Empty Days

Sunday, July 11, 2004



Why not just go to hell already?

133. No social arrangements, whether laws, institutions, customs or ethical codes, can provide permanent protection against technology. History shows that all social arrangements are transitory; they all change or break down eventually. But technological advances are permanent within the context of a given civilization. Suppose for example that it were possible to arrive at some social arrangements that would prevent genetic engineering from being applied to human beings, or prevent it from being applied in such a ways as to threaten freedom and dignity. Still, the technology would remain waiting. Sooner or later the social arrangement would break down. Probably sooner, given that pace of change in our society. Then genetic engineering would begin to invade our sphere of freedom, and this invasion would be irreversible (short of a breakdown of technological civilization itself). Any illusions about achieving anything permanent through social arrangements should be dispelled by what is currently happening with environmental legislation. A few years ago it seemed that there were secure legal barriers preventing at least SOME of the worst forms of environmental degradation. A change in the political wind, and those barriers begin to crumble.
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I was thinking about the Dark Ages and all those greek & roman manuscripts laying in wait in the vaults of medieval monasteries. It took a long time - but without these "bombs of knowledge" waiting to be rediscovered, we'd have no Renaissance, no Modern Age, no Science, no Industrial Revolution, nothing at all. This is where Humanism came from. It came from the vaults.

The Age of Reason we resurrected and brought to such unprecedented heights was started in fifth century Athens - by Socrates and his disciples, Aristotle in particular. I can assure you that nothing would have gone the same way if the Greeks had remained with Pythagorus and all those older guys, even Democritus or Empedocles. There would be no Aristotle without the framework Socrates provided. That's when the Age of Reason first started - such a long time ago, it would seem.

What does it mean? It means that Unabom, who presently sits in jail, is right - and we, who are sitting on our million wishy-washy asses, are wrong. There can be no reforms, there can be no putting breaks on or putting the jinny back in the bottle or whatever cute "responsible" bullshit like that.

Unabom is advocating wholesale suicide, which he euphemistically terms "revolution". Those medieval monks and christian hierarchy, who kept so much hidden from light, knew what they were doing - yet all their collective "sense of responsability" came to nothing. An alternative to immediate wholesale suicide of a civilization is of course obvious: just let it run amok and stop worrying. Let a bunch of future generations suffer and go all over their heads. Who cares. One way or another it's still the same shit - let this planet go to hell.

Who the fuck cares?

It's kinda curious that Socrates should have had his demon and Descartes his visionary dreams. Why would these luminaries be so drastically illuminated? What really drives history - what is history? Hegel talked vaguely of some Universal Spirit - I don't think he had a clear idea what it is he was talking about. So far so good - let's just roll along, folks.





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