CIVILIZATION CANNOT BE PERFECTED
by Marshall Lentini
CIVILIZATION CANNOT BE PERFECTED, by Marshall Lentini
A brief, aphoristic thesis on the heuristic biases involved in thinking about the material constraints upon, and the ultimate fate of, civilization.
We are all accustomed to thinking of civilization, the material conditions of our lives, as eternal — an unspoken assumption that because it’s always been this way, why wouldn’t it be forever?
Our living conditions have improved steadily over several generations, with great leaps within living memory, so surely we will keep finding ways to improve our material civilization.
But is it really so? Has anyone thought about it in depth? What if no one has? What if we can’t think about it?
What if everyone is wrong?
While thinking of alternatives to the “unsustainable” aspects of civilization may be strictly logical, the mental process of this thinking consists of taking various aspects of reality out of context and violating historicity, the progression of which is civilization. In other words, the ideology of “progress” functions rather as one remembers a dream — a few salient images are remembered, the rest forgotten.
The quixotic fixation on dei ex machinis can never account for the totality of factors because it proceeds from one factor or another, which it magnifies as having generated the totality — the easier to imagine that the totality is not accidental, but constructed, thus amenable to correction.
But there is no “context” outside of civilization. Any mental image of how this or that organism would prefer things to be arises from the conditions of civilization, and reduces to its feelings about its place therein.