versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027
Interdisciplinaria vol.27 no.1 Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires jul. 2010
Two fundamental ecological relationships that deepen the sense of social, economical and ethical values of mental representations
Alfredo O. López Alonso*
*Philosophical Doctor. Researcher of Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Director of Instituto de Investigaciones Psicológicas de la Universidad del Salvador (IIPUS). Marcelo T. de Alvear 1326, 1er Piso - (C1058AAV) Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. República Argentina.
Over the definition of any possible ecological relationships concerning life-quality competition, survival and transformation standards (concerning animal, human and social life forms) still two basic ecological relationships providing new insights to old problems of Biology, Sociology, Ethics, and Economy can be enhanced. They are ferocity /depredation versus angelically / protection as opposite basic ecological relationships. One main key rests on the correspondence that these relationships keep with the emergence of opposed crucial values like tangible values versus intangible values. These two categories also concern with the ecological, social and cultural further meanings of ethical moods implied by the two ecological relationships above. So, the sense of tangible (material) values over intangible (immaterial) values coheres with the sense of the ferocity /depredation relationship and their adversarial attitudes, while the evolutionary emergence of the angelically / protection relationship and its corresponding harboring attitudes are especially explained in such way that this relationship generates the effective prevalence of intangible / immaterial values over tangible / material ones when both kind of values get into conflict because of opposed life purposes. From these concepts (both on values and ecological relationships) all further social relationship, attitude, mental attribution or representation can be explained as a significant values mix, intercalation or partial balance between the two basic ecological relationships. These appreciations can render new values meanings and ethical categorizations to social and economical relationships. However, they must be interchangeable in terms of attitude mix and unbalance: A same living-agent may act predomi- nantly one ecological-relationship and then change to the other. The eagle acts ecologically harshly by the ferocity / depredation relationship when chasing the rabbit, while immediately shifts ecologically to the angelically / protection relationship when kindly disgorging flesh into its chicks'bills. Any living organism may in any moment adopt one ecological relationship instead the other conveying the implications of the two kinds of values tangible and intangible that they make prevail showing the ethical sense of its meaning. Therefore, these two ecological relationships must not be taken as excluding concept-categories, but as highlighting relationships from an infinite number of ecological relationships. So, according to life changing circumstances one or another ecological relationship takes one corresponding prevalent value. These two ecological relationships are compared apart because each represents a highly different biological meaning and man ethical status implying a great qualitative jump in life evolution and living conditions. What matters is the progressively tendency of angelically /protection and prevalent intangible values to restrain and attenuate the natural original harshness of ferocity / depredation relationship. According to this progression, a hierarchical approach is adopted in connection to higher and lower values as suggested by philosopher Max Scheler. According to him, the fulfillment of the vertical hierarchy implied by values is a sufficient issue to determine the values ethical sense. Whether the values-verticality is or is not transgressed by social life decisions and applications goes related to ferocity / depredation and angelically / protection sequential options; each representing the extreme values in the hierarchical scale: ferocity / depredation more affine to the lowest values (material - tangible values), while angelically / protection more to the prevalence of the highest ones (immaterial - intangible values). Material values are the natural values usually demanded to satisfy biological, physiological, physical and special pleasure needs. On the contrary, immaterial values are intangible spiritual values, such freedom, confidence, friendship, care, love, responsibility, promised-word, word-accomplishment, person-respect, health, Human Rights and the proper people-lives. These are values flying up the highest human, cultural, social panorama over the lower and commonplace appetites of most vulgar individuals. All this treatment is based on firmly keeping the spiritual values such as ethics, culture ,love, care, freedom, respect, education, human life and Human Rights ever at the top of all value hierarchy. Values are not seen as closed systems but as open and unlimitedly creative whether tangible or intangible ones. The more the intangible values the higher the social and cultural advancement.
Key words: Ecological relationships; Ecology; Ethology; Teleonomic functions; Life preservation.
A partir de dos relaciones ecológicas básicas, ferocidad / depredación y angelicalidad / protección,se ensayan diferentes progresiones biológico-sociales y culturales. La primera relación está directamente referida a las figuras presa y depredador en cadenas tróficas y ecosistemas de competitividad y convivencia. La segunda magnifica el valor y significado del cuidado y supervivencia del recién nacido. Se revisa el origen evolutivo,ecológico y etológico de ambas relaciones como balance conductual entre situaciones extremas de cada individuo y especie, abriendo un nuevo insight sobre viejos problemas de la Biología, la Sociología, la Etica y la Economía. La clave es lo que relaciona a estas dos relaciones con valores materiales tangibles y valores in materiales intangibles, respectivamente. Resulta directo asociar la primera relación con la satisfacción inmediata de necesidades básicas, juzgadas como materiales y tangibles. En contraste, la segunda relación viene como un complemento que genera nuevos significados y riqueza de sentidos ecológico-etológicos de toda forma de vida. Los va-lores se estiman como un sistema abierto y creciente. A más valores intangibles, mayor es el avance en representaciones significantes.
Palabras clave: Relaciones ecológicas; Ecología; Etología; Funciones teleonómicas; Preservación de la vida.
We shall try to differentiate and highlight two basic ecological relationships that we called ferocity / depredation and angelically / protection (López Alonso, 2006). Both relationships are extremely opposed in terms of ecological attitudes and behaviors and, espe-cially when they are significant and relatable to the analysis of intentionality rules and scales, such as it is implied in the meaning studies concerning social brain and social complexity hypotheses, deception, and in any other comprehensive theory of mind. As it has been usually enhanced by biologists and ethologists up to-day, there are two sets of factors, environment and sociality that are inextricably linked in the causation of hominid encephalisation and human intelligence, up to the point -according with Cartwright (2008)- that some recent work has tested the competing claims of two theories (social complexity and theory of mind) as implying and suggesting that social relationships and their correlative representational and symbolization productions may have been crucially important to explain both ecological and ethological evolution.
Although the extreme opposition between the two ecological relationships above (i.e., ferocity / depredation and angelically / protection), they seem to resume two commonplace extremes for all animal and human - social behavior, embracing from life maximal hostility to life maximal attachment at different degrees and stages, whether in an open or a hidden attitude from one another of two ecological or social agents, and ultimately presenting a prevalence of one of the two relationships or a mere alternation of them, in a varying mix or unbalance between, whenever each of the interacting living organisms are playing alternatively a passive or an active role in one or another of those relationships at different ecological situations.
This means that, alike other ecological relationship, the two relationships are depending on mere contingent circumstances or occasional conveniences within the environment. However their natural contingency, they can still be endorsed some kind of value appreciation to each one, according to the negative or positive sign of the basic attitude or behavior stemming from the agent to the relationship recipient. This simple assumption does not need to imply any special axiological concern nor any philosophy compromise or fundamentals. How ever the usual contingence, this simple assumption does not hinder the produce of a qualitative value and meaning difference between the two ecological relationships, as it could also happen with any other. Although in the special case of the two ecological relationships above we consider that a highly qualitative meaning difference is emerged in between, stemming with the second one (angelicality / protection) that has traced a highly significantly divergent course and a high qualitative jump in the biological evolution as well as in the ecological and ethological adaptation of living species, as in the social adaptation of human species.
Ecology implies every approach to contingent interrelationships between the living organisms and their natural environments, these including both living and nonliving components in it. Observations on ecological relationships had been made early, at least since 1866 when Haeckel, a leading Darwinist, coined the term ecology especially to emphasize a compoundunity between living organism-and- environment by which the mere separation of one of these impoverishes its richest biological and holistic meaning. Haeckel (1899-1929) besides a Darwinist was a monist, and according toWeindling (1989), Haeckel's monism reinforced the unity of physical and organic nature, in which both embraced mental processes and social phenomena. Haeckel's efforts to construct the history of life meant that he was also preoccupied with historical views and their time-sequential processes. However, by way of the two basic ecological relationships introduced above, we can be capturing further meanings on some kind of ethical issues concerning the implicit intention involved in the prevalence of tangible-material values as well as of intangible-immaterial values in the competence between, maximally differing from economical greed to spiritual love and care concerns, respectively, as the top models of opposed social and human aspirations. Finally, these ecological questions will tangentially point to the considerations of somewhat ethical and axiological matters, although not intending to establish a new axiology nor any ethical philosophy going beyond.
Notwithstanding, concerning this latter issue, in the early 1970s a small number of academic philosophers in the English-speaking world began to turn their attention to special ethical questions concerning the natural environment (Mathews, 2000). This movement encompassed various types of inquiry, including applied ethics oriented to issues such as nuclear power and the deployment of toxic chemicals, but it also developed more abstracts extrapolations on traditional ethical theories, such as Kantian and utilitarian approaches within environmental contexts, and made a reappraisal of basic philosophical presuppositions concerning the Western thought in the light of their implications about the natural world. Still there was a third movement -often described as ecological philosophy, or ecophilosophy, which constitutes a new branch of philosophy, although we do not include ourselves into this group.
According to Mathews (2000), although the ecophilosophical project was explicitly normative in intent, it was quickly found to entail far-reaching investigations into the fundamental nature of the world. Indeed it was seen by many as entailing a search for an entirely new ecological paradigm -a worldview organized around a principle of interconnectedness, with transformative implications for metaphysics, epistemology, spirituality, politics, as well as ethics. Moreover, the process of elaborating a new ecological view was found to uncover the contours of an already deeply embedded worldview, organized around a principle of separation or division, underlying, shaping and continuing the traditional streams of modern Western thought. A first great contribution to this view came from Bateson (1979) and Bookchin (1982).
No consumptive model of moral reasoning to logical reasoning is assumed, since, as Timmons (2000) remarked, it is possible to adhere to the argument that proper moral reasoning is primarily a matter of sensitively discerning the morally relevant details of pragmatically rendering a moral judgment according to the actual situation or problem under consideration. On the other hand, as Railton (2000) states, analytic ethics not only concerns the meaning of moral terms, but ranges over such areas as epistemology, metaphysics, and the theory of action. Although as a field that may remain full of controversy, it has allowed approaches that afford specific insights into morality and contribute to our better understanding of the functions of thought and communication on that concern. Moreover, according to Sedley (2000) from an epicurean hedonistic point of view an intangible (immaterial) value as civic justiceis not an absolute value per se and could be perpetually subject to revisions in the light of changing circumstances, but it is possible to be a contract between humans to refrain from harmful activity in their own mutual interest (Sedley, 2000).
Finally, following an environmental ethical view, Brennan (2000) states that theories of ethics try to answer the question, 'How ought we to live?'. This way, an environmental ethics refers to our natural surroundings in giving the answer. It may claim that all natural things and systems are of value in their own right and worthy of moral respect. A basic position here (although not strong enough) is the biocentric, that argues that living things merit moral consideration. However an ethic which restricts the possession of moral value to human persons can still be environmental. Such a view may depict the existence of certain natural values as necessary for the flourishing of present and future generations of human beings. Moral respect for animals has been discussed since the time of the pre-Socratic philosophers, while the significance to our well-being of the natural environment has been pondered since the time of Kant and Rousseau. The importance of place as well as of the relation of the natural to the built environment has been a central feature in the philosophy of Heidegger (1971). Later, under the impact of increasing species loss and land clearance, the work on environmental ethics since the 1970's has focused largely on one specific aspect of the environmental nature in the wild (Brennan, 2000).
As a major political Philosophy, the socalled Green Political Philosophy has been born from crisis. Really, it has emerged from that interconnected series of crises that are often termed the environmental crises. This latter approach includes the idea that humans are part of nature and members of a larger and more inclusive biotic community to which they have obligations and duties. This community includes both human and nonhuman animals, both alive and yet unborn, and the conditions conducive to their survival and flourishing. A green political Philosophy values both biological and cultural diversity, and views sustainability as a standard by which to judge the justness of human actions and practices. Exactly how these themes might fit together to form some systematic and coherent whole insight is still being worked out (Terence Ball, 2000). Advances made over the last 30 years increased the concern about the damages and effects of man's activities on ecological environments, such as pollution and species extinction, mainly considering man as the supreme depredator.
Ecologists have also studied thereafter the relationships that bind organisms and their environments at many organizational levels: the organism itself, the population, the community, the ecosystem, the landscape, the biome, the biogeography region, and the biosphere. What Quinby (1988) observed as a fundamental clue for the ecological approach is that the knowledge of laws of a lower level is necessary for a full understanding of the higher level. This latter statement really resumes an important and indispensable methodological tool as well as a whole epistemological resource to all further development of cognitive, social and economical sciences. The study of ecological interactions provides important information on the nature and mechanisms of evolutionary changes even those concerning the cognitive processes at the highest levels (López Alonso, 2005).
As we perceive life everywhere, life depends on a food-chain by which the transfer of energy from green plants (the primary producers) through a sequence of living organisms in which each eats the one below in the chain and is eaten by the one above.So plants are eaten by herbivores, which are then eaten by carnivores, and these in turn are eaten by different and stronger carnivores. The position an organism occupies in a food chain is known as its trophic level or as its food-web, that is, a system of food chains that are linked with one another.
Certainly, a crucial concept is that of ecosystem. It designs a biological community and the physical environment associated withit. Organisms are classified on the basis of their position in an ecosystem crossing into various trophic levels (food-chain), but we consider that an ecosystem is still an ampler concept: It is not only physical, natural, but also social and cultural too, especially in the case of man.
Another crucial concept is that of ecological niche, which is the status or role of an organism in its environment. An organism's niche is defined by the types of food it consumes, its predators, the temperature tolerance, etc. In a way, two species cannot coexist stably if they occupy identical niches. It is a narrower space for them. However, they can reach some kind of stable coexistence and interdependence within the same ecosystem.
Furthermore, the concept of ecosystem also refers to a biological community and the physical environment associated with it. Organisms are classified on the basis of their position in an ecosystem into various trophic levels. Nutrients and energy move round ecosystems in loops or cycles, and there are various cycles such as carbon and nitrogen cycles. As already stated, the ecosystem concept is ampler than that of ecological niche, but biome is even an ampler concept than those since it is especially referred to different main climates and dominating vegetation regions. Biomass refers to the total mass of all the organisms of a given type and / or in a given area; for example, the world biomass of trees, or the biomass of elephants in the Serengeti National Park, etc.
Ecological relationships as life forms and fundamentals
Life, as we can see, is a self-dependentphenomenon. Life needs of life to keep living;life feeds on life, and this is a very ruthless circle.This circle is the basic jus ti fi cation to the ferocity/ depredationecological relationship: Life is theonly and original resource for feeding andmaintaining life. However, within this circle, wehave realized that the above two enhancedecological and antagonist relationships takeplace everywhere; both ferocity / depredationand angelically / protection do coexist, but atdifferent mixes and levels, also at different balances and at different life circumstances andlife forms and life representations, although anyrelationship is always concerning the other(López Alonso, 2006). For example, the eagleacts the ferocity / depredation relationship whenhunting the rabbit, and shortly afterwards actsthe angelically-protection relationshipwhenfeeding its chicks. This sole example should beenough to make it clear that the two relationshipsare not logical nor classificatory separateconceptual categories but they are necessarilyinterrelated in between, only two bio-ecologicalrelationships connected by life contingence andnecessity as any other. There are no lawsconnecting them but life-need and contingency.
Ferocity / depredation is the relationship going from the depredator to the prey, in which the final objective is hunting, killing and eating the prey.
Contrariwise, angelically / protection is the relationship by which the parenting couple attempt to feed, breed, nurse, raise and bring up its own offspring. Basically, it implies the necessary care and guidance of the own progeny. Angelically is not adopted here as a theological term, since it is only a concept adapted to represent and enhance the character of the parents' care as that of natural angels to protect and breed their own litter.
These two ecological relationships are so separately taken from any other, only to the effect of being compared and contrasted within the ample framework of the contingent ecological context, which is just for reasons of biological and ecological relationships themselves. They are not taken into philosophical nor metaphysical sense. However, only within this biological-ecological and ethological framework they stand to exemplify two key opposite circumstances for all living beings concerning their hardest and most extreme vicissitudes, somehow concerning their main life affairs and their expected life development in continuing other social affairs and relationships. That is: given the usual and everywhere contingency of ecological relationships, these two ecological relationships are especially notated, separated and contrasted between because the second one represents a softening tendency properly going against the first one: Instead of animal chase and depredation, the second ecological relationship installs and reinforce animal love and care for the descendant ones, who at the same time will be the species continuers, representing a first sign of value change and kindness feeling which will result into an enormous keystone for further generations and further evolution. This relationship contrast only tries to show how biological evolution, however its slips and stumbles, all its kinds of vicissitudes, goes lastly up from just plain animalism, including man, to full spirituality.
Animalism (in an ampler, vast meaning) implies full drives of direct impulsivity, raw body-strength and heedlessness, while spirituality finally implies high sentiments, ethics and punctilious reflection. Men usually strive between these two extremes, although it would be always preferably that they follow the direction from the first to the second, where a new sense for values appears at each advancing step to reach a higher level. Although humane, man animalist trends should not be seen as mandetracting feature: From our point of view animalism only represents the neat emergence of animal biological strength and energy, a basic kind of living and a physical force, which only in some extreme cases and occasions can be viewed as brutality. Spirituality, on the opposite extreme comprising man, implies man's sensitiveness and search for further values behind matter and immediate interest, as well as further and transcendental meanings, a kind of special significance and interest for values and situations going beyond the usual and circumstantial ones. In man, there seems to be working some kind of compensation sway between animalism and spirituality: Spirituality increases as animal impulse, strength and energy decreases almost to extinction. Spirituality also seems to emerge as a substitutive strength compensatory for the lost of physical strength and vital energy when man feels sick or becomes each time physically weaker. Usually the image of an ensanguine Christ brutally nailed to the cross appeals in Christians for the deepest feelings of spirituality.
However, the above topics also call to comparative different levels of unity and complexity concerning mind and representations systems. In López Alonso (2009b) we conceived mind representations and mind unity as the basic ecological substrate in every order of living animals endowed with a minimum of neurological system. It was seenas life preservation function in the sense of Pittendrigh (1958) and Lorenz (1986). On the other hand, a condition of life and mind unity. In such special sense, mind unity is for us an ecologically coined condition as well as it is mind representation in order to preserve individuals and species survival. This is essentially Darwinian.
Concerning mind unity Anderson (1983, p. 1) explains:
"Theorists are strongly influenced by their various preconceptions. The most deeply rooted preconception guiding my theorizing is a belief in the unity of human cognition, that is, that all the higher cognitive processes, such as memory, language, problem solving, imagery, deduction and induction, are different manifestations of the same underlying system. This is not to deny that there are many powerful, special-purpose "peripheral"systems for processing perceptual information and coordinating motor performance. However, behind these lies a common cognitive system for higher-level processing. Moreover, the essence of what it is to be human lies in the principles of this core, higher-level system. We may not differ from the many mammalian species to which we are related in our peripheral and motor processes, but we assuredly do differ in our complex thought patterns and our intelligence".
Concerning a Darwinian approach to the similarities between animal and human mental processes Haynie (1994) has also emphasized a citation by Schultz (1981):
"The importance of mental factors in the evolution of species was apparent in Darwin's theory, who frequently cited conscious reactions in humans and animals. Because of this role accorded consciousness in evolutionary theory, psychology was compelled to accept an evolutionary pointof view" (p. 120).
And then Haynie adds for his own:
"Darwin's work influenced psychology in at least four ways: (1) it stressed the continuity of mental functioning between animals and humans; (2) it changed the subject matter of psychology to functions that consciousness might serve, rather than conscious content (structuralism's subject matter), and changed the goal of psychology to the study of the organism's adaptation to its environment; (3) it provided legitimate support for more eclectic methods of research and study that were not limited to experimental introspection; and (4) it placed increasing emphasis on individual differences with variation among members of the same species. Darwin's work was an antecedent influence on the development of functionalism as a systematic, though diversified, position in psychology. Functionalists are interested in the application of psychology to human adaptation and adjustment to the environment."(1994, p. 41)
Concerning ecological situations, we mean that relationships and values that there coexist show some kind of substantial continuity going from animal to man, and vice versa, as well as from nature to society, and from jungle to urban organization. This continuity is just due to the ecological environment that is always present at each level and which is besides inescapable, whatever the life evolutionary status. This implies that life and mind whatever the level they are, are always intertwined developments by way of which the organism-environment unity is ecologically sense-continuous and indestructible as already advanced by Haeckel.
Other ecological attestations, provided by Lundin (1994, p. 65), are referred to Gibson ecological approach. So Lundin tells:
"Gibson is primarily known for his research and theories of perception. He became the leader of a new movement in that field by considering perception to be direct without any inferential steps, intervening variables, nor associations. According to his theory, perception is the process of maintaining contact with the world. It is a direct function of stimulation, which he interpreted as the types and variables of physical energy to which the sense organs respond. The proposition that perception is a direct function of the environment was a radical departure from tradition".
Gibson formulated so the concept of stimulus ecology, referring to the stimuli that surround a person. These include optics of slanting and reflecting surfaces, and the gravitational forces we all experience in walking, sitting, and lying down. He believed in the invariance of perception, whereby the environment provides an active organism with a continuous and stable flow of information to which it can respond. In 1996 Gibson also wrote: The senses considered as perceptual systems.
In it he stressed the importance of texture gradients of surfaces as an important property of perception. There is a continuous change in the visual field whereby regions closer to the observer appear coarser and more detailed, and those farther away, finer and less detailed.
Each living organism will tend to search instinctively for positive, favorable signs, although this could result negative and disgraceful for others. This contrariness has shown different stopping points, revisions and alternative roundabout courses. The only advancement on the long ascending scale going from animalism to spirituality demands each time more penetrating comprehension and transcendence on the meaning of values -these cannot be excluded from this discussion topic.Values compound a hierarchical dynamical representation structure showing this especial facet of life and meanings' organization advancements and interchanges (López Alonso, 2009a). Concerning values types or classifications, we will only confine to the division between tangible-material values versus intangible- immaterial values (it might be many others) however the considerations they deserve concerning the fact that one of them prevail over the other interchangeably by the meaning concerning the hierarchical level making its ethical use and sense, whenever reversed or up-righted, turns out to be for us of highlighting consideration.
So, the next question is what does it mean the concept of value within this ecological context? In terms of ecological concepts, value may be seen first as just a sign-attribute, positive or negative, linked to different objects, situations and ever changing relationships impacting the sensory-perceptive living organism and its corresponding mind representation -whateverthe status or level- within the ever present environment. It is assumed that this subjective organism will automatically incorporate the for-itself positive-sign and refuse the for-itself negative-sign as associated value-feature counter- reactions of the corresponding species mental capacity representation concerning its immediate survival in the environment.
Angelicality / protection is an inter-individuals ecological relationship that developed evolutionarily and especially prevailed both in mammals and birds. It is a positive sign of ecological relationship that of including positively new mental representations between co-living members, especially generators and offspring who, besides co-living, help to take care of one another. Positivity in this case is a fact and an ecological source of enhancement, heightening and enrichment. Contrariwise, ferocity / depre-dation is an adverse ecological relationship ever conditioning negatively (negative-signvalue) all further mental representations between co-living members.
Concerning angelically / protection as a positive-value instinct representation, both mammals and birds adapt their actions and bodies in order to provide shelter, food and warmth to the offspring. Birds build and prepare the nest and there feed their youngsters by regurgitating the incompletely digested food in their beaks. Furthermore, in the case of mammals, the mother's body is evolutionarily endowed with a mammary-gland system by which part of the mother's body fluid tissue (milk) is suckled to the new- born as a direct and natural provision of food that ensures the newborn's positive growing. This way, the body of the mammal's mother admirably becomes the most perfect natural sustenance organ and the best bio-ecological niche for the newborn.
So, in biological and ecological terms, this gland endowment reached by mammals represents the greatest qualitative body-structure advancement and dazzling evolution-ary physiological innovation. It is really a remarkable qualitative evolution leap in body-to-body adjustment, since from this early physical contact and mutual recognition between members of the same species (especially between the mother and the newborn), species could develop tighter and ever more complex relationships forms and ways such as organized-groups, herds and further forms of community relationships and contacts in a way to develop deeper clues and codes in social communication, and finally language and ampler communication ways, as well as further and deeper signs and forms of social and mental representations. That is, from this early mammary contact and from the ever growing intimate interdependence between progenitors and offspring, parents and descendants learned their first identities. These new roles emerged as a most important fact and were coded and incorporated into the essential rules and ways of life resources representations which in conjoint helped enough to rise and develop ampler ways and new forms of social contacts and communications in-between members, as well as -and as a consequence of that- get the most enriching linguistic code providing an ever ampler meaning to representative patterns of cognitive processes and structures, more complex groups and social inter-exchanges representing the ever present environment, whether it be natural or social, animal or human, etc.
This way, mammals, endowed with this tighter and more powerful angelically / protection relationship organ in their advanced body-biostructure and relative's ecological resources, began to dominate the earth within a higher natural provision and in replacement of extinguished dominant dinosaurs -who left behind life conditions ecologically more ferocious and primitive, more typically characterized by the predominance of the ferocity / depredation relationship. This way, significantly, 'something' changed in the earth atmosphere at that time that potentially generated the starting points and new advanced biological forms for further and more complex ecological transitions depending on the inclusion of new ecological structures between the same and different species members.
So, it was the development and deepening of the angelically / protection ecological relationship which concerned with the generation and intensification of the tightest attachment amongst the parents and the progeny, all living within the nuclear group which becomes parallel with the increasing of a major complex -ity and major tightness need of the new-born dependence to the parents, especially growing in those species endowed with a major brain capacity and most complex encephalization. So it conforms and integrates the increasing social complexity hypothesis that Cartwright (2008, p. 127) states as:
"These two sets of factors, environment and sociality may have been inextricably linked in the causation of hominid encephalisation and human intelligence."
As a final long balance, life forms on earth seemed to have followed a way of progressive complex softening in general, and, particularly in man, to have followed a way of progressive sensibility, and an increasingly higher sense of respect and consideration towards the peers and the other different ones in general, so developing higher hierarchical values, as intangible-immaterial values, although this propensity may be alternant, mixed, vitiated, and not always sufficiently nor desirably exercised.
As we can infer from above, the angelically / protection relationship seems to have appeared much later than the ferocity / depredation one according to the evolutionary tardy advancement of successive stages, since the moment in which progenitors biologically could differentiate, recognize and identify between and take care of their own offspring was nothing spontaneous nor immediate, since the tardy offspring search and identification, and instinctive drives to identify their own parents -as it seems to happen according to Lorenz's (1986) imprinting effectwas already observed in young ducks and geese. This spontaneous search of the new-born seems to be a momentary proof of the natural search for the second ecological relationship of angelically / protection as a search for a natural and necessary attachment.
From this tighter and ever more complex level of dependence, between the mother and the newborn and between the parents themselves, the progeny and the herd re-maining members, it finally spreads toward the defined formation of a social functional structure pattern leading to the consolidation of nomad hosts and finally future urban communities and societies.
Notably, the angelically / protection relationship introduces this powerful qualitative change in terms of its expanding potential to spread over other alternative ecological relationships between individuals and groups. Evolutionarily, this ever more intensive tightness of relationship gave rise to those highly qualitative jumps and further life forms of values senses and values enrichments since (as already explained above) it boosted the most intimate development of the new inter-individuals ways of contacts, identifications, cares and communications assuming different roles, work divisions, situations and relations, and finally helped the major development of so a complex cognitive processes as it is language, intention, meaning and as well it expressed and communicated reasoning going much better in the case of the human species.
Species below this level of angelically /protection relationship appearing seem not to recognize nor identify their offspring nor parents' ownership -at least not so clearly as in mammals. So, possibly they could never develop a complex contact and much less a complex language, although, at least, they use to protect themselves no other resources as swimming in school of fish and other grouping structures for example. These species spawn in water, as fishes, or in sand as turtles, but it's impossible finally to meet and recognize themselves as their own offspring and individual identity progenitor.
Really, to have reached a mutual recognition and identification between progenitors and descendants seems to have been a greatest evolutionary jump and advancement in what concerns life development and social sustainability, and this is enough and just the base and origin that justifies the importance and greatness of the angelically / protection ecological relationship.
As already implied, in higher animal species, at least, and especially in human social behavior, there seems to be a more complex mix and also a more complex alternation of both antagonist ecological relationships, ferocity / depredation and angelically / protection, since the same person may adopt attitudes representing one relationship or the other according to different situations, different circumstances, different roles and differently significant personalities. However in as much as angelically / protection prevails over ferocity / depredation attitudes, social behaviors and group relationships become smoother, calmer, softer, more gentle and refined only as from the angelically / protection relationship. Contrarily, in as much it is ferocity / depredation the ecological relationship there prevailing, then all behaviors become rougher, ruder, harsh, more primitive and brutal, and ever crueler and harder to treat with, even in super-evolved man species. Here, it evolves such way that the deceiving or destruction of supreme intangible values leads finally to the decay and devaluation of the proper material and tangible values.
The main way to differentiate between both antagonist ecological relationships resides on the kind of category value in which each ecological relationship rests on and making alternatively tangible and intangible values prevail. Ferocity / depredation will tend always to rest, focus on and make only prevail the category of material and tangible values, like food for animals, and sumptuous gear and material possessions for humans many times at the cost of intangible or spiritual values left behind. Angelically / protection on the contrary will not discard material or tangible category values unnecessarily, but will tend to subdue them to the primacy or prevalence of im- material and intangible values when both kind of values come into conflict, dispute or tenseness in between. Former material-tangible values are not then ethically objected only per-se, although only when displacing or annulling a higher category of immaterial-intangible values.
Angelically / protection will always confer prevalence of intangible values over conflicting tangible values according to the Scheler value-hierarchy criterion and scale. In terms of Social Psychology, there is a personal, group and even a social cultural predisposition to adopt and to make prevail one of these two relationships involving their characteristic values prevalence.Using the hierarchical categorization of intangible values as being over and supreme to tangible values, there emerges an ethical and moral question sustainable as a natural predisposition to the angelically-protection relationship, which means the priorisation of intangible values over material values. This question can be traced back and even enhanced as the above pragmatic ethical view provided by philosopher Scheler (1926). However, even there, this matter is only exposed and interpreted as a bio-evolutionary social cultural issue, and not as a philosophical one.
Tangible or material values are referred only to objects whose inherent valuable properties are for being used and consumed in order to provide a direct satisfaction of elementary primary needs, as well as an immediate material pleasure or profit of any kind. For example, it is the case of food for animals and a sport-car for a man.
Intangible or immaterial values, instead, are not objects or goods of that kind, but they render a higher level of moral satisfaction and safety by ensuring other valuable conditions of human dignity and emotional / spiritual needs conveying people's care and love, which are worthy of the highest regards and the best meanings concerning the respect due to persons, to life and rights, as well as to persons sensibility, stability, safety, love, respect and appraise. All concerns in which people are essentially dignified, well considered and represented. Life, love, truth, respect, confidence, believability, as well as laws, institutions, education, culture and human rights are all the main intangible values concerning all people in these times. Intangible values especially cherish the care relationships between the valued entity (person, group or institution) and the evaluator. For example, friendship, helping commitments, promises, pledge of one's word, contractual agreements, are all of those kinds of cherished relationships.The fact is that intangible evaluation judgments do not permit to subdue a person's value as to be manipulated down or ousted or ignored from consideration because a lower class value or motive. Let falling it or leave below any material line of object convenience or appre-ciation is suggested as a value subversion and a flagrantly immoral and anti-ethical behavior in terms of Scheler's pragmatic arguments.
But, stills has to be considered how did the angelically / protection relationship evolution-arily appear out of the previously existing, primary ferocity / depredation relationship? As already suggested, this apparition has been assumed as a qualitative evolutionary jump in the animal meaning behavior evolution, taking place in the mammals and other species as birds that first showed care and identity recognition for their own offspring (that is why the term angelicality, as already marked).
Supposedly, the intangible sense of value could have instinctively appeared in animal evolution at the crucial moment in which a depredator pursuing to hunt and seize as a prey an animal mother's cub, provoked as a consequence of that threat that the animal mother exposes its own life by interposing its body in front of the depredator in behalf and defense of its own cub, in order to save and protect the cub's life, so newly hierarchized. This stunning anti-instinctive animal defense behavior showing that the animal mother has acquired a new kind of animal value-feeling category constitutes a clear evolutionary advancement and enrichment not previously observed when only prevailed the pre-existing ferocity / depredation relationship: In a way, the cub changes from tangible to intangible value in that stressing moment for its mother, but does not change the same way for the depredator, for whom the cub keeps on being a tangible and material value as a prey to be killed and eaten. All these argumentations are presupposed in terms of animal instinct and impulses but they really imply some kind of animal value-feeling provided in terms of biological instinctive reactions and representations. The animal mother's reaction showing that she is reaching the sense of the cub's intangibility against the depredator's lower tangibility can be seen as a major qualitative change and a more precise difference ennobling the development of the ecological and ethological life evolution sense by means of the appearance of the angelically / protection relationship.
So, the prevalence fact of these two value categories-tangible and intangible- whenever they get into conflict or dispute, allow us to define what is the prevailing ecological relationship in each case, whether ferocity-depredation or angelically / protection, in order to discern and qualitatively differentiate between them as a highly significantly qualitative jump in life representations. In ferocity / depredation relationship tangible values prevail over intangible values whatever the case. This usually happens since intangible values are non-existing or not perceived values for this primary ecological relationship. The animal depredator action features the first ecological relationship as an only direct, although implying imbruting and primitive animal strength; whereas the angelically / protection relationship appears in the animal mother as if an intangible value would have suddenly appeared and prevailed over the pervading tangible values conflicting between, as it is the example case.
In the between-values conflicting situation, intangible values are considered as a matter of higher sensitiveness, attention, respect, attachment, care and concern over the tangible values going at stake in the same case. The animal mother has provided a clear example at all. Tangible values, out of conflicting with any intangible value, are not a critical matter concerning anti-ethical or immoral behavior per se. However, in its best commonplace expression, ferocity / depredation is character -ized for indifference, at least, towards the other's values and concerns, whether animal or human, whether cognate or strange. Notwithstanding, the usual prevalence in humans of one or another ecological relationship may define a cultural, social and also an ethical style and even a political and personality profile.
Angelically / protection is basically induced for the interest in helping, assisting and dispensing a sensitive open attention to others, and also an especial deference towards the others' problems and concerns. Basically, a good indicator to differentiate this ennobled personality feature is the sensitiveness grade in which they earlier perceive the implicit and obscure sense of atrocity, that is those specific signs and conditions that these noble personalities can (or cannot) withstand only by their own sense of consciousness on apparently ordinary issues and concerns. The absence of sensitiveness for atrocity where atrocity really existss, is a typical sign and specific trait of most tyrant and despotic regimes. This way, also cultures and political regimes can be categorized and sufficiently differentiated by their characteristic prevailing mix, balance or different qualitative alternations between the two styles related whether to ferocity / depredation or either to angelically / protection ecological relationships.
There is a list of cultural attitudes and typical behaviors to discern about the prevalence of one or another of these two ecological relationships as well as about the social and cultural representations differentiating them inter-between. Although ferocity / depredation precedes angelically / protection in the evolutionary apparition order, it seems that angelically / protection comes to pervade progressively over the first one in order to temper, soothe or mitigate the usual standards of evolutionary conditions coming from the hard original harshness and roughness of ferocity / depredation.
On the other hand, the inclusion of ever more new intangible values seems to be broadening and growing up unlimitedly concerning the emergence and entrance into play of new consciousness frameworks facing the evaluation of intangibility principles and its main fundamentals. It seems to follow a progression towards an ever higher quality and dignity of life in as much as awareness to make prevail intangible values over colliding tangible values keeps ever growing, expanding and amplifying.
For example, life by itself is seen each time more as a culminating intangible value than as a mere tangible one, although for many people it seems yet not to be so. It also happens with other intangible values that seem to keep growing in their intangible meaning dimensions, such as truth, justice, equity, and especially as one of the most recent intangible values to be included in this growing and unlimited list which are Human Rights. It is expectable for these reasons not only to be assumed as wishful thinking but more, when any value term showing remarks of being an effective social ecological relationship for the human advancement goes in fair progression and overcoming process.
As already considered by Lorenz (1986) we also have adopted the concept of teleonomy as proposed by Pittendrigh (1958). It is used to explain the ecological succession of facts as astep-way chain of behaviors, actions, reactions, changes and adaptations developed and afforded by living organisms through their adaptive physiological and psychological processes, whose functions and structures are seen as other than a mere teleological, creationist or vitalistic approach by any author. We functionally adhere to this teleonomic epistemological approach inasmuch as it represents the grounds of ecological successful adaptations developed as life-preserving functions and biological processes that were continuously interacted and interchanged between the organism and the environment minute-to-minute and along million years.
In terms of mental representations, we also believe that the environment is the ecological cause and the natural origin of animal mental representations. Since every living organism and species has been endowed of different power in modal sensory receptors (different power modal sensors as different power eyes for sight, different power of nose for smell, different power of tongue for taste and of paws or fingers for tactile touch, etc.) as well as each species was provided with appropriate motor members as muscles, legs, wings, arms, hands, paws, etc., to exert the species action or reaction upon the environment. It´s all a matter that goes reflecting a kind of perfect adjustment to acertain information reception that is required and the consequent adequate actions that necessarily shows that the animal must have achieved and constructed as a minimal mental representation of its environment so conforming a natural condition to preserve its life and its progeny in all way, in a successful continuous adaptation; otherwise they will soon have die and the species extinguished and unknown for us. Animal and human environments so conceived, be natural or social, are all permanently changing and opening to a new and continuous flows of contingent facts and risks as are being mentally and clearly represented as a life-conservation resources. So those mental representations of the proper environments, whatever minimal they can be, and all the final meanings emerged thereby constitute the basic preservation function as described in terms and idea of Pittendrigh; but in their proper and ampler ecological sense it is that of providing a basic life-preservation function. This conception is not Vitalist but Darwinian.
The organism-environment interchanges presuppose a permanent search of both inner and external system's balances, always mediated by the satisfaction of living organisms necessities in as much as they areassisted by way of the environment available resources or not. In its continuous ecological relationship, organisms and environ- ment are permanently changing and interchanging available resources, actions and information in order to balance the inner and outer unbalances, and so to keep surviving along. So, it really matters what the ecological environment permits or impedes, makes available or not, to any species to obtain and to do so. Within this sense of ecological approach it means that interchanges have always depended on minute-to-minute, and day-by-day minimal actions and adaptations, which although so maintained, could prolong along millions of years of biological evolution on the adapted conditions, possibilities and resources that the environment, although changing systematically and contingently, always (and only) provides. So those resources and provisions are as successive clues to the adaptive living and mentally endowed organisms in order to solve their inner and external change of unbalances and develop this way the inner representation processes according to the power and extension of their perceptive mental capacity (with which each species has been differentially endowed) to reflect, encode and decode the external environment information through proper mental own codes and representations in order to preserve their lives up to-day. We have proposed this is the fundamental link between life and mind (López Alonso, 2009a).
Concerning mental representations, any living organism, whether animal or human, endowed with the above minimal sensors and abilities to perceive light, odor, taste, atmosphere vibrations and touch detection of surface contacts (haptic sense), as well as also provided of the adequate motor members to act and react according to those sensors, only by their proper performances of such successful long survival must show to have or to be endowed of a minimal symbolic mental representation of the environment upon which it still keeps surviving. So the criterion to infer the existence of this minimal quota of animal environment mental representation is that of not-casual, effective, systematic and successful series of actions and reactions reached by the animal over the natural milieu, in order to not to die, but survive and adapt ecologically, day-by-day and along millions evolution years.
This minimal representation of the environment as well as the effective and successful actions, reactions and counter- reactions exerted over it, as well as the effective and successful interactions and interchanges between the organism and the immediate medium concerning its search and competition for vital resources, finally all these results are providing the fundamental bottom-up ecological origin of potential high-level cognitive processes of mental, social, symbolic, tangible and intangible values, and, finally, the latter advancements of the economical, cultural and ethical representations as well (López Alonso, 2005).
All these representations have emerged and grown up from that minimal mental representation successions bound to the environment information processing, which seems to constitute the basic life-preserving function in the above teleonomic sense given by Pittendrigh. The teleonomic life-preserving mental function, originated in the primitive perception and processing of sensory environment information, pervades the whole animal realm and continues on, becoming more complex and the most spreading when scaling up to the human mental knowledge and the social life deeper values and meanings representations. Remember: Values are always a special mix and balance of meanings and feelings.
Arriving at a final distinction between the two basic ferocity / depredation and angelically / protection ecological relationships here involved, and their distinguishing sense to make prevail either tangible or intangible values, it is important to note that when these two kind of values are conflicting between, it results mainly interesting to consider their ethical consequences in other social and economical orders. One of the consequences and conflicting ethical patterns emerge and converge in some kind of anomy between the concepts of state and market. State can be seen as the commonly accepted settlement for the legal force, authority and power in terms of democratic laws and representative institutions, while market is seen as the open space for free economical will and free decision-making, whereby every action and operation is depending on the free supply and demand, as well as on the mutual interchanging (selling and buying) of economical tangible, material, goods, services and possessions. So market seems the realm of tangible material values to be freed of ethical considerations and so on. If market detects these values tangibility first-order, then state must be and could be contrariwise the space and power to make considered and demanded first the non-transgression of intangible values conflicting anyhow with the economical tangible values and interests.
Both market and state have ever existed and coexisted. However, the anomic situation surrounding these two concepts represent the antagonist ideological positions concerning them: One position is that of those who assert that state must rule everything especially economical policies, including economical property and possessions, as well as ruling on economical operations, decisions, and therefore denying free economical laws and rights to free decision making by private or individual persons. On the opposite side there is the extreme free-market position, which simply understands that state is a totally unnecessary entity and that it is enough to leave all social and particular decisions in hands of market, implying that market finally will find its own internal and external balances and adequate solutions concerning any social and human demand. According to the most extreme insight on this viewpoint, state could simply be made void. In terms of possibility or feasibility, both extreme positions become neatly absurd by themselves, since both state and market exist and coexist and must obviously coherently -but not anomic between.
We estimate that this anomy and absurd sense emerge from an unsolved prolonged conflict between intangible social values and tangible economical values. And so on, we could see this conflict as an unbalance derivated from the two basic ecological relationships of ferocity / depredation and angelically / protection in terms of human, social, cultural, as well as economical and ethical resolutions at all.
Absurdity in economics has been especially treated by Riegel (2007) and others. Riegel states that feelings of absurdity arise from a sharply intensified undesirable combination between a measure of comprehension and the acceptance of reality, and at the verge of a hard crossed combination of non-comprehension and non-agreement. So far economical absurdity becomes anomic for us. Although Riegel (pp. 7-8) tells:
"... it seems that absurdity, or the feeling of absurdity, results when the individual finds himself in an extreme situation which is so baffling, unclear, nonsensical, unstructured that it prevents them to understand, formulate a problem, find the clues to its solution and to make a decision. Alternatively, the problem may be clear enough, but the accepted solutionis patently nonsensical and we don't have the strength to change it... The situation exists, it has no solution and we are entangled in it... The reality of the situation in which the absurd character appears is a psychological reality expressed in images that are an outward projection of stages in his mind. That is why the Theatre of the Absurd can be considered an image of the human being's inner world. It presents a truer picture of reality itself, reality as apprehended by an individual... In what respect are these characters economic? Basically, they had to make decisions in a situation characterized by scarcity of the most precious resources -life, freedom, thought and certainties. They did not know what would come next and learnt to live with it".
Let us take into account from the above Riegel's citation that the most precious resources there named are really intangible values in themselves; and in the ecological terms that we have treated beforehand, such as a kind of values whose absence or scarcity determine a sense of economical absurdity. Riegel provides a list of opposed effects as a simultaneous produce of economical absurdity, a list of opposition saffecting the tangibility and efficiency of economic values, on one hand, against the corresponding humaneness of intangible values, on the other. Hence the function of economy may be much deeper than a simple gratification of basic needs -Riegel concludes. In addition, we conceive that an ecological approach to social sciences and economy opens the doors to those basic and original levels defining a new economical science deprived from anomy and incoherence.
Let's take again the absurdity sense of the above mentioned anomic extreme positions between state and market, either denying the one or the other. It is possible perhaps to find a way to get a higher rationality between both concepts by using the two antagonist ecological relationships of ferocity-depredation versus angelically / protection and their corresponding tangible or intangible values prevalence as a means for better explanation and social / ecological comprehension of them.
Tangible values are not evil per se, but the value-decision maker adopts an attitude that is usually judged as evil, selfish and anti-ethical when the leaning in favor of a tangible value implies the sacrifice or disregard of a higher intangible value directly associated with such decision and situation.As we can see, it is not the materialism or tangibility of the value what makes it anti-ethical, but the inversion or transgression of the vertical hierarchy of intangible values over tangible values, as also referred to Scheler's pragmatic ethics scheme. Most people against market posit their hate on the fact that market is the social space to make succulent profits on values that are barely material and tangible only from a social and economical point of view. This hate is usually founded in the implication that market only makes cult of greed and selfishness, and is indifferent or adverse to the consideration of intangible, higher values, especially socially and humanely sensitive values. These popular beliefs mean that this social representation of market is usually provided as a description of the above prevalence of the ferocity / depredation relationship because tangible values are seen as an exclusive proper trait in the domain of market. By these arguments market is so simply denied and vilified that finally only the decision powers (both the political and economical powers delegated on state) must explicitly or implicitly defend and protect higher social and intangible values from that greed. The solution is not to keep fighting and conflicting anomically between state and market concepts, but trying to provide and recognize a more rational clear situation and a more functional relationship between them. So, one simple solution emerging from that frame statements results into a mere role separation, by which state assumes the role of preserving the prevalence of intangible values over tangible values only when they are conflicting with those of market in between. If this is fully delegated on state as an exclusive way, but not as a preservation function of higher intangibility values, it would probably nullify market dynamics and would void it of meaning. However, market is an effective lively economical space and necessary function of social reality, where supply-and-demand laws on tangible resources and material goods cannot be ignored nor escaped at all. In this sense, Keynesians were objected by monetarists in their own terms. However, the state above role should be appropriately and necessarily recognized.
So our question at this point simply is: At what measure the above differentiation between the two basic ecological relationships of ferocity / depredation versus angelically / protection, and their characterizing prevalence on tangible or on intangible values, could be ethically used to solve somehow the absurdity-anomy phenomenon that reclusively opposes market and state as antagonist concepts in between. Our sole suggestion is that state and law can simply supervise and denounce market transgressions of tangible over intangible values prevalence when they conflict on asocial and ethical scale along which they show clear cut decisions of values hierarchical inversions and transgressions.
We understand that one possible formula is to leave the plain interchange of tangible values and corresponding avid interests to free market alone, so as its proper social space for that end. While state should take care of intangible values, social and cultural values, in a general way, in order to they be never subordinated to any kind of tangible values, as state's own end and by affording the solution to the conflicting situation and problems only in the case in which values hierarchical inversion had really taken place, been observed or denounced.
This is a functional opposition between market and state. On one side, market would be the social space to freely confront and freely compete for material and defined tangible values in goods and services satisfying human winning expectations and greed, lending so a delimited space and legitimacy to eagerness investments and interests, including luxurious services and demands, but in as much as fundamental, taking into account that supreme intangible values are deceived nor lessened in their higher hierarchy upon tangible, material values, only because of human capricious greed involving such free market competition and risk operations have gone berserk.
In such cases, it would correspond to state to avoid and sanction those deviations and transgressions beyond the inner and proper tangibility frame of market only in the cases of solving conflicts and transgressions emerging against the highest values hierarchies.
This way, state should stay to preserve fundamental intangible values such as people's life, people's freedom, people's free expression, people's free enterprise and initiative, people's education, people's culture, people's sense of peace, justice, equity, social security, social safety, health care, as well as at the same time to preserve the due respect for private property, free-expression, free-decision and free-initiative, as well as respect for: contracts, word compromises, friendship, conceded credits and debts, respect and affirmation for mutual confidence, respect and affirmation for Human Rights, for secure and stable money, and finally and reversely: respect for private property and the proper freedom of market as an intangible value per se and for the society too.
Succinctly, the last balance between both concepts (state and market) giving place to the above anomy is that State should restrict human greed for material values inasmuch these values transgress and disqualify the upper intangible values hierarchy, but at the same time state must also protect and defend human greed when it is not transgressing any value in the above sense; and this makes a subtle difference which up to-day leaves the above anomy still open and debatable.
That would probably create a rich productive interchange of ideas between the roles and functions of state and market, to be maintained as pragmatic, equitable and stable in order to preserve but never to subdue hierarchically intangible values to tangible values as a usual and final convention.
From this point of view, then, the role of state, besides of representing a democratic, political and legal power instances, would be also characterized by ensuring a defined ethical and social compromise adjusted to the duty for intangible values first far beyond of material economical values only when these two kind of values are conflicting in between. This can happen in many ways, so this multifarious situations must be previewed.
The role of state must be sustained not only as a threefold executive-law-justice system, but also as a necessary cultural and ethical predisposition in behalf of man, life and society. However, whatever the society could be, there are differential cultural and ideological trends in terms of social attitudes and behaviors reflecting the alternation and the ever confuse mix of both ecological relationships, that of ferocity / depredation versus angelically /protection as primary ecological models. It is important for this mix to be easy and soonest detected a top refinement of social sensitiveness and representations. As already affirmed, the continuing differentiation between both ecological relationships along all species up to man resides in detecting what is the prevailing relationship defining each value and what is the value recognition implied in acts. This is simply inferred from what is the kind of value that the cultural trend, or the personal act, makes prevail first: whether the intangible or the tangible one, whenever they are conflicting between.
Usually, a cultural trend of social attitudes and behaviors establishes definitely certain prevalent dispositions in most human attitudes and populations. Values and valuation processes are mostly cultural and strong educational factors. A better culture defines and develops itself in terms of the finest intangible values that it incorporates as ends and increases over the list of tangible values below, as well as on the open and public recognition of its hierarchy. However it happens and there are cultural attitudes and social behaviors that fall downward into the prevalence of ferocity / depredation biases over intangible values. Examples of which are the following ones:
Aim of war, killing, murder, genocide, slavery, persecution, delinquency, robbery, plunder, abuse, violation, people-exploitation, vexation, submission, degradation, threat, menace, humiliation, rejection, intolerance, despise. Inconsiderateness, to treat people disrespectfully, to speak untruthfully, not to fulfill one's promise or engagements due to others, to offend against, to deceive, to put and leave in want, to deprive, deride, scorn, exert non-assistance and non-attendance of the weak, the needy or the indigent, all intentional misdeed or misbehavior, to break a compromise, to counterplot, thwart, disappoint, harass, injuring, trample, knock down, upset, annoy, cheat, fool, hoax, and to deceive confidence, word or favor previously promised or appointed. To take profit from the innocent, the unaware, the ignorant, the confident, the unsuspicious or trusting, or from the weak, the aged, the sick, the disable or the victim, etc. Take profit from the poor, the needy or the indigent.
To abase and humbling the others. Intolerance and prejudice; machoism, gender subduing, and underestimation of the female; terrorism; state terrorism; segregation, rac-ism, and autoracism; autocracy, authoritarianism, despotism, and dictatorship; law fraud and law and institutions disregard; hoax of universal principles and fundamentals; Boasting about any of these attitudes. Over-evaluation and boasting of the worst coarse social traits; prejudice and rejection of the diverse and different in any social, cultural, gender and physical trait, including different ethnical traits. Indifference and insensibility for the others' problems, for the social problems and for the poor people and the poor countries problems. Politicians' leaning and manipulation in favor of impunity and generalized corruption. A corrupt politician can be seen as a loose depredator in society, and corruption as a systematic fault finally leading to general and ampler economical impoverishment. Prevalence of this ecological relationship also leads to indifference and insensibility for the global economical unbalances and the inequitable distribution of richness. Elusion of every kind of responsibility. Tax-evasion. Indifference and insensibility for the homeless and for all those losing their work and life-dignity. Higher claim for own rights against lower recognition of own reliability and obligations. Higher criticism on others versus null or lower auto-criticism, false attribution, etc. Dictatorial leaders, once arrived at the summit of power, feel imbued on their own with the simplistic conviction of righteously trampling on democratic laws, institutions, and people's individual needs and rights. All this list are different ways of making prevail material values as personal advantages over intangible values as general all-people advantages within a social-political-ecological and cultural ethical context of human species.
Phenomenologically, in front of any slight prevalence of the ferocity / depredation ecological relationship, you as an outsider will sure feel some kind of implicit standards of abuse, or probably some strange undergoing hostility and a concealed menacing treatment behind the standard treatment and culture of the dominating group. Typically, in cultures and political regimes alike this trend, it will prevail hypocrisy, feigning, falsity, easy dilation and multiple lie systems. And it's just because the systematic absence or relegation of intangible values as honesty, sincerity and transparency which are usually being despised and disregarded.
Here may reside the clue idea to be caught: Each time you feel a value is absent or lacking, it is sure because an intangible corresponding value is faulting to the relationship situation, and this kind of value-lacking-feeling tells you that you are in front of a social-cultural attitude or behavior by which some unbalance between the ancient ferocity / depredation relationshipis prevailing over the necessary degree of angelicality / protection relationship. These kinds of cultures and regimes manage themselves not by means of explicit fundamental and universal principles (although they may declare to be aware of them) but by means of covered and implicit silent convenience pacts with the most powerful groups of influence or the convenient present situation -usually the less representative or perhaps the most demagogic in terms of democratic patterns.They could tell you that those intangible valuesyou are claiming for do really exist and that they are good to be taken into account, however the whole system (the cultural and education level system) finally will respond first to the tangible values going underneath those mischievous disowned intentions. And this finally conforms a cultural-educative basic pattern of cultural cheat which is dominated by this primary ecological relationship of ferocity / depredation in terms of social-ecological cultural dispositions.
So, although usually observed in individuals, all the above mentioned traits can also constitute a list of generalized cultural trends of commonplace social and political representations, but they can be changed, corrected and elevated only by way of a very specialized strong education and strong political groups. Education per se besides a resource is an intangible value of culture. So, the more the incidence of ferocity / depredation traits fall in culture, the deeper the moral and ethical declination of the supporting society, falling downward into a more severe lack of life-quality and life-dignity. Also it progressively falls into a deeper impoverishment, primitivism, irrationality and an ever extreme and undesirable brutalization standards. Paradoxically, within this decadency, the over-evaluation of tangible values on despised intangible values when conflicting between finally leads to the lowering and the real loss of the proper material value of the corresponding prevailing tangible values by themselves. Impoverishment of intangible values mean impoverishment of all values, included material and tangible ones.
On the contrary, examples of systematic social-cultural attitudes going upward to the prevalence of angelicality / protection patterns of intangible values over tangible ones are the following-ones:
Respect and recognition of intangible values concerning to others' feelings and needs extrapolated to all members of a society. To take into account as the first rule never to treat the others with hostility or lack of respect; that is to show them firsthand a respectfully attitude of interest, confidence and an authentic intent to help. It also includes open tolerance, ampleness of view and being on the look after the others. Also to show the finest sensibility, interest and comprehension for the other's problems; what includes spontaneous and immediate search of ways to help solve problems to them. Prioritize intangible values over tangible values. Prioritize respect and ethics. Demand equality of rights for men and women, and for the minors, the elders, the weak, the sick, the mentally deranged and disabled, etc. Major forms of respect and consideration for all human beings, whatever the race, color, religious faith, political and ideological trends or any other kind of divergent and different trait or antecedent they can show in contrast. Defense and acceptance of divergence and feminism (feminism inasmuch it checks machismo and does not intend to substitute it). Provide the highest respect for law, institutions, ethics, social education, more communitarian customs, highest moral practices and teachings.To endeavor that individuals and groups do not fear, nor distrust or feel simply suspected for fully using their freedom to tell and express their ideas transparently, as well as their own feelings, proper creativities and own private property and own initiatives in decision making. Paradoxically, the latter ones are the first and perhaps the scarce ones intangible values usually claimed by market.
Groups and individuals must not feel risky of being exposing themselves at using their free exercise of expressions, ideas and personal opinions, as well as when showing their creativity, and their proposals of new private activities and initiatives. All these are highly intangible universal values not to be subdue to occasionally convenient or particular interests for any subgroup tangible values.
It must also show excellence of correction and refrain even using the highest comprehension and learning as well as the most exact and proper check and justification principles against aggressiveness, arrogance, authoritarianism and violence in social, political, and economical relationships. Also to show a maximum rejection and counter-factual justification checks against brutal terrorism, murder, corruption and impunity altering social, political and economical standards.
This kind of education must also spread and develop from the basic aspirations to the highest rates of fulfilment and responsibility in communitarian awareness and contributory duties.
Finally, the higher the level of ecological angelicality / protection atmosphere in the social and cultural relationships, the higher the general levels of life-styles, as well as of life-dignity and life-quality standards. It also makes people happier by helping others, makes people more sensitive, more comprehensive and interested in the others' problems, difficulties and hardships, and leads them to contribute with effective and successful solutions as a form of self-satisfaction. Economically, it also induces to spontaneously elevate the material quality and technical standards of services, of production goods and of commonplace tangible values, as those of market, especially checking the abuse of prices.
In the long run the angelicality / protection culture, as a social-ecological trait, benefits every one, both the active as well the passive social roles, and generates higher and more extended equitable richness for everyone, promotes a higher respect, interest and natural courtesy towards everybody. It promotes natural feelings of identification and preoccupation for sustainable fellowship. It enriches life in every sense.
The powered effects differentiations are because cultural angelicality / protection is life exaltation and effective enrichment, while its counterpart, ferocity / depredation, leads only to abuse, impoverishment, corruption, decay and primitivization of life. This way, the angelicality / protection ecological relationship, once turned an acquired cultural trait and a general achievement, generates the optimal social ecological conditions that any society normally requires and deserves to good progress. It is possibly the only way to reach to a new, better future world.
Life, world and humanity have long been exposed to an endless history of predominant ferocity / depredation ecological relationship over the angelicality / protection relationship. Consistently to the list of intangible values that might be scoffed at by plain and crude tangible values, respect for the first ones ensures always an ever open and unlimited improvement. This improvement has been progressively growing on and has recently achieved a greater advancement by the inclusion of ampler intangible values such as those implied in Human Rights, which is a notorious list of the highest intangible values already instituted as universal laws. Notwithstanding, life still stands at the top of that list as the highest intangible value crowning up the summit of all vertical hierarchical structure of intangible values.
Spirituality, as the full domain of intangible values, emerged from the angelicality / protection ecological relationship, still keeps growing on unlimitedly.
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Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET).
Instituto de Investigaciones Psicológicas de la Universidad del Salvador (IIPUS).
Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires.
Received: September 29, 2008
Accepted: January 11, 2010