On Gnon and Evolution

Nyan Sandwich wrote a post on Gnon, and Hurlock wrote a response. Looking forward to Nyan Sandwich’s response. In the meantime, my response to Hurlock’s response.

First, I want to contest the equation of evolution with advancement of any sort, or the idea that modernity is hindering evolution. Evolution has three components: reproduction, mutation, and selection. Any process with these components can be rightfully called evolution. Now, it is true that this combination has, over the past 3.5 billion years, created systems with increased complexity, from self-replicating organic macromolecules to humans. And that the domain of evolution, as a process grounded in physics, has increased. But this increase is an incidental characteristic of evolution, not intrinsic to it. Abiogenesis means that life now exists when it once did not, so as long as life exists, we are in a net positive. But this “advancement”, this increase in complexity, is subject to a global speed limit — the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Beneath any hope of “sustainability” or self-preservation of life is the dirty little secret of heat death. Negentropic stability that of a well-fed flame, not that of Platonic existence.

NRx/DE, in its empirical mode, notices a eugenic trend of humanity within the last century or so, hidden (encouraged?) by technical progress. Is this a failure of evolution, a lack of evolution? I don’t think so. Recall my definition of evolution: reproduction, mutation, and selection. If evolution selects for lack of intelligence, that is not evolution being “wrong”. Not even in the context of evolution having selected, in general, for intelligence, for 3.499999 billion years before then. It is simply a misalignment between the desired outcome and that which evolution selects. Evolution is in one sense tautological – if gene x persists and gene y does not, x is being selected for by evolution, period. Nyan notes a major (pre-)historical example of “bad” evolution, agriculture:

Agricultural Civilization won not because it was “better” in our sense, but because 100 malnourished toothless peasants with sticks beats one of even the healthiest and best trained tribal warriors.

(Perhaps there is a parallel to be drawn between the effects of agriculture and modern technology? Do any of you read Land’s pre-Neoreactionary material, or is that too contenental for NRx? I get the feeling I’m gonna have to pursue this line of thought myself, wade into the strange waters of media studies, Baudrillard, and Marxists.)

Hurlock is correct in saying “When you neglect the laws of evolution and indeed the laws of Gnon, it will lead to your own demise.” However, a forgetting of evolution should not be conflated with a lack or reversal of evolution.

Where does this leave humans? Perhaps Nyan overextends in proposing a “bottling” of techno-commercialism. I am not familiar with Austrian Economics (next on my reading list), and Nyan has a follow-up in plan, but I think Hurlock is right to caution against non-catallactic mechanisms. We all agree that humanity must align itself with Gnon, but not on how, or what it means to do so. My understanding: while Gnon is universal and absolute, the local maxima is pushes a particular thing towards is contingent on what it is pushing. Evolution is a relationship between a particular thing and the global Law. That different things are affected differently, does not invalidate the law. Land’s teleoplexy is not a rejection of natural law, but a recognition that dynamical attractors can be themselves attracted: a second order teleology. Whatever leads to an alignment of human values with gnon, top-down or spontaneous, should be pursued. The hard work, as Nyan notes, is enumerating these things. To the extent we can shift the attractors, do so. To the extent we can modify our values, do so as well.

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4 Responses to On Gnon and Evolution

  1. Pingback: Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » On Gnon

  2. Hurlock says:

    Yes, the universe is going to die that I know very well. When I say that evolution always optimizes for survival I am not suggesting evolution has a teleological end goal, or something of the sort (it doesn’t). Evolution only optimizes for whatever survives best.

    “NRx/DE, in its empirical mode, notices a eugenic trend of humanity within the last century or so, hidden (encouraged?) by technical progress. Is this a failure of evolution, a lack of evolution? I don’t think so. Recall my definition of evolution: reproduction, mutation, and selection. If evolution selects for lack of intelligence, that is not evolution being “wrong”. Not even in the context of evolution having selected, in general, for intelligence, for 3.499999 billion years before then. It is simply a misalignment between the desired outcome and that which evolution selects. Evolution is in one sense tautological – if gene x persists and gene y does not, x is being selected for by evolution, period. ”
    This is all true and I never disagreed with any of it in my post. My whole point was that evolution is always right, no matter what your personal opinions on the topic are. I will not consider a species more advanced based on someone’s opinion. I will consider a species more advanced only if it has better survival chances than its predecessor. One of the main points of my piece was that you should always think from the side of evolution. Your main question when asking yourself if a new life form is more advanced is “does it have a better survival chance?”. If it does, it is more advanced, if it doesn’t, it is not.
    The 100 toothless peasants were obviously more advanced than the megastrong hunter-gatherer if they can defeat him. Numbers advantage? There is no fair game in evolution, there is only winning and losing. I don’t care about forms that lose, I care about forms that win and in my opinion this should be the #OfficialNeoreactionaryPosition on the subject.
    Nowadays we have a dysgenic trend because modern society has created an environment where specimens who would otherwise be long dead can survive and multiply. Two ways to fix it- either bar those specimens from reproducing or establish a reproductive control, or simply destroy the environment that allows them to reproduce so much. This is not a case of evolution being wrong, this is a case of humans trying to ignore the laws of evolution and thinking they can supersede it. Which they can’t. You make an environment where parasites can procreate at a much higher rate than the productive host, the productive host will die to the parasite if there is no change in the environmental conditions. The host was smarter and fitter than the parasites you say? Then why did he die to them? Evolution does not care about your suicidal tendencies and it does not care about supposed more advanced characteristics if they are not properly utilized. Evolution only cares about outcomes. If the host supposedly has more advanced characteristics than the parasite and those do not help him survive the parasites then A/ they are not more advanced, or B/ this specimen is suicidal. In either case there is no reason we should care about such a specimen. In A he is weaker by definition, in B he is weaker by choice. He is weaker either way, so off to the graveyard of dead species he goes.
    And evolution was right once again.
    I consider evolution to always optimize for advancement because in my mind better chances of survival=advancement (this of course depends on the environment) . And I see no reason why we should use the word “advanced” in any other way that “possessing higher chances of survival”.
    Evolution does have a very clear direction and it is a direction of increased complexity and absolute fitness:
    http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/DIREVOL.html

    “(Perhaps there is a parallel to be drawn between the effects of agriculture and modern technology? Do any of you read Land’s pre-Neoreactionary material, or is that too contenental for NRx? I get the feeling I’m gonna have to pursue this line of thought myself, wade into the strange waters of media studies, Baudrillard, and Marxists.)”
    I have read all of Land’s pre-Neoreactionary material available but I don’t remember any comprehensive comparative discussion of agriculture and modern technology (or is it something else that you are looking for?)

    “Evolution is a relationship between a particular thing and the global Law. That different things are affected differently, does not invalidate the law.”
    Yes, exactly.

    • laofmoonster says:

      When you put it like that, it sounds like we basically agree. What threw me off was the calling dysgenics “devolving”, and overloading the term “intelligence”. There is a straightforward and true interpretation of “intelligence is dysgenic”: given a set of goals, a person with higher IQ generally has higher agency in achieving those goals. To say that high IQ people fail to replicate their genes, is a different matter.

      As for the parenthetical on Land, I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for. I’m interested in the relationship between people and capital. People are interested in the use value of physical products, but the physical world is not reducible to its human value. Our wants are a specialized map on reality: an interface. It looks like Object Oriented Ontology touches on similar themes. Baudrillard speaks of a precession of simulacra, where maps lose their referential nature and display symbolic drift. By offloading work to non-human objects, we create a new domain with its own rules, which do not always follow ours.

      So zummi is talking about NRx “coopting” Landian thought, but it’s along the lines of what I’m trying to formulate: http://www.reddit.com/r/sorceryofthespectacle/comments/26zi21/help_me_understand_nrx/chx9792

      Once an obscene amount of capital begins flowing within the confines of a state, nation, entity whatever, it’s only a matter of time before the parasites and vampyrs start syphoning off some of the blood flow here and there and redirecting it to their personal accounts. Eventually this becomes the MO of the system itself, simply a feed supply for parasites of both corporate and statist variety. IT’S DECADENCE. Period. It’s a rampant airborn virus in that it is contagious and mysterious and as of yet there is no cure. And what the NRx want to do is cure “their people” somehow without curing “everyone” which is what it’s ALWAYS BEEN. Same o same o.

      so somebody comes up with a good idea (early Landian thought) and then the co-opters gonna co-opt. This is what accelerationism is. Co-option at the speed of light. Archetypal misuse as substratum functionality.

      So the NRxers have correctly observed the virulent nature of archetypal misuse, appropriation etc but they do just like most Christians do and demand that there must be some place/institution/idea where this miasma has not wafted. And they are wrong. The church is infested with pedophiles and fascists and psychopaths of the brutest sort for a reason, the church goers themselves refuse to critique their institution.

      Decadence is a kind of lethal drunken intoxication. It is the alcohol poisoning of culture gone wrong/astray.

      Culture itself is the wine made wen surplus ferments. Haven’t you read your Zerzanist anarchic anthropologists?

      The mother goddess matriarchal culture based moon worship of near Pre-history was communal, orgiastic and likely hallucinogen driven.

      We likely could not have discovered fermenting fruit and grain as the source of alcohol and intoxication without first having a surplus of it stored somewhere and then discovered it rotted after it was too late/before we had the correct logistic means to store surplus more indefinitely. Thus we went from a culture of ecstasy (in the shamanistic sense-eternal present) to intoxication/over-indulgence.

      Capital means a surplus. Capital means assymetry by its very definition. Therefore, intoxication and overindulgence are necessarily a fundamental part of capitalism/agrarian society.

  3. S.C. Hickman says:

    What I wonder is the framework within which you work: as if the sciences of Newton (natural law, etc.), thermodynamics (entropy/negentropy), etc. are at all times valid or universal. This notion that what we as limited creatures have discovered to be the case, and the case itself always align universally (i.e., ergo – the laws of nature, etc.). This may not be true. Even such things as Dark Matter / Dark Energy – both speculative, modeled, mathematical objects to be sure, lead one to believe that we have yet to discover all patterns within which the processes of nature demarcate their powers and dispositions. This notion of contingency and openness seems more and more taking over from the static notions of earlier frameworks, especially in both Quantum Gravity Theory and in the neurosciences, biotech or NBIC sciences, etc. So this need to believe in eternal laws of nature seems almost religious in intent, a throwback to philo-theological forms that still abide within the early sciences and are slowly being expunged from newer frameworks.

    The other is mixing political and scientific frameworks: this has never worked in the past, and has led to some horrendous aberrations in both frameworks. Why continue to bleed the one into the other and vice/versus? Why continue to use metaphors from the one overlayed on the other as if it explains anything at all: which it doesn’t plainly….

    Progress is a moot point … not even worth our time anymore to argue against, a dead duck that people seem to love to combat rather than just ignore and build up frameworks that no longer support such hijinks. Sad the battles over such things that have been castigated and eliminated from most practicing sciences. There is no accumulation of knowledge… all we can say of knowledge is that if is liquid at best, a flowing of notions, ideas, concepts that find temporary sites of discursive practice that are and will always be hotly contested.

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