Archive for the ‘Metaprinciple’ Category

To Be Human Is To Be Hopeful.

May 24, 2019

Dr. Leonard L. Bailey elicited admiration and outrage by transplanting the heart of a baboon into dying infant Stephanie Fae Beauclair in 1984 (Bailey died on May 12 at his home in Redlands, Calif, from cancer. He was 76).

Dr. Bailey went on to pioneer human heart transplants for infants, and to build a renowned center for children’s cardiac surgery at Loma Linda University in Southern California. The next year, Dr. Bailey performed the first successful heart transplant in an infant, from a human donor. He went on to perform 375 more children heart transplants over the course of his career, as well as other types of pediatric heart surgery. He continued operating until 2017.

Stephanie had a fatal birth defect, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in which the main pumping chamber of the heart does not develop. She was quickly transferred to Loma Linda.

At the time, babies with the condition lived only a few weeks, at most. Surgery to try to repair the defect had poor results. Two infant heart transplants involving other patients had been tried at other hospitals, and failed.

I knew she was going to die, and I had to try,” Ms. Beauclair said in a telephone interview. “If I hadn’t tried, I always would have wondered, could we have saved her? Until you’re faced with that, you don’t know what you’ll do.”Dr. Bailey emphasized that the operation would be highly experimental.

But somebody has to be first somewhere at some point,” said Stephanie’s mom.

We hoped, therefore we are. Life is hope.

Dr. Bailey had six young baboons, and he conducted various tests to identify one with tissue that seemed most immunologically compatible with Stephanie’s. But the animals’ blood type did not match the infant’s — something that Dr. Bailey later calleda tactical error with catastrophic consequences.”

***

New York Times:

The operation took place on Oct. 26, 1984. At first, Stephanie seemed to thrive. During a news conference at the hospital, Dr. Bailey was ebullient, describing her as a “beautiful, healthy baby” whose transplanted heart was doing “everything it should.”

Animal rights groups said killing the baboon was immoral and held demonstrations outside the hospital and Dr. Bailey’s home. He and the hospital received threats.

“This wasn’t a wild whim,” Dr. Roger Hadley, dean of Loma Linda University School of Medicine, said in an interview. “He had worked for years on doing cross-species transplants in animals. We had a whole lab of animals who had somebody else’s heart.”

Dr. Hadley added that the hospital at Loma Linda is faith-based — the hospital and the university are run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church — and said that all its ethicists and theologians had thought that the transplant was the right thing to do.

“We stood by him here,” he said.

By the time Baby Fae came along, it was abundantly clear that transplants could save lives, especially with the use of cyclosporine, a powerful anti-rejection drug that had recently become available. But organ donors were in short supply. Long before Baby Fae, a surgeon had transplanted a chimpanzee heart into a person; the transplant failed. Other surgeons had experimented with transplanting kidneys from chimpanzees into humans. The longest surviving recipient lived nine months, and was well enough to go back to work.

Stephanie’s initial rally after the surgery did not last. Rejection and organ failure set in, and she died on Nov. 15, 1984. She had survived for 21 days.

***

Dr. Bailey had to try, because, in his well-considered, highest professional opinion, there was some hope. Trans-specific grafts, if they were made to work much better, could save, or improve, millions of lives.

There is no other way to learn something about what is truly unknown, besides trying.

The only way to defend the noblest, best, most altruistic human values is to have the courage and ability of enabling them to come alive with acts and facts. Respect and gratitude for the courage of all concerned. Especially to baby Stephanie, who became a hero of humanity, too.

All other grafts spectacularly failed too. Many have now become standard.

***

“To be hopeful is to be human.” Does that mean that those without hope are inhuman?

Not exactly, in the full sense of “inhuman”. But inhuman enough to get quite depressed, and often depressed enough to engage in violent acts, for example against themselves.

When our distant ancestors went down those trees, and explored the savannah, they were hopeful. Hope: we won’t even exist without it.

Patrice Ayme

WE ARE A FORCE THAT GOES!

March 30, 2018

RULED BY METAPRINCIPLES WE ARE, AND THEY CAN BE NOT JUST LOGICAL, BUT EMOTIONAL!

It is traditional among those who subscribe to obsolete thinking, to claim that nothing is surprising anymore about human nature. As if “human nature” was the ultimate principle. Well, no. The ultimate principle are principles, not nature. Indeed, at the core of human nature is change. So how to you define change? We are children of time and necessity, not just chance. And we think, and feel, the former even ruling the latter, and thus prisoners of established sentience we are.

In particular, human beings establish metaprinciples culturally, and live according to them.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/tasmanian-effect/

(This massive essay, 14K words long, used the notion of “metaprinciple” heavily and attracted some academic attention. However, differently from the concept of “plutocracy”, the concept of “metaprinciple” which is much more important: plutocracy is tied to the rise of civilization, whereas metaprinciples are tied to the rise of the genus Homo!)

Metaprinciples are principles higher than principles themselves. For example, during the more than the millennium during which Catholicism ruled European minds, the metaprinciple of God was supposed to rule not just logic, but also the emotional system of the 99% (as Nietzsche pointed out the remaining 1%, the nobles, the knights, descendants of the Roman Equestrian Order, although grandiose Christian outwardly, were closer, in practical mentality, to lions; this little reminder as my way to celebrate “Easter”).

An example of God as metaprinciple is found where Islam rules. In Muslim countries slogans such as “God is great” (Allahu Akbar) and “If God wants it, Si Dieu le veut” (Inch’Allah) still convey the God metaprinciple in everyday life, all day long. The God metaprinciple infect all emotional systems, as they did in the European Middle Ages. War ravages Algeria, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Chechnya? God is great!

And this won’t stop soon: the Egyptian dictator, just re-”elected”,  ex-head of the army, who flaunts his faith in “god”, wants to make “atheism” into a crime. It may sound innocuous, but by evoking the “God” metaprinciple all the time after or before acts, human beings reject all responsibility, and, instead, transfer it to something omnipotently irresponsible. In particular, the religious and socio-economic orders are God’s work, so nothing can be done about them. God freezes societies in time. And what’s wrong with that is that circumstances change quickly, so saying nothing can be done about them, because it’s God’s work, is advocating pain, suffering and extinction.

Sharing some basic metaprinciples familiar to all brainy species, and the brainier, the more shared! (Scene in Ethiopia. I have myself met a wild hyena, from a similar distance, at night. Hyenas aren’t stupid, and they think twice before attacking a human child!)

Metaprinciples leave traces in human minds, long after their genesis. Same as Roman roads. German Federal Road 55 follows exactly the Via Agrippinensis of the Romans (and few Germans know this; this is one of many such cases; for a while Agrippina was de facto the first female ruler of Roma, and it’s exactly why her son eliminated her!)

Another example? The tall and massive Mahaut, Countess of Artois, who had stolen her rule from her just as gigantic nephew, Robert III, the way he saw it, may have poisoned several French kings, including the five-day old baby, Jean I. In truth, Mahaut’s rule was

legitimate according to Salic Law (Salic Law itself being another metaprinciple).

Few figures in literature are as terrible as the Countess Mahaut, murderer and maker of kings.

Massie, Allan (27 March 2015). “The Original Game of Thrones. The Wall Street Journal. (5 July 2015.)

Literature? Not just this, history! Robert III, enraged by what he viewed as an usurpation by his aunt, caused troubles for a decade, and urged and led the teenager Edward III “Long Shanks”, king of England, grandson of Philippe IV of France “Le Bel”, to launch what would become the quasi continuous war between France and England from 1337 CE to 1815 CE… And which the despicable rebel Joan of Arc, fighting a child, king Henry VI, relaunched, just after it had been extinguished, one of the great crimes of humanity, heaviest in historical consequences, according to yours truly:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/joan-of-arc-roasted-too-late/

Studying those events, one can see metaprinciples at war. Human beings are not exactly irrelevant, but they are less significant than the colliding metaprinciples.

Metaprinciples were logically and emotionally at work in the failure of Rome: Augustus advised in his will, to leave the Germans alone. To NOT leave the Germans alone, one may have needed more advanced military technology (a superiority the Romans of the Republic had against all their adversaries, but the Celts… but a superiority which was lost after two centuries of the fascist empire).

But Plato had said innovation was bad. Whereas the Roman Republic evolved away from direct Greek influence, once Rome conquered Greece, Plato and his ilk acquired an enormous, and disastrous influence on Roman Zeitgeist: Christianism is basically Platonism for idiots.

Even more fundamentally, the metaprinciple of the Republic, the state considered as the “public thing”, not the thing of a few, let alone one, the intelligence of the many, of the public, is what made Rome, Rome, and presided over the rise of the Republican civilization which recently left the Earth… When that metaprinciple faded away, under the blows of plutocrats, and four centuries later, under the blows of bishops ingratiating themselves to Roman emperors, and rabid monks thrilled to have a divine reason to express their hatred, Rome got transpierced by countless invasions of ill-minded savages, and up to 90% of citizens died, most of them deliberately exterminated by the barbarians…

But let’s go back to the present-day ill-informed pseudo-intellectuals, and those metaprinciples they can’t see. In a  debate on Arte, the Franco-German TV, intellectuals, even a French Jewish female rabbi, claimed, with outraged superiority, that there was no anti-Judaism in Islam’s sacred texts. An obvious lie, easy to disprove, in hundreds of quotes, yes, hundreds, extracted from Qur’an and Hadith:

Sahih Muslim Book 41 Hadith 6985:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me;

come and kill himbut the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”

Metaprinciple at work here? God wants you to kill, according to ethnic origin. The reaction to this metaprinciple (ignore it!) is itself a revelation of another, like those trains which hid each others, all to better crush us. One of the most evil metaprinciple: sometimes it’s more moral to feel right, than to read, let alone read well

A metaprinciple of modern pseudo-intellectualism (I will not even honor those feeble minds with the word “left”, which ill defines them) is that whatever comes from the “Orient” and savages, is more civilizationally advanced. This is from a lack of knowledge: before the Orient was the Orient, it was us: Sumer was us, Babylon was us, and then there was 1,000 years of Greco-Romans. Even much earlier, Mesopotamian peasants and their descendants had mover to Italy, through Crete…

As I said, meanwhile, in Egypt, the comically just re-”elected” dictator, Al Sisi plans to make “atheism” a crime. Cynically, the US, UK, and France sell Al Sisi weapons. Al Sisi himself probably does not believe in the God metaprinciple, just as Roman emperor Constantine and his most of his successors, or countless emirs used the God metaprinciple cynically just as well.

Experiments on primates such as Capuchin monkeys show that the deepest metaprinciples are biologically anchored. For example a sense of justice. So is love, helped by oxytocin. This is why the occasional lioness endears herself with a young antelope. Or why wild hyenas can be readily tamed, if one gives them food (although a hyena can kill a human being in seconds, if one gives the hyena food, the hyena perceives that it would dumb and unfair to kill who feeds her).

In the end the logic ends with a question: so what are we? The sum of our metaprinciples? Yes. So are hyenas. A difference between humans and hyenas is that humans are endowed, not just with hands, but a meta-principle, biologically anchored: spiritually managed and directed change, driven by the philosophical method, and the science we have learned to gather & preserve for millions of years.

The best of us are better defined as Victor Hugo put it:

Je suis une force qui va!”. Yes, WE ARE A FORCE THAT GOES. (The quote is from Hernani, Act III, scene 2; Hugo says much more: …”Agent aveugle et sourd de mystères funèbres!“… thus connecting with the Dark Side, the indispensable enabler of the human condition… More on this, another day…)

In other words, God exists and it’s us (the reality that the “God” metaprinciple tried to cover-up). Yes, it’s a heavy load. A galactic sized load, maybe even cosmic. So we may as well learn to laugh: a comic cosmos, is better than a tragic one!

Patrice Aymé

P/S: How does the metaphysics above relates to preceding metaphysical systems? First notice that, in practice, the Abrahamism/If God Wants It (Dieu le veut/Inch’Allah)/Amor Fati/Eternal Return of the Same/Nietzschean system, is all the same, and opposed to the one I propose. A further observation is that what I propose is firmly anchored in human psychobiology. So they are the weirdos, and I am not… or at least less so.

Some may sneer that change for change’s sake is hardly a metaphysics. Why not whatever, including nihilism? However, this changing change is oriented by local morality: given two situations, choose the one with an apparently better moral outcome.  There again that is what the wisest humans have done for millions of years, helping us to become what we are. So this is not new. All what is new, is to describe explicitly what has long been a driver of human evolution…