Marx to Engels on Darwin

Marx To Engels In Manchester
[London,] 18 June 1862

I’m amused that Darwin, at whom I’ve been taking another look, should say that he also applies the ‘Malthusian’ theory to plants and animals, as though in Mr Malthus’s case the whole thing didn’t lie in its not being applied to plants and animals, but only — with its geometric progression — to humans as against plants and animals. It is remarkable how Darwin rediscovers, among the beasts and plants, the society of England with its division of labour, competition, opening up of new markets, ‘inventions’ and Malthusian ‘struggle for existence’. It is Hobbes’ bellum omnium contra omnes and is reminiscent of Hegel’s Phenomenology, in which civil society figures as an ‘intellectual animal kingdom’, whereas, in Darwin, the animal kingdom figures as civil society.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1862/letters/62_06_18.htm

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 380;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

There is another paper in which Marx and Engels delight in rejecting Darwin, which talks about the highest parts of British society being found at the level of the smallest organism (words to that effect). I will post it when i can relocate it. B.R.

Of course, it must also be added that the grand master narrative fashioned by Marx and Engels is another European/Western ‘trip’ and its relationship with First Peoples and their Ways is extremely problematic.

I do not believe, for a moment, that Marxists (who often presume they know it all by virtue of their internalisation of the model of their modern Master) have a real understanding of the realities of First Peoples and their Ways.

Darwin’s view in 1850

Letter 1370 — Darwin, C. R. to Covington, Syms, 23 Nov 1850

http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/darwinletters/calendar/entry-1370.html

I am always much interested by your letters, and take a very sincere pleasure in hearing how you get on. You have an immense, incalculable advantage in living in a country in which your children are sure to get on if industrious. I assure you that, though I am a rich man, when I think of the future I very often ardently wish I was settled in one of our Colonies, for I have now four sons (seven children in all, and more coming), and what on earth to bring them up to I do not know. A young man may here slave for years in any profession and not make a penny. Many people think that Californian gold will half ruin all those who live on the interest of accumulated gold or capital, and if that does happen I will certainly emigrate.f4 Whenever you write again tell me how far you think a gentleman with capital would get on in New South Wales. I have heard that gentlemen generally get on badly. I am sorry to say that my health keeps indifferent, and I have given up all hopes of ever being a strong man again. I am forced to live the life of a hermit, but natural history fills up my time, and I am happy in having an excellent wife and children. Any particulars you choose to tell me about yourself always interest me much. What interest can you get for money in a safe investment? How dear is food; I suppose nearly as dear as in England? How much land have you? I was pleased to see the other day that you have a railway commenced,f5 and before they have one in any part of Italy or Turkey. The English certainly are a noble race, and a grand thing it is that we have got securely hold of Australia and New Zealand. Once again accept my thanks for your valuable collection of barnacles, and believe me, dear Covington, your sincere friend,

C. DARWIN.

f4 (copy attached to the entry)

The California gold-rush was at its height in the summer of 1850; from the British point of view, inflated prices for gold and the withdrawal of capital from traditional investments such as land, government bonds, and stocks and shares undermined the stability of the economy. CD expressed the same fears about the effects on his investments in Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. D. Fox, 7 March [1852], and on 1 February 1852 recorded in his reading notebook (DAR 128; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV): ‘Emigrants Manual’ (Burton 1851).

(See also Desmond and Moore, 1991 “Darwin” Chapter 26 – “A Gentleman with Capital” –pp 391-404 esp pages 398-399)

Making it socially – capital!

It can be argued that the culturally specific skills developed by farming and horticultural practices provide the foundations for the ‘higher level’ skills required to be a successful investor and capitalist.

Farming practices require those who practice them to undergo transformations of Being in order to be able to treat other forms of life as existing merely to meet human needs, and not as lives which exist in their own right.

The vexed issues of life rights for non-human species is very much a live one today, and hotly contested by those who benefit from the human expropriation of other forms of life.

Hugh Brody, working with Inuit peoples, has written about the problems caused for First Peoples by farmers and the cultural apparatus they bring with them and, by virtue of the exercise of power, have built into the legislation of colonial modern nation states.

Australia provides a rich vein for analysis in that respect, with the watering down of native title rights (by both sides of politics in Australia in the 1990s) to some phantom like creature is a classic case.

But , in many cases, the ‘progeny’ of successful farmers move on to take up new opportunities and professional occupations which operate on a ‘higher’ level – and take their unconscious-in-culture world view with them where it works away at a less visible – but equally lethal – level. Ethnocide replaces genocide.

Charles Darwin was not the son of a farmer, but of a successful Doctor. The Darwin’s were already on the rise, and married into one of the successful families of the  industrial revolution. Charles’ mother, Susannah Wedgewood, brought with her an inheritance of 25,000  pounds. (See Desmond and Moore page 11).

Desmond and Moore say  that the second generation of Wedgewoods and Darwins (Charles parents generation) were ‘ aspiring gentry’. New wealth and making it socially make for an interesting combination. New estates, manor houses, sons to Eton etc.

For every upwardly mobile family movement in these situations, as Marx and Engels documented, there were others whose lives were being ripped off.

This can be justified in the minds of those who benefit by a variety of means, and these means make sense by virtue of how they fit into a much larger and deep seated cultural complex.

Marx and Engels realised, for example, that when Darwin later opted for competition between individuals as the means of changing species, that he had inscribed the values of his England into the world of all other forms of life, including those at the very ‘lowest’ end of the scale.

Darwin was also quite explicit about what he cast as ‘natural selection’ being a rewrite of artificial selection.

The point which is to be made here is that, in being able to exercise the skills and talents which are part and parcel of a professional class have already transformed the Being who is exercising those skills – a sort of professional deformation on a macro scale.

The cost of this transformation is that it makes relating to country and to First Peoples extremely difficult (if possible at all). When your eye is out for the main chance in life – by virtue of making it socially – you become oblivious to your true surroundings.

Reading the record Darwin left of his time in Australia makes for interesting reading from this point of view. For a few examples, see below.

Jan 12 (Sydney)

 

My first feeling was to congratulate myself that I was born an Englishman: — Upon seeing more of the town on other days, perhaps it fell a little in my estimation; but yet it is a good town; the streets are regular, broad, clean & kept in excellent order; the houses are of a good size & the Shops excellent well furnished. — It may be faithfully compared with full [illegible] to the large suburbs which stretch out from London & a few other great towns: — But but not even near London or Birmingham is there an aspect of such rapid growth; the number of large houses just finished & others building is truly surprising; & with this nevertheless every one complains of the high rents & difficulty in procuring a house. — In the streets gigs, Phaetons phaetons & Carriages carriages with livery servants are driving about; of the latter vehicles many are as neat as those in London extremely well equipped. Coming from S. America, where in the towns every man of property is known, no one thing surprised me more, than not readily being able to ascertain to whom this or that carriage belonged. — Many of the older Residents residents say that formerly they knew every face in the Colony, but now that in a morning’s ride, it is a chance if they know one. — Sydney has a population of 23,000 twenty-three thousand, & is as I have said rapidly increasing; it must contain much wealth; it appears a man of Business business can hardly fail to make a large fortune; I saw on all sides large fine houses, one built by the profits from steam-vessels, another from building, & so on. A convict An auctioneer who was a convict, it is said intends to return home & will take with him 100,000 £ pounds. — Another convict who is always driving about in his carriage, has an income so large that nobody scarcely anybody ventures to guess at it, the least assigned being fifteen thousand a year. — But the two crowning facts are, first that the public revenue has increased 60,000£ during this last year, & secondly that less than an acre of land within the town of Sydney sold for 8000 £ pounds sterling.

 

Jany 18th

I found Mr Browne a sensitive well informed Scotchman had the kindness to ask me to stay the ensuing day, which I had much pleasure in doing. This place is a specimen offers an example of one of the large farming or rather sheep grazing establishments of the Colony; it would however be more appropriately called one for sheep-grazing, at this site. They have here rather more cattle & horses then what is common on account of cattle & horses are however in this case rather more numerous than usual, owing to some of the valleys being swampy & producing some right sort a coarser pasture. The sheep is were 15,000 in number, for the of which the greater part of them are were feeding under the care of different shepherds on unoccupied ground, at the distance of more than a hundred miles under beyond the limits of the Colony. Mr Browne had just finished this day the last of the shearing of seven thousand sheep; the rest being sheared in another place. — I believe the value of a quantity the average produce of wool from 15,000 sheep would be more than 5000£ sterling.

Jany 21st

The secret of the rapidly growing prosperity of Bathurst is that the pasture, which appears to the stranger’s eye wretched, is for sheep grazing the most excellent.

Jan 29

On the other hand, the capital of a person will without trouble produce him treble interest as compared to England: & with trouble care he is sure to grow rich. The luxuries of life are in abundance, & very little dearer, as most articles of food are cheaper, than in England. The climate is splendid & most healthy, but to my mind its charms are lost by the uninviting aspect of the country. One Settlers possess one great advantage is that it is the custom to send in making use of their sons, when very young men from 16 — 20 sixteen to twenty years of age, to in taking charge of remote farming stations hence they directly provide for themselves; this however must happen at the expence of their boys associating entirely with convict servants. — I am not aware that the tone of Society has yet assumed any peculiar character; but with such habits & without intellectual pursuits, it can hardly fail to deteriorate. — & became like that of the people of the United States. The balance of my opinion is such, that nothing but rather severe necessity should compel me to emigrate. — (emphasis added – BR)

 

Two Creators – No. Two Ways – Yes.

Darwin records:

Jan 19 1836

“Earlier in the evening A little time before this, I had been lying on a sunny bank & was reflecting on the strange character of the Animals of this country as compared to the rest of the World. An Disbeliever unbeliever in everything beyond his own reason, might exclaim "Surely two distinct Creators must have been [at] work; their object however has been the same & certainly the end in each case the end is complete". — Whilst thus thinking, I observed the conical pitfall of a Lion-Ant: — A fly fell in & immediately disappeared; then came a large but unwary Ant; his struggles to escape being very violent, the little jets of sand described by Kirby (Vol. I. P. 425) were promptly directed against him. — NB The pitfall was not above half the size of the one described by Kirby. His fate however was better than that of the poor fly’s:- Without a doubt this predacious Larva belongs to the same genus, but to a different species from the Europaean one. — Now what would the Disbeliever say to this? Would any two workmen ever hit on so beautiful, so simple & yet so artificial a contrivance? It cannot be thought so. — The one hand has surely worked throughout the universe. A Geologist perhaps would suggest, that the periods of Creation have been distinct & remote the one from the other; that the Creator rested in his labor.”

Commentators have observed that the younger Darwin here is making use of notions of a Creator. They have also said that his ideas on evolution (and that species could change) were yet to develop. He was still a young man in 1836.

What is of more interest – from our privileged perspective all these years later (and making much use of the hard work of thinkers like Charles Darwin) – is that he does not apply the same logic to the existence of different modes of human life.

His experiences with the people of Tierra del Fuego (some of who had been on the Beagle) had already provided him with this type of questioning. It may be that, for the young Darwin, all people are created by a single creator just as, for the older Darwin, we are descended from a common ancestor. That is not the point here. The existence of difference Ways of Being is the puzzle.

His scale for the measurement of humanity is implicit in his comment (on 16 Jan) regarding the Aboriginal men he had met:

“— Never the less, they appear to me to stand some few degrees higher in civilization, or more correctly a few lower in barbarism, than the Fuegians. —”

High and low, civilised and barbaric.

Of course, it is too much to expect that in 1836, Darwin could make use of the same sort of social science perspective that become possible much later (In part as a result of Darwin’s work), and as part of the unfolding of a secularisation of life in Europe (and its neo-European colonies).

The concept of ‘culture’ as used by modern anthropologists and others was not available in the early 1800s. While geography and mapping (of the kind the Beagle was engaged in) was well established, it excluded mapping of the socio-cultural landscape.

But there must have been many others, at this time, who pondered exactly this question from a religious perspective. So it is not entirely unreasonable  – in revisiting Darwin at this juncture – and asking why he did not apply such thoughts to the differences between peoples. He himself has invoked the religious dimension with reference to a Creator.

(Was it Erich Auerbach in “Mimesis” who commented on the power to integrate experience which resulted from the concept of a single creator? I cannot locate the quote.)

By the time of Charles Darwin, of course, there had been thousands of years of use of such a concept – a single creator – by those in that tradition. It came pre-packaged to Darwin (who had looked destined to become a clergyman) and he was to be one of the key players who lessened it’s hold over our minds.

But in 1836, Darwin could invoke a supernatural Creator in order to make sense out of the differences between the animals in Australia and other parts of the world he was familiar with.

“TOTEMIC” THINKING 

This is almost a form of so-called ‘totemism’ – using ‘animals’ as a means of thought. The world as made up by other life-forms (“animals”) provide our form of life which a means of thinking about abstract matters. (The category ‘animal’ is a culturally loaded category, and not to be used uncritically.)

In so-called totemism, distinctions between ‘animals’  are used (by humans) as a means to think. The origin of species is a classic theme in bodies of myth, many of which seek to make use of the distinctions between types of ‘animals’ for other purposes (including constituting social groups as different.)

Darwin, however, restricts his thinking to a narrow problem (the existence of difference on the ‘animal’ plane)  and resolves it by making use of an imaginary single Creator.

He does not continue with the exercise in order to account for the existence of indigenous peoples and/or different Ways of Being. On that front Darwin is content to invoke the cultural pre-fabricated notions of civilised and savage, with its inbuilt high-low distinctions.

The step which begs to be taken – as part of an exercise in our transcendent imagination – is to make the parallel between different forms of life on the non-human level (Australian and European for arguments sake) with the equally striking difference between Australian and European life on the social level – in order to capture the existence of two major life formations (Ways of life).

Distinctly Australia animal forms of life (such as the Kangaroo and Platypus) are to European animal forms of life (domesticated sheep?) as the Ways of Australia’s First Peoples are to European Ways. (A:B::C:D)

That is, we need a conceptual apparatus which can  affirm and recognise the co-existing differences without trying to assimilate and dominate one by the other.

The problem of a single Creator – in the absence of a more direct (unmediated) form of representation by such a Being in human affairs – is that a priestly caste uses this notion as a means of manipulating and controlling others.

While indigenous Australian life had it senior law people who may be compared, in some respects, to a priestly caste of some sort (cutting across other social distinctions) the existence of other social mechanisms act to dissolve concentrations of power. 

Much indigenous life – such as the fights between groups which are often mentioned by first hand observers – make far better sense when viewed in terms of Ways of life completely committed to preventing any form of concentration of power in the hands of a single group.

The ‘failure’ to develop a State is only a failure in the eyes of those who have lost this struggle, and whose notions of ‘normality’ are fashioned to comply with the specifications of master narratives which stress ‘unity’ while systematically sacrificing ‘difference’.

And the history of contact in Australia demonstrates the misery which results from the attempts by Anglo-Australian authorities (and others) to impose European notions of unity and exclude indigenous insistences of difference.

DARWINISM INCOMPLETE

It is only when we have the conceptual mechanism available that we can avoid the trap of trying to account for the whole in terms of the part – and the development of these conceptual mechanisms cannot emerge from a mere intellectual exercise – they result from a uncompromising commitment and lived attempt to reposition our Being.

The younger Darwin, a brief visitor to Australia, stayed away from these heavy and difficult issues. But that does not mean that those of us who have to work to complete life’s rethinking can passively rely on the myth-narratives of European master craftsmen when it comes to fashioning new forms of representation for life.  Darwin-ism was incomplete when it was produced, and remains so today.

A bi-culturally balanced rethinking is required – one in which cosmologies of Dreaming have an informative place along with those of recent Western life. This is highly unlikely to emerge from the educational institutions of the modern nation-state (as presently constituted)

The thinking involved in ‘Dreaming’ cosmology places its stress on context – country – while that of modern biology has been on the micro ‘within’ an ‘individual’. With a developing appreciation in the late 20th century and present times of ecosystems as part of life there may be some ‘common ground’.

Thesis (Country) – Antithesis (Genes) – Synthesis (yet to emerge)?

But it will require a new sense of identity – of who ‘we’ are as forms of life – to resolve the contradictions. We will not be able to take life’s next step AND retain the false sense of identity which comes from the modern nation-state.and associated forms of exclusive ownership of property (What Benedict Anderson calls the ‘limited’ imaginings of imagined communities.)

The challenge for conceptual craftspeople is to fashion new forms of representation which enable both Ways and contribute towards a global repositioning of Being (vis-a-vis cosmos).

‘Culture’ has to be reintegrated with ‘nature’ (and vice versa) if we are to distance our work from what the former indigenous Senator Aden Ridgeway aptly characterised as ‘terra nullius of the mind’. Darwinism – with its cult of followers – continues to reproduce this lethal ideology. 

New forms of representations will not be able to get away with the ‘stick-figure’ sketches of life which are deemed well-formed by Naturalists.

A vast array of existential considerations will have to be factored back-in – including the need to ensure the full well-being of Australia’s surviving First Peoples.

While the United States of America prepares to put a “Black” man in a White House, the Australian Houses of Parliament has not a single indigenous person as a Member of Parliament, let alone systems of law which (after two centuries) incorporate indigenous values, cultures and cosmologies.

Terra nullius of the mind a la Darwin is over.

“Oh horror!” cry privileged Western voices.

“Two Ways – Two Laws” say voices which cannot be silenced.

 

POSTSCRIPT – “CULTURE”

For a brief account of the development of the concept of  “culture” see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture 

And see also the illustration there of Australia’s First Peoples encounter with Captain Cook – but note that the illustration is unable to depict how those First Peoples ‘saw’ these strangers. How do Western eyes read this picture?

In some cases, white skinned people were regarded by First Peoples as people like themselves returning from the dead – which, presumably, was not to be encouraged but striking evidence of what types of considerations First Peoples bought to the new forms of representation life had forced upon them.

In one reasonably well known case (that of William Buckley) a ‘white-skinned’ English man was more or less successfully integrated into everyday life for several decades. Buckley, having fled unjust authority while in ‘Port Phillip Bay’ in 1803, lived for over 30 years with indigenous people in what is now Victoria, and returned to Western society in July, 1835 – shortly before Darwin arrived in Australia.

 http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A010158b.htm  and http://www.textpublishing.com.au/books-and-authors/book/the-life-and-adventures-of-william-buckley

What the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, says on Darwin and Indigenous Australians

“A legacy – Darwin and Indigenous Australians

Darwin’s work liberated the ways in which scientists interpreted the origins, dynamics and distribution of different species of plants and animals.

Close up of the spines of six books: The Last of the Tasmanians, James Bonwick; Wanderings in Wild Australia, Baldwin Spencer; On the Origin of Civilization and Primitive Condition of Man, Sir John Lubbock; Early History of Mankind, Tylor; Antiquity of Man, Lyell; and Native Tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia, Spencer.
Books from the collection of the National Museum of Australia Library.
Photo: Christine Hansen, National Museum of Australia.

However, his work was also applied to interpreting perceived racial and cultural differences among human populations. It contributed to a popular belief that these different populations could be classed according to a hierarchy of social and technological development. Such theories placed Australia’s Indigenous people at a lower stage of human evolution. Although such views have been shown to be ill-informed, Australia’s Indigenous people continue to confront the consequences of such inappropriate application of Darwin’s work.”

see – http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/darwin/darwin_and_australia/

Critical comment – with a note on Australian anthropology.

Little evidence (if any) here – at a core cultural institution of the modern Anglo-Australian nation-state – of the possibility of a high level cross-cultural dialogue between First Peoples and Western understanding.

“inappropriate application” continues in many forms, and those who gain key positions in the modern Australian state’s cultural apparatus consistently demonstrate forms of cultural blindness towards the core values and cosmologies of First Peoples.

In the case of modern Australian anthropology (in the state’s universities and institutions such as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) many anthropologists made good careers out of ‘descent based’ models of First Peoples lives. 

These  one-sided models attempted to force First Peoples Ways into western conceptual straight-jackets, and making non-sense of First Peoples lives in the process.

‘Descent’ was a main part of the conceptual architecture of a monocultural cult-house – complete with forms of ancestor worship based entirely on Western Masters such as Darwin.

This would have been a relatively harmless occupation were it not for the fact that, when it came for Anglo_Australian authorities to abandon the pretences of terra nullius, they required First Peoples to line up and dance to the bizarre tunes of Western descent-based thinking.

As a result, First Peoples with culturally valid rights in country can fail to gain the recognition they deserve.

Assuming for the moment that a post-modern form of anthropology may be possible, the time is long overdue for Australian anthropology to undergo a reworking which would enable the core values of First Peoples to equally inform its theories, practices and means of fashioning representations.

Life may have something else entirely in store.

 

Darwin meets First Peoples

Charles Darwin. Jan16 1836

 

“Although this is such a this country flourishes country so remarkably, the appearance of infertility is to a certain extent the truth degree real; the soil without doubt is good, but there is so great a deficiency in rain & running water, that it cannot produce much. — The Agricultural crops & indeed often those in gardens, are estimated to fail once in three years; & it has so even thus happened more than one on successive years: — So that New S. Wales hence the Colony cannot supply itself with the bread & vegetables which its inhabitants consume. — It is essentially pastoral, & chiefly so for sheep & not the larger animals quadrupeds: the alluvial land near Emu ferry is some of the best cultivated which I have seen; & certainly the scenery on the banks of the Nepean, bounded to the West by the Blue Mountains, was pleasing even to the eye of a person thinking of England. —

At Sunset by my good fortune a party of a score of the Aboriginal Blacks passed by, each carrying in their accustomed manner a bundle of spears & other weapons. — By giving a leading young man a shilling they were easily detained & they threw their spears for my amusement. — They were all partly clothed & several could speak a little English; their countenances were good-humoured & pleasant & they appeared far from such utterly degraded beings as usually represented. — In their own arts they are admirable; a cap being fixed at thirty yards distance, they transfixed it with the spear delivered by the throwing stick, with the rapidity of an arrow from the bow of a practised Archer; in tracking animals & men they show most wonderful sagacity & I heard many of their remarks, which manifested considerable acuteness. — They will not however cultivate the ground, or even take the trouble of keeping flocks of sheep which have been offered them; or build houses & remain stationary. — Never the less, they appear to me to stand some few degrees higher in civilization, or more correctly a few lower in barbarism, than the Fuegians. —

It is very curious thus to see in the midst of a civilized people, a set of harmless savages although certainly harmless wandering about without knowing where they will sleep, & gaining their livelihood by hunting in the woods. — Their numbers have rapidly decreased; during my whole ride with the exception of some boys brought up in the houses, I saw only one other party. — These were rather more numerous & not so well clothed. — I should have mentioned that in addition to their state of independence of the Whites, the different tribes go to war. In an engagement which took place lately the parties, very singularly chose the centre of the village of Bathurst as the place of engagement; the conquered party took refuge in the Barracks. — The decrease in numbers must be owing to the drinking of Spirits, the Europaean diseases, even the milder ones of which such as the Measles are very destructive, & the gradual extinction of the wild animals. It is said that from the wandering life of these people, great numbers of their children die in very early infancy. When the difficulty in procuring food is checked increased, of course the population must be repressed in a manner almost instantaneous as compared to what can takes place in civilized life, where the father may add to his labor without destroying his offspring.

17th

Early in the morning we crossed passed the Nepean in a ferry boat…”

Two very different Ways.

Of course, we do not know what “the score of Aboriginal Blacks” thought about Charles Darwin. While they leave no record, we must remain mindful that they would have had their views on this encounter. There are two sides to these stories, even if we have become habituated to only hearing one.

To them he may have appeared as someone ready to engage with them – and someone who (had he stayed around long enough) been a candidate to learning a little more about their country. Experience in other parts of Australia demonstrates that First Peoples (especially those suffering the first waves of invasion) were often keen to educate those in authority about Australians realities. Fashioning new eyes and ears for the heedless intruders would help them to find themselves.

But there has been a lack of such a cross-cultural dialogue for over two centuries. Rather than ‘settlement’, it has been worlds in collision. Two galaxies of meaning intersecting, and rarely making any connection of lasting value.

A temporary alliance at best, soon pulled apart by the centrifugal forces in one and the centripetal in the other.

When Charles Darwin arrived in Australia he was part of what we may think of as a socially ‘expanding’ universe. For Darwin it was part of a British imperialism which involved ‘commerce’ as much as it did other forms of colonialism.

The roots of this expansion can be traced back to neolithic times, and to the ‘spread’ of Indo-European in particular.

“Farmers” do not merely stay where they are, they expand into the lives and countries of other peoples.

Over this long period (and for those parts of life which underwent these transformations) grand master narratives had developed as part of an unconscious-in-culture.

These increasingly included a notion of ‘humanity’, which set part of life apart from the rest of life. Life could be refashioned to meet ‘human’ needs.

Darwin’s life work involved refuting one part of the grand master narrative – in which an imaginary creator fashions the whole of life.

Irrespective of whether or not evolution is accepted, all this makes ‘sense’ within those life formations belonging to the neolithic and Indo-European traditions.

But while the neolithic transformation and the Indo-European expansion account for a large part of life, that is not the whole story.

There are other Ways –such as those which have been practiced by Australia’s original peoples – which are between characterised as ways designed to maintain position.

The modern anthropologist Levi-Strauss has made the useful distinction between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ societies. Australia’s First Peoples are a particularly good example of a ‘cold’ society.

In Australia, the unconscious-in-culture can be characterised as being directed to maintaining a generative context in which life is a text. Looking after the the whole of life is the task set for peoples surplus energy and this is done by sending life-balancing messages back into the cosmos.

For those who make sense with by means resulting from neolithic and Indo-European transformations, the practices of First Peoples make ‘no sense’.

At the present time, however, when we are faced by global warming – at least partially the result of modern practices – we begin to gain a new appreciation of the wisdom of other peoples Ways.

We too begin to think that there is much to be said for ‘maintaining’ position in the scheme of things, rather than sacrificing all to notions of progress.

Rather than framing our logic in terms of an expanding universe, and a world without limits, we can approach Australian life from positions which find our best interests to include a real commitment to the liberation of Australia’s First Peoples from their captive positions within the modern Anglo-Australian nation state.

This is vastly different from the type of imaginary ‘objective’ stance of gentlemen of science, busily ensuring their own privileged well-being while denying the role of anything but reason and rationality in their practices.

It can be said fairly plainly – new forms of life are emerging and our ‘liberation’ aligns with the struggle of Australia’s First Peoples for their voices to be heard and their cosmologies and associated cosmic maintenance practices to be recognised.