The foundations of intelligence

10.00  bez DPH

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This manuscript is a substantial dissertation in which the author gives a sustained discourse on his theories about a wide range of matters, embracing history, philosophy, politics and religion, drawing on a huge variety of sources accumulated over decades of reading and thinking. The Foundations of Intelligence is thus an example of a category of non-fiction that is rare but which surfaces from time to time: I think of it as the philosophy of everything. The key characteristic of this genre is a magisterial authorial perspective which embraces all of humanity, from the beginning to the present and on into the future. The secondary characteristic is that the book is intended as a manifesto, a proposal for how the world’s ills can be ameliorated or cured.

The Foundations of Intelligence is particularly unusual, in that it is not merely the author’s personal theory that is expounded. The book (which has been previously published in Russian, as well as Czech and Slovakian) is the manifesto, the first published statement, by an organisation called Project PRING (Priorities of the Rational Integrated Nations of the Globe).

The manuscript is structured in an intelligent, scholarly manner, and, given its import as a complex work of sociopolitical philosophy, it is surprisingly easy to read. The author has a gift for explaining concepts, and for bringing in clear examples. The manuscript opens with a fascinating overview of the PRING point of view, under the umbrella concept of humanity’s ‘earthly mission’. This mission is to become worthy rulers of the planet. Part of becoming worthy is to understand the history of the universe, and of our species, and to do away with false understandings (the myths of religion) and the authoritarian grip they have had on human society.

In order to illustrate these points, the author embarks on a ‘brief history of humanity’ (which is actually quite lengthy), from Mesopotamia to the modern world. Rather than proceeding in a simple chronological direction, he tackles history thematically. If you look at the list of subjects in isolation, it looks chaotic, but the execution is actually systematic, dealing with the histories of individual cultures, civilisations and religions first, then tackling major periods (the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution, the age of revolutions, the wars of the twentieth century, and so on) before settling down to examine the two subjects which are absolutely crucial to his thesis: religion and slavery. The former is seen as both a block on real understanding of the world and a legitimisation of authoritarian power. Slavery, on the other hand, is seen to encompass both literal ownership of human beings and the quasi-slavery of totalitarianism, religion and authoritarianism. All taken together, PRING-ism looks like a very erudite and beneficial way of seeing humanity’s past, present and future. The analyses of slavery and religion seem especially incisive.

In conclusion, The Foundations of Intelligence is an extraordinary and fascinating treatise on the condition of mankind, as well as being a challenging and intriguing manifesto for its future. It’s written and structured in an engaging way, and never fails to grip your attention. As to its ultimate value, I can say confidently that, whether or not you are persuaded by the arguments, your understanding of modern radical political theorising will not be complete unless you have read it.