craziness and cleverness

Steven Welzer
2 min readSep 14, 2023

Nature doesn’t care about individuals (individual seeds, embryos, organisms). One seed in a million becomes an organism. A minority of organisms thrives to the point of reproduction. Nature doesn’t care about all that. Nature “cares” about the general stream of the life-force. To put it another way: “Nature” is the general stream of the life-force.

When you look at nature what you see is an infinite efflorescence of the life-force. Each organism (in fact: each species) is just an individual, temporary manifestation of such.

The life-force animates individual organisms temporarily until it fades back into the general life-stream. This is the basic reality, but it’s upsetting to humans. Human consciousness manifests in social worlds with accompanying stories. The individual is upset to leave those worlds and no longer be able to follow the stories.

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There is a most fundamental Story . . . a supposedly explanatory story. Every culture has its own. None is all so enlightening. Each culture makes things up, trying to grapple with the fundamental issues.

Our own begins sort of correctly: “They lived in paradise in innocence.” Well, the state of nature is not paradise, but at least it’s sane.

Our Story then describes a so-called transgression, but that also doesn’t yield clarity. “They ate of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” What this is really trying to get at is the characteristic that separates humanity from “mere animality.” The characteristic is a higher level of consciousness, a level that includes a consciousness of mortality. That’s what separates humans. It (uniquely) causes anxiety. It drives them a little crazy.

There’s an intimation of hubris in the Story. That actually applies to cleverness.

Every species would like to circumvent predation. Humans are clever enough to go pretty far in that direction. They can’t escape it entirely, of course (pathogens will eventually win the war). But, to date, they’ve staved off so much in the way of predation that they’ve been able to experience a species population bloom.

Such will occur for any species that temporarily enjoys relief from predation. Its population numbers will bloom until the point of overshoot relative to resources. Then there will be a population crash.

So what you see right now is a species that acts in crazy ways due to anxiety and is in the late stages of a population bloom.

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Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).