An eminent professor, expert in anthropology and evolution, presents me three queries:
First doubt.. I quote:
...…I admit the existence of species as a matter of “fact” (genetically) but It’s difficult to conceive its existence from a behavioral point of view (for them to behave as a common group) …and legally speaking (human species has almost got to do it….).
It’s true that that conceptual problem exists, and surely it has been one of the reasons that my basic idea hasn’t been noticed. And the difficulty continues to exist, as it is the same objection that claim who say that the species do not exist, that are a mental "construct" , a concept or category without real existence, used for classifying living being.
I have just wrote another note entitled: Species and Man to respond to this objections. I believe that it clears that species are not a mental constructs but real units, or supraindividual evolutive systems as Dobzhansky says.
The example of an army(set of forces, as RAE)can help to see the idea. Army A is a mental construct of the man. It doesn’t exist as such, Harari would say. Their components do exist: soldiers, officers, chiefs, their supplies, their norms and circumstances. But it acts as a real unit through their individuals and groups. And the basic objectives of the army as a joint are the same as goals and final objectives (wining the war, keeping the peace…) but different from the partial objectives as their components (winning a battle, guarding a position, surviving…). Who normally knows and acts under norms and individual or common orders. And the addition of what they do or not do is what the army does or does not. Whom, in every moment, is is the joint of their individuals and their circumstances. Joint product of its own actions and of its surroundings. And in every moment, the "construct" of the Army A, is something real that has act or has been inactive, as such, through the activity or inactivity of its individuals and groups. And that has won or lost battles, man, supplies… that their individuals and groups have won.
In a similar way species act, in each moment, as a unit: through their individuals and groups. Even if they don’t know it and act according to their instincts and behavioral norms inherited or learned from the groups where they belong. Norms that are universal (the one of trying to survive), of the species (the ones he has inherited or adopted) and as a group (also inherited and acquired by the group or groups where every individual belongs). And everything what the individuals or groups do and receive from their environment, and what are -genetically or epigenetically or however- modified, impacts in all the specie. And the resulting set or collective at every moment is the real and potential species. in every moment And in the natural species, its “build” hasn’t been done by the man. It’s been continued by every one of them since their origin, whether it is by anagenetic speciation, by creation, or whatever. And if the man has “created" species by crosses or different engineering, has created real not mental species. In addition to using the term specie for other things.
And, naturally, animal species doesn’t know they are species even if they are. And neither their individuals know, even with the liberty that each one has, they behave according to the inherited and acquired norms of their species and groups. Norms that have been inherited or adopted by each species according to their circumstances and of their surroundings for trying to survive. The species that have been successful and have been able to adapt to their environment have survived as such or became into another or others. The ones which not, have disappeared with their last individuals. Like the exterminated or dissolved armies.
Man neither know explicitly and rationally, or don’t want to assume, that they are part of a species. And that their imperative and priority duty, engraved and acting in them, is to try the survival of the species that they are part of. And if they accept the part of the species, they think is something done by them, a mental human construct.
By common sense it’s intuited that the man -the collective man and the individuals men that conform it -haven’t give themselves the command and the original norms for reproducing and surviving.
The first command and the successive behavioral norms are in the universal languages and in the own species in which the vital programming of each individual is written. Language that we barely know and that we’ll discover little by little. And whose origin and totality we’ll surely take some time to know.
I’m going to repeat here, given the occasion, the quotes included in the note about Species and Man:
Form Dr. López-Moratalla:
The vital unitary principle of every single of the living, causes efficiently an organism that in the case of the animals is intrinsically finished to live and transmit the life for the keeping of the species.".
The animal knows its for what in the sense that he knows as its biology tells him what is suitable for living and reproducing and so succeeding in its own purpose: the survival of the species.
And from Dr. Rodríguez Valls:
Every evolutionist argument adds the survival of the species as a purpose of life.
We can use the simile of the army: the soldiers and their commanders have individual norms of behavior for trying to achieving the objective, unknown to them, of the army as a subject. Norms that can be accurate or not. Every individual has more or less freedom for fulfilling and adapting them to their surrounding according to each species.
The second part of the inquiry: the species as a matter of law, the human species as a “we… the constituent man”, is or will be a creation of man: for now as a concept, intention, approximation. And, as I say in my little book, I hope that once exist as a legal event if it’s for good. That construct could be a means or another strategy, maybe indispensable, for the surviving of our Homo sapiens or Humanity. For the surviving of the living individual men, many or few, that in each moment conform the species man: the species or Humanity of the whole man of the Gaudium et Spes. Or the natural man of the atheist. Or the rational man of the philosophers. Of the man what ever it is.
The second doubt is about the altruistic “natural ethics…"
…And of the fear that from that “natural ethics” we go to a “naturalistic” ethics (reductionist or materialist).
My idea underlies, not defines, the partial and contingent applicable ethics. The basic idea says that it’s implicit in every man, as a human been, the priority and imperative duty of cooperating with the survival of the very human species itself. And for our species being a social one, each man/person inherits the duty of behaving as a social being if the human species. And the species “knows”, by inherence or creation and has assumed in its vital programming, that the more effectively and efficient means to survive, has been and in some way is, what I call the extended group altruism. And that knowledge is implicit in the individuals of the groups that have more and better exercised some way of altruism and because of that they have survived. The groups that weren’t sufficiently altruist have extinguished or are in danger of extinction in the environment in which, it is also, as it is obvious and natural, the fight and individual and group competition works in environments with scarce natural resources for the existent needs.
What does happen, is that the behavioral norms deductible from my universal ethical principle are, as it’s logic, contingent. It was already said by Saint Tomas in the Summa q.94.a.4. Namely that the applicable ethics most be in consistent with each moments and environment circumstances. And those norms or ethics would be normally naturals- naturalistic and reductionistic- because those are ethics of minimums. They aren’t priority on the objective of the man being more purely wiser (see Ortega and the use of the intelligence), nor other possible transcendental objectives. Although if the norms are good (If they’re in consonance with the universal ethical principle) they’ll work also on making the man wiser and holier. And vice versa.
That the man, besides of natural, is considered spiritual and transcendental, most be good for the vital imperative, as the possible additional normal ethics for being wiser and holier, and with that, trying to achieve the spiritual or transcendental objectives, most confirm and reinforce the “natural” ethics. If it’s no so, the discrepancies will be a product of the error, individual egoism, or bad faith.
But I believe, that going to the bottom of fear, there are effectively valid ethics velute Deus daretur and etsi Deus non daretur. The universal ethical principle derived from the basic idea only needs a possible Creator and keeper as a initial legislator of this principle of the natural law. From the grow and multiply and take care of Earth… … it would correspond to the man developing and applying the correct norms. With the huge freedom and capacities that the man has. Without detriment in case the possible Legislator had or will intervein, if he wants, when the Man does it wrong.
This model has come through well so far. The danger is that the man hasn’t realized that the implicit mandate is global and universal for all the species or humanity, and has acted and continues to act in partial groups. Living together and “thriving” in vertical or transversal collectives, which get greater each time. With an internal group altruism but also with the other natural factors of fight and competition among groups and collectives.
This group competition needs to make the universal ethical principle explicit so that the partial collectives (nations, unions, cultures, religions, tendencies…) see and assume that they are part of the big group that is the whole species, all the humanity. And that they see and assume the survival of that humanity as an objective. An that they see and assume the extended altruism as a means for trying to achieve it. Altruism applied now to the overall of the great human group as a joint of the many collectives that form the species or humanity in each moment.
There exist and must exist a kind of partial ethics: materialists, spirituals, transcendental… from the non-believers of the different wisdoms (see the document from the International Theological Commission) and from the believers in a God or possible gods. If the wisdom or beliefs are good ones, the resulting ethics from them must coincide with the resultants of the universal ethical principle, being that if God exists, this principle has been dictated by Him as part of his Natural Law. The creators of religious ethics should have an easier way for dictating and following this natural norms. Regardless for them having specific norms for their transcendental objectives. Non-believers should, as every man, assume the universal ethical principle, which is a minimum principle, accepting that there could be spiritual and transcendental objectives that human science still doesn’t know and that many man want to try to get.
With all of that, it is clear that if there are discrepancies among the possible contingent ethical norms from one o the other, they will be due to interpretation mistakes or individual or group selfishness. The universal ethical principle, if it’s true, should work as a foundation for checking and stablishing the current and future ethical norms common to naturalists, spiritualists and believers. With the logic difficulty that comes with knowing which are the good acts: As both from the teleological point of view as from the deontological. See in its case the note about Victoria Camps.
The third doubt is about that...I believe that the natural status of the human "being" is not derived from the "ought" grounded on the love that you advocate". . And said in a different way: I don’t see that from the being natural of the human can be derived the duty of loving the one alike and taking care of the world.
This inquiry is easier to resolve. Is a philosopher-theologian inquiry who try start form what is the man, from the natural status or the natural being of the man for thinking in which ethics and behavioral norms should or must be. Namely, they want to go from the nature or essence of the man for, as it is, deducing from that, what his ethical imperative is.
As I say in my writings, my altruism isn’t based in the nature of the man, in the nature of every one of the man, My extended altruism, in all or some of their ways, is an strategy, not invented but received or inherited by man -whatever his nature and origin is- as a necessary and fledgling element for living in society. Fledgling strategy that the Homo Sapiens turned in his main means to survive and dominate the rest of the species. And the altruism/love, extended and human, can only be fully understood if it’s seen as the main mean, resource or attitude for surviving: as individuals, a group or as a species.
In other words: Man as a living being has the duty, as every living being, of trying that his species survives. And for that lives, reproduces and takes care of his offspring and his neighbors. And all of this supposes the obligation of taking care of its environment as for it’s needed for his own welfare and survival, as for his family and group members. As the social species normally do, specially the dominant ones: ants, bees… The love for others alike and the care of the world as environment, are part of the group altruism. That, furthermore, it’s always paid back: in a material way if there’s immediate or differed material reciprocity; in a kind of appreciation to the individuals and the group who is loved and cared; and as self-appraisal for accomplishing the duty of giving or taking care gratuitously or even at the cost of something. And for believers as a merit for their transcendental goals.
Undoubtedly, we men have a huge degree of freedom and there’s not an immediate and unavoidable obligation for being altruistic. It exists, as a norm of the species, the “vital recommendation” of being altruistic. Deep down in our brains. As a means for living together surviving. This recommendation is stronger and is more or less active and updated according to the received inheritance and the environment where our individual consciousness has been developed. Recommendation that each person attends and weights, more or less aware, having in account the cost and result of his actions for him and for the others. All this process of individual valorization is very studied although hasn’t been fully understood. It’s better understood having this things in account.
And in any case, it’s clear that the individual and group altruism/love is good for the wellness and survival. As for the individuals/persons as for the groups and all the human species. And that’s how the wiseman and the Saints from all the world, believers and non-believers, have seen it. With altruisms and partial loves, many times reduced to the groups that each one has covered physically or spiritually: children, family, friends, neighbors, tribe members, clans, nations, the town, the ones of the same race or religion, the Homeland…
Believers have an advantage because their collectives are wider. And Christians, since Jesus, have the concept of humanity clear and the commandment of loving all the man. Even in practice it’s something different.
As examples, I’m going to try to remember people who, in the lasts times, have recommended he exercise of loving and/or being altruistic:
• The quoted Jesus of Nazareth with his: Love one another… to everyone.
• Saint Paul in the epistle to the Corinthians: I could be me… without love I’m nothing.
• Saint Augustine: Love and do what you want.
• The Church in her encyclicals, homilies, exhortations…
• The Mother Theresa of Calcutta. And every missioner and ONG’s exercising.
• Every man: giving something to the others in one way or another. Living together and coexisting.
• Darwin: The man owes his huge superiority to his social habits that lead him to help and defend his peers.
• Edgar Morin. Communist: “We should talk of love without feeling ashamed… Love that wants to overflow the sphere of the private life and to extend to the species and the world”.
• Kropotkin. Anarchist: and his mutual help.
. The reader can ad many other cases… endless list.
In pages 51 to 53 of Survival and altruism I say that the species also recommends the competition and fight as means for surviving. But as well as the cooperation and the sublimated altruism become the pure love, the healthy self-interest and competition can be excessively sublimed on egoism, fight and hate. And it is clear that the competition and looking after the own benefit are good in its fair limits. But is also clear, and that’s how the species has understand it, that the collaboration and the altruism/love are more efficient and effective than a fratricidal fight and hate.
The history of the social species and of man prove the above. There’re more and more opinions that demonstrate that our behavior and our brain are oriented towards this altruistic behavior. See The evolution of love of Gerald Hüter, The generous revolution of Stefan Klein, Share and receive of Adam Grant… and the most recent and physical work of Donald W. Pfaff of 2015: The altruistic brain. Why are we naturally good?
Thinking on the altruism/love as a positive element in the living-together has been a constant in the history and that tendency has been accentuated on the last years. See also my note on the Cosmosapiens of John Hands and my comments on Damasio and other in Surviving, ideas for a universal ethics. But all of those thinkers haven’t got right on seeing the extended altruism and have stood on partial altruisms. Goods but partials: cooperation, collaboration, mutual help, sympathy, filial love, solidarity, fraternity, charity… All of these good elements and factors but lacking of the basic objective: the vital imperative. And for that they’re partial altruisms that rely, each one of them, on partial motivations. And there’re instinctive altruisms, gratuitous, reciprocal, burdensome… And that have as a subject individuals, people, partial groups, and even genes. But that, without a vital objective, they lack of a full sense for the man as a global collective. And that’s why they present contradictions among themselves. And incoherence’s among different “virtues”: justice, dignity, solidarity…
Summing up. To understand the partial altruisms of any type, it’s important to understand and assume what I call the extended altruism. Extended altruism that is essential for the survival of the human kind as a global collective. And in the other way around, it is not understood the extended altruism without understanding the vital imperative of surviving of the Man. They are complementary ideas: a social group as the human genre can not survive without extended altruism. And the altruism, in any of its forms, can not be understood if the isn’t a vital imperative of surviving. Without prejudice of the spiritual or transcendental altruisms, that in their case, reinforce the vitalnatural".
J.C. Madrid, 5.2.2018, 19:49. Reviewed the 24.2.18 at 0:05 Translated 14.01-19