Armory contributor Paul Pinfield postulates on the purpose of human intellect and it’s evolutionary implications
“But humans are carnivores/omnivores!”
by Paul Pinfield
I consider it of little consequence “what” we are.. omnivore , carnivore or lapsed ovo-dactarivore! For every bit of evidence i can come up with to “prove” to my mind that we are This, you will be able to come up with a “proof” to satisfy yours, that we are That.
What’s much more interesting to my mind is what’s possible.
Good or bad, progressive or regressive, in some ways our specie is very different to even our closest relative. Our capacity to store and retrieve information and our sophisticated technologies clearly set us apart from the rest. But to what end? Of course there isn’t necessarily a Purpose, but somehow Is and Isn’t became sequenced into a third thing, which in turn eventually became the cell phone! All of which implies intent, so it’s not unreasonable to consider there is some Purpose. Though thus far, defining it has largely been the work of fools and charlatans.
So, to what end, this big brain? We can just invent something, can’t we? We can say, perhaps, our purpose on this planet is to worship Captain Beardy, get forgiven for fuck-knows-what, and go to the Nice Place when we die. Or maybe to behave well so we get reincarnated as a rich bastard.
But these are stupid, self serving Inventions of Purpose. They’re based around stories that have no relation to what passes for reality. So what would be a sound, real purpose.. what would be the very best purpose to a human life? To know that you have to look at what is the most essential, the most fundamental element of our existence..
The, strongest motivational force that acts on us, a force that leaves all others in it’s wake, is avoidance of pain and suffering. Even rampant sex drive is instantly quelled by a decent toothache.
Our single greatest moral imperative should be that when our personal suffering is eliminated, or at a manageable level, we try to bring that same state to others. Every action potential can be qualified by it’s impact on suffering. To decide where we administer this balm we have to consider the probability of our making sound decisions as to what might constitute Help, rather than Hindrance. We make sounder judgements about those things with which we are most familiar and of which we have most experience, so, naturally our fellow humans. We know how we hurt, how we grieve, what hunger is, therefore we can make good guesses at how to help reduce human pain, if it can be reduced.
We now know beyond all reasonable doubt that a Pig suffers as do we. Physiology, neurology and observation tell us that the Pig doesn’t grieve and hurt in a similar way to the human, but in precisely the same way.
Within the frame of reference of by far the most essential trait we possess you, me and Percy Pig are the same creature. The significant relative differences between you and Percy, and you and a Chinaman are negligible. Both others look different, behave differently and make largely unintelligible noises, but for one you would readily contract out for the systematic imposition of suffering and premature death.
This is a deeply immoral act.
No matter what your Dad did, how long your gut is, how big your canine teeth are… you have it in your power to reduce the suffering of those who amount to your brothers and sisters, at no cost to yourself … today.
If this big brain is to serve any purpose greater than the design of a pen that writes inverted, is this not it?..
The proactive commitment by a relatively new and bigger brain to overturn the past and bring a kinder future to Others.
If this isn’t Evolution, then what is?