Sunday, March 30, 2014

Something's Not Right

I just finished re-watching Sagan's "Cosmos" after many years, and it's left me feeling rather depressed.

Not because of the series itself, but because of the betrayal of the hope that underlay Sagan's exposition. His concern was nuclear obliteration, but he did not seem to foresee the appalling, and to me incomprehensible, rise in popular mysticism and fanatical religion since then, and the equally incomprehensible resurgence in parochial nationalism and bigotry; we seem to be as far as ever from any kind of global unity in spite of being in possession of technology that should be enabling it. Sexist misogyny seems to be a lot more acceptable than it was not so long ago. Politicians are fostering a deep suspicion of science and education — the so-called "intellectual elite".

It all feels like a terrible slip backwards, a negation of so much hope and progress.

Some things have surely improved, but back in 1984 I surely would not have thought the religious ignorant and the mindless, amorally patriotic could have gained so much traction over the next few decades. I can only hope that their wretched flailings are just another death-spasm — for their own vicious delusions, hopefully, and not for all of us together.

I cannot help but feel a profound contempt for those who wilfully choose ignorance and dogma over learning and discovery. They are a poison in the body of humanity, and cannot — MUST not — be allowed to prevail.