Sunday, January 15, 2006
These fragments against the ruins
A counterpoint to the previous bleak posting: there would not be any meaning to pessimism without the context of ideals, the context of hope. What I see as the only possible practical solution for our terrible dilemmas is determined, conscious enlightenment liberalism using science as a tool for its ends. This is both a very controversial and very old fashioned statement these days. My presuppositions here are that enlightenment is inherently both rational and pluralistic and open ended - and that science, fundamentally, is naturally compatible with it, conducive to it. Of course science can be horribly misused and is very easy to misuse: that's why it needs enlightened control and conviction. Natural science on its own is not much anything: a mundane language about the material world. Technology can then never be the fundamental solution to our condition, but it can relieve the awful scarcity that makes the historical concequences of our primitive instincts so destructive and aggressive. At its best it could prepare the conditions for the deep transformation that is needed - as the fundamental solution for our problems is of course to change, to become enlightened, rational. The problem is exactly how likely it is that we will have the time, the ability and the luck to achieve this transformation?