Can there be laws of human nature?

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Replicants and the Primal Father in Blade Runner - Very ...
From this article that I did not read but got the image via search on duck duck go

I have been listening to the audio book, Gods and Robots. It is a wandering journey through robots in greek mythology. Robots and myth are both topics close to my heart. What is technology? What is magic? What is supernatural? Is there a difference? Does it matter?

This book at one level is about what it means to be living vs non-living and how this is related to something that is artificial rather than natural. There is even a question of whether these categories even make sense entirely, but they are short hands that we use today. You microwave is artificial your dog is natural. Descartes would have thought that your Dog was a machine so a natural machine (and did not feel pain) even something natural can be mechanistic in some metaphysics.

Back to Gods and Robots. I was listening to this book and author wondered about a world where everyone could be a robot, as in the movie Blade Runner. Robots in that world are called replicant.. There is a test that humans can use to determine whether or not a replicant is a human – it is called the voight kampf test. But how can a replicant (robot) tell if he or she is a robot??? This is sort of the problem at the heart of Blade Runner. Does a human need to administer the test? What is the purpose of tests anyway?

Tests are supposed to sort things. In this case into human or not human.

This is an interesting issue… it is sort of like a problem of set theory. What can I prove about the set while I am in the set? It also sort of reminds me of Flatland by Edwin Abbott, how can I perceive other attributes of an individual that is in a superset of the category (or set that I am in) … It also makes me think about rules…

There are rules or laws to what numbers belong in what sets, there are laws of nature and laws of physics… And since humans are part of nature, there is this notion that humans also have laws.

I am a student of the enneagram and human design and other sightly woo/mystery tradition systems. Many of these teachings propose that humans act mechanically … that we are asleep. Being fully human or actualized, is about acting spontaneously – removing those programs.

This is also what Socrates thought – sort of. He talked about waking the Athenian citizens from their dogmatic slumber. This dogmatic slumber was in accepting certain mores, values and activities/rituals.

So this goes back to our original question… what kind of things can have laws…. can we who are alive – we think – understand the rules for what it means a live? This is a category, or set, that we are participating in, perhaps only something that is not alive can devise a test for what is alive. Or perhaps someone who is super- alive – alive plus plus can derive a test for what it means to be alive.

Perhaps there is no rule to determine what is natural vs artificial, because a natural thing does not operate according to laws (heuristics perhaps) nor does it fall into natural categories. What does it mean if something does not operate according to laws? For me this is what it means to operate spontaneously.

Rules and Consciousness

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I was having a conversation with my shrink (ie I was in therapy) and he said in the past there were rules that govern how we act. Now with the advent of psychology, we have consciousness, personal decisions dictate how we act.  I do not live my life according to the book of Leviticus (some people do and that is ok). However I live my live according to my consciousness.  My shrink said that this is what is meant by a Nietzsche transvaluation of values.  I was never a big fan of Nietzsche, although perhaps I should reconsider that stance.

What is the transvaluation of values? It is NOT the adoption of unethical behaviors. It is NOT like a Kantian radical evil where I act in exact opposite to the moral imperative. Rather, as I see it, in a transvaluation of values that there is no more moral imperative.  The moral imperative is relative to your own value system, everyone is free to make their own value system. Does this mean relativism. No. There are some value systems better than others, I believe.  And here I am influenced by Ken Wilber who says something like the more depth (wholistic/encompassing) a system has the more correct it is.

With transvaluation of values there is no more blind acceptance of rules, instead there is conscious decision making on a day by day basis. This is not unethical or antithetical to ethics, it is about a personal ethics based on consciousness and interiority. We can all think of countless examples of unethical behavior carried out in the name of “following orders”.

If we look at the history of religion or society they are all structured by rules. And if we look at the social contract theorists like Hobbes and Locke, some how we leave the state of nature  (either bad or good),  because we create a set of rules that allows us all to live together.  The transvaluation of value is one of many things: rejection of these values as ethical, a creation of a personal set of values, a recognition that desires do not have ethics (in my interpretation only actions do).

I have been binge reading Ken Wilber and Claire Graves and so I wonder perhaps it is unwise to undergo a transvaluation of value unless your values are in some sense transpersonal (ie honor another individual’s sovereignty).  If your transvaluation of values are based in your ego or id (these are Freudian terms not Wilber or Graves terms but I am just mashing it all up),  then I can imagine some nasty antisocial behavior.

So now I can imagine what are my values, and then I can act in according with my values. What do I desire? Do they reenforce or contradict my values? Then I can decide how to act?

But what are my values, this is a hard question. For now I have come up with this: freedom, poetry, sovereignty.

Dream Journal

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I have kept a journal for years. But in the past two years, maybe two and a half years, I have written every morning.  I don’t have any sort of guide, I write whatever I feel like. If I have a dream though, then I record my dream. I don’t interpret it. I just record it.

Someone today said that a dream journal is like a record of your unconscious. There is something beautiful and poetic about that statement. I am just meditating on it.

One of my sons wakes up everyday and tells me his dream, I feel like now I should record these dreams so that he has a record of his own unconscious -from before he could even read and write.

Above is an image from Jung’s Red Book, it was his record of his experiments with visualizations and journeying. They were more than a written record, but included painting and calligraphy, as you can see above.

I think about my own journal, and what it would take to turn it into a work of art like this. I feel like it could easily get mired in scrapbooking or mundane events.  To me, the red book is great art, to which a scrapbook or even an artist notebook. What makes that distinction? I do not know but I hope my dreams are worthy of my own red book, and that I could rise to the challenge of creation.