Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The irony of 1945's twin triumphs ...

1945 was , on any account, an extraordinary year, not the least for its twin scientific triumphs.

At the time, it was almost universally held that the Man-made Bomb was the way of an atomic future so bright we'd have to wear shades .

By contrast, 1945's new Microbe-made medicine (natural penicillin) was viewed as but a temporary anomaly, a dusty throw back to the outdated caldron practises of medieval midwives.

But more than a half century later we are no longer so sure of all of this.

Atomic energy has not at all fulfilled its early promise.

Meanwhile, microbiology and biotechnology (descendants of 1945's natural-produced penicillin) have far outshot their 1945 rival, synthetic chemistry.

So today, with 20/20 hindsight, while 1945 can still feel like the apogee of the Modern age,it is also revealed as its very nadir.

Because 1945 is now seen as the birthday of our present post-Modern age.

In which case, Henry Dawson's twin follies of advocating on behalf of small individuals and on behalf of small microbes can be seen as promoting a distinguishing hallmark of postmodernity.

For few of us, under the age of eighty, devote much energy these days to replacing our current rainbow of many small cultures with a return to yesterday's dreary unitary monoculture of constipated WASP-dom.....

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