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5. The Living Agent and its Native Interests

The prior chapters have concerned a framework to describe agents not as humans but as knowing and rational agents generally. The description of society would apply to any social agent - animal, machine, simulation in a computer program, or abstract. It is inclusive not just of people but things, which is necessary to speak of society in any proper sense. The image of society as agents disconnected from things, including their environment, is a persistent error in the understanding of economy, even though every thing must inhabit some environment. A simulated agent in a computer program exists in memory and abstract agents in a void have nothing but each other. We have presumed many traits of humans in particular in examples of behaviors because humans are the most obvious example of an organic society with information processing. If we were to substitute a different type of agent in those conceptions, we would likely see a very different society with very different institutions, and many expectations of doom would either be different or would never have been the problem they are for us. The problem of humans in particular is not the result of life itself, or some inborn genetic legacy of humans. Humans to be humans are the product not just of living processes generally but of history. Humans did not always exist as they do now, and we have visible historical record to suggest that in the past several centuries, humans did not freeze in place as if they were unchanging creatures. In a biological sense, humans changed due to deliberate selective pressures. A century of living under eugenics and social Darwinism guaranteed certain profound changes and the selection of predatory and venal behaviors over honesty and kindness that once upon a time was relied upon for the order of society. We see throughout history shifts in language, the abilities of people, and considerable drift in biological traits. At a basic level, the faculties of humans have largely stayed the same. Whatever their time and place or intellect, humans want largely similar things, most have an expected range of motion of their body, most will learn to speak and can easily learn to read letters if there is any incentive given and any instruction that is at all competent. They are largely aware of the social situation they were born in, and have never been really fooled by the political system and the conceits of its liars. For the most part, humans retain their cynicism and contempt for the history of their entire race, and this is completely justified given a cursory account of human cruelty. What optimism humans keep is never about the race, which has been understood to every religious tradition worthwhile to be basically evil at its core, but towards the world and a sense of goodness that can be found, but never quite held. Humans are typically aware of that nature and manage, so long as they are allowed to do so, good behavior in many of their aspirations, rather than the venality and rot that the aristocracy represents.

Living systems are not social systems or systems of the social agents' knowledge hardware or software so to speak. Those systems are information of a different sort, which was not inherently living. So much of social life, and the life of humans or any animal, involves not life but death and the non-living matter they absorb. Living systems are not even physical or chemical systems necessarily. The characteristics of life are not tied to any preferred type of physical matter or chemical reaction. The chemistry of living things is not defined by the materials themselves, but by which materials, if any, allow for the emergence of life as a process. Living systems are not tantamount to knowledge, as many living systems do not "know" or possess any process internal to them that thinks on their own power. Intelligent behavior is ascribed to life even when it is single-celled life that does nothing more than follow a largely scripted set of imperatives internal to its workings. The single-celled life-form is not a simple thing, for even the cell contains multiple parts that allow it to form any complex life, and would need those parts to even be constituted as a cell and a system we can call life. Viruses[1] contain matter that is akin to matter seen in carbon-based life systems, that can be ascribed various biological effects, but are themselves not living and not indicative of any agency that is deemed equal to life. The virus conceptually can only be a fragment within living things, and this is seen through a view of life as an informational thought-form rather than life as a substantive and material "thing". A dirty secret is that the substantive things deemed living are largely dead matter animated by a force and organization that seems to defy natural laws in every way we acknowledge them. Nothing about life appears as if it was ordained by physical reality, and most of the world is hostile to any living system or clumps of matter we would consider living. Far from it, life seems to stubbonly violate attempts to impede it like nothing else does. It is with life itself that the "hobgoblin pushing the world from the shadows" is most evident. This irrational approach to knowledge in the world, where the naive imagine some demon or angel moving all that exists, is not suggested by anything in the natural world or knowledge itself, which would default to view things in the world as things which are comprehensible. It makes sense for knowledge to view anything in it as operating on its own power, absent any mechanism suggesting that an external force acts on something. We do not believe effects occur without an associated cause, or that any of the mystifications where the world "just-so" exists and does things are credible. A child can see through those arguments from the moment they inquire about their own existence. Life has definite causes and effects and couldn't be anything else, but the root source of what "life" is appears as the most irrational thing. There is no particular reason why this system, which has no obvious center of operations, would move against the seeming impulses of physics, and would be able to stabilize chemical reactions with some willful exertion and complexity. The centralization evident in organs of life arises not because of an intrinsic design of the life-form, but emerged out of prior conditions where cells accumulated into organs. In the world, life developing cognitive function granted to animals or their precursors significant advantages in their spread. It is with this most primitive mobility that concepts of sociality and agency could find some expression. It did not need to occur to these animals that they were engaged in any social behavior in any way, nor did it need to be an impulse born into them to behave in any particular way. Advantages to doing this are evident. The sociality of animals recurs not so much because of any programming within them which is very basic, nor because of any will to power that is deliberate and oriented inexorably towards goals.

Life's existence is very inefficient at the goal of attaining victory in the struggle for existence, with ups, downs, and many absurdities. At no point does it occur to life that their "struggle for existence" is any great philosophical project or a crusade of the highest importance. It does not occur to most humans that such an aim would be the point of life, and humans are far more deliberate towards such an aim than any other life-form on Earth. Even the true believers in the philosophy of struggle and war for war's sake cannot stomach their religion if they ever have to face consequences for the religion's practice, or the war becomes too unpleasant to their sensibilities. Had the aristocracy faced the grinding torture of the war machine as the commoners do, they would never allow the cult of war to continue and would ruthlessly stamp out anyone suggesting that war was anything other than a disaster. If the aristocracy shared in the burdens of the typical soldiers and officers who are tested with any genuine struggle requiring competence or suffering, they would be far more hesitant to treat war as a casual exercise, recognize that their malfeasance is the true source of their woes, and that such activities would be a burden towards any stated aim of securing peace or any asset they would want to hold. It is an aristocratic mindset most of all that enshrines the "cult of life" and the "cult of war". They counteract that the democratic mindset enshrines a cult of death that takes the correct cynical view on life itself and humanity's prospects, and that the democrats ensrhine a cult of peace that fosters sickness, because democracy in a genuine sense implies a genuine comraderie and sense of shared suffering and struggle among all, and that is anathema to everything an aristocracy stands for. The rule of seniority and degraded merit and the rule of oligarchy are really just the degenerated forms of aristocracy, which follows an inexorable tendency matching the heart and soul of so-called philosopher-kings. The tyrant arises not because democracy by some fickleness of it allows the tyrant to rise, but because the schemes of would-be aristocrats hold advantages in information, and all that can unite the democrats is fear of the law and fear of the next plot to bring more suffering to humanity and the world. Were it the true choice of a democratic society to not do this, it would become clear that the arrangements of politics thus far are wholly inadequate and probably cannot be fixed. The world where that could take root and become something different was never allowed to exist. The attitudes of aristocracy and its various degenerated forms, of which democracy is one where the aristocratic wealth is temporarily clawed back and its values are emulated out of political necessity, are exported to the kingdom of life as a whole, and given the status of natural laws. Our view of life is colored by the political settelements we have come to accept, and this is not particular to the Greek example I am mimicking here. Political thought around the world has been used as a model for nature and the behavior of life generally, even though politics in any meaningful sense could never be internalized in any of the basic mechanisms of life as a process. Life as a process spawns knowledge, which out of necessity is wildly divergent from the living system or any system in the material world. Knowledge itself does not exist anywhere in physical space, but instead is conjured in some subjective virtual experience apart from that space. Knowledge would have to be so, and with it, our conceits of the world and history, and thus the question of life, deal not with the actual world we live in, but informational conceits that have more to do with what we want life to be and the dominant institutions of whatever society we belong to. Even if we have a mind of our own, human language is a product of a social existence to be anything more than a crude system for book-keeping and expressing through gestures what might appease the heavens or some other animal. We are beholden to ideas from others to even ask in formal language questions about life, and possess enough language to begin our own process of science. This native process of science too can be co-opted by wise elders or specialists, since we are not born with endless genius and must build our knowledge from more than our own sense experience and record. We would want to listen to those who might know more than us and be honest with us, and historically humans have found someone they trust enough to at least hold a dialogue, with the knowledge that anything humans say will have to be independently verified based on some simple rules that are too difficult to deny without destroying the basis for human language and cooperation.

Nothing appears to orient life in the first instance except one reality - it could exist, and so it did. All of the imperatives of life arise from this and this alone. If it exists, it exists not in isolation, but in a world and environment which it can relate to. Life as a form is a novel thing and not ubiquitous to existence, or inherent to existence in any way. It arises as an alien to a dead world, and absorbs that world while releasing its products, offspring, and so on. Nothing about life is at all "natural". The default of nature is that the world is non-living, and no evidence to suggest a living force or living essence to matter exists. Far from it, the evidence is that life by its nature is scarce, and whether it possesses any sense of economics, competition, or cooperation with other agents, living processes are uncommon and parasitic upon the world. The world itself has no need of economics in that sense, for the procession of events in nature is of no consequence to any part of it. However much substance life might claim, life and life alone possesses this quality of substancelessness. Every other thing - the matter life absorbes to constitute itself, the knowledge process which allows thought and sense of the world to say that there is a world with life - is substantive. Life itself as a process is not substantive, and has no preferred form that can be discerned at all. It is not like physical matter, which occurs in very regular formations and abides the laws of physics. The laws of physics exist not because they were thought of by a simulator, but because the laws of physics model something physical matter did since time immemorial. Nothing about physics suggests that there would be a genesis or starting point where physics "started" ex nihilo. We may subjectively consider that there is a root of physics that we do not know and never know, or aspects of physics we do not ourselves understand. We cannot suggest that physics was the result of any mind imposing it on the world, either in one instance or in an ongoing way. Any mind that would do so would be the result of either physics, or some system from which physics as we know it could emerge, which would itself abide certain laws of motion. If there is some primordial root in nature for these systems, nothing about it would be "living" in the sense that we consider life in this world, nor would it possess any habit attributed to life. Such a genesis would be something altogether different. Of all of the systems that exist, not one of them appears "spontaneously" in a way that cannot be explained by other systems. Life as a process stands alone in that it instantiates for no particular reason in a world where things are never instantiated. Every other system arises from other systems, because those systems are in some way substantive or rooted in substance. The mind and knowledge is certainly substantive for us to speak of it. Life is a system that does not need to be rooted in physics at all. The processes we call life can pertain, in principle, to abstractions or information. It is possible to ascribe to systems of any type the qualities of life, because life at its root is nothing real or substantive. It is a ghost that stalks the world. We may develop theories of how physical or chemical processes brought about the behaviors of life, but that would only be one case of life emerging from a particular system. Life can emerge not from any particular system, but any imaginable system. We can, through strange reasoning, consider societies living entities, even though they are in their meaningful form purely informational. A society as a living entity would not be like organic life, and should not be described with that language. Yet, this is exactly how societies and institutions have been treated, even though society is primarily informational content of relations, and institutions are specifically non-living entities displacing the living system.

It is not that all systems are truly living, for life is not merely defined by its ex nihilo appearance. The distinction of life is that it is the system of systems, yet it is not a system in the sense that other systems are traceable and mechanical. Life in its basic instantiation is not reducible to any particular mechanistic origin, but is some sort of demon arising from chaos. Whatever it claims, life inhabits a system and makes that system its own. It can possess physical matter, or it can possess information, and it treats both as interchangeable for its purposes. Indeed, it is an abiding characteristic of living things that they seek to assimilate any system for its purposes, regardless of the system that they originate from. They seek this not out of any inborn instinct or because a natural urge compelled it, but do so because this assimilation is itself the origin of life, and a thing it continues to do. Information or "mind" ultimately must take some definite form and arise from some substance to be what it is and appear with any regularity. Life feeds on substance and processes it by mechanisms peculiar to it, which defy any reason to suggest why such a thing would be necessary or inevitable. Life emerges, however frequently it does, as a freak accident. Complex life requires many occurrences to follow from its emergence, and is not the rule of life. Most life we have observed is simplistic, if it can qualify as "life" in the sense we regard it. Every step of evolution and every new life is another freak accident and a tragedy, and yet we carry on because there is not by any natural law a reason why life should not do this. We may experience anguish over this condition and expound on it, but when that is seen for what it is, it turns out that life, whatever its tragedy, is not in of itself such a bad thing. Life was not born out of malevolence or sin or abomination, and often those things are hostile to life's survival. Life is anguish, but there is no particular reason why it had to be so, and many reasons to suggest that the tragedy could be mitigated. There are many reasons more to suggest that life can find other moral purposes except suffering, and doing so is the only reason life could be other than what it is. It is not even the case that life is suffering - much that is living has no concept of pain or moral anguish, and those who live can easily imagine an existence without moping about suffering or existential angst. The inverse of suffering, though, is no absolute of the life-force. "Pleasure" is a fleeting master which has no meaning except "not pain", and the pursuit of it leads to nothing but a cowardly life-form indulgent in its vices, conceits, and depravity. Yet, life does not and cannot be reduced to that simple calculus. Life itself is emergent from any source that would allow it, and upon creation, it thrives on new emergence to do anything it does. Life is not unique in allowing the new to exist. Far from it, life as a force is stubborn and refuses to allow the new, working against it in some futile effort to arrest its form. At the same time, to seek this futile goal, life does things that are remarkable compared to the common events of nature, which recur like the orbit of planets and passing of seasons. Nowhere in genuine nature is there a sense of "balance" or purpose, as if nature were arrested in any preferred form. The true natural order is that events proceed without regard to life's sense of balance and homeostasis. The events of nature may be simple mechanisms we describe with laws of science so easy a caveman could learn them, but they allow the new to exist and do not seek to stop the new in any way. It is rather that with simple events in nature, the new would not possess any more or less complexity by any natural law, or suggest any natural historical progress or teleology. Nothing in nature asked itself why it did what it did, as if it served some intelligent purpose. If there is such an intelligent purpose, it is not evident to any of our knowledge as the world of a divine mind with purposes comparable to ours. Life, though, does anything it does with intent, because the intent in living systems is something that defines life as a process.

If we were to speak of living systems as if they operated blindly and without any particular intent, it would not be appropriate to speak of them as alive at all, no matter what behaviors the substantive systems life invades perform. We would instead speak of some information, or some process that would be treated as we treat economic value or social value - that is, we would imagine in some way that this entity, neither living nor truly dead, can be commanded and cajoled. It would not be described with the language of life, but the language of information systems or physical systems, which are rendered not in the scientific sense which approaches the world materialistically, but with the sense of ideas in knowledge which substitute themselves for the actual world we live in. At the same time, this approach, which is intrinsially idealist in all ways, is deemed "hard science" by some bastardization of terminology, and this is somehow accepted despite the total lack of any scientific validity to the approaches, theories, and purpose of the inquiry. It is not that this economic and humanist view of life as an information system reified in physical form is pseudoscientific, in the sense that they are doing science wrong. Everything about science suggests that this is, on the surface, a valid approach to answer a question about the natural world. It is rather that any purpose of inquiring into LIFE, as opposed to some information system or crass interpretation of physicalism, is negated, and at the same time, the language of this curious "life" dominates the theory, as if it were something holy and sacred. It is here where a scientific inquiry, which might be conducted by honest men and women, became first scientism making grandiose predictions based on spurious theorycrafting, and then becomes a full blown cargo cult where the men and women of science sacrifice babies to Moloch or whatever in this Hell the spiritual authority truly guiding them is telling them the "in" thing is this time. Life is granted the status of an absolute and natural spiritual authority for its own sake, and at the same time, life in any genuine sense is replaced with a preferred model of one thought leader who would command the other living things. It only occasionally occurs to these men and women that the same thing can be done to them and more obviously so, but it is an article of faith that the conceit of knowledge, now held solely in an institution, somehow enshrines them and grants impunity to the lesser minds who are not allowed in the club. Those who command science proclaim that they are not merely lords but gods, and those who do not know exist to be consumed utterly and completely, not even cattle but some sort of organic slurry which may be beaten and cajoled in any way. In that way, the mission of the scientific revolution is complete. An aristocracy is formed, and claims itself to be the final and permanent aristocracy. A mission that started long ago in the human race, where the smarter of the apes became Satanic apes and the dumber were eliminated or enslaved, became not just an occasional and tragic event, but the final word of the human race, made absolute and institutional. This purpose did not tie to any particular movement, or even to eugenics or the eugenic interest generally. It instead spoke of something that was latent in life that sought its own termination, for life itself is an absurdity, an error in the great work of the true nature of the world. Rather than accepting that, the people who could easily accept the absurdity of this existence were told they must be ashamed, while the ideologues with their zeal violently imposed their vision on humanity and all that exists, without anything to say for themselves except the same thing that began life in the first place - "we do it because we can." It then becomes the first and last word, and there will be nothing truly new if this aristocracy had its way. Such is, in a basic explanation, the origin of aristocracy in the human race, and it is a common story that repeats in miniature out of some perverse instinct in us. That instinct was not truly born in life, for life begins not with any teleology but potentials to go anywhere the faculties it claims will allow. It made great sense for nearly every life-form to not pursue any such insane aim, and do literally anything else. Yet, just as life existed because it could, this movement to command exists for the same reason - because it could. The institution became in its own mind a living thing, devouring parasitically all it came into contact with, cannibalizing other institutions, and cannibalizing the very substance and anything productive that would allow that institution to exist. The institution becomes "perfected" in the sense Herbert Spencer wanted, in that it is a slobbering beast with no regard for anything and everything it destroys, and this happens by the same freak chance that allowed life to exist at all.

In the prior book, I gave a crude definition of life. I would like to modify it considerably here, given what has been discussed. Moving forward, the concept of "life" must be narrowed to something usable but general enough to apply to it as a particular system, rather than rooting it in any other system or placing it subordinate to any other. As we will see, the notion of fixed "system hierarchies" is a flawed understanding of the system concept, yet one that was built into its original formulation. I shall define life with the following terms:

- Genesis, or the origin of life, where that which is non-living or not a thing functioning on its own power or purpose becomes living and possesses the intent of life. This story is repeated for each instantiation of a "life-form" which may be distinguished as some entity operating on its own power. The life-form proper is not the instantiation of the matter or substance, which is something assimilated from the world, nor any description of a physical system itself, but a description of life functions - that is, what life does to the matter, in some way that is construed as the behavior of life rather than a non-living thing.

- Intent of life, or a description of the functions it will pursue. This will vary based on the life-form, but they are things constructed if any life-form is to be given a name beyond "life" itself. It is possible then to speak of a nature of humans, dogs, or any other particular life-form, with proper caveats about what is meant by this nature. This nature is not truly a "natural law", but a comprehension of the intent that orients a particular life-form, such that we can speak of it as that type or class rather than another. The characteristics of a human or dog are not exoteric expressions or esoteric mysteries to be discovered, but spawn from an intent which must be deemed self-evident to speak of any distinction of life. The exoteric and esoteric conceptions of the life-form are not description of the life-form itself, but the substantive systems life utilizes for its functions. Where the genesis is passive and will not change, the intent of life is present and can change in ways that are possible.

- Stasis, or the tendency of life to retain its intent, which is expressed as its form. While life proceeds through a typical lifecycle that may be identified, that lifecycle is defined by its regularity absent any external modification suggesting the living thing would change that lifecycle. That is, life suggests that it is a thing that can be isolated from its environment and placed in another, and remain in intent the same thing. If placed in a new situation, life will stubbornly insist on remaining as it was, unlike most systems which do not repair themselves with intent. Without persistence - that is, if the faculties the life-form inherits are not continuously activated - they are not core life-functions, for they are not part of the stasis which defines life.

- Interface, or the particular "hardware" life possesses to carry out its functions. This would be organs, genetic material, bones, etc., that are persistently tied into the intent of life. The persistence necessary for life to be constituted is a critical distinction which provides certain boundaries to consider a life-form's processes contained. Therefore, for humans, the body, which is inherent in the intent of the life-form, is considered an interface, but the tools, language, technology, etc. that humans utilize has nothing to do with its core life-functions intrinsically. If for example we envision the human brain as a state machine with memory, none of that is in of itself a "life-function". The operations of the brain, and whatever it does to retrieve a particular memory or shift state, would be a function, but the particular "state of mind" would not be. In fact, knowledge as a process has nothing to do with the life-from, as knowledge as we see is a thing alien to life, and not a thing that can emerge solely from life, nor a thing that life always entails. I will use the term "biological faculties" to refer to these possessions, to distinguish them from faculties like tools, language, and the knowledge process which is not strictly speaking a "faculty" subordinated to life or economy but something altogether different.

- System I/O - the inputs that life assimilates to continue its functions, and the outputs of life as waste products, exertion of force possible through its organs. A life-form to continue existing is not merely a "consumer" of some quantity of substance, but consumes particular qualities which much be quantitative in some sense to be substantive. The needs of a life-form are not merely material, but imply a hunger for information and knowledge if those features are emergent in the life-form. This input and output is considered the parasitic feeding of life, and its imposition on the outside world by virtue of being life. It does not speak intrinsically of any "lifecycle" or interaction with the environment. From the most basic premise of life, its input and output is not integrated in any society or even the world proper. It is, as mentioned, a life-form parasitically feeding on the world and imposing something which changes it through the intent of life.

If these five categories look familiar, then gold star for you. I use these categories not to describe life in its total complexity, but to suggest the basic purpose of "living systems" as a distinct area of study. These categories describe the management of life, which has sadly become the typical understanding of life in science. The only alternatives on offer make life into woo woo, or deny that life really exists except as flotsam. It should be clear that most systems do not need to be rooted in other systems to be meaningful concepts.

We may qualify the life we truly care about by recognizing life to specifically refer to a physical origin that would make it relevant to the part of the world where we recognize space, temporality, and consider ourselves to reside. That is, we are only concerned with life we regard as "real" on the same terms we are real. Life in a simulated space, or life in a model we imagined, is only relevant so far as it would have an expression in the material world where we recognize physical objects. And so, living systems typically inhabit physical constructs, and specifically regard chemistry since stable physical matter will likely take the form of chemical substances like carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Life assimilates for its purposes many elements, and the elaborate molecular constructs in living systems are highly alien to non-living objects, such that those constructs and their more developed products are a sign of life's presence more often than not. Life in this way terraforms a world, which starts out as dead material to appropriate. For all of the effort of life to alter its environment, the Earth overwhelmingly remains a dead rock, and millions of years of life only claim so much of it. Far from life being an inevitability, life appears only to exist in concentrated developed forms for a period of time, before the life-form and the society of life declines, begins a die-off and diaspora from its community, and the survivors pick up the shattered remains of life to try, try again.

The hint of this sad fate of life can be seen in its defining characteristics as a unique form, rather than a rule of life that could be read by any scientific inquiry into its component materials. None of the core functions of life concern any concept of society or any imperative other than its most basic input and output. This, at its core, is what life is there to do. It consumes many things and emits waste, including the remains of its body. Life as a process, and this is true of every form of it, soaks up anything and everything for no purpose other than its intent, stasis, and the maintenance of its interface. There is no version of this which is actually stable in a philosophical sense, where life is every truly an ideal form matching its intent. If that were to happen, the entity in question is understood as effectively dead. More than that, the intent of life and its genesis suggest that it never actually could be arrested, or hold any regard for its environment or any conceit we would hold about the "nature of life", as if life itself regulated the world of dead things by some virtue it and its alone commands. It is quite the opposite; life is commanded by the dead matter around it, which provides all of the true sustenance life feeds from. Life emits dead matter not out of any gratitude to the world, but because it cannot help but excrete, covering the Earth with its shit and piss and telling us this is some sort of gift. It may be a gift to other life-forms, for whom oxygen as a waste product is precious sustenance, but to the true natural world, which never asked for any of this imposition, life is another exhaustion of stored energy which accelerates the decay of energy in the fuel life consumes. Life cannot create. It can only corrupt and mutilate something into another thing, and we only consider this mutilation to be beneficial because of our bias. The Earth and the natural world, though is a champ about this. It's not going to complain about life's incessant parasitism, and even seems eager to protect life from its' own stupidity and contradictory existence. Natural laws humble life to prevent its most odious conceits from taking over the entire project, not because life suggested any balance for its own sake, but because the laws of physics would only abide so much of this abomination before it must, for the sake of heaven, go. Nature did not do this to teach life any lesson, because for one nature has no sense of teaching anything as we would or any intent and second life has refused to learn from this lesson despite ample warnings from the laws of nature time and time again. It did this because in some sense, life really is this anomaly, and not worth any of the moral value or regard that is held for it. It is only because knowledge emerged in life that we are as we are, and hold this strange conceit about it. When life does incredibly stupid things that it cannot keep doing due to a lack of natural substance to suck dry, stasis will be the result of the struggle of life against the world. The struggle of life against life is a futile attempt to take revenge against a world that never had any need of that construct, and life being a conceited bully could only think to take out its frustration on other life. It did not need to be this way, and since living things do not exist to be prey by any natural law, the first response of life is to resist and refuse to be prey. The aim of the predatory and the bully has always been to engineer a situation where they can fulfill a central, overall intent above the mere existence of life, and they take from this a story that doing this will somehow allow their pathetic forms to become co-equal with the world, or in their greater delusions, superior to the world and becoming gods that rule over the dead. The aim of every other life-form, which sees that this is absolutely fucking retarded, is to do literally anything else, for they didn't have it out for the world, any deity that may exist, or assign to this spurious struggle any moral value or worth, even in the most primitive way life could be oriented towards such a thing. The predatory tell a story that this predation started long long ago, and was not their individual idea, and so the prey should not take it personally. The prey have always known that there was never a "fall of Man" or anything of the sort. They knew the predators knew damn well, and the predators in some way possessed all of the moral sense a life-form would need to know what they were doing and why they did it. Predation as a simple urge was never viable. Predators learn to stalk their prey, and expend their efforts finding new ways to hunt, torture, humiliate, and do all of the things the hunter ethos would do. Prey learn to negate those things, rather than accept the predators' philosophy and religion as their own. The true origin of predation, and predation acts on its own accord without any necessary prey, is the same as the genesis of life itself - that it existed because it could, and justified itself. This is irrational, but so too is their conceit of the godhead, which we will have to deal with in a future writing. The irrationality of life's origin and intent is unique to it. As said, nothing in nature suggests any of this is sensical. Life is unique among emergences in the world in that it didn't arise in any way that flowed peacefully, and once emergent, life went out of its way to ensure no new emergences were possible. A potential origin of predation found in the nature of life is that predation is a pre-emptive defense against corruption of its form that made sense, since life by its nature is autistic and does not concern itself with anyone or anything else. This, though, would fall apart as a sole explanation, because if that were the sole origin of predation, it would suggest passivity and cooperation in life that is not at all the experience of life, and life would be far more likely to learn of the threat of other life and threats of the world, even with meager intellectual capacity. It would be self-evident to life to never allow any of the things that did arise. Therefore, arguments about a "nature of life" that insisted on predation at all are ludicrous, and should be obviously so to a child. That is why the doctrine of eternal biological struggle knew from the start it must impose itself violently and forbid any deviation from its creed.

If this is the case, then we are left asking what we are to do with life, and what the purpose if any is. That is the great question. When all is done, the cost of maintaining life in stasis and the cost of defending life is nowhere near the full input of life, nor does it explain its output beyond the statement that something likely comes out of life. Much of what life takes in, does, and becomes in its faculties and the things created by life, has nothing to do with this barest minimum of survival and existence. It would be quite impossible for life to exist if it was entirely obsessed with those two acts for their own sake. How much of life's input allows for a surplus beyond those two things will vary dramatically, and this is a condition not just over long periods but at the smallest level life operates. We have spikes of abundance, crashes of want, and do with the world as we please. It is only because we could grow at all that we did. That happens both in the act of living for any individual life-form and in natural history. There is, in life, a surplus after input that is used for multifarious purposes. Those purposes do not fit any pre-ordained schema. Life will, with all of the biological faculties available to it, do anything in its potential, with sufficient inputs and with regard to its outputs not creating an environment imperiling this. To live always entails consequences, and once done, no act of life is ever undone. Sin, failure, foolishness, and everything bad is never forgotten and the mark stays for ever. The inverse is not the case. All of the things we consider virtuous, good, decent, kind, nice, or any other thing we might associate with positivity, can be forgotten easily. Those things are always under threat, but the bad and the malicious do not face such a threat. Those things that are virtuous are never undone for good, for they did indeed happen, but they are always suspect and things deemed scarce amidst a general rule that life cares little for virtues, beyond what those virtues allow it to get away with in the future. The acts of malice are rarely valued as goods in their own right, but are a means to various ends that entail competition with other life and hostility towards the world. Those things are inherent to life due to life being, in the end, an alien. It is for that reason that miserablism has this persistent appeal, despite a total lack of any rational reason why we should accept such a dogma. The preference of life, if it were to seek its most basic function, would be to mitigate that ruinous practice of competition in favor of literally anything else it could do. Yet, the same surplus that allows life to grow feeds on a natural world, and eventually life finds itself in conflict with life over that natural world, in some way. It might seem nice to envision a world where life coexisted harmoniously, but such a cooperation is not won easily and is never something given freely. It would not withstand the first malevolent actor. In any aim that stems from this condition, where life must contend with a natural world which includes other entities co-opted by life, the growth of life allows for competitive, cooperative, isolationist, pro-social, and various other strategies, and these possibilities are not things life will do by some impulse within it, nor are they things the world will compel of life individually. Life, at its core, is an individual experience and can only be so. If two life-forms are to conjoin, this interplay is not a trivial thing. If it were trivial, then sexual reproduction would not lead to so many tragic mishaps and so much stupidity in sexed life-forms. We need not envision sex filling any special spiritual role, and for many of us males, sex is some sort of cruel joke. After enough rejection, we would rather forget about the matter entirely and find, once again, literally anything else that would be more fulfilling than an act that really means nothing and won't lead to anything good. It is not difficult to see that perpetuation of any legacy is not included in any intent of life. The most basic intent of life is that it persists for a time, and eventually will pass. That passing may be delayed, and perhaps it can be delayed indefinitely, but for as long as life exists, it will face the same questions and it will not arrive at any final resolution by thought alone or any action it would undertake that suggests a singular path to solve the problem of life. The interests of life then are multifarious, but not infinite, and they do not concern so much the impulses of life but what a reasonable life-form would consider interesting, given that the accept the fact that they are alive in this way, and that life entails certain conditions of existence. "Life for life's sake" is pointless in its naked form. A pursuit of death, out of some sense that life itself is the problem, is not just futile given that life re-appears eventually, but doesn't serve any purpose outside of individual sentiments. The death drive exists in many life-forms, but as a way of life, death-worship does not last long. The reason is obvious - to pursue that mission requires the death cultist to stay alive and outlive all rivals, and so the death cultist must pursue life, reproduction, in the most crass way possible to pursue this aim, which has no more purpose than life itself. Neither of these are really relevant to what life does or what it would see as its genuine interests. It is acceptable enough to life that, at some point, it will no longer exist, and the life-form leaves to the world whatever legacy it does, such as offspring, deeds, or some sense that it changed the world in whatever way it set out to do. Perhaps it is simply enough to have lived, punch in the time in this world, and look to its free time and eventual passing as its journey to another world, where it didn't have to do this.[2] If we must stay in this world and speak of those interests most evident for the question this book poses, I look at five interests that prevail in life. The first two concern the functions of life to fulfill all interests including the simple interest of living itself, and the competition to preserve life's intent and uphold its genesis, which is sadly what consumes far more of life's effort than it should. The third concerns the general surplus which would be interpreted as a technological interest, by which life-forms assimilate not mere quantities or qualities identified as necessary for survival, but considers new qualities, which correspond to what would be interpreted as knowledge. Even if the life-form is unknowing, its behavior can be seen by other knowing entities as adaptation, in line with some intent of life to adapt to its situation. This interest, though, can happen in isolation, and often does, as the conditions of competition or social obligation undermine the free time and space that allows for this development to occur. The fourth is something that arises from the recognition of life of its situation, and this is an interest which is particular to humans so far as I am aware. It corresponds to spiritual authority and the search for meaning beyond mere technological innovation. The fifth is the recognition, which often occurs in tandem with the emergence of the fourth, of a need to occult information and keep all knowledge private. This fifth interest corresponds to the full comprehension of symbolic language conceptually and the nature of lying and truth, and its development marks the interests becoming things which humans can now expound upon in full, and thus it becomes possible to truly answer questions regarding economic value and exchange as we know it. It should be noted that this schema applies only to living things, and so unliving entities in economic activity have no such apparent interests to speak of. If we were to imagine non-living things in some "economy of nature" the things do not possess any interest to suggest any outcome. We can easily see in nature that exchanges of substantive physical matter entail that a gain for one thing is a loss for another in equal proportion. That rule is not the rule of life itself, for life creates on its own power quantities and qualities beyond the input of the system. Life at its basic level consists of nothing at all, from which something is taken. Definitionally, living systems are always open systems, and based on this view of life as a parasite, they can be nothing else. Life is acutely aware of the nature of substance and its transfer, and so it is easy for living things like us to see in nature a contrast between void and substance. To the world, though, any economic calculation in nature is irrelevant, and there would be no force above the life-forms which has any preference whatsoever. In the model of Darwinian evolution, the "natural selector" is never truly nature, but the life-forms themselves which struggle for life in a game that is modeled after the social practice of war. The war is presented as a simple reality of natural history which takes place over a given ecosystem, and though this model allows competition and a sense of peace, it is presented through and through as the dominance of an implied war which life must engage in to be "selected" - which is to say, not destroyed by other life, which does so not accidentally but very deliberately for the concept of "selection" to hold true. The questions of this model will arise many times in future chapters.

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[1] There is consternation over whether viruses are "life", and the role of these viruses in living processes like disease. I have little interest in weighing in on a very large question, but will say that this entire "debate", like so many involving the biological sciences, is more ideological than anything else. At heart is a need to defend a paradigm of biology-as-information, which is technocratically controlled and adjudicated by an expert class, and the counter-claim to make biology a political matter under the purview of a different set of experts. None of this entails what a virus actually is or what life is or does. The absurdity of this debate kicked into overdrive with the drama of "COVID", where reasonable people insinuate that if I were to make contact with a diseased vagina that smelled funny, it would not actually transmit disease. On both sides, the matter of viruses, disease, and transmission is changed from an argument about nature, biology, or any concept of what anything does or is, to an argument about some bad moral fiber or who can cajole the world to move in accord with their preferred information. It's insane and I will not stand for such idiocy. It was long understood, though, that a virus is not "living". When life took on a strange moral purpose under the eugenic creed, this was no longer an acceptable answer, because the meaning of life changed from any scientific inquiry into biopolitical dogma at the center of states and institutions. If someone wished to fulfill Malthus' dictum to court the return of the plague, such a fake argument advances it. Reasonable people, like myself, will hesitate before touching diseased body parts, without entering into some ridiculous moral crusade about how she must be a horrible person for being sick, or I would be horrible for doing anything other than shunning her for eugenic purposes. I, unlike these cretins, have some sense of decency and fairness about these things, and I think anyone who has to live with venereal disease or any disease is horrified at this ideological shit-flinging.

[2] It may be decided that those who seek the afterlife do not seek a world after death, but a world outside of conventional awareness or concerns that they contact during life. I do not recommend anyone do this or try to, because doing this incurs great costs, but it is one of the copes desperate people resort to in a society gone horribly wrong. The world as it is does not need to be as it is, but perhaps it is preferable for those who have already gone that far into a different mindset to live in the next life, and consider their time in this world something that will pass. What happens in the next world, contacted through means outside the norm of knowledge and never encouraged by any pedagogy, can be brought back here in some way. The product of such endeavors is a thing zealously attacked by all who uphold the ruling institutions, because it suggests a world and a way of life that is not beholden to the ruling interests or any of the carrots or sticks used to enforce rule. I will say when the time comes that the hermit, the beggar, and those who simply hold the entire cult of rule, war, and life in contempt are a more pernicious enemy than any revolutionary, whose aim will always be political and thus understandable to others in the great game of ruling. Those who are willing to do the truly desperate things the mad and the foolish do simply to tolerate society present the greatest danger of all, for they would be the most likely to suggest something new that emerged not from predictable mechanisms, but through visions of what we could be and what we could make the world. That outcome would mean, if the madman looks at this world and diagnoses correctly the nature of ruling institutions, chaos that undoes a game that has gone of for centuries, that those who claimed power never wish to see end. It would mean, if it were allowed to truly flourish, that aristocracy would be dead forever, never to return, and at long last an age of the world begins that was not part of any prophecy or scam to push most of humanity into holding pens.

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