We have seen how the transcendental will of Yahweh and the rational elements of Hellenic epistemology have structured differentia along antagonistic lines, violating the animist’s sense of complementarity and interpretation of concrete reality along conciliatory lines. It is tempting, here, to see the steppe lands and particularly the desert as domineering environments that brought humanity into subjugation to nature and to view the Bedouin as involved in a bitter “struggle” with nature. To the Bedoujn, the starkness of the nomad’s arid world was often seen as a source of purification, indeed of moral and personal freedom. To the great Hebrew prophets, most notably figures like Amos, the desert was above all the land to which one returned to find the strength of character and moral probity to fight injustice.
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A new, science that accords, with libertarian reason, in turn, has the responsibility of rediscovering the concrete, which is so important in arresting this enterprise. Ironically, “paradigms” that quarrel with “paradigms,” each blissfully remote from the natural history and ecological reality in which they should be immersed, increasingly serve the ends of instrumentalism with its inevitable manipulation of mind and society. Paradoxical as it may seem, the abstraction of science to methodology (which is largely what scientific “paradigms” do) tends to turn the scientific project itself into a problem of method, or more bluntly, a problem of instrumental strategies. The confusion between science as knowledge, or Wissenschaft, and as “scientific method” has never been adequately unscrambled.
The modern world has abandoned this notion and reduced reason to rationalization, that is, to a mere technique for achieving practical ends. This book tries to recover this notion of an immanent world reason, albeit without the archaic, quasi-theological trappings that render this notion untenable to a more knowledgeable and secular society. In my view, reason exists in nature as the self-organizing attributes of substance; it is the latent subjectivity in the inorganic and organic levels of reality that reveal an inherent striving toward consciousness. I do not claim that my approach is unique; an extensive literature that supports the existence of a seemingly intrinsic logos in nature derives mainly from the scientific community itself. What I have tried to do here is to cast my speculations about reason in distinctly historical and ecological terms, free of the theological and mystical proclivities that have so often marred the formulations of a rational nature philosophy. In the closing chapters, I try to explore the interface between nature philosophy and libertarian social theory.
The threat of an emergency was never absent once the cities flourished and increased in number. Contiguous fields, questions of drainage and irrigation, the safe-guarding of supplies by procuring safety in transit — all these might become matters of dispute between neighboring cities. We can follow through five or six generations a futile and destructive war between Umma and Lagash with a few fields of arable land as the stakes. For Aristotle, the threat of the https://datingrated.com/ unlimited lies not only in imbalance and dependence; it also lies in the subversion of form — without which identity itself dissolves and the meaningful is supplanted by the meaningless. Many arms gave him comfort, many faces smiled at him, and from a very early age he was given bits of food which were chewed by various members of the family and placed in his mouth. So for a Hopi, the outside world in which he needed to find satisfaction was never far away.
Humanity is afflicted not because it has eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge but because it has eaten of the bitter root of scarcity. Given a level of abundance that removes this bitter root, individuals have no need to dominate, manipulate, or empower themselves at the expense of others. The appetite for power and the desire to inflict harm are removed by nature’s sheer fecundity. Augustine’s ambiguities are more explosive and implicitly more radical than his certainties.
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His very identity is at stake in a world where production and reproduction are centered around woman, where the “magic” of life inheres in her own personal life-processes, where the rearing of the young, the organization of the home, and the fecundity of nature seem to be functions of her sexuality and personality. Whether he “envies” matricentricity or not is irrelevant; he must evolve an identity of his own which may reach its most warped expression in warfare, arrogance, and subjugation. Hence, it is not in the innocent metaphors, the magical techniques, the myths, and the ceremonies they generate that the animistic imagination has earned the right to a more rational review than it has received up to now. Rather, it is its hints of a more complete logic — a logic possibly complementary to that of science, but certainly a more organic logic — that render the animistic imagination invaluable to the modern mind. Anvilik Eskimos who believe that ivory conceals a vocal subject are in error, just as are Plains Indians if they believe that they can engage in a verbal dialogue with a horse.
The warrior societies, for their part, reinforced their military power with economic power by claiming the lands of conquered peoples, not of their own folk, as private booty. Extratribal conquest, in effect, was to lead to the war chieftain’s aggrandizement with large private estates, often worked by their aboriginal inhabitants as serfs. As for the warrior societies that clustered around the chieftains, the most permanent spoils of battle and victory were the lands they carved out as their own demesnes — estates, in effect — which they then elaborated into an internal manorial hierarchy of villeins, tenants, serfs, and slaves. Judging from Mesoamerican data, the manorial economy eventually began to outweigh the capulli economy in sheer acreage and produce. But the blood oath, with its highly variegated customs and rituals, became more symbolic than real.
Like the Norsemen, and perhaps even more, like the people at the close of the Middle Ages, we sense that our world, too, is breaking down — institutionally, culturally, and physically. Whether we are faced with a new, paradisical era or a catastrophe like the Norse Ragnarok is still unclear, but there can be no lengthy period of compromise between past and future in an ambiguous present. The reconstructive and destructive tendencies in our time are too much at odds with each other to admit of reconciliation. The social horizon presents the starkly conflicting prospects of a harmonized world with an ecological sensibility based on a rich commitment to community, mutual aid, and new technologies, on the one hand, and the terrifying prospect of some sort of thermonuclear disaster on the other.
Artificial or not, early crafts such as metalworking, glass-making, and dyeing alike had the task of imitating Nature, and of creating products which were indistinguishable from the best natural materials. The metal-workers of Alexandria, for instance, produced silver and copper alloys having the appearance and properties of gold; and they developed for this purpose a whole range of techniques for depositing a durable golden colour on a relatively cheap alloy. Men were paying for the appearance, not the “atomic weights,” so the craftsmen and customers alike were entitled to be satisfied with the results. Hence, causation to Aristotle is not merely motion that involves change of place — like the change of place produced by one billiard ball striking another.
But New England political life was organized around the face-to-face democracy of ‘the town meeting and around considerable county and statewide autonomy. An incredibly loose democracy and mutualism prevailed along a frontier that was often beyond the reach of the comparatively weak national government. By contrast, the farmer earned not only the material independence requisite for a free man, but also the sense of security requisite for a free spirit. The classical mind read clientage into vocations that would surprise us today-for example, the dependence of wealthy usurers on their debtors, of traders on their buyers, of craftsmen on their customers, and of artists on their admirers. Even though the usurer, trader, and artisan began to preempt the farmer in social power, the tension between reality and ideal, while it finally destroyed the traditional reality, did not destroy the traditional ideal. In fact, agriculture enjoyed cultural eminence in the classical world not only because it conferred self-sufficiency on its practitioners but also because it was seen as an ethical activity, hence not only a teelme.
“A man [and certainly a woman] can perform a sinful act without being in sin, and as long as he acts with the intention of following the will of the Spirit, his action is good.” By contrast, the Party was simply a mirror-image of the nation-state, and its fortunes were completely tied to the State’s development. The Party was meant to be very large, often embracing sizable masses of people who were knitted together bureaucratically in depersonalized, centralized organs. When the Party was not “in power,” it was merely the disinherited twin of the State apparatus, often replicating it in every detail. Rarely has it been understood that the Bolshevik Party and the Nazi Party were themselves complete State apparatuses that completely supplanted the preexisting State structures they “seized.” Hitler, no less than Lenin, was to follow Marx’s famous maxim that the State must not be merely occupied but “smashed” and replaced by a new one. Gnosticism, by giving desire an unyielding claim on the entire universe of experience, does not seem to limit its credo of “illumination” to a limited place in personal life.
This development was paralleled by science’s evocation of a new image of the world — a lifeless physical world composed of matter and motion that preceded the technical feats of the Industrial Revolution. The hedonistic trend in medieval chiliasm, like the gnostic Ophites, is redolent with aspirations for personal autonomy. Medieval hedonistic conventicles were compellingly individualistic and almost completely free of patricentric values. Christianity’s powerful message of the individual’s sanctity in the eyes of God, its high valuation of personality and the soul, and its emphasis on a universal humanity bred a sense of individuality and freedom that could easily turn against clerical hierarchy and dogma.