Survival of the Fittest

HUMANITY is a dynamic affair, nay, the most dynamic known, because it is able to transform and direct basic powers. Where power is produced there must be an issue for it. Power must perforce express itself in some form. Electricity produced in the skies comes down in an often disastrous manner. Electricity, produced aimfully, runs our railroads; just so the enormous power produced by humanity must be used aimfully, in a constructive way or it will burst into insurrections, revolutions and wars.

Hitherto we have been guided by those bottomless sciences having only mythological ideas of power-by ideas moulded by personal ambitions, personal interests, or downright ignorance. Periodically we have had all the evils of the lack of a common aim and scientific guidance. Power has been held by the "God-given" or the "cleverest"; seldom has the power been given to the "fittest" in the sense of the most capable "to do." Those who speak of the "survival of the fittest," as in the Darwinian theory of animals, bark an animal language. This rule, being natural only in the life of plants and animals and appropriate only to the lower forms of physical life, cannot, except with profound change of meaning, be applied to the time-binding class of life, without disaster.

The modern vast accumulation of wealth for private purposes, justifies itself by using the argument of the "survival of the fittest." Very well, where there is a "survival," there must be victims; where there are victims, there has been fighting. Is this what the users of this argument mean? Like the Kaiser, they talk peace and make war. This method of doing things is not in any way new. The world has been accustomed to it for a very long while.

Personally I believe that most of the masters of speculative semi-sciences, such as economics, law, ethics, politics and government are honest in their beliefs and speculations. Simply the right man believes in the wrong thing; if shown the right way out of the mess he will cease to hamper progress; he will be of the greatest value to the new world built by Human Engineers, where human capacities, exponential functions of time, will operate naturally; where economy, law, ethics, politics and government will be dynamic, not static. There is a world of difference between these two words.

The immediate object of this writing is to show the way to directing the time-binding powers of mankind for the benefit of all. Human technology, as an art and science, does not yet exist; some basic principles were required as a foundation for such science. Especially was it necessary to establish a human standard, and thus make it certain and clear that "space-binders"-the members of the animal world-are "outside of the human law"-outside the natural laws for the human class of life.

Present civilization is a very complicated affair; although many of our social problems are very badly managed, sudden changes could not be made without endangering the welfare and life of all classes of society. In the meantime, changes must be made because the world can not proceed much longer under pre-war conditions; they have been too well exposed by facts for humanity to allow itself to be blindly led again.

In the World War humanity passed through a tremendous trial and for those years was under the strain of an extensive mobilization campaign. The necessity of increasing power was manifest; the importance of a common base or aim became equally manifest. In this case the base, the common aim, was found in "war patriotism." This common base enabled all the states to add up individual powers and build maximum efficiency into a collective power. This expression is used, not only as a social truth, but as a known mathematical truth. Those high ideals, which were given "Urbi et orbi" in thousands of speeches and in millions of propaganda papers, had a much greater educational importance and influence than most people are aware of. People have been awakened and have acquired the taste for those higher purposes which in the past were available only for the few.

Many old worn-out idols, ideas and ideals have fallen; but what is going to take their place? We witness an unrest which will not be eliminated until something essential is done to adjust it. Calm often betokens a coming storm. The coming storm is not the work of any "bad man," but it is the inevitable consequence of a "bad system." It is dangerous to hide our heads in the sand, like an ostrich, and fancy we are safe.

"Survival of the fittest" in the commonly used animal sense is not a theory or principle for a "time-binding" being. This theory is only for the physical bodies of animals; its effect upon humanity is sinister and degrading (see App. II). We see the principle at work all about us in criminal exploitation and profiteering. As a matter of fact, the ages-long application of this animal principle to human affairs has degraded the whole human morale in an inconceivably far-reaching way. Personal greed and selfishness are brazenly owned as principles of conduct. We shrug our shoulders in acquiescence and proclaim greed and selfishness to be the very core of human nature, take it all for granted, and let it pass at that. We have gone so far in our degradation that the prophet of capitalistic principles, Adam Smith, in his famous Wealth of Nations, arrives at the laws of wealth, not from the phenomena of wealth nor from statistical statements, but from the phenomena of selfishness-a fact which shows how far-reaching in its dire influence upon all humanity is the theory that human beings are "animals." Of course the effect is very disastrous. The preceding chapters have shown that the theory is false; it is false, not only because of its unhappy effects, but it belies the characteristic nature of man. Human nature, this time-binding power, not only has the peculiar capacity for perpetual progress, but it has, over and above all animal propensities, certain qualities constituting it a distinctive dimension or type of life. Not only our whole collective life proves a love for higher ideals, but even our dead give us the rich heritage, material and spiritual, of all their toils. There is nothing mystical about it; to call SUCH a class a naturally selfish class is not only nonsensical but monstrous.

This capacity for higher ideals does not originate in some "supernatural" outside factor; it is not of extraneous origin, it is the expression of the time-binding element which we inherently possess, independently of our "will"; it is an inborn capacity-a gift of nature. We simply are made this way and not in any other. There is indeed a fine sense in which we can, if we choose, apply the expression- survival of the fittest-to the activity of the time-binding energies of man. Having the peculiar capacity to survive in our deeds, we have an inclination to use it and we survive in the deeds of our creation; and so there is brought about the "survival in time" of higher and higher ideals. The moment we consider Man in his proper dimension-active in TIME-these things become simple, stupendous, and beautiful.

"Note the radical character of the transformation to be effected. The world shall no longer be beheld as an alien thing, beheld by eyes that are not its own. Conception of the whole and by the whole shall embrace us as part, really, literally, consciously, as the latest term, it may be, of an advancing sequence of developments, as occupying the highest rank perhaps in the ever-ascending hierarchy of being, but, at all events, as emerged and still emerging natura naturata from some propensive source within. I grant that the change in point of view is hard to make-old habits, like walls of rock, tending to confine the tides of consciousness within their accustomed channels-but it can be made and, by assiduous effort, in the course of time, maintained. Suppose it done. By that reunion, the whole regains, while the part retains, the consciousness the latter purloined.... In the whole universe of events, none is more wonderful than the birth of wonder, none more curious than the nascence of curiosity itself, nothing to compare with the dawning of consciousness in the ancient dark and the gradual extension of psychic life and illumination throughout a cosmos that before had only been. An eternity of blindly acting, transforming, unconscious existence, assuming at length, through the birth of sense and intellect, without loss or break of continuity, the abiding form of fleeting time." (C. J. Keyser, loc. cit.)

It must be emphasized that the development of higher ideals is due to the natural capacity of humanity; the impulse is simply time-binding impulse. As we have seen, by analysing the functions of the different classes of life, every class of life has an impulse to exercise its peculiar capacity or function. Nitrogen resists compound combinations and if found in such combinations it breaks away as quickly as ever it can. Birds have wings-they fly. Animals have feet-they run. Man has the capacity of time-binding-he binds time. It does not matter whether we understand the very "essence" of the phenomenon or not, any more than we understand the "essence" of electricity or any other "essence." Life shows that man has time-binding capacity as a natural gift and is naturally impelled to use it. One of the best examples is procreation. Conception is a completely incomprehensible phenomenon in its "essence," nevertheless, having the capacity to procreate we use it without bothering about its "essence." Indeed neither life nor science bothers about "essences"-they leave "essences" to metaphysics, which is neither life nor science. It is sufficient for our purpose that idealization is in fact a natural process of time-binding human energy. And however imperfect ethics has been owing to the prevalence of animal standards, such merits as our ethics has had witness to the natural presence of "idealization" in time-binding human life.

"It is thus evident that ideals are not things to gush over or to sigh and sentimentalize about; they are not what would be left if that which is hard in reality were taken away; ideals are themselves the very flint of reality, beautiful no doubt and precious, without which there would be neither dignity nor hope nor light; but their aspect is not sentimental and soft; it is hard, cold, intellectual, logical, austere. Idealization consists in the conception or the intuition of ideals and in the pursuit of them. And ideals, I have said, are of two kinds. Let us make the distinction clearer. Every sort of human activity-shoeing horses, abdominal surgery, or painting profiles-admits of a peculiar type of excellence. No sort of activity can escape from its own type but within its type it admits of indefinite improvement. For each type there is an ideal-a dream of perfection-an unattainable limit of an endless sequence of potential ameliorations within the type and on its level. The dreams of such unattainable perfections are as countless as the types of excellence to which they respectively belong and they together constitute the familiar world of our human ideals. To share in it-to feel the lure of perfection in one or more types of excellence, however lowly-is to be human; not to feel it is to be sub-human. But this common kind of idealization, though it is very important and very precious, does not produce the great events in the life of mankind. These are produced by the kind of idealization that corresponds to what we have called in the mathematical prototype, limit-begotten generalization-a kind of idealization that is peculiar to creative genius and that, not content to pursue ideals within established types of excellences, creates new types thereof in science, in art, in philosophy, in letters, in ethics, in education, in social order, in all the fields and forms of the spiritual life of man." (Quoted from the manuscript of the forthcoming book, Mathematical Philosophy, by Cassius J. Keyser.)

"Survival of the fittest" has a different form for different classes of life. Applying animal standards to time-binding beings is like applying inches to measuring weight. As a matter or fact, we cannot raise one class to a higher class, unless we add an entirely new function to the former; we can only improve their lower status; but if we apply the reverse method, we can degrade human standards to animal standards.

Animal standards belong to a class of life whose capacity is not an exponential function of Time. There is nothing theological or sentimental in this fact; it is a purely mathematical truth.

It is fatal to apply the "survival of the fittest" theory in the same sense to two radically different classes of life. The "survival of the fittest" for animals-for space-binders-is survival in space, which means fighting and other brutal forms of struggle; on the other hand, "survival of the fittest" for human beings as such-that is, for time-binders-is survival in time, which means intellectual or spiritual competition, struggle for excellence, for making the best survive. The-fittest-in-time-those who make the best survive-are those who do the most in producing values for all mankind including posterity. This is the scientific base for natural ethics, and ethics from which there can be no side-stepping, or escape.

Therefore time-binders can not use "animal" logic without degrading themselves from their proper status as human beings-their status as established by nature. "Animal" logic leads to "animal" ethics and "animal" economics; it leads inevitably to a brutalized industrial system in which cunning contrives to rob the living of the fruit of the dead.

Human logic points to human ethics and human economics; it will lead to a humanized industrial system in which competition will be competition in science, in art, in justice: a competition and struggle for the attainment of excellence in human life. The time-binding capacity, which manifests itself in drawing from the PAST, through the PRESENT for the FUTURE gives human beings the means of attaining a precious kind of immortality; it enables them to fulfill the law of their own class of life and to survive everlastingly in the fruits of their toil, a perpetual blessing to endless generations of the children of men. This is the truth we instinctively recognize when we call a great man "immortal." We mean that he has done deeds that survive in time for the perpetual weal of mankind.

Human logic-mathematical logic, the logic natural for man-will thus show us that "good" and "just" and "right" are to have their significance defined and understood entirely in terms of human nature. Human nature-not animal nature-is to be the basis and guide of Human Engineering. Thus based and guided, Human Engineering will eliminate "wild-cat schemers," gamblers and "politicians." It will put an end to industrial violence, strikes, insurrections, war and revolutions.

The present system of social life is largely built upon misconceptions or misrepresentations. For all work we need the human brain, the human time-binding power, yet we continue to call it "hand-labor" and treat it as such. Even in mechanical science, in the use of the term "horse-power," we are incorrect in this expression. How does this "horse" look in reality? Let us analyse this "horse." All science, all mechanical appliances have been produced by "man" and man alone. Everything we possess is the production of either dead men's or living men's work. The enslavement of the solar man-power is purely a human invention in theory and practice. Everything we have is evidently therefore a time-binding product. What perfect nonsense to call a purely human achievement the equivalent of so much "horse-power"! Of course it does not matter mathematically what name we give to a unit of power; we may call it a Zeus or a Zebra; but there is a very vicious implication in using the name of an animal to denote a purely human product. Everything in our civilization was produced by MAN; it seems only reasonable that this unit of power which is the direct product of Man's work, should be correctly named after him. The educational effect would be wholesome and tremendous. The human value in work would be thus emphasized again and again, and respect for human work would be taught, from the beginning in the schools. This "horse-power" unit causes us to forget the human part in it and it degrades human work to the level of a commodity. This is an example of the degrading influence of wrong conceptions and wrong language. I said "educational" because even our subconscious mind is affected by this. (See App. II.)

Human Engineering will not interfere with any scientific research; on the contrary, it will promote it in many ways. Grown-ups, it is to be hoped, will stop the nonsense of intermixing dimensions, for which we chastise children. It is the same kind of blundering as when we intermix phenomena-measuring "God" by human standards, or human beings by animal standards. The relationship, if any, between these phenomena or the overlapping of different classes, is interesting and important; but in studying such relationships of classes, it is fatal to mix the classes; for example, if we are studying the relations between surfaces and solids, it is fatal to mistake solids for surfaces; just so, too, if we stupidly confuse humans with animals.

In the reality of life, we are interested only in the values of the function of the phenomena by themselves and to arrive at right conclusions we have to use units appropriate to the phenomena. The intermixing of units gives us a wrong conception of the values of each phenomenon; the results of our calculations are wrong and the outcome is a misconception of the process of human life. The fact once realized, we will cease applying animal measures to man; even theology will abandon the monstrous habit.

Animal units and standards are to be applied to animals, human standards to man, "Divine" standards to "God."

In the dark ages, with the complete innocence or misunderstanding of science, the "why" of things was explained by the "who" of things; therein investigation culminated; man was regarded as homo sapiens and homo sapiens = animal spark of supernatural; this monstrous formula was accepted as a final truth-as an answer to the question: What is Man? This type of answer became in the hands of church and state a powerful instrument for keeping the people in subjection.

The tendency of the masses to let others think for them is not really a natural characteristic-quite the opposite. The habit of not thinking for one's self is the result of thousands of years of subjection. Those in authority, in general, used their ingenuity to keep the people from thinking. The most vital reason why many humans appear to be, and are often called, "stupid," is that they have been spoken to in a language of speculation which they instinctively dislike and distrust; thus there arose the proverb that speech was made to conceal the truth. It is no wonder that they appear "stupid," the wonder is that they are not more "stupid." The truth is that they will be found to be far less stupid when addressed in the natural language of ascertainable fact. My whole theory is based upon, and is in harmony with, the natural feelings of man. The conceptions I introduce are based on human nature. Natural language-so different from the speech of metaphysical speculation-will lead to mutual understanding and the disappearance of warring factions.

"Discrimination, as the proverb rightly teaches, is the beginning of mind. The first psychic product of that initial psychic act is numerical: to discriminate is to produce two, the simplest possible example of multiplicity. The discovery, or better the invention, better still the production, best of all the creation, of multiplicity with its correlate of number, is, therefore, the most primitive achievement or manifestation of mind.... Let us, then, trust the arithmetic instinct as fundamental and, for instruments of thought that shall not fail, repair at once to the domain of number." (C. J. Keyser, Loc. Cit.)

The thinking few knew the power there is in "thinking"; they wanted to have it and to keep the advantage of it for themselves; witness the late introduction of public schools. Belief in the inferiority of the masses became the unwritten law of the "privileged classes"; it was forced upon, rubbed into, the subconscious mind of the masses by church and state alike, and was humbly and dumbly accepted by the "lower orders" as their "destiny." Ignorance was proclaimed as a bliss.

As time went on, this "coefficient of ignorance" became so useful to some people and some classes of people that no effort was spared to keep the world in ignorance. It gave a legalistic excuse to imprison, burn and hang people for expressing an opinion which the ruling classes did not like. The elimination from church, from school, from universities, of any teacher, any professor or any minister who dared to exemplify or encourage fearless investigation and freedom of speech became very common. It is less common in our generation, but there remains much to win in the way of freedom.

Freedom, rightly understood, is the aim of Human Engineering. But freedom is not license, it is not licentiousness. Freedom consists in lawful living- in living in accord with the laws of human nature- in accord with the natural laws of Man. A plant is free when it is not prevented from living and growing according to the natural laws of plant life; an animal is free when it is not prevented from living according to the natural laws of animal life; human beings are free when and only when they are not prevented from living in accord with the natural laws of human life. I say "when not prevented," for human beings will live naturally and, therefore, in freedom, when they are not prevented from thus living by ignorance of what human nature is and by artificial social systems established, maintained, and protected by such ignorance. Human freedom consists in exercising the time-binding energies of man in accordance with the natural laws of such natural energies. Human freedom is thus the aim of Human Engineering because Human Engineering is to be the science of human nature and the art of conducting human affairs in accordance with the laws of human nature. Survival of the fittest, where fittest means strongest, is a natural law for brutes, for animals, for the class of mere space-binders. Survival of the fittest, where fittest means best in science and art and wisdom, is a natural law for mankind, the time-binding class of life.