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The Big Answer


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Is Transcendence Necessary?

an article by Edward Cornish

(our site's article review)

This article is a response to an article by Vaclav Havel in The Futurist: The need for transcendence in the postmodern world.

“History shows us that metaphysical doctrines have only too often led to intense conflict rather than increased harmony,” says Cornish.

“Up to now, the social sciences have been poorly supported and often corrupted by ideologies and special interests, but that could change in the future. . . . the new electronic technologies offer enormous possibilities for helping people to communicate constructively across frontiers, to access the most accurate and up-to-date information, and to understand each other better than at any time in the past. . . . The belief that ‘Only a God can save us now’ is, at bottom, only an excuse for doing little or nothing to save ourselves.”

The belief that ‘Only a God can save us now’ is, at bottom, only an excuse for doing little or nothing to save ourselves
The belief that ‘Only a God can save us now’ is, at bottom, only an excuse for doing little or nothing to save ourselves

Cornish is right about that. People are either at cause or at effect. Waiting for someone to save us is a copout and the essence of being at effect. People's lives either run them, or they run their lives. Existentially, to be or not to be is the central issue since to be people must seize the day and run their lives. The statement that life is what happens while we're making other plans is true except it connotes being at effect and determinism. At cause people are conscious and they become that way by being choosers. At effect people let circumstances or other people do their choosing for them, so they lack consciousness.

The sciences have, in many ways, become the whores of politicians and corporations
The sciences have, in many ways, become the whores of politicians and corporations

The sciences have, in many ways, become the whores of politicians and corporations. The think tanks influence both what research gets done and what the conclusions end up being. Corporations and foundations pay the bills, guided by think tank ideology, religious ideology, or simple greed. Too many Americans realize this. The result is that people that used to consult the "objective" knowledge of the sciences often end up seeking life's answers in churches, from psychics, from fortune tellers, from acquaintances, or from radical dogma websites online.

People that used to consult the 'objective' knowledge of the sciences often end up seeking life's answers in churches, from psychics, or from fortune tellers
People that used to consult the 'objective' knowledge of the sciences often end up seeking life's answers in churches, from psychics, or from fortune tellers

Cornish's hope that the corruption of sciences by ideologies and special interests will be changing in the future shows no sign of being realized. However, the good news is that with search engines it is very easy to find good information on most subjects, and his wish that the Internet could help us "to understand each other better" is also coming true in small ways due to the incredible amounts of communication happening via social networking, IMing, texting, emailing, and chat rooms. (The Internet has lots of great parenting method info available currently—in 2014.)

A smart phone
A smart phone

The communication happening via social networking, IMing, texting, emailing, and chat rooms is in addition to the f2f irl communication and regular phone calls. So the cloud does, after all, have a silver lining, but it's still a cloud for all that. The problem is that surfers have few good ways of separating the good info (like our site) from the propaganda from special interests. Try Carl Sagan's baloney detection kit from his The Demon-Haunted World.

The cloud of corruption of sciences by ideologies has a bit of a silver lining
The cloud of corruption of sciences by ideologies has a bit of a silver lining