The Abolition of Man

Science, the holy grail of comprehension, despite being incomprehensible for many, still accepted with open arms. For most, science is that which generates knowledge. After all, art or philosophy didn’t bring us to outer space. Altruism never cured cancer and a poem never moved an aeroplane through the sky. Science did it, and science did it well. Much of what we appreciate about modern life had to be discovered, researched and explained. To deny that Science has been a blessing for humanity would be blind and arrogant. But to deny that science is not a blessing alone would be so too. Blessing and curse usually go hand in hand. Whatever possesses potential can create and destroy.  The latter looms particularly when we try to explain and understand the things which should better be admired. We live in times, in which science desires to explain everything. The result isn’t truth but an explainable abstraction of reality. Every time we break something down, we make it smaller. How much is lost, if love turns into hormones, if kids into an evolutionary success, if God becomes a fairytale and the human being a brain-machine? By this, do we discover how the world really is like, or do we make the world into something that we can explain? And what happens if everything is explained, including the explanation and the one who is giving it? C.S. Lewis has a worthwhile answer to the question:

“You cannot go on seeing through things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent,  because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to see through’ first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see” -C.S. Lewis (the abolition of man)

Explanations might be helpful to treat the sick, to shoot rockets to the moon or to make our smartphones smarter. But if we want to explain man, then we have to naturalize him. If humanity is sacrificed on the altar of naturalism for the sake of explanation the question remains who is to profit from it?

More from C.S. Lewis on the topic:



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