CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 129 T HE M E 1 . A PHENOMENOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF „REALITY‟, IN C L U D I N G O U R P L A C E I N I T . CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 130 PROPOSITION – The natural realm demonstrates a clarity of order and seamless interconnectivity, and a consistency of resident value that contrasts sharply with the fickle and re l a ti v i s ti c co n f u s i o n o f h u m a n m i n d . W h i l e n a tu re m a g n a n i m o u s l y re i n v e n ts a l i f e - g i v i n g h a rm o n y o f e q u i ta b l e p r o p o r t i o n s t h r ou g h a l l t i m e , t h e r e e x i s t f u n d a m e n t a l f l a w s i n t h e w a y th e cre a ti v e h u m a n m i n d re g a rd s , i n v e s ti g a te s , i n t e rp re t s a n d i n t e ra c t s w i t h i t s e l f , i t s s o ci a l co n t e x t a n d t h e e n v i ro n m e n t. CH A P T E R A P H E N O M E N O L O G I C A L A P PR O A C H , or ET H I C S # 1 The ethical and philosophic problem really concerns o n ly t h e w id e s t u n iv er s e a n d t h e d eep es t p s y ch o lo g ica l lev els . If w e d eep ly a n d e v e n u n co n s ci o u s ly b eliev e that our relation to the largest system which concerns u s – t h e “p o w e r g r ea t er t h a n s elf ” – is s y m m et r ica l a n d e m u l a t i v e , t h e n w e a r e i n e rr o r (Bateson 1972:336). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 131 Preface T he original springboard for this thesis came from two things I considered during my teen years: the character of the natural environment and the makeup of human nature. In what was a duel, progressive examination I immaturely came to the opinion that each shared very little of the other‟s features. While nature appeared to demonstrate internal, intelligent, consistent and universal qualities of life generation and development signifying biological sustainability (an intrinsic self-justification and promotion on a grand scale), human curiosity and imagination, by contrast, appeared to be bent on crafting a giant death wish. I saw humans as being utterly obsessed with material enhancement through the technological engines and processes we believe are sensible and necessary. And what resulted from our love affair with our perceived needs was the pollution and corruption of all things worthwhile through ecological interference, on a likewise grand yet perversely emulative scale. I imagined we were drafting our resignation from biological perpetuity through heaping up a mountain of regrets. It is as if we were applying in earnest to be, at the very least, fitted with straightjackets, rendered infertile, and locked away for an uncertain, though certainly unpleasant and ultimately unproductive (and un- reproductive), future. This appeared so especially in terms of emerging monstrosities and deficits generated via the techno-tsunami of toxic medications (e.g. Thalidomide 1) and endocrine inhibitors we were enthusiastically prescribing each other. At worst, my young eyes saw us as criminals on death row, designated the ultimate disgrace of a lethal injection and witnessed by a host of disappointed heavenly sponsors and Mother Nature, nodding in approval. 1 adfasdf CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 132 I am still zealous and passionate enough to subscribe to some parts of those original opinions, but have added so much more knowledge that my now greater ignorance feathers much of the blunt and negative content of my teen views off into the more sophisticated infinitude of a much more complex and unknowable universe. For me today the two themes – nature‟s patient life generation and our grubby demand for material enhancement – are joined at the hip because the first one pictures something much greater – “the form of life” – while the second fantasizes it knows best and, within its narrow positivist and economic focus, mistakenly seeks, rather, the “quantity”2 of a disappointing technocratic life. This is such an important differentiation, and this theme will be retrieved at frequent intervals throughout this document. We are a presumptuous species. We humans think highly of ourselves, and deem it our right to tear apart a creation that literally formed us. We now, it seems, occupy much of our time producing new and more frightening engines of technology3 to do our deeds on the substances of life. As well, we the masses 2 Santayana 1962/83:260, cited in Ayer & O’Grady 1994:396. 3 Technology is “the presupposition of *humanity’s+ planetary dominance.” The way we imagine and suppose is also the way we create technology and re-create our world through “objectified nature, the business of culture, manufactured politics, and the gloss of ideals overlaying everything” (Heidegger 1973:93,90, cited in Ayer & O’Grady 1994:179,180). We might advance a political narrative of striving to care for the natural realm, and indoctrinate our youth with flimsy concepts of recycling and the manufacturing of ‘improved’ products that will somehow mysteriously benefit the environment (the “gloss” of political/environmental rhetoric and propaganda manufactured for public consumption). However, the truth of the matter is that, “a culture’s publicized ethos about its environment seldom covers more than a fraction of the total range of its attitudes and practices pertaining to that environment. In the play of forces that govern the world, esthetic and religious ideals rarely have a major role” (Yi-Fu Tuan 1971:37-38). Coarse political and economic aspirations, conspiracy and brute force usually predominate. This certainly is the case where “the World Bank says its aim is to help poor people, promoting what it calls ‘global development’. It’s an ingenious system, a kind of socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. The rich get richer on running up debt, cheap labor, and paying as little tax as possible, while the poor get poorer as their jobs and public services are cut back in order to pay just the interest on debt owed by their government to the World Bank” (Pilger 2001). What we say is cheap, while what we do describes our genuine intent. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 133 who have been taught that technology is good now watch terrifying analyses of those deeds on ever-growing numbers of documentaries devoted to the cataloguing of great techno-calamities that started with our earlier ignorance and trust and unfold now into current and still future, still greater unknowns. It is my intention in this thesis to try to fathom a bigger picture than just the documenting of our scary presumptions and technologies. There has always been so much more to the human condition than just what happens and fails to happen between our ears. If we do not step outside the „narcissism‟ (Freud‟s inappropriate definition) of the selfish human narrative 4, then how can we be sufficiently aware of broader themes to enable a genuinely „objective‟ appraisal of human existence? It is this expanded perspective I seek, and one that can give me the tools I need to construct a universally applicable template for the ethical evaluation of the dramatic human interaction with space, time and matter. Caution is advised here, though. It is the nature of „man‟ to create doctrine. And doctrines can become universally presumptuous, context-independent and unethical engines for waging war against nature and humanity. If my attempt at securing an undefiled doctrine that sees all and embraces all is immediately suspect because of this, then so be it. This is a necessary caveat. I cannot presume to have access to a divine insight that might enable me to distance myself from the common proclivities of human nature. In admitting to being suspicious of myself, I suggest that there is some safety to be found in numbers (though this can be a suspect notion, too), so I will attempt to appeal to an 4 Religion is particularly susceptible to this problem: “The gods believed in – whether by crude savages – or by men disciplined intellectually – agree with each other in recognizing personal calls. Religious thought is carried on in terms of personality, this being, in the world of religion, the one fundamental fact. T o-day, quite as much as at any previous age, the religious individual tells you that the divine meets him on the basis of his personal concerns” (James 1985:491). God is, indeed, ‘on our side’, especially when a corporate church seeks to perpetuate the lifestyle its elite have become accustomed to. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 134 exceptional diversity of opinion, and hope this keeps my doctrine unspoilt (assuming it was not spoilt in the very first instance of its genesis). I have not chosen an easy subject to investigate, understand and analyze. Neither has this study focused on a defined area as PhD theses appear to be traditionally directed to do. The inherent heuristic mode of this examination and the difficult nature of the subject matter have demanded that I spread my search for knowledge over an exceptionally wide area incorporating many orthodox, authoritative, postmodern, unorthodox, alternative, religious, „organic‟, obscure and even homespun sources. The resulting synergies have manifested some fine theoretical outcomes. My heuristic approach has allowed flowing and intuitive associations to emerge, associations that might have otherwise been stifled had I permitted a more mechanistic and singular theoretical narrative and epistemological focus to dominate through reductive and positivist methodologies. If the reader finds this approach confusing, then I would have to counter that our positivist materialism and weird accompanying irrationality have created a world of confusion, pollution, war and indescribable inequity and grief. So it is time to change the way we think and do. My forthcoming analyses of the human condition may be of benefit here. Nothing is impossible excepting the vain and habitual attempt to solve problems with the consciousness that created them (Theobald 1999:TV program, citing Einstein 1972). I was, at one point, trying to imagine a form of planetary remediation that sidesteps the use of the distorted consciousness or sense making that has over time transformed this blue globe into the ecological and social basket case we know today. This is a popular approach: how do we save Planet Earth by doing things CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 135 differently? Certainly, I am genuinely concerned for the survival of humanity. After much sifting of information, however, I have concluded that trying to help people and improve thinking, doing and outcomes is vitally important, but not all there is. There exists other layers of „code‟ incorporated into this world, indeed this universe. This code speaks otherworldly things, but I did not realize its existence until I had burrowed diligently through a mountain of visible details. Therefore, on one level I am hopeful of suggesting ways and means of realigning the human species with our planet. Here I would be suggesting how we need to alter our thinking, but this could only ever be advanced theoretically, and mostly via describing what I originally thought was wrong with our thinking. So, as a form of simplistic aversion therapy, I was hoping to frighten people into understanding more completely how utterly screwed up we as a species are. And this would, of course, have appeared more as a condemnation of human nature than a genuine and workable strategy for reversal or remediation of some kind. All really very simplistic. What I have ultimately found, though, defies my ability to recommend concrete strategies that could realistically promote solutions to the infinite religious and corporeal problems plaguing our intersection with each other and nature. Being thus disappointed with my potential as a peacemaker, the very abstract code that has manifested through my research has, I believe, indicated a truer reality and a far grander purpose for humanity than I ever imagined. Strangely, world peace does not seem that important any more. And our current version of „reality‟ (ludicrous economic fantasies that feature as ideologies and technologies exacting the most profit at the highest cost to ecological, equity and humanitarian concerns, and the civilization-clashing struggle for religious ascendancy and homogeneity) CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 136 pales into insignificance with what really is, and what may come from the ascendancy of this invisible programming. The pestilence of economics-driven progress5 may seem to be the logical way forward for humanity. Many may not see this as a misconstrued and toxic justification of fractured independence or a crazy battle against nature, because this idea of a desired and needful affluence – in terms of the imprinting we are born into – appears to logistically cue from the current powerful and unsustainable technological paradigm of science that promises assurances it cannot deliver, sustainably or healthily. If we continue this way, we won‟t (simplistically) save ourselves. If we as a sentient species cannot overcome our self-created, fantasized differences and reach agreement on what is true sustainability, then we will find and are now finding (simplistically) that the natural forces we have spurned will exact their own harsh penalties, perhaps beyond what we can presently imagine via Global Warming pronouncements. In that case, the overloading of our planet‟s systems, in offering up a raft of negative climatological perturbations and human health impacts 6 (McMichael 2007), may leave (simplistically) precious little opportunity for any who might be sane and healthy enough to pick up the pieces and finally, finally (simplistically) learn from experience 7 (simplistically) in this life. What I am saying here is that this mortal, physical life may not represent the all of everything, therefore a narrow view of immediate planetary environmental and sociological concerns is a simplistic view. 5 The concept of economics, built as it is on the basis of objective measurement, came to be seen as a way to measure happiness because politics’ original concern for “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” *of people+ failed to define how to measure happiness (Easton 2006). 6 Heatwaves affecting the elderly, increased spread of disease asthmatics exposed to more environmental triggers, and compromised mental health in young people becoming more anxious over our planet-wide mismanagement (McMichael 2007). 7 “No environment, no economy!” (Brown 2007). Senator Brown went on to note that the natural st environment is the incubator for business in the 21 century. And, the problem with the big Australian parties is that they are so close to the big end of town in terms of their bias toward big business that they cannot recognize this truism. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 137 Notwithstanding the possibility of immortality, eternity, infinite universe, alternative dimensional and similarly metaphysically coded potentials, if we can learn more about our minds and orientations now, then perhaps our learning advance through time will quickly diverge in its basic character, after the monsters of technological connivance are robustly abandoned in favor of a new mode for thinking, living and anticipating the future. This I am certainly striving for. Education. I admit that my biases will give this study a slant that some will disagree with. It is my general anti-technology stance that may upset some, though this does not mean, I must state at the outset, that I have not included science in this document. I most certainly have and, to be quite fair, I have in large part allowed science to interpret its own environmental „achievements‟ (e.g. through studies now flourishing on the basis of monitoring and commentating on ecological and public health disasters). I have also recognized that the luxury of hindsight through historical analyses has given us a temporary wealth of incisive observations on the manifest nature of human motivations and actions on a more social level. As such, human nature provides a broad palette of self-expression upon which to make its statements. Although we appear to be losing the battle against negativity (note the disturbing increase in teenage suicides) and are painting ourselves into an environmental corner of our own making, I feel that the type of clarification I am so earnestly seeking will ultimately offer a generously positive slant on our survival potential. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 138 CHAPTER INTRODUCTION I n this second Chapter, I am seeking to establish an ethical picture or image of the universe as a correlated whole. This is an essential requirement, for this teleological theme provides the foundational premise upon which this entire study rests. In pursuing this notion, I am establishing the sacrosanct nature of nature, as well as framing central ethical imperatives that must logically spring from the idea that nature is „right‟. In addition, the unusual existence, incongruence and unquantifiable temperament of the human mind is woven into this developing medium. This synthesis therefore attempts to address our weird ontological “existence” (Quinton 1988:605) and immersion within a natural universe of still largely unknown parameters, but quite obvious constitution. In a further expansion, I examine this human entity called “mind” and suggest that it is framed by a primary, phenomenologically-driven „engine‟, essence or „spirit‟ 8. 8 This study believes that our basic human essence and our more noble motivations in life are hosted by a metaphysical and central core desire for union, belonging and immersion that speaks of a primal authorship. These motivations, conversely, create historically repetitive and duplicative outcomes, all of which are symptomatic of the existence of that central core: a code speaking of a natural realm of utter harmony and abundance. These abstractions include vast notions of peace and fulfillment with our fellow man (ideas that we dream of between and inside wars). These are ideal constructs that we grieve after and are considered by this study to be important signatures of unresolved spiritual dilemmas portending yet future dynamics. Further, and put another way, the ‘engine’ of spirit and human desire is seen, teleologically speaking, to be representative of an internal, purposive and forward-looking ‘message’ (coded information) of future potential in human history and character development. In other words, the mechanistic and efficient causes of evolutionary theory fail utterly to ascribe an end-purpose to infinitely complex design. The context of future potential and consequences adds a teleological theme to my ethics CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 139 Here, a strange mixture of non-physical9, hormonally-based and biochemically- framed a priori foundations in a human mind and body primed for an explosive sensory phenomenological outlook on life and consciousness, may explain why we, as humans, are motivated from a background of essences, meanings, concepts, ideas, and reasoning; the objective and logical concepts in thought (Quinton 1988:46,645). This is the metaphysical basis for heuristic research: conscience and pure reason, assisted always by experience10. Here the empirical apprehension of objects, events, dynamics, principles, patterns, complexities, cycles, etc. can add valuable data to the heuristic advance of understanding. So, there is a „system‟ or model (Checkland 1981:317) called the universe. It is (using physical, descriptive terms) larger than we can imagine. It is stranger than we can imagine. We don‟t exactly know what it really is, how „big‟ it is, what is beyond it or outside it, inside it or parallel to it. We have many ideas, but these are restricted by our technical limitations in determining its composition. As well, we are limited by simply being human. This can mean that we are somewhat disconnected from nature and so fail to experience the level of complicity that animals (especially wild animals) live by. Also, we might be learning animals, but being also highly neurotic and destructive creatures down through history there must be a great deal of knowledge about the wider universe (including our largely unknown historical procession) that we have obliterated along with the libraries and cultures we have feared and hated in our conquering. If we keep forgetting our place in history, and also fail to appreciate the nature we like to bulldoze aside in our rush for concrete and profit, stance, and helps to frame and give preeminence to deeper purposes, rather than the more shallow (though still viable) view that sees rightness as an intrinsic property of actions (Quinton 1988:848). 9 Indefinable essential meaning and power. 10 Holistic inquiry advances through the guidance of the conscience (Griffith 1988:133-4). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 140 then we must also be somewhat spiritually inferior beings, though only if we assume that there are superior beings to compare ourselves against. Even if we are a unique creation without a creator, then perhaps our ultimate disgrace is that we are inferior in so many important respects even to „mere‟ animals! Nevertheless, we sense we are part of this universe and feel we can describe some of its characteristics. We can therefore now attempt to fashion a vision that clarifies what the basic essence of the universe is, even if we cannot see the totality. This ontological approach will lead on into the discovery of other aspects of human existence and behavior. My initial concern in addressing the ethics of human inventiveness and actions (generally this means applied technology) is to define a valid and tangible basis upon which to assess the sprawling and rampant vastness of the technological manifestation of, and progression into, modern life. I wanted this basis to be grounded in something real, rather than esoteric philosophical constructs 11 and pronouncements12 that could not be defined clearly or related directly to real objects or common experiences. This was to prove a difficult assignment because I could easily be accused of choosing a subject that, although grounded in something real, vis-a-vis nature, likewise could not be defined and was thus open to the infinitely lateral analyses of a relativism that I wished to avoid. The justification of my argument certainly is open to criticism, however I will advance some confidence here by asserting that my approach is as logical as it gets, and is founded upon the harsh reality of a universe that simultaneously hosts and binds both generative and destructive powers. 11 Concepts or ideas. 12 Determinations. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 141 CHAPTER DISCUSSION SECTION 1: A BASIS Phenomenological Interpretations T his study begins with a statement of my intentions. It is with „nature‟ that I first make my case and through which I strike a compassionate chord for this thesis. Here I plea for an objectivity that tries to bypass some of the difficult and cynical “super-relativisms”13 of interpretations of human experience. I therefore do not write off considerations of objective reality nor purely subjective response (AHPCI 1975:983) as some proponents of phenomenology may do. I am trying to establish a phenomenological and philosophical approach to ethics that situates its genesis and form within a consistent ecological, natural and metaphysical view of this seemingly limitless dimension we inhabit. In doing so, I am analyzing and regarding our phenomenological existence as an ontology based in a harsh realm of human consciousness in the form of a biological and „spiritual‟ phenomenon (Jerison 1985:209) that is reacting to a physical and metaphysical universe of unknown and exciting dimensions 14. It could be said, therefore, that my ontology is my flexible epistemology (D. Wright 1999, pers. comm. 17 June). Therefore this is not a solipsistic excursion and immersion into intellectual self- absorption, because “our naively experienced phenomenal reality bears a close 13 I use this term here to signify the context-independent changeability of human judgment. That is, a very mercurial, convenient and deadly form of interpretation. The expedient single hermeneutic usually applied in super-relativistic thought is egoistic, introverted, reductive and Fascist in orientation. 14 The entire human brain and mind, along with the human ‘spirit and ‘soul’ are thought to be meshed in with a larger field of consciousness. What we experience as normal consciousness is thought to represent only a limited wavelength or frequency. There has appeared over time a consensus that what our collective consciousness is linked in with is a kind of “psychic internet” where all natural forces and metaphysical powers are connected (Hammonds 2006). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 142 relationship to physical reality, as understood from sophisticated analysis of the nature of the physical world” (Jerison 1985:209). However, it is because “phenomenal reality is [inevitably still] very much a construction of the brain, as can be shown by the tricks and failures of experience in illusions, dreams, and hallucinations” (Jerison 1985:209), that I must found my phenomenological interpretations first in the more corporeal and tangible reality of nature and human existence, in order to ensure a firm grounding in fact. The ethical imperatives of nature and humanity‟s mutual preservation will simultaneously arise from, and substantiate, their internal claim of shared spiritual qualities formed out of this same universal matrix of natural reality 15. I am still, however, interpreting the character of this natural reality, so some form of hermeneutics must inevitably be applied. But it must be cautiously and honestly substantiated via a generous and laterally flexible knowledge base. This may avoid the persistent human habit of taking ownership of knowledge and creating a distorted faith from it. In other words, and in less abbreviated terms, this investigation embraces the release of ethically-based, freedom-giving emancipatory knowledge because it seeks to remove itself from the broad humanistic proclivity of developing biased (or convenient, and usually morally 15 In terms of space and time, there seems to be one visible physical universe, and it dances to a structural and biological theme of innate integrity and sustainability through diversity. Even so, there also appears to exist a limitless and unknown interplay of, and potential for, right possibilities offered within that formally oriented and law-abiding universe. As well, ‘wrong’, or ‘contrariness’, or ‘destructiveness’, or ‘evil’ seems to coexist along with the order and persistence of the orthodox realm of this world. Simply put, the ethical continuum of this ordered world, if it really exists, again seems to highlight and condemn any factor contrary to the purposive and life-generating orientation of this natural regime by shocking us with the pain and dismemberment of social and species destruction. Less simply: ”Regarding possible kinds of truth, RBH asks a good question. "Suppose, just for the sake of argument, that the 'direct apprehensions' of two people differ on some matter. On what grounds can one decide between them? What is the certifying agency that says 'This one is true, that one illusory'?" That agency is the distributed cognitive-perceptual syntax of the self-spoken language of reality… It can be shown that if reality is connected - if we are really united in an objective manifold of common perception - this level of syntax must exist. Remember, science is primarily concerned with the formulation of general laws of nature as required for prediction, and these are just structural and grammatical components of this distributed reality-syntax” (Langan 2003). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 143 corrupt), tight (or controlled and fanatical, or politically correct), heavily dualistic and discriminatory totalitarian interpretations16. My interpretation of phenomenology seeks to produce (or perhaps reinstate) a beneficent “merger of landscape and mindscape” (Orr 1992), such that this innocent and primal approach displaces the kind of ego argument that assumes ownership of an entire planet. In so doing, I hope I am exposing and clarifying a healthy universal (not human) self-ownership pre-dating humanistic claims stationed in, and religiously developed from, the great fraud that has arisen from an ancient amalgam of fear, greed and delusions of self-justified destiny. This undivided ownership, I believe, is an altogether ontological „reality‟ and highlights the tragedy of our loss of grounding in real space and time 17. Some postulate that the inherent complexity of the universe – a “web of interconnections” – means that the “choice-dualities” (V. Dimitrov 1998, pers. comm, 25 Aug.) of human reason ultimately dissolve in that complex „chaos‟. Therefore, there are no real artificial conflicts within this integrated nature that has, 16 Please note here that the word totalitarian qualifies dualistic. I do not believe that all dualistic interpretations are necessarily immature and embedded in a fundamental Cartesian and positivist error. Not all dualism bears a totalitarian or aggressively purposive, humanistic and pedantic motive, where the enforced interpretation generated by individuals or powers is a convenient interpretation, one that seek inequitable advantage for a slanted ideology. There is a dualism that one can refine from nature. It is a precious ‘substance’, and ephemeral in the intellectual world we inhabit; difficult to grasp, and difficult to develop philosophically and intellectually because so much of human reaction and thought today has been hijacked in terms of the relativistic selfishness of the dominant Western concept of individualism (Saul 1995:2). This ghostly, yet metaphysically substantial dualism stands astride the ethical base of right and wrong, which prescribes the constitutional virtue of nature. 17 Mankind has created its own displacement in space and time. At least on a local scale, we have interfered with the formative elements of reality by inserting materials (eg radioactive wastes, greenhouse gases and other pollutants) into the environment. These contaminants alter the rate of natural processes. As well, things like a sugary diet, time stress, and shift work are impositions on the natural rate and behavior of physiological and mental processes and perceptions. International travel interrupts the body clock and perceptions. It is common for world travelers (especially bands on tour) to comment that they awaken not knowing where they are or what time it is (their sense of pace and place has been lost). We have instituted changes so radical that this natural earthly system is unable to absorb the mass of distorted inputs and consequent demands for transformation. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 144 by virtue of its very constitution and normal function, a perfect tangibility and beneficence18 , demonstrable power, and life-force (biodiversity19 and perpetuity, or sustainability). Higher Purpose This concept is representative of a supremely high-order vision, and arises from a consciousness that is capable of seeing beyond this present scheme temporarily confined by a necessary immersion within an instructive causal plan embracing a planet full of imperfect, unfortunate innocents and „dirty, rotten scoundrels‟. It is a concept that looks to the future. It does not mean that there is no „wrong‟ or „evil‟ now. Neither does it represent an irrationally idealistic and oddly fantasized hope waged against all available evidence; nor even a tenuously amoral concept out of place in this confined physical realm, at least in terms of the vast immersion of humanity inside a brutal real world of real context holding meaning for now, and not just the future. 18 Fresh, unpolluted air; crisp, clean and clear water; natural crop, weed, rainforest and ‘bush’ foods/medicines. A perfect world or way of life offering total enlightenment: what we are metaphysically imprinted with on the deepest level – and which ultimately prescribes the nature of our mortal aberrant behavior. 19 Biodiversity speaks of infinite complexity and design in wildlife, soil organisms and wider life processes, along with geological, hydrological and structural processes. It is the support system for our planet. Three significant features of biodiversity are: Pollutant Absorption: Forests absorb atmospheric carbon. They therefore regulate local and global climate and thus affect global warming. Biological diversity and human health today see toxic pollutants as a major threat. Soil Fertility Maintenance: Countless organisms contribute to soil quality and capacity. Soil decomposition and recycling processes transform organic materials into nutrients that enable new plants to grow. Forests stabilize soil and water systems, and thereby maintain stream flow, freshwater and marine fisheries, agricultural viability and water supplies Water Filtration and Cleansing: Wetlands are ecosystems that provide flood control, water filtration, coastal stabilization and storm protection. Wetlands trap and filter run-off from fertilized crops, sludge and sewage pollution that would otherwise adversely affect wildlife and drinking water sources. Wetlands also support a huge diversity of wildlife worldwide, often with specialized local populations (www.iucn.org 2003). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 145 Some overly religious subscribe to this kind of rosy view of human nature, often those who are filtering a great deal of pain. But some others are not necessarily filtering a personal anguish and, rather, are ahead of the current scheme of things in terms of what is possible and what human mind actually forecasts in terms of the complete annihilation of all dichotomies. Some artists (such as Norman Lindsay20) and others have understood this idea, at least in respect to the subject of sex. This idea is, however, not generally supported by this study in terms of our current global, physical, context-mired and -limited problems that can be thought of as local and material problems temporarily (but nevertheless very purposefully) established within an intelligently resolved and specifically crafted regime of earthbound time. In emphasis again, and particularly because of the development of the idea of a „spiritual plan‟ throughout this document, it is considered to represent a concept that is ahead of its time, one representing an ideal of sorts that is not quite attainable now within time and space. In other words, it is not at all a bankrupt notion21. 20 “Many of Lindsay’s artworks have a strong sense of propaganda and satire in favour of, and as a celebration of sexual joy. They display an attitude of defiance against the taboos and repressions of established religion and custom of the period. Lindsay portrayed his nymphs and satyrs with a grace and naturalness which was said by admirers to rival the ancients. Although people made a fuss of it, his art was actually very popular, it was an efficient and genteel mode of libido-release. His technical excellence was much admired and no Australian surpassed his technique as an etcher, he manipulated watercolour well and his pen drawings were very skilful. There were no signs of erect male penises in his works, yet he was still reviled in some quarters as a pornographer, a pervert and a diabolist! Commenting on ribaldry as being a fact of human life he said, “Among the Romans, save only for the cold and academic Virgil, there is not one poet or prose writer who does not use its freed imagery wherever a theme calls for it. All of them, Catallus, Horace, Ovid, Martial, Juvenal, Apuleius, Petronius would have regarded a ban put on such a salient aspect of the spectacle of life as a rank absurdity, which it is. That ban arrived with the blight of Christianity, with its priestly hatred of the body and its obscene obsession with sin which spread a dark miasma of joylessness over all experience which makes life worth living. Life became a penalty inflicted on man for being the thing he is, and which he was designed to be by the construction of his being. A writer who presents men and women as creatures truncated below the waist is exposed as one who goes about without his trousers saying, ‘see, I have had my testicles removed.’ I am fanatic enough to believe that my thought is something the world needs” ” (Tully 2000). The movie Sirens (Duigan 1994) elicited this poetic response from a viewer: “The symbolism of the painting of the dual woman - and her being awakened each night by something in the natural/instinctive world calling her to consciousness. Lucid dreaming - becoming conscious thru internal knowledges calling forth her true nature” (‘Keltek’ 2003). 21 This idea ultimately substantiates a meta-meta-narrative or ‘spiritual plan’ that supports an eventual and definitive extinguishing and absolution of all local and temporal restrictions, dualisms, and human- CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 146 This more innovatory (and complicated) notion adds more extended meaning, structure and depth to the workability and scope of a meta-universe-wide scheme of creativity. This adds so much to this study, whereas the original configuration of this investigation, that of trying to understand the nature of the co-existence of creativity and destructive proclivity in humans, had to originally and simplistically discount as untenable or inherently wrong much of the traditional, reductive, artifactual and labyrinthine thinking and justifications that chaotically presumed an automatic, supreme validity to all human activities. I found myself deleting concepts before I sensed the likelihood of a picture bigger than anything I had ever realized. I just needed educating. In this steady heuristic process, history not only confirmed an invalidation of the incredible fantasies produced by the human mind, but it also – through sheer thematic repetition intersected by peculiar innovations – pictured sound reasoning behind why evil must exist. What I have come to see is that this small, planetary-like local history, in terms of my now expanded concerns in this study, may have an infinitely larger purpose than an inane evolutionary advance toward… nothing in particular. More specifically in terms of this evil, or right and wrong, what seems to exist as wrong and destructive (as opposed to right and destructive22) appears to be thoroughly resident and even inbuilt on this planet. Therefore, “good and evil… induced aberrations. This notion would have to achieve this absolution by virtue of some form of final redemption resting outside human power and experience, and which draws its integrity from a reality or authority sitting beyond time and space. This may represent a genuine scheme situated primordially inside a universe of possibilities. This concept is addressed more specifically in Chapters 4 and 7, but is very generally engaged throughout this study as a matter of necessity given the weight of the historicity of religious themes of salvation and resurrection. 22 There is a difference between “right and destructive” and “wrong and destructive.” In terms of the former, many natural events demand inbuilt destructive processes in order to function effectively and generate desired results. For example, the eventual building and increasing of muscle mass requires the temporary destruction of muscle fibers through sensible exercise. Then proper rest, nutrition, massage, etc ensures that the destructive process leads to improved muscle tone and strength. In terms of the latter, our disengagement from nature and consequent artificial technological and social impacts, such as pollution and fascism, are locally wrong and destructive. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 147 are true conditions in reality” and ethics must be based on reality. That is, “…ethics is based on… truth… [so] ethics must be in conformity with the process of cause and effect, or causes and conditions” (Payutto 2002). Now, again in addressing the above concept that expresses notions ahead of its time, the amazing thing about human mind is: “Although scientific orthodoxy considers mind to be an emergent property of matter, its very definition intimates paradox and freedom from causal chain” (Kak 1998). The human mind stands outside of “causes and conditions” (Payutto 2002) because “…true comprehension or perception is made possible by the universal self present within. This self transcends time and space and personal identity. One is able to comprehend the world only because such comprehension is reflected in the nature of mind…” (Kak 1998). What the human brain senses is a world lying outside of the physical restrictions of time, space and mortality (and herein lies the basic cause of monumental frustration and confusion in terms of the ethics sown into bodies and minds screaming for immortality and true free will). The human brain/mind is a unique creation, and in this respect utterly different from animal brain. I believe this innate expression of God-like derivative, of innate freedom inside human mind, is part of what propels us to extend ourselves into meta-narratives defying our current context-delimited corporeal conditions. It gives us imagination. Add to this our innate desire for fusion or union, and there exists all the dynamic needed for a constant and confused, orgiastic straining against the harsh impositions of the physical realm context. In other words, this dynamic intentionally configures an in situ conflict of ethical „war games‟ within the hobbled human mind, a form of exercise that would be unavailable, for the sake of argument, to a „supreme being‟, or a perfect being that was brought into existence („created‟) outside the mortal configuration. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 148 Further to this hypothetical, „angels‟ would not be able to access this educational regime effectively. However, as much as we might intuitively wish to experience a new order where awkward and uncomfortable dichotomies don‟t exist, we are stuck with a burdensome world that places demands upon us through being tied to the constant ethical flux of “cause and effect, or causes and conditions” (ibid.), a world persistently reaching out for an unobtainable perfection, and experiencing the gravest of frustrations and generating the vilest of abuses all the while. So right and wrong and good and evil and ethics have structured purpose inside this realm of cause and effect. They are playing host to much more than an unpremeditated and stark human intelligence of uninspired evolutionary origin having no lasting and meaningful consequence in a weird universe hosting a vast array of monumentally complex, yet pointless accidents. If we exist in a true ethical continuum, then what is resident and invalid and untrue and unsound and faulty and inappropriate and unlawful and corrupt and destructive is from evil. That is, if these are sourced from a contrary and independent contamination of the natural domain originally created as good. This will be the case if the evil is ultimately referenced to a cosmic judgment made by and through an eternal and flowing regime of cosmically defined antiquity, immutability, omnipresence and ethical law. Our human judgments, inclinations and compulsions, although immature expressions of divine understanding and comprehension laced liberally with ignorance, fear and self-possessed ego, is, in this scenario, critically tied to the framed sense-making of the causes and effects of ecological and social diversity, and an ultimate advance toward a finally resolved immortality (rather than the incomplete aspects we currently deal with and which currently deal with us), all for a supremely higher purpose commensurate with the level of sophistication factored into all life and universe- wide complexity. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 149 It must be a higher purpose than the „simple‟ maintenance of an ecologically creative act because we humans are, as far as we can determine, higher in potential than animals. Animals present themselves as being largely programmed and tied intimately to the „code‟ of nature, while the limitless intelligence and learning potential of humans not only indicates a higher purpose, but implies that some form of independence and immortality could be reasonably factored into the human destiny equation somewhere, a destiny that suggests more powerful potentials than our contemporaneous smaller obligation to protect this planet and love each other. Given that all the above suggests a structured a plan-of-salvation-and-human- destiny-beyond-the-grave theme, then evil or wrong may not be that „bad‟ (or inappropriate), after all. It might only be Lindsay‟s controlling religions that make out wrong to be as grievous as it is painted to be. Eternal damnation may not be a realistic (genuinely, divinely programmed) component of the intriguing potential of the afterlife, immortality or eternal life dynamic advanced continually by nature and a human brain structured for limitless expansion 23. It may simply represent a useful political tool, used by immature fanatics who have no real faith, for whipping a church laity into submission. Wrong, evil, badness, pain and suffering – configured in terms of the development of some kind of mind quantity worth saving, or a wholly new and individual factor (like human character) deemed appropriate for, or even demanded by, a state of immortality 24 – may only 23 If the coherence of the energy pattern (Tiller 1972) of nature describes a massive continuum of natural expectations and tendencies arising out of ancient, formative precedent (Liedloff 1986:38), then this may suggest, not just a ‘simple’ formatting of the past and present of nature (a monumental exercise, itself, in developmental ‘immortality’), but also a coded message signifying the possibility of a real resurrecti on and exemption from eternal death, and one internalized so deeply as to explain the appearance of similar consistent themes of perpetual life after death through religions worldwide. 24 Nature demonstrates immortality, and our religious themes encapsulate this idea in terms of human potential. The scientific and corporate movement toward immortality (Adam 1994:95-96, paraphrasing Becker 1973) is suggested by both the eternal quest for age defying facial creams and stem cell and other CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 150 represent a vital, native means to the end of desirable paradigmatic change for human mind. At some point between this „conversion‟ from temporary to permanent (this seems like a logical step), free will might just get a true look-in. Here, the infinite-potential human , being thus in a state of monumental transformation, may be given a real choice outside this temporary realm of consummately contrived mortality25. Logically again, and given the real teaching structure of life we have examined to this point, the choice would be somewhat stark and obvious, though the exact configuration or details impossible to determine: a continuance of painful aberration based in the mortally-framed gross limitations of the cortical ignorance we currently wallow in (or some form of displacement, reservation or even death if the condition of mortality is abandoned altogether), or a human potential offering some variety of eternal life based in truth (the infinity indicated in human mind now given fulfillment), and more than likely holding the characteristic of the perfect annihilation of all duality: the supremely high-order concept previously referred to on p. 143. Whoever is in power can forge a new paradigm and demand that this new status quo be accepted by all who are conquered. If it is an empire, then invasion and expansion is supremely right. Pax Romana is right, and the „barbarians‟ are wrong. If the „empire‟ is a universal church (or even just a 50-member cult), then research. A theme as pervasive as this must have some basis in a truth engineered into the fabric of the human psyche at a point of origin. 25 If we are denied real choice and free will now in order to establish with certainty a contrived scene for learning, then a beneficent God who is not a fascist must introduce the opportunity for some kind of final choice, one that tests the individual’s personal assessment of that learning and allows them to pick a door. Some might say that even this is no real choice, but one must draw the line somewhere. We are physical and mortal. There is not a lot on offer to us. We might need to take what’s offered if we want to continue living. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 151 doctrine is right and a Holy Inquisition or Jihad is justified26 against the unclean unbelievers and heretics. If the empire is corporate-backed science, then alien medicines constructed from synthesized and toxic materials, genetically modified (GM) food, and even GM humans are right because companies make lots of money and abide by powerful and rational doctrines of economic progress. But this kind of power and rationalism justifies itself, and the rules can be whatever the powerful want them to be. The paradoxical duel procession of this confused, super-relative knowledge-without-wisdom (contrived means and carelessly examined ends27), together with a steady bombardment of “creation myths”28 or dangerous doctrines 29 of the day that have marked our progress as a supposedly sentient species, have served only to invalidate our habitual presumptions. Our broad principles of knowledge production thus far appear seriously flawed, and this may be because they lack an inclusive ethical base. Other ideas on knowledge production offer much less weighted patriarchal perspectives, and are more flexible: Knowledge is best constructed out of contrasts, rather than analysis. Knowledge is not a series of theories replacing each other and converging on some sort of ideal truth. Rather, it is an ever-increasing ocean of possibly incompatible alternatives (a bringing together of ideas) (B. Stewart 1998, pers. comm., 13 Oct.). In support, Dale Spender (1985:5-6), quoted in Reinharz (1992:7), says: 26 Christianity carried with it ideas of progress generated by classical antiquity. However it magnified anthropocentricism to previously unknown levels, giving man the permission of God to exploit nature for proper ends. This approach destroyed antiquity’s reverence for sacred places and things, making man indifferent to the metaphysical associations he once attributed to the natural landscape. Christianity established Western man’s presumption and faith in perpetual progress (Yi-Fu Tuan 1971:38, citing White 1967:1205). 27 Checkland (1981:145. 28 B. Stewart 1998, pers. comm. 13 Oct. 29 Lateline 1999:TV program. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 152 At the core of feminist ideas is the crucial insight that there is no one truth, no one authority, no one objective method which leads to the production of pure knowledge. These ideas are similar in constitution to the Dimitrov (1998) personal comments listed above on p. 143, and need to be treated with the same reserve noted for those comments. As well, it must be stated that the above Stewart and Spender quotes express „hurt‟, and therefore are very likely to be summations filtering pain. This is not unusual in terms of thinkers escaping from the hurt that comes with any form of imposed intellectual fascism. Certainly pure knowledge and truth cannot be sourced from any single human factor, so the strategies indicated – the embracing of lateral perspectives – are genuinely worthwhile for this current physical regime. However, these oceans of alternative personal human experiences and contexts still need to be matched against an unchangeable source of coded instruction and integrity that is inherently unassailable, proven and reliable, in order to be absolutely ethical for man and beast, otherwise they will lose focus and end up being, rather, super-relative and thus conflicting in the worst possible sense where relativisms characteristically include perpetual conflict and denials of inalienable rights held by both nature and humanity in favor of the dominating perspectives of greedy powers. Without the anchor of nature, our flight from fascism will return us to fascism, full-circle. (See Chapter 3 THE SICK BRAIN, SECTION 6: THE POSITIVIST SCIENCE PARADIGM AND THE FEMINIST REACTION, sub-section Identity: What is the Nature of Feminist Research Methods?, for a much more detailed exposition on vital feminist research methods). Absolute nature (the natural realm and only the natural realm), then, provides the only reasonable basis for an understanding of a right knowledge that must be CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 153 founded in an implicit „love‟ for the planet and love for people30. This may be a difficult-to-imagine ideal because we generally situate our knowledge and survival imperatives – often unknowingly – within the „resident evil‟ of the general regime of 30 And perhaps love is the greatest lesson of all in our individual and collective movements through our learning lives. For, what is the ethical point of life or unlimited mindpower without the positive and integrative characteristics of the free giving of mercifulness and tolerance? If evil stalks our demented and reductive quests for knowledge (as it appears to), then we need real, nature-based compassion (the bringing of our passions into communion [B. Stewart 1998, pers. comm., October]) as the basis for all investigations. We all – humanity – need compassion as the source motivator for all the things we do. A searching for any kind of ‘truth’ or knowledge should be an incidental and wholly innocuous outcome of being tolerant and loving humans who put the preservation and enhancement of the environment and the advancement of equity, individuality and love before all else. In this way, the environment and humanity are not used as the means for selfish, empiricist or convoluted ends. Worth noting here on this point is Slaughter’s (1992:125-6) comments where he writes of our immersion in a knowledge stream situated in a world overflowing with inherent meaning; higher awareness that is advanced, peaceful, and compassionate, and alternative ways of knowing such as stewardship, self- sacrificing love, and duties to future generations (see Chapter 3, SECTION 6: THE POSITIVIST SCIENCE PARADIGM AND THE FEMINIST REACTION where Mies and Shiva (1993:256-257) paint an ecofeminist perspective on ethically based economies where both men and women share responsibility for the production and preservation of life in its universal sense: the care of children, the aged and sick, the maintenance of the household and the provision of emotional support). Slaughter shows insight where he connects the industrial worldview with 20th century political and commercial opportunism. This is a big issue posting much more than an industrial worldview in this present time; we are dealing with human nature and all of ‘recorded’ history, and likely beyond all this as well. If this latter point says anything by extension, then we should consider the pre-historic and historic destructiveness of humanity leaving only a miserly patchwork of 5,000 years or so of archaeology barely discernible. The above emphasis on love preceding all else is essential because, as our technological society is now – anchorless and amoral – we find we are not ‘free’ as we had hoped amidst the exciting, but also unstable and horrifying, battering ram flux of the primal delusion of humanist independence from all things. We are, rather, locked in an obsessive addiction for accumulating information that can leverage the kinds of advantage that enslaves the people we should love, and an entire planet. But information doesn’t necessarily generate understanding. Also, there is a big difference between information and knowledge (Meadows 2002). In fact, we are overloaded with information and have no wisdom (Collins 2002). Worse still, because we are unanchored, insular and greedy, “there are competing knowledges”. Hence, my previous comments on the Stewart (1998) and Spender (1985) quotes. And, where knowledge is supposed to be found – in newspapers – we are exposed to a constricted focus on newsworthiness because journalism is a Euro-centric development (Chantor 2002). In fact, in newspapers you only find tiny portions of information (eg in the Canberra Times, only 0.5% of information received is given space in contrast to 10% of information 30 years ago) (Waterford 2002) due to its technologically enhanced bombardment and the problem with sifting through it (Oquist 2002). Technology has therefore impacted in such a way as to create synthetic dimensions of time and information (essentially, a form of dreaming unconsciousness), both of which have little to do with the much slower and more cognizant natural realm. And all the above themes – as heterogeneous as they might first appear – boil down to this: without the higher awareness and motivation of love based in nature as the requisite and ethical prime mover of human consciousness, we humans will increasingly generate more useless and destructive knowledge through research because the (unincorporated, disengaged and toxic) technology is there (Webb 2002:3). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 154 human-nature-that-comes-from-humans-that-evolved-from-brutal-nature as the norm (especially when stricken with grief). As noted previously, the cooperative and ordered index of nature illuminates naïve and simple (innocent) themes that, even with their accompanying brutality, we humans fail to emulate. While we dream of utopia and manufacture nightmares, nature quietly sustains and blooms. Nature, therefore, represents a superb guide, a unique manual that cannot be equaled by anything we have fabricated, and certainly a coded handbook that we should invest in with zeal. Here, human individuality theoretically has the best opportunity to flourish, where the definitions of curiosity, innovation, knowledge, understanding, generational learning, love, equity, compatibility, sustainability and development will arise out of the natural phenomenological matrix that characterizes the composition, behavior, integrity and sustainability of ground, water, air, fire, biomass, cycles, nutrition, reproduction and time. It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living (Attenborough 2003). Again, it is only through nature that a basis for the ethical evaluation of human activities can draw its logical meaning. It is through nature, and by virtue of its central motherhood only, that humanity can ever hope to be whole enough to justify a continued existence, let alone the prosecution of more fanciful embellishments through assumed understanding. Indeed, human ingenuity in CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 155 this discussion is contrasted against a natural realm that came first and which frames our species and all else in its vastly intelligent embrace. …living systems [are] inferential systems, and their domain of interactions a cognitive domain... Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. This statement is valid for all organisms, with and without a nervous system” (Maturana 2002:8). We should not, in this view, ever consider our intellect as providing an automatic justification for manipulating our host, the planet, and beyond. Nor should we imagine that the aggressive patriarchies, political ideologies, religions, economic imperatives, sciences and fears that gestate from within the fantasy machine of human neuroses validates the abuse of fellow humans. As it stands, we engage all manner of synthetic ideas and specious knowledge (non-wisdom) to contrive an existence almost completely separate from that already furnished, at most in a state of fullness or completeness, or at least in a state that absolutely dictates the framing of potential embellishments. These considerations have contributed to the development of an overarching ethical framework for this study. The overall ethics analyses addressed throughout this document, then, broadly poses the questions: How should the fantastic human mind regard nature and itself? With honor or disrespect? What do honor and disrespect mean? How should we assess the orientation of our curiosity and the disposition of the inventions (both ideological and technological) that radiate from this energetic and insatiable human mind engine? CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 156 How do our perceptions and hopes – the way we characteristically engage survival and development imperatives – contrast with the meta-balance (V. Dimitrov 1998, pers. comm, 4 Aug.) and tension of a universe programmed to be a program of compelling complexity, unity, correlation and life-generation? Can the contrast help us to be certain or assured of an equally compelling imperative to change our most basic views? Can we move from “Sense Certainty to Absolute Knowledge” (Westphal 1990:1)?. Can this certainty and knowledge be seen as the consistent interpretation of the consistent expression of the continuity or relational generality (Dimitrov & Woog 1998a) of human, earthly and cosmic experience? Or will we just strive for mediocre, convenient, rational, positivist and ultimately relativistic „certainties‟; beliefs that are toxic, and which justify our grabbing of addictive quick fixes that never satisfy? Will this understanding be confirmed as a worthwhile wisdom for a planet-wide reformation and re-education paradigm? One that sticks? Or is this too much to hope for because it has been hoped for before, tried before, and failed in establishing ethical permanence? Is this hope – the concept that mere humans can establish world peace and an eco-paradise – fatally flawed? Purpose, or No Purpose? On this point, should there be no meta or spiritual purpose to human life, and we finally managed to dissolve ourselves through a series of global pandemics or biological/chemical/nuclear self-annihilations, our existence might simply feather off godlessly and silently into the infinity of an inconsequential vacuum and fathomless time. This would be the case if we indeed have no hope outside of our CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 157 tiny selves, and represent just a local shriveled triviality in and outside of space and time.31 This is not necessarily a good outcome (!) and would be, rather, an insult I feel for the creative and purposive genius of a designer nature that extends to infinity in all the directions that we can sense 32, and likely many other directions or dimensions we know nothing about. I therefore favor a more rational understanding that incorporates an intelligent sensibility of design, meaning, function and yes, even hope and destiny, into the fabric of nature and human existence. SECTION 2: PHENOMENOLOGY (MY INTERPRETATION) P henomenology is a philosophical movement based on the philosophy of the same name and was conceived by Edmund Husserl around 1905. It is a movement that seeks to elucidate the breadth or range of appearances in human experience (AHPCI 1975:983). As such, it describes the “lived experience” (Madison 1981:2) and so intersects elements of semiotics that attempts to “find out what are the conditions for 31 Perhaps, sadly, we are not be needed. This view suits aspects of the very oddly romantic, if not atrociously vacuous, evolutionary theory. In this, science postures a sense of finality through its repudiation of the personal point of view. It catalogues its achievements without reference to the intrinsic purposes alluded to by the elements. Even though the solar system is recognized as bearing the mark of innumerable harmonies, it is viewed as an insignificant incident lost within a sort of heavenly moving equilibrium, a local living accident in an appalling wilderness of utter cosmic destitution, all swallowed by vast eons of time wherein Darwinian chance production and destruction represent the ultimate reference point for all possibilities. An aimless inconsequentiality, and unreservedly meaningless (James 1985:49494). 32 “We may find that, just as space is boundless and infinite, perhaps there is no limit to the ever- diminishing smallness of being” (Pemburton 2002). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 158 meaning to occur in human experience” (Dimitrov & Woog 1998a:Class handout). Phenomenology is the study of essences, but still attempts to bring those essences or inalienable presence into the experience of man through re-achieving a direct and primordial contact with the world. Phenomenology tries to offer a philosophical status to man‟s experience without defining the psychological origin and causal explanations that other disciplines might attempt to manipulate (Merleau-Ponty 1962:vii).33 If the above in any way implies or demands that phenomenology is wholly anthropocentric (and forever must be), then I will here state that this study places our technologically-obsessive proclivities (one of humanity‟s less noble experiences) inferior to the phenomenological reference point of the harmonic super-essences of nature and the wider cosmos. Phenomenology is a useful offering in the quest to embrace a meaningful understanding of what a human is. It contributes somewhat unanchored concepts of human experience that can be augmented through other types of research and philosophical approaches. It can help to flesh out an impression of a vast expanse of pre-human phenomena that serves as a teaching tool through contrast with human thought. There is a profound connection between the phenomenological, metaphysical, psychological and spiritual realm and that which we, as curious and inventive humans, design and bring into existence. Therefore, the outcomes of humanity‟s neurotic technological dependencies and impositions generated via “the artefactual world of human culture” (Adam 1994:95-96) demonstrate a 33 See Chapter 3 for causal explanations. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 159 counterfeiting of nature where contamination by inappropriate delusions of godship and unmerited power 34 are typical35. Should our global motivation change for the better, as postulated and noted later in this study, a new non-polluting and non-invasive human activity regime (such as a worldwide and wholesale permacultural and organic replacement for current synthetic industries) could herald a renewed and modern congruence with the unity that binds all forces. Here, even “buildings would take on, in endless variety, the nature and character of the ground on which they would stand... Wherever possible all buildings would be integral parts – organic features of the ground – according to place and purpose” (Wright, 1958:123). The „purpose‟, here, would certainly require radically new foundations for the conception of human needs based in partnership with nature, the generation of technical design, and the selection of non-toxic construction products. As well as this, my interpretation of the „doctrine‟ of “sense of place” (Mugerauer 1995:129) sees an appreciation of the intimate knowledge of the natural landscape as being fundamental to the development of good thinking and the enrichment of our mental landscapes (Orr 1992). This is the platform for my purist approach, one that generates a conception that only nature‟s abounding essences are genuinely reliable in a life-giving and „life-ethical‟ sense. Thus, nature possesses inherent (Regan 1981:34) or intrinsic value (Fox 1990:162). 34 These aberrant delusions are well represented by Asimov’s (1972:438) idealized technological fantasy: “What achievement could be grander than the creation of an object that surpasses the creator? How could we consummate the victory of intelligence over nature more gloriously than by passing on our heritage, in triumph, to a greater intelligence -- of our own making?” Perhaps even worse than this nightmarish vision of a nonsensical and irrational ‘victory’ over nature is the pursuit of a victory over the stuff of existence. “It’s called nanotechnology, and if it turns out to be possible, it will give us ultimate control over matter” (Australian PC @UTHORITY 1999:118). 35 Even if the artificial constitutes an ecology (B. Stewart 1998, pers. comm. October), it is an ecology of aberration and disease formed through gross technological impacts. Again, this prescribes an emergence of a counterfeit, one that fails the test of the natural phenomenological realm from which it was derived. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 160 Of these aforementioned natural essences, perhaps some other worthwhile and descriptive terms are: „immutable truths‟, or „spiritual principles and laws‟. These may be legitimate ways of expressing the orientation of my preferred view of phenomenology. In this regard, then, phenomenology may mesh with aspects of physics wherein a superforce, being more than a mere creative agency, “represent[s] an amalgamation of matter, spacetime, and force… [providing] an integrated and harmonious framework that bestows upon the universe a hitherto unsuspected unity” (Davies 1984:5-6). In this regard, then, note the following quote by Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), German astronomer, physicist and mathematician: “Ubi materia, ibi geometria” – “Wherever there is matter, there is geometry.” This unity, truth and essence will also automatically and necessarily incorporate critically important ethical considerations where „right‟ preserves our ecological foundations, and „wrong‟ does not (Leopold 1949:224-225). If the local phenomenology of our perceived universe cannot define its scope (Merleau-Ponty 1962:vii), then neither can the hypothesized eleven-dimensional universe36 (spacetime curled into patterns) that assumes there are no force fields and matter but, rather, structured nothingness (space and time) that manifests as force, matter and symmetry (emergent material patterns) (Davies 1984:5-6). As such, these two ideas are extremely compatible and, in my opinion, explain much in regard to the primitive essences of creation encapsulated through the postulated Big Bang or first event (Davies 1983:10). 36 “Today, many physicists believe that we are the carp, swimming in our tiny pond, blissfully unaware of invisible, unseen universes hovering just above us in hyperspace. We spend our life in three spatial dimensions, confident that what we can see with our telescopes is all there is, ignorant of the possibility of 10-dimensional hyperspace. Although these higher dimensions are invisible, their “ripples” can clearly be seen and felt. We call these ripples gravity and light” (Kaku 1999:html document). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 161 That much that is phenomenal and complex in a specialized and design sense has been enshrined at some pivotal point in „time‟, is almost beyond dispute now. This is because super-terrestrial evidences (Tier 1970:142) of order and chaos in special balance (Waldrop 1992:12) mitigate against an infinitely old universe that would have reached thermodynamic equilibrium or „heat death‟ an infinite time ago, wallowing in its own exhausted entropy (Davies 1983:11). Therefore we must conceive of the possibility of a massive creative act having been purposely crafted at some point. Moreover, we should be even more amazed that this mega-engineering exploit was intentionally concocted on a miniscule, and not just a cosmic, scale. This is because context dependence apparently runs so deep that atoms, even after they have been dispersed and reformed into new compounds, still retain a „memory‟ of their previous configurations and relationships (S. Davson 2003, pers. comm.) 37. Bohm (1988:57-62) also shows, as noted in the Introduction and Chapter 1, that the whole universe is actively related to, indeed enfolded to varying degrees, in each of the parts. He calls this internal relatedness the implicate or enfolded order, which is primary. He notes that the mechanistic approach of modern science is founded upon the explicate or unfolded order, which is a derivative or secondary truth. This concept has some historicity in Western science. In 1982, at the University of Paris, physicist Alain Aspect and his team discovered that electrons can 37 This comment was ultimately derived from Davson’s conversation with physicist Rachel Butt who, in 235 her doctoral thesis (Butt 2003), stated: “The effect of the ground-state spin of U is stronger even than the current model predicts... the observed effect must arise from quasi-fission events. However, although 235 existing quasi-fission models predict a strong effect from the spin of U, the observed effect is appreciably stronger still in the experimental angular range.” Butt’s thesis contains findings previously published in Physical Review C (Butt, R.D., Dasgupta, M., Gontchar, I., Hinde, D.J., Mukherjee, A., Beriman, A.C., Morton, C.R., Newton, J.O., Stuchberry, A.E., Lestone, J.P. 2002, ‘Effects of finite ground-state spin on fission fragment angular distributions following collisions with spherical or deformed nuclei’, Phys. Rev. C. 65 044606). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 162 instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of distance. Each particle seemed to be aware of the others‟ presence, a disconcerting situation given that the experiment‟s results automatically violated Einstein‟s doctrine that the speed of light limited the speed of communication, a time barrier-breaking inconsistency! 38 Some scientists attempted to discredit the findings, while others ran with the massive potentials opened up by Aspect. Bohm considers that Aspect's findings describe the apparent solidity of the physical universe as an apparition and a stupendous hologram. The holographic principle of the codified totality found in each fraction turns the reductive focus of Western science on its head because we are introduced to an utterly new way of interpreting order where the typical habit of dismemberment (or, the reductive approach) will not produce pieces but, rather, smaller versions of the totality. Bohm has therefore considered that Aspect‟s discovery shows the electrons as not even needing to send messages to each other through space because there is, in fact, no real separation. On this fathomless and enigmatic plane of holographic universe-wide existence and combination, the particles are not in pieces, are not 38 Note the following: “To help clarify some of the muddle over the term "emergence," Evan Thompson mentioned an article by Michael Silberstein ("The Search for Ontological Emergence," Philosophical Quarterly, 1999), in which Silberstein claims that ontological emergence entails an irreducible relational holism. An ontologically emergent phenomenon cannot be analyzed into "element A and B" and the extrinsic relationships between them. Instead, in ontological emergence, A and B are definable only by virtue of the fact that they are related to each other, and the relations that define the system are not analyzable in terms of the intrinsic properties of the constituent parts. Silberstein cites quantum entanglement as the strongest example, because the wholeness of the entangled system cannot be analyzed reductively to the separate electrons without violating Einstein’s special theory of relativity. (If entanglement is reductively explained by the forces transmitted between parts, then a signal moving faster than the speed of light must carry the information between the parts.) If we preserve special relativity, then there must be an irreducible relational holism at the quantum level (what philosophers call "mereological emergence")” (Deamer & Kauffman 2003). Certainly wholeness cannot be reductively analysed. But quantum entanglement can be explained by the ‘enfoldedness’ of Bohm’s implicate order and Aspect’s discoveries without requiring that speed of information between parts even be considered a factor. Einstein’s special theory of relativity does not need to be preserved, and neither do we need to reject the obvious manifestation of an irreducible relational holism in nature/creation. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 163 fragments; they are part of the joined whole, immersed in some kind of elemental consensus where everything is infinitely connected. This interpenetration and seamlessness is something we are not seeing, for how could the disengaged human mind understand or sense that the subatomic „particles‟ in every carbon atom in every brain are connected to every animal and every star? Extending further, the concepts of time and space can no longer be synthetically maintained as cardinal or primordial – they must be reinterpreted as belonging to this deeper codification because the concept of location disintegrates within a framework where there is no distance or separation. For argument‟s sake, this super-hologram may be seen as the birth place of everything and the storehouse of everything that can be (Talbot 2006, my emphasis). And, for this reason: …the boundless ethical and metaphysical premises that template the natural creation still inexorably bind the fearful, presumptuous and unstable human mind to a largely unknown and ancient continuum of emergent surprises, essential knowledge, order, purpose, and predisposed developmental outcomes. If this notion of a purposeful, coded, and almost predestined universe were not enough to assimilate, Bohm suggests that the super-holographic stratum of physical existence may only be the start of infinite potential. Karl Pribram, neurophysiologist and brain researcher at Stanford, has – independently from Bohm – accepted a holographic explanation for reality. He concludes that the human brain accepts input from a frequency domain, out of which it mathematically fabricates our „reality. This concept has received significant experimental support. For example, studies show that our senses and even the cells in our bodies are attuned to such a broad range of cosmic CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 164 frequencies that these inputs could only be sorted and arranged as conventional human sensations through the holographic domain of consciousness. What Pribram's holographic brain model suggests most remarkably when viewed in concert with Bohm‟s theory, is that our secondary reality is a holographic cloud of frequencies which the holographic human brain selects from and mathematically converts into sensory perceptions, these becoming our configured and sensed „physical‟ reality, a reality which really ceases to be. If an egocentric and dumbly reductive Western science needed to be „put in its place‟ once and for all, then here it can be because Eastern religions have long believed that we are not physical creatures inside a corporeal creation 39 – which is an illusion. We are actually extracting our „reality‟ (our physical life on a material world) from a frequency „ocean‟, this representing just one possibility, medium or mode converted from the super-hologram. This incredible theoretical synthesis is called the Holographic Paradigm. It is a concept growing in popularity and one seen to be science‟s most accurate view of reality thus far, offering the capacity to institute the paranormal as a reality within nature. Researchers, including Bohm and Pribram, suggest that this model potentially facilitates the explaining of the previously unexplainable (e.g. para- psychological phenomena). This way, telepathy can be understood as a means by which infinitely connected and indivisible brains destroy distance and communicate on a holographic level (Talbot 2006; my emphasis). If ev er y a t o m in t h e u n iv er s e is q u iet ly c o m m u n i ca t in g w i t h e v e r y o t h e r a t o m , a n d o u r c o r ti c a l p r o c e s s e s a n d a w a r en es s a r e n o t pr i v y t o t h i s i n f i n i t e d a n ce, t h en w e 39 “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter” (Lucas 1980). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 165 surely are disengaged from nature and utterly d i s en f r a n ch i s e d. I believe this monumentally important research shows that our future, the future of the human species, must be founded on an appreciation of the implicate order and holographic view of the whole as the primary consideration in all investigation, information gathering, interpretation, design, survival imperatives, sustainability issues and human activities. Bohm suggests that a postmodern physics should focus on this kind of orientation. For me in this document, in reawakening the foundational experience of the world and dismissing the inadequacies of the second-order40 expression called science (Merleau-Ponty 1962:viii), I am seeking to define everything in these broadest and most vivid implicate order terms possible. Moreover, this ontological- phenomenological (Heidegger 1982:xi) vision, at once sincere, simple and outrageously complex and difficult to understand will indeed, as hinted by Bohm, give clarity to all of science. We have a chance with this information to rearrange our priorities in accordance with the growing realization that this earth‟s nature and all correlated „being-ness‟ holds intrinsic and ancient qualities that cannot be measured, abased, universally overwritten or ignored. 40 See SECTION 6: THE POSITIVIST SCIENCE PARADIGM AND THE FEMINIST REACTION in Chapter 3 where Mies and Shiva (1993:256-257) note that the current economic paradigm, so growth- and profit- oriented, would contrast sharply against ethically based economies based on the aims of self-autonomy and ecological sustainability. This is because we can see that our science approach is leading us enmasse into an unfavorable future. We have taken a view of nature as a series of parts. We have mistakenly deemed, in our ‘wisdom’, that the explicate order is the universal status quo. Our activities, then, are wrenching the precious parts away from the whole through species’ extinctions and the madly alchemic, modern transformations of stolen ‘resources’ into alien chemical artifacts via the agency of chemical engineering. We are therefore losing critical attributes of the seamless whole. This indicates a loss of staggering significance and should be the basis of an expression of considerable worldwide grief, ‘repentance’ and revolution in attitude. The sick symptoms of a lurching planet demonstrate that we are cannibalizing ourselves – we are, after all, a part of the ‘everything else’ that is dying! This is a truly gruesome truism. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 166 See Figure 5, below, for a photo of one of my oil paintings, an image that is, in its natural simplicity, representative of this remarkable concept that we tend to dismiss in favor of a replaced nature; the interrupted hydrology and consequent flooding of bituminized and concreted sealed ground; the particulate mess, pollution, blight and stress of urban sprawl; and the toxic waste dumps we must have in order to „benefit‟ from all these techno wonders 41. This is the ultimate basis for the ethical evaluation of human activities. If we are honestly seeking a center-point reference that encompasses all that we can see and all that we cannot even begin to imagine, then this fountainhead represents a superset (or superior set) of all our pitiful perceptions in all our perceived realities. The natural „creation‟ shows us our roots and prescribes the only attitude of reverence we should consider worthwhile in regard to our sense of place or “sense of kinship with life” (Orr 1992) within this phenomenological cosmos. 41 When I do a landscape painting, I am aware of the exceptionally mediocre level at which I am performing. For me, the true landscape (or the photo representation I may be using as a guide) is diabolically complex. The interplay of direct light, reflected light, form, color, tonal values and atmospheric (3D) perspective sees me only managing to wipe a toxic paint material onto a white canvas. Not quite the level of sophistication achieved by a real ecological system. The reality check continues through factoring into what one sees the infinite intricacy and synergy of all the biota that make the landscape hum. Imagine just one carnivore and the plethora of senses it uses to fashion its intersection with the environment: magnified sensations of sight and hearing, scent, ground vibration, electromagnetic sensitivity, air pressure, etc. Add in the infinite organisms and every interrelationship, and one begins to see the tip of the iceberg only. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 167 Figure 1 The ancient qualities of nature are universal Image: Thompson 1990:Oil painting CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 168 SECTION 3: PHENOMENOLOGICAL ECOLOGY How This Concept Highlights Our Failure To Learn My Phenomenology S ince phenomenology can barely be defined (assuming, of course, that it needs to be nailed down like a second or explicate order property or resource), then the concept of phenomenological ecology must also conjure up the same seeming inadequacies. And since this somewhat universally oriented, meaning-of-life study ultimately rests upon a phenomenological view of ecology that would be automatically unpopular with mainstream science, this thesis must become an exercise in an orthodoxically-perceived idiosyncratic and tree-hugger interpretation of the meanings of these terms. My non-conformity means that I do not need to be tied to continually citing European philosophical giants or their reverence texts (Ihde 1993:1- 2), or any supposed authority for that matter. In this regard, then: “FREEDOM!” However, first things first. What kind of ecology can this possibly be? It is not a Baconian-Cartesian model of the environment, and it is more than an existential interpretation of vacuous CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 169 “freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of his [man‟s] acts” (AHPCI 1975:460). It is not necessarily new, but it is radical, given the orientation of today‟s techno world. In terms of learning, it must become a postmodern and genuinely enlightened appreciation of the original environment without the siren call and habitually justified demands for the destructive influence and inputs of manipulative technologies. If this sounds a little harsh, then ecological and humanitarian disasters such as Exxon Valdez42 and Bhopal 43 should qualify my thoughts here on a grand and lethal scale. The Failure of the Ecological Test In order to be barely available to any form of strained exegesis, this philosophy must first understand how man has failed the ecological test through his detachment of the finely balanced interplay between order and chaos (Waldrop 1992:12). In this failure of wisdom, humankind has – as noted in the Introduction – approached “the dark side of cosmic fecundity” (Bloom 1995:2). He has done so ignorantly and mistakenly: with an aberrant form of curiosity denying the 42 On Good Friday, March 24, 1989 the Exxon Valdez, southbound from the trans-Alaska pipeline terminal at Valdez, ran aground on Bligh Reef and spewed 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. The oil impacted on at least 12,000 miles of shoreline throughout the sound. 100,000 birds perished (including 150 bald eagles), at least 1,000 sea otters died (but many oiled seals sank and could not be counted), fishing worth over 100 million dollars was restricted or cancelled, and the Exxon Corporation spent a billion dollars on the cleanup campaign. Otters that lived were affected in a number of ways: respiratory ailments, liver and kidney damage. The food web was invaded when predators carried oil to nests and young. Red blood cells in seabirds were affected leading to anemia. In 1978 the Amoco Cadiz dumped 68 million gallons of oil on the coast of France (Hodgson 1990:5-43). 43 rd During the early morning, December 3 1984, in the city of Bhopal in India, a pesticide plant that was a subsidiary of Union Carbide released 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate gas, and killed between 2500 and 5000 people. Over 500,000 people were exposed. This is considered to represent one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. Up to this point [November 2007] approx. 20,000 people have died as a result of the leakage and over 120,000 suffer from the ongoing effects of the disaster. Symptoms include: breathing difficulties, cancer, grave birth-defects, blindness, reproductive complications and other related problems (Wikipedia 2007) (my emphasis). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 170 obligation to be the sublime student of nature 44, and with a pathological greed allied to an unrestrained impatience with matter, energy time, power and wealth 45. Further, there exists a prime marker where the human mind is sharply contrasted against the basic nature of animal brain: man has no upper limit to his thinking (Hoeh 1977), nor lower limit (Woog 1998, pers. comm., October). Surely this indicates a grossly unstable mentality, one that demands, as we might imagine, some kind of relieving antidote for its „hemorrhagic fever‟.46 Perhaps there is a need for an operating manual or some form of instruction and censorship. If what we need already exists, then we fail to recognize it and leverage it with consistent positive effect. Given that „false pride‟ (conceit that produces damaging personal, interpersonal, interracial and ecological outcomes) and lust are bound up in this Figure 2 The sharp contrast between 44 animal brain and human mind – whole of nature, whose order we follow” (Spinoza 1994, Pt. IV, Or, denying “that we are part of the no upper Ayer & O’Grady appendix:593, cited inor lower limit 1994:431), and a nature that “cannot be contravened, but preserves a fixed and immutable order” (Spinoza 1989;91, ch. 6, Spinoza Opera, III:82, cited in Ayer & O’Grady 1994:432). This is the basis for my ‘faith’ in nature. 45 The archetypal psychological interpretation of man possessing appetite, in contrast to the gods (B. Stewart 1999, pers. comm., October), or naïve animals, is an interesting slant. 46 One could see an analogy between an infectious condition and, for example, contagious generational prejudices or the inflammatory genocide of holocausts. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 171 deviant greed that transcends the patient limits of natural processes, it is no wonder that these and other associated attitudes are “short-cuts to the fixed attractor” (V. Dimitrov 1998, pers. comm. 4 Aug.) of a global, ecological death. Witness the devastation of whole cultures in the name of colonialism (invasion, genocide and disease), missionary zeal (presumption and prejudice) and cartel mining interests, where emotions and ambitions have been mistaken for principles (WGBH Educational Foundation 1999:TV program). This revives a previous thought: “Power justifies and the rules can be whatever the powerful want them to be.” Unquestionably the creation of so-called „principles‟ has laid waste this planet from the very beginning of corporate human interference. Over the last few thousand years we have extracted, synthesized and polluted in the name of our self justifying, ecologically inappropriate faculties. Our rampant and psychotic curiosity or “can imagine, so will do” philosophy now threatens all life on earth. A technology-empowered humanity has invaded the realm of the gods without any credentials or wisdom, and with a scientific knowledge regarded as a quantity apart from wisdom (Roszak 1972:232). Wisdom is here considered as foresight and understanding applied or, where environmental and other problems indicate a failure of wisdom, it can be said that this demonstrates an “error of application.” This is where there is Figure 3 Human actions, such as the Hiroshima bomb, now threaten the ‘immortality’ of life on earth CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 172 evidence that people recognize a rule that they did not utilize. On the other hand, there may be an “error of comprehension” – a lack of understanding – where people fail to recognize the soundness of the rule that they have dishonored (Kahneman & Tversky 1982:495). Note: There is an essential difference, however, between a man and a billiard ball. Man, through thought, is able to look to the future. He is influenced by another type of causal order which Charles Harteshorne calls ‘creative causation’. Elton Trueblood elaborates this point by suggesting that causes for human behaviour lie not only in the past but [also] in man’s ability to contemplate the future, or estimate probabilities... (Harris 1973:60-61). We now understand that man cannot effectively estimate probabilities. This is because “the whole is bigger than the whole” (R. Woog 1998:Class lecture, 4 Aug.). In other words, the complexity of our surrounds is unfathomable and immeasurable due to “many interacting variables” (V. Dimitrov:Class lecture, 4 Aug.) and the hidden, expansive meanings that pervade the „ether‟ (the utter unknowns of the whole). Perturbations that initiate the butterfly effect (Dimitrov & Woog 1998b:Class handout) ensure that, in a sense, cause and effect is not explainable (V. Dimitrov & R. Woog 1998:Class lecture, 8 Sept.)47 or, better put, linearly traceable. This is why Chaos Theory is so useful because it can generate explanations for complexity (R. Woog 1998, pers. comm., October). Nature Disturbed 47 This situation is particularly disconcerting in regard to the Castlereagh Waste Management Centre. This long-term issue speaks of a classic government failure to accept the obvious evidence of the impact of leaking chemicals onto local properties. However, it also represents a paradoxical and convenient acceptance of aspects of complexity theory. Here the EPA and Waste Service NSW-sponsored Human Health Study (HHS) report noted that no clear pathways of exposure around the waste depot can be established, so the real extent and outcome of the health effects of the site cannot be measured (Williams and Jalaludin 1994: v). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 173 So, our disturbance of nature has therefore wrought emergent outcomes that could never have been imagined. This is not to absolve nature, either, for the sometimes-disturbing processes of competition, capture, devouring and associated nutritional dynamics (Hoeh 1977), particularly in the carnivores. Nature embraces „evil‟ (Bloom 1995:2) if you wish to view her restrained furies that way, though I subscribe to the notion that true evil can only be arrived at via a willful and cortical rejection of empathy. True evil, therefore, is wholly sentient and works contrary to love, order and sustainability, precisely what fascism accomplishes. I do suspect, however and as noted previously, that the very orderly „evil‟ in nature that is magnified massively in humans is reflective of a meta-veil of aberration diffused throughout the cosmos and particularly visible in our Earth‟s nature and the destroyed planets of the Solar System alike. The former appears as an affected pattern of still unconditionally living order48, while the latter presents as a cosmic disaster or disasters of unfathomable proportions 49. And so, while nature reinvents pulsating balance at every point through the majesty of an infinitely complex and largely undecipherable code and order that 48 To put this in religious terms: “To expect that God does not act through pain and pleasure equally is to maintain a child's idea of God” (Myss 2007). An immature demand that God favor our minimalist concept of ‘goodness’ on all levels and in every circumstance is an expression of immature positivism and ultimately a statement of lack of faith. But a more sophisticated appreciation of a God working through imperfection not only describes what we see in nature, but also allows for the existence and working of an intricate divine plan incorporating aspects of evil and contamination (potentially describing former blemished experiments in character development), mortality and character development (the human struggle against evil), and resurrection (or life after death) and, consequently, a monumentally effective teaching framework working through a comparison of mortality and disappointment with potential immortality and perfection. 49 E.g. the epoch of time called the “lunar cataclysm” (David 2002), an era of about 3.9 billion years ago when 80% of the Moon’s crust was resurfaced by the formation of 1700 craters 100 km or larger in size (Cohen 2001). Other catastrophism, like Velikovsky’s, can be argued forever, nevertheless photograph’s of our closest neighbours clearly show Mars as an obliterated environment, Venus as an almost nuclear detonated mess, Jupiter as a maelstrom of almost unimaginable proportions, and the other planets as volcanic icebergs or totally dead and utterly lifeless. Photographs, in this case, are not very contentious. They describe solar system-wide catastrophe. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 174 perfectly manages life and death, we humans charge in blindly and encourage a vastly accelerated entropy through the dissonant activities we enlist. Let‟s face it. The true natural environment is past tense, and may have existed only until about 12,000 to 6,000 years ago when… Mankind began to show a new talent. When faced with harsh surroundings, he no longer waited many generations for his anatomy to change. Instead, he changed his surroundings. He began to modify the land in which he lived and the animals and plants on which he depended (Attenborough 1984:291). This has led to devastating ecological outcomes. Could AIDS be seen as a backlash in defense of planetary survival, or is this going too far in personalizing planet earth (see below)? The AIDS virus appears to have surfaced from a damaged ecosystem. Here we see human activities invading the ecosphere with the technologies of clearing, mining (oil, gas, gold, copper, etc), engineering (earthworks), construction (roads and industrial/urban development), and widespread pollution.50 AIDS and other emerging viruses (see SARS notes in SECTION 3, IS TECHNOLOGY „GOOD‟?, in Chapter 6) are virulent survivors of the wreck of this delicate tropical biosphere because they can „shape-shift‟ (mutate) faster 51 than normal changes in their ecosystems. When they spread out from an ecosystem, they 50 Fully over half the Earth’s surface has been changed by humans (Peters 2005). 51 This is a vitally important point. Our activities are forcing an acceleration of planetary dynamics: “Time is speeding up; cycles are going faster” (Kay 1998:TV Program). This relates to meteorological activities too. See Footnote #12 in Section 3, Is Technology ‘Good’?, in Chapter 6 for important information from professional meteorological sources regarding human activities adding extra energy into climatological th equations (R.D. Allred 1999, pers. comm., 7 September). Also note Professor Valerie Brown’s comment on changes in time and space in Chapter 4 (Professor Valerie Brown was Foundation Professor in Environmental Health at the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury) and the associated footnote describing how forest turnover rates are escalating radically (Garrett 1994:555-556). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 175 tend to move in waves through the human population. This is called virus amplification52. The worst of the family of filoviruses is named Ebola Zaire. The kill rate in humans for Ebola Zaire is nine out of ten. It is a slate wiper in humans, so in a sense, the earth is mounting an immune response against our human species (Preston 1994:29-30; 304-306; 319-20). These disease problems are duly noted worldwide by many authorities (even if not interpreted as above), and their reaction to disease is inevitably one of the application of more technology: The greatest myth of all is one with which the whole of our technologically successful society deludes itself – the ‘technological fix’. It is the same as the illusion that problems can be solved, and when solved are disposed of… If crowding into modern cities causes nervous strains we can find a drug which will restore mental equilibrium and release tensions. If insects attack crops we can discover an insecticide, and it is only necessary to spray the crops to protect them. And so on: for everything there is a remedy… [and] it is taken for granted that it may, even should, be used. [But] the fix does not actually remove the thing that is undesirable, but permits its continuation sometimes in obvious ways, at other times in a very unexpected way (Scorer 1977:75). 52 Virus amplification is occurring in Africa. Five and a half thousand people die per day in Sub Sahara. This is a pandemic curse and the world’s biggest medical disaster. Technology engineered this disaster and technology is magnifying it. This is because the AIDS virus is being spread along what is known as the ‘AIDS highway’, between Zambia and Botswana (Botswana Highway Number 1). Truck drivers and prostitutes are the major factors in the spread of the disease. The scale of the problem is beyond the capacity of the African governments to measure. Indeed, African political leaders are not lending their support to the community level campaigns to eradicate AIDS (these campaigns are performing extremely worthwhile work). 22 million of the 30 million AIDS victims in the world reside in Africa. A city of 50,000 buries 20 AIDS victims a day (Foreign Correspondent 1999:TV program). 53 You cannot solve problems with the consciousness that created them (Theobald 1999:TV program, loosely referencing Albert Einstein). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 176 Emergences Hence, we reach here, the realm of emergent properties, the dynamic features of unknowable change and destruction that beleaguer our wholly ignorant application of science to this life-support sphere called „Earth‟. How does our ignorance compare, then, to the sophistication of nature? How does the simplicity and emancipatory power defined by the knowledge and wisdom stored in nature compare to the kind of knowledge and approaches we apply to this selfsame nature when we decide to set it aside or change it in some way? Time in the natural environment is characterized by rhythmic variation, synchronization and an all-embracing, complex web of interconnections. Linear sequences take place but these are part of a wider network of cycles as well as finely tuned and synchronized temporal relations where ultimately everything connects to everything else: the structure of an ecological system is temporal and its parts resonate with the whole and vice versa. Rhythmicity, therefore, forms nature’s silent pulse… The natural environment is thus a temporal realm of orchestrated rhythms of varying speeds and intensities as well as temporally constituted uniqueness… The artefactual world of human culture differs significantly from many of these temporal characteristics of living beings. Though often conceived as copies of nature, artifacts do not remain embedded within the give and take, the transience of ecological interconnectedness and exchange. They are created apart, frozen for contemplation, fixed in their uniqueness… The emphasis [here] is no longer on process but product… all are moves toward immortality [Becker 1973] (Adam 1994:95-96). Pesticides and synthetic hormones... eventually (and The artifacts we heap our attention on often invisibly) insinuate and generally contribute nothing to the degrade the integrated and finely tuned pulse of subtle interplay of nature‟s rhythms ecological processes. These (and have usually come into existence represent synthetic insertions through the removal and into, and impositions upon, the integrated and seamless flow of nature CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 177 transformation of materials from “Neither science nor rationality the fund of nature). Often they are universal measures of are very invasive and excellence. They are particular interruptive54 through invisibly traditions, unaware of their insinuating and corrupting the historical grounding.” This author also shows that science incorporated and finely tuned is not sacrosanct. The fact that pulse of ecological processes. it exists, is admired, and These represent synthetic generates results is not a sufficient recommendation for insertions into, and impositions making it a measure of upon, the integrated and excellence (Feyerabend seamless flow of nature 55. Yet, 1993:7,214). we continue to lavish our trust and acclaim upon this science and the science philosophies that give rise to these ultimately offensive horrors because: to see things in their wholeness is politically threatening... to see things whole is to see both the wounds we have inflicted on the natural world in the name of mastery and those we have inflicted on ourselves and on our children for no good reason (Orr 1992). Midgely (1992:1) says, I want to stress... how deeply these matters affect all of us, not only scientists and not only intellectuals. Any system of thought playing the huge part that science now plays in our lives must also shape our guiding myths and colour our imaginations profoundly. 54 Typically, insect predators (like spiders and mites) are wiped out when pesticides are applied to homogenous crops. Temporary improvements in crop productivity are often replaced with long-term declines due to increased populations of pesticide resistant crop pests. 55 For me, the application of a termite pesticide around my unit resulted in years of chronic fatigue, joint pain and muscle cramps, chronic nose bleeds, and chemical sensitivity. My body has none of the sta mina, fitness and strength it had prior to the contamination. The termite colony was never treated, and so infestations of the fences and other units continued. I was left with a 3 year interruption to my PhD thesis, brain damage, and a body that had holes in its previously fine-tuned metabolic pathways. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 178 Further, the ignorance and concomitant egotism of science are described well by Feyerabend (1993:7) when he notes that, “neither science nor rationality are universal measures of excellence. They are particular traditions, unaware of their historical grounding.” This author also shows that science is not sacrosanct. The fact that it exists, is admired, and generates results is not a sufficient recommendation for making it a measure of excellence 56 (ibid:214). We have, in fact, elevated science as a replacement for God, and we do so because we are driven to justify our delusions of mastery, and are fearful of „retreating‟ back into the embrace of an unknown nature. A key motivation of our violent approach to planetary „management‟ is the greedy vision that imagines natural resources as being infinitely available for human exploitation. Consumerism, it is viewed, does not require restrictions or discipline. But the Age of Exuberance generated by this culture of western corporate expansion is now interpreted as a fatally flawed perspective. And the inordinate overindulgence promoted by this consumer culture is now seen as a cause of the pervasive anxiety that permeates our society (Lovell and Johnson 1994:201). Self-centered economic strategies based in the cannibalism of nature‟s assets and perpetuated by corporate giants have now provoked a multiplicity of emergent problems that speak only of negative environmental, human health and social impacts. The environment is now returning the favor; not with the straightforward and relatively predictable generosity it rendered to us for so long, 56 “A very large part of the fundamental structure of nineteenth century science was inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems and phenomena which confronted the biologist and behavioral scientist… the dominant preoccupation of science was with those chains of cause and effect which could be referred to as forces and impacts… The description of any event examined by a physicist or chemist was to be founded upon budgets of mass and energy… The conservative laws for energy and matter concern substance rather than form. But mental process, ideas, communication, organization, differentiation, pattern, and so on, are matters of form rather than substance. Within the body of fundamentals, that half which deals with form has been dramatically enriched in the last thirty years by the discoveries of cybernetics and systems theory… the nature of pattern and order” (Bateson 1972:xxxii). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 179 but with exhaustion and famine 57, predatory pandemics 58, and other unpredictable shadow effects. And, have not we humans returned to ourselves between and within our empires, communities and among individuals at every point the fear, anger and immature violence that we could not restrain? And, if we occasionally discovered that love was returned in human interaction, why did we not see this as a principle that must also be applied to nature? L a ck o f s y s t e m ic w is d o m is a l w a y s p u n is h ed . W e m a y s a y t h a t t h e biological systems – the individual, t h e cu lt u r e, a n d t h e eco lo g y – a r e partly living sustainers of their component cells or organisms. B u t t h e s y s t em s a r e n o n et h el es s p u n is h in g o f a n y s p ecies u n w is e e n o u g h t o q u a r r e l w i t h i t s e c o l o g y. Ca ll t h e s y s t e m ic f o r ces “ G o d ” if y o u w ill (Bateson 1972:440). In this information age we have come to generally recognize some of this horrendous damage (it makes for good TV…). Often, but not always, we can appreciate how we have mismanaged the balance of nature through stepping outside of its blueprint and requirements (the immutable laws noted previously). 57 Depleted and eroded soils, and polluted and over fished oceans. “Now patch up repairs – of ourselves and our earth – are no longer sufficient. We are fast approaching a state of complete exhaustion, both of ourselves and our planet” (Griffith 1988:13). 58 AIDS, occasional Ebola outbreaks, Mad Cow Disease, Foot and Mouth Disease, Bird flu and Legionnaire’s Disease. Also there is the increasing incidence of Meningococcal in Australia, which is perhaps more representative of highly immuno-compromised individuals succumbing to a common bacteria. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 180 Yet, as indicated above, if we humans have a basic problem loving, then we could consider ourselves doubly confounded! „Managing‟ and Manipulating Nature Without Self Management We have learnt that we imagined in the first instances of what we assumed was mental coherence that we should „manage‟ nature by way of transforming the basic character of our desires toward materialism at all costs, changing the basic relationship between ourselves and nature, and even through obliterating whole areas of the planet (parts of the whole) in order to create the stage for our rationalist nightmares. The “wild and multi-variant” (R. Woog 1998:Class lecture, 4 Aug.) natural sphere was therefore Figure 4 A Great deal of ‘creative’ activity is spent absorbed in annihilations displaced, and we attended to this (http://www.uvm.edu/~ashawley/images/clip genocide long before that art/genocide.gif) destructive, knowing and character-less science presumption illuminated us sufficiently to become aware of the magnitude of the ongoing holocaust growing in our collective wake. We continued to think (again through a fantasy that neglected ethical human potential or character) that we were able to even systematize nature somehow (tell it what it could do for us), enlarge our domestic regimes as temporary gains suppressed disease, advanced nutrition and hygiene… and multiplied our children out of sight, tame the weather, and master bizarre economic theory that bore little or no relationship to… the whole of the world. The incredible POWER of technology seemed to imply and even demand that we should stampede CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 181 development on the basis of these deeply embedded presumptions and extend our unnatural illusions without any restraint at all. Finally, we now appear to be questioning some things because we are suffering enough to force us into wondering what we‟ve been doing wrong. However, we unfortunately find that corporations have almost unlimited power, and that we – the enlightened – don‟t have any consistent influence over them. The unsettling realization now coming into focus is that companies with more clout than entire countries are going to continue this mad rush toward diabolical and inevitable outcomes on the basis of feathering corporate and shareholder nests. To the exclusion of the particular suffering of the displaced, of course. The super organization of life processes (copyrighting of DNA, GMO‟s 59, unlimited stem cell applications, nanotechnology, etc) is now mimicking the fanaticism of the much more historical, overt and brutal dynamics of ethnic or racial crimes that seek to systematize, control, homogenize, and reduce diversity through puritanical sociological manipulation (racial segregation and loss of equity) and genocides („ethnic cleansing‟). Ultimately, these approaches impoverish the complexity and diversity of the unfathomably beautiful natural realm, including our real human potential, and all just for the sake of short term advantage (with inevitable toxic techno side effects) and monetary profit. Our floundering efforts are fixated, inflexible and addicted within a paradigm that resolutely believes, somehow, that aberrant technological development and ecology are mutually inclusive, and compatible. These dumb presumptions are utterly contradicted by the cascade of effects arising from our generationally infectious experiments, blind ventures that have brought us to this 59 Genetically modified organisms. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 182 disastrous point in history. And that human potential – in terms of the highest development of character – is vitally important, as will be shown in later chapters. Here is where we who now live – most of us – preside largely as spectators over a very sick planet morbidly recoiling from our historical exotic and toxic thinking60. Spectators and obedient contributors, but mainly spectators watching to see what the global „corporatista‟ do next to further enhance our shared ruination. Here is where our selfish planning and selfish actions of doing things in bits and pieces that make only bits and pieces of almost worthless sense have generated much more than tiny bits and pieces of problems. Our stupid, abridged sessions of thinking supporting short term goals have marked up our tiny and marvelous lives and contracted perceptions with the eccentric anemia of the blight and bloat of largely painful, inequitable and loveless, materialistic and valueless… errata, and the production of highly compromised, „technologized‟ children who will carry the pathology on for us. We, the „rich‟ and heavily indebted, are juggling with plutonium, chemicals, values, lives, futures, potential. 60 The historical toxicity of human activities is now known to have extended back at least as far as the military and economically-driven ‘Renaissance’ of Roman and Greek times (around 2,500 to 1,700 years ago) when smelters marked the most extensive hemispheric pollution recorded before the Industrial Revolution (Hong, Candelone, Patterson and Boutron 1994:1841). It continued with the ancient practices of alchemy in the Middle Ages, when kings and emperors were often sent mad by concoctions of ‘eternal life’ dreamed up by their sorcerers and physicians. “The mistaken belief that large doses of arsenic had beneficial medicinal properties threatened alchemists and their patients until the 17th century. Because arsenic produces a mild dilation of the blood vessels, it was prescribed as an aphrodisiac regularly in India and Europe well into the 19th century and even appeared in an aphrodisiac preparation listed in the 1957 edition of the British Encyclopedia of Medical Practice” (Nelson 1999). These elixirs sometimes contained mercury. Today, we put mercury in amalgam fillings, and strangely, relieved individuals tell of the reversal of ‘modern disease’ symptoms once these fillings are removed. Amalgam is an unstable alloy of mercury. Amalgam slowly corrodes releasing mercury into the mouth. The University of Lund in Sweden has shown that as much as 150 ug of mercury may be swallowed per day (over half a gram in 10 years). Patients, dentists and dental nurses have suffered from mercury toxicity. Mercury can generate genetic and immune damage. Chronic mercury toxicity hosts symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, depression, irritability, and short-term memory loss. Also, bleeding gums, loose teeth, diminishment of appetite, diarrhea, dermatitis and neurological impacts occur through further exposure (Health 84 1984:1). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 183 Most of the billions who live in grinding poverty, however, don‟t suffer so richly and peculiarly the anchorless lives lived within the developed nations. These billions of super-poor have it simpler: inadequate shelter, no food, no hygiene, no electricity, no health care, often constant warfare, and child slavery (including enforced military service) and high infant mortalities. These are they that need good quality technology in abundance61, not the richer nightmares we in the First World stupidly favor. Strangely, sometimes those just a little better off than the above living-dead are actually happier than all the rest of us. What This World Needs Now… Forgiveness We now need (as a life form, important species and unfortunate god-like being), more than anything else, an ecological awareness that transcends man‟s ongoing self- impeachment and excommunication from the womb of nature. A new (or ancient) understanding is demanded that will miraculously and impossibly change our nature from creator- 61 But not toxic infant formulas, or pesticides or pharmaceuticals banned elsewhere in the world. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 184 destroyers to humble gardeners and carpenters, and little more. But the postmodern world is a bad place to reverse out of because “scientists are already calling the 1990s the Post-Antibiotic Age” (Da Silva 1995:38). Still, if we care to try, then our post-phenomenological and ecological value system will need to represent a spiritually-animating antidote to, or overhaul of, an entire scientific paradigm. This „heresy‟ must at least figuratively absolve past ecological sins 62 prosecuted via the unforgiving anvil of technological curiosity and innovation. It would need to realistically address human nature, and redeem our essential and uncontrived potential63 from within the bountiful dimensions of a sweetly dynamic system of super-life (the all-encompassing contribution of the wider cosmos to the viability of all life-forms). This involves changing significant orientations (curiosity) and motors (fear and greed) within human nature. A very, very big supernatural ask. Now, on a more materialistic level, if we could become sufficiently scared, learn fast and commit utterly, and be motivated for all the right reasons, then creating a re-education strategy that can see families, communities, nations and the world quickly exchange dangerous and unsustainable technological approaches to lifestyle and development for genuinely sustainable (nature-based) practices and products, is at least theoretically possible. Even this way, though, these notions of quick and comprehensive change, of a wholesale paradigmatic shift, seem weird. Given how good intentions are readily corrupted, I imagine – ideally – they would need to be as impossibly „pure‟ as the current level of unconsciousness, 62 Given humanity’s predisposition for embracing symbols and icons in at least a quasi religious sense, I have no doubts that such a reformation, were it possible, would require some of its definition to be recognized as such by much of this world’s people, subject of course to regional and cultural adaptation and embellishment. 63 I postulate that our “essential and uncontrived potential” is an attitude of humility toward nature that, at the very least, represents an educated disposition, and at the most suggests that spiritual dimensions do exist and that change within human mind could occur positively on that most basic and most important level (see Chapter 3). CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 185 apathy and acceptance of environmentally destructive technology is obscene and unworkable. In favor of my pessimism (because I am not a „people person‟ or a logistics expert), I cannot really imagine the leveraging of suitable large scale cooperative dynamics between individuals, groups, communities, competing corporations, suspicious nations, antagonistic ethnic groups, and religions. The needed engines of real change – on this scale – are almost impossible to visualize. It is here that I recognize more clearly my limitations shared with all peoples, and appreciate the need for a mystical pooling of reform. Perhaps, to even be… saved from ourselves. CHAPTER CONCLUSION P henomenology is interpreted in this study to represent the basic nature of this system of the universe. As such, phenomenological ecology is seen to be a more earthly and defined local variant and specialized manifestation of this universal prescription for order, form, animation, life, ecological health, purpose and meaning. With this understanding in place, Chapter 2 has laid out a basic appreciation of our elemental failure to found our endeavors upon this unity, and incorporate a whole observance of these essential requirements of nature into the orientation and application of our curiosity. As a result of our signature neglect of an order infinitely more ancient and preeminent than our own delusions, we have forged ideologies that have put humanity above the womb that sustains it. These generational beliefs have led to the development of artificial approaches to lifestyle, and consequent sustained conflict with that natural order. CHAPTER 2 PHENOMENOLOGY Sociology PhD UWS Murray S. Thompson 95709680 2008 186 Such is the danger our ideas and activities pose to this planet, that a radical change in human imagination and invention is demanded should we wish to start creating long-term material and spiritual benefits in amongst our slide into oblivion, that is, if we believe that we can craft changes that are positive with the same minds that created the problems. This is such an important issue on so many levels, and so much so that we could say here that even more than a popular intellectual/political promotion of a post-phenomenological view of ecology (which is what I‟ve really just stated, but in a slightly more sophisticated manner), a meta-narrative of incomprehensible sensibilities (see Chapter 4) is regarded by this study as the only valid humanistic basis for a practical re- educational strategy that can have a chance at globally reversing the damage we are inflicting upon our only home. A reminder: this planet is our home. When we go out into nature, we aren‟t „getting away from it all‟, we‟re going home to what‟s important (Brown 2003). This concludes our first important study of nature-based, foundational ethics. Chapter 3 next provides something of an interlude by way of establishing the temperament of the sickness that afflicts the human mind. Then, Chapter 4 will introduce a further, more classical interpretation of ethics providing us with a more academic evaluative framework for examining the modern foundations of the abyss we engineered in the last century. I now invite the reader to move over to Chapter 3, entitled: THE SICK BRAIN, OUR LEARNING DISORDER & CROWD MENTALITY O N P A R A D I G M A T I C SC A L E S, O U R D Y S F U N C T I O N A L C O R T E X A N D T H E M Y RI A D P RO B L E M S I T C R E AT E S .
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