Mankind and the Planet

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

Page 18


One aspect of the problem of justice has yet to be examined, namely the relationship of the individual to the Whole of Reality. It is the problem of human individual existence as a natural being, subject to seemingly unchangeable laws of nature, while the Whole of Reality limits this existence, either in accordance with or against the deepest desires of that individual being. The human being is labyrinthine; that which, in the depths of the mind - consciousness – is genuinely willed and that which is professed by the more superficial strata of the conscious mind, even if it is more or less sincerely believed to be willed, need not by any means be identical.  In certain instances, however, they may be identical.

The problem of justice would not arise if the natural sequence of human - and other – individual life, generation, birth and death, could be assumed to correspond to the deepest desires of individuals. If death were , ultimately, an unchangeable and unmodifiable constituent of nature, if it were the unmanageable component of life itself, there would be no will against it; every professed will against it would necessarily turn out to be an illusion.  The marked contrast between the fact that death is strikingly not willed in the conscious strata of every individual and the acceptance of the destiny of death in the deeper strata is a problem that would seem to show us the desirability of conformity between our conscious and unconscious strata, something that it would be reasonable to strive for. If the destruction of the individual is seen as unalterable, this should surely find entry into the conscious will and be accepted as unalterable, as part of the natural course of nature;  not, as it is, that the will has to 'put up with it' in a stoic-like way, but something to be desired. If the fact that everyone must die is an institution of nature, a desire should correspond to that necessity.

If, on the other hand, such a desire cannot be produced, the reason may be either, that the superficial layers of consciousness are unable to produce it, or that no such desire really exists. If, in the depths of the soul and of reality, no such desire exists, if, quite to the contrary, the constitution of the soul and of reality ultimately show a real will to live, if knowledge can do nothing about it, then this would constitute a problem of justice, of the ultimately just relationship between man and nature . Any answer to this problem would depend on the particular attitude taken with regard to the essence and existence of a self, ego, personality. It might be argued, e.g., that the coming into existence of a self is as 'undeserved' as its destruction and that, somehow, according to the saying of Anaximander, balance requires the destruction.  One might question whether that answer really conforms to the conditions of an ideal biological justice. However, the only alternative would seem to be some kind of immortality. Clearly, it is only possible to take this direction as a guess; we can only eliminate cruder concepts of immortality and try to guide our thinking in a way that avoids its being beset by insuperable objections.