March 11, 2010 | 1 Comment
The Hegelian interpretation of history, picked up by Marx, was a view of history as story with particular trajectories. Teleology, the idea that we walk a path created by a transcendental god, was abandoned. It was hypothesized that the path we walk is one informed by our own behaviors and understandings.
What I’ve been playing with the last year and a half is the idea that biology and history are connected by social structure, and that teleology exists but is biologically informed.
The Hegelian view of history was predicated on pattern and predictable changes in pattern over time. Darwin’s theory of natural selection was founded on an opposite view of the effects of time, stating that change occurred only when heritable, randomly generated features compelled a proliferation of traits that served to promote the goals of individuals to survive to procreate. Evolution displays no thesis and antithesis unless they are represented by every mating pair.
Perhaps ironically, the theory of natural selection does not operate in a narrative frame. I say ironically because the foundation thesis has been interpreted to support Social Darwinism and free markets, which promote that story, or narrative, that controlling elites are the result of natural processes. Two pieces were left out of that not-useful story.
First, the free market interpretations of the theory of natural selection don’t view evolution from a larger scale. Interconnection is ignored when focus is on survival strategies of constituent parts. Marx’s Hegelian large-scale view provided leverage that transcended capitalist focus on individual achievements. Whether evolution or societies are being studied, the scale of investigation can determine the solutions that emerge.
Second, interconnection is not only observed by an increase in scale, it is experienced by immersion in the process. The experience of interconnection removes narration from the equation, introducing the experiencer to the feeling of an ever-present now, autistic primary process. Compassion often results from the twin experience of interconnection viewed as a whole and interconnection felt from immersion. When boundaries blur but sensitivity to scale remains, insight can result. Compassion is a feature of integrated insight.
In a Hegelian fashion, I have proposed that we are in the middle of a social transformation that features a synthesis of two foundation principles. I hypothesize that we evolved over the last, at least, two million years in a matrifocal, matrilineal/matrilocal context. That swerved to patrifocal, patrilineal/patrilocal over the last 50,000, accelerating in the last 25,000 to start rocketing the last 6,000. A slowdown began maybe 500 years ago. A return to matrifocal commenced the last 300 with an acceleration occurring in the last 100. In this latest generation, things are rocketing. We could interpret current patterns as a synthesis of the two social structures, or as the reemergence of the matrifocal. Both interpretations make sense.
Oscillations between social structures go with the territory of being an evolving social being. Different social structures serve different animal societies in different ways. Evolution charts social structure changes as the environment and social structure impact individuals. Environmental influence is huge. As regards humans, trends over time as humans ally themselves with social structure compel trajectories that simulate teleology. It looks like a transcendental god is in play. What is happening is biology. Hierarchies rise and now fall in direct relation to biological imperatives. Hierarchies rose for thousands of years under patriarchal frames of reference, high testosterone males and low testosterone females. Now they fall.
Somehow, Hegelian narrative interpretations of experience and non-narrative primary process interpretations are both true at the same time. Patrifocal transcendental and matrifocal immanent paradigms are both in play. Evolution unfolds at several scales at the same time. We both live in a return to matrifocal times and we are experiencing a synthesis of traditional patrifocal and ancient matrifocal. Somehow, that which is aboriginal that is reemerging is also wholly new.
Understanding how things are different is somehow also the same as understanding how they are the same.