The Human Being:
A Creature of the Sublime
Rolf A. F. Witzsche (Jan. 16, 2008)
Those who would diminish the human species, its value, and its power, impose the notion that mankind is nothing more than another animal, a bit more developed perhaps, but basically an animal. All evidence suggests that this view is tragically false. A breakout occurred in the development of life by which we became a separate species with qualities and capabilities that no animal has. We have become discoverers in the invisible realms of principles that no animal can see, but which we can readily discern with the mind's eye. We have become scientists, creators, technologists, artists, musicians, poets, writers, farmers, educators, healers, and even space travelers, and of course also producers of our own resources for living. We have become masters of ideas, and masters of the development of ideas, and with these ideas we also become the masters of the development of ourselves with a speed and intensity that borders on the miraculous. In less than 10,000 years, in spite of countless setbacks, we have given ourselves wings, even 'wings' in space. The moon that animals can see, but not understand, we can travel to and touch, and explore with technology, and build structures on it if we care to do so. These cultural advances as a power with physical expression has also altered our world, so that the world that once supported just a few million people with a meagre existence now support six billion, going on to ten billion, and most of them with a highly developed status of living. And more than that, we can wilfully expand our capability in all of these areas, in a progression of development that is virtually limitless.
An animal has none of these capabilities. It is instinctive in its response, but not cognitive and creative. While a spider can build a marvellous web as all spiders have done for millions of years, but it cannot go beyond it. The human being is as radically distinct from that as a square is from a circle.
Sure some animals have humanoid characteristics, like for example a chimpanzee. However no polygon, even when it is far extended in its progression towards the shape of a circle, such as the progression from A to C and all the way a thousand-sided polygon (not shown), which may look like a circle, the fact remains that a polygon will never be a circle. The two are qualitatively different structures.
It is a tragic fallacy for mankind to regard itself as a higher-species animal, a perception that is often imposed on society in the war of empire versus mankind. The imposition falls within the sphere of cultural warfare since the war of empire versus civilization is focused on diminishing the human being by destroying mankind's humanity.
There is still another, larger aspect expressed in the difference between an animal and a human being.
This larger aspect may be the most profound of all the radical differences. It is expressed in our development capability. It is our culture, our human culture, a culture that is not disconnected from individuals but continues their achievements in the flow through time. This continuity of culture makes us powerful.
As human beings we have progressed in less than 10,000 years from a primitive society searching the land for food, to a space-faring society exploring the universe for knowledge. The speed of that development and the vast scope of it borders on the miraculous.
No other species of life has undergone the kind of rapid development that we have achieved. What we have achieved goes far beyond the scope of genetic evolution, even self-directed genetic evolution. Genetic evolution takes millions of years to unfold as it tries to 'catch up' with cultural requirements. The erect posture of mankind appears to have taken a million years to fully come about until it became expressed in the species, homo erectus, enabling a more efficient way of living.
The rapid development of the modern species of mankind, primarily in the period of the present civilization, evidently goes far beyond the mechanics of genetic changes, but resulted from a powerful cultural continuity that has become specific to mankind. For example, we speak of Plato today and utilize ideas that he had originated more than 2000 years ago. Thereby Plato becomes alive in our culture as an immortal person, like Shakespeare, or Mozart, or the pioneers of science, all of whom still enrich our culture and our civilization. This cultural continuity doesn't occur in the animal world, nor is it possible there as the physical and mental qualities do not exist there.
The animal world is functionally represented by a polygon, a structure of straight lines each having a beginning and end. The straight lines may be connected at their end-points, but there is no perpetuating continuity evident or possible. A circle, in comparison is nowhere a straight line. It is a curved complex structure at every point. Also it has no beginning or end. In a circle there is no discontinuity. In a circle every point of it has an inherent relationship to the whole, which all points of the circle share. This unique quality is reflected in our humanity and is increasingly expressed. Our unifying culture transcends our little selves. It extends our personal brief span of a lifetime in such a manner that the essence of our lives goes on to unfold in the continuity of eternity. Since the totality of human culture is the end-product of a wide range of Sublime qualities underlying our humanity, the development of human culture is a constantly self-advancing process, even a development-force itself. Thereby every step in human culture becomes potentially a progression. While much of the potential is wasted, some of it unfolds and shapes us and our civilization with it.
Sky Shields (quoted at intro) puts it this way:
The human individual, like the circle, is a single idea which is outside of, and guides and directs the parts which give it expression. Exemplary of this characteristic of the human mind, is its ability to discover, and wield, new transcendental conceptions; conceptions which are defined solely by the fact that they transcend entirely—infinitely—the logical systems which preceded them....
A later transcendental relationship, discovered by Gottfried Leibniz, provides us with a unique window into the methods used during Franklin Roosevelt’s return to the principles of the American Revolution, and an insight into the methods by which such transcendental notions are incorporated into the development of human economy—in particular the work of American scientist Vannevar Bush —in extending the cognitive capabilities of mankind as a whole. The exponential curve, or its inverse, the logarithmic curve, is the curve constructed on the basis of constant, continuous, self-similar growth. Its familiar expression is found in the form of Leibniz collaborator Johann Bernoulli’s Spiral Mirabilis, or logarithmic spiral.
See Figure 1 to 3 in:
What Exactly, Is a Human Being? by Sky Shields, (LaRouche Youth Movement)
The great difference: Culture
The great difference that sets mankind apart from any animal species is mankind's potential for cultural development. The few crucial physical biological differences that set us apart as a unique species were apparently themselves the intelligently directed result of cultural requirements. The erect bi-pedal posture that mankind shares with no other species appears to be the result of cultural needs which intelligently directed long term genetic responses to fulfill those needs. Mankind's erect by-pedal posture didn't exist prior to the age of mankind. We are told that it was first prominently found in homo erectus. It is also evident that homo erectus was a direct-line contributor to modern man. Homo erectus became extinct 200,000 years before our modern species emerged from a background of still other species, from we emerged with still more advanced featured of a kind that most likely correspond to continuously advancing cultural requirements. The diversity of cultures that have shaped us obviously emerged against the background of the ever-changing environment of the ice ages in which most of mankind's development took place. It is most likely that the resulting cultural advances might have led to the development of genetic features that enabled the modern branch of homo, modern man, the homosapien branch, to become the most successful in surviving critical climatic challenges.
It is commonly believed that human culture is the end result of the development of the human genius while it is more likely the other way around, so that human cultural development has been the major factor in driving the genetic development of mankind in response to cultural trends, so that mankind itself is actually the product of its own culture, an essentially self-developed species reflecting the process of the Sublime that is expressed also in the continuing development of the universe. The ascendancy of man thereby appears to be driven by the greatest power of the universe, rather than mere biological convergence.
Consequently it appears that in order for us to understand mankind, the human background needs to be explored in terms of its cultural development as an unfolding expression of its unfolding in the dimension of the Sublime, the unfolding of a permanent genius that is rooted in the capacity to reason and develops from it into a living sphere of culture that by its continuity is greater the than the contributing individual itself, and becomes a growing power to discover and to creatively develop to human journey.
Human culture is evidently not instinctive or genetic, but is an intelligently self-perpetuating progression that is maintained within the sphere of an advancing civilization. Culture is thereby defined as a living force, a Sublime force that is handed down from generation to generation on a path that is constantly improved. Culture is mankind's immortality. It is the sum total of its discoveries, knowledge, science, which themselves are reflected in evermore efficient technologies that support the physical infrastructures of advanced cultural developments. In a sense, culture is the real identity of man and society, not race, or color, or religion, or mysticism. And culture is inherently progressive. It reflects the quality of the circle that is without beginning or end.
Human culture also reflects another quality of the circle. In a polygon the constituent individual points are primarily the constituents of a small straight line with a specific boundary. The individual straight lines and are only secondarily related to the larger form of a circle by their alignment into a polygon. In a circle, however, there exists not a single point that that is not in an inherent relationship to the whole. This factor is reflected in one of the most profound features in human culture. It is reflected in the Sublime quality of love that we find progressively expressed in such concepts as Christian agape, further reflected in the principle of the treaty of Westphalia as "the advantage of the other," being further expressed again in the principle of the general welfare that the USA was intentionally founded on as the highest and most efficient expression of culture at this stage. The ultimate of this progression might be termed the Principle of Universal Love. We find the first faint expression of this larger principle reflected in the proclaimed policy of Franklin Delanor Roosevelt who was determined to end colonialism throughout the world and to aid the economic and industrial self-development of all nations. His goal was to enable their individual cultural development to become freer, which had been actively prevented by colonialism as an element of the war of empire versus civilization.
One of the challenges in the continuous development in human culture might be termed moral development. The human intellect and its technological capability has also enabled mankind to develop technologies for killing that society uses against itself, such as weapons of war, or slavery, or private imperial monetarism. The fascism that is driving these features, which can be deemed failures of human cultures, have made mankind in many respects more destructive to itself by intentional acts than any animal species ever has been or likely will be. Some people say that this makes us qualitatively worse than the beasts in the field. It real terms it doesn't. It merely presents a cultural challenge. In fact, it might be a relatively new challenge of our now highly developed culture.
The war of empire versus civilization appears to be a feature that is only 5000 years old, a mere flick in the long journey of human development. For example, one of the earliest civilizations of modern culture, the Harrapan Civilization along the Indus River in Pakistan, possibly going back to 3000 BC or beyond, appears to have had a completely cooperative social structure. The discovered remaining ruins of their cities show no signs of any type of palaces and military installations, the mark of dynastic societies. The dynastic feature of society appears to be a more modern phase, unfolding as an emerging challenge in the development of culture, a challenge that requires the development of advanced cultural principles to deal with, such as the principle of "the advantage of the other" that enabled the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. This single principle had literally shut down a string of warfare that had been raging for a hundred years and destroyed a third of the population of Europe at its end-point.
It is a fact of history that the cultural challenge to wipe the dynastic tendency off the face of mankind has resulted in some of the greatest cultural achievements in history. We see the achievements reflected in the unfolding of the Classical Greek culture and to some degree a renewal of its scientific dimension during the Islamic Renaissance. We also see similar achievements advanced to much greater extend in the Golden Renaissance, and the later revival of it, and the further advanced development of it, in the new renaissance environment surrounding the Treaty of Westphalia that enabled enormous cultural advances. Among these are the great achievements in musical culture by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and later Brahms, as well as great achievements in the development of science, like that of Johannes Kepler who may be termed the father of modern science, and the great develop in statecraft that is expressed in the founding of the USA as the first modern nation-state republic on the planet. All of these are cultural achievements that are in some way related to mankind searching for a way out of the war of empire versus civilization.
While the war of empire versus civilization is still raging on and is expanding enormously in its dimension whereby we now face the additional challenge to utilize the sum total of the great cultural heritage of the past and to develop our cultural platform further in an effort for turning around the ang-old war of empire versus civilization into a war of civilization versus empire, and to win that war, putting an end to the scourge of empire.
That this kind of a challenge requires advanced cultural developments, with further advanced explorations of the Sublime in human nature, is self-evident.
A modern scientific platform for cultural advances
One of the great American geniuses that achieved a major breakthrough on this platform in the late 1800s was a New England woman by the name of Mary Baker Eddy, the renowned 'discoverer and founder' of "Christian Science." She defined the Sublime nature of man with some rather abstract terms, which she also attributes to an all-embracing concept termed God. With these terms she put the challenge on the table to explore the meaning of the abstract concepts that express the Sublime in our humanity. The terms are: Principle, Truth, Life, Soul, Love, Spirit, and Mind.
Civilization is not a gift handed to society on a silver platter, but is a construct of cultural development that is increasingly the product of scientific development. The greater the cultural challenges are that we face as human being, the more advanced the scientific development needs to become to master the challenges. In the modern world these challenges tend to become enormous, even to the point that they threaten to collapse society if the challenges are not met. That's a new and extreme cultural challenge that we have never faced before, but which lies within our capability to handle. Thus the challenge will likely be resolved in due course as we bring to bear on it the greatest force we have as human beings, the force of our cultural capacity.
We know that all previous species of mankind have become extinct at some point. However, it is unlikely that the culture of those societies had caused them to collapse themselves to such an extreme as to cause extinction. The cultural force is a strong force for more efficient survival, rather than the other way around. It is more likely that earlier species became extinct when their cultural force was not then sufficiently advanced to face extreme external climatic conditions, or similar conditions.
It is for the same reason more likely in modern time that the historically established cultural foundation will erect a firewall to prevent dangers inherent in cultural features, thereby preventing extinction as a possibility from such causes. The words from the U.S. Declaration of Independence (below) reflects this process of erecting a cultural firewall of advanced recognition of principles in times of necessity:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
Beyond fascism and genocide
Fascism and its genocide are not elements of human culture, but are peripheral failures that the advanced pioneers of humanity are already in the process of resolving. By all accounts this appears to be a natural response of the force of culture. As I said previously, far as is known to us, no previous human species has become self-extinct by its cultural failures, but appear to have become extinct only when the power of the developed culture proved insufficient to meet extreme environmental challenges that occur in severe ice ages or other unusual external conditions. This leaves us to face the final challenge of human culture. Like all previous species of mankind we face the cultural challenge of developing the technological and economic resources to carry society (now six billion strong, soon to be a ten billion population) through the next 100,000-year glaciation-period of the still continuing ice age cycles. We have the required cultural resources developed to master this challenge, but as always, this existing potential does not come automatically to fruition, especially when we allow fundamental impediments to stand in the way.
One of today's most severe hindrances to scientific development is the still recurring chain of distortion of culture through the numerous empires of religion of all sorts. Religions have become doctrinal, and doctrines -- not necessarily confined to religions -- are mental blocks that stop the process of discovery and scientific development. Doctrines are terminators, forcing a discontinuity, preventing advancing development.
Mary Baker Eddy was evidently aware of this danger and created in response to it a platform for scientific development that is specifically anti-doctrinal and thereby anti-entropic or negentropic, a system of science that is constantly increasing in power without imposed limits, fee to move by the power of its own dynamics. Of course that is how true science inherently is, anti-doctrinal, but unfortunately we find this potential seldom fully expressed in practice as dogmas tend to get in the way, which in modern times become evermore intentionally imposed.
Mary Baker Eddy stands as a pioneer in this field of developing anti-doctrinal science. In fact she is the only pioneer that I know of who has been specifically engaged in anti-dogmatic development. She thereby challenged society to get out of the stranglehold that doctrines impose and into the freedom of advancing ideas where the only measurement is expressed in the efficient healing of society from the boundaries of self-imposed self-limitation.
For this end of anti-dogmatic science Mary Baker Eddy set up a pedagogical structure comprised of sixteen elements for the exploration of civilization in the context of 144 different concepts that she regards as essential points for this exploration. She outlined her pedagogical structure extensively in her major works, and even structured all of her major works into coherence with it, and then, even when the job was completed, she almost hid the whole thing. She didn't publish a word about the pedagogical structure. She didn't write about it. She didn't speak about its existence. She maintained this policy until the end of her days. She died without revealing the one thing that stood at the center of her 44-year career of teaching, organizing, and healing.
Was her policy of disciplined silence necessary? Isn't human culture the unfolding product of increasing contributions of society to its continues cultural development? Yes it is, and that is precisely the reason why her disciplined silence was necessary. The silence was necessary because of the advanced quality of her contribution. Had she not maintained her disciplined silence her scientific development platform would have been turned it into a dogma instead of an open invitation for boundless discoveries. For a structure of science to be anti-dogmatic it needs to come to light through the process of discovery itself. Thus she left her greatest achievement to be discovered, openly hidden until society would be ready for its expanding journey of discovery.
As it was, it took nearly a hundred years before her pedagogical structure was discovered, and even now two decades later it is still barely known to even exist. She evidently realized that this might be so, since science has to be a journey of discovery. It needs to begin with a discovery and remain a discovery throughout.
In order to promote the flow of continuous discovery as a path for scientific development she outlined her pedagogical structure as a structure of four columns, which she defines as rivers, and which she strangely associated with the four basic geographic dimensions: north, south, east and west. However she applied the dimension in an unconventional manner, in a sequence that corresponds with the cycle of the sun, a cycle that is repeated each day for all times. She started her sequence northward where the dawn begins, associated with the first column of her development structure. Then she sequenced on earthward where the sunrise takes place, associated with her second column. The next step in her sequence takes us southward where the heat of the day shapes the human experience, related to the third column. The sequence ends oriented westward where the sunset paints the scene a golden hue of peace and harmony.
Her sequence that follows the sequence of the orientation of the sun when seen from Earth suggests that the necessary journey of discovery needs to be continuously repeated, without a break in it. Only on this platform of continuously advancing development can highest achievements in culture be maintained and advanced and be kept from becoming dogmatic. Her platform also incorporates the need to allow oneself to yield to advancing ideas even of time-honored concepts, many of which have become conceptionally 'small' to the point of being essentially dogmatic.
This is need for culture to be anti-dogmatic might have been a part of the force that kept the human culture continuously developing into what is now the most powerful development engine that has ever been ever seen on this planet in all its several-billion-year history of life.
In this still ongoing context of cultural development, some aspects of history become reversed. For example, we no longer look to God to understand man, but we look to man and the Sublime nature reflected in man, to understand God, the creative Principle and Intelligence of the universe and their inherently efficient expression.
A broad view of Mary Baker Eddy's pedagogical structure is provided
in the article:
From the Biosphere to the Noösphere to the Sublime
The pedagogical structure is extensively presented by researcher Rolf A. F. Witzsche in Volume 3 of the science series: Discovery Infinity.
Touching the sphere of the infinite
Cardinal Nicolaus of Cusa (1401-64), who stands forever as one of the great pioneers of the Golden Renaissance, used the qualitative difference between a polygon and a circle in another type of exploration of the nature of man.
In his work "On the Quadrature of the Circle" (1450) he likens the circle to truth and the polygon to an intellectual concept of the truth, stating that the two can never coincide, even when the polygon is created with a large number of straight line elements. he explained that in all such cases a polygon will never be circle. However he adds that there is a possibility that a polygon is resolved into an identity with the circle. And that happens in the infinite domain.
In the infinite domain the circumference of a circle is conceivable as an essentially straight line. Inversely, in infinite segmentation a polygon can be conceived of as a structure that has no straight lines at all but becomes resolved into mere points, resulting in a shape that is identical with the shape of a circle. In this case an infinite polygon inscribed inside a circle would have a shape that is not conceivably separate from the circular so that the polygon is resolved into an identity with the circle. With such observations Nicolaus of Cusa pioneers the foundation for modern scientific calculus. He also gives a new face to an old concept, namely the concept that truth is actually knowable in the complex domain where the intellect takes on a higher quality, the quality of the Sublime, in which the diversity between intellectual perception and the truth becomes resolved.
Plato illustrated that it is inherently possible for the intellect to become resolved with the truth in the sphere of the Sublime, the complex domain where we begin to see with the mind's eye and understand what the physical eye cannot see and the mere intellect can only approximate in understanding. The illustration which gives as a view into the world of the sublime beyond learned intellect is presented in Plato's Meno dialog in which a salve boy is guided by Socrates to double a square (in area) and come to the conclusion that the result is irrefutably the Truth. (See: To Know Absolute Truth)
The quality in thinking that we illustrated by Plato in the Meno dialog, combined with Cusa's later perception, adds a unique quality to human culture, which appears to suggest that the real power in human culture is based almost exclusively on understood truth rather than intellectual theoretical projections. Thus we can speak of truth in economics, which indeed has already been verified in the demonstrated efficient power of related truthful universal principles expressed in economics in the form of increased human benefits and in advanced freedoms in civilization. We know for example that the principle of the wheel for carrying heavy loads is a truthful physical principle, because its application has vastly improved the quality of human culture. In the same manner has it been experienced that the Westphalian principle of "the advantage of the other" is a truthful principle, as it was expressed in actions that ended a hundred-year string of wars. Likewise can the principle of the general welfare be regarded as truthful, because whenever it was made the centrepiece of national policy, even when this had been done only to some degree as we have seen this happening several times in the history of the USA, the nation prospered and became the envy of the world and a light for mankind.
Yes, the Truth while being abstract and absolute in its singularity, is knowable in the Sublime sense and is universally applicable by giving expression to it, whereby the nature of the human being comes to light with the identity of a Sublime being.
Is it any wonder then that human culture is the most powerful progressive-development-force anywhere in the universe as far as we can see, second to none, unfolding mankind's infinite basis in the Sublime?
Oh, yes, what about Love as a universal principle? Is its Truth likewise knowable and physically demonstrable in efficient processes for the improvement of civilization? The fullness of its potential needs yet to be discovered and demonstrated.