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Climax culture

September 25, 2007

I was interested to see Ran’s comments about how our species will never learn from it’s experiences and is destined to make the same mistakes over and over again. I’ve always been intrigued by his prior thinking that we might learn as a group how to handle things like civilisation and I must admit that the idea appealed greatly to me but that I could never see how it might work.

I certainly think we can learn as individuals and may even be able to pass some of that wisdom on to the next generation but it is very fragile and easily destroyed. For a while I’ve felt that this was the only type of learning available to us and that each person starts off as a blank slate.

A lot of adverse things may happen to us (or they may not) but it’s how we handle them that matters. It’s kind of about being the best that we can, except that I don’t mean the best athlete or worker or the richest person for that matter – just the most decent person basically. I think I developed this idea from hanging around with Christians, although they themselves don’t seem to have developed it very much, quite often they seem focused on just hanging in there until they get to go to heaven, whereas I suspect that it’s what we do in this life that is most important. It’s our chance to prove ourselves.

Within that there are certain kinds of guidelines that I see, I’ve picked up from other people that to be fulfilled in our life we need the opportunity to be creative and we need to serve something bigger or more important than ourselves. I’d add to that that we also need to be able to be truly ourselves and to have genuine community – and that they kind of come as a package deal.

William Kotke talked in the Final Empire about Climax Ecosystems, which was his term to describe an ecosystem that is functioning to it’s fullest ability, it would be wrong to say it is operating ‘efficiently’ but the species that make it up are mature and healthy and exist in proper balance with each other. All ecosystems are working at every given moment to get back to this state if they are not already in it.

I think cultures have a kind of climax state too, although it’d debatable whether we tend in any one direction. Some people insist we are getting worse and others say we are getting better. I think each generation can improve on the last except but that the process can be cutoff at the knees by disruptive forces (take your pick, but war is always popular). It’s possible that human culture would tend towards a climax state too (essentially Eden) but that something is interfering with it. Ran has suggested that there are spiritual forces that do just this and I think that Jesus would agree with him :-).

By a cultural climax state I’m not saying that the people within the culture have achieved perfection but that their culture is as good as it can be in terms of providing support for it’s individual member’s mental and spiritual growth. In The Continuum Concept Jean Liedloff describes a culture that sounds like it is in a climax state and she talks about some people in the Sanema tribe (neighbouring tribe to the Yequanna who were the main subject of her bok) who had achieved a state of incredible peace (pg 135);

As the Sanema, like the Yequanna, are not deprived of their expected experiences in infancy, they have a huge headstart over us on the road to serenity. With a fulfilled personality based solidly in a sense of his own rightness, the Sanema who reproduces the mindless bliss of the infant in himself with frequency and at length can build a freedom from the fringe liabilities of the intellect with far greater speed and effect.

The proportion of Sanema who have attained truly impressive states of joy and harmony with their surroundings is remarkable and would I am quite certain, be impossible to match anywhere in the West or East. In every clan there are several who live as lightly as and happily as the most advanced gurus. I know families where every adult member enjoys those qualities so very rare in civilisation.

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9 comments

  1. I was just wondering what this is:

    Is there somthing wrong with my browser do I need an extra pug in to see your page properly?

    Thanks

    Ted


  2. I’m not sure, it looks fine to me, what’s wrong from your point of view?


  3. It doesn’t show up in mozilla firefox i just noticed, only ie.

    But anyway in internet explorer right after where I said “what is this:” there is a line of code I cut and pasted that shows up before all your paragraphs. but I see now its invisible.


  4. I just fixed it. I’ve just found I was causing the problem all along by writing my posts in Word and transferring them across. Shouldn’t be a problem in theory and it doesn’t happen if I use Explorer to do my posting. At least I know what caused the problem now.


  5. species will never learn from it’s experiences and is destined to make the same mistakes over and over again. I’ve always been intrigued by his prior thinking that we might learn as a group how to handle things like civilisation and I must admit that the idea appealed greatly to me but that I could never see how it might work.

    I don’t know exactly what Ran said, but here’s my thoughts on at least your first paragraph. As for species never learning from its experiences and such, well, this to me presumes that a species is a stable entity, a unified whole, that is composed of an essence that all members of said species are subject to, this both privileges the whole over its parts, but assumes an ‘is’-ness of a species, instead of it as process(es). Focuses on the sameness and unchanging-ness, not the differences and changes; there was no originary man. What is it about a species that deems it necessary to suffer the same mistakes? Is it genetic, based on social structure, what? Either way, both of these are dynamic, whereas if we already think that it is something that cannot be escaped, then that is in part a justification of not even trying to change or become something else.


  6. I’m not sure how anyone could read this article and get from it a justification for not trying to change – it is after all, focused on the individual’s need to change as a purpose in life but I would like to differentiate between physical development and mental/spiritual development.

    I have never seen an adequete mechanism to describe how mental/spiritual characteristics are passed on through genetics. People often assume it and even mistake common mannerisms (which I think are based on common physical makeups) as evidence that is happens.

    Meanwhile, the evidence that personality is unique with each person is all around us in every set of siblings who are clearly different right from day 1.

    Aside from that I’m not very interested in theoretical discussions of ‘is-ness’ etc. I’d much rather base the discussion on what is observable in people.


  7. I’m not sure how anyone could read this article and get from it a justification for not trying to change

    Oh, I was mostly responding to some things in the first paragraph about what you said Ran said. What I was trying to get at was, if somebody says something is inevitable, natural (be it human nature or otherwise), whatever, this is stating that something must be, and I feel that inasmuch as one thinks something is fated or necessary or natural, they provide some justification for its actual occurrence.

    Then again, I often read differently from words than their writers may have intended by them. And the more I write the less I see why I’m writing it.


  8. Ran’s comment was that he ‘was coming to accept’ that point of view – exactly how that fits into providing evidence I’m not sure. Obviously he held another view previously and has been presuaded otherwise – probably by the abundant display of foolishness that our cultures submits on a daily basis.


  9. […] « Climax culture Healing October 3rd, 2007 Coincidences between blogs are always interesting. While I just […]



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