A Concise Beyondist Catechism
Taken from Beyondism: Religion from Science
Raymond B. Cattell
Let us sum up concisely the principles discussed in this book, in logical order.
- That evolution is the prime process visible in the universe, to which we have to conform, and should do so in good will.
- That human evolution proceeds ultimately by natural selection among groups, which determines and is determined by natural selection among individuals, genetically and culturally.
- That natural selection among groups and individuals requires as a precondition adequate variation among groups and individuals, genetically and culturally.
- That one important factor in group survival resides in the laws that govern its internal structure and the desirable mutual behavior of individuals. The evolution of the best interindividual ethical values is therefore based finally on the processes of intergroup differential survival, the competitive conditions for which must be maintained. The ethics of a particular group are fixed, additionally, by aiming to survive in relation to its particular aspirations and circumstances.
- Historically, "revealed" religions are attempts to congeal the naturally, evolution-derived ethical systems and to aid their practice by priesthoods, rituals, and imaginary after-life rewards, etc. Historically, they made the imperialist mistake, however, of extending the within group derived values of any single group to universal values among men, thus conflicting with (2) above.
- The spiritual life of Beyondism arises, in part, like that of the other religions, from genetic urges unsatisfied in everyday life, unavoidably in any culture with genetic lag. Beyondism differs in shaping those desires explicitly to logically indicated evolutionary needs rather than, as in revealed religions, inventing subjective beliefs to meet and fit the accidental frustrations.
- Beyondism necessarily regards many beliefs and practices of revealed religion as inadequate or misleading. For the notion of a loving father God, it substitutes faith in the purpose of evolution. It regards mankind as no "apple of God's eye," but as one species among millions, in a universe that is neither favorably nor unfavorably disposed to us. Our individual immortality is also restricted to what we pass on to the life of our group. This greater emotional austerity of Beyondism will slow down its universal acceptance, but develop a new sense of spirituality.
- There are six main entities to which an individual's ethical values can be functionally oriented: fellow group members, the group government, other group governments, members of other groups, individuals committed to a Beyondist Ethic, and, above all, the Evolutionary Purpose. Each of these objects calls for precise alignment of its loyalties, in a situational hierarchy among them. For example, a man's ethical loyalty to his own group exceeds that to members of "mankind" generally. However (a) the injunctions of the different "object" ethics are different, mostly, in kind, and (b) circumstances put emphasis on the primary survival of all groups, if the total existence of man is threatened. The rose diagram of ethical values (Figure 8-1) should answer many ethical questions now troubling teachers and religious-political parties.
- The only ultimate test of the fitness and progress of a group's culture-genetic make-up is whether it survives, historically. However, just as individual eugenics avoids the cruelty of in-life selection of failures, so the disasters of cultural death and genocide among groups can be lessened by foresighted changes based on objective health measures understanding the comparative morbidity of cultures and races, akin to a medical watch on individuals.
- The cultural and genetic evolution of groups are alike in that variation-largely inaccessible directly as to evolution of desirability-must occur in both, followed by natural selection. The process is well understood in genetics, but has new, as yet unorganized, principles in the evolution of cultural elements. Culture changes by the mechanical and social inventions of leading persons, and by borrowing (willing or forced) from other cultures. As Graubard (1986) points out, "exceptionally radical inventions are the work of exceptionally gifted individuals." In addition to the direct molding effect of inventions, there are side effects from their interactions with economic, population, meteorological, etc., material pressures. Cultural elements survive on their own merits, independently of the genetic group using them, and show continual elaboration, though there is interaction of survival with the genetic suitability of the group, and the group's situation.
- Being the work of superior intelligences, culture, as a whole, is likely to demand more complex adjustments from the general population than they are genetically suited to make. This discrepancy we call genetic lag. it has some correspondence to the difference between the instinctual reactions of the old brain and the adjustments made possible by the cortex. Genetic lag is the cause of many social problems.
- The saying that "man adapts his environment to himself instead of suffering selection from environment, " is a half-truth since his cultural adaptations are to environment. His cultural developments, however, are of two kinds: "p-culture" which adapts as outlets for his frustrations, as in poetry, music, and drama, and "r-culture" which actually fits him to environment, as in engineering, medicine, and science. The convolutions of p-culture may be training for r-culture, as well as for temporary emotional adjustment; but it is primarily by r-culture that he survives.
- Eugenic measures seek to reduce the genetic lag; but the adjustment sought is partly to the universe generally and partly to a particular culture and its situation. The discrepancy of genetics and culture arises largely from the movement of culture by "inventions" (mutations). An adventurous society will deliberately create genetic mutations to see what they will do toward creating a new culture. Evolution is thus an interaction of genetic and cultural mutations, each shaping, by survival contributions, the other. Genetic advance on a broad front is dependent on man's adventuring beyond horizons. The spirit of adventure is therefore a central value in Beyondist ethics, and contrary to many "universalist" revealed religions.
- Beyondism calls for an examination of the internal rules of progress, and concludes first that a substantial freedom for individuality is required. In revolution, advanced and atavistic groups (detesting culture) operate together. In reaching the same "revolutionary" changes by evolution, lesser genetic lag is probably a precondition. When ethical rules are scientifically derived from social research, egoistic, antisocial individualism can be treated in distinction from creative individualism. The id constantly chafes for "human rights" rather than duties, and rights are not "God given," but, truly, contractual and situationally fixed by the conditions of group survival.
- Beyondism calls practically for a vast increase in social research, with such objectives as making national comparisons, defining ethical systems, clarifying the ethical and cultural values of each group, and so on. For each group should follow its own divergent adventure, racially and culturally, in cooperative competition with a world federation of groups, each with its own sociobiological research institutes.
- The spirit of Beyondism is one of common human adventure, of risk taking, and of an austere acceptance of nonsentimental values, and the constant existence of tragedy. Our situation in the universe is more precarious than we commonly accept, and it behooves us to evolve in intelligence, and secure command of possible environments at the fastest possible pace. With every gain of security, from science, much of the gain has been socially lost to further support of science by expenditures in sentimental support of trivial id demands. We have to control suecorant behavior, just as every instinct needs control, away from unbounded "social welfare" into knowledge-producing support. If survival is the final test of ethics, our ethical values, and the political practices resulting, need serious re-education, e.g., toward a simple even income tax, and the acceptance of direction by qualified elites, democratically watched.
- Since Beyondism sees survival to be as dependent on genetic as cultural bases, one change of present values indicated is in an altogether more enthusiastic pursuit of eugenics. This involves the acceptance of genetic individual differences, without envy or malicious obstruction, and of better education for the gifted. Probably a positive eugenic condition could be most simply established by an ethic of more children from the socially more successful. The mechanics would require some economic laws, since a bright child, going to college, is decidedly more of a family economic burden than one of average intelligence. The particular goals of eugenic selection can be democratically set by the needs of each society and its ideals. One of the main sources of antieugenic thinking and dysgenic practice is the absence of school education of the voting body particularly in biology and statistics.
- Races formed in the past, due largely to geographical isolation, are of only transient and esthetic particularity and importance. The genetic groupings (races) of the future will arise from self-conscious selection by each cultural group. Their development requires regard for the efficiency of language barriers and for migration control considerations. In a long term view, the genus homo sapiens would be wise to split, by conscious segregation of ideals, into more than one species. This may involve "genetic engineering" or become achieved as a side result of solar system colonization.
- The main cultural development that Beyondism requires is a quite unprecedented increase in support of socio-biological research. Many ideas in this book are "promises" of advance, and it is hard, for example, to substantiate such views as that the advance of culture occurs through restriction of sexual activities, by any indubitable present evidence of relation. The research institutes that need to be set up are both national in roots-attending to the particular national adventure-and international, obtaining laws of social effects by cross comparison of national cultures. The issues to be investigated are as mind-boggling as the most sophisticated problems in, for example, modern physics. Scientists in sociobiology will only rarely, with special selection for truly genius level of talent, be able to make the needed progress.
- Beyondism is a coherent system of beliefs that scientists can be expected to understand and, in the main, support. At this point in history there has been a startling increase of interest in the bearing of psycho-biological discoveries on human organization. If a sufficient body of scientists and others can be brought together, in sufficient accord, the time has come for the development of an actual Beyondist organization to begin affecting political, educational. and economic decisions. An appeal is accordingly here made for Beyondists to get together in a fellowship of discussion.