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Ed. The New Diffusionist Press, 1974. Size 21,5 x 14 cm. Used excellent. 190 pages

Homo Sapiens in Decline026Gerhard Kraus was born in Bohemia (Sudetenland) but came to Britain in 1938 as a refugee from Hitler and is now a British national. During the war he researched into harvesting methods and later served in the Royal Fusiliers. His interest in internationalism led in, 1950, to the organization of the Peoples World Convention held in Geneva. Some time after this he accepted an invitation to help industrialize Nigeria and established successful building, manufacturing and publicity enterprises. Six years ago he went into semi-retirement in order to complete the present book, which was originally conceived in 1941. In 1970 he co-founded, with C. E. Joel B.Sc. the anthropological quarterly. The New Diffusionist.

More than a hundred years ago Darwin wrote The Origin of Species and explained the mechanism of natural selection. Since then the scientific community has generally accepted the influence of natural selection on animals, but has paid little attention to its effect on the human species. This book intends to show that natural selection plays a crucial role for man, and that the recognition of this fact forces us to question many established beliefs and conlusions which hitherto seemed well founded. Among them is the view that we are the apex of all living creation and that animals are inferior. This notion of human superiority must now be abandoned. Other, even more profound ideas concerning the higher meaning of life and man’s ultimate purpose on Earth and in the universe are also challenged.

In this respect natural selection, in association with genetics, allows us to observe that man has basically the same biological function as a fly or an elephant – that is, to carry a tiny germ cell, which perpetuates itself by simple cell division, into the next generation. The astonishing discovery is thereby that nature (seen metaphorically) should have taken all the trouble to evolve a sophisticated carrier called ‘man’, or alternatively a ‘giraffe’ or a ‘whale’, merely to perpetuate a microscopically small single cell, while a simple organism like a protozoon could have continued to do the job just as effectively. In such a biological process, exclusively devoted towards the preservation of tiny germ cells, no intelligently directed purpose towards a higher end, nor any religious motivation can be discovered. Nature’s achievement, therefore, in having evolved the higher animals, including man, is like someone who has constructed an intricate computer occupying an entire building to solve the arithmetical problem of adding one and one.

Darwin was well aware of the dilemma arising from the discovery of natural selection. In 1856, he wrote, ‘What a book a devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horribly cruel works of nature’. And in 1890 he wrote, ‘My theology is a simple muddle. I cannot look at the universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficient design, or indeed of any design of any kind in details.

By presenting us with natural selection, Darwin demonstrated that organic evolution proceeds haphazardly and without divine or any other guidance. Geneticists, by showing that hereditary changes are caused by chance mutations, have confirmed this. Accordingly, any assumption about directive evolution towards higher and better life-forms breaks down. Instead, what emerges as the mainspring of animal life is the mere maintenance and perpetuation of the germ cell. In evolutionary terms this means the preservation of species. Once we speculate beyond this biological reality of species preservation, which forms the essence of organic evolution, the supposition that there is a logical a priori motive in nature or the universe has to be abandoned.

It follows that the preservation of our own species should have been the aim and end of human collective endeavours at all times. Instead, man inadvertently abandoned this objective when, with the beginning of civilization, mankind became obsessed by certain religious and philosophical ideas now exposed as biologically harmful.

A proper evaluation of natural selection shows that man’s acquirement of a super-brain is both the cause for his exalted position in nature as well as that of his downfall. Symbolically seen, from the moment that man began to taste the fruits of knowledge (by creating the rudiments of culture), he was already doomed. And why? Because of the particular way natural selection works.

Before the advent of genetics it was generally assumed that man was the product of progressive evolution which would eventually elevate him to an almost godlike stature. This view was based on the acceptance of Darwinian natural selection plus Lamarckian inheritance as the motivating forces of evolution. Now that we must perforce exclude Lamarckian factors as scientifically obsolete, and instead couple natural selection with genetics, it turns out that this type of progressive evolution is a myth. What we find is that a rigorous natural selection is necessary merely to keep species on existing levels of biological efficiency. Such evolutionary stagnation amongst animal species is the rule in nature, while evolutionary changes are infrequent. The latter result from the preservation of those rare gene mutations which prove beneficial to survival. Decrease in the rigour of natural selection will, on the other hand, lead to a proliferation of harmful gene mutations eventually resulting in extinction.

In the case of man the invention of fire, protective clothing, and other cultural aids diminished natural selection. Life was made more comfortable, so that individuals who would formerly have perished could now survive and propagate the species. Thereby a process of biological degeneration was engendered, which intensified as culture expanded. Its existence is evidenced by, inter alia, a decline of the brain size of homo sapiens, noticeable since Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon times about 35,000 years ago. However, due to our biological malady being compensated by scientific and technological aids, the fatality of our biological decline has remained largely undetected. Only recently has it dawned on us that our supposed super-brain seems to be unable to cope with our cultural heritage, which is now rebounding on us with a vengeance in the guise of the side effects of applied science and technology. The perilous ecological situation thereby produced is aggravated by another fruit of culture and civilization, namely our political heritage. This presents us with a world divided into many sovereign nations, rent by the cross-currents of conflicting ideological, racial, economic, and pure power interests, all militating against world political unification, and consequently also impeding global pollution control.

The problem we face is that mankind is involved in a long-standing biological decline from a formerly higher level and is simultaneously threatened by the ecological crisis. Let us assume that the ecological crisis could be resolved and that mankind would increasingly occupy itself with efforts to combat its biological recession. The only way to achieve this would be to subject mankind to a more rigorous natural selection and even this could not reverse the trend, but would merely maintain the status quo at the reduced biological level on which mankind finds itself at the time. Moreover, to achieve this aim, which is comparable to a man grabbing a precariously rooted tree while falling into a precipice, we would have to return to the life of the simple prehistoric food collector and hunter. It is inconceivable that modern man will be prepared to take such a culturally retrogressive step deliberately, hut if he does not take it, there is nothing that can arrest his biological decline and eventual extinction. All he can try to do is merely to slow down the process.

Part One, Natural Selection: The Biological Impact
1- Natural Selection and Evolution
2- The Decrease of Natural Selection and its General Effect on the Human Species
3- The Problem of Biological Regeneration
4- The Specific Effect of Natural Selection on Human Intelligence
Part Two, Natural Selection and Culture
5- Biological Evolution and Cultural History
6- About Evolution in Culture
7- Cultural Interpretation in Time and Space
8- Towards a Historical Conception of Culture
9- The Sovereign State
Part Three, Natural Selection and Instinct
10- The Role of Instinct
11- Human Aggression
12- On the Nature of Violence and War
13- Moral and Ethical Factors
Part Four, Natural Selection and Reason
14- The Role of Reason
15- The Syndrome of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice
16- The Esoteric Roots of Religion and Philosophy
17- The Aberrations of Religion
18- The Pitfalls of Abstract Philosophy
19- The Failure of the Great Religious and Libertarian Movements
Appendix: Aristotelian Opposites