The negative impact of the optimistic worldview

Is arts of less importance than cosmology, genetics or medicine? Maybe I am wrong see an engineer as an illiterate blue collar job. Maybe it is more meaningful to understand the redshift of the expanding universe than to have read Virgil’s Aeneid. Does the chemist have a more lasting impact on humanity than the humanist? What mystery is revealed to the enlightened man: does he follow a path of career or does the mysterious road leads him inside his heart?

Few people know the aesthetic of Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet, but many are comforted by the magical entertainment of the images on glass. Is the technology that enables the internet more important than the information it sends around the world?

The question of life, the meaning we attribute to it, and the driving force of history is not a simple linear technological formula. This optimistic liberal view would see the formula of man’s happiness as a two-dimensional graph that moves upward in a straight line as techology progresses. But this would deny the happiness to be found in technologically less advanced or less complex societies. Was man less happy the further back you go in time? This seems unlikely, and if there was to be suspected a linear, reciprocal relationship between the meaning of life and time and technology, it would perhaps be a negative one.

So, although it is justified to assume technology as the driving force of change behind social infrastructures, and thus history, it stands apart from the metaphysical question of meaning. To create meaning in life is not a matter of the technocracy, but a matter of humanism. To be human brings us happiness, to establish our humanity delivers us from the spiral of empty repetition that the mechanical demands of life impose on us. And in contrast to what is so easily assumed, to establish our humanity is not evident. We are not born human in the humanist sense. We are driven by animalistic instincts by nature. It is a life long quest for each man to find the humanity in his heart.

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