Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In What Can We Trust?

We here in the U. S. seem to place great trust in progress. We believe that we are better off today than we were a generation before, and we work for a like progress in the future.

But the only “we” that matters when such judgments are made are the current residents of the U.S. But if we wish to speak of the condition of humanity, that “we” should include not just those here but all everywhere. I wonder what our judgment must be about the “progress” the world has made if we so widen our judgment.

Moreover, if we wish to speak of the condition of humanity, we must speak of it not only now, but in the future as well; and I have precisely zero confidence that even here, even in the “enlightened” West, we won’t slip back into barbarism. Many Jews refused to leave Europe even after Hitler’s Germany had by its actions made its intentions clear. They believed that “it” could not happen here. They were wrong. Darkness descends where once there was light. Perhaps for us too the light has begun to fade. The Earth warms because of the pollution we spew. Can you be confident that this won’t so stress economies that the whole world will be thrown into chaos? Islamist extremists seeks to destroy the West. What if New York or LA were to disappear in a mushroom clould? What would be our response? What would be the response to the response?

Even where there is progress, it is fragile. It might be lost. Who can judge the probabilities here? Where in the mundane can you place any trust?

1 comment:

David B. Ellis said...

Life is full of uncertainties. That's the real world we live in whether we like it or not.