Mankind and the Planet

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Mankind and the Planet, past, present and future Philosophical Speculations

Page 13


Viewed in the light of the biological development of the human race, we can say that the future line of evolution is, to a certain extent, as involuntary as was its past development up to now. If we take the intent and direction of future evolution of the human species to lie in the sphere of group phenomena rather than in morphological change in the human individual type, that involuntariness will apply to the group phenomena, and this in spite of the apparently voluntary and conscious conduct that seems to be prevalent in human group relations and processes.  There is, of course, voluntariness in the conscious history of man, but it is very short lived and limited. If we turn to man's political and social history, we need to realise that this is part of an immeasurably longer  and far more important history, namely man's natural history, which extends into an unlimited future. It is part, that is, of the future biological evolution of the human species.  In the development of group phenomena, human history in the normal sense and human natural history meet and blend.  It is the birth of the group-form, peculiar  to the human type, that is in question. If, in the ultimate perspective, this is an event in human biological evolution, it is, we suggest, an involuntary process. The problem that arises, therefore, is: how does that involuntariness relate to the seeming 'freedom' as a motor of normal political and social history.

One answer to the problem reads as follows: The ideal organic group-form of mankind that is proper to the human species is bound to be discovered and will come into existence at some stage of man's future social and natural history. This is a determined process. The question is not, how that determined course is compatible with human freedom, but rather how can human freedom come to accept  that necessity of its own free will. The harmonisation between free will and necessity here is dependent on the circumstance that man can delay the necessity, although not indefinitely.   That is to say, he can delay it until de does not want to delay it any longer, but wants it to come. However, that moment of willing the necessity is bound to arrive, given an unlimited stretch of time.

Acceptance of necessity by the will depends on the view one has of what is called necessary or inevitable or bound to come. These concepts almost all have a tinge of something 'unwelcome', enforced, not wanted; a freedom-restricting, unpleasant ring. But suppose that that necessity, that inevitable, predetermined aspect is associated with something ultimately desirable, life-giving and organically perfect.  What, then, about freedom? The conflict between freedom and necessity can only be imagined if one supposes that the desirable is not on the side of the necessary. True, if the situation were as simple as that, the problem of freedom would never have arisen  As things are, necessity – even if that which is bound to happen in a very remote future were to conform to the innermost desires of living beings and of man, though as yet hidden in their subconscious life – necessity does present a great many unwelcome aspects that conceal its perhaps ultimately desirable nature.

The hugely complex mix of what is agreeable or disagreeable in human affairs, where natural and involuntary effects of the chain of events blend with willed states, hides from our eyes the character of the final outcome in respect of what is desirable or undesirable. And there is one further complication: we value freedom for its own sake, quite apart from the agreeable or disagreeable states we bring about. Yet in a lengthened line of reasoning, the conception of what is agreeable  leads back to the concept of freedom, which itself cannot be separated from seeking what is agreeable. What is agreeable and what is not cannot easily be decided in advance; we are supposedly being asked to strike a balance in a highly complicated aggregate and mix of agreeable and disagreeable elements, to examine and analyse the desirable and undesirable as such, that is not within the context of ultimate reality and its lines of happening. We would not even be able to define that which is welcome; a subjective blindness as to desirability and undesirability would ensue.

That, however, is just what would apply to the nature of what is bound to happen  as the ultimate outcome  of the evolution of mankind.  We must, therefore, start from the other end.  If necessity is present at all in the world of human events in the long run – and we believe it is -  it is nonsensical to consider this necessary course of events unwelcome. Welcomeness cannot derive its definition from itself; it cannot be determined without  actually overlooking the whole process and the whole complexity of what is bound to happen. We must, therefore, conclude that,  in the evolution of mankind, something that is bound to happen must be the same as that which is ultimately welcome.  Only the coincidence of welcomeness and necessity can provide the meaningfulness of man's existence. That is the true background to all amor fati reflections.  Amor fati would be meaningless if, on balance, the fatum could be described as definitely unwelcome. Equally, however, welcomeness cannot be conceived of, as it usually is, in isolation from that which is bound to happen.

In other words: existence, welcomeness and thinkability cannot be separated from one another without declaring the bankruptcy of thought. If ultimate existence  in the necessary course of events were to turn out to be unwelcome, thought can be abandoned because the world, in the last resort, would be completely unintelligible – thought, which is both an organ and manifestation of will and, at the same time, an organ of existence, would be receiving incompatible orders. True,  thought cannot be ordered to discover that truth should be pleasant or welcome in a superficial sense (in a sense in which it cannot put up with an enormous amount of unpleasantness); but likewise, it cannot be ordered to sustain a conception of welcomeness that is radically cut off from the ultimate nature and course of things. Welcomeness, the nature of welcomeness itself, can only spring from the ultimate  nature of the existence of things; otherwise, there would ensue a dual, self-contradictory reality, which is altogether unthinkable. So, in the last resort, the good, the welcome, the ultimately existing and the necessary must be identical.

The necessary may be welcome in the ultimate stage of events, but the preliminary conditions and antecedent phases  of its coming about are correspondingly unwelcome. The entire process of the necessary happening is filled with the phases of the discovery of its welcomeness; the necessary can be delayed as long as these phases last. Here lies the place of freedom in the socio-biological history of mankind. Freedom is a short-range phenomenon; necessity a long-range phenomenon. That which is bound to come is put together and consists entirely of actions that not only seem but are free, because they are able,it seems indefinitely, to delay that which is bound to happen. At the beginning, the chances that the right and desirable states may be realised are exceedingly small; they grow with time. To be right, to be good is to act in line with that which will ultimately come out as victorious. The 'must' that the course of necessity takes 'gives way'.infinitely, is indulgent, delayable, postponable, - yet it is bound to happen at the very moment when it becomes impossible for free will not to see the preferability of that alternative which, then, constitutes the necessary. This 'must' is a chance in an immensely manifold statistic play of possibilities, a chance that is in a way distinct, but, equally, hidden from normal sight. It is the 'must' , the same necessity, that brings about living phenomena in the free play of an enormous number of factors;  the necessity of realising a given possibility in an immense but finite number of possibilities in infinite time.

Everything living only arises and grows as an involuntary and unconscious development. Hence, if the ideal, organic group-form of mankind, specific to the human species, is a phenomenon in life, there has to be some involuntariness in its coming into existence. That involuntariness is warranted, as it were, in a twofold manner: 1. in its real form, the ideal, organic group-form will hardly be recognised in advance; 2. much of the history of humanity happens outside of the domain of free will.  Yet free will, insight, knowledge and conscious judgement are labouring their way towards a goal  that is ultimately set by nature and is necessity and desirability in one.