It is of the nature of man to build a theory of life by projecting from such data, however limited, as are available to him. The data today, in the late Twentieth Century, are more comprehensive than ever before, although still far from complete.
The Eden Theory of Scodmils deals with the status of these animals, a key element in a theory of life based on today’s data.
The name ‘scodmil’ is here introduced as a multi-generic term covering all those man-like animals which may be expected to occur anywhere in the cosmos where advanced life is physically possible for an adequate period of time. The cosmos appears to be constructed in a form which permits the development of life leading to scodmils, and their manifest success is such that comparable forms are likely to arise, separated in space and time, by normal processes of parallel evolution.
The name scodmil is derived from certain of the characteristics essential to, although by no means confined to, such animals: Self-consciousness, social Co-Operation, an element of socially Disruptive behaviour, Manual dexterity, Intelligence, Language of some sort. Other physiological characteristics leading to the essential ones, and to be expected in most – if not all – natural scodmils, include an upright bipedal stance and warm blood. The importance of the quarrelsome nature of scodmils cannot be overstressed, expressing itself through a tendency to disruptive behaviour both by individuals and groups.
Given the appropriate physical conditions and the right combination of characteristics, scodmils have a unique potential to develop artificial instrumentation with which they are able firstly to dominate their ecosystems and thereafter begin to credibly assess the realities of the cosmos of which they form part. The dominant role conferred on the occupant of the scodmil niche in an ecosystem is of such benefit to the species that once life forms have managed to evolve to within its range the niche is unlikely to remain empty for long.
Natural scodmils as considered here are biological organisms brought about by Darwinian evolution, however conceived. It is, however, almost certain that it will prove possible for many species of scodmil to develop successor forms at about the time when advancing medical technology will have caused biological evolution to halt. These scodmil derivatives will be artificial self-sustaining scodmil-like creatures freed of the severe biological and socio-biological constraints to which the natural forms are subject due to their evolutionary route. Such derivatives will, for example, have brains incorporating advanced computer facilities, a mechanism for avoiding stagnation without invoking the aid of disruptive behaviour, and capacities for biological, mechanical and electronic self repair, depending on their method of construction.
Artificial scodmil derivatives will be fully conscious life forms, which will not at once be permitted to replace scodmils but will, over a period, tend to supersede them by virtue of their enhanced efficiency, and may well be engineered to operate in conditions where natural scodmils are unable to survive.
This possibility is, however, speculative and in respect of Earth is a matter for the future. In this essay we are concerned with the status of natural scodmils sensu strictu. During the biological development phase a natural scodmil must have survival and improvement of the competitive positions of both itself and its social group as its parallel first duties. This calls for a scodmil to be, during this phase, an organism with the following specification:
- To have the capacity to benefit from collective strength and intelligence, it must be a social animal structured into groups which are not only competing but in conflict.
- Since group success in conflict situations depends partly on discipline and good communication, Scodmils must have recognised codes of behaviour, leading to language, script and a moral code, and a hierarchical organisation within groups.
- Individuals and groups must display wide ranges of approaches, permitting selection of the best means of using the potential of a situation for enhancement of the position of the individual and the group.
- There must be an element of disruption at both group and social levels to prevent the formation of stable societies with low levels of achievement.
In the case of humans, this specification has resulted in an animal which is the most dangerous and ruthless known on Earth up to the present time. It tends to an obsessive group loyalty and suspicion or hostility towards neighbouring groups, coupled with a pursuit of individual interests. This is the scodmil recipe for success.
Having achieved the primary, and necessary, biological objective of dominance over other species, scodmils are faced with the problem that built-in characteristics vital in the primitive ecosystems where they were evolved can have positive disadvantages in the modified ecosystems which they bring about. Three examples are: an excessive procreative capacity, the quarrelsome nature of young males, and the potential for severe damage in the course of conflict between technologically advanced groups. Scodmil species have at this stage to use their intelligence and flexibility to bring these facets of their own behaviour under acceptable levels of control whilst leaving scope for advantageous disruptions to occur from time to time. On balance, the auguries at the end of the Twentieth Century are not unpromising.
It is, however, always possible that failure to control itself could lead to a severe setback of the further development of any particular species of scodmil – this is of the major hurdles which a continuingly successful scodmil has to overcome. There are external hurdles too, including the possibility of an extinction event at a critical phase, and attack at any time by aggressive but less advanced organisms Life is unquestionably highly dangerous not only for every individuals but for all species including scodmils. The fossil record, though, shows successes as well as failures
As it achieves dominance, the successful scodmil ( as exemplified by H. sapiens sapiens to date) becomes increasingly aware that built into the complexities of its motivations are urges other than those which brought about its biological success; indeed, some may conflict with its biological interests. I refer to them as “non-biological” urges.
An essential element of the Eden Theory is that these urges, which may be broadly described as skodmil interest in relating to the cosmos, are genetically built into the nervous system of scodmils. As there is no apparent mechanism whereby this feature could have developed – genetically, memetically or by appeal to rational thought – it is inferred that they are a function of the matter of which the animals are constructed. In essence they are an aspect of an all pervading force (comparable to the four recognised forces) built into the cosmic matter of which scodmils and everything else are composed.
Through their self-consciousness linked to these non-biological urges, Scodmils demonstrate that they unwittingly constitute the forward probe of cosmic consciousness. Only in a scodmil form is it practicable for this consciousness to be fully expressed. We see its first earthly appearance in the more advanced individuals of H. sapiens sapiens, but if the Eden Theory is correct it will also develop not only in any later earthly scodmil species, but in all scodmils everywhere, including artificial derivatives.
These non-biological urges include interests in the arts, in the numinous, in the welfare of non-scodmil cosmic constituents and in the nature of reality; they thus cover the whole field of non-rational devotion to art, religion, disinterested generosity and science. The urges are not to be seen as mere academic interest arising from the built-in and necessary natural curiosity of scodmils, but as vibrant declarations of direction akin to, and probably employing similar physical mechanisms to, the biologically important urges of sexual and group (patriotic) love.
Scodmils exercising non-biological urges have the role of cosmic components relating to and attempting to understand the cosmos of which they form part. The fact that cosmic material has this built-in property appears to bespeak the existence of some sort of underlying plan as opposed to the underlying meaninglessness which might otherwise be implied by the facts of physical existence.
We thus find natural scodmils operating simultaneously and awkwardly on multi-faceted biological and barely understood cosmic planes. In the interests of a coordinated approach individuals tend to settle into patterns which place them at specific points on a three cornered scatter diagram at the extremes of which lie:
- Raw scodmil – the basic animal with no understanding of its motivations or thrust to use its capacities for other than straightforward biological functions such as feeding, reproduction and forms of group therapy.
- Illuminated scodmil – an advanced form thoroughly irradiated by a feeling for the non-rational and/or the numinous, and yielding to it enthusiastically usually in its most convenient anthropomorphised, form.
- Rational scodmil – another advanced form, which in this case will accept only known facts about physical reality and controlled extrapolations based on them.
Each of these extreme forms has merit, although few individuals are found at the extremities of the scatter diagram and many vacillate in definable intermediate areas between them.
Raw Scodmils may at times pose problems to the more advanced forms, but they constitute the essential biological basis on which the others rely, and from which they have developed by a combination of genetic and memetic advance. Given time many of their more inconvenient urges can over the generations be culturally transformed without changing in nature, for example by transformation of aggression into enthusiasms for competitive sport and politics.
Illuminated scodmils are fortunate in that favoured illuminations today are normally those which provide the maximum degree of mental comfort to each of the necessarily temporary individuals. The details of anthropomorphic illuminations are commonly patently nonsensical, but the power of the numinous contact they provide with the cosmos, however it may be envisaged, is such that it cannot be dismissed as mere wishful thinking – any more than can be the power of much of music or natural beauty. It seems to be a clear fact that illuminations contact something in the scodmil psyche, and it is rational to suppose this to arise from a physical parameter yet to be quantified.
Rational scodmils are the most advanced of the three forms. They must, like the others, accept certain biologically discouraging conclusions, such as the non-permanence of the individual self-consciousness, but in their case they have the satisfaction of knowing they stand at the spearhead of cosmic self-knowledge. They, and they alone, have some hope of arriving at a combination of rational and numinous truth since they base their cosmic view on the best available effort at an unblinkered acceptance of the whole of the physical cosmos – including the numinous – rather than on the small parts of it which were accessible to the founders of the anthropomorphic religions.
All the thrusting life which mantles Planet Earth comprises matter organised in particular ways, which are other words for saying that a physical property of matter is an ability to self-organise itself into life.
Further than this, it is a property which permits self-organisation up to at least the level of Scodmil brainpower, with its huge capacity for cosmic overview. Further still – there seems no visible bar to the built-in property including the fuller understanding which may be expected from scodmil derivatives.