May 11, 2007

The Arrogance of Angels

I remember watching Cosmos: A Personal Voyage and Carl Sagan speaking about the destruction of Alexandria. He spoke of the library there and described how it has gone up in flames, then spoke of the lost of many books. I felt loss and wonder if there were any copies somewhere else in the ancient world or would anyone know. Then many years later Henry Louis Gates Jr. did a televised tour, Wonders of the African the World and one of the places he visited was Timbuktu in Mali. He found the place that had extremely old books. They were so old; it looked as if they would disintegrate if you blew on them. I wanted to know what was in all those books; to know what knowledge Africa possessed before. Science, mathematics and philosophy in the minds of ancients; we know some of it and yet, even what is known, it is not common knowledge.

Even though there is a debate over evolution, there is the sense among many people that they are different than the ancients. They have moved closer to angels. Their knowledge is almost perfect, they are closer to Eden and science and technology will propagate new science and technology forever. I see these people seeing themselves as angels. They have arrived at the top of the evolutionary scale. Their knowledge is possessed by Western Civilization exclusively, as these angels would see it. Thinking they are the first in creation, their ego destroys the world as they move about it. When we saw this in the extreme, they were called Nazis.

Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001; it is has become common for the angels to discuss their superior civilization, culture, religion and ethics. Since there is no understanding of the enemy and fear; others who do may not consider themselves angels, accept the angel’s knowledge as fact. The fear of others; any others has taken over their psyche. This knowledge has thrown a veil of safety in loathing and not on terrorism. Racism, Social Darwinism, and Eugenics are the new ideas of the 21st century.

Would it be possible to humble the angels with the knowledge of the ancients?


A. said...

Thank you for that link to wonder of the African World. That is such an interesting site I haven't had time to explore it properly, but I've bookmarked it for later.

Whether it is possible to give the knowledge to people who probably don't want to hear, is another matter. But nevertheless information should be made freely available and, who knows, understanding, if not wisdom, may follow.

mark said...

Good post hathor. I believe we should reinvent no wheels. We should learn from the past and our elders because they have expierence.

Also Hathor a new think tank and forum is bieng formed for black people to brainstorm on solutions and how to implement those solutions in favor of our people.

J.B. said...

A very eloquent post, Hathor, and a somber one.

We have become so accustomed to our cyber real-time world (or those parts of it that have access to such technology), that few of us realize that past civilizations flourished or deteriorated independently of one another. While Europe was in the Dark Ages, the Persian mathematicians were refining algebra, which was originally developed by the ancient Babylonians. Of course Western scholars, in their usual ethnocentric manner, assumed that algebra was a discovery of Western civilization.

Your post brought back memories of those fine series on PBS, Cosmos and one of my favorites, The Ascent of Man. Your reference to the view of many that our scientific discoveries and ethical superiority are approaching the pinnacle of knowledge reminded me of one of the final episodes in the Ascent series hosted by Jacob Bronowski. The episode was filmed at the memorial of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The following excerpt is from Bronowski's book, based on the series.

It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the the knowledge of the gods.
Since is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken."
...We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.

Thank you.

Hathor said...

There doesn't seem to be competing thought against the angles. There voices are so loud and dominant.

Glad you came for a visit. I'll check out your link.

One of the labels of this post is "my philosophy". My philosophy has been influenced by the way I was raised, the books I've read and being a couch potato, the TV I've seen; a few college courses too. I remember the series, The Ascent of Man and I liked it very much, but I didn't remember much about it. Just lately have I've been thinking about the subject of my post and now I wonder if that idea was planted many years ago.