Complacency is the characteristically modern sin. The human condition has not changed, nor can it, so long as men must die. But modern man is more susceptible to the illusion that he can mold his own identity and make his own destiny. Modern man can persuade himself that he is alone in the universe, improvising his ethics and identity as he goes along. He can fancy himself master of the universe through science. He can even imagine that brain science eventually will resolve the existential questions that have troubled his kind for millennia. Underneath this complacency lurks an antipathy to life, articulated wittily by Goethe's devil.This accusation of complacency is especially striking in light of some essays I've been reading lately that forecast such great things from technology. Scientific advancement as the panacea! Don't get me wrong, science and technology are great. But they are also very distracting and good for letting people avoid the deep questions.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Quote of the Day
I'm not going to invest the time to comment on this because I need to sleep, but here is a fierce paragraph out of David P. Goldman's essay "Hast Thou Considered My Servant Faust?", which uses Faust to shed light on Job: