(1) Some minor dental surgery has wonked me out. No news today, ‘less’n’ you go and look for it yerself.
(2) A minor offering, dreamt up during some sleepless hours with a throbbing jaw.
Canadian philosopher George Grant remarked that modernity is all about making (‘techne’ in the Greek)– if we have a problem, we fix it by making something– even if it means we’re making something to fix a problem previous technology (which we made) actually caused. Says Grant:
What makes Nietzsche such a pivotal thinker in the West is that he redefined “will” to make it consonant with modern science. “Will” comes to mean in modernity that power over ourselves and everything else which is itself the very enhancement of life, or, call it if you will, “quality of life.” Truth, beauty, and goodness have become simply subservient to it.
The recent news that daily-dose chemical birth-prevention medication (The Pill) may actually short-circuit a woman’s own hormonal radar for seeking a genetically compatible mate– well, that’s one such problem with our making.
Desired: control over birth, without resort to less reliable means like condoms, or morally questionable means like aborting the pre-born child.
Consequences: a sexual free-for-all, sexual ‘freedom’ for woman; sexual irresponsibility for men, and a disconnect between baby-making activity and babies, even for people who seek to procreate; te destabilization of marriage, and less security for women and children in unstable modern relationships.
Aside from other side-effects of The Pill (like stroke, blood-clots, death), we have the more recently discovered ‘side-effect’ that some fertilizations take place up to 3-5% of the time, but the baby cannot implant.. spontaneous abortions. Read that again. Baby-loss 100% likely, every 20-25 cycles for those using the pill.
Now, we have the hormonal radar ‘side-effect’ which means (a) for 45+ years, women’s own natural mate-finding gifts have been swamped with artificial hormones. If this is true, then to some extent: Wrong or less suitable mates ensue; less happy marriages; less diverse and suitable offspring; divorce; broken homes; all because a well-intentioned chemical had endless unforeseen side-effects.
Or, rather, our civilization, which fears no amount of tinkering despite any possible range of unintended consequences (including incalculable human suffering and death) is infinitely confident in the power of our ‘techne‘, our making of ourselves by scientific power. Imagine what the geneticists and life-extenders and nano-technologists are getting into.
Enter: Our Betters
It’s not much different in the arena of humans practicing the remaking of society and exercising making & remaking power over other people (not usually including their own wise and perfect selves). HRCS, socialist government policy, nanny-statism: it’s all about taking the technical mindset, and applying it to people, even though people and their institutions are not things, or rats in a cage. Endless unintended consequences ensue, as our masters ask us to trust them, no matter the evidence that nobody should have the power to be– as C.S. Lewis called it– an omnipotent moral busybody.
The more we imagine ourselves wise, the more it seems we are not; the more we imagine ourselves into new and better Utopian futures, the more we make dystopia our likely destination.
After all, both Sauron and Saruman originally had the best of intentions for Middle Earth; one wanted order, the other sought to rule by wisdom. Both ended up monsters, in their own hells on earth. They took their eyes off God, goodness, truth, and love.. and so lost everything.