From the earliest times, culture has sought to transcend and replace the uncertainties of nature with a controllable human world. Arising in the separation of subject and object, the quest for the Ideal leads Man to the creation of an artificial world-a second nature.
The ideology of mechanism continues to inspire blind faith in technology and economic growth, which now threaten collapse of both nature and civil society. New technologies express ancient idealist dreams of immortality, freedom from embodiment and pain, and unlimited control of matter in man-made environments. But nature is not an artifact and may never be fully understood or controlled. While immortality and disembodied life may be delusion, this does not prevent the creation of dangerous new entities in the irrational search for divine power. Super-intelligence, artificial life, nanotechnology, or genetic engineering could defeat the reasoned use of technology to improve human life-if we fail to contain them or use them for universal benefit.
Both technology and economics reflect the masculine drives for power and subjective freedom that underly consumerism. The gender imbalance of modern patriarchy must be deeply rectified, not through the right of women to pursue a male model, but through the insistence of women and men alike to guide society sanely toward a more feminine vision.
While artificial organisms could displace human or all life, the global investment economy is a profit machine that already displaces local economies and ecologies, reducing the world to a monoculture, while siphoning declining wealth into ever fewer hands.
The world's economic disparities and the destruction of nature must be met by refusing corporate entitlement and the globalized consumer-investment economy. The answer to these threats is a new localism grounded in community and common sense.
Born 1945, I wanted to be an astronomer when I grew up. I attended the University of California, Los Angeles and Berkeley, immigrating to Canada in 1969. My ancestor was pioneer and mountain man, Jim Bridger. The passion for philosophy began in earnest at age seventeen, when I became acquainted with philosophy of mind and the fledgling science of Artificial Intelligence. A key intuition came around this time concerning the Mind-Body Problem, which formed the core of my earlier work The Rise and Fall of Reality. I also pursued studies with masters in the Sufi and Gurdjieff traditions, trained in relationship counseling, and have long maintained an interest in figurative art and design, first as furniture maker and later as sculptor. I reside in the small community of Hornby Island, British Columbia, where I am involved in the movement for increased local autonomy and a sustainable lifestyle. I dance Argentine tango and still love starry nights.