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On Human Devolution


Lemmings were , for long, falsely believed to commit mass suicide: truth is that it is we humans who have been doggedly self-subverting the existential conditions of our sojourn on this planet under the relentless grip of a pernicious paradigm that I have titled Eurocentric Modernism (EM).

As we, as a species, hover on the brink of disaster, it may be useful, albeit late in the day, to understand the asphyxiating ether we have been breathing under its duress.
The Antidote to the rational-legal formalisms of EuroModernism (EM) is an Affective Society (AS) based on kith and kindred (where society is but an extended family)
All simple tribal formations bear that character.
It is where the convivial human essence (species-being) displays itself in open abundance.
No, it is NOT Utopia: that term is a vulgar, EM caricature.
There is no such thing.
EM did not move us from AS to EM in one fell bound.
In fact, European history shows various ‘stages’ of this change.
From tribe, to empire (slavery), to tributary forms (serfdom) to
commercial society (capitalism).
So EM did not invent Adversarialism, but enshrined it as a species-universal (as in Hobbes).
It did invent AI (Asocial Individualism) which negates all social and sociable impulses (The Reformation’s abrogation of Canon Law correlates was the ontic consequence of denying ‘works’ and societal welfare as worthy objectives of an organic society).
[In fact , as an aside, AI is the differentia specifica that separates all of Non-European,(and most East-European) Capitalisms from the high North European template: they subscribed to Capitalism (freely, or perforce) but devoid the noxious , anti-social , drives of EM].
And it also added the vital garnish of a venal philosophy of materialism so that the most sordid of craven motivations became the duly sacralised mainstay of both personal and public policy.
So we get the mechanistic robotised EM wherein we brush each other aside, daily, to gain either personal salvation or personal compilation of wealth (indeed, the latter leading to the former, in the Calvinist vision).
Hell is other people (JPSartre), we owe nothing to.
We were , thereby, systematically being alienated from our native, convivial , essence.
It may be useful to recall, since the matter is rarely addressed, that nowhere was EM ‘voted in’: it was imposed perforce even within Europe itself, after bitter, protracted, civil wars.
Rather strange, it would appear, that a putative ideology of ‘freedom’ had to be birthed in blood and baptised in fire!
This process of denuding society of its vital anthropic correlates creates the Dystopia we subsist in today, though in all mindless propaganda it is projected as the very acme of EM ‘progress’.
It is this ontic degradation, moving from gemeinschaft to gesellschaft society (a morbid, and even mortal transition away from our convivial roots) , that I term Human Devolution (in my Farewell to Modernism, NY: Peter Lang, 2017)
The only EM societies that escaped the brunt of this descent into
limpid brutishness (whence I use the term the Brutish Isles to describe the UK) were those still tribal in their constitution (such as Scandinavian societies, which look relatively more civilised) , or those that never successfully completed the Protestant Reformation, such as much of East Europe.
To this day, native peoples, and the -so-called ‘third world’ formations, are admonished to pick up the deadening individualist, rationalist, cumulationist, chill of EM heartland societies (despite, in grotesque paradox, setting up a Minister for Loneliness, no less, as in the UK) whilst doffing/denying the warmth of familial, affective, communal, co-operative ties , denigrated as childish, primitive, and ‘feminine’.
That is what EM governors mean by being, allegedly, ‘developed’.
Setting that gross canard aside , it is really a matter of what I term a potent Gresham’s Law of Cultures
Bad Cultures (or even near-culture-free forms), effectively drive Good Cultures out of circulation.
This is how EM has posed a threat to the World’s civilisations since it got going 3 to 4 centuries ago: a threat that is still extant today.
It is the European (and the world’s) embrace of EM shibboleths that accounts for the cataclysmic societal breakdown, catastrophic moral aphasia, and dire environmental degradation that plague the planet today.
In the face of this lapidary debacle, the routine, incessant, complaints of lack of democracy, equality, or even liberty are really quite weakly, and woefully underspecified.
In a perfectly robotised society (such as the US) it wouldn’t much matter whether they had full employment, zero inflation , perfect equality, democracy or liberty.
It would still be an alienated nightmare where we live – as we do -drab, unfulfilling, meaningless,lives.
We were designed to thrive in a vibrant Social Economy of Affections, not in the dour, sullen, and barren, wasteland of a Political Economy of Interests.
Now we can comprehend the cancerous proliferation of sociopaths and psychopaths,by the day, even as social empathy, and minimal civility, evaporates.
Cut off from the healing matrix of our species-being, we meander off, necessarily, into anomie, angst, madness, and worse.
This scenario is playing out right before us, as we bicker and banter over utter ephemera, such as rest-room choices.
The newest EM theme-park might well be called Zombieland, where tourists can come and thrill to 1.6+ mass shootings per day.
Why not?
That may well be the very apogee of EM’s worldly achievement(s), to date.
[© R.Kanth 2022]


Professor Rajani Kanth, is Author of Coda, A Day in the Life, and Expiations

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