Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The end of man

Here is the personal profile of an Australian blogger:

About me

Merely one of the billions of crudely assembled piles of meat that inhabit this rock, the only thing setting me apart from the masses is my ability to think.

There are others who also see things this way. For instance, there is the feminist writer who believes that men and women are not so different as:

We are all human beings. We are all similar lumps of fleshy matter that moves and grunts and goes around its daily business.

It is, I suppose, a strictly materialist approach to describing existence (although I wonder if nominalism also doesn't play a role - if there are only particulars then perhaps you end up with the kind of reductionism quoted above.)

It's not a view, though, which fits how we experience life. Just this afternoon I went for a walk after work in one of the more rustic parts of the outer suburb of Melbourne I live in.

In late winter there's a bit of moisture in the soil and the wattles are in bloom - so the air is heavily scented. I walked through the country-style lanes to the river and felt richly, luxuriantly connected to nature. You would have to strip off whole layers of the mind, at such a time, to reduce the earth to a mere "rock" and myself to "a crudely assembled pile of meat".

(I just read out the blogger's view of himself to my wife. Her laughing reply: "So poetic, isn't it!")


  1. This post is a good metaphor for everything else in life - how we interpret things often says a lot more about ourselves than it does about the things we interpret.

    This was one of Nietzsche's deep insights into the views of philosophers which preceded him. The first Chapter in 'Beyond Good and Evil' explains this rather eloquently.

    Question is, what does this say about the blogger concerned?

  2. "Je ne suis qu'un polipier fatale"--Laforgue.

    An aesthetic of cosmic irony can produce art of great beauty, but I'd say your blogger friend needs to expand his imagination a little!

  3. what does this say about the blogger concerned?

    I don't really know, but I'm guessing that he is moved, in part, by rancour.

    There is a degree of alienated misanthropy alongside the severe materialism when someone describes himself as a crudely assembled pile of meat.

  4. Heavens above!

    Not in a million years would I think of myself as "a crudely assembled pile of meat."

  5. I think there is merit is getting rid of one’s ego, and knowing one’s place in nature & the world (ie. one doesn’t raise their worth above another’s… and thus respects others), but to reduce everything into mechanical (flat) ‘forensics’ that liberalists/feminists tend to do is just a ploy to legitimize their ‘everything is the same as everything else’ theory.

    To Liberals/Feminists, mankind is equivalent to God and a rotting piece of meat. Doesn’t that just make perfect sense?

    No wonder poetry, literature & excellence are disappearing when we define virtually all (except woman that is) to the lowest possible standards.