Thursday, December 1, 2011

Human History and Habit

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  
(George Santayana)

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.  
(George Bernard Shaw)

What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles.  
(Georg Wilhelm Hegel)

Interesting that the three quotations above are by three Georg[e]s.  There must be something to that name.  But do these quotations convey the truth regarding history, and the human comportment to it? Perhaps they are correct, that humans do not learn, i.e., in general, overall, collectively as a herd, from history.  Some elite, elect people do, but perhaps not the masses, and it's the mass-dynamic to forget and repeat the same mistakes, perhaps on bigger and bigger scales.  But is this indeed the case, are the masses going on like a broken record, or is it only seemingly so?  

Consider Habit with respect to social morphic fields.  Evolution, perhaps we could be so bold as to say a teleological quantum-jump of negentropic Novelty, sometimes spontaneously arises in synergistic response to servo-feedback correlations among nested, entangled-hierarchic morphic fields.  Order suddenly bursts forth from Chaos; Apollo gets bootstrapped by Dionysus, not to emerge as the former self, but a hitherto unknown---and unforeseen---theophany.  A theophany (or theaphany, whichever) of renewed integration, sublimation, involution, and superposition.  

And when the new god is born, believers of the old order will castigate it, and make it their holy duty to crucify it.  But the one-step-forward one-step-back double-dialectic backlash is part of the evolutionary process, which affords collective, morphic-resonant, heuristic proactivity, a frame of covariant reference, a means of osmotic assimilation and inculcation of new information on a mass, historical scale.  The great kenosis of the death of the old god, the old order, must inevitably bring with it a great upheaval; an upheaval to those who still cling to it for dear life, as if their souls depended on it.  But history is just a peripheral byproduct of the universal teleology of consciousness, and nothing more; it's just flotsam and jetsam.  

To end it with a rather hackneyed but effective story: The only son of elderly Tibetan farmers broke his leg.  Their son tilled the field, sowed seeds, harvested, and did most of the physical labor for them, but now, even his older folks were more physically able than he.  His parents rued the day, and expressed their anger toward their guardian bodhisattvas, that the bodhisattvas broke their vows and betrayed them.  But soon thereafter, the Red Army trounces through the hills and fields in a drive to draft all young and able men in the province.  They come upon the lad and pass him over, as his leg is broken, and is useless to them.  The elderly farmers then understood the harsh, exigent expedience of the bodhisattva's work, and marveled.  For had their son gotten swept up by the Red Army, he would have never returned.