11-After All Is Said and Done
Ironically the smoke of the industrial age, while first stinging our eyes and damaging our lungs, has become more encompassing and has slowly (choose any date from 1829 (Joseph Fourier) to 1959 (Edward Teller) to come to smoke our brains. However, the fundamental qualititis of homo sapiens have presented us with this problem since their origin, and some of us are frightenly aware that they exist today in 2019. Liberal democracy is under siege by creatons such as Donald Trump, who arise, at least from a distance, seemingly out of nowhere, and arise not just in America but around the world. The great mystery is why homo-sapiens, those who are not in a position of power, go along for the deadly ride.
At first it seems there is no answer or that it is burried with the dead of the wars, purges, and religious pursections. But there is evidence for a more tragic cause and that is the failure of humanity to comprehend the enlightment and to incorporate it into art, education and life. The enlightment was followed by World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the second gulf war and now the rise of right wing, unenlightened government. My only explanation is that a dominating government is, for the unenlightened, easier to live under. If the goverment joins with the majority in agreeing what not to like and what to persecute. But it will likely swing back although the swing would have to be over the fences and further onto Landsdown Street than any other home run.
Such an effoert would be on the order of the mobilizations of World War II, and perhaps much more including several Manhatten projects. But the rich of the worldin cahouts with the politicans of the world are hanging on to their money and not comprehending the risk.
There is a point, when the temperature rises to a certain point, that there is no longer possibility of recovery at any cost. That is the time of crying and nashing of teeth, for there is no despair like hopeless ness.
Not being a scholar, particularly of this period, it nevertheless seems to me that the fundamentals of the enlightenment never "trickeled down" or, more specifically, were established into the curlucia of education at all levels, and to this day have not left us with a suitibally educated public.
Seven years at the Massachusetts Institute of Techology (recently rated as the finest university in the world for seven straight years) I would have expected, especially given the role of the natural sciences in the enlightenment, to illunimate in a more fundamental way the nature of man and women.
Perhaps it was too long ago (1959 to 1967) but from the correspondence I receive from deans and department heads asking for comments there is no sign of enlightenment. And with MIT now building itself into a university around a core of artificial intelligence it seems there are fundamental dangers ahead.
There is as yet no philosophy of the nature of mankind built into anything.
Joy and reciprocity seem to me what we used to call "bad words," words, in this case, too trivial to acticulate. Yet they may be the most important of all.
The question we are left with, is whether our civilization can embrace the concepts behind joy and reciprocity soon enough to survive.