Survival Equals Sin

/Adam Wykes

 

An examination of an affliction of the human condition in the case of a  presumption of two principles:
First, that human moral code is - at its most essential - feelings about what one should do and/or what one should not do. Then that the unspoken presumption of these moral codes is that by following them, a society may expect to be better off than if it did not.

 

Second, that humans are an organism created via the mechanism of evolution.
Then, I follow a little trail: moral code is part of human culture. Culture is the result of human behavior. Human behavior is the result of human genes, and human genes the result of evolution. It would then seem that our moral code is derived from the same process of evolution as we ourselves are.
    

It would seem then that God or nature - whatever is responsible for the process of evolution - set us a trap. For if we are to follow moral code in order to satisfy our desire for a better society, we would do best never to waver - to obey the rules like identical automata. The wrench in that (rather boring) utopian machine is that, as a product of evolution, our societies are composed of heterogeneous individuals. This varied population is bound at least by their genes to differ in their ability to follow moral dogma.

 

If we want all our machines to work as expected of them, then we had better ensure that they are all put together using the same parts, in the same way. A homogeneous society is the only way to conform perfectly with moral codes.

 

This is Social Darwinism, and it fails - not only because it often violates the moral codes it seeks to follow, but because it violates evolution itself. Without variation, adaptation to unforeseen selective pressures cannot occur and the mechanism breaks down. The result is extinction, as sure as the sun rises.  Humanity must choose between being moral and surviving.


A reconciliation appears in my mind: a moral code with as much variation as there is in the population that is supposed to be following it. That is, that there would be tailor-made moral codes for each individual according to their disposition, as determined by....what? No, for the time being the non-theistic discussion does not have an answer. Even for the theist, this result is unsatisfying: it is all well and good to relegate judgment to a supreme being, but difficult to accept the apparent moral anarchy which results in the non-supernatural world. The only acceptable course of action in a world where the rules for reaching the goal of improving society are imperceptible would be to leave society totally out of the equation by abolishing it.
    

To that end, humanity’s goals for the foreseeable future should be the development of a solitary confinement plan for each and every individual on a separate planet in the galaxy, along with research into sufficiently mutable human parthenogenesis. Only thus would we be able to live according to our own moral codes without interference. Non-person robots could raise our young and therefore preserve our evolutionary obligation while simultaneously obviating the need for any moral code save that which a supreme being (or our specific genetic makeup) had determined for us.
    

But what about a modified Social Darwinism? How about a heterogeneous population of  homogenous societies? That is, within each society all members are essentially identical automata, but variation as wild as you like exists between societies. So long as each is hermetically sealed off from the others, no need exists for a moral code of inter-social behavior, and within each society a universal moral code can be followed universally. The real benefit is that the variation necessary for evolution still exists, so long as the variation within the population of societies is kept at proper levels (whatever those might prove to be). The problem would be determining the moral code for each society prior to enacting the practice.

 

I will stop short of making an ass of myself by attempting to analyze every potential corner of this problem space. The main objective has been accomplished: if we are to believe the two presumptions made in this essay, then there exists a fundamental conflict between our moral feelings and our continued survival. It is a problem without an easy answer, and indeed, as I submit, perhaps a problem inherent to our condition.           
         

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