Tuesday, January 30, 2007

the last of Eagleton and our currently dire condition

dire old terry

I find I haven't quite finished with Eagleton. This anti-progress guff really gets to me. I mentioned how in the 1640's, the time of the English civil war, England was a god-besotted nation. The same could no doubt be said for the rest of Europe. It should also be said that England, and Europe, was a far more violent, unruly, and unjust place than it is now. No serious historian would dispute this, though there might be some who romanticize the anarchic, might-is-right forces that were given more free play in those times. Compare ''our current dire condition'', whatever it is, with a state that so thoroughly and ignominiously disposes of one of its most forward-thinking [oops, progressivist superstition], courageous and humane citizens, John Cooke, because of its superstitions about hereditary dictatorship. Maybe the state thrived on such superstitions then, as North Korea does now, if you can call it thriving. Today though, in open societies, in our current dire condition, we thrive on other things. We can't step outside our own era and objectively scrutinize it, but still we're doomed to make comparisons, and maybe we're doomed to believe, in spite of some pretensions and posturings to the contrary, that things are getting better.

I could go on about Eagleton and his silly lectures on theology, and his anti-science flailings - On the horrors that science and technology have wreaked on humanity, he [Dawkins] is predictably silent. Yet the Apocalypse is far more likely to be the product of them than the work of religion – but I don't know if it's worth bothering about, there's so much interesting, positive, scientific stuff to get breathless about right now.

Okay, I'll be brief. Science and technology is developed by we nasty humans. We provide the pressure and incentive for our scientists to produce WMDs, as well as to produce TVs, computers and space shuttles. We do it to ourselves, we do, and that's what really hurts [and thrills]. As to the Apocalypse, I suspect our species will be long extinct before that happens. Or does he actually identify something so – apocalyptic – with the extinction of our puny ephemeral species? How unimaginative, and how very egotistically human [you wouldn't get me thinkin that mate - I ain't no human bean].



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