Wandering Thought # 68

The concern of the inventors of what we today call magical or mythical powers was not factual; the truth of an event was not their primary concern. The motive behind their attempt to explain was the need to place the event under some form of control — and what they placed under the control of a deity the modern scientist places under that of scientific law. Explaining the event in such a way, as the act of a god, placates the fear of being utterly at the mercy of a chaotic unknown acting with complete unreason. Lightning falls because the lightning god wills it — having a reason gives the person a certain measure of control. The lightning god can be propitiated. It was this and not a concern for truth that was behind the first impulse and need for knowledge. Science as refined magic, and man still expanding his horizon of domination and control.

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Metaphor for humanity

A man who is in a gravely ill condition refuses to go see a doctor despite the many advises he is given. Days go on and his illness grows worse until, at last, he falls out of consciousness and an ambulance is called in to rush him to the hospital. If he survives the damage he suffered will not be reversible, and he will be forced to live on in a diminished existence.

Man, the rational animal, will not do the one rational thing that ensures his future survival, the survival of humanity. Could it be that, after all, man is irrational? Rationality — if we believe his claim, that he is rational — has been a tool at work against his survival — rationality as his greatest stupidity; its progress and advancement leading to his extinction.

Man, the animal with no control over his impulses and will, ultimately wills his own end.