Words From Eugene Pendergraft

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Words From Eugene Pendergraft

From the words of co-founder, Eugene Pendergraft shortly before his death, 1997

For our western culture, the first principle of genuine love is fully summed up in the simple formula we call the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We attribute this principle to God as received through Christ. In India, nevertheless, it appears quite independently during the Gupta dynasty. Within Buddhist philosophy it is perceived, correctly I believe, as a bionic force.

This conception of the Golden Rule as a bionic force entered into western culture during the nineteenth century as a basic part of Peircian cosmology. The conclusion of Peircian semiotic brings three modes of cosmic evolution before us: evolution by fortuitous variation, evolution by mechanical necessity, and evolution by creative love. The propositions that absolute chance, mechanical necessity, and this law of love are severally operative in the cosmos receive from Peirce the names 'tychism," "anancism,' and agapism.'

Agapism, accordingly, exhibits the principle of creative love most clearly. The good evolutionary result is here brought to pass, first, by the bestowal of spontaneous energy regarding loveliness, loving, and love by the parent upon the offspring or by the senior upon the junior. Second, in order to complete this transfer of energy, is the disposition of the offspring or junior to learn from the parent or senior about loveliness, loving, and love and thus subserve the highest cosmic purpose of society, to adapt and so survive.

Two other principles are important to an understanding of agapism in relation to the self's motives toward loveliness, loving, and love. Firstly, there are three logical possibilities for this bestowal of energy: from the self to itself; from the self to a limited class of others sharing common interests and feelings with it; and from the self to mankind at large.

Hence the self loves itself better than it loves any other; and as the class of others loved by it widens, a progressively weaker kind of love is bestowed. The others loved best by the self are the ones most like itself, and so they make up the class, the group, to which it bestows most of its energy or from which most of its energy is received. The love of mankind at large by the self, it follows, is least.

The gospel of Christ says that progress in society comes from every individual merging his or her individuality in sympathy with neighbors in life. On the other side of this argument is the conviction that progress takes place by virtue of every individual striving for himself or herself with all his or-her might and trampling any neighbor under foot whenever there is a chance to do so. The former may accurately be called the Gospel of Love; the latter, the Gospel of Greed. At first blush these seem to be counter-gospels. But, for Peircian philosophy, greed is taken to be merely defective love.

It was Peirce who first recognized that this exchange of energy between members of different generations -was an inquiry into the nature of loveliness, loving, and love. He added to evolutionary love this further rule, called the Rule of Reason, that in order to learn one must desire to learn, and in so desiring not be satisfied with what you are already inclined to think or feel. To this rule one corollary follows: Do not block the way of inquiry.

In other words, this love proclaimed as the great evolutionary agent of the universe occupies the highest position that love can attain. It is unconditional, passionate, and cherishing love; let us say Eros, the exuberance love. Notably, it is unencumbered by restrictions placed upon it by traditional morality, sensibility, or custom. It is healing: this love, detecting germs of loveliness even in the hateful, gradually warms hatefulness into life, and makes it lovely. It is circular in that the same tender impulse projects its participants toward independency and draws them into harmony.

Religious symbols in the future will still represent our ultimate aspirations in regard to feeling. But the blissful states of loveliness, loving, and love will be experienced by humanity as manifestations during life, not supposedly after death. Humanity's next evolutionary step will probably be a religious renaissance of the sort that, over time, will lead to the total destruction of religion as it has been understood. Art, rather than religion, will then gradually become the most magnificent ornament, and the most unfailing occupation, of our collective lives

Having concluded through our semiotic research that our culture is becoming ever more greedy and violent for this reason, Norm and I along with other scientists and scholars interested in these societal problems, formed Autognomics Institute. In a nutshell, the purpose of this institute will be to try to steer contemporary society, as we move into the twenty-first century. from the path of greed into the path of love.