The Great Dying is a Wake-Up Call: A Personal Statement
9th December 2018

Chris King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday a research announcement was made in "Science" that the "Great Dying" of the Permian extinction in which 90% of life was wiped out was caused by rapid global warming only a bare order of magnitude greater than that which we have already precipitated, through human misadventure. The collapse of our civilisations is indeed on the horizon, as David Attenborough warned at COP24 this week. In addition further research in "PNAS" shows that, on current projections, by 2200 significant areas of the planet will have been taken back 50 million years to the hot phase of the Eocene.

As a catalyst for a new beginning, I want to focus on the state of the planet, so you can consider doing the good thing before it is too late. Here is a perspective on how nature and the need to protect the diversity of life bring together our sense of meaning in reality in a way which safeguards our future and gives us all the situation we really need to become whole as a people as a species and as a planet in jeopardy.


By 2200, much of the world will have become as hot as the Eocene 50 million years ago

1. Resplendence: I am a "witness" and a free "agent". I follow no religion, yet I am neither an "agnostic" nor an "atheist". I reject the positions of  many professed atheists, from Richard Dawkins to Sam Harris, whose positions fail to recognise the existential underpinnings of the spiritual impulse, autonomous will and sentient conscious existence. That doesn't mean that I accept that  a wooly haired patriarch in the clouds fulminating with jealousy over humanity's disobedience, or a kind father that diabolically sacrifices his own son, or a religion where God is claimed to condemn people to death if they disbelieve, has any more credibility than a cargo cult wistfully gazing with hope on passing planes in the sky.

The cosmology of the universe clearly involves subjective consciousness as a complement to physical reality and this complementarity is a foundation of all the Eastern traditions, from the Upanishads to the Mahayana. The moral deity is a socially prescriptive invention of a desert-based patriarchy to achieve social dominance by force of holy war and control female reproductive choice by diabolical punishments, from female genital mutilation, and stoning for adultery to strict chaperoning of female social life, in ways which continue to constitute an ongoing threat to the future of the human species. I was welcomed with respect and consideration by liberal Jewish people when I made my millennial pilgrimage to Jerusalem and I profess to a deeper more pervasive spirituality and transcendence than any form of moral theism can begin to capture through enticement, bondage and entrapment.  For this reason, I have coined the term - "resplendence" to shine brightly - as an paradigm successor to - "religion" to bind together - as in the fasces of Rome.

So please take a look at Resplendence and make your own initiative to actually do the good thing before your light is snuffed out and you lose the one chance you had to make your life have original meaning and virtue.


Paradise Found David Miller (mauiarts.com)

2. Realisation: I want to emphasise that conscious existence IS the consummating climax of the cosmological process. Despite the vastly greater energies of black holes and dark energy, it is biological tissue and its culmination in the conscious brain that is the quintessence and consummation of the interactive cosmological process of the forces of nature. It is abundantly clear that each and every one of us is a crucible for this cosmological phenomenon of conscious subjectivity, without which we would be unable to even be aware the physical universe or the natural world around us existed. We are thus each personally responsible for repairing the fate of the universe in the process of coming to know and understand itself/ourselves - no longer through a glass darkly, but now face to face, knowing also as we are known.

While the realities of the quantum universe evolve in superposition, like the live and dead shadow cats of Schrodinger's quantum paradox, so that every possibility is encapsulated in the wave function, conscious observers create the history of the universe by witnessing only one outcome - the cat alive OR dead. In this way, through our conscious actions and decisions, we define the history of the universe for good or ill. This is NOT just a random or mechanistic process. Indeed all phenomena attributed to randomness either source from incomplete knowledge of a system or more importantly emerge from the abysmal milieu of cosmological quantum entanglement, in which future, past and present are woven into the conscious present. Our concept of randomness is thus just a proxy for a deeper space-time entanglement we experience consciously in the Schrodinger cat paradox in every actual outcome we witness or determine, but cannot dismantle mechanically into its parts due to the quantum milieu.

Both materialists and religious believers are heading like two express trains, each barreling towards human annihilation, the former from rape of the planet through short-term winner-take-all exploitation and the latter through utopian visions of the moral deity conquering history in a final armageddon. Each of us, as conscious sentient beings have the innate capacity to solve this Gordian Knot. We cannot afford to go into that good night in default of this covenant with conscious incarnation. This is NOT a question of morality, or belief. Each of us has the power as conscious beings to save the world and demonstrate the messianic ideal of long-term future goodness espoused to me by a Jewish teacher many years ago, before I set out for the Amazon. We have the choice to awaken and throw off the covers of reality in the "unveiling" and save the vulnerable world, or we can die unfulfilled. In my father's words on his death bed: "I seem to have gone through life in a state of distraction". Do not go gentle into that good night! Shine forth with penetrating light!


Serengeti

3. Redemption: In so far as we experience sentient incarnate existence, there is one and only one thing we can do that is ultimately of any value and that is to ensure that the diversity of life is sustained and safeguarded for the future generations of conscious sentient life to unfold ever more completely. If there is anything resembling God in the universe it is the genesis, existence and regeneration of the conscious biota. It is the biota that are the very sentient components of the cosmological becoming that have the features we attribute deity to. This is the one antidote to the random nightmare of a meaningless universe Bertrand Russell drew our attention to in stark and uncompromising terms. All our fantasies of deity, of the atman of cosmic consciousness, of spiritual transfiguration and natural reflowering, arise through the biota and the emergence of consciousness the biota engender through sexual procreation in evolution. Sexuality is the underlying sacred foundation that brought each of us into existence and consciousness is the resulting naked lunch on the grass. Moral religion and the father God are tokens of our free-fall from gatherer-hunter existence into the conflicts of civilisations.

Whether we like it or not, we have, through our own misadventure of material dominance on the planet and mutually assured destruction, come of age in a way in which we can no longer turn to a stern or forgiving father figure to take responsibility. It is we who now have to take the tiller of the ark of creation and protect the diversity of existence, so that the sentient generations can continue to flourish. In doing so, we literally become the universe discovering itself in precisely the way religious people imagine the heavens to be. We can do this. We are not too flawed. It is not an intractable paradox. Every conscious decision we make is an act of grace, repairing the universe from death by misadventure. Consciousness is splitting the wave function as we go, so that Napoleon did not win the battle of Waterloo and so that meaning can have a purpose and purpose can have a meaning in autonomous will.

The one thing we simply have to do right now without delay is to save the living planet, so that this whole conscious shebang can become the living wonder we all know it can and would be, if we were not going to our demise in a state of distraction.


The Permian Extinction - from the report.

Unproven assumptions? Is this all another bunch of unproven assumptions? I don't actually have time to prove anything to you, and indeed proof itself IS a classical assumption. Neither does this mean that what I have stated is implicitly incorrect because it hasn't or can't be formally proved. The real problem with all open environmental problems is that they are computationally intractable, so proof in real time is out of the question. To jump out of the way of the tiger, neither proof nor presumption prevail, just an uncanny hunch, or sense of foreboding, at the critical moment.

Faith is a Two Way Street Neither is anything I have said in any way simply an act of faith.  We don't have to have faith in a chair to sit in it, but we do need to have undiscerning faith to have religious belief. True faith is a covenant of trust with a worthy partner, knowing their good character furthers. Faith in God fails the trust test because deity is an unproven assumption, with no demonstrable character, good or bad. With the diversity of life, character is demonstrable because survival is the sine qua non of nature. To suggest nature, or sexuality itself, is not a worthy partner is a fatal condition. The flip side of true faith is betrayal. Hence verifiable trust is necessary on both sides in the prisoners' dilemma of life. It has to be a two way street, not blind faith in an entity whose character is not verifiable.

Broken Religion doesn't mean Flawed Humanity According to Richard Alexander's seminal work "The Biology of Moral Systems", morality is a sociobiological process reducing intra-social strife to increase inter-social dominance. The fact that these aspects of moral religion result in forms of oppression doesn't mean that humanity is intrinsically flawed. They are perfectly understandable as social processes and their purposes in inhibiting female reproductive choice to further patriarchal imperatives and setting up draconian forms of altruistic punishment to achieve greater dominance of large religiously-based societies, is relatively incontestable, because history confirms it, from Catal Huyuk to Mecca and Constantinople.

There is little evidence to support the idea that these products of the "civilised" era following agriculture and animal husbandry are intrinsic to human nature or even human culture. The fall of our historical evolutionary reproductive sex ratio from 1 man to 2 women (consistent with a wider variance in male success and mammalian internal gestation) to the catastrophic value of 1 man to 17 women by 5000 years ago across several continents, now believed to be due to Neolithic inter-clan homicide taking out whole clades of human Y-chromosome diversity, is clear evidence of both of these factors, which make complete sense in terms of both enticement and oppression.

Therefore we can't have faith that a broken religion is due to a flawed human psyche or that we may as well be religious because we have the original sin that caused religion to flourish by moral enticement and oppression. Neither can we have faith that patriarchal institutions, based on fear of paternity uncertainty, now enshrined in Western culture, from materialist capitalism and short-term winner-take-all exploitation to the male reproductive combat of populist two-party adversarial politics are a satisfactory basis for human survival.