World Transformation Movement (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 09:00 (658 days ago) @ George Jelliss

I've come here because I'd like your opinion on this
"World Transformation Movement" that I encountered on twitter:

It has elements that attract me, such as its emphasis
that human nature is essentially Good,
and the importance of Reason (or Intellect).
But on the other it has hints of Spirituality
and cites people like Laurens Van Der Post
whose ideas I have been dubious of in the past.
What do you think?

I’m afraid I struggled through this with increasing frustration. The main thesis is that humans are good, our acquisition of consciousness has created mass psychosis because it has caused conflict with our good instincts, and all we have to do is realize that we are good and not bad and that will solve all the world’s problems. Bonobos are apparently all good and loving and cooperative, and they are our nearest relatives, and humans were all good and loving and cooperative too until we started our conscious thinking. I have no idea how he knows that prehistoric humans lived in nothing but love and cooperation – his only reference seems to be the metaphor of the Garden of Eden. Even primitive humans had weapons, and incidentally bonobos are capable of their own fair share of aggression. He says we are all “boiling with rage” below the surface. Are we? If so, what makes us boil? Is it really that we think we are bad when in fact we are good? I must be honest here: I don’t think I am bad, and I am not boiling underneath. If I boil, it is when I see other people’s instinctive badness violating their fellow humans’ instinctive goodness. As for “saving the world”, the message seems to be that if only all the world’s dictators, murderers, thieves, rapists, paedophiles etc. would read his book, they would realize that they are good and not bad, and then we shall be back in the Garden of Eden.

I have a counter proposal. Our animal ancestors exhibit the same dual nature as ourselves. They are full of love (nurturing their young) and cooperativeness (working as a group), but they are equally full of aggression (meat-eating, claiming territory, fighting for mates or for leadership) and selfishness (an essential tool for survival). We are descended from them, and share the same instincts. Our consciousness enables us to analyse and philosophize and even partially control these instincts, but the selfishness that is essential for survival will always expand into the selfishness that leads to most of society’s problems, other than those caused by Nature. There never was a Garden of Eden. And getting humans to believe they are good and not bad is not going to create one.

I agree with you, George, in that I think human nature is essentially (but far from totally) good, and certainly reason is essential if we are to achieve some kind of balance between instinct and intellect. But as for the diagnosis of and cure for the “human condition”, I’m surprised that anyone can take this seriously.

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