Gratitude outshines detailed knowledge.Ginger wrote:
I feel and think the same. I don't really believe in god/God in the popular definition, but I do believe in the presence of a higher power.
The more I know about the world, the more I am awed by it's beauty and it's beautifully flawed perfection. It's enough to convince me that some things are just too pure to be explained or rationalized.
as for the topic, I don't care much where humanity came from, but I sure am glad I'm sharing this world with all the stuff in it, even though I rant and complain a lot about the world lol.
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Discuss deep philosophical topics and questions.
Great post. Can you recommend any reading on the sociology of evolution belief; i.e., the secular British upper class you speak of? I'm familiar with social Darwinism, but I always thought it postdated evlolutionary theory, rather than undergirded it.
Great stuff in this thread. Fred is at his independent-minded best here. And, as he noted, his questions never do get answered, only derided by religionists.
Anything that defies chaos is an expression of intelligence, and beauty. Even if the known universe really were doomed to being frozen (which many scientists associate to the dimension of time disappearing), even that very act would be the expression of a higher intelligence. What we call God is simply a tiny fragment of that Higher Intelligence, which might or might have not manifested to us in ancient times and generated the countless myths penned in ancient chronicles and sacred books the world over.
We don't need to conjure up sophisticated theories with scientific basis. Let the wisdom of the Indian Vedas suffice. Yad Pinde Tad Brahmande. "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing"
I think almost any late nineteenth century tome on the subject of "empire" or manifest destiny will contain some reference to the idea of conflict between RACES as an expression of destiny.
But re socio-economic Social Darwinism specifically, as expressed WITHIN British society, I can't provide specific literary references, but it shouldn't be too hard to google. You have to read the original writers from the time, though, if you want to get the spirit of the time.
One example, off the top of my head, of PRE-Darwin "Social-Darwinistic-type" actions was the Enclosure Movement in Scotland, pushing clan members off of historic clan land, in order to regularize ownership for the laird himself. This was a violation of customary family rights, and created an atomized, landless proletariat.
Another example we've all heard of, was the employment of children as coal miners in England, not as apprentices to their fathers (which is normal) but because they were smaller and the tunnels didn't have to be as big. Obviously this violated family patriarchy, and treated the masses as economic units or "individuals".
My point - which you understood of course - is that godless, brutal capitalism had already begun, and the morose pseudo-science of Darwin's eccentric little treatise went viral because it provided moral justification for self-aggrandizing elitists.
Hypocrisy is hard. People need to believe that what they do is somehow justified.
An example of a traditional elite, versus a proto-Social-Darwinist elite:
It's like the scene in Braveheart. Mel Gibson tells the assembled Scottish lairds,
"There's a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom."
Although this scene represents a much earlier period, it defines the difference between an elite which leads, and an elite which exploits.
A different example of the theory following the spirit:
Marx and other Communists developed their theories around the 1840's. But vicious, bloodthirsty resentments against aristocrats and the Church had been current among the chattering classes since the time of Voltaire, Robespierre, et al. The resentful, self-important, anger and self-pity of petty-bourgeois intellectuals provided a fertile spiritual soil for the intellectual theory of Communism.
Evil does not appear because of a bad theory. A bad theory appears because of evil, as self-justification.