Friday, April 11, 2008

Howard Bloom, The Lucifer Principle and human evolution

(NSFW Alert: Language. He drops the f-bomb a few times.)

I love Howard. He chews off so much that sometimes I find minor flaws in a few of the details, but overall, the message takes.

In his book, The Lucifer Principle, he posits that evil is a by-product of nature's strategy and what drives us to survive, thrive and do great things is at the root of our potential downfall as a species. In the end he calls for us to transcend this by changing the wiring of our brains, how we interact and how we observe, measure and design our society. Some of this is happening on its own, some needs a little push. Becoming aware and unafraid of our hard-wired tendencies toward evil would, in itself, be a big step.

If you're an opponent of the Killer Ape theory, you won't like the message, but you should read it anyway. Chances are, many people wouldn't like his message. Leave your biases at the door.

From his prologue:

I've attempted to employ the subject of man's inborn "evil" like those who turned to the subject in the past--to offer up a restructuring of the way we see the business of being human. I've taken the conclusions of cutting-edge sciences-- ethology, sociobiology, psychoneuroimmunology and the study of complex adaptive systems, among others--to suggest a new way of looking at culture, civilization, and the mysterious emotions of those who live inside the social beast. The goal is to open the path toward a new sociology, one which escapes the narrow boundaries of Durkheimian, Weberian and Marxist concepts, theories that have proven invaluable to the study of mass human behavior while simultaneously entrapping it in orthodoxy.

As an omnologist and freelance generalist, I resonate with polymaths like R. Buckminster Fuller, Robert Anton Wilson, Ray Kurzweil and Howard Bloom, to name just a few. None of them are perfect, but the gems lie in the overall.

What comes through to me is the need for disciplines that coordinate human knowledge, in whole or in varied inter-related segments, in order to understand and manage the dynamic forces integral to large-scale human interaction and the formation of a global society, all the while providing a sort of 'connective tissue' between various specialized fields to promote better informed and integrated perspectives and strategies.

New problems will present themselves and new systems will need to be adopted in order to cope. The tools and methods of empire, as well as, nationalistic, hemispheric and racially-driven world-views will largely have to be abandoned. Specialized sectors, like information technology, have already moved on. Others are slower to adapt. A field of discipline like omnology, might help provide rudder. At least until someone like Hari Seldon shows up.

Howard Bloom's column

A good complement to The Lucifer Principle:
A Criminal History of Mankind by Colin Wilson

Of course, our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking. This means that the potentially-integratable-techno- economic advantages accruing to society from the myriad specializations are not comprehended integratively and therefore are not realized, or they are realized only in negative ways, in new weaponry or the industrial support only of war faring.
-- R. Buckminster Fuller - Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth

Here's the entire interview (24 min., better quality)
Thanks to Disinformation for making this video.

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