Tuesday 23 May 2017

Why - ultimately - is civilisation intolerable?

I certainly appreciate the benefits of civilisation (indeed I once wrote a book-length 'hymn' to the advantages of the post-industrial revolution); but ultimately the degree of compulsion and distortion of human life (by specialization, partiality, repetition - the need to treat the world as raw material; the need to treat people as 'human resources'...) is probably not possible to justify; and - really - we shouldn't even try.

Perhaps it was acceptable and spiritually advantageous for Man to have a period of this kind of thinking, knowing, being... but any such advantages were exhausted long before the end of the 19th century. Since then we have just been digging deeper and deeper into error and desolation.

The predictable consequence is that now - as well as being thoroughly addicted to materialism and distraction; we have accumulated an extra six billion people who would die if humanity was to advance to the kind of life which we ought to be aiming at.

Nonetheless - let not the good become the enemy of the best! Let's not idealise the tyranny of civilisation. 

Note: The above was partly stimulated by reflecting on the social policies advocated by Rudolf Steiner - such as the 'threefold' organisation of society and the Waldorf schools. What strikes me about these is the mismatch between Steiner's soaring and open-ended vision of humans enaged in becoming gods by the evolution of consciousness through vast timescales on the one hand; and on the other his elaborate schemes and plans for making states and schools just a little bit better... 

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