Sunday, June 10, 2018

723: Social Darwinism becomes popular....

Today we live in a Western world, where individualism counts, where there is an emphasis on the division between winners and losers.
A lot of our life is related to consumerism and money. The economy is guided by neo-liberalism and we put a lot of faith in science.
Some even believe, that Western culture is the best there is and that white people are also the best species on earth.
These maybe not really nuanced statements, but the roots of this line of thinking we find around 1900 with people like Mach, Nietzsche, Darwin.
Around that time continental philosophy focused mainly on the individual with respect to "the struggle of life", like Nietzsche has shown,
in the Anglo-American world Darwin's evolution theory was the background of many debates on politics, war and class relations.
Soon Darwin's theory was not only applied to individual organisms, but also used as an explanatory model for societies.
William Graham Sumner (1840 – 1910) was a classical liberal American social scientist. He taught social sciences at Yale, where he held the nation's first professorship in sociology.
In 1881, Sumner wrote an essay titled "Sociology.” In the essay, Sumner focused on the connection between sociology and biology. 
He explained that there are two sides to the struggle for survival of a human. The first side is a "struggle for existence," which is a relationship between man and nature. 
The second side would be the "competition for life," which can be identified as a relationship between man and man.
The first is a biological relationship with nature and the second is a social link. 
Man would struggle against nature to obtain essential needs such as food or water and in turn this would create the conflict between man and man in order to obtain needs from a limited supply.
This might explain why Sumner was a staunch advocate of laissez-faire economics, as well as a proponent of free trade and a foe of socialism.

THE name, however, related to social Darwinism  would be Herbert Spencer, an English sociologist (1820 - 1903), also well known in the US of those days.
He took the theory of evolution one step beyond biology and applied it to say that societies were organisms that progress through changes similar to that of a living species.
It was Spencer's philosophy that societies, like organisms, would begin simple and then progress to a more complex form. 
Spencer also found similarities between animal organisms and societies in that both had three main systems.
The first system is the regulative system. In animals, that would be the central nervous system. In societies, it would be a government that regulates everything. 
The second system is the sustaining system. For animals, that's the giving and receiving of nourishment. For societies, that would be industry - jobs, money, economy and those sorts of things. 
The third system would be the distribution system. In animals, that would be the veins and arteries. 
In societies, it would be roads, transportation, anything in which information and goods and services are exchanged.

It was Herbert Spencer, not Darwin, who coined the phrase 'survival of the fittest' due to the fact 
that he believed human behavior was designed in a way that strives for self-preservation. Darwin later used the term 'survival of the fittest' in his edition of Origins of the Species.
The theory of social Darwinism created the thinking of the 'survival of the fittest' as that the strongest and the fittest should survive and flourish in society, and the weak should be allowed to die out. 
This allowed Spencer to believe that the rich and powerful became so because they were better-suited to the social and economic climate of the time. 
He believed it was natural or normal that the strong survived at the cost of the weak. I guess, that Trump loves to think about himself in this way.
Thank you again for your attention... ^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
"A Terrible Beauty", Peter Watson (2000)

The Discussion

[13:14] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:14] herman Bergson: The floor is yours :-)
[13:14] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:15] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i guess that is so
[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i agree that Trump must believe this 100 %
[13:15] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): wonders if rand read him or he read rand
[13:15] herman Bergson: It may have escaped your attention, but the ideas of Spencer are pretty silly, in my opinion :-))
[13:15] SarahWhitney: Where does the moral and spiritual nature of man fit into this scheme?
[13:16] CB Axel: So, those of us who have ethics, morals, knowledge, creditability, etc. are doomed?
[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nowhere. They just thought that money and power make you the best to survive ignoring all these facts
[13:16] herman Bergson: ANd those who are rich will survive CB :-)
[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think that many of the preachers of the time in the USA also have this philosophy
[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): must have been like that
[13:16] CB Axel: That is, those have all those things but no money don't deserve to live.
[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): be good and you will get good
[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): very true
[13:17] CB Axel: I wish Trump and his ilk good luck with the world they're creating.
[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): you said it
[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): those who have compassion are weak
[13:17] SarahWhitney: Well, they were right in that today's manna is money.
[13:17] herman Bergson: Keep in mind...these were the basic believes at the start of the 20th century....
[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and stupid too
[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ys
[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and they are coming around again
[13:17] CB Axel: Those beliefs are still here.
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): immigration here was as criticized as today
[13:18] herman Bergson: we know that  those ideas don't fit....but yet...they are around
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed its the same still
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): some people have learned nothing
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it seems
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and not only here ut other countries too the very far right
[13:18] CB Axel: Those ideas do fit. At least in the US they do. They're the ones in power.
[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what can we do to change that?
[13:19] herman Bergson: Yes CB...that is the scary story
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:19] CB Axel: Bring back the guillotine?
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): omg'
[13:19] SarahWhitney: Morals seem to be a social handicap today.
[13:19] herman Bergson: No no...for that  would separate the brains completely from the body.....we need hope CB :-)
[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): some have anatural separation
[13:20] herman Bergson: What I learnt today in particular was, that our neo-liberalism dates back from 1735 or so...Adam Smith....
[13:21] herman Bergson: In a way I made a mistake in mentioning John Stuart Mill in my announcement....
[13:21] SarahWhitney: why?
[13:21] herman Bergson: He was against infinite economic growth.....:-)
[13:21] herman Bergson: Adams wasn't.....
[13:22] SarahWhitney: What was his reasoning for being against it?
[13:22] herman Bergson: According to Mill companies should be cooperations.....
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): because we cant just produce and buy more and more all the time, its not holding
[13:22] SarahWhitney: You mean have social responsibilities?
[13:22] herman Bergson: The managers should not OWN all production means...all should own and workers
[13:23] SarahWhitney: ah, yes
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): works in some companies
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and share the profit
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:23] herman Bergson: yes
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): most of the large companies however give profits to the share holders
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and pay less wages
[13:24] herman Bergson: I myself wonder now and then how it can be possible that only a 10% of the earth population OWNS 90% of everything
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the share holders get everything almost
[13:24] Ciska Riverstone: thats no longer completely true gemma
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): agree herman
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its crazy
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it is amazing isn't it
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and sad
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: its a bookkeeping trick
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: thats how it happened
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's greed
[13:25] SarahWhitney: The accumulation of great wealth seems to be a glaring problem
[13:25] herman Bergson: The situation is like this.....
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): greed is a huge problem
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): even they have billions of dollars they still scream MORE MORE MOOOOORE!
[13:26] herman Bergson: on the one hand you have people who create value by their productive activities....
[13:26] CB Axel: I just don't understand that the rich think they need to be richer.
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well and there are those who also own large amounts of money and have dedicated most of it to help those who don't
[13:26] CB Axel: What do they need all that money for?
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: power cb
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats a good thing at least that many actually do share
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some of our billionaires sign a promise for most of their money to go to their charities
[13:26] herman Bergson: and on the other hand there is a group who appropriates this value and starts to deal and manipulate with it....
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like Bill Gates
[13:26] CB Axel: I mean, if you're spending money on stupid things like gold toilets, you don't need more money.
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Bill Gates for one
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he is not greedy , he shares
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Buffet too
[13:27] CB Axel: And gold toilets don't give you power.
[13:27] herman Bergson: the real economy next to the financial markets...
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hahaha no
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it poops chiqye CB
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its just boasting
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just about that
[13:28] herman Bergson: Money has become a separate a parasite on the real economy
[13:28] CB Axel: Power actually belongs to people who can produce things we need to live.
[13:28] SarahWhitney: Good way of putting it Herman!!!
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:28] herman Bergson: thank you Sarah:-)
[13:28] CB Axel: Come the apocalypse, a person with a gold toilet is going to die while those who can grow food will live.
[13:28] CB Axel: °͜°
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): also it holds back development because even the technology exist there is always it cost to much to do
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in the star trek series they ditched the money system and just started to create what they needed and thus could build these starships ect
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): because money was not an issue
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you want it you create it
[13:29] SarahWhitney: When billionaires have charities they still retain the power
[13:30] SarahWhitney: I hate Bill Gates AND Warren Buffett
[13:30] herman Bergson: That is what they want is about their power, not their charity.....they love the applause
[13:31] herman Bergson: I think such people are either self-centered or hypocrites
[13:31] CB Axel: Until people start to care about these things, nothing will get better.
[13:31] CB Axel: Apathy is the enemy.
[13:31] SarahWhitney: Yes, they have no true social conscience
[13:31] CB Axel: I just saw today how few people voted in the elections held on Tuesday. It's pathetic.
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): these are certainly long lasting ideas however
[13:32] herman Bergson: What we are discussing here is the roots of our 21st century.....
[13:32] herman Bergson: Keep that in mind.....
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): they certainly are
[13:32] herman Bergson: and today again a good example how history shaped our time of today
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): It should swing the other way eventually
[13:32] herman Bergson: That is the amazing observation, Gemma.....
[13:33] SarahWhitney: How do you figure, Gemma?
[13:33] herman Bergson: The long lasting effects of ideas of individual beings....
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): long historical view shows it usually does for a while
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the pendulum
[13:33] herman Bergson: Like those of John Adams, Nietzsche and others
[13:34] herman Bergson: Darwin especially....
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i still think we need a real good invasion from space
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybe
[13:34] herman Bergson: He put man inside the realm of animals
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that would do it
[13:34] herman Bergson: My dream too, Gemma.....
[13:34] SarahWhitney: Yes, I'd never thought of it that way before
[13:34] herman Bergson: aliens to show us our relativity
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:35] herman Bergson: But it doesn't look to promising out there Gemma....
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i know
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: well usually when things are broken (after war) people are reminded of solidarity and such
[13:35] herman Bergson: maybe WE are the aliens here in the universe:-))
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): very true Ciska
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:35] CB Axel: The best part of an alien invasion would be showing the rich how worthless their money is. Aliens won't care about our currency.
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: the climate after the war in Germany way super social
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: political too
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well the definition of the term alien = not us
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but we would be aliens in turn to some other extraterrestrial species
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if there are any
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: but maybe - just maybe  in a very odd way - the "war of gender" will have a similar effect...
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cause we are not them
[13:37] herman Bergson: When there are no aliens in the universe, Bejiita, WE are the aliens here
[13:37] herman Bergson: I hope you are not pleading for a (world) war Ciska...:-)
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: noo
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: not at all
[13:38] herman Bergson: ahh we have a visitor from planet Austria :-)
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: more a war of concepts
[13:38] CB Axel: lol
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: out In the open
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: without weapons
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: but a lot of words
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: leading to a new language
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: maybe ,)
[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: they are already picking me up :-) ill send you an whatsapp
[13:38] herman Bergson: I am at your side Ciska :_)
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bergie
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): di you make that ?
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: bergie is already fully equipped
[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: no lol+
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm now when i think of it i think i have some of these myself, from very long back
[13:39] herman Bergson: lol
[13:39] herman Bergson whispers: cute Bergie  :-)
[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: grins .. sorry professor
[13:39] herman Bergson: I guess it is time to send you all into outer space now...:-)
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ty
[13:40] herman Bergson: So...thank you all again for your participation....
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or under water cause thats where im going¨
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): was the island good last week?
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :)¨
[13:40] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: thanx all
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well cu all next time
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): was great as usual
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:40] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): going to run a fishing contest soo
[13:40] herman Bergson: I'll be there Bejiita ^_^
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): soon
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu
[13:41] CB Axel: As usual, you've given me a lot to think about.
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:41] CB Axel: See you all Tuesday. Bye.
[13:41] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty Herman and Class!!
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
[13:41] SarahWhitney: Thank you.  Very interesting.

[13:41] herman Bergson: Bye

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