Monday, July 20, 2015

Schopenhauer, Darwin and Me


There are three books that made a century, those books are:
  1. The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer, 1818;
  2. On the Origin of Species, Darwin, 1859;
  3. The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud, 1900.
One interesting thing is that both time gaps are of 41 years, but there is something much more important that this curiosity, starting with the oldness of each one.

Philosophy - A Guide to Happiness: Schopenhauer on Love

Schopenhauer was a philosopher, but it could be saw as a naturalist like Darwin. Contrary to Darwin, Schopenhauer focus his attention only on Humans, despite that, his observations are singular. Schopenhauer explains how individuals follow instincts in the best interest of Species wrongly believing as their how interests.

The problem with Schopenhauer is that he put Nature and Species in the same bucket, his Will to Life is a product of Nature, he isn't able to make the distinction between Nature and Species, or at least, he doesn't establish a connection between the two like he was able to establish between Individuals and Species.

On the other hand, Darwin was able to establish the relation between Species and Nature, but he was unable to see the relationship between Species and Organisms, for him, Species and Organisms were the same thing, When he saw fossils, he saw species, he was unable to make the distinction.

Darwin with his work much more robust and scientific, was able to overshadow Schopenhauer, however what really killed his work was Freud. Freud never gave any model of life, contrary to Schopenhauer and Darwin, what he did was spread a bunch of interesting examples, and for each one he tried multiple and distinct explanations, and doing so, the concept of The Will of the Species was grounded until today. Ego, Super Ego and Id, are examples of the complex and obscure theories that Freud produced against a simple and clean view of how things really work. Freud is the paradigm of the vicious Scientific Materialism, always focused on the object without seeing the big picture behind it, as exposed here. In some extent, Nietzsche is another minor figure that contribute to the Schopenhauer lowering, like a Paulo Coelho of his time, writing self help books, something very popular then as today, a proof that hope is the essential ingredient of believe despite if true or not.

The void that Darwin leaved, was occupied by Freud not Schopenhauer, and so, that void still exists today, and extraordinary, psychology and not biology stills today as the main source of logic in the Organism vs Species interface. Both are right in seeing Sexuality as the main force of action, but they differ in the explanation of why things are as they are.

For instance, when explaining suicide, there isn't a better explanation than the one that Schopenhauer gives:
"Suicide does not reject life itself, but only the conditions under which life is given. Suicide is a surrender of life, but it is not a surrender of the will-to-live. The individual who commits suicide gives up living, but does not give up willing. In the act of suicide, the will affirms itself, even though it puts an end to its individual manifestation." - Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea, translated by Jill Berman (London: Everyman, 1995), pp. 250-1.
Much better and understandable that the clumsy and forced Altruistic Suicide of the Pure Darwinian Natural Selection way of thinking, well saw in the Selfish Gene paradigm (microevolution).

The problem when you only have a single Split and two Layers, is that everything that needs that extra layer is inevitable swept under the carpet.

Because Schopenhauer had not the theory of Natural Selection given by Darwin, for him there was not other reason for Love than reproduction. He was unable to see the interaction between Nature and Species like Darwin was. He was unable to see Evolution. So, happiness for him was not what was driving individuals to Love, neither pleasure was, but the subconscious Will to Live, will to have children. This subconscious is the excuse he gave when missing a real explanation, this is the carpet he needed to explain something he couldn't.

Other limitation of him, come from not embracing the extreme Standardization of Species, so he didn't spoke very much on the repulsive feelings for aberration avoidance, instead he points out the existence of an individual will, like short people choosing tall people intended to produce a balanced offspring. He could at least realize that a dwarf would not profit of this unreal individual choice, because there is only the standard will that is very restrictive on variation, the Will of the Species shaped by Nature.

If Schopenhauer was able to distinguish Species from Nature, he would understand that Entropy, a natural phenomenon, is something that Species have to cope with, and so, offspring quality is more important than offspring quantity, he would be able to understand what Species and their comprised instincts are, the mere result of Evolution, intended to solve difficulties posed by Nature. So, happiness plays an important rule, like sexual pleasure does, something that is very conscious and vivid, together with the contradictory feeling of repulsion for biological inferior organisms that the same species doesn't care or wants in its gene pool. This way is easy to realize what Species really wants and loves, and how Happiness and Pleasure are its main instruments.

The same way, pure Darwinists aren't able to explain Sexual Selection, and also, they swept under the carpet, they embrace the Red Queen Hypothesis just to sleep well in their ignorance. So, they ignore Induction, another natural phenomenon, they ignore Punctuated Equilibrium, a result of Natural Selection working on Species instead of Organisms (macroevolution), and so, they don't see macroevolution as a better adaptation to new environments, a scheme that allows Species to cope in a much faster way than microevolution, and so, they still believe that is not Evolution in bursts, but instead, mere randomness reconfiguring a kind of safe combination. They don't see any equilibrium between Sexual and Natural Selection, they just see a endless and absolute continuity no matter what.


Darwin made his point, no one was able to dismantle it, no one was able to blur his simple and clear model of Natural Selection. However, Schopenhauer was not so lucky, Darwin open a much more robust and sustained theory, despite not being contradictory with the one of Schopenhauer, it was much more convenient at the time, and then, as the final blow, Freud took the place of Schopenhauer, with their much more colorful theories, a Soap Opera which popularity and romanticism, the rationality and incompleteness of Schopenhauer couldn't compete.


This way, only recently was Species once again saw as an entity by itself, which fog helped it to be perceived as God for some and Nature for others! Hopefully one day Science will reveal Species in all its splendor with tremendous consequences that the present religiosity doesn't allow it to be seen!

"Claridge and I agree that the entities we call species are real biological units." - Species Are Not Uniquely Real Biological Entities, Brent D. Mishler

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