More on Bennett
I have been a little slow on posting, among other reasons because I am setting up some other blogs: see the blogroll. I will get more momentum soon.
Also, I am (re)reading Bennett’s The Dramatic Universe, a work that can be a kind of private universe, since few have read it, or the means to cope with Bennett’s flood of philosophy/science that he uses in the text.
This is a book I have critiqued (reviewed at Amazon, can’t find the review), and, indeed, repudiated, but once one’s responsibility is absolved in that direction, it is possible to throw the book into a melting pot for some reconsideration.
It raises some questions about human evolution that might give both the Intelligent Design people and the Darwinists both a run for their money. As the blog owner of Darwiniana I am looking for a way to use this book as a stick to beat both parties over the head. (I am not a designist, nor a Darwinian.)
The ID group: if you won’t specify your ‘intelligent designer’, you might confront some pretty breathtaking candidates produced in the New Age world. Of them all Bennett’s is the most exotic, and frightening: the demiurgic powers, beings far far short of ‘divinity’ (if you believe or not in such) in disembodied form existing in the time-frame of life on earth (Gurdjieff’s immortals in the frame of the solar system) managing each stage of life’s emergence, and especially man’s emergent evolution, as man passes from the stage of animal sensitivity (what we usually mean by ‘consciousness’) to ‘consciousness’ (which in Bennett’s scheme is not a natural but a cosmic energy, and not controlled by the human will) and ‘creativity’, the energy beyond ‘consciousness’.
Bennett points to a lot of discrepancies in our knowledge, however outlandish his imaginary speculations, e.g. the stages of mind-formation, soul-formation, etc…
All this is based on the Gurdjieff/Ouspensky version of Samkhya where everything is ‘material’ in the Samkhya sense, so all of this is not, at least in principle, some kind of exercise in anti-materialism. Soulstuff and mindstuff are all material (and the sausage machines run by these demiurgic powers don’t exactly correspond to standard religious fantasies of going to heave at death, etc….)
The Darwin group: the current Darwinian view of man’s emergence is so hopelessly inadequate that even New Agers seem better informed. Idiots!
I am going to pursue this here as a sideline, if anyone is interested, in part to liberate people in the ‘work’ from any authoritarian abuse of this system (not likely since the book is too hard to be pop New Age spiritualism), and also as a device to muse on the mysteries of human evolution, about which we know so little. Certainly the current (and past) field of gurus don’t grasp the issues, and an ironic side effect of reading Bennett is to realize that ‘evolutionary’ guruism is pretty small potatoes compared to the real potential of human future evolution.
The ridiculous idea purloined from Nietzsche then backdated to the ‘tradition’ of these characters being some kind of ubermensch gang is, or was, a funny joke.
Bennett was a very smart fellow but his systematics has a few weak spots, and I fear I will have to show those wishing to make this stuff seem like science how easy it is to pull the plug on it. Not that that is hard: he made the whole thing up!
There is also an email group on Bennett, deeper_d, at Yahoo, run by A.G.E. Blake, a venerable fellow. I was banned from posting, but may stalk their archives anonymously for any leads. Be forewarned.