Mankind and the Planet

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

Page 6


We do not usually see a close connection between the fact that there exists a non-human nature, with its vast masses of matter, its solar system and galaxies and the fact that there is such a thing as the human brain. In other words, we do not properly realise that the ocean of matter through space and time and the complex human organism – for which 'the brain' may stand here – constitute one single entity. The heliocentric and the later un-centric view of the universe has glossed over a difference that it ought not to have obscured: the difference between the living and the non-living and its bearing upon the definition of the world. Abandoning geo-centrism has, precipitatedly, led to the abandoning of bio-centrism and, with it , anthropo-centrism, actually no way implied in geo-centrism. Anthropo-centrism does not presuppose geo-centrism.

The meaning of words such as 'nature' is too broad and too indeterminate to convey this special aspect if it is not explicitly brought to our attention.  If the world produces brains, the brain is implied in the world, and the world has attained the level of an organ such as the brain.  The feature 'human brain' is not normally integrated into the picture we form of nature (except  when merely collecting or, rather, enumerating the contents of nature), i.e., it is not used to characterise or define what Nature or the World mean.  To say 'the world is an entity that produces human brains' conveys something different from the conception that sees the world as the environment,  the background, the stage for mankind which, of course, it also 'contains'.  Certainly, no-one would question the first proposition, but its reference to the brain would not likely be the most prominent feature of the notion 'world' in one's mind whenever  one uses the word.  If everything is defined according to the highest element it contains, - assuming that degrees are discernible – then the human brain must take a pre-eminent place in any definition or mental picture of the 'world'. The world, then, is something that is at least on the level of the human brain. The brain is a feature of the world to a degree such that it justifies asking whether the rest of the world may not be the mould, the humus, environment, an enormous roundabout for just this phenomenon, tiny as it is. If the whole world-thing is to be defined by its highest element, then the world is a vast 'arrangement' for producing brains (We use the term 'arrangement' with reference to what was said in section 1 about aimlessness and purpose).

A further classification of 'higher and lower' needs to be considered in this context. The whole chance play of possibilities, of which the emergence of the brain is one – the highest – must perhaps be valued as 'higher' than that one possibility. Not only is 'making' 'more than that which has been made', but even 'coming about', - which presupposes all the conditions of that which comes about - is more than 'that which has come about'. In this regard, the world as a whole would not only exceed the brain in terms of power and quantitative dimensions, but also, in some way, on a scale of  lower to higher.  The world as a whole would be considered as an organised something, higher than the phenomenon of the human brain, because the chance play of possibilities, in the cosmological sense is, in and of itself, an 'organisation' or an 'arrangement'.