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‘This Impartial Planet’
The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant: Summation 3
III. Biology and History
The authors advance the atheistic dogma of natural selection, which was and is the ethic of the age of information and putting forth that history reaches three lessons about life:
-life is competition
-life is selection
-life must breed or die
Within this structured discussion they state, something of which Dick is generally seen to be ignorant of, seeing war in the Chinese way as a dysfunction rather than a function of nations, a lesson he has truly missed, implicit in his view of the supernatural as a school and hospice for souls:
“War is a nation’s way of eating. It promotes cooperation because it is the ultimate form of competition.”
They then bumble into imagining the super-state as the answer to international peace, perhaps not caring or not realizing that large polyglot states experience increased internal violence, which would, according to their metaphor, constitute cannibalism and suicide. Perhaps they sense this misstep of theirs as they devote the bulk of this chapter to explaining the mechanisms of Western decline, seeing clearly the precipice that is material prosperity and the yawning oblivion awaiting any civilized race, as its rampant pleasures and comforts degrade the collective soul.
They identify freedom and equality as mortal enemies and do note that while civilization is often raised on the promise of equality that its very complexity dooms it to increased and intensified inequality. And yet again they note that civilization’s unnatural nature will insure that the rarified sons of civilization will “be chastened” by simpler and less elevated breeder races.
Dick seems entirely unaware that he is a sterile result of this denaturing process and that his visions might constitute a natural reaction to his state, an internal correction, despite his obsession with his cerebral chemistry.
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