The major problem of Life
Social growth and its integral meaning in the relationship between biological and purely physical needs
in a species
Biological life is the only sufficient foundation for philosophical discussion of ethics. The academia of our current institutions would
find this proposition slightly offensive, since it posits a kind of absolute knowledge about what 'matters' and what does not, but
considering several factors in turn, I believe it is an essential premise.
Primarily, consider simply that all moral agents involved in the discussion of current existence are biologically alive, that is they
are carbon based at some level and contain DNA or RNA; nothing which cannot communicate with us can be properly considered in a moral
framework, since we can never trust in any form of cooperation with such an entity, except in an blind and unknown fashion. Certainly
given the limits on knowledge imposed by skepticism and other more commonly understood barriers, such as the senses, we cannot begin to
comment on the nature of life in a universe where orderly politics (that is, the notion that some forms of order are better than others,
and how such forms of order could coexist in some ethical framework--for instance, if the physics of solar systems, at some great level,
perhaps in a galaxy, or somesuch, behaved in a way that we might be comparable to the way that biological life behaved, then it would be
intellectually incumbent upon us to develop an ethical framework for intercourse between biological life and high-density energetic
life), affect the behavior of indentifiable entities.
Secondly, consider that were another form of morally relevant entity to exist besides biological life, it would be important only to us
humans, in as much as it either affected our continued success and development as existing things, or imposed some kind of
external ethical system upon us. That is, if this or these things, whatever they were, had a better source of authority than mere
existence or non-existence (which to me is impossible to conceive of, not that I don't understand such an attempt, but that the mere
existence of such ethical frameworks is integrally attached to the reality to which it applies--try to separate the conformity to such
ethics by living things, and the resulting benefit or detriment to those things), then we would still only be concerned with our own
state in conforming or resisting such concepts.
For these reasons I am comfortable in assessing morality only with respect to biological life, and in a more limited purview that relates
to my personal circumstance, human life, and particularly, my offspring or my society. The assessment then is simple; upon what
foundation does life move, and in what manner are its parts regulated? First, it is simply upon the tautological existence of itself that
life has value. Were life to not exist, it would not exist, and could not appreciate any circumstance about its existence. Existing, life
exists whereever its talents allow it to exist--the minimum level of effort imposed by the environment, whatever that may be.
Only life which wishes to continue existing can exist, since life which has no wish is statistically indifferent to death, and through
the numerous avenues of destruction afforded by reality, see to their own end. This 'wish' is largely unconcious and frequently
counter-manded in complex life, since the sacrifice of some part preserves a healthy whole--both within and between species. Only life
which meets the minimum criteria in its environment to live, can survive, and any technique which meets those criteria is equally moral,
in the sense that it promotes individual life. Life feeds upon one another and competes against one another, as a consequence of mutation
which causes life to attempt different roles. If it is possible to eat another creature, then it is appropriate to do so, since it is a
way to avoid non-life, an individually moral goal. So killing then, is not immoral, in as much as it self preserves. In as much as it
endangers the integrity of all life, or a species, it is immoral. All things can meet these criteria. Similarly, a lack of motivation and
competition which allows life to become complacent, specialized, and weak to changes in environment or incapable of self-defense against
other life-forms, is immoral. Imposing 'artificial' standards within a species to promote growth and strength, i.e. 'pruning' is ethical.
Therefor, the rigorously studied use of death as a means to stimulate the growth of life is the means by which life sustains
This principle is elementary in the mating habits of most animals, the interaction of species in a predator/prey relationship, and of
course, in the existence of immune systems and their response to the parasite versus their response to the symbiote. The final judge of
decisions made in the pursuit of life, is mere existence or non-existence, and, as with all decisions, is utilitarian. The net benefit
must exceed the net detriment at some level, no matter what the test, but since the test must be the existence of life itself, then it is
the prevalence and success of life as a whole which is the criteria.
A note about this criteria. The universe is predestinedly orderly. Even if there is some element of random choice, the fact that living
experience relies on time and cannot double back on itself to change the course of events means that all decisions are set fast as soon
as they are made, in the same way that all occurences in response to the laws of physics are inevitable as soon as they occur. Even in
the event that you could double back on time and cause effects to cascade, then the changing face of events or the creations of new time
lines, or else the variation of experience caused by this recursive process would itself be orderly, based upon unchanging facts about
the individuals who participated in the process. Were any random element to occur, its existence would not be truly random unless the
face of reality constantly changed without our collusion, and further, if all reality were orderly excepting the decisions of living
creatures, then the disorder they created would simply function as the material from which order sprang, and were you to try to fathom
the nature of this disorder in some meaningful way, you would have to conclude that its effect is trivial since life itself is an orderly
process that cannot exist without the causal interaction of material with each other in a way that has predictable effects on some
macroscopic level. Even in the discussion of quantum physics, if the very basis of the universe is random, then the interactions which
produce the results we see must be orderly. For this and all other reasons, we cannot think of our decisions as being meaningful, except
in as much as we experience them and feel compelled to participate in their implementation. Making a decision is choice similar to the
one of existence or not. The urge to make good decisions that are not merely random and self-destructive is the same urge that separates
organisms that have some self-preservation instinct from those that do not--the decision and the urge to make it is a byproduct of life's
own reliance upon existing as opposed to not existing. For these reasons, though all things that a moral entity may do are functionally
fortold by the state of that entity and the universe at that point in time and space, it has not functional impact on the notion of
attempting to decipher the puzzle as best as possible and make moral decisions. In essence, the moral decision is a product of its own
necessity in existence. If something that can make moral decisions exist, then it must try to make such decisions to preserve that
existence, and on a macroscopic scale, all life, as a moral entity, is morally responsible as a necessity of morality's attachment to
life, rather than a result of free will. In the same way that life cannot help but value itself (in the sense that it tries to do things
which feel good, and tries to avoid things which feel bad--those things themselves linked to circumstances relating to lifes' success),
for devaluing itself leads to its own elimination, one cannot help but act morally as best as one can, since acting immorally relates to
survival in a sense of species survival and the survival of all life as a utilitarian goal of more = better.
In other words, the goal of life must be to preserve itself, and the making of such a decision, though functionally not a 'free' one, is
nonetheless required by the life form making it. In writing this piece, though I could not have omitted its writing in any universe with
relevant meaning to the piece itself, I am nonetheless trying to share what I perceive to be valuable information which will postively
impact, first, myself, then my family, then my country, then all humanity, and then all life. The nuts and bolts of the attitudes that
have lead me to believe that venting my spleen on metaphysics and social theory would somehow benefit something so great as all life, is
a product of what I am, physically, and I can no more escape this role as I can exist without being.
The point here is to drill down on the important aspects of the biological problem as it affects society, a macroscopic organism which
exists in virtue of its individuals in the same sense that my body and conciousness exists in virtue of the individual cells which
comprise it. The credo which drives a society is as fundamental as the chemical processes which derive life from DNA. I fancy that,
perhaps, because of the nature of this piece, I am currently some part of 'conciousness' as a society would percieve it, or else the
decision making process that a society uses to arrive at action, such as war, or massive state-changes which cannot merely be thought of
as maintenance of that society.
The important parts of societal evolution is the tension between the desire to be successful and 'safe' or 'flourishing', and the
necessary fact that adversity, because it raises the minimum effort required to survive is a morally necessary part of a successful
society by any long-term standard. To what degree can the positive influence of success and comfort be reconciled with the need for
failure and pain? The social institutions which have developed to in some way more effectively judge these trade offs come in 3 basic
The first flavor is individualism or capitalism versus communism. The tension in a society between focusing on the greater good (which
can preserve undeserving weak elements, as well as fall prey to corruption), or focusing on individual effort (which can eliminate
elements which might contribute to success unwittingly), is analogous to brutality in society. A society focusing on the individual has a
greater tolerance for death and torture than one which focuses on the community--the individual must be devalued in society that is
individualistic to tolerate the brutality with which its members are treated, and, simultaneously, the individual must be overvalued in a
communistic society to justify the effort that the group goes through to account for each member.
The second flavor is democracy versus fascism. The degree to which elements in one part of the society have controlling input on others
is a delicate balance. A society which questions too many individuals to make a decision suffers from a phenomenon of static which
impairs their judgement as a whole. Simultaneously, systems with too rigid a decision making framework suffer from poorly informed
decisions, or at worst, a limited capacity to engage problems in the environment appropriately.
The third flavor is in the social question of socialism versus religion. Should external control of integral systems come from
indoctrination or from regulation and enforcement. Should law be the criteria for behavior, or the faith-based obeisance given ethereal
concepts such as 'good', 'creation', 'loyalty', and 'kindness'. The Risk, of course, is that indoctrination will be too thorough,
limiting new ideas, and socialism will be too inept, allowing corruption and inefficiency.
These 3 tensions are the constant internal debate. In society, war is always a step forward, where directly and obviously, through
application of violence and threat, the veracity of a particular view is proved against another in the most utilitarian possible
sense--those left alive and coherent create the new policy. Further, aspects of the absorbed society infiltrate the dominant entity
affording it the chance to grow and learn from its conquest, both genetically and socially. Revolution, is the opposite, a regression
symbolizing that the society in question was not pursuing a sufficiently competant program.
In game design, the process is similar. To what degree should player feedback influence the creation? To what degree do players customize
their playing experience by choosing roles? Should the game reflect the player's behavior in a doctrinal way, by treating evil actions
with evil consequences. Should the game interfere with the player's efforts mechanically--rewarding some kinds of behavior and
Success of a game is it's utilitarian test. The game itself cannot be separated from the entities that create it and play it. For these
reasons, it is a suitable test of philosophy to analogize the game design process to the creation of an ethical framework. Make a game
that strikes the balance between developer wisdom and player input, individual choice and communal goals, as well as ethereal reward
versus gameplay relevant reward in a way that is functionally superior to OTHER GAMES ON THE MARKET AT THE TIME THAT IT IS PRODUCED and
you will produce, not only a financially successful title, but a game which is relevant to the construction of superior modes of thought
within society itself.
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