January 28, 2018

No Problem, We Can Fix This! Really?

Charles Mann
The Atlantic
March 2018

“It is as if humankind were packed into a bus racing through an impenetrable fog. Somewhere ahead is a cliff: a calamitous reversal of humanity’s fortunes. Nobody can see exactly where it is, but everyone knows that at some point the bus will have to turn. Problem is, Wizards and Prophets disagree about which way to yank the wheel. Each is certain that following the other’s ideas will send the bus over the cliff. As they squabble, the number of passengers keeps rising.”

Prophesies, be they secular or religious, are mostly matters of faith and hope, and finalities that are heavenly or hellish. The Wizards of science and technology use evidence and offer predictive probabilities - a better fit, I think, for what evidence shows is likely an undirected, ever-changing universe. But as they say, even the reasoning of the Wizards can be wrong, and new and better evidence keeps being found.... JEL

A New, Better Story For Humankind Not Needed?

Henry Farrell
Boston Review
January 18, 2018

Think we don’t need a new story to replace the current human-centric myth of civilization? That we are well-provided for by the ideologies and actions of those controlling the current global system’s politics, economics, religion, education, science and technology? That they and their ideas and efforts can adequately address any disaster that might arise; or that they and the rest of us can make clear-headed, well-reasoned course corrections as we progress toward the Enlightenment’s flourishing and perfection of persons and societies?

This essay (link) argues that the realities that society’s and the world’s powerful have created for us have impaired Humankind’s ability to reason and behave optimally. That the raw material of reasoning, factual evidence, is intentionally being distorted or ignored by the powerful. Their goal, I think, is to put the hopes and aspirations the Enlightenment genie provided back into the bottle so that their will, not the people’s or the Earth’s, shall prevail. That what is good in the short term for this elite is also good for everyone and the biosphere in the long term.