists, and one such immediate act of reception can be seen in the manner in which one comprehends the imagery employed by a great poet or the skillfully drawn portrait executed by a gifted artist. The actualities received by the "pathic" soul are experienced in the dimensions of space and time, but they have their coming-to-be and their passing-away solely within the temporal order. In sharp contrast to the traditional Christian insistence that virtue constitutes a valorization of the "spirit" at the expense of a denigrated body, Klages sees man’s highest potential in the state of ecstasy, i.e., the privileged state of rapture in which the connected poles of body and soul are liberated from the intrusive "spirit." What the Christian understands by the word soul is, in fact, actually spirit, and spirit—to simplify our scheme somewhat for the sake of expediency—is the mortal adversary of the soul. Another way to express this insight would be the formula: spirit is death, and soul is life.

Spirit manifests its characteristic essence in formalistic cognition and technological processes and in the hyper-rationalism that has pre-occupied western thought since the Renaissance. Both mathematical formalism and "high" technology have reared their conceptual skyscrapers upon a foundation formed by the accumulation of empirical data. Spirit directs its acolytes to the appropriation and rigidification of the world of things, especially those things that are exploitable by utilitarian technocrats. Spirit fulfils its project in the act, or event, that occurs within the spatio-temporal continuum, although spirit itself has its origin outside that continuum. Spirit is manifest in man’s compulsive need to seize and control the materials at hand, for only "things" will behave consistently enough for the spirit-driven utilitarian to be able to "utilize" them by means of the familiar processes of quantification and classification, which enable "science" to fix, or "grasp," the thing in its lethal conceptual stranglehold. 

We must draw a sharp distinction between the thing and its properties on one side, and the "essence" (Wesen) and its characteristics on the other. Only an essence, or nature, can be immediately experienced. One cannot describe, or "grasp," an essence by means of the conceptual analysis that is appropriate only when a scientist or technician analyzes a thing in order to reduce it to an "objective" fact that will submit to the grasp of the concept. The souls of all phenomena unite to comprise a world of sensuous images, and it is only as unmediated images that the essences appear to the pathic soul who receives their meaning-content. The world of essences (phenomena) is experienced by the pathic soul, which is the receptor of the fleeting images that constitute actuality [Wirklichkeit der Bilder]. These images wander eternally in the restless cosmic dance that is the Heraclitean flux. The image lives in intimate connection with the poles of space and time. 

The world of things, on the other hand, is rationally comprehended as a causally connected system of objects (noumena). In the course of historical time man’s ability to perceive the living images and their attendant qualities is progressively impoverished until finally spirit replaces the living world of expressive images with the dead world of mere things, whose only connections are adequately expressed in the causal nexus, or, to use the language of science, the "laws of nature." 

In the final act of the historical tragedy, when there is no longer any vital substance upon which the vampire spirit may feed, the parasitic invader from beyond time will be forced to devour itself. 

Paradise Lost

We see that the philosophy of Klages has both a metaphysical dimension as well as a historical one, for he sees the history of the world as the tragic aftermath to the disasters that ensued when man was expelled from the lost primordial paradise in which he once enjoyed the bliss of a "Golden Age." When man found himself expelled from the eternal flux of coming-to-be and passing-away of the lost pagan paradise, he received in exchange the poor substitute known as consciousness. Paradise was lost, in effect, when man allowed his temporally-incarnated life-cell to be invaded by the a-temporal force that we call spirit.

Klages is quite specific in putting forward a candidate for this "Golden Age" which prospered long before spirit had acquired its present, murderous potency, for it is within the pre-historic Ægean culture-sphere, which has often been referred to by scholars as the "Pelasgian" world, that Klages locates his vision of a peaceful, pagan paradise that was as yet resistant to the invasive wiles of spirit.

Now who are these "Pelasgians," and why does the Pelasgian "state of mind" loom so largely in Klages’s thought? According to the philosopher, the development of human consciousness, from life, to thought, to will, reveals itself in the three-stage evolution from pre-historic man (the Pelasgian), through the Promethean (down to the Renaissance), to the Heracleic man (the stage which we now occupy). For Klages, the Pelasgian is the human being as he existed in the pre-historic "Golden Age" of Minoan Crete, Mycenean Hellas, and the related cultures of the Aegean world. He is a passive, "pathic" dreamer, whose predominant mode of being is contemplation. He consorts directly with the living Cosmos and its symbols, but he is doomed. 

The "Pelasgians" occupy a strategic place in the mythos of Ludwig Klages, and this "Pelasgian Realm" of Klages closely resembles the mythic Golden Age of Atlantis that looms so large in the Weltanschauung of E. T. A. Hoffmann. But who, in fact, were these Pelasgians? According to the pre-historians and mythologists, the Pelasgians were an ancient people who inhabited the islands and seacoasts of the eastern Mediterranean during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. Homer, in a well-known passage in the Odyssey (XIX, 175 ff), places them on Crete, but another writer, Dionysius Halicarnassus, could only tell us that the Pelasgians were autokhthonoi, or "indigenous" throughout Hellas. Homer also refers to "Lord Zeus of Dodona, Pelasgian," in the Iliad (II, 750). Plutarch says of them that "they were like the oak among trees: the first of men at least in Akhaia," while Pliny believes that Peloponnesian Arkadia was originally called Pelasgis; that Pelasgos was an aristocratic title; and that the Pelasgians were descended from the daughters of Danaos. 

The most famous Pelasgian settlement was at Dodona, and Thucydides (we discover with relief) informs us that all Greece was Pelasgian before the Trojan war (approximately 1200 B. C.): "Before the Trojan War no united effort appears to be made by Hellas; and to my belief that name itself had not yet been extended to the entire Hellenic world. In fact, before the time of Hellen, son of Deucalion, the appelation was probably unknown, and the names of the different nationalities prevailed locally, the widest in range being ‘Pelasgians.’" (Book One of the "History of the Peloponnesian War," Oxford text, edited by H. Stuart-Jones; translated by Arnold J. Toynbee). Homer mentions them in the Iliad (ii, 840), and, in the Odyssey (xix, 172-7), the poet describes them as "divine." Racially, there seems to be no doubt that the Pelasgians were an Aryan people, and physical anthropologists inform us that the twenty skulls discovered at the Minoan sites of Palakaistro, Zakro, and Gournia turn out to be predominantly dolicocephalic, with the cranial indices averaging 73.5 for the males, and 74.9 for the women (Prehistoric Crete, by R. W. Hutchinson, London, 1962). The historian Herodotus, like Thucydides, groups all of the pre-classical peoples of the Hellenic world under the name Pelasgian: "Croesus made inquiries as to which were the greatest powers in Hellas, with a view to securing their friendly support, and, as a result of these inquiries, he found that the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians stood out among the people of the Dorian and Ionian race respectively. Of these people that had thus made their mark, the latter was originally a Pelasgian and the former a Hellenic nationality....As regards the language spoken by the Pelasgians, I have no exact information; but it is possible to argue by inference from the still-existing Pelasgians who occupy the city of Creston in the hinterland of the Tyrrhennians; from the other Pelasgians who have settled in Placia and Scylace on the Hellespont; and from the various other communities of Pelasgian race which have changed their national name. If inferences may be legitimately drawn from this evidence, then the original Pelasgians were speakers of a non-Greek language, and the Athenian nation must have learned a new language at the time when they changed from Pelasgians into Hellenes. At all events, the inhabitants of Creston and of Placia, who in neither case speak the same language as their present respective neighbors, do speak the same language as one another…In contrast to this, the Hellenic race has employed an identical language continuously, ever since it came into existence. After splitting off from the Pelasgian race, it found itself weak, but from these small beginnings it has increased until it now includes a number of nationalities, its principal recruits being Pelasgians It is my further opinion that the non-Hellenic origin of the Pelasgians accounts for the complete failure of even this nationality to grow to any considerable dimensions" (Herodotus, Book I, chapters 56 to 58; translated by Arnold J. Toynbee). The rest, as they say, is silence (at least in the Classical sources), and we can see why this obscure people should appeal to the mythologizing "Golden Age" bent of Klages. Modern authorities regard the Pelasgians as inhabitants of a purely Neolithic culture pertaining only to the area of Thessaly bounded by Sesklo in the east and the Peneios valley in the west (the area which is now known as Thessaliotis). 

Although the philosopher’s alluring portrait of the Pelasgians was formulated before modern archaeology had completed our image of Ægean prehistory, the picture which Klages paints, in the Eros-book and in the "Magna Mater" chapter of Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele, of a vibrant, healthy, and physically beautiful people, in touch with the gods and with Nature, requires little—if any—correction in the wake of the new researches. The figures who move so gracefully through the enchanted atmosphere of the Palace frescoes at Knossos, as they carry their brightly-colored gifts of vase, flowers, and pyxis, to the Goddess, are straight out of a poet’s dream. The young women walk barefoot, and wear hip-hugging, flared skirts to which flounces are attached at knee and hem; their long raven-tresses are worn in a chignon, adorned with red and white ribbons, and their jackets are brightly colored, usually pink or sky-blue. The gifts that they bring to the Mother Goddess are also brilliantly colored: a porphyry pyxis; poppies of red and white, and a bottle striped with silver, gold, and copper bands. They wear bracelets and necklaces dressed with strands of beads. They appear graceful and serene with their white breasts in profile in the tholos tombs as well. 

This Minoan, or "Pelasgian," world was characterized by a dialectical fusion of two strains of religiosity: on the one hand, we meet with the Ægean worship of the Mother Goddess, with all that that entails with regard to ritual and style of living; and, on the other, we confront the Indo-European sky-god, or Father God, and the two strains seem to co-exist in an uneasy, unstable—but certainly fruitful—truce. Mythologists tell us that this heritage is reflected in the tales that indicate the marriages between the Indo-European sky-god Zeus with various incarnations of the Ægean Mother-Goddess (in some of the myths, Zeus is, himself, born on Crete!). In time, of course, the Father God will achieve dominance in the Hellenic world, but Klages is more interested in traces of the religion of the Goddess as it survives from the Stone Age into the world of the second millennium B.C. Our philosopher, in effect, merges the misty Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the ancient Aegean into a single magical world-space, wherein an innocent race lives at one with Nature and the Goddess. Klages treats the Pelasgians as the primeval Hellenes, who worshiped the Goddess, as she was embodied in female idols in the form of figurines of the famous steatopygous Fertility-Goddess type, with huge belly and swollen buttocks (even though this iconographic image, represented most clearly in the "Venus of Willendorf," proceeds from a much-earlier cultural stratum, the Palaeolithic. The later Greeks celebrated Demeter, the Life-Mother, in the Eleusinian mysteries). The Palace Culture of Minoan Crete would exemplify the matriarchalist style of the (late) Pelasgian world, especially as prehistoric Knossos had a far more sophisticated attitude toward women than did, say, the later Periclean Athens. For instance, in the legend of Ariadne, the fact that her presence is indicated at the funeral games shows us that women were free to mingle with men at their will, and the version of the myth which shows Ariadne as in charge of the palace in her father’s absence shows the great value which the Cretans placed on women. This centrality of woman is indicated in all of Minoan art, which depicts her as beautifully-animated; in fact, one of the most elegant of the ebon-tressed, slim-waisted, and crimson-lipped women depicted on the frescoes on the Palace of Knossos, was nicknamed La Parisienne by a French visitor at the turn of the century! Klages is drawn more toward the "pacifist," thalassocratic (sea-ruling) aspect of the Minoans of the second millennium B.C., than toward the covetous Bronze Age Greeks of the mainland with their heavily-fortified cities and unending wars (the Bronze Age mainlanders seem to have loved war for its own sake; another troubling element in their civilization is their reliance on slavery, especially of women). These are the Mycenaeans, who would eventually sack, and destroy, the Minoan Culture. It is a notable fact that most of our evidence about the "Pelasgian" religious beliefs and practices stems from Minoan Crete: very little material survives from Mycenae and the other mainland sites. On Crete, however, we find the dove-goddess image and the snake-goddess image, the stepped altars and shrine models, in religious sanctuaries overflowing with such sacred items. Clearly, the Goddess ruled on Minoan Crete, and, in fact, the Goddess Potnia, whose name crops up repeatedly in the Linear B tablets, might indeed be the "Lady of the Labyrinth," which is to say, the Lady of the Place of the labrys, or the double ax—the Palace of Knossos itself. Another Knossos cult-figure was the anemo ijereja, of "Priestess of the Winds"; there is also qerasija, which could well mean "the Huntress." According to some historians, offerings to the Goddess were entirely bloodless, and were usually gifts of honey, oil, wine, and spices like coriander and fennel; sheep and their shepherds were associated with Potnia, but certainly not in the aspect of blood-sacrifices. On the mainland, however, we find the Mycenaeans slaughtering rams, horses, and other animals in their vaulted tombs. We also find the cult of the Goddess on the Cycladic islands (to which "Greek islands" American "millionaires" and other arch-vulgarians habitually cart their flatulent girths on "vacations"). The famous Cycladic figurines represent the Mother Goddess as well, under the aspects of "the divine nurse" or the "Goddess of Blessing." In these figurines the Goddess is almost invariably represented with the pubic delta and the stomach emphasized. I will have more to say about this religion of the "Mother Goddess" later on, in the section devoted to the ideas of Bachofen, but for now I’d like to note that in the early phase of Minoan religion, the relationship of ruler and deity was not that of father-and-son, but of mother-and-son. For Minoan Crete, the Mother Goddess was represented on earth by the priest-king. Some lovely manifestations of this reverence for the Goddess can be found in the faience statuettes of the bare-breasted Mother Goddess which were found by Sir Arthur Evans in the Palace of Knossos: one of them shows the Goddess holding up a serpent in each of her hands; the other statuette shows the snakes entwining themselves around her arms. These figures appear in both "peak sanctuaries" and in household shrines, and have been designated by pre-historians as the "Snake Goddess" or the "Household Goddess." The "Household Goddess" is often associated with the motif of the double-axe, the emblem of the Palace at Knossos, and also with the horns-of-consecration, which associate her with the sacred bull of the Palace of King Minos. 

One inhabitant of the Palace of King Minos was the princess Ariadne, to whom we alluded briefly above. After the loss of Theseus, the fate of Ariadne would be intimately intertwined with that of Dionysus, the problematical Greek divinity whose cult excited so much controversy and such fierce opposition among the Greeks of the Classical Age. Dionysus was the orgiastic god in whom Klages, following Nietzsche, locates the site of an untrammeled sensuous abandon. This Thraco-Grecian deity, whose nature was so brilliantly interpreted by Nietzsche in the latter half of the 19th century, and by his worthy successor Walter F. Otto in the first half of the 20th century, becomes in the Klagesian view the ultimate symbol of heathen life, the epiphany of that frenzied ecstasy that the god’s followers achieved by means of the drunkenness and wild dancing of the maenads, those female adherents of the god of the vine, who experienced genuine enthusiasm, i.e., "the god within,’ as they followed the progress of their far-wandering god, who gave to man the inestimable gift of wine. These maenads celebrated their secret Dionysian cultic rituals far from the accustomed haunts of man, and any man was slaughtered on the spot if he should be apprehended whilst illicitly witnessing the ceremonies reserved for the gods’ female followers. These maenads were alleged to be in the possession of magical powers that enabled the god’s worshipers to bring about magical effects at great distances. And "all Eros is Eros of distance!"

Philosophical Roots and Biological Consequences

Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele contains a comprehensive survey of the philosophical literature that relates to "biocentric" concerns, and in these pages Klages closely scrutinizes the troubled seas and fog-shrouded moorlands of philosophy, both ancient and modern, over which we, unfortunately, have only sufficient time to cast a superficial and fleeting glance. We will, however, spend a profitable moment or two on several issues that Klages examined in some detail, for various pivotal disputes that have preoccupied the minds of gifted thinkers from the pre-Socratics down to Nietzsche were also of pre-eminent significance for Klages. 

One of the pre-Socratic thinkers in particular, Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 536-470 B.C.E.), the "dark one," was looked upon by Ludwig Klages as the founding father of "biocentric," or life-centered, philosophy. Klages and Heraclitus share the conviction that life is ceaseless change, chaos, "eternal flux" [panta rhei]. Both thinkers held that it is not matter that endures through the ceaseless patterns of world-transformation: it is this ceaseless transformation itself that is the enduring process, which alone constitutes this ever-shifting vibrancy, this soaring and fading of appearances, this becoming and passing away of phenomenal images upon which Klages bestowed the name life. Likewise, Klages and Heraclitus were in complete accord in their conviction that natural events transpire in a succession of rhythmical pulsations. For both thinkers, nothing abides without change in the human world, and in the cosmos at large, everything flows and changes in the rhythmical and kaleidoscopic dance that is the cosmic process. We cannot say of a thing: "it is"; we can only say that a thing "comes to be" and that it "passes away." The only element, in fact, in the metaphysics of Heraclitus that will be repudiated by Klages is the great pre-Socratic master’s positing of a "Logos," or indwelling principle of order, and this slight disagreement is ultimately a trivial matter, for the Logos is an item which, in any case, plays a role so exiguous in the Heraclitean scheme as to render the notion, for all practical and theoretical purposes, nugatory as far as the basic thrust of the philosophy of the eternal flux.

Another great Greek philosopher, Protagoras of Abdera (c. 480-410 B.C.E.), is fulsomely acclaimed by Klages as the "father of European psychology and history’s pioneer epistemologist." When Protagoras asserted that the content of perception from moment to moment is the result of the fusion of an external event (the world) with an inner event (the experiencing soul), he was, in effect, introducing the Heraclitean flux into the sphere of the soul. No subsequent psychologist has achieved a greater theoretical triumph. The key text upon which Klages bases this endorsement is Sext. Emp., Pyrrh. I (217): "…matter is in flux, and as it flows additions are made continuously in the place of the effluxions, and the senses are transformed and altered according to the times of life and to all the other conditions of the bodies." (218) "Men apprehend different things at different times owing to their differing dispositions; for he who is in a natural state apprehends those things subsisting in matter which are able to appear to those in a natural state, and those who are in a non-natural state the things which can appear to those in a non-natural state." Thus, the entire sphere of psychical life is a matter of perception, which comprises the act of perception (in the soul) and the content of perception (in the object). This Protagorean insight forms the basis for the distinction between noumenon and phenomenon that will exert such a fructifying influence on Western thought, especially during the period of German Romanticism.

Greek thought has a significant bearing on crucial discoveries that were made by Klages. We have learned that there are two forces that are primordially opposed to each other, spirit and life; in addition, we have seen these forces cannot be reduced to each other, nor can they be reduced to any third term; body and soul constitute the poles of unified life, and it is the mission of spirit to invade that unity, to function as a divisive wedge in order to tear the soul from the body and the body from the soul. Thus, spirit begins its career as the disrupter of life; only at the end of history will it become the destroyer of life. We find a piquant irony in the oft-expressed view that accuses Klages of inventing this "spirit" out of whole cloth, for those who have sneered at his account of the provenance of spirit as a force that enters life from outside the sphere of life, dismissing the very idea from serious consideration by reducing the concept to a caricature ("Klagesian devil," "Klages with his spirit-as-‘space-invader’," and so on), offer quite an irresistible opening for a controversialist’s unbuttoned foil, because such statements reveal, at one and the same time, an ignorance of the history of philosophy in our professors and commentators that should curdle the blood of the most trusting students, as well as an almost incomprehensible inability, or unwillingness, to understand a scrupulously exact and closely-argued text. This intellectual disability possesses, one must confess, a certain undeniable pathos. As it happens, the question as to the provenance of spirit has always enjoyed a prominent position in the history of philosophical speculation (especially in the narrow field of epistemology, i.e., the "theory of cognition"), and the Klagesian viewpoint that has been so ignorantly and persistently excoriated is explicitly drawn from the philosophy of—Aristotle! It was Aristotle, "the master of those who know," who, in discussing the divided substance of man, discovered that he could only account for the origin of one of the components, viz., spirit [Gk. nous], by concluding that spirit had entered man "from outside"! Likewise, the idea of a "tripartite" structure of man, which seems so bizarre to novice students of biocentrism, has quite a respectable pedigree, for, once again, it was Aristotle who viewed man as having three aspects, viz., Psyche-Soma-Nous (Soul-Body-Spirit).

The speculations of the Greek philosophers who belonged to the Eleatic School provided the crucial insights that inspired Klages’s masterful formulation of the doctrine of the "actuality of the images." The specific problem that so exercised the Eleatics was the paradox of motion. The Eleatics insisted that motion was inconceivable, and they proceeded from that paradoxical belief to the conclusion that all change is impossible. One of the Eleatics, Zeno, is familiar to students of the history of philosophy as the designer of the renowned "Zeno’s Paradoxes," the most famous of which is the problem of Achilles and the Tortoise. Zeno provided four proofs against the possibility of motion: 1) a body must traverse in finite time an infinite number of spaces and, therefore, it can never ever begin its journey; 2) here we have Zeno’s application of his motion-theory to the "Achilles" problem that we’ve just mentioned—if Achilles grants a lead or "head start" (analogous to a "handicap") to the tortoise against whom he is competing in a foot-race, he will never be able to overtake the tortoise, because by the time Achilles has reached point A (the starting-point for the tortoise), his opponent has already reached point B. In fact, Achilles will never even reach point A, because before he can traverse the entire distance between his starting-point and point A, he must necessarily cover one-half of that distance, and then one-half of the remaining distance, and so on and so on ad infinitum, as it were! 3) the arrow that has just been launched by the archer is always resting, since it always occupies the same space; and 4) equivalent distances must, at equivalent velocity, be covered in the identical time. But a moving body will pass another body that is moving in the opposite direction (at the identical velocity) twice as quickly as when this body is resting, and this demonstrates that the observed facts contradict the laws of motion. Betraying a certain nervousness, historians of philosophy usually dismiss the Eleatics as superficial skeptics or confused souls, but they never condescend to provide a convincing refutation of their "obvious" or "superficial" errors.

Klages, on the other hand, finds both truth and error in the Eleatics’ position. From the standpoint of an analysis of things, the Eleatics’ are on firm ground in their insistence on the impossibility of change, but from the standpoint of an analysis of appearances, their position is utterly false. Their error arose from the fact that the Greeks of this period had already succumbed to the doctrine that the world of appearances is a world of deception, a reservoir of illusory images. This notion has governed almost every metaphysical system that has been devised by western philosophers down to our own time, and with every passing age, the emphasis upon the world of the things (Noumena) has increased at the expense of the world of appearances (Phenomena). Klages, on the other hand, will solve the "Problem of the Eleatics" by an emphatic demonstration that the phenomenal images are, in fact, the only realities. 

During the Renaissance, in fact, when ominous temblors were heralding the dawn of our "philosophy of the mechanistic apocalypse," there were independent scholars (among whom we find Giordano Bruno and Paracelsus) who speculated at length on the relationship that exists between the macrocosm and the microcosm, as well as on the three-fold nature of man and on the proto-characterological doctrine of the "Temperaments." 

But the key figure in the overturning of the triadic world-view is undoubtedly the French thinker and mathematician René Descartes (1596-1650), who is chiefly responsible for devising the influential schematic dualism of thinking substance and extended substance, which has dominated, in its various incarnations and permutations, the thinking of the vast majority of European thinkers ever since. Descartes explicitly insists that all of our perceptions as well as every "thing" that we encounter must be reduced to the status of a machine; in fact, he even suggests that the whole universe is merely a vast mechanism (terram totumque hunc mundum instar machinæ descripsi). It is no accident, then, that Cartesian thought is devoid of genuine psychology, for, as he says in the Discours de la méthode, man is a mere machine, and his every thought and every movement can be accounted for by means of a purely mechanical explanation. 

Nevertheless, there have been several revolts against Cartesian dualism. As recently as two centuries ago, the extraordinarily gifted group of "Nature Philosophers" who were active during the glory days of German Romanticism, pondered the question of the "three-fold" in publications that can be consulted with some profit even today. 

We have seen that the specifically Klagesian "triad" comprises body-soul-spirit, and the biocentric theory holds that life, which comprises the poles of body and soul, occurs as processes and events. Spirit is an intruder into the sphere of life, an invader seeking always to sever the poles, a dæmonic willfulness that is characterized by manic activity and purposeful deeds. "The body is the manifestation of the soul, and the soul is the meaning of the living body." We have seen that Klages was able to trace proleptic glimpses of this biocentric theory of the soul back to Greek antiquity, and he endeavored for many years to examine the residues of psychical life that survive in the language, poetry, and mythology of the ancient world, in order to interpret the true meanings of life as it had been expressed in the word, cult, and social life of the ancients. He brilliantly clarifies the symbolic language of myth, especially with reference to the cosmogonic Eros and the Orphic Mysteries. He also explores the sensual-imagistic thought of the ancients as the foundation upon which objective cognition is first erected, for it is among the Greeks, and only among the Greeks, that philosophy proper was discovered. During the peak years of the philosophical activity of the Greek thinkers, spirit still serves the interests of life, existing in an authentic relationship with an actuality that is sensuously and inwardly "en-souled" [beseelt]. The cosmological speculation of antiquity reveals a profound depth of feeling for the living cosmos, and likewise demonstrates the presence of the intimate bonds that connect man to the natural world; contemplation is still intimately bound-up with the primordial, elemental powers. Klages calls this "archaic" Greek view of the world, along with its later reincarnations in the history of western thought, the "biocentric" philosophy, and he situates this mode of contemplation as the enemy of the "logocentric" variety, i.e., the philosophy that is centered upon the Logos, or "mind," for mind is the manifestation of spirit as it enters western thought with the appearance of Socrates. From Plato himself, through his "neo-Platonic" disciples of the Hellenistic and Roman phases of antiquity, and down to the impoverished Socratic epigones among the shallow "rationalists" of 17th and 18th century Europe, all philosophers who attempt to restore or renew the project of a philosophical "enlightenment," are the heirs of Socrates, for it was Socrates who first made human reason the measure of all things. Socratic rationalism also gave rise to life-alien ethical schemes based upon a de-natured creature, viz., man-as-such. This pure spirit, this distilled ego, seeks to sever all natural and racial bonds, and as a result, "man" prides himself upon being utterly devoid of nobility, beauty, blood, and honor. In the course of time, he will attach his fortunes to the even more lethal spiritual plague known as Christianity, which hides its destructive force behind the hypocritical demand that we "love one’s neighbors." From 1789 onwards, a particularly noxious residue of this Christian injunction, the undifferentiating respect for the ghost known as "humanity," will be considered the hallmark of every moral being.

The heirs of the Socratic tradition have experienced numerous instances of factional strife and re-groupings in the course of time, although the allegiance to spirit has always remained unquestioned by all of the disputants. One faction may call itself "idealistic" because it considers concepts, ideas, and categories to be the only true realities; another faction may call itself "materialistic" because it views "things" as the ultimate constituents of reality; nevertheless, both philosophical factions give their allegiance, nolentes volentes, to the spirit and its demands. Logocentric thought, in fact, is the engine driving the development of the applied science that now rules the world. And by their gifts shall ye know them!

The bitterly antagonistic attitude of Klages towards one of the most illustrious heirs of Socrates, viz., Immanuel Kant, has disturbed many students of German thought who see something perverse and disingenuous in this opposition to the man whom they regard uncritically as the unsurpassed master of German thought. Alfred Rosenberg and the other offical spokesmen of the National Socialist movement were especially enraged by the ceaseless attacks on Kant by Klages and his disciple Werner Deubel. Nevertheless, Kant’s pre-eminence as an epistemologist was disputed as long ago as 1811, when Gottlob Ernst Schulze published his "Critique of Theoretical Philosophy," which was then, and remains today, the definitive savaging of Kant’s system. Klages endorses Schulze’s demonstration that Kant’s equation: actuality = being = concept = thing = appearance (or phenomenon) is utterly false, and is the main source of Kant’s inability to distinguish between perception and representation. Klages adds that he finds it astonishing that Kant should have been able to convince himself that he had found the ultimate ground of the faculty of cognition in—cognition! Klages cites with approval Nietzsche’s "Beyond Good and Evil," in which Kant is ridiculed for attempting to ground his epistemology in the "faculty of a faculty"! Klages shows that the foundation of the faculty of cognition lies not in cognition itself, but in experience, and that the actuality of space and time cannot have its origins in conceptual thought, but solely in the vital event. There can be no experienced colors or sounds without concomitant spatio-temporal characteristics, for there can be no divorce between actual space and actual time. We can have no experience of actual space without sensory input, just as we have no access to actual time without thereby participating in the ceaseless transformation of the phenomenal images. 

Formalistic science and its offspring, advanced technology, can gain access to only a small segment of the living world and its processes. Only the symbol has the power to penetrate all the levels of actuality, and of paramount importance to Klages in his elaborate expositions of the biocentric metaphysics is the distinction between conceptual and symbolic thought. We have previously drawn attention to the fact that drive-impulses are manifest in expressive movements that are, in turn, impelled by the influence of a non-conceptual power that Klages calls the symbol. Likewise, symbolic thinking is a tool that may profitably be utilized in the search for truth, and Klages contrasts symbolic contemplation with the logical, or "formalistic," cognition, but he is at pains to draw our attention to the errors into which an unwarranted, one-sided allegiance to either type of thought can plunge us. Although Klages has been repeatedly and bitterly accused by Marxists and other "progressives" as being a vitriolic enemy of reason, whose "irrationalism" provided the "fascists" with their heaviest ideological artillery, nothing could be further from the truth. On occasions too numerous to inventory, he ridicules people like Bergson and Keyserling who believe that "intuition" lights the royal road to truth. His demolition of the Bergsonian notion of the élan vital is definitive and shattering, and his insistence that such an entity is a mere pseudo-explanation is irrefutable and might have been published in a British philosophical journal. In the end, Klages says, "irrationalism" is the spawn of—spirit

Our ability to formulate and utilize concepts as well as our capacity to recognize conceptual identities is sharply opposed to the procedure involved in the symbolic recognition of identities. The recognition of such conceptual identities has, of course, a crucial bearing on the life of the mind, since it is this very ability that functions as the most important methodological tool employed by every researcher involved in the hard sciences. Symbolic identification, on the other hand, differs widely from its conceptual counterpart in that the symbolic type derives its meaning-content from the "elemental similarity of images." Thus, the process of substantive, or conceptual, identification confronts its opposite number in the "identity of essence" of symbolic thought. It is this "identity of essence," as it happens, which has given birth to language and its capacity to embody authentic meaning-content in words. Jean Paul was quite right, Klages tells us, in describing language as a "dictionary of faded metaphors," for every abstraction that is capable of verbal representation arose from the essentiality of the meaning-content of words.

He draws a sharp distinction between the true symbol (Gk. symbolon, i.e., token) and the mere sign whose significance is purely referential. The true meaning of an object resides in its presence, which Klages refers to as an aura, and this aura is directly communicated to a sensory apparatus that resists all purely linguistic attempts to establish formulas of equivalence or "correspondence." The sensual imagination participates in an unmediated actuality, and intuitive insight (Schauung) allows us to gain access to a realm of symbols, which rush into our souls as divine epiphanies. 

Life resists rules, for life is eternal flux. Life is not rigid being, and therefore life will always evade the man-traps of mind, the chains of the concept. Life, comprising the poles of body and soul, is the physical event as phenomenal expression of the soul. There can be no soul-less phenomena and there can be no souls without (phenomenal) appearances, just as there can be no word-less concepts and no words without meaning-content. The physical world is the image-laden appearance (phenomenon) that manifests a psychical substance. When the dæmonic object encounters the receptive, or "pathic," soul, the object becomes a symbol and acquires a "nimbus," which is a pulsating radiance surrounding the moment of becoming. This nimbus is referred to as an "aura" when applied to persons, and both nimbus and aura represent the contribution of the object to the act of perception. 

Non-symbolic, formalistic thought, on the other hand is irreverent, non- contemplative, and can best be characterized as an act that is enacted in the service of spirit, which imperiously and reductively ordains that the act of perception must also be an act of the will. Thus the will attains primacy even over the de-substantialized intellect, and Klages—who has persistently been dismissed as an obscurantist and irrationalist—never misses an opportunity to re-iterate his deep conviction that the essence of spirit is to be located in the will and not in the intellect.

As we’ve seen, Klages holds that the living soul is the antithesis of the spirit. The spirit seeks to rigidify the eternal flux of becoming, just as the soul, in yielding passively to the eternal flux, resists the raging Heracleic spirit and its murderous projects. Body and soul reach the peak of creative vitality when their poles are in equipoise or perfect balance, and the high point of life is reached in the experience of sensuous joy. Spirit’s assault upon the body is launched against this joy, and in waging war against the joy of the body, spirit also wages war against the soul, in order to expel the soul, to make it homeless, in order to annihilate all ecstasy and creativity. Every attempt that has been made by monistic thinkers to derive the assault on life from the sphere of life itself has misfired. Such troublesome anomalies as the supernatural visions and cases of dæmonic possession that transpired during the Middle Ages, as well the crippling cases of hysteria so familiar to psychologists in our own time, can never be satisfactorily explained unless we realize that the souls of these unfortunates were sundered by the acosmic force of spirit, whose very essence is the will, that enemy and murderer of life. The conceptual "Tower of Babylon" reared by monists in their ludicrous efforts to derive the force that wages war against life from life itself is no less absurd than would be the foredoomed attempt of a firefighter to extinguish a blaze by converting a portion of the fire into the water that will extinguish the fire!

There is, however, one privileged example of a manifestation of the will in the service of life, and this occurs when the will is enlisted for the purposes of artistic creation. The will, Klages insists, is incapable of creative force, but when the artist’s intuition has received an image of a god, the will functions "affirmatively" in the destructive assaults of the artist’s chisel upon the marble that is to embody the image of the divinity.

Actuality (the home of the soul) is experienced; being (the home of spirit) is thought. The soul is a passive surrender to the actuality of the appearances. Actuality is an ever-changing process of coming to be and passing away that is experienced as images. Spirit attempts to fix, to make rigid, the web of images that constitutes actuality by means of conceptual thought, whose concrete form is the apparatus of the scientist. Cognition represents identical, unfaltering, timeless being; life is the actuality of experience in time. When one says of time that it "is," as if it were something rigid and identical behind the eternal flux, then time is implicitly stripped of its very essence as that which is "temporal"; it is this temporal essence which is synonymous with becoming and transformation. When one speaks of a thing or a realm that is beyond, i.e., that "transcends," the unmediated, experienced actuality of the living world, one is merely misusing thought in order to introduce a conceptual, existential world in the place of the actual one, which has the inalienable character of transitoriness and temporality.

It is within the "pathic" soul that the categories of space and time originate. Acosmic spirit, on the other hand, invaded the sphere of life from outside the spatio-temporal cosmos. Klages scorns the schemes of philosophical "idealists" who attempt to ground the structures of space and time in some transcendental world. He also distinguishes a biocentric non-rational temporality from "objective" time. Biocentric thought, true to its immanentist ("this-worldly") status, recognizes that the images that pulsate in immanentist time are excluded by their very nature from any participation in objective time, for the images can only live within the instantaneous illumination of privileged moments. Klages savages the platitudes and errors of logocentric thinkers who adhere, with almost manic rigidity, to the conventional scheme of dual-axis temporality. In ordinary logic, time is viewed as radiating from the present (that extension-less hypostasis) backward into time-past and forward into time-to-come: but the whole scheme collapses in a heap as soon as we realize that the future, the "time-to-come," is nothing but a delirious void, a grotesque phantom, a piece of philosophical fiction. Only the past possesses true actuality; only the past is real. The future is merely a pale hallucination flitting about in deluded minds. True time is the relationship that binds the poles of past and present. This union occurs as a rhythmical pulsation that bears the moment’s content into the past, as a new moment is generated, as it were, out of the womb of eternity, that authentic depository of actual time. Time is an unending cycle of metamorphoses utterly unrelated to the processes of "objective" time. True time, cyclical time, is clocked by the moments that intervene between a segment of elapsed time and the time that is undergoing the process of elapsing. Time is the soul of space, just as space is the embodiment of time. Only within actual time can we apprehend the primordial images in their sensuous immediacy. Logic, on the other hand, can only falsify the exchange between living image and receptive soul. 

Let us examine the biological—or, more properly, ethological—implications of the doctrine of "primordial images" [Urbilder]. Bear in mind, of course, the crucial distinction that is drawn by Klages between the science of fact (Tatsachenwissenschaft) and the science of appearances (Erscheinungswissenschaft): factual science establishes laws of causality in order to explain, e.g., physiological processes or the laws of gravitation; thus, we say that factual science examines the causes of things. The science of appearances, on the other hand, investigates the actuality of the images, for images are the only enduring realities. 

The enduring nature of the image can be seen in the example of the generation of a beech-tree. Suppose a beech-tree sheds its seed upon the forest floor, in which it germinates. Can we say of the mother-tree that it lives within the child? Certainly not! We can chop down the mother tree and burn it to ashes, whilst the offspring continues to prosper. Can we say that the matter of which the old tree was composed survives intact within the younger tree? Again, no: for not an atom of the matter that made up the seed from which the young beech grew exists within it. Likewise, not an atom of the matter of which a man’s body is composed at the age of thirty survives from that same man’s body as it was on his tenth birthday. Now, if it is not the matter of which the organism is composed which endures through the ages, what then is it that so endures? "The one possible answer is: an image." Life and its processes occur outside the world of things. On the contrary: life comprises the events in the world of the images.

Thus, we see that the doctrine of the "actuality of the images" [Wirklichkeit der Bilder] holds that it is not things, but images, that are "en-souled" [beseelt], and this proposition, Klages tells us, forms the "key to his whole doctrine of life [Lebenslehre]." Things stand in a closed chain of causality, and there is no reciprocal action between the image and the thing, no parallelism, and no connection, and the attempts that have been undertaken by various philosophers to equate the thing and the image merely serve to rupture the chain of causality in its relevant sphere, i.e., the quantitative scientific method. The receptive soul is turned towards the actuality of the image, and when we say on one occasion that an object is "red," and on another that this same object is "warm," in the first case the reference is to the reality of things, whereas in the second case the reference is to the actuality of images. By using the name of a color, we indicate that we are differentiating between the superficial qualities, or surface attributes, of things; when we say that a colored object is "warm" or "cold," on the other hand, we are pointing to the phenomenal "presence" that has been received by the pathic soul. In fact, there are a whole host of common expressions in which this attribution of subjective, psychical states to visible phenomena occurs. We say, for instance, that red is "hot" and that blue is "cold." In the Vom Wesen des Bewusstseins (1921), a treatise on the nature of consciousness, Klages adduces an astonishingly vast inventory of words that are routinely utilized in descriptions of subjective as well as perceptual phenomena. Someone will speak of his a "bitter" feeling of resentment at some slight or injury. The expression that love is "sweet" occurs in almost every language. Likewise, joy is often described as "bright," just as grief or sorrow are often referred to as "dark." We also have "hot" anger (or the familiar variant, the "‘heat’ of the moment").

Images are the charged powers, or natures, that constitute the basis of all phenomena of cosmic and elemental life as well as of cellular, organic life. All that exists participates in the life of the images. Air, fire, earth, and water; rocks, clouds, planets and suns; plant, animal and man: all of these entities are alive and have souls that share in the life of the cosmos. It isn’t matter that constitutes the stuff of reality, for matter perishes; but the image, which remains alive as it wanders through the rhythmically pulsating cosmos, never dies. It changes through the processes of maturation and growth in the organism, and it transforms itself through the millennia in the species. The images alone have life; the images alone have meaning. The souls of those who now live are images that are temporarily wedded to matter, just as the souls of the dead are images that have been released from matter. The souls of the dead revisit us in their actual form in dreams (Wirklichkeitsform der Traumerscheinung), unconstrained by the limitations of material substance. The souls of the dead are not expelled from the world to live on as immortal "spirits" housed in some transcendent "beyond"; they are, instead, dæmonically vital presences, images that come to be, transform themselves, and vanish into the distance within the phenomenal world that is the only truly existing world.

The human soul recalls the material palpability of the archaic images by means of the faculty that Klages calls "recollection," and his view in this regard invites comparison with the Platonic process of "anamnesis." The recollection of which Klages speaks takes place, of course, without the intervention of the will or the projects of the conscious mind. Klages’s examination of "vital recollection" was greatly influenced by the thought of Wilhelm Jordan, a nineteenth century poet and pioneer Darwinist, whose works were first encountered by the young philosopher at the end of that century. In Jordan’s massive didactic poem Andachten, which was published in 1877, the poet espouses a doctrine of the "memory of corporeal matter." This work had such a fructifying influence on the thought of Klages, that we here give some excerpts: 
 

"It is recollection of her own cradle, when the red stinging fly glues grains of sand into a pointed arch as soon as she feels that her eggs have ripened to maturity. It is recollection of her own food during the maggot-state when the anxious mother straddles the caterpillar and drags it for long distances, lays her eggs in it, and locks it in that prison. The larva of the male stag-beetle feels and knows by recollection the length of his antlers, and in the old oak carves out in doubled dimensions the space in which he will undergo metamorphosis. What teaches the father of the air to weave the exact angles of her net by delicate law, and to suspend it from branch to branch with strings, as firm as they are light, according to her seat? Does she instruct her young in this art? No! She takes her motherly duties more lightly. The young are expelled uncared-for from the sac in which the eggs have been laid. But three or four days later the young spider spreads its little nest with equal skill on the fronds of a fern, although it never saw the net in which its mother caught flies. The caterpillar has no eye with which to see how others knit the silken coffins from which they shall rise again. From whence have they acquired all the skill with which they spin so? Wholly from inherited recollection. In man, what he learned during his life puts into the shade the harvest of his ancestors’ labors: this alone blinds him, stupefied by a learner’s pride, to his own wealth of inherited recollections. The recollection of that which has been done a thousand times before by all of his ancestors teaches a new-born child to suck aptly, though still blind. Recollection it is which allows man in his mother’s womb to fly, within the course of a few months, through all the phases of existence through which his ancestors rose long ago. Inherited recollection, and no brute compulsion, leads the habitual path to the goal that has many times been attained; it makes profoundest secrets plain and open, and worthy of admiration what was merely a miracle. Nature makes no free gifts. Her commandment is to gain strength to struggle, and the conqueror’s right is to pass this strength on to his descendants: her means by which the skill is handed down is the memory of corporeal matter."


The primordial images embody the memory of actual objects, which may re-emerge at any moment from the pole of the past to rise up in a rush of immediacy at the pole of the present. This living world of image-laden actuality is the "eternal flux" [panta rhei] of Heraclitus, and its cyclical transformations relate the present moment to the moments that have elapsed, and which will come around again, per sæcula sæculorum.

Thus we see that the cosmos communicates through the magical powers of the symbol, and when we incorporate symbolic imagery into our inmost being, a state of ecstasy supervenes, and the soul’s substance is magically revitalized (as we have already seen, genuine ecstasy reaches its peak when the poet’s "polar touch of a pathic soul" communicates his images in words that bear the meaning of the actual world within them).

When prehistoric man arrives on the stage, he is already experiencing the incipient stages of the fatal shift from sensation to contemplation. Spirit initiates the campaign of destruction: the receptor-activity is fractured into "impression" and "apperception," and it is at this very point that we witness, retrospectively, as it were, the creation of historical man. Before the dawn of historical man, in addition to the motor-processes that man possessed in common with the animal, his soul was turned towards wish-images. With the shift of the poles, i.e., when the sensory "receptor" processes yield power to the motor "effector" processes, we witness the hypertrophic development of the human ego. Klages is scornful of all egoism, and he repeatedly expressed bitter scorn towards all forms of "humanism," for he regards the humanist’s apotheosis of the precious "individual" as a debased kowtowing before a mere conceptual abstraction. The ego is not a man; it is merely a mask.) In the place of psychical wishes, we now have aims. In the ultimate stages of historical development man is exclusively devoted to the achievement of pre-conceived goals, and the vital impulses and wish-images are replaced by the driving forces, or interests. 

Man is now almost completely a creature of the will, and we recall that it is the will, and not the intellect, that is the characteristic function of spirit in the Klagesian system. However, we must emphasize that the will is not a creative, originating force. Its sole task is to act upon the bearer of spirit, if we may employ an analogy, in the manner of a rudder that purposively steers a craft in the direction desired by the navigator. In order to perform this regulative function, i.e., in order to transform a vital impulse into purposeful activity, the drive impulse must be inhibited and then directed towards the goal in view. 

Now spirit in man is dependent upon the sphere of life as long as it collaborates as an equal partner in the act of perception; but when the will achieves mastery in man, this is merely another expression for the triumph of spirit over the sphere of life. In the fatal shift from life to spirit, contemplative, unconscious feeling is diminished, and rational judgment and the projects of the regulative volition take command. The body’s ultimate divorce from the soul corresponds to the soullessness of modern man whose emotional life has diminished in creative power, just as the gigantic political state-systems have seized total control of the destiny of earth. Spirit is hostile to the demands of life. When consciousness, intellect, and the will to power achieve hegemony over the dæmonic forces of the cosmos, all psychical creativity and all vital expression must perish.

When man is exiled from the realm of passive contemplation, his world is transformed into the empire of will and its projects. Man now abandons the feminine unconscious mode of living and adheres to the masculine conscious mode, just as his affective life turns from bionomic rhythm to rationalized measure, from freedom to servitude, and from an ecstatic life in dreams to the harsh and pitiless glare of daylight wakefulness. No longer will he permit his soul to be absorbed into the elements, where the ego is dissolved and the soul merges itself with immensity in a world wherein the winds of the infinite cosmos rage and roar. He can no longer participate in that Selbsttödung, or self-dissolution, which Novalis once spoke of as the "truly philosophical act and the real beginning of all philosophy." Life, which had been soul and sleep, metamorphoses into the sick world of the fully conscious mind. To borrow another phrase from Novalis (who was one of Klages’s acknowledged masters), man now becomes "a disciple of the Philistine-religion that functions merely as an opiate." (That lapidary phrase, by the way, was crafted long before the birth of the "philosopher" Karl Marx, that minor player on the left-wing of the "Young Hegelians" of the 1840s; many reactionaries in our university philosophy departments still seem to be permanently bogged down in that stagnant morass—yet these old fogies of the spirit insist on accusing Fascists of being the political reactionaries!)

Man finally yields himself utterly to the blandishments of spirit in becoming a fully conscious being. Klages draws attention to the fact that there are in popular parlance two divergent conceptions of the nature of consciousness: the first refers to the inner experience itself; whilst the second refers to the observation of the experience. Klages only concerns himself with consciousness in the second sense of the word. Experiences are by their very nature unconscious and non-purposive. Spiritual activity takes place in a non-temporal moment, as does the act of conscious thought, which is an act of spirit. Experience must never be mistaken for the cognitive awareness of an experience, for as we have said, consciousness is not experience itself, but merely thought about experience. The "receptor" pole of experience is sharply opposed to the "effector" pole, in that the receptive soul receives sensory perceptions: the sense of touch receives the perception of "bodiliness"; the sense of sight receives the images, which are to be understood as pictures that are assimilated to the inner life. Sensation mediates the experience of (physical) closeness, whilst intuition receives the experience of distance. Sensation and intuition comprehend the images of the world. The senses of touch and vision collaborate in sensual experience. One or the other sense may predominate, i.e., an individual’s sense of sight may have a larger share than that of touch in one’s reception of the images (or vice versa), and one receptive process may be in the ascendant at certain times, whilst the other may come to the fore at other times. (In dreams the bodily component of the vital processes, i.e., sensation, sleeps, whilst the intuitive side remains wholly functional. These facts clearly indicate the incorporeality of dream-images as well as the nature of their actuality. Wakefulness is the condition of sensual processes, whilst the dream state is one of pure intuition.)

Pace William James, consciousness and its processes have nothing to do with any putative "stream of consciousness." That viewpoint ignores the fact that the processes that transpire in the conscious mind occur solely as interruptions of vital processes. The activities of consciousness can best be comprehended as momentary, abrupt assaults that are deeply disturbing in their effects on the vital substrata of the body-soul unity.These assaults of consciousness transpire as discrete, rhythmically pulsating "intermittencies" (the destructive nature of spirit’s operations can be readily demonstrated; recall, if you will, how conscious volition can interfere with various bodily states: an intensification of attention may, for instance, induce disturbances in the heart and the circulatory system; painful or onerous thought can easily disrupt the rhythm of one’s breathing; in fact, any number of automatic and semi-automatic somatic functions are vulnerable to spirit’s operations, but the most serious disturbances can be seen to take place, perhaps, when the activity of the will cancels out an ordinary, and necessary, human appetite in the interests of the will. Such "purposes" of the will are invariably hostile to the organism and, in the most extreme cases, an over-attention to the dictates of spirit can indeed eventuate in tragic fatalities such as occur in terminal sufferers from anorexia nervosa).

Whereas the unmolested soul could at one time "live" herself into the elements and images, experiencing their plenitudinous wealth of content in the simultaneous impressions that constitute the immediacy of the image, insurgent spirit now disrupts that immediacy by disabling the soul’s capacity to incorporate the images. In place of that ardent and erotic surrender to the living cosmos that is now lost to the soul, spirit places a satanic empire of willfulness and purposeful striving, a world of those who regard the world’s substance as nothing more than raw material to be devoured and destroyed. 

The image cannot be spoken, it must be lived. This is in sharp contradistinction to the status of the thing, which is, in fact, "speakable," as a result of its having been processed by the ministrations of spirit. All of our senses collaborate in the communication of the living images to the soul, and there are specific somatic sites, such as the eyes, mouth, and genitalia, that function as the gates, the "sacred" portals, as it were, through which the vital content of the images is transmitted to the inner life (these somatic sites, especially the genitalia, figure prominently in the cultic rituals that have been enacted by pagan worshipers in every historical period known to us). 

An Age of Chaos

In the biocentric phenomenology of Ludwig Klages, the triadic historical development of human consciousness, from the reign of life, through that of thought, to the ultimate empire of the raging will, is reflected in the mythic-symbolic physiognomy which finds expression in the three-stage, "triadic," evolution from "Pelasgian" man—of the upper Neolithic and Bronze Ages of pre-history; through the Promethean—down to the Renaissance; to the Heracleic man—the terminal phase that we now occupy, the age to which two brilliant 20th century philosophers of history, Julius Evola and Savitri Devi, have given the name "Kali Yuga," which in Hinduism is the dark age of chaos and violence that precedes the inauguration of a new "Golden Age," when a fresh cycle of cosmic events dawns in bliss and beauty. 

And it is at this perilous juncture that courageous souls must stiffen their sinews and summon up their blood in order to endure the doom that is closing before us like a mailed fist. Readers may find some consolation, however, in our philosopher’s expressions of agnosticism regarding the ultimate destiny of man and earth. Those who confidently predict the end of all life and the ultimate doom of the cosmos are mere swindlers, Klages assures us. Those who cannot successfully predict such mundane trivialities as next season’s fashions in hemlines or the trends in popular music five years down the road can hardly expect to be taken seriously as prophets who can foretell the ultimate fate of the entire universe! 

In the end, Ludwig Klages insists that we must never underestimate the resilience of life, for we have no yardstick with which to measure the magnitude of life’s recuperative powers. "All things are in flux." That is all. 
 
 


*   *   *



 
 
 

A NOTE ON AUSTRIAN, OR "CLASSICAL," THEORY AS BIOCENTRIC ECONOMICS


ALTHOUGH Ludwig Klages was one of the most rigorous libertarian thinkers in the history of the West, he can scarcely be said to have developed anything like a full-fledged economic theory of a biocentric cast. Nevertheless, his marked and life-long hostility to state-worship of any kind, when conjoined with his withering attitude towards all attempts to interpret living processes by means of formalistic mathematics, are completely consistent with the doctrines of the Austrian Classical School, which was founded at the end of the 19th Century by Carl Menger and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. The Austrian School subsequently flourished in America under the Austrian-born Ludwig von Mises and his most brilliant disciple, New York’s own Murray Rothbard, who, in addition to writing the dazzling formal treatise on economic theory entitled "Man, Economy, and State," was a brilliant essayist and gifted teacher.

The lecture entitled "Profit and Loss," which von Mises delivered to the Mont Pelerin Society in September, 1951, seems to proclaim the quintessentially biocentric version of economic theory: 
 

"The average man lacks the imagination to realize that the conditions of life and action are in a continual flux. As he sees it, there is no change in the external objects that constitute his well-being. His world-view is static and stationary. It mirrors a stagnating environment. He knows neither that the past differed from the present nor that there prevails uncertainty about future things...

"The imaginary construction of an evenly rotating economy is an indispensable tool of economic thinking. In order to conceive the function of profit and loss, the economist constructs the image of a hypothetical, although unrealizable, state of affairs in which nothing changes, in which tomorrow does not differ at all from today and in which no maladjustments can arise…The wheel turns spontaneously as it were. But the real world in which men live and have to work can never duplicate the hypothetical world of this mental makeshift.

"Now one of the main shortcomings of the mathematical economists is that they deal with this evenly rotating economy—they call it the static state—as if it were something really existing. Prepossessed by the fallacy that economics is to be treated with mathematical methods, they concentrate their efforts upon the anlysis of static states which, of course, allow a description in sets of simultaneous differential equations. But this mathematical treatment virtually avoids any reference to the real problems of economics. It indulges in quite useless mathematical play without adding anything to the comprehension of the problems of human acting and producing. It creates the misunderstanding as if the analysis of static states were the main concern of economics. It confuses a merely ancillary tool of thinking with reality."

 

dimanche, 08 février 2009

Karl Friedrich Kielmeyer (1765-1844)

 

mitten-in-der-natur.jpg

 

 

SYNERGIES EUROPÉENNES -DÉCEMBRE 1992

 

 

Robert STEUCKERS/

Karl Friedrich Kielmeyer  (1765-1844)

 

 

Le naturaliste Karl Friedrich Kielmeyer, né le 22 octobre 1765 à Bebenhausen près de Tübingen, s'inscrit aux facultés de médecine et de sciences naturelles de la célèbre Karlsschule de Stuttgart. Dès l'âge de 19 ans, il y enseigne; parmi ses élèves: Georges Cuvier, originaire de Montbéliard alors possession wurtembergeoise, dont il devient l'ami. Il entame ensuite une longue et brillante carrière universitaire dans les domaines de la zoologie, de la botanique, de la chimie   —sa matière favorite—   de la pharmacie et de la médecine (notamment d'anatomie comparée). Kielmeyer a écrit peu de livres mais développé plusieurs concepts nouveaux, qui ont préparé la voie aux théories de l'évolution, notamment celles de Cuvier, avec qui Kielmeyer entretiendra une correspondance suivie jusqu'à sa mort. Kielmeyer fut le premier à poser une comparaison globale entre tous les animaux selon leur composition organique et leurs diverses fonctions. Son idée motrice était la suivante: les animaux de la Terre, aussi différents soient-ils les uns des autres, participent tous d'un type constitutif commun, sont tous, sans exception, des reflets modifiés d'un même modèle constitutif primordial. L'ensemble du monde animal consiste en une série de constitutions biologiques analogues, lesquelles sont la plupart du temps des involutions par rapport au modèle primordial, en sont des simplifications. Mais cette série de types récapitule simultanément tous les stades évolutifs que traverse chaque individualité animale. En constatant ce fait, Kielmeyer découvre la "loi biogénétique" et donne un coup d'envoi à la zoologie moderne. Kielmeyer refusa souvent de faire imprimer ses cours et ses manuscrits: ce qui explique sa modeste célébrité posthume, malgré l'éloge qu'il reçut d'un Schelling. Kielmeyer meurt le 24 septembre 1844.

 

 

Sur le rapport des forces organiques entre elles (Über die Verhältnisse der organischen Kräfte untereinander) 1793

 

 

Considéré comme un ouvrage fondamental par Cuvier et par le philosophe et germaniste français contemporain Georges Gusdorf (dont nous reprenons ici l'analyse), cet opuscule d'une vingtaine de pages esquisse une biologie générale. Kielmeyer tente d'expliquer l'ensemble des phénomènes vivants à l'aide de quelques lois simples. Cette volonté didactique n'empêche pas Kielmeyer de percevoir une interaction générale entre tous ces phénomènes du vivant et de discerner leur comportement comme un jeu de forces perpétuellement changeant et se combinant en proportions variables. Dans ce jeu de force, nous trouvons l'irritabilité, la sensibilité, la reproduction, la faculté sécrétoire et la force de propulsion. Chaque espèce animale ou végétale reflète un agencement différent des composantes de ce jeu de forces, ce qui fait sa différence. En analysant la nature de cette façon, Kielmeyer abandonne les visions rigides et figées de la physis, où tous phénomènes seraient directement interprétables et saisissables. Les jeux combinatoires interdisent de penser la fixité du monde et de déclarer ce dernier définitivement appréhendé. Mais pour expliquer cette dimension incommensurable de la nature, Kielmeyer n'a pas recours à la Providence ou au divin  —ce qui pour lui serait un asile d'ignorance—  mais parle d'"une économie interne soumise à des régulations accessibles à l'intelligence humaine" (Gusdorf, op. cit., infra). Kielmeyer contribue ainsi à donner une assiette scientifique à la Naturphilosophie, en mettant en exergue les composantes physico-chimiques à l'origine des processus vitaux. Tous ces facteurs lui apparaissent fédérés, nous explique Gusdorf, "par une force originaire irréductible, comparable à la lumière, elle-même associée à la vie".

 

(Robert Steuckers).

 

- Bibliographie:

Über den chemischen Gehalt einiger Mineralquellen,  1786 (dissertation pour l'obtention du titre de docteur en médecine); Entwurf der vergleichenden Zoologie  (recueil de discours tenus entre 1790 et 1793, non paru sous forme imprimée par la volonté de Kielmeyer lui-même); Über die Verhältnisse der organischen Kräfte untereinander, 1793 (discours prononcé à Stuttgart à l'occasion d'un anniversaire du Duc Karl); Über die Richtung der Pflanzenwurzeln nach unten und der Stämme nach oben, 1834 (discours); "Bericht über Versuche mit animalischer Electricität", in Journal der Physik,   édité par Gren, 1794, vol. VIII (texte publié sans l'autorisation de l'auteur).

- Sur Kielmeyer: Georges Cuvier, Leçons d'anatomie comparée, 1800-1805 (hommage à Kielmeyer dans l'introduction); Alexander von Humboldt, Beobachtungen aus der Zoologie und vergleichenden Anatomie, 1806 (ouvrage dédié à Kielmeyer); Lettre de Ritter à Baader du 16 novembre 1807, reprise in Baader, Sämtliche Werke, Bd. XV, Leipzig, 1857, p. 216 (en français, cf. Gusdorf, op. cit., infra); Dr. Georg Jäger, "Ehrengedächtniß des würtembergischen Staatsraths von Kielmeyer", in Verhandlungen der Leopoldinisch-Carolinischen Akademie der Naturforscher,  Bd. XXI, 1, Breslau & Bonn, 1845; Schwäbischen Merkur,  2 octobre 1844, article nécrologique; Klüpfel, "Karl Friedrich Kielmeyer", in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, Bd. 15, Leipzig, 1882; F.H. Holler, art. in Schwäb. Lb. I,  1940, pp. 313-323; Th. Ballauf, Die Wissenschaft vom Leben,  Freiburg-München, 1954, p. 353;  R. Ayrault, La genèse du romantisme allemand,  t. I, Aubier, Paris, 1961, p. 299 et sqq.;  Georges Gusdorf, Le savoir romantique de la nature,  Payot, Paris, 1985, pp. 169-172.

- MOTS CLEF: évolution, biogénétique, théories de la descendance.

- PHILOSOPHES: Cuvier, Schelling.  

 

     

 

mercredi, 24 décembre 2008

Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802)

 

 

erasmusdarwin.jpg

 

Archives de SYNERGIES EUROPÉENNES - DÉCEMBRE 1992

 

Robert STEUCKERS:

DARWIN, Erasmus  (1731-1802)

Né à Elston Hall le 12 décembre 1731, Erasmus Darwin fréquente d'abord l'école de Chesterfield avant d'entrer en 1750 au St. John's College de Cambridge, où il obtint le grade de Bachelor of Art.  En 1754, il part à Edimbourg pour y étudier la médecine. En 1756, il est médecin, d'abord à Nottingham puis à Lichfield et à Radbourne Hall, après son second mariage. Médecin dévoué, Erasmus Darwin se rend célèbre en préchant contre les excès d'alcool. Poète fougueux, sceptique en matières religieuses, matérialiste dans l'esprit du XVIIIième siècle, correspondant de Rousseau, Erasmus Darwin est un précurseur du lamarckisme et de l'évolutionnisme de son petit-fils Charles Darwin. Bon observateur des phénomènes naturels, Erasmus Darwin n'a cependant pas pu transformer ses observations empiriques en théories, comme le fit en 1859 son très célèbre petit-fils. Son ouvrage majeur en quatre volumes, la Zoonomie,  est un monument de la médecine théorique de son époque, qui a indubitablement préparé la voie vers la biologie moderne. Erasmus Darwin meurt le 18 avril 1802 à la suite d'un malaise cardiaque. Ses travaux s'inscrivent dans un contexte familial très précis: son frère aîné, Robert Waring Darwin, écrivit un ouvrage intitulé Principia Botanica,  où l'on découvre déjà des notes très particulières sur les phénomènes biologiques. L'aîné de ses trois fils, issus de son premier mariage, étudie la médecine mais meurt accidentellement d'un malencontreux coup de bistouri lors d'une dissection. Le troisième fils de son premier mariage est le second Robert Waring Darwin, père de Charles Robert, initiateur de l'évolutionnisme. La fille aînée de son second mariage, Violetta Darwin, épouse S. Tertius Galton et sera la mère de Francis Galton, théoricien de l'eugénisme.

Zoonomia, or, the Laws of Organic Life  (Zoonomie, ou lois de la vie organique),  1794-1796

L'intention de l'auteur nous est d'emblée révélée par son traducteur, le médecin gantois Joseph-François Kluyskens: "Faire connaître les loix qui gouvernent tous les corps organisés; partir de ces mêmes loix, dans les corps les plus simples, pour remonter jusqu'à celles qui régissent l'homme, l'être le plus parfait; réduire toutes ces loix qui ont rapport à la vie organique en classes, ordres, genres et espèces, et les faire servir enfin à l'explication des causes des maladies; tel fut le but que se proposa la Docteur Darwin lorsqu'il composa la Zoonomie...".

Erasmus Darwin perçoit un lien entre métaphysique et physiologie, dans le sens où il affirme que nos facultés intellectuelles sont l'effet nécessaire de nos facultés physiques. Descartes, Mallebranche, Locke, Condillac et Hume, explique Erasmus Darwin, manquaient des notions physiologiques nécessaires pour percevoir cet état de chose ou ont négligé d'en faire l'application à leur système. Le corps de la démonstration, dans la Zoonomie, consiste en une exploration des facultés dites "sensoriales" (néologisme utilisé en français par le traducteur de la Zoonomie,  le Dr. Kluyskens). Celles-ci se répartissent en quatre classes, irritation, sensation, volition, association, auxquelles correspondent quatre classes de maladies. 

Les réflexions d'Erasmus Darwin sur l'instinct méritent amplement d'être évoquées; pour notre auteur, l'instinct n'est pas invariable; il est au contraire une sagacité susceptible de modification, se développant d'une manière différente suivant les différentes conjonctures qui en déterminent l'exercice. L'instinct provient donc d'une détermination raisonnée et non pas d'une obéissance aveugle et mécanique à une loi de la nature. La théorie zoonomique d'Erasmus Darwin, très proche du lamarckisme, repose sur un concept d'évolution, où l'action d'une "force vitale intérieure", amorcée par un filament primal originel de substance vivante, provoque le développement graduel de l'ensemble des diverses formes de vie par un processus analogue à celui de la reproduction des végétaux. La Zoonomie contient de ce fait un ensemble de réflexions sur la génération, qui font la nouveauté absolue des idées d'Erasmus Darwin. Sa méthode généalogique part d'une observation des bourgeons dans les arbres pour aboutir aux mammifères en passant par tous les animaux de la création. 

Pour Erasme Darwin, toute pathologie dérive d'un excès ou d'un défaut, d'un mouvement rétrograde des facultés du sensorium; les pathologies consistent de ce fait dans l'aberration des mouvements des fibres vivantes.

(Robert Steuckers).

- Bibliographie. Poésie: The Botanic Garden  (1794-95); The Temple of Nature or the Origin of Society  (1803; publication posthume). Ouvrages scientifiques: Zoonomia; or, the Laws of Organic Life,  in four volumes, London, J. Johnson, 1794-96 (la traduction française est basée sur la 3ième édition anglaise de 1801; Zoonomie, ou lois de la vie organique,  trad. de Joseph-François Kluyskens, en quatre volumes, Gand, P.F.  de Goesin-Verhaeghe, 1810); Phytologia, or the Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening  (1800). Autres ouvrages: A Plan for the Conduct of female Education in Boarding Schools  (1797).

- Sur Erasmus Darwin: Ernst Krause, Erasmus Darwin, trad. anglaise de W.S. Dallas, avec notice préliminaire de Charles Robert Darwin, 1879; Anna Seward, Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Darwin,  1804 (voir également la correspondance de Miss Anna Seward); Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth;  John Dowson, Erasmus Darwin, Philosopher, Poet and Physician,  1861; cf. également, Samuel Butler (l'auteur d'Erewhon), Evolution Old and New, où le célèbre romancier tente de faire revivre l'ancien évolutionnisme d'Erasmus Darwin contre le nouvel évolutionnisme de son petit-fils Charles; Leslie Stephen, "Erasmus Darwin", in Leslie Stephen (ed.), Dictionary of National Biography,  vol. XIV, London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1888; D. M. Hassler, Erasmus Darwin,  Twayne, New York, 1973; D. King-Hele, Doctor Darwin: The Life and Genius of Erasmus Darwin, Faber, London, 1977; cf. également: D.R. Oldroyd, Darwinian Impacts. An Introduction to the Darwinian Revolution,  New South Wales University Press, Kensington (Australia), 1980, Open University Press, Milton Keynes (England), 1980. 

 

samedi, 20 décembre 2008

Ernst Mayr wird 100

ernst-mayr.jpg

 

Hohepriester der Evolution

Der Evolutionsbiologe Ernst Mayr wird 100

 

Von Martin Lohmann (http://konservativ.de )

 

Kaum eine andere naturwissenschaftliche Lehre hatte einen vergleichbaren revolutionären Einfluß auf das moderne Weltbild wie die Evolutionstheorie von Charles Darwin. Ihr zufolge sollen alle Lebewesen, und somit auch der Mensch, nicht durch einen göttlichen Schöpfungsakt ins Dasein gekommen sein, sondern durch eine Ansammlung zufälliger Mutationen, die durch anschließende natürliche Selektion im "Kampf ums Dasein" zu einer steten Höherentwicklung allen Lebens aus gemeinsamen Vorfahren führten. Diese auch als Darwinismus bezeichnete Lehre entzog dem Christentum jede naturwissenschaftliche Basis; der Mensch brauchte sich dadurch mit allen Konsequenzen für die bis dahin geltenden Moralbegriffe in seinem Handeln nicht länger einer ihm übergeordneten Instanz verantwortlich fühlen.

Darwins im 19. Jahrhundert entwickelte Evolutionstheorie wies jedoch gravierende Schwächen auf. So ging Darwin von einer allmählichen langsamen Entwicklung der Arten mit vielen Zwischenstufen aus, was sich seiner Hoffnung zufolge auch bald im Fossilbericht bestätigen ließe. Die Paläontologen haben diesen Ansatz jedoch bis heute nicht bestätigen können: neue Arten tauchen urplötzlich auf, zwischen den Stufen einzelner Entwicklungslinien klaffen riesige Lücken. Die gesuchten Bindeglieder, die "Missing Links", sind bis heute unauffindbar. Das Verdienst, diesen Widerspruch zwischen Darwins Theorie und dem paläontologischen Befund beseitigt zu haben, wird dem Evolutionsbiologen Ernst Mayr zugeschrieben, der diese Woche 100 Jahre alt geworden ist. Der am 5. Juli 1904 in Kempten geborene und 1931 in die USA ausgewanderte Mayr war in den 1940er Jahren maßgeblich mitbeteiligt an der Formulierung der inzwischen allgemein akzeptierten "Synthetischen Evolutionstheorie", einer Präzisierung des Darwinismus. Ihr zufolge verlaufen Mutation und Selektion in einem schnellen Tempo in kleinen, geographisch geschlossenen Einheiten, so daß sich von diesen "Gründerpopulationen" keine versteinerten Überreste auffinden lassen. Profan ausgedrückt wird der Inzest zum Motor der Evolution erhoben. Mit dieser These gelang es Mayr zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe zu schlagen: zum einen überbrückte er ein entscheidendes Problem im Darwinismus, zum anderen entzog er ihn hiermit jeder Beweispflicht. In einem evolutionskritischen Buch verriss der Journalist Reinhard Eichelbeck Mayrs These der "Gründerpopulationen": "Abgesehen davon, daß Inzucht normalerweise genetische Defekte hervorruft und keine Verbesserungen, die einen Vorteil im 'Kampf ums Dasein' darstellen könnten, ist dies eine Beweisführung, mit der man alles beweisen kann. Wenn ein theoretisches Konstrukt, das auf nichtvorhandenen Indizien aufgebaut ist, als wissenschaftliche Tatsache gehandelt wird, dann ist dieses Denkmodell offensichtlich auf dem Niveau angekommen, wo sich die Wissenschaft vor Darwin befand: auf dem Niveau des dogmatischen biblischen Schöpfungsmythos."

Mit anderen Worten: mehr als 150 Jahren nach Darwin haben auch Mayrs Forschungen nichts daran geändert, daß es der Evolutionstheorie an einem ordentlichen Fundament fehlt. Bis heute kann sie natürliche Phänomene wie beispielsweise die Entstehung des Auges oder des genetischen Code nicht zufriedenstellend rekonstruieren.

Ernst Mayr ficht derartige Kritik bislang nicht an, er nimmt sie nicht einmal zur Kenntnis. In der Vermessenheit der eigenen geistigen Vollkommenheit hält er jeden, der an die "Tatsache" der Evolutionstheorie zweifelt, für "ungebildet". Bescheidenheit ist ihm fremd. Wenn ihn die Fachwelt als "Darwin unserer Zeit" feiert, nimmt er derartige Huldigungen gerne an. Aus seinem Mund wird erst deutlich, wie weitreichend der Einfluß des Darwinismus selbst das Denken der Durchschnittsmenschen geprägt hat: "Die moderne Anschauung geht in fast allen Bereichen irgendwo auf darwinsche Gedanken zurück."

Dennoch formiert sich Widerstand. In Abkehr vom früheren klerikalen Dogmatismus entwickelte eine Anzahl ernstzunehmender Wissenschaftler das Konzept des "intelligenten Design", welches die Entstehung der Arten mit naturwissenschaftlichen Methoden unter Verzicht auf religiöse Quellen einem Schöpfungsakt zuzuschreiben versucht, wobei die Identität des "Designers" bewußt offengehalten wird. Die Vertreter dieses Modell grenzen sich ebenso gegen den "Kreationismus" ab, dessen in wortwörtlicher Interpretation des biblischen Genesis-Berichts entworfenen Vorstellungen eines Schöpfungsaktes in sechs Tagen und einer erst 10 000 Jahre alten Erde sie scharf ablehnen. Während das intelligente Design“ in den USA recht erfolgreich ist, wird es hierzulande heftig bekämpft.

Erst im vergangenen Jahr sorgte der Kasseler Biologe Ulrich Kutschera für die Kaltstellung des am Kölner Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung tätigen Genetikers Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig. In einer als inquisitorisch zu bezeichnenden Kampagne erreichte der Darwinist Kutschera, daß Lönnig auf Weisung der Institutsleitung seine Internetseiten, in denen er für das "Intelligente Design" warb, vom Server des Instituts löschen mußte. In dieser Kampagne im Sinne der "biological correctness" kamen nicht nur Kampfbegriffe wie "pseudowissenschaftliche Ideologie" und "christlicher Fundamentalismus" gegen Lönnig zu Einsatz, auch sein Bekenntnis als Zeuge Jehovas wurde auf unsachliche Weise gegen ihn verwandt. Letztlich blieb die Freiheit von Forschung und Lehre auf der Strecke. Niemand macht in den Naturwissenschaften Karriere, wenn er nicht vorbehaltlos die Evolutionstheorie akzeptiert.

Lönnig sieht in dieser Kampagne den Beweis dafür, daß die Evolutionstheorie "ein totalitär geschlossenes philosophisch-naturalistisches System" ist, weil es von vornherein "jeden wissenschaftlichen Ansatz für Intelligentes Design a priori und absolut ausschließt".

Ebenso heftig kontrovers diskutiert wurde im April in Italien der Plan der Bildungsministerin Letizia Moratti, im Unterricht des Landes dem christlichen Schöpfungsmodell den Vorrang einzuräumen, obwohl selbst der Papst in der Evolutionstheorie "mehr als eine Hypothese" sieht. Unter dem Druck zahlreicher italienischer Wissenschaftler, die in einer Petition den Plan als schädlich für die wissenschaftliche Kultur kommender Generationen“ bezeichneten und davor warnten, daß mit der Ignorierung der Evolutionstheorie die wissenschaftliche Neugier der Jugend angeblich untergraben werde, nahm sie ihr Vorhaben kleinlaut zurück.

In solchen Kulturkämpfen entlarvt sich die Evolutionstheorie als ein im naturwissenschaftlichen Gewand ummantelter Mythos, der die Grundlage für den modernen Atheismus bildet. Wo die Christen Gott am Werke sehen, ersetzen ihn die Darwinisten durch die "Natur". Ihren Siegeszug verdankt die Evolutionstheorie dem Umstand, daß sie Generationen von Schülern als "Tatsache" indoktriniert wurde, oftmals unter dem Vorwand der Trennung von Kirche und Staat. Ihr Fundament beruht nicht auf einer rationalen Überprüfung standhaltenden Beweisen, sondern auf einem rein materialistisch ausgerichteten Glauben. Mit seinem Beitrag hat sich der "Hard-Core-Darwinist" Ernst Mayr zum obersten Hohepriester dieses atheistischen Mythos gemacht.


Weiterführende Literatur:

1. Philip E. Johnson
Darwin im Kreuzverhör
Christliche Literaturverbreitung Bielefeld
ISBN: 3-89397-952-2

2. Reinhard Eichelbeck
Das Darwin-Komplott - Aufstieg und Fall eines pseudowissenschaftlichen Weltbildes
Riemann Verlag
ISBN: 3-570-50002-0

3. Reinhard Junker / Siegfried Scherer
Evolution - Ein kritisches Lehrbuch
Weyel Biologie
ISBN: 3-921046-10-6

00:05 Publié dans Sciences | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : biologie, évolution, darwinisme, sciences biologiques | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mardi, 16 décembre 2008

Sciences: autocensure des chercheurs

Science sous influence : l’autocensure des chercheurs !

Novopress, 13/12/2008 : "Dans le colloque - dans l’ensemble très politiquement correct - “Le “sacre” du gène : pourquoi continue-t-on à surestimer la génétique ?”, organisé par la Mission Agrobiosciences et l’Institut d’Etudes Politique de Toulouse le 23 octobre dernier, un passage échappe au ronron idéologique habituel.

Il s’agit d’une très brève intervention de Mme Anne Cambon-Thomsen, directrice de recherche CNRS, animatrice de la plateforme Génétique & Société à la Génopole Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, intitulée “L’autocensure des chercheurs”. Elle y affirme en particulier : “Il y a effectivement un certain nombre de bases biologiques, de traits génétiques, dont l’expression de certains influence des comportements. Mais dire cela est tellement dangereux sur le plan de l’utilisation politique, sociale ou économique qui pourrait en être faite que nous n’osons même pas le dire. Nous nous limitons même pour aller plus loin dans les connaissances biologiques. C’est grave.
Dans l’Union Soviétique de Staline et de Lyssenko, là aussi la science était asservie à ce que le politique veut imposer comme “bon”, et pas dangereux pour son système.

En France (voir entre autres Novopress 12 décembre 2008), même la citation de travaux scientifiques étrangers dont les résultats sont non-conformes aux dogmes imposés est actuellement censurée."