Tuesday, 2 February 2016

men without chests, men without hats

Amidst the horrors of World War II which were driven by failed experimentation and ill-informed beliefs that mankind could be perfected through eugenics, author C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) wrote a short treatise called the “Abolition of Man,” though the ablutions Lewis was calling out was in educational reform that sought to eviscerate objectivity and inherent and abiding morals and replace them with more progressive, scientific modes of thought.
Lewis argued that the purpose of pedagogy is no more and no less than imparting right and wrong and not mistaking better for the good, and discarding old value-based systems (such terms are easily turned and spindled) left society groundless (without trunks, chests), and without thought rooted in Nature, philosophy and religion, one might as well pack it up and own to the fact that the goal is abolition of humanity. Though the technology of seventy years ago could not seriously advocate for artificial-intelligence—nor really for genetic-engineering, Lewis’ words of warning were nonetheless prescient and was very much afraid that changes in curricula would create a class of overlords with enough intelligence and insight to manipulate the rest of us. Although on the surface the tyranny and oppression of the few (which seems familiar if not illegitimate) appears quite different from the existential threat of the robot holocaust, but both cases beg that mankind’s hindrance is its own humanity, imperfect, impious and diverse. What do you think? Are we more likely to be devout (as masters) to those matters of our own creation, trusting medicine and machine, more so than the conversant but unreachable age-old ethics that have always accompanied us?