Mission Statement

This blog is dedicated to tracking current events and developments that exemplify, support or discredit the
themes of City, Save Thyself! Nuclear Terror and the Urban Ballot.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life Span - Our Glory and Curse

The human glory and curse is life span - too short to gain enough wisdom, short enough not to lock in mistakes. Life span kills us off, but two redeeming qualities ennoble the species - intellect and social instinct. Every newborn is endowed with inventive potential and a collective instinct.

Democracy was invented to make the most of these twin endowments, but the instinct for common cause has been collectivized into group think that defeats the intellect. Intelligence gets overwhelmed by the torrent of entertainment and information that usurp time and attention.

Group think also breaks the chain of empathy, compassion, and cooperation, the hallmarks of social instinct.

The hope remains that, destructive as the past has been, new folks will do it differently if even a few think hard enough about what to do instead of surrendering to what’s wrong. It can go the other way, though, if in any generation too few lay the groundwork for the doing that takes generations.

John Adams once wrote: “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study paintings, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” (McCullough, p. 236)

I doubt Adams meant that politics, war, and mathematics ever would be dispensed with. The necessity for generations to build on one another is the point. We have lost sight of what the Founders saw so very well.

1 comment:

  1. When we fail to continue to educate ourselves, much less evaluate our sources of education and 'information' - and adopt "group think" (which surely is typical of most in our society) - then we are totally, sheep - the herd animals that parrot one another as they head for the chute and slaughter. I had so hoped people would have come full circle and become enlightened. My own expiration date approaches and I only feel exasperation now - no longer feel frustration... I often wonder if some of the men I know personally - ever realize my personal take on their uninformed state?