Nature of Reality
Reality is an illusion based on gene survivial-individual behaviour and even social institutions are expressions of genes, the vast majority of which are common to humans and the higher primates. The implicit, largely unconscious, principles that inform gene-determined human behaviour are rooted in their survival value; and the entity whose survival is served is not the conscious organism but the genome itself. Since the actual reasons for our actions are beyond our ken, they are not truly voluntary. Yet more radical attacks on the notion of human freedom have come from neuroscience: ever more sophisticated and seemingly complete accounts of the human mind in terms of the functioning of our (animal, or physical) brains, appear to embed even higher level awareness in the material world. (3)
With the barriers between living- and non-living matter long pulled down, the gap between humans and other animals narrowed, and the identification of the human mind with the functioning of the brain, the assumption of a fundamental difference between human actions and other events in the material world--between deliberately chosen, reason-led, behaviour and materially caused material effects--seems shaky. The impersonal, unbreakable laws of the physical world encroach upon, engulf, and digest humanity. Human beings are, it seems, sites like any others where the laws of nature operate, places through which pass the causal chains that originate outside of them. Given that humans are so completely embedded in a non-human (or not-specifically-human) material universe regulated according to laws of nature which are (almost by definition) absolutely unbroken regularities, (4) human freedom must be an illusion. The fulfillment of the illusion did not happen instantaneously: human freedom has grown collectively over many hundreds of thousands of years and in parallel with the elaboration of millions of human selves and the collective world to which they...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document