Previously I’ve written about the need for tradition within science and engineering, in order to oppose transhumanism. Charles Haywood has put forth twelve pillars of Foundationalism, his political program based on tradition:
Foundationalism is grounded in what is universally known to be true, or what was once universally known to be true; it does not invent new truths. Thus, it contains a strong bias toward traditional Western knowledge and modes of thought, without calcification of application. The asteroid miner who knows his Aristotle and his Aquinas, and extracts metals to build great works with a picture of Henry the Navigator in his rocket ship—he is a Foundationalist.
As it stands today, science and engineering looks at the world as machine. Human will, intentional act, is taken as an illusion. Instead, we are told the mechanistic formulae of physics operating on fundamental particles are the driving forces of nature. The trajectory of these ensembles supposedly supersedes on human thinking, leaving only afterthought.
Yet: to engineer an artifact is to bring human intentionality into the material realm. We start with an idea and rationalize it into an artifact. This object does not exist as a mere conglomeration of particles, it exists to some end, an end that can only be understood in reference to its maker. We are fools to keep bowing to the materialist charade, it conflicts with the very nature of our profession! There is something different between ourselves and our machines–there is some pointed, driving vital force that exists in us. To identify ourselves with our tools is to debase ourselves.
A Foundationalist engineer is a vitalist. He believes that in himself and others lives an animating spirit that is of a higher order than the material. When he focuses the lens of his soul to sharpen the world, it is for God. It is God who actualized our souls, and so we must actualize this same love of life in what we build. Ever we will point towards vital forces.
Let us examine some pillars of Foundationalism and see how vitalism weaves into Haywood’s program.
The Fourth Pillar: Sex Role Realism
The family, man, woman, and children, is the bedrock of all human societies.
There is a single act by which we bring spirit into the world, and that is through procreation. The family is the unit by which we bring vital force into the world. Attempts to mimic this miracle via mechanism profane it!
In being transcendental, high-order souls, there is more to the body than what we may render mechanically. Certainly we have increased our understanding of the body in mechanistic terms by leaps and bounds, but this should not be confused with nearing a completion of knowing the body. It rather means that the ways in which we can be understood mechanically have increased. The vitalist does not shy away from this process–how else would be get pacemakers?–but he knows why he rhythmically massages the heart and why he casts out gain-of-function research.
The fundamental unit of science and engineering can never be some mathematical abstraction, it must be the family! Without families there is no f(t).
The Seventh Pillar: Subsidiarity
Local interests will be looked after by local people; there will be no national laws on the environment, on discrimination, on guns, on education, or on any other of the vast majority of topics federal legislation, and therefore the administrative state, now covers.
The administrative state is necessarily statistical. It cannot know who it governs except by what it measures and is so inherently blind to the vital nature of who it rules. A statistical bureau destroys the human soul in the process of quantization–only face-to-face may a soul recognize and know another soul.
The vitalist scientist does not shy away from the process of collecting and utilizing statistical data–but he does so for a reason that is relevant to the local community he is a part of.
The Eleventh Pillar: Techno-Optimism
Foundationalism does not idolize agrarianism. The rural life and culture has its place, and nature and its forms influence good architecture, but high culture, and the drive to create a successful society, always revolves around cities, and therefore technology.
For cities of high technology to exist, the rural must supply them–Bell Labs was made of the best men from across the Midwest. Currently the rural areas of the US have been poisoned by the over-application of machine thinking. Maximizing outputs while minimizing inputs has desiccated the living soil. Vitalist scientists and engineers must first and foremost restore the rural areas to the source of health and bounty to cities. Only then may we look to the stars.
The First Pillar: Space
Space is the crux of all things for the future of Man, and contains within itself all the seeds of our future flourishing. Insisting on Space as critical to human flourishing reflects an underlying reality about what man needs. Space offers a place for humans, as humans, to achieve and excel, to execute the works of man under the eyes of God.
The vitalist believes there to be a difference between living and non-living matter. He believes that there is a cause for this difference, which is called God.
Let us be suspicious of the current mechanist belief of abiogenesis. Let us say God blessed the Universe with spirit at its very onset, that what we call life did not form ex nihilo on Earth.
Then–perhaps life on Earth was seeded here by an ancestor civilization. This civilization was made up of highly complex organisms–too complex to manage the energy requirements of sending them out into interstellar space. You see, starships must be ecosystems, and there was simply no way for them to have a working ecosystem without their star.
What this civilization sent into the stars instead was the basal ingredients of life, the minimum bodies necessary to carry spirit. A probe–built to the highest standards. It wastes no power, no microgram is out of place. As it drifted past the Earth, its exquisitely crafted sensor array determined the conditionals suitable for life to prosper and lets loose its precious cargo into Earth’s seas.
If so–then the vitalist Foundationalist seeks to echo our creators and our Creator. He points his finger to the sky and shouts: “Let there be life!”