|31 Jan 2005 @ 09:27, by Beto Hoisel|
In this beginning of the 21st century, we still live together with the last remains of Sigmund Freud's, Karl Marx's and Charles Darwin's ideas, three typical products of the 19th century.
Undeniably, Freud, Marx and Darwin were respectable investigators in their respective fields, innovative researchers who dared to challenge the established thought of their time. However, it's time to realize that their outlines and solutions have shown inadequate, not only because they ignored essential factors to elucidate the systems studied, but also because their proposals were harnessed to a Zeitgeist that no more subsists. Darwin, Freud and Marx, with their theories of wide acceptation among scientists and intellectuals affiliated to the materialistic paradigm, in large measure played a role to shape – or to deform – our Western 20th century civilization, which has spread across the Earth, raising understandable reactions among those who don't accept its assumptions. Our Western civilization hardly could be considered as doing well, if evaluated in terms of the human being's most noble aspirations.
The materialistic intermezzo in Western history – about three hundred years only – was necessary for the rapid development of the supporting technologies for material progress. It also had an important role in the breaking, although partial, of chains and cages of the past: the superstition originated from ignorance; the brutal exploration of human work; the oppression of thought and individual freedom by religious authority and the obstruction of creative investigation by that same authority. That materialistic/mechanistic phase reached its peak in the 19th century, leaving those three ghosts – and their thought lineages – as remains that continued haunting the whole 20th century and, if we don't be careful, will still continue on this 21st century blocking the evolution of science on the study of the subjective face of wholeness and hindering the understanding of this new disturbing millennium.
Darwin and the theory of evolution
It is a recognized fact that the mechanism of the random emergence of mutations for "copy errors" followed by subsequent selection due to environmental pressure, as proposed by Darwin, can just explain the appearance of varieties inside a species, but not the emergence of a new species, a fact no one could witness yet. Besides, it's already verified that competition, emphasized by Darwinism, is a minor aspect of a wider context where cooperation prevails. It's already calculated that the elapsed time since the Earth and the universe exist is insufficient so that the random mechanisms discovered by Darwin could produce the genetic code, the molecule of chlorophyll, the molecule of hemoglobin and all the living beings we know.
A cynical interpretation of the "theory of the survival of the most capable" success, in the second half of the 19th century, detaches that period's socioeconomic depiction, dominated by the industrial bourgeoisie's spirit of competition in its expansionist phase that received such a theory as the perfect scientific explanation to justify its predatory practices. According to that interpretation, Darwinism is a product of the bourgeois ideology, in a period of intense competition among companies when the nations vigorously struggled to expand their economical Lebensraum. Hence, a veiled effect of the evolutionist sect that emphasizes the survival of the most capable is its function as a bourgeois conscience's tranquilizer. Darwin represented the main rampart of rationalistic science to combat the authoritarian obscurantism of the Church that imposed the biblical creationism and the immutableness of the species, already unacceptable for the intelligent world of that time. However, as that "liberation" represented one of the largest intellectual leaps of modernity, until today we live together with a persistent neo-Darwinists' "gratefulness to the master". They constantly are prone to reformulate the theories of their "liberator hero" so that he is not put – with all the honors he undeniably deserves – in the historical archives of science.
An irrational fear verified among the defenders of Darwinism – a phobia – is that, if it's abandoned, the only alternative will be the return to creationism, to irrationality and the darkest ecclesiastical obscurantism. Surely, this is not true. If the pre-rational creationism was the knowledge of life in its larval state, Darwinian evolutionism was the pupa, and the new evolutionism post-mechanistic – vide Rupert Sheldrake and the new biology – is the colorful butterfly that already rehearses its maiden flights.
Freud and psychoanalysis
Something similar – however more serious, as it involves people said patients – happens with Sigmund Freud, a typical creature of the 19th century's materialism, in spite of having lived up to 1939. Virtually obsolete as a cartographer of the psyche since his former disciple and prince heir Carl Gustav Jung's far-reaching formulations, Freud continues to have his theory of psychoanalysis religiously followed and readapted by new prophets and devotees, always thankful to their hero for having liberated them from the Victorian moral hypocrisy and oppressive ethics.
Psychoanalysis, that was not the largest fallacy of the 20th century only because in this aspect it was overcome by Marxism-Leninism, is shallow in the approach and ineffective as therapeutics of human problems. Nonetheless, it got to uphold on the surface a lot of decades because of the plentiful related literary production, mounted on a web of misleading creative concepts that mimic the dynamics of the psychological processes. The unconscious discerned by Freud – "just the basement of the human building", in Aldous Huxley's saying – has the characteristics of a dirty deposit of repressed material, frustrations and congenital fetishes. A poor conception very different from the wide, rich and unfathomable collective unconscious that Jung identified and studied, where live together with our remote past, our pains, inquietudes, aspirations and greatness. The Jungian unconscious transcends the limits of the individual psyche, extending their long roots until the humanity's origins.
Besides that image of hero liberator, the devotion to Freud is also explained by the easiness psychoanalysts find in simply to "apply a theory" to their patients' problems, instead of diving in the difficult affectionate involvement the Jungian approach demands, and psychoanalysts cannot understand, still intoxicated by the surviving philosophical materialism of mechanistic science. To apply a theory is much simpler than to pawn in understanding the customer's spiritual life which cannot just be understood by his or her biographical record and genetic configuration only. Building with the patients' collaboration a convincing legend – almost always fictitious – to explain their problems, psychoanalysis goes on forming a captive clientele and manages to prolong the treatment for years without resolve anything. However, these clients mostly stay thankful to the analyst for the received "orientation", even in night consultations via telephone calls. After all, one of the more disseminated human weaknesses in our Western Jewish-Christian Greco-Roman civilization is the individuals' incapacity to take a personal responsibility for their own decisions, the unhealthy need to transfer the daily life doubts to somebody else, a priest or pastor, an occasional guru or an expensive psychoanalyst. It is very sad to verify that the analyst is little more than a paid confidant – a rented friend in a society of false values where true friends are rare or inexistent – a "scientific" version of the priest they smartly replaced.
Marx and marxists
Departing from correct critical analysis of the working class' exploration by the European capitalism, Marx and Engels developed the socialist ideas of their time for a model they labeled "scientific" since it was based on the materialism in fashion, as opposed to idealism and intended to identify with everything that expected to be called scientific. But, from the strict socioeconomic analysis to the propositions of a revolutionary praxis, many of their theories were denied by history, whose dynamics invariably slips outside of the forecasts. Since Karl Marx, Hermann Kahn and Bill Gates all of the "scientific" prophets failed, taking for the discredit all intended science of futurology in scale macro.
In spite of the successive theoretical reformulations from the laborious work of dedicated new prophets, Marxist socialism was revealed an intellectual construct that didn't account for the human being's complexity, irreducible to its economical expression of material needs satisfaction – even if this degradation was admitted only as a transitory phase. The Marxist experience of the Soviet Union sacrificed dozens of millions of people and only persisted for more than seventy years because it served as doctrinaire justification for an inhuman, totalitarian and ineffective regime, even in the economical matters, its chief feature.
Communism is a construct of the rational mind as it extrapolates its applicability beyond the exclusive field of the practical and technical elaborations, supposed capable to set out wide-reaching propositions involving the meaning of life and human destiny. Communism is a philosophy that seduces people with premature glimpses of a harmonious future society, a premonition of everyone's always longed utopia, however anachronistic as a proposal for the current human being's ethical patterns. Consequently, the socialism/communism becomes nothing else than an appropriate political flag for those who just dispute the power, invariably deprived of the necessary ethical base to well exercise it. Hence the sanguinary character of the revolutions intended to establish it and the totalitarian face of the regimes that follow them, denying radically all its principles as intended beforehand.
As a politics proposal, the socialist and communist state is a project designed for altruistic beings, loosened of personal interests and generously dedicated to the future, that don't exist as collectivity nor can be produced in some decades of authoritarian regime. Such human beings can only develop starting from laborious moral improvement, a difficult individual conquest postponed by the materialistic paradigm, where the spiritual dimension is not recognized. But the intellectual fallacy was not extinguished and even remainders of dialectic materialism – a laughable caricature of science – can still be found trying to seduce the new generations, with their characteristic jargon and tedious proselytism, although they are in extinction process since the end of the Soviet Union.
Uniting in itself the archetypes of the saving hero and of the old wise man, Darwin's image as much as the one of Freud and Marx are flags seized by disciples' hierarchies – or simple devotees – that still resist to abate due to the failure of their idols' theories when confronted with real facts that deny them. Successive adaptations, revisions and rationalizations are diligently elaborated by intelligent and erudite men – some of them exceptionally capable – that don't feel to be driven by archetypes of the unconscious and urged to defend their tribes with each book they write, each course they give, each conference they pronounce fighting for the memory and for the honor of their heroes against the infidels.
One of the most unequivocal symptoms of the presence of an archetype, or that a complex was constellated, is the members' of those sects emotional reaction when confronted with tuneless voices and arguments contrary to their doctrines. It is true that those groups are more and more reduced, in face of drawbacks suffered lately all over the world, but we shouldn't underestimate the weight they still represent on the premises of conservative universities. And the idolatry is extended until a new paradigm comes finally to prevail. Each one of those three theories has the pretension – due more to their followers than to the creators themselves – of extrapolating its applicability field and turn into a general explanation for the entire world. In fact, this is the never admitted pretension of every theory. It is in that aspect that their face of imitations of religions, or sects is revealed. Almost every theory of wide inclusion on a certain segment of the human experience suffers of a congenital hubris and intends to overflow of its area to turn a vade mecum able to explain everything. That's what happens with competitive evolutionism, with psychoanalysis and with Marxism.
That pretension of the theories in general reached the fit in a mistaken segment of the contemporary physics – still linked to the old paradigm – in the nineties, with the idea of discussing the possibility of a "theory of everything" that should explain all of the phenomena of the universe. The most bizarre is that, in the circles where that was discussed, everything is a concept limited to the physical universe, since among the scientists linked to the old paradigm, what doesn't go physical is not scientific nor is entitled to be recognized as existent. Many of those men even deny the evidence of their own soul and consider the psyche a mere secretion of the cerebral biochemistry.
The presence of those three 19th century's ghosts – still active in the "cults" rendered to them – castrated a large part of the 20th century's intellectuality, as they inhibited the production of new approaches and prolonged the lifetime of worn out ideas, already unable to explain facts and experiments. All the intelligentsia segments that stayed on the margins of the silent epistemological revolution fermented at the quantum physics laboratories and in the newest demonstrations of mathematics – that subverted the relationship subject/object and the notion of reality itself, defining the limits of rational knowledge – became isolated of the most innovative and seminal knowledge of the 20th century. Ignoring that vast areas they still consider object of philosophical speculation were swallowed by demonstrated theorems of mathematics and the quantum conception of the reality they produced tons of books and papers, influential but innocuous, whose probable destination may be a future "museum of erudite disinformation". Most of those anachronistic segments of the intellectuality are linked to an outdated philosophical materialism, unable to see the sovereignty of the spirit and the mythical vastness of our inner world, against all evidence that the new science makes available.
Quantum physics is the greatest theoretical conquest of today's science, whose consequences overflows into philosophical disputes and supports the resolution of age old problems. To understand its implications is a task that no scientist or responsible intellectual of any field should avoid, nor that anyone who intends to be inserted in the present time of the human adventure can leave behind.
However, one cannot wait for an easy adhesion of old philosophers, intellectuals and men of science to a new paradigm, already exorcised from the ghosts of the past. To set free from a scientific/philosophical paradigm is not as simple as to change of spouse, to emigrate to a distant country or to convert into a new religion. A paradigm is a constellation of commitments and interests from which one cannot escape for a merely rational deliberation, for a courageous decision or for the simple approval of some form of rational argument.
It was already said that a new paradigm only raises to prevail in a certain culture when the substitution of the old generations is completed by non polluted youth's new blood. Therefore, to the segments more conscious of the process macro into which we are involved, is very important to care for the new generations, showing them where are the impediments that limit and block the wings of the spirit in its effort to raise flight towards the infinite horizons of the new human conquests.