Culture is a system created by human activity comprising spiritual, organizational, and material items and expanding within the Earth’s nature at the expense of this very nature. People mostly understand human culture in several ways: (1) as an acquired characteristic of human behavior, (2) as a spiritual culture, (3) as a better view of civilization, and (4) as a continuation or refinement of nature. These various understandings are supported by the original antique meaning of the Latin words colo, colere, which signified, approximately, the same as the current words till, educate, grow, cultivate. The understanding of culture as a spiritual culture, as an acquired feature of human behavior or as a cultivation of nature, becomes perplexing and hardly tenable in the confrontation with the current environmental situation. Culture should be rather understood evolutionally, as a system, that is, as a result of the Cultural Revolution, as an artificially constituted system within the biosphere. Cultural evolution, ignited by humans, is the other possible means of the new ontical (real) structure origination on the Earth, besides the natural, cosmic evolution.
Culture is then a human-created, artificial system with its own internal information—the spiritual culture, that is, human knowledge, opinions, convictions, values, and beliefs. Spiritual and material cultures belong one to another; they are two sides of the same open, nonlinear system of the regional or global culture. The relationship between the spiritual and material cultures is therefore analogous with the biological relationship between the genotype and phenotype in spite of the variant ontical character of cultural and live systems. Understanding culture as a system opposing nature and containing its own internal information and evolution makes it possible to distinguish not only the origins and characteristics of the current environmental crisis but also ways for the alleviation and resolution of this crisis. So far the cultural expansion within the biosphere has resulted in an ever-faster retreat of the original nature and a decrease in the original order of the Earth.
Essential dependence of culture upon nature is primarily determined by the fact that the cultural evolution within nature is generated by humans as a biologic species. Yet culture is dependent on nature and opposes nature and it is also comparatively young and time limited. Humans have not been on the Earth from its beginning and they will not be here until its end. Due to a biologic predisposition to an aggressive adaptive strategy, humans are the only universally active animal species that have managed to ignite another evolution on the Earth occupied with life: This was the cultural evolution—the competitor of the natural evolution. And this artificial evolution, structuring nature differently from the inside, has started not only the conspicuous human era but, unfortunately, also a critical period in the Earth’s history. Human artifacts are “baked from the same flour” as natural structures. And since this imaginary flour (elements of the periodic table) has been embedded in live and inanimate structures of the Earth’s surface by the natural evolution, the expansion of the cultural existence causes destruction and replacement of this natural existence—it causes a reduction in the natural order of the Earth, including a mass extinction of biologic species.
A serious problem with the currently fast-expanding culture on this finite Earth, leaving aside the raw material and fuel exhaustion and waste and pollution matters, lies in the retreat of and damage to the biosphere, in the loss of the territory occupied by life. Spatial expansion of the elements of the material culture (for example, fields, highways, factories, and cities), which are as material and spatial as the natural ecosystems, is realized only by means of destroying or limiting the evolutionally established natural order. Even though the cultural order expansion doesn’t directly change the genetic information in live systems, it shatters and destroys the original environmental order, impairs living conditions for many populations, and is the main cause for the current mass extinction of biologic species. In comparison to the natural ecosystems, which do not contain any free natural information, the cultural ecosystems are much more integrated, systematically more resistant, and therefore also more life destructive. Culture is therefore not only a reconstruction of nature that is rather advantageous for our species, but it is also a shortsighted supplant of the original natural existence that used to be in harmony with humanity.
Ontical opposition of culture against nature mostly results from the fact that culture is a system containing different internal information than nature. Culture, as well as any open nonlinear system with internal information, originates by means of materialization of its own constitutive information, its specific “genome,” its spiritual culture. The biologic carrier of the spiritual culture is not the highly objective genetic memory (DNA) but the less specific and rather species-colored (selfish) human epigenetic, neuronal memory. Yet only a channeling, development, and language encoding of the human, natural, neuronal information give rise to the actual genome of the cultural system, to the social, spiritual culture.
A deeper understanding of the opposition between culture and nature requires answering the following question: What is the connection between the character of the current culture and humans, their neuronal knowledge, and the contents of the spiritual culture? It is clear that the direct connection with humans as a biologic species is determined by a special structure of human body and human psyche, by the aggressive type of the social adaptive strategy of humans as a species. Lack of human biologic specialization, determining the universality of human interests, transforms humanity’s external environment not only into the subject of satisfying their biologic needs, language-encoded learning, and aesthetic evaluation but also a subject of ownership and unlimited exploitation. Humans, as a species with an aggressive adaptive strategy, experienced the world primarily for the purpose of surviving by means of reproduction and development of their own non-biologic body—the culture. And since culture is a system with its own internal information, the conflict between culture and nature is “causally” connected with the contents and purpose of the social spiritual culture. This social spiritual culture, as internal information of the cultural system, as its genome, determines and reproduces the form of the current antinatural culture. A change in the cultural genome (contents of the spiritual culture) is therefore the key requirement for the alleviation and resolution of the current crisis. If we want to change a system with internal information (memory), we will have to change its information, because the old constitutive information of the system is able to reverse any phenotype changes.
The cultural system, as well as other natural ecosystems, includes strictly information-specified elements (for example, technics, structures, and consumer objects), but as a whole it cannot be a strictly information-specified system. Even though it also originates through succession (in the course of time sequence), it significantly differs from the natural ecosystems: Besides the integral constitutive information, it also contains the free information—the dispersed spiritual culture. This spiritual culture, as a memory permitting information changes, holds out hopes that the current antinatural culture could be transformed in a biofile way, that it could be naturalized.
Yet it isn’t easy to discover the roots of the antinatural character of culture, which is connected with the structure of the human psyche. To achieve that goal we would have to admit that our culture has originated as a materialization of the spiritual culture and that the conceptual interpretation of the world, which we establish by means of the neural equipment of our animal ancestors, is not a true reproduction of reality. The cognitive component of the human psyche, which was the fastest to develop during our species evolution, has never been independent: On the one hand, it has defended the valid claims of human organism, and on the other hand, it has submitted to system requirements of various cultures. Only today do we come across evidence that all human interpretations are influenced by hidden pragmatic motives, not only the individual and group ones, which is a generally accepted fact, but also the generally cultural and species-specific ones, which is a suppressed fact.
Therefore, even the scientific conceptual knowledge, which currently so strictly specifies, as far as information is concerned, the elements of the microelectronic technics and of the developed material culture, doesn’t describe the world in its objective order, ontical creativity, and complexity. It shows, for example, that science is still connected with the prescientific division of the world, with language and experience. Yet to survive with our special biologic equipment, we have had to see and interpret the world in a species-biased way from the time of the first hominids. The world was mostly what we were interested in, what we could learn through our conservative biologic constitution and through our culture in the particular epoch. And since we were evolutionally adapted to the external reality with our bodies and genomes, we have never needed to know what nature and life were, what was culture, and what was the position of culture within nature. Such knowledge, an adequate theoretical model of the development of culture within the biosphere, is needed only today. You can find the reason for this in the comparison between the evolution of the biosphere and culture: the development of the planetary life was able to gradually wipe out the abiotic conditions that had caused its origination, yet the development of culture, its whole future existence, will always depend on the preservation of the biologic conditions that had been required for the origination of the very culture. Until the end of its existence, the human culture will depend on the faultless biologic reproduction of humanity; it will be bound to a sufficient scope and structure of the quaternary biosphere supporting this reproduction.
The current highly technical global culture is spiritually anchored in a partial scientific rationality is well as in harmony with some cognitive functions of the human psyche, but it irretrievably destroys those natural structures that the whole human constitution had been adapted to. This significantly consumer culture is based on a technological experience of nature, and it doesn’t really care about the value, integrity, and claims of the natural development of the biosphere. Even though there come into existence technologies that are less environmentally aggressive and more energy and waste efficient, the general human approach toward nature remains unchanged. The speed of establishing more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes is equaled by the speed of the environmentally reckless consumption—the new common characteristic of the current human lifestyles. This focus is in harmony with the traditional liberal right of individuals to own their properties, their right for an unlimited personal consumption.
Physical globalization of the human culture, that is, the material-energetic and information interconnection of formerly isolated regions, accompanied by a planetwide migration of people, fast exchange of technologies, goods, inventions, services, and so on, has brought about a situation humanity has never encountered before. Inside the global biosphere, at the expense of this biosphere, there grows a global technosphere, global economy, global division of labor, and global cooperation. This not only deepens the cooperation between physically distant people and cultures, but it also disturbs the beneficial effects of the biosphere upon the globalized culture that had once optimized the local cultural structures and eliminated social disturbances and crises. And therefore the globalization finally turns not only against nature but also against culture. It multiplies its pressure upon nature and it forces the destabilized biosphere—if we can put it like this—to change its strategy: If the live nature cannot defend itself by means of dominance and force, it will do so by means of its vulnerability and fragility. It doesn’t have enough power anymore to maintain its most complicated structures, but it can establish a new system integrity and get rid of those live forms that are no more “needed” in the new context. Humanity and culture can be just an easily removable obstacle for the continuing natural evolution.
For the first time in history, humanity and their culture are endangered by the weakened maternal environment of the planet that had once made their origination possible. Even politicians, who are mostly interested in power, economic growth, and conditions of human liberty, will be soon forced to make decisions under the pressure of the endangered future. They will have to leave the narrow anthropologic, social, and technologic viewpoints and accept a global evolutionally ontological view of the world: For the first time they will be responsible for the human existence as a species.
The antinatural cultural system originated from the essence of the human constitution; it had originated spontaneously, and its development had taken a comparatively long time. The program of the aggressive cultural strategy therefore not only materialized in this system, but it has also entered the ethnical languages, human education, and upbringing. Its resistance to the biofile social-cultural information feels like an inter-species information barrier or an immunity system: Since our current cultural system didn’t originate as a materialization of the environmental social-cultural information, people have been ignoring it, refusing to listen to it, and they don’t understand its future significance and cultural self-preservation contents.
The planetary solution of this crisis, which is not based in a change in the human constitution but in a philosophic identification of its roots and the possibilities of a biofile cultural strategy, must be therefore prepared by a high theory. Therefore, the positive environmental transformation of the existentially endangered culture by means of its new constitutive information represents an unprecedented attempt of humanity to end the unchecked stage of the antinatural cultural evolution. It could start an intentionally biofile-anticipative stage of the antinatural cultural evolution. Our hope in the success of this attempt is supported by the fact that the conditions for the environmental change automatically ripen due to the crisis development of the current antinatural culture. Yet this crisis must become even more pronounced; the habitability of the Earth must unfortunately become even more complicated to force the current shortsighted party politics to accept the program of the necessary changes that is currently definitely better understood by common people than by bankers, businesspeople, and political representations.
Since we were not prepared for such changes in the reactions of nature either by our natural or our cultural development, we are failed in the confrontation with the wounded nature not only by our biologic constitution: We are failed also by our basic cultural archetypes. No culture can cooperate with a weakened and destabilized biosphere. No political subject could possibly handle it in a delicate way in the current, economically competitive environment. And since there is no adequate philosophical concept of the crisis, even the intellectuals don’t understand what has actually happened and what will have to be done to secure human survival on the Earth. If humanity is to survive, it will have to deliberately surrender to nature, and the antinatural spiritual and material cultures will have to be naturalized.
People appeared on the Earth teeming with life at the end of the Tertiary period. They couldn’t have philosophically understood the live nature they were evolutionally adapted to. The human psyche, which managed the process of conquering nature, was adapted to the fight for survival and not to compassion with life and care for other species. Spontaneously originating cultures following up the human species’ predispositions broke up the natural ecosystems and occupied the Earth. This Earth is currently conquered by culture, the tissue of its life is disturbed with tilled soil, it is encircled with highways and cities, pushed back with buildings, concrete, and pavement. There can be no nobler task for science and philosophy, together with ethics, law, and politics, than preparing an irreversible future change: a rescue of the natural order of the planet, the indispensable condition for a long-lasting and feasible culture.
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