This is Essay XC of Mr. Stolyarov’s series, “A Rational Cosmology,” which seeks to present objective, absolute, rationally grounded views of terms such as universe, matter, volume, space, time, motion, sound, light, forces, fields, and even the higher-order concepts of life, consciousness, and volition. See the index of all the essays in “A Rational Cosmology” here.
Apocalyptic dogma has existed since the beginning of human civilization, trying, in sheer envy and malice, to condemn aspiration and progress as futile because everything is someday doomed to come to an end.
Rational cosmology affirms the truth about reality: entities come to be and pass away because of their particular natures, not because this is some universally dictated inevitability. Nothing has to end except as governed by the behavior of its constituent qualities. If one changes an entity’s qualities, one changes its fate.
Not only is the universe not doomed, neither is man. The physicalist view of life, consciousness, and volition implies that man has the full potential, ability, and freedom to expand the abilities of his own organism through both organic and mechanical enhancements. These abilities include the broadening of his capacity to resist the forces of death and decay which afflict his body and mind.
Over the ages, this phenomenon has indeed occurred, as rational science has increased man’s average life expectancy about fivefold, from the late teens in the Paleolithic era to the late seventies and early eighties today. There is no reason to presume that there is a “cap” on this ability to win temporal territory from the abyss of non-existence.
Quite the contrary, the foundations of existence all suggest that indefinite longevity is there for the taking, if only man were to renounce all inferiority complexes and realize that no pursuit in self-improvement, however ambitious, is futile or beyond his grasp. He has all the tools, and the ability to build new ones, needed to discover the answers to the greatest questions, to construct the most life-enhancing machines, to alter the nature of his environment so as to please him and enrich his existence.
But, as the great Sir Francis Bacon noted, “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” To learn how to manipulate the elements, one must first know how they function. To get to the stage of manipulating particular elements, one must know fundamental, logical, irrefutable, and ubiquitous truths about existence itself. This is where philosophy in general, and cosmology in particular, come in.
Without the guidance of general, abstract principles for understanding where he is, who he is, why he is, and what he ought to do, man, even when armed with the most complex technology and the best particular observations of his day, is helpless. For the technology and the particular observations must serve his philosophically ordained and volitionally chosen purpose, not the other way around.
Only when armed with the certainty provided by a philosophical understanding of the fundamentals of existence can man become impervious to the allure of authority, the soothing promises of experts who seek to liberate the individual from the responsibility of thinking for himself, and thereby to make a willing slave of him.
The philosophically enlightened man can “specialize” and succeed in anything, and the greatest minds of history knew this. Leonardo’s art, Newton’s physics, Goethe’s drama and poetry, all towered above the common denominator because these men knew the value of philosophy in every human endeavor; they knew that only abstract, rational principles can bring about unerring consistency in whatever line of work one seeks to pursue, and they applied those principles with honesty and precision.
Man is born tabula rasa, says rational philosophy. There is nothing that prevents him from being the next Leonardo or Newton, save the lack of willpower and confidence to do it. And it is this confidence in himself and in the immutability of the principles governing his world that man needs to develop. May rational cosmology assist him in such a worthy task.
Read other parts of “A Rational Cosmology” by clicking here.