"Tiempos interesantes..." / Cantórbery Cuevas

"Interesting Times..."

The myth of Eternal Progress or of the ascending, desired and necessary control of natural surroundings by man, is relatively recent and consubstantial with modernity.

And according to those who understand, it seems to have been born of the radical rupture—from the peak of exact sciences and technologies—between consciousness and the "exterior world." The circumstances of multiple cultures previous or foreign to the modernity surging with the Renaissance and the conquest of the New World, respond to a different logic, of a harmony operating among reality's different components, including the human, in which none supercedes the others, a logic of participatory consciousness according to Gregory Bateson, or of an oceanic feeling according to Romain Rolland. Sir Francis Bacon, the most notorious exponent of the modern era in its infancy between the XVI and XVII centuries, pompously defines man as a factotum in the social and natural concert, the macho proprietor, the incarnation of the time yet to come.

Before, each time new techniques opened up people's controlling apetites, myths emerged such as the Golem, the artificial man built by the natural man aspiring to be a god, the Semitic anticipation of the wizard's apprentice and doctor Frankenstein's monster. But not since Bacon and Descartes, and most particularly with the establishment of the Royal Society of London as an epitomizing scientific instance in the regulation of celestial and earthly matters, did the spiritual reach such low levels of disdain and loss of prestige among enlightened media.

With the guarantee of the XX and XXI centuries' positivism the task is accomplished twice over: the fragmentation of time and space into infinite particles with a different particular profile, each time more meticulously classified and described, all within a general optic of the division of reality into excluding contraries.

In this manner Western rationalism would be the only valid form of knowing and transforming reality, consecrating for itself once and for all the "Masculine Birth of Time" and privileging analytical rationality above any other different form of apprehending the world of nature: intuitive, poetic, premonitory, magical, of revelation, of submersion...The results of Progress have not been, regrettably or fortunately, those announced, and the confrontational vision of modernity—a possible originary unleashing of many of the externalities (perverse unsought effects) that afflict us—is being revised at its depths even in orthodox scientific media. The pendulum now goes toward the opposite extreme, and an essential irrationalism erupts like a pustule in the most varied fields: political, military, religious, leading, they tell us, to the integral collapse of an exhausted system that includes one and all; every expression of development and progress; capitalism and a XXI century socialism of even more remote futures.

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If such an apocalyptic prognosis is plausible, one could ask oneself what Exterminating Angel has become so enraged with such vehemence against the human species, auguring for us that which the Chinese wish upon their most hated fellow being in moments of anger: "interesting times..."

{ Cantórbery Cuevas, TalCual, 28 September 2006 }

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