Thursday, May 30, 2013

Must Progress inevitably get mightier and wiser ?

During the truly horrible and nasty 1930s and early 1940s, at the apogee of Reductionist Modernity, this idea was the overall global "meta-ideology".

So powerful a meta-ideology that it actually dominated all the ideologies we then took to be widely apart in their worldviews.

Minor variant ideologies we still call fascist/nazi style nationalism , communism, and mixed socialist/capitalist liberal democracy.

Hydro dams and buildings of all sorts, from all ideology zones, got bigger, wider, taller, heavier --- planes and ships and land vehicles got steadily bigger, faster, longer, more long-lunged : mightier.

Streamlined, smooth,sleek, aerodynamic : more athlete-like, more bullet-like.

Fit, very fit.

Business, government and military bureaucracies, from all ideology zones, got bigger and more complex with a lot more specialized and professional subsections : wiser.

During the Great Depression, the idea that Big is Good and Bigger is even Better temporarily replaced even the claim that Greed is Good.

Was this true ?

At least one prominent scientist didn't think so and wrote a popular-styled essay to demonstrate the limits to the idea that bigger was always and inevitably better.

Google "haldane" and "size" and there it pops up, as truly profound and as eye-opening as ever : a still-useful essay on science that was written more than 85 years ago !

This, despite the best possible definition of a professional scientist being 'someone who wouldn't be caught dead reading a science article in their field that is more than eight and half months old' .

Nevertheless, you and I are not science "pros" and we'll read anything useful : J B S Haldane , "On Being The Right Size".

If you are worried at all that our globe is hurling towards an environmental disaster that will make WWII look like pikers, then please, please read this essay.

You'll need it as you fight the DENIERS, who deny there are any limits on the size of a problem that Man's mental powers can beat.....

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