(1) The gap between any existing human genetic endowment and the adaptive behavior potential required in some fairly remote future is unspecifiable, because the latter is still latent in the complexity of the cosmic environment. But, man's culture is an intermediate term, produced by reconnoitering the demands of environmental adjustment some way ahead (as a rule) of the genetic variation. The cultural anticipation of the true future is not entirely correct, and the genetic development will not, therefore, entirely follow it — and should not try to do so slavishly. But the culturo-genetic adaptation gap existing between culture and "human nature" can be conceived as an expression of how far human nature itself lags behind the level of moral perception already achieved in the culture. Thus culture exerts a pressure on human nature in what is largely a morally desirable direction, and the concept of "original sin" (as the extent of the innate inadequacy to reach the given moral standards) has an operational meaning.
(2) Revolutionary forces occasioned by the conflict of citizens with their existing culture contain two very different ingredients; one caused, as just stated, by (a) the inadequacy of human nature to the existing level of cultural demands, and another by (b) the poor structure of the culture as it becomes visible to the most genuine and intelligent of reformers. Because of the temporary alliance which ensues between rebels of the first type, against cultural restraint in any form, with the true reforming minority of the second type, seeking insightfully conceived improvements, the tragic cost of violence — of war and revolution — is often substituted for intelligent evolution. Means can be devised by social science for far better separation of these incompatible forces, especially through machinery for a scientifically guided evolution.
(3) The problem of adjustment of human nature to a moral system, considered here first for religio-moral systems generally and then more specifically for Beyondism, has two aspects. First, man may ask what his genetic make-up can do in bending down the moral system degeneratively to itself. Second, he may ask what wise psychological education and genetic selection can do to bring about the greatest movement of human nature toward meeting the demands of the ethical culture.
The greatest discrepancies, and those most prone to "bend" the moral system, are man's over-endowment in pugnacity and sex (relative to present cultural needs), his narcism, his limited capacity to endure "deflection strain" of instinctual satisfactions, the mental weakness of "autism" (notably his ready falling from the reality principle to the pleasure principle) and the still rudimentary, arrested development of the superego.
(4) Following the standard paradigm of adjustment process analysis, we see that the pleasure principle, and the defenses of rationalization, autism, projection, phantasy, etc., which emerge after extended conflict, are capable of powerfully warping intellectual understanding. Indeed, they are likely to develop (in the rationalizations of social interaction of individuals attempting to avoid frustrating moral demands) numerous philosophical and institutional defenses too elaborate and tangled for logic alone to be able to compel recognition of their fallacies. The possibility is raised of psychologists developing a dynamic calculus of cognitive warping, which could be combined with logic machines to evaluate the extent of evasion of the reality principle in social theories. Historically, this becomes a new development of dialectics. It is most needed for theories on paper, for when they are actually worked out in social life, experimentally, unpleasant natural and social consequences, inevitably, correct errors. The "bill" for behavioral maladaptations is exact and inexorable. But in literature, philosophy and political theory — as distinct from the empirical and disciplined area of science — both traditional rationalizations and new, group-sanctioned phantasies, can easily survive.
(5) Specific areas in which these defenses of innate and other maladaptations to ethical culture now operate, e.g., "rationalism" on sexual license; permissive attitudes on crime and against punishment, are studied in the next chapter. But among some broad and basic expressions of such defenses examined here are the non-acceptance of genetic and other individual and group differences, and the narcistic demand for rights without duties. As to the former, differences are not superiorities, except in regard to a particular community's specification of what it most needs. As to the latter, the Beyondist position is that man as an individual in the universe has no rights, any claim to such being a delusion from the anthropocentrism of most traditional revealed religions. As a member of a community, man has such relative rights to benefits, in a contract with the rest of the group, as a group of that type of person can wrest from the environment. These rights, e.g., to a given standard of living when not working, will therefore vary from group to group, and cannot be abstractly specified by statements of "inalienable or absolute rights" or narcistic, subjective concepts of suitable levels of "human dignity."
(6) The central wellspring of human motivation that may aid moral elevation of society is the superego, which can be cultivated by affectionate and morally disciplined parents, but the growth of which also hinges on genetic contributions. As with other traits with appreciable genetic components and underactive natural selection such as intelligence, superego endowment shows a wide scatter in the present population. Moreover, because of what we have called the counteraction principle, whereby within-group selection for superego endowment may actually be negative, and counteracted only by periodic elevations from between-groups selection, progress in morality from the basic source is slow.
(7) Because of this immature development of the superego the elevation of moral levels by religion throughout history has been achieved partly by "emotional deals" in which the necessary dynamic forces for introducing inhibitions or higher aspirations are obtained by ergic exchanges, or by the leverage of natural catastrophes, or the use of illusions, requiring belief in the supernatural, such as a compensated heaven.
Beyondism has no such deals to make, partly because it requires the austerity of giving up these same illusions, and partly because its very nature forbids anything but the scientist's uncompromising candor. Thus it offers neither a heaven, nor a Christian escape from competition. What it does offer is the aesthetic-intellectual panorama of science, and the living of a collective adventure less blind and less frustrated by popular incomprehension and uncooperativeness than in humdrum community life in the past.
(8) The narcistic and other forces of defense which seek to evade the challenges of evolution may stop short of disputing the Beyondist goal, and yet deny any urgency in attending to it. Our environment is not inherently designed to present its challenges to human survival in a manner carefully graded didactically to human learning capacity. Thus it may at any time present possibly overwhelming confrontations (as it did with the Ice Ages). Consequently, the question "What level of urgency is appropriate in our plan to advance human evolution?" can only be answered by the "The maximum!"
To appreciate the origin and potency of narcistic motive one must remember that living matter and human nature as part of it have no inherent desire to progress but only to continue, the progress being a secondary result appearing through life being forced into the environmental "labyrinth." Two goals which a Beyondist understanding of the situation suggests are (1) the maintenance of a "masochistic reserve" — a reserve of spiritual readiness through self-maintained pressures and restriction on direct instinctual satisfactions maintained through the lulls of environmental pressure; and (2) the engineering of an "off-balance environment," to present a continual training demand. These also perhaps have a danger — that the rate of change may show the character of positive feedback and lead to a complete loss of stability.
(9) When all is said, the greatest danger of distortion of the moral system from inherent action of the pleasure principle, is the possibility of bringing competition itself to a halt, by the "hedonic pact" among all groups.
Although the negative results of attempting to communicate with other intelligent beings in our galaxy are too recent to lead to firm conclusions, they call attention to the possibilities: (a) that the degree of independence required in socio-genetic experiments in different solar systems may be of so high an order as even to demand that there be absolutely no communication among them; and (b) that there is characteristically a high probability of the above hedonic pact occurring at a given level of self-consciousness and technical skill in the evolution of intelligent societies, so that communicating capacity is never reached. This supposes that a well-engineered social pact could bring an arrest of moral and general evolution which only a major (and perhaps, by then, overwhelming) cosmic challenge could end.
Back to Table of Contents