Saturday, March 02, 2013

Two wise women

Let us listen to two wise women – 

First the British philosopher Mary Midgley. 

She says, in Science and Poetry: 

Out of this fascination with new power there arises our current huge expansion of technology, much of it useful, much not. 

And the sheer size of it dangerously wasteful of resources. 

It is hard for us to break out of this circle of increasing needs because our
age is remarkably preoccupied with the vision of continually improving means 

Rather than saving ourselves trouble by reflecting on ends.

We have become the age of unthinking doing – 

Keep doing,

Don’t stop to think 

There’s no time! 

And there is no time

Because we are too busy doing.

The second wise woman – 

The American philosopher Martha Nussbaum - 

Recognises the monstrous ambition now in play:

The human being, who appears to be thrilling and wonderful, may turn out at the same time to be monstrous in its ambition to simplify and control the world. 

Contingency, an object of terror and loathing, may turn out to be at the same time wonderful, constitutive of what makes a human life beautiful and thrilling.

Only because we do not understand everything and because we cannot control the future is it possible to live and to be human.

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