Wednesday, September 7, 2022

On Medium: How Understanding the Facts Makes All Knowledge Partly Subjective

Read on about mental maps, the oxymoron of pure objectivity, and how justifying our beliefs to show that we understand them makes the beliefs partly subjective.


  1. Ulrich Horstmann puts forth the theory that mankind has been pre-programmed to eliminate itself in the course of history—and also all its memory of itself—through war (thermonuclear, genetic, biological), genocide, destruction of its sustaining environment, etc. “The final aim of history is a crumbling field of ruins. Its final meaning is the sand blown through the eye-holes of human skulls.” Through his analysis of history, he has concluded that our species is engaged in a constant process of armament, with the eventual end goal of wiping itself out through war. History, for him, is nothing more than a slaughterhouse . . . “the place of a skull and charnel house of a mad, incurably bloodthirsty slaughtering, flaying and whetting, of an irresistible urge to destroy to the last.” Although inspired by the already extreme philosophy of Philipp Mainländer, Horstmann ends up with an even more explicit solution regarding the problem of human existence. In his book The Beast he actually goes so far as to suggest the use of nuclear weapons in order to bring forth the extinction of the human race. For him only the annihilation of life would give rise to a universal redemption in which we would once again achieve the existential peace of inorganic matter. According to Horstmann’s apocalyptic vision: The true Garden of Eden is desolation

    1. That's a paragraph from the Wikipedia page. It reminds me of the William character from the end of Westworld's fourth season. Are we "pre-programmed" for self-destruction? Is culture as programmed as our genetic traits? That seems doubtful. I also don't see how inanimate matter is more "peaceful" than sentient life. Certainly we may destroy ourselves, and we may even be doomed to do so. Rooting for that end, though, is a bridge too far for me.

    2. Yeah, the "pre-programmed" thing doesn't make much sense to me either. I have my own theory about human evolution. It's as if nature wanted to "see" itself. Through humans nature developed that ability. Once nature could see itself though humans it was appalled by what it saw, and has been actively working to destroy itself ever since. The distant future doesn't include humans, whether we like it or not. That train has left the station.

    3. I address that question of nature seeing itself through us in my recent article on a clash of pantheisms: