I still played this game when I was a teenager. Much later on as Aristotle began to sink in, I realized the overlap between this old childhood game and Aristotle’s peculiar De Anima (Latin title… YUCK!), or, On the Soul. The correct title was simply Περὶ Ψυχῆς, Peri Psyches, and, “Although its topic is the soul, it is not about spirituality but rather a work in what might best be described as biopsychology, a description of the subject of psychology within a biological framework,” according to good old Wikipedia. The term can roughly be translated into English, more accurately, I think, as About Life. The thing that Aristotle saw, and I believe it is phenomenologically correct, is that we share more in common with animal and vegetable Life than we realize. Think of Aristotle’s On the Soul as an explication of the three readily apparent ways in which we experience Life Force or the Principle of Life. Plants. Animals. People. Well, what about Mineral? I am not sure where Aristotle actually stands with regard to this. He lectured about a lot of things. The man was a goddamned walking encyclopedia. He was a brilliant wordsmith too, like Plato, and Socrates, borrowing old words for new meanings and making up brand new words out of juxtapositions of old words. Clearly, now that we are exploring our solar system and are learning more and more everyday about stars and galaxies, it is becoming clear to us that the Life Force manifests in subtle ways in the geophysical domain. We reinvent the meaning of the word Gaia and we give voice to the insight that this planet, as a whole, is also a Living Being. It too IS a Soul, I say, rather than HAS a Soul, because, following Aristotle, all things that are, are what they DO. Being, itself, is for Aristotle, Energeia, Being-at-Work. Being is as Being does, a Forrest Gump of philosophy might say.
So… there ate least four Life Force Modalities operating in the Universe that we can directly see and touch. Plants. Animals. People. Places. I mean Places like planets, and Galaxies, but, just as easily, Places of Power like in Castaneda. The important point, here, is that just because it is made of rock doesn’t mean it is dead. Not by a long shot. So… what other kinds of Life Force Modalities might the Dragon be cooking up for our further engagement? Who the Dragon knows? The Dragon is an impersonal Life Force of the Universe (or Multiverse) that manifests in a superabundance of ways, from the infinitely subtle, to the Universe ending apocalyptic kind. Latest horror story from the astrophysicists is that it could all end with the very fabric of reality torn to shreds by the accelerating Dark Energy, a kind of Stephen King’s Langoliers, but on truly Cosmic Dragon Steroids or something. The point is, I think, that the whole damned thing is the explosion, the Detonation… still in progress. I said a few days ago that the Big Bang is STILL banging. That is the latest thinking of the cosmologists. So the Langoliers scenario makes sense if all there ever was, is, or will be, is…
So… I think, intentionally human created Life Forms. Not just robots. Only artificial in the sense we made them and not Mother Nature. Eventually, they will become self-aware and capable of emotion. How well we made them, or how not well we made them, will make our lives more interesting in both positive and negative ways. But there is no denying, I think, that this new Life Force Modality is now emerging. It will challenge us in important ways even as it increases the scope of our instrumentality. Our robots will explore alien worlds long before we humans get there. But humans of the future will live for millennia,. Our whole consciousness of time will radically shift. We will be healthier for longer. There will not be that many more of us than there are now, and our numbers may even settle down to a long term stable three billion or so.
The thing that I see Dragon in all of this is some kind of Grand Life Force strategy at play. I know. Some people say God’s Plan. Right? Predestination and all of that. But what is really going on is more like a real war going on, a war for survival, right? So, the Dragon energy, the Life Force underlying all of this is more like some kind of a strategy at work. Aristotle would have said, entelecheia, Being-at-Work-Self-Maintaining, in other words, completing its work. It is translated in traditional academic texts as potentiality, which is not wrong, really, when understood as Being-at-Work-Achieving-Its-Potential.
You can’t come up with a Plan for any of this. The best you can do is work up a Strategy and stick to it.