The New Society
We are facing a number of global catastrophic risks. Most of the urgent ones are self-induced. As Thomas Friedman expresses in clear and practical terms, the survival of the human race depends on a change in human nature: “The fact is, for our survival as a species, our very notion of “community” has to expand to the boundaries of the planet” (2016, 352). We have to adopt all of the collective as our tribe. That will work. This automatically produces a potential resolution of the serious schisms all over the world. But how on Earth do we achieve this? The solution is simple to express but it seems utterly unreachable. The difficult becomes apparent when we see what is required to achieve this. Essentially the same proposition was put forward by Alexander King, the pioneering environmentalist who co-founded the Club of Rome; but he focuses on the change that has to happen within each person:
… the fundamental difficulty lies within the very nature of man. Any durable solution to [humanity’s] external and internal problems can only come from evolution beyond the egoism that motivates every individual. The wisdom we desperately require can only come through inner transformation. … This seems the only hope of breaking the impasse of both great danger and great promise, in which mankind is presently constrained. (2006, 22)
Egoism here means not so much self-obsession but rather the belief that acting in one’s own best interests is the only criterion that matters. This is what is tearing our world apart, the increasingly total breakdown of a sense of community, not only globally but locally.
King’s solution automatically produces a potential resolution of the serious schisms all over the world. But how on Earth do we achieve this? The solution is simple to express but it seems utterly unreachable. As he goes on to say:
All religions have, in their purest aspirations, attempted to induce such a change, with very little success. Much as we need a miracle, we can hardly rely on one appearing. Nevertheless, we should strive, through deliberate efforts of inner development and new insights into consciousness and the working of the mind, to cultivate an enlightened communal sense. This seems the only hope of breaking the impasse of both great danger and great promise, in which mankind is presently constrained. (ibid)
But there is new hope. The new worldview brings about exactly the change he describes. And it seems far more possible because we do not really have to evolve beyond the egoism – just as well since that does seem to be impossible. Even with the new worldview we are still primarily egoistic, but the egoism operates on a much wider agenda. It means we want to do as we would be done by for everyone, even if we are not terribly good at doing so. Eventually this leads to the change Friedman and King are describing.
There is another change for the better which comes about as a result of the new paradigm being adopted. It is clear there are no absolutes of right and wrong, aside from the fundamentals that apply to basic humanity. And there is absolutely no basis on which one can say that one’s own religious views are right for everyone. As a consequence, others are necessarily seen as entities with their own values which are also perfectly valid. There is every chance the human race will live long and prosper.
The Moral Rules
In the light of our having two quite different identities, the great struggle to define morality, and the basis on which it should be observed, make proper sense at last. The legendary naturalist Charles Darwin divided the effects of morality into altruism and selfishness, which he called the high moral rules and the low moral rules. The high moral rules are based on the impulse to prosper the other, whether or not this is to one’s own advantage. The low moral rules are the set of rational principles that one knows from education and experience one is required to conform to in order to get by in society. These are the daemon and the eidolon perspectives.
For the eidolon, the obvious morality is just the low moral rules: reality is what you can get away with. One could well see the modern world as a global expression of this viewpoint. The daemon relationship to the world is somewhat different. Egoism is still present, but the ego that truly knows itself identifies with the world as a whole. This automatically gives rise to the high moral rules. There is a natural urge to do well by others, and by the world. This viewpoint can be summed up by saying the whole is sacred. But this is a hard sell in a competitive world, in any age, now at least as much as any. In the eidolon world it is a luxury one may or may not want to provide, let alone be able to anyway. But in the daemon world this is the keys to heaven. Understanding one is the same thing as the known world changes everything because effectively, as countless sages have told us, how we treat the world is how the world treats us. That is the meaning of karma.
On the inside view karma is a real phenomenon, as described in Quantum Karma. As the eidolon, an ordinary person in an ordinary world, karma makes no sense. But as the daemon, identified with the world as a whole, it is a natural consequence of the nature of reality.
As the daemon, the only practical way to treat the world is as sacred. All primitive tribes know this. All modern civilisations classify it as nonsense. But now we have the logical analysis that shows us exactly what all this means. We are worlds. The individual is the ‘higher’ self. It is higher simply and solely because it is a second, ‘higher’, logical type of phenomenon. This is just how it works. This type of entity is immortal, and empowered. This type of identity comes with a higher set of truths, the daemon perspective. They are written down as the Ten Commandments as described by Jesus, with the first being to love God, which is here taken to mean holding the whole as sacred, and the second to love one’s neighbour as oneself. The rest, the ‘do nots’, are the quick-start guide to doing it right. And of course, in this kind of world, that is what works. And in the Moravec jump to the next lifetime, all one’s karma comes true in the blink of an eye.
Understanding that karma is a real phenomenon, the only sane and sensible approach to life is taking the other people in the world into consideration. This is enlightened self-interest, acting to the benefit of others in order to serve one’s own self-interest. This is a purely selfish motivation – doing well by doing good – but it achieves exactly the effects the human race is so desperately in need of.
At present self-interest trumps all other concerns. But in the new paradigm it is clear that an inherent morality operates, as described in Quantum Karma; and this makes enlightened self-interest the only rational approach to life. The ground is shifted because the basis of egoism is redefined. We are still egoistic, but the egoism operates with respect to an identity that includes all the world. As a result the principle of the high moral rules, altruism, becomes the elementary low moral rule, what one knows one has to conform to for one’s own good. And this way we get to go on living here.
This seeds the vital change in human nature. We become selfish cooperators, selfishly altruistic. The logic of this is explained in Interactive Destiny and the subsidiary pages. With every member of the community, rich and poor, rooting for the success of all, there is a total transformation not only of the quality of life but also of the effectiveness of the community and of our race. Right now the human race is desperately in need of just such principles, a basis for an inherent and meaningful morality. We have booted out religion to free ourselves from irrational beliefs, but the baby is gone with the bath water, and the global culture is rabidly egoistic. The new understanding restores the humanistic principles as fundamental rules of the operation of reality, not just guidelines but essentials for life. This in turn produces a culture oriented towards support and cooperation, if not at first committed. The efficiencies are extraordinary. Resources flow naturally to where they are needed. At the same time the general recognition of the frail state of the ecosphere results in far greater respect being paid to maintenance, with self-imposed austerity and ecological efficiency being highly prized and admired. This is Human Being 2.0.