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1. Introduction to "Sex and the Meaning of Life"

1.1. The background discourse: sexuality and culture theories

I will draw up a background theme to the present discussion, which I want to stage like a theater scene, with groups of researchers, divided in their camps of theories and hypotheses, roughly following the dividing line of Snow's two cultures, on the one side biologists and natural scientists, on the other side social and historical workers. This characterization and grouping is of course very rough, and will surely be vigorously opposed by all parties, but for purposes of sketching this as a theater scene, with stage props and actor roles, I will position these, somewhat by my own {arbitrariness / arbitration}.

The first group I want to introduce , which I would call the gylanic [1] party. This is led by Riane Eisler (1987, 1995), James DeMeo (1986) , and Ashley Montagu (1969-1976). Related to this is a group of workers, based on the theory of Wilhelm Reich (1981), like Ernest Bornemann (1975), and recently Duhm (1991), Lichtenfels (1996) [2], (also DeMeo) whom one could group around the focus theme of sexual repression and liberation. Then comes the {archeological / culture theoretical} work by Marija Gimbutas (1973, 1974, 1995), James Mellaart (1967, 1989), and Johann J. Bachofen (1897, 1925) , Robert Graves (1982, 1988) , Jamake Highwater (1992), and W.I. Thompson (1987). These are focusing on {mythical / matristic / matri-archic / matri-focal} culture models that are assumed to have existed in earlier societies. There is a strong line of thought connecting the rise of sexually repressive and brutally aggressive {patriarchic / patrist / dominator} society models connected with pastoralism and agriculture. There is a tendency to associate a degeneration of cultural value and life quality with the development of agriculture, civilizations, and the spread of state organizations [3]. The Reichian party sees sexual liberation as a key for the improvement of the human condition.

Then there is a large range of feminist work, for example Mary Daly (1978, 1984), Eva Meyer (1983), Heide Göttner-Abendroth (1980-1991), Hilde Neunhöffer (1995), Barbara Walker (1993), Erika Wisselinck (1991). Neunhöffer offers an interesting (but, of course, non-orthodox) model for a feminist oriented sexual selection model for the improvement of humanity, and Walker gives (among other themes) a thorough treatment of the female-oriented mythology of mankind, complementing the work of Graves.

For lack of a better common label, I will subsume the social theoretical stance of the above two groups of workers, with a large grain of salt, as gyn-xyz. Their common theme is the suppression of women, and, partly the repression of sexuality, as a prime problem factor in the history of (not only, but mainly) civilizations of the last 5000 years, and the great obstacle for an improvement of the human condition.

Then there are the critics of gyn-xyz theories, that point out the dubious aspects of the above theories, like Röder (1996), actually Brigitte Röder , Juliane Hummel, and Brigitta Kunz, practising archeologists, and as women they cannot be classed as patriarchic male chauvinists. Their account is very refreshing to read, and they devote a great deal of effort to describe the vagaries and insecurities that are the mostly invisible problems of archeological research on ancient cultures.

There is a field on the cultural construction of sex (roles), or gender, for which I take as example Pat Caplan (1987), and Illich (1982). Then I would list biological workers on sexuality like Margulis [4] (1991), and Kohl (1995), Ridley (1995) who base their work on the latest research in evolutionary science, and thus offer (together with the abovementioned feminist approach of Neunhöffer) the biological / evolutionary scientific base for the present general subject "sex and the meaning of life".

Lastly, I would list a fairly large group of workers whose common orientation could be the {positivist / materialist / natural science / thermodynamic / mechano-biological / neo-darwinist evolutionary} [5]. Among these, the "founding father" and originator of social Darwinist theories, Herbert Spencer (who coined the term "survival of the fittest", it was not of Darwin's making), (Carneiro (1967), the workers of the "human aggression" school against which Montagu (1976) polemized: Dart, Ardrey [6], Lorenz, Morris, (and later, Eibl-Eibesfeld), and recent workers like R. Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, and the cultural theorists Howard Bloom (1995) [7] and Jacques Neirynck [8] (1994). The last two workers advance a sharply outlined picture of a world driven by essentially thermodynamic forces, which result in a climate of tough competition, which could be translated into a model of "survival of the most ruthless, and brutal". These could be contrapositioned at the opposite end of the theater from Eisler, Montagu, and Thompson. Interestingly, their positions are quite similar, the only difference being that the phallogokrator model just assumes that "mother nature the bloody bitch" (Bloom) has just formed humans in her image, and that's the way it is, and the gyn-xyz theories assume that this is not so, and that humans are inherently gentle, especially women. Then we come to the cultural theorist Jared Diamond [9] (1992, 1997), who presents a picture that could also easily taken to support the gylanic model, and fits in perfectly to support DeMeo's arguments, even without the gyn-xyz header, so we can close the circle.

Unfortunately, I cannot go deeper into these works here, and I have to leave them as background props for my own discussion.

1.2. In the Beginning: Vilem Flusser, Adamah,
and the male myth of in-formation / in-saemination

Let us start "In the Beginning", with the Biblical creation account which one might call the male myth of {in-formation / in-saemination}, as it is related in the abrahamitic religions, and filtered into western philosophy. From the feminist point of view, this would be the prototypical phallogokrator patriarchal {testament/testicle}. Using the term in-saemination is a slightly un-etymological superimposition of homoio-phonic words derived from two different, but related languages. In Greek, the word saema- means sign, and from it are derived the modern terms semantics and semiotics. In Latin, there exists the word semen- for seed / semen. The Greek word for semen- in turn is sperma. This again connects easily to spiritus. The theme opened by Vilem Flusser can be mirrored with this superimposition. See also: Derrida (1981).

Margulis (1991: 17): Derrida playfully evokes this ever-present sexual underside of meanings even in the loftiest, most serious writings.

Vilem Flusser has kneaded the Biblical account into a creation myth of in-formation. Flusser (1990: 14-17), (Transl. A.G., insertions in square brackets [...] are by A.G.). When (the right kind of) dust is mixed with water, it becomes clay. And God formed the clay adamah, into the first human, Adam. Apparently, the hebrew adamah serves a double semantic role of meaning both dust in dry form and clay in wet form.

According to this myth, God had in-formed his image into clay (hebr. adamah), and had engraved his breath into it, and formed by this the first human (hebr. adam)... Clay is the material (the great mother) [hylae , version Aristoteles], into which god (the great father) has engraved his breath [10], and thus did we come into existence as inspired materials from this coupling/copulation [Flusser orig: Beischlaf]. In this act, we can recognize the origin of writing without denying the original myth. The mesopotamian clay to which the myth relates is formed into a brick and the divine cuneiform stylus furrows [11] it. Thus has been created the first inscription i.e. the human being...
What did God really do when He inspired/inscribed His breath into the clay? First he handled it [orig. German: begreifen [12], i.e. manipulate and to understand]. Then He formed it into a parallelepiped [mathematical equivalent of brick] (He has done work), and finally He has in-formed it (has furrowed forms into it). Of course we know that here the matter didn't end: Because He had baked the in-formed brick to harden it. That tale is not being told in this specific myth but in the one relating about the expulsion from Paradise ...
In-formation is a negative gesture, that is aimed against the object. It is the gesture of a subject that goes against the object.
In-formation is the [negative] mirror image of "entropy ", it is the reversal of the tendency of all objects (all the objective world) to fall into ever more probable states and finally into a formless state of highest probability...
One in-forms (creates improbable situations), to counterposition the "spirit" against the matter which has the absurd tendency to gravitate towards thermal death [entropic equilibrium]. When inscribing or graphing, this "spirit" penetrates into a material object in order to "inspire" it, meaning to make it improbable.
But the objects are treacherous, Their tendency towards entropy will erase in time all the in-formations that have been engraved. Everything, which the "spirit" imprints into the objects, will be forgotten in time...
"Spirit" can only want to achieve that the time before its in-formations have withered away, will be very long...
Materials have the property that the longer they preserve the in-formation the harder it is to inscribe them...
There is a solution to the dilemma: One can inscribe a clay brick and bake it afterwards...
The invention of baking bricks for the purposes of hardening memory is a high achievement of "spirit" and the whole history of the west can be seen as a series of variations of this theme...
. The issue is: to create in-formations, to communicate [transmit] them, and to store them durably (if possible: aere perennius). This way the free spirit of the subject and its wish for immortality is counteracting against the treacherous inertia of the object, its tendency for thermal death . Inscribing writing, the inscription, seen this way, is the expression of free will

The {sexual / phallic} connotations that Vilem Flusser presents in the above account, are clear. Flusser has taken the opportunity to show us the equivalence of the ancient mythology with modern scientific and technological terminology and thought patterns. He thus shows us how the old wine goes equally well with new {bottles/vessels} [13]. The structural ur-pattern (Ur-Muster) is a mode of "inscription" presented from the viewpoint of the {in-formation / in-saemination} device, the stylus (or spirit [14]), that furrows (in-forms) the "materia", the inert and passive mother substance, which is called the hylae in the writings of Aristoteles (hylae and morphae) [15] . The Mesopotamian clay adamah is the protoypical mother substance from which the mythologies of {in-formation / in-saemination} of western thought systems are fashioned. In the Freudian interpretation, this is of course the archetypical image of the phallos or the penis, that is the {in-formation / in-saemination} device, which is plowing the fertile fields of the female mother substance in the male-orchestrated game of generation and procreation, as it is so clearly described without any equal-rights pretense in the account of the proverbially arch-patrist manifesto of Islamic culture, the Koran. (Eisler 1995: 19-20, 94-95, 212-215, 312, 326, 333, 411-412), also DeMeo (1986), Daly (1978), Rotter (1996). More on the phallic psyche in Margulis (1991: 153-184).

Margulis (1991: 22): Freud's french follower, Jacques Lacan, insists upon the absolute central importance of the phallus as a symbol or signifier - not so much for the penis as for what is missing... The phallus is an erotic arrow pointing beyond the confines of evolutionary psychology into the dark continent of psychoanalysis.

1.3. The "meaning" of life:
Pattern cognition and propagation, morphology, and the cultural memory system CMS

When we speak about "The meaning of life", we have many possible options, what this may mean. We could simply say with some social darwinists between H. Spencer and H. Bloom, that life means survival of the meanest, and that would be the meaning of life. In Greek, "to mean" means saemainein, and einai (another form: eimi).

The meaning of life that I mean here, has to do with patterns. My definition of the meaning of life is: pattern propagation and development in the face and contrary to thermodynamic equilibrium death, following Jantsch (1982). This aspect of thermodynamic death is being treated further down in the paragraph on Vilem Flusser.

The core element that I want to introduce is the abstract formulation of pattern cognition and propagation with respect to genetic, individual, and cultural memory. The present work is based on the structural equivalences of these types of memory, and the new term that I introduce is the cultural memory system CMS. The CMS is an onto-genetic trans-generational pattern propagation function, and some of the material relevant to the CMS is presently worked out in the memetics discourse. The differences between memetics and the CMS are discussed elsewhere (Goppold 1998d).

The organic life as it developed perhaps 3.5 billions of years ago on this planet is a pattern propagation function that was invented by "globs of water of various sizes that are held together by carbohydrate molecular chains". This is, we have essentially two dialectical possibilities of viewing the life and evolution processes that have been going on on this planet for these 3.5 billions years, according to the French dictum: le plus ça change, le plus ça reste le même. All life on earth is based on specific molecular reactions in watery solutions. In order that these can take place, special containers and environment stabilizers have to be constructed, which are called the cells, and their cell structures, like membranes, cyto-skeleton, and the like. They use a specific chain of carbohydrates, called RNA, and DNA, to replicate and propagate. This has led to the evolution as we know it, with humans as the latest newly developed species. For prokaryotic organisms, like bacteria, the genetic and individual memory are the same, since these organisms can exchange their genetic material freely, and thus one cell can "learn" from the experiences of another cell through the exchange of genetic material. (Margulis 1991: 199-206). The vigorous genetic interconnection of bacteria can even be called a true planetary - wide distributed organism, a natural organic world wide web (-> H. Bloom: WWW, on the global brain).

After multi-cellular life based on eukaryotic cells, and sexual reproduction, evolved about 1.5 billion years ago, there arose a principal problem with the genetic pattern replicator function: the experiences of organisms could not be transmitted any more among the individual organisms to their offspring, since only the genetic patterns of the DNA could be replicated and transmitted, and everything an organism had learned in its life (its ontogenetic trajectory, according to Stan Salthe: 1985-1993), had to die with the organism when its life came to an end. This problem of not being able to genetically transmit ontogenetic information is called the Weisman barrier in biology. Around this problem arose the 19th century debate of Lamarckism versus Darwinism. Thus, for all the advance of multicellular life, it was a big step backwards from the learning side of the game, and that is why bacteria have always kept their position, and a very prominent role, in the "games of life" ever since, like is evident in the form of great epidemics. Also, the archae-bacteria are the only life-forms that can break down cellulose, and without them, the plant-animal recycling game that is the basic life mechanism of the planetary ecosphere, would break down immediately. Margulis (1991: 184-189). In multi-cellular life, individual learning could only be propagated in a very circuitous manner through coupling with the environment, "the survival of the fittest" as the Darwinists call it. This expression is a thinly masked tautology, since "being fit" means "surviving and breeding the next generation" and vice versa, and there are no other criteria for what "fitness" means than exactly "surviving and breeding the next generation". Therefore, all that the Darwinistic theory can state is: that those who survive until they can breed the next generation, do transmit their genetic patterns, to carry on the life. But we need no Darwinist wisdom to see that. And that doesn't help us at all when we have to die, what happens with our memories and hard-won experiences that we would like to help the new generation.

What I want to present here, is a hypothesis, that leans somewhat to the side of the gyn-xyz workers, but is not adverse to come to close quarters with the neo-Darwinistic theory such as Spencer, Dawkins, and Bloom, who together with theorists like Diamond and Neirynck, are offering some real hard facts that we have to look squarely in the face, without pretenses, if we want to understand what is being played on this planet in the last 50 or so millennia.

1.3.1. Definition of fundamental terms

The work that I am building on has been expressed in the thought tradition of Goethe's morphology, the German cultural morphologists Frobenius and Spengler, and related workers like Ruth Benedict (1934), and Harold Innis (1952-1991), and recent constructivist work (Schmidt 1991a, 1991b, these bibiliographies in these books lead further to the works of Bateson, Glasersfeld, Watzlawick, and v.Foerster). For this discussion, I need to introduce the key subjects in a very condensed manner, that are dealt with in greater depth in Goppold (1998a-1998d). These key subjects are:

morphology / morphological: a cognitive approach to the study of pattern. From Greek: morphae: form, gesture, position, pattern. (Rost 1862: 98). For contradistinction of form against {content / matter}. Based on Goethe's concept of morphology as used by Riedl (1987a) and Ruth Benedict 's "patterns of culture" (1934: 49-56), Whithehead's "Process and Reality", and the constructivist discourse. (Maturana, Riegas, Schmidt, Singer).

memory: In the present context, memory is used as technical term for the basic constituent of a general pattern maintenance / propagation facility, in its structural and morphological aspects. In the sense of memory structure as contradistinct from content of memory (the memories). In the subjective view, a core constituent of consciousness. "Memory, process of storing and retrieving information in the brain". (Encarta : Memory), also: (Britannica: Memory), and the constructivist theory in: Schmidt (1991).

culture: there is a great disparity in definitions of culture. (Gamst 1976), (Jahoda 1992: 3-5), (Kluckhohn 1980), and in the present context is is in the definition given by Jahoda (1992: 5), and Mühlmann (1996), characterizing the transmission aspect of cultural patterns.

Mühlmann (1996: 112): "Kultur ist eine Transmissionsdynamik. Merkmale werden innerhalb einer Generation und von einer Generation auf die nächste übertragen".
Mühlmann (1996: 111): Wenn es einer kulturähnlichen Organisation nicht gelingt, ihre Merkmale an die nächste Generation zu übertragen, kann aus ihr keine wirkliche Kultur entstehen.

cultural memory CM: In the generalized abstract sense: those processes and structures by which personal subjective memory material is exchanged between individuals and across generations and made available on an intersubjective basis. The diachronic aspect of cultural patterns In subjective terminology, that faculty by which one individual can {reference to / learn from / participate in} the memory content of (an)other indivudual(s), even without direct personal contact, e.g. when they live in a distant place, or in the distant past.

cultural memory system CMS: Systematic theoretical account of those processes and structures by which the CM arises and operates. In a different aspect this is also called the culture pattern replicator system (after Benedict 1934), as the ways and means by which cultural patterns are exchanged and transmitted in populations and across generations.

cultural memory technology CMT: systematic use of static extrasomatic devices for CM. Writing is the prime cultural memory technology of civilizations.

cultural memory art CMA: systematic use of dynamic somatic (and possibly extrasomatic) processes for CM. A dancing tradition may be an example of CMA, as it has for example been described by Granet (1994).

language: in the, present study used in the restricted meaning of spoken verbal (natural) language as used by people to communicate among each other by the use of words. Non-spoken gesture-sign systems used as substitutes for spoken language are included, like deaf / mute systems for the disabled. It excludes music, and formal systems like mathematics.

symbol: anything (a thing or event, an act or an object) that conveys meaning. (White 1987, 274).

marking:, in the most general sense: systematic and consistent recognizable patterns of { modifications / modulations / marking substances [16] }, introduced {into / onto} a {medium / substratum / material / flow of material or energy}. Also, a 3-d form that a carrier material is shaped into, like a knot, a bead.

character {set / system}, CS: a definite, delimited set of markings that are mutually disambiguated and which can be combined to form aggregates. The existence of an orthography (below) distinguishes a set from a system. A single character can only exist as an element of a CS. (Also called a signary in Daniels 1996: xliv).

writing system: a notation system, (ie. a character set, and an orthography), and usage of non-ephemeral carrier materials (writing medium), used to convey and preserve language across time and space. (O'Connor 1996: 787), (Daniels 1996: xlv).

script: writing system. (Daniels 1996: xliv).

phonographic writing, writing system encoding the sounds of a spoken language by using a mapping of {single / groups of} language phonemes onto a character set. (Haarmann 1992a)

non-phonographic writing: any writing system that does not employ the phonographic principle, eg. pictorial, iconic, ideographic ...

alphabet: phonographic writing, single phoneme mapping, with separate characters for consonants and vowels (CV-Principle). ( Haarmann 1992a), (Daniels 1996: xxxix).

para-writing, or proto-writing: any production of markings with an apparent cultural continuity, and intersubjective constancy (diachronic / synchronic extension), that has not been academically accepted as writing, but still seems to serve a purpose other than purely ornamental.

[1] Term used by Riane Eisler in her books.
[2] Duhm and Lichtenfels have an outstanding position in the sense that they are not only theoreticians but have been actively involved in creating practical working models of society based on a liberation of society in their Projekt Meiga, Zegg, and Tamera.
[3] Also supportive to this last argument are: Jared Diamond, who speaks of the great fall from grace with agricultural civilization, and Gellner (1993).
[4] Who can be distinguished from the next group on account of preferential citing of Lacan, Derrida, and Heidegger.
[5] The feminists would call this the dominator phallogokrator model.
[6] Montagu (1976: 129): "Man, " Mr. Ardrey tells us, "is a predator whose natural instinct is to kill with a weapon."
[7] e.g. (23): "Mother nature, the bloody bitch", (25): Nature's amusements are cruel, (30): Women and animal females as brutal and aggressive perpetrators, (33): Women encourage killers, and feel honored to have killer sons, (38): Yanomano warriors love to bash babies out on the rocks, and make footpaths wet with babies' blood, (210): Hinduism, the most sophisticated human domestication scheme of the world and of history, (225-248) Islam as "killer religion", Bedouin society as "killer culture".
[8] (240): Die Deutschen, gewissenhaft und organisiert, waren dazu gezwungen, eine industrielle Tötungsmaschine zu erfinden. Das wurde ihnen bitter vorgeworfen, und in Nürnberg hatten die Indianermörder eine moralische Genugtuung, die Judenmörder wegen des Verstoßes gegen die "Spielregeln" (improvisiertes Töten: ja, organisiertes Töten: nein) zu verurteilen. Das Meisterstück der deutschen Tötungsmaschine waren die Gaskammern, deren Prototypen in kleinem Maßstab schon in den USA existierten, und ... zur Hinrichtung von Verbrechern dienten, hauptsächlich Schwarzer.
[9] (1992: 297): Evidently, genocide has been part of our human and prehuman heritage for millions of years. In light of this long history, what about our impression that the genocides of the twentieth century are unique? There is little doubt that Stalin and Hitler set new records for number of victims, because they enjoyed three advantages over killers of earlier centuries: denser populations of victims, improved communications for rounding up victims, and improved technology for mass killing. As another example of how technology can expedite genocide, the Solomon Islanders of Roviana Lagoon in the Southwest Pacific were famous for their head-hunting raids, which depopulated neighboring islands. However, as my Roviana friends explained to me, these raids did not blossom until steel axes reached the Solomon Islands in the nineteenth enctury. Beheading a man with a stone axe is difficult, and the axe blade quickly loses its sharp edge and is tedious to reshapen.
[10] See also Illich (1988: 11): Breathe upon the slain, give thy soul, nefesh, to them...
(1988: 13): The Jew searches with his eyes for inaudible roots in order to flesh them out with his breath.
[11] Muhammad had said in the Koran (2,223): your women are your field, plow them well. (Rotter 1996: 117). Also, the Freudian sexual significance of plowed fields is mentioned by Kallir (1961: 31).
[12] Kallir (1961: 28) remarks on the biblical use of the word 'to know' with reference to woman, in the sense of 'to know a woman sexually' (e.g., Gen. xxiv, 16).
[13] In deutsch: alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen, ich kenne aber nicht die exakte englische Version.
[14] Although it would be difficult to prove an etymological connection between spiritus (sanctus, amen) and spermatikos, the connection can hardly be avoided, and has been brought up already in ancient Greek philosophy in the form of the logoi spermatikoi.
[15] For a philosophical discussion of the history of the concept of information, see also Capurro (1978, 16-49).
[16] According to the re-markable theory of some researchers, the origin of all marking is in the leaving of urinary sexual scent marks on objects of the environment: Kohl (1995: 127).

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