When you say our basic conflict is due to the fact that our societies are linear whereas nature is cyclical, I think this is another way of saying with the existentialists that intelligent life is is opposed to nature, that our intelligence and freedom alienate us from the rest of the universe. Mystics like the Daoists think we should go with the flow and submit to nature’s ways, whereas dualists (Cartesians, humanists, and theists) think we should go our own way even if that entails conflict with the world and even if that makes us tragic heroes, at best.

The question is whether we can learn what we ought to do just by studying the natural facts. If the naturalistic fallacy has any force, that kind of reduction will be difficult. We can discover what the results would likely be if we do this or that, but that’s far from justifying the values that inspire us to go in one direction or another.

So you say, “Good and bad are the biological binary of beneficial and detrimental.” That’s close to falling afoul of the naturalistic fallacy. Even if we learn how certain actions tend to cause pleasure or pain, that wouldn’t help us decide what type of society to prefer, since we wouldn’t yet know whether some kinds of pain are worth it and are even noble.

By the way, the article I just posted, about technological utopianism, further explores these themes of whether we can or should escape from natural patterns.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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