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Emergence of the Sharing Economy

Jeremy Rifkin
458 views - Jan 27, 2016

Topics covered include the sharing economy, zero marginal cost and the three "internets" of the future that drive us towards a new economy. These are the information internet, the energy internet, and the internet of things. Covered in this talk is Germany as the leading beacon of light for the energy transition to renewable energy and now being copied by China. What is not made clear by Rifkin is that this revolution, the solar revolution, was architected by Herman Scheer and is well documented in books like the Solar Economy that Scheer wrote based on is many years as a parliamentarian in Germany creating the economic levers that made this possible through the feed-in tariff system. Critically, at the end, Rifkin makes a clear call for the critical need for rapid action without delay. He calls for the end of the fossil fuel companies in order to save the world from climate change destruction, and makes the case for a more resilient and fufilling economy based on renewable distributed energy. He also links this to energy democracy, so critical to real democracy, again a key concept developed by Herman Scheer, but who Rifkin does not reference nor acknowledge as he should. Another important point made is that the 2008 financial collapse was a result and not a cause. The cause of the 2008 financial crisis was the price of a barrel of oil reaching $140 per barrel four months before the financial crash. Renewable energy is critical to preventing this kind of economic disruption in the future.

Slaying the Dragon Within Us

Jordan Peterson
561 views - Jan 15, 2016

The world can be validly construed as a forum for action, as well as a place of things. We describe the world as a place of things, using the formal methods of science. The techniques of narrative, however – myth, literature, and drama portray the world as a forum for action. The two forms of representation have been unnecessarily set at odds, because we have not yet formed a clear picture of their respective domains. The domain of the former is the objective world what is, from the perspective of intersubjective perception. The domain of the latter is the world of value what is and what should be, from the perspective of emotion and action. The world as forum for action is composed, essentially, of three constituent elements, which tend to manifest themselves in typical patterns of metaphoric representation. First is unexplored territory – the Great Mother, nature, creative and destructive, source and final resting place of all determinate things. Second is explored territory - the Great Father, culture, protective and tyrannical, cumulative ancestral wisdom. Third is the process that mediates between unexplored and explored territory - the Divine Son,the archetypal individual, creative exploratory Word and vengeful adversary. We are adapted to this world of divine characters, much as the objective world. The fact of this adaptation implies that the environment is in reality a forum for action, as well as a place of things. - Jordan Peterson - Maps of Meaning - The Architecture of Belief

Bionics, Transhumanism, and the end of Evolution

John Wilson
562 views - Jan 11, 2016

Documentary video on transhumanism, bionics and the future. Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and creating widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.[1][1][2] Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as the ethics of using such technologies.[3] The most common thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.[2] The contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught "new concepts of the human" at The New School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and worldviews "transitional" to posthumanity as "transhuman".[4] This hypothesis would lay the intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990 and organizing in California an intelligentsia that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.[4][5][6] The year 1990 is seen as a "fundamental shift" in human existence by the transhuman community, as the first gene therapy trial,[7] the first designer babies,[8] as well as the mind-augmenting World Wide Web all emerged in that year. In many ways, one could argue the conditions that will eventually lead to the Singularity were set in place by these events in 1990.[original research?] Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives including philosophy and religion.[4] Transhumanism has been characterized by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as among the world's most dangerous ideas,[9] to which Ronald Bailey countered that it is rather the "movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative and idealistic aspirations of humanity".[10]

The Power of the Powerless

Václav Havel
3,870 views - Jun 10, 2015

Václav Havel: The Power of the Powerless To the memory of Jan Patocka "The Power of the Powerless" (October 1978) was originally written ("quickly," Havel said later) as a discussion piece for a projected joint Polish Czechoslovak volume of essays on the subject of freedom and power. All the participants were to receive Havel's essay, and then respond to it in writing. Twenty participants were chosen on both sides, but only the Czechoslovak side was completed. Meanwhile, in May 1979, some of the Czechoslovak contributors who were also members of VONS (the Committee to Defend the Unjustly Prosecuted), including Havel, were arrested, and it was decided to go ahead and "publish" the Czechoslovak contributions separately. Havel's essay has had a profound impact on Eastern Europe. Here is what Zbygniew Bujak, a Solidarity activist, told me: "This essay reached us in the Ursus factory in 1979 at a point when we felt we were at the end of the road. Inspired by KOR [the Polish Workers' Defense Committee], we had been speaking on the shop floor, talking to people, participating in public meetings, trying to speak the truth about the factory, the country, and politics. There came a moment when people thought we were crazy. Why were we doing this? Why were we taking such risks? Not seeing any immediate and tangible results, we began to doubt the purposefulness of what we were doing. Shouldn’t we be coming up with other methods, other ways? "Then came the essay by Havel. Reading it gave us the theoretical underpinnings for our activity. It maintained our spirits; we did not give up, and a year later-in August ig8o-it became clear that the party apparatus and the factory management were afraid of us. We mattered. And the rank and file saw us as leaders of the movement. When I look at the victories of Solidarity, and of Charter 77, I see in them an astonishing fulfillment of the prophecies and knowledge contained in Havel's essay." Translated by Paul Wilson, "The Power of the Powerless" has appeared several times in English, foremost in The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe, edited by John Keane, with an Introduction by Steven Lukes (London: Hutchinson, 1985). That volume includes a selection of nine other essays from the original Czech and Slovak collection.

The Root Is Man

Dwight Macdonald
1,163 views - Jun 3, 2015

It took Macdonald two years to write “The Root Is Man.” The scope of the essay intimidated him. He also had other demands on his time such as writing, editing, proofreading and publishing politics. Politics never had more than 5,000 subscribers. They were the first to read one of the most remarkable American intellectual journals of the twentieth century. Although this is not the place for a full evaluation of politics, one can get a sense of its uniqueness by listing some of its writers: Simone Weil, Albert Camus, Victor Serge, Georges Bataille, Jean-Paul Satre, Karl Jaspers, George Woodcock, Mary McCarthy, John Berryman, Robert Duncan, Paul Mattick, Bruno Bettleheim, George Padmore, Meyer Shapiro, Simone de Beauvoir, Paul Goodman, James Agee, Marshall McLuhan, Richard Hofstadter, Irving Howe, Nicola Chiaromonte, Lionel Abel, Andrea Caffi and C. Wright Mills. There were four remarkable women in the politics circle. Most important was Nancy Macdonald who managed the journal’s business affairs while at the same time running various relief efforts to aid veterans of the Spanish Civil War and victims of Nazism. (The breakup of the Macdonalds’ marriage in 1949 would be a major factor in the decision to stop publishing politics.) Another organizer of politics, Mary McCarthy, was one of Macdonald’s closest allies in the libertarian left. (It was McCarthy who translated Simone Weil’s famous essay on Homer’s Iliad.) Hannah Arendt (while not writing for politics) became one of Macdonald’s most important co-conspirators. In the late 1960’s, Arendt would write the introduction to a reprint edition of the complete set of politics. Yet the most powerful intellectual influence on the journal was Simone Weil, whose critique of violence and essay on Homer had been brought to Macdonald’s attention by Nicola Chiaromonte, a Spanish civil war vet, anti-Fascist exile, and one of Macdonald’s closest friends. Through Chiaromonte, the thought of Simone Weil was first introduces to America in the pages of politics. Politics also covered such issues as the suppression of the Greek insurrection, the anti-French insurgency in Indochina, America’s refusal to aid the starving people of Europe, the question of the Soviet Union, the American civil rights struggle, the need for equal treatment of homosexuals, the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, attacks on mass culture as studies on Max Weber, de Tocqueville, Utopian Socialists like Charles Fourier and anarchists such as Proudhon and Godwin. One could order from politics Anton Ciliga’s The Russian Enigma (which has a major impact on Macdonald), Alexander Berkman’s The ABC of Anarchism, Camillo Berneri’s Peter Kropotkin’s Federal Ideas, Jomo Kenyatta’s Kenya, Land of Conflicts, Leo Tolstoy’s The Slavery of our Times, George Woodcock’s New Life to the Land, Raymond Michelet’s African Empires and Civilizations, Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism and Rosa Luxemburg’s Letters from Prison. Politics spoke to radicals who rejected both Stalin and Trotsky but who were equally intransigent in opposing capitalism. Politics was part of a larger anti-totalitarian anarchist, pacifist and independent Marxist milieu that existed in the late 1940’s before the pressures of the Cold War rigidified political discourse for years to come. Other anarchist journals like Resistance and Retort in America and George Woodcock’s Now in England echoed many of politics’ themes, as did two classic books of that time: Animal Farm and 1984, by politics fellow traveller George Orwell. Forums in New York around ideas politics discussed drew significant audiences. many of politics’ most active supporters were leftwing conscientious objectors influenced by Ghandi’s massive civil disobedience movement in India. It was out of this ferment that “The Root Is Man” emerged, the most famous essay in a series of critical pieces which appeared under the banner “New Roads in Politics.” This essay caused an immediate storm. One lengthy rebuttal by Irving Howe (then a Workers Party member who worked for Macdonald in the politics office) called “The Thirteenth Disciple” asked: Where is one to begin in a reply to Macdonald? His forty page article is a grab-bag of modern confusionism; a pinch of Proudhon; a whiff of pacifism; a nod to existentialism; a bow to Wilhelm Reich, founder of the “psychology of the orgasm”; a few scrappings from the anarchists; a touch of philosophical idealism and a large debt to that illustrious thinker, Paul Goodman. Years later, in A Margin of Hope, Howe had eased up a bit; The Root Is Man...(is) in many ways the most poignant and authentic expression of the plight of those few intellectuals — Nicola Chiaromonte, Paul Goodman, Macdonald — who wished to disassociate themselves from the post-war turn to Realpolitik but could not find ways of transforming sentiments of rectitude and visions of utopia into a workable politics. Yet reading “The Root Is Man” today is no mere exercise in nostalgia. Macdonald raised issues that, almost 50 years later, have become even more critical. Macdonald’s assault on the scientific model of thinking echoed Frankfurt School critiques of instrumental reason. Macdonald, however, located Marxism itself in the general crisis of Enlightenment thought. For that alone, “The Root Is Man” is extraordinary. Other crucial issues raised by Macdonald included the question of active resistance to unfettered growth and the need for economic decentralization coupled with political democracy. He also took up the question of reification, citing George Lukács (not a household name is 1946) to argue that, in the concept of alienation, Marxism made its most powerful critique of the human condition under capital. The issue of reification and the damaging effect of mass culture that so concerned Macdonald would appear again in the mid-60’s Situationist polemic against the “society of the spectacle” whose roots in dissident Western Marxism can be found in “The Root Is Man” and politics in general. Above all, Macdonald was most concerned with the way we organize our daily political action. His insight into how mass socialist and communist parties reproduce the same deadening effect on the individual as other forms of bourgeois organization rings true today: What is not so generally understood is that the traditional progressive approach, taking history as the starting-point and thinking in terms of mass political parties, bases itself on this same alienation of man which it thinks it is combating. It puts the individual in the same powerless, alienated role vis-à-vis the party or trade union as the manipulators of the modern State do, except that the slogans are different.... The brutal fact is that the man in the street everywhere is quite simply bored with socialism, as expounded by the Socialist, Stalinist, and Trotskyist epigones of Marx... Above all, he feels that there is no interest in it for him, as an individual human being — that he is as powerless and manipulated vis-à-vis his socialist mass-organization as he is towards his capitalist employers and their social and legal institutions. As soon as “The Root Is Man” was published it came under immediate fire for denying the viability of class struggle. the other major criticism of “The Root Is Man” was its stress on absolute values transcending history. In fact, only two years after publication of his essay, Macdonald abandoned one of the absolutes he had endorsed (radical pacifism) in the wake of what he saw as Stalin’s threat to the West during the Berlin Crisis. Along with the 1948 Berlin Crisis and the assassination of Gandhi that same year, the general threat of a new world war deeply depressed Macdonald and contributed to his marital breakup. Attempts by the politics network to organize groups in Europe and communes here also failed. Politics finally ceased publication in 1949. Macdonald’s fierce anti-communist and sense of doom as the radical movement fell apart led him into the ranks of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), a group supported by many leading anti-Stalinist left-intellectuals. Years later Macdonald would discover the CIA’s role in funding the CCF and its journals like Encounter.(See Appendix D for a further discussion of Macdonald and the CCF.) While Macdonald throughout the 1950’s attacked McCarthyism, he focused more and more on the need to make a living both as a staff writer for The new Yorker and freelance journalist. Yet even during the dog days of the Eisenhower-Nixon era, Macdonald continued to give radical talks on campuses. One of his favorite themes was the relevance of anarchy. While Macdonald no longer considered the abolition of private property necessary, his take on anarchism (in Memoirs of a Revolutionist) is still striking: It was odd that anarchism took no root in the thirties, considering (1) the American temperament, lawless and individualistic, (2) the American anarchist tradition, from Benjamin Tucker to the Wobblies, and (3) that anarchism gave a better answer to the real modern problem, the encroachment of the State, than did Marxism, which was revolutionary only about bourgeois private property (not a real issue anymore) and was thoroughly reactionary on the question of the State. But (3) also explains Marxism’s popularity (though it doesn’t justify it): while the centralized State is the chief danger now to freedom, it is also necessary to the operation of a mass society based on large-scale industry. Thus Marxism is “practical,” since it fits into the status quo — as in Soviet Russia — while anarchism is “impractical” because it threatens it. The revolutionary alternative to the status quo today is not collectivized property administered by a “workers’ state” whatever that means, but some kind of anarchist decentralization that will break up mass society into small communities where individuals can live together as variegated human beings instead of as impersonal units in the mass sum....Marxism glorifies “the masses” and endorses the State. Anarchism leads back to the individual and the community, which is “impractical” but necessary — that is to say, it is revolutionary. In the mid-1950’s the thaw in Russia after Stalin’s death and the Twentieth Party Congress slowly rejuvenated Macdonald. Although he always remained a strong anti-communist, Macdonald no longer saw the USSR as a more advanced version of Hitler’s Germany. In 1960, Macdonald became active as a civil libertarian in the cases of Morton Sobell (a supposed member of the supposed Rosenberg spy ring) and Junius Scales, another Communist sent to prison under the Smith Act. Macdonald also became an early member of the New Left and spoke at the closing session of the first national convention of SDS in 1960. Meanwhile “The Root Is Man” was rediscovered by a new generation of activists. Macdonald’s critical support of student radicals culminated in his speaking at the “Counter Commencement” held at Columbia during the 1968 strike. Macdonald’s activism also led him to participate in a picket line outside the Waldorf-Astoria to protest the war in Vietnam. The year was 1963, a time when most Americans could not find Vietnam on a map. Later, in 1967, Macdonald played an important role (with Robert Lowell and Norman Mailer) in the first big peace march on the Pentagon. Macdonald’s radicalism was in striking contrast not just to National Review editor James Burnham but to Workers Party leader Max Shachtman who by this time had become a major behind-the-scenes advisor to the AFL-CIO on both domestic and foreign policy. At various demos, Macdonald would sometimes bump into young SWP activists who delighted in reminding the old factionalist that his current views were not so dissimilar to theirs. “Even a broken watch occasionally tells the right time,” Macdonald would grumble in response. Dwight Macdonald died in 1982. Nietzsche defined nihilism as a situation where “everything is permitted,” and today we might add “for the right price.” Our time has also spawned a series of Jihads against the New World Order. There is now a frantic search for absolutes, foundational principles, a search which inspires religious fundamentalists of the Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Moslem variety as well as those who kill for an inscribed ethnic or national identity to build their racial Utopias. Contrasted to them are the efficient, orderly, passionless, non-smoking, technologically advanced killing machines of the West. In just such a world it is long past time to rediscover individualist-centered radical thought from America’s rich tradition as well as thinkers as different as Fourier, Stirner, Kropotkin and Nietzsche. While the insights of Marxism must continue to inform our actions, we must also be aware of its glaring weaknesses. It is again time to take seriously the brilliant battle-cry that concludes Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism: “The new Individualism is the new Hellenism.” Quoting Wilde is especially appropriate in concluding a discussion of “The Root Is Man” because Macdonald’s essay is also an attempt to reclaim the spirit of art itself, its values and legislative rights, and to explore the link between the aesthetic and moral sphere. Macdonald captures the necessity for a world that imagination, a renewed capacity to envision the world that makes the very idea of revolt meaningful. Although T.S. Elliot was a tremendous admirer of politics, Macdonald does not believe that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world: he does insist that if the oppressed are ever to rule themselves we must reignite the utopian spark that mass society relentlessly seeks to subvert, co-opt or destroy. Of course the terminally hip will scorn any analysis that takes seriously such Philosophy 101 questions as “How Do We Live Today?” that so tortured Macdonald. But for me, “flighty Dwighty” Macdonald still speaks and no more brilliantly than in “The Root Is Man,” one of the great lost classics of American radicalism.

Democracy in America

Alexis De Tocqueville
1,144 views - May 31, 2015

In Democracy in America, published in 1835, Tocqueville wrote of the New World and its burgeoning democratic order. Observing from the perspective of a detached social scientist, Tocqueville wrote of his travels through America in the early 19th century when the market revolution, Western expansion, and Jacksonian democracy were radically transforming the fabric of American life.[3] One purpose of writing Democracy in America, according to Joshua Kaplan, was to help the people of France get a better understanding of their position between a fading aristocratic order and an emerging democratic order, and to help them sort out the confusion.[3] Tocqueville saw democracy as an equation that balanced liberty and equality, concern for the individual as well as for the community. Tocqueville was an ardent supporter of liberty. He wrote "I have a passionate love for liberty, law, and respect for rights”, he wrote. “I am neither of the revolutionary party nor of the conservative...Liberty is my foremost passion.” He wrote of "Political Consequences of the Social State of the Anglo-Americans" by saying "But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom".[11] His view on government reflects his belief in liberty and the need for individuals to be able to act freely while respecting others' rights. Of centralized government, he wrote that it "excels in preventing, not doing."[12] He continues to comment on equality by saying "Furthermore, when citizens are all almost equal, it becomes difficult for them to defend their independence against the aggressions of power. As none of them is strong enough to fight alone with advantage, the only guarantee of liberty is for everyone to combine forces. But such a combination is not always in evidence."[13] The above is often misquoted as a slavery quote due to previous translations of the French text. The most recent translation from Arthur Goldhammer in 2004 translates the meaning to be as stated above. Examples of misquoted sources are numerous on the internet;[14] the text does not contain the words "Americans were so enamored by equality" anywhere. Tocqueville explicitly cites inequality as being incentive for poor to become rich, and notes that it is not often that two generations within a family maintain success, and that it is inheritance laws that split and eventually break apart someone's estate that cause a constant cycle of churn between the poor and rich, thereby over generations making the poor rich and rich poor. He cites protective laws in France at the time that protected an estate from being split apart amongst heirs, thereby preserving wealth and preventing a churn of wealth such as was perceived by him in 1835 within the United States of America.

Family Happiness

Leo Tolstoy
832 views - May 21, 2015

The story concerns the love and marriage of a young girl, Mashechka (17 years old), and the much older Sergey Mikhaylych (36), an old family friend. The story is narrated by Masha. After a courtship that has the trappings of a mere family friendship, Masha's love grows and expands until she can no longer contain it. She reveals it to Sergey Mikhaylych and discovers that he also is deeply in love. If he has resisted her it was because of his fear that the age difference between them would lead the very young Masha to tire of him. He likes to be still and quiet, he tells her, while she will want to explore and discover more and more about life. Ecstatically and passionately happy, the pair immediately engages to be married. Once married they move to Mikhaylych's home. They are both members of the landed Russian upper class. Masha soon feels impatient with the quiet order of life on the estate, notwithstanding the powerful understanding and love that remains between the two. To assuage her anxiety, they decide to spend a few weeks in St. Petersburg. Sergey Mikhaylych agrees to take Masha to an aristocratic ball. He hates "society" but she is enchanted with it. They go again, and then again. She becomes a regular, the darling of the countesses and princes, with her rural charm and her beauty. Sergey Mikhaylych, at first very pleased with Petersburg society's enthusiasm for his wife, frowns on her passion for "society"; but he does not try to influence Masha. Out of respect for her, Sergey Mikhaylych will scrupulously allow his young wife to discover the truth about the emptiness and ugliness of "society" on her own. But his trust in her is damaged as he watches how dazzled she is by this world. Finally they confront each other about their differences. They argue but do not treat their conflict as something that can be resolved through negotiation. Both are shocked and mortified that their intense love has suddenly been called into question. Something has changed. Because of pride, they both refuse to talk about it. The trust and the closeness are gone. Only courteous friendship remains. Masha yearns to return to the passionate closeness they had known before Petersburg. They go back to the country. Though she gives birth to children and the couple has a good life, she despairs. They can barely be together by themselves. Finally she asks him to explain why he did not try to guide and direct her away from the balls and the parties in Petersburg. Why did they lose their intense love? Why don't they try to bring it back? His answer is not the answer she wants to hear, but it settles her down and prepares her for a long life of comfortable "Family Happiness".


Frederic H. Hedge
1,115 views - May 19, 2015

When I contemplate the world as it is, independently of any command, there manifests itself in my interior the wish, the longing, no! not a longing merely—the absolute demand for a better world. I cast a glance at the relations of men to one another and to Nature, at the weakness of their powers, at the strength of their appetites and passions. It cries to me irresistibly from my innermost soul: "Thus it cannot possibly be destined always to remain. It must, O it must all become other and better!" I can in no wise imagine to myself the present condition of man as that which is designed to endure. I cannot imagine it to be his whole and final destination. If so, then would everything be dream and delusion, and it would not be worth the trouble to have lived and to have taken part in this ever-recurring, aimless, and unmeaning game. Only so far as I can regard this condition as the means of something better, as a point of transition to a higher and more perfect, does it acquire any value for me. Not on its own account, but on account of something better for which it prepares the way, can I bear it, honor it, and joyfully fulfil my part in it. My mind can find no place, nor rest a moment, in the present; it is irresistibly repelled by it. My whole life streams irrepressibly on toward the future and better. Am I only to eat and to drink that I may hunger and thirst again, and again eat and drink, until the grave, yawning beneath my feet, swallows me up, and I myself spring up as food from the ground? Am I to beget beings like myself, that they also may eat and drink and die, and leave behind them beings like themselves, who shall do the same that I have done? To what purpose this circle which perpetually returns into itself; this game forever recommencing, after the same manner, in which everything is born but to perish, and perishes but to be born again as it was; this monster which forever devours itself that it may produce itself again, and which produces itself that it may again devour itself? Never can this be the destination of my being and of all being. There must be something which exists because it has been brought forth, and which now remains and can never be brought forth again after it has been brought forth once. And this, that is permanent, must beget itself amid the mutations of the perishing, and continue amid those mutations, and be borne along unhurt upon the waves of time. As yet our race wrings with difficulty its sustenance and its continuance from reluctant Nature. As yet the larger portion of mankind are bowed down their whole life long by hard labor, to procure sustenance for themselves and the few who think for them. Immortal spirits are compelled to fix all their thinking and scheming, and all their efforts, on the soil which bears them nourishment. It often comes to pass as yet, that when the laborer has ended, and promises himself, for his pains, the continuance of his own existence and of those pains, then hostile elements destroy in a moment what he had been slowly and carefully preparing for years, and delivers up the industrious painstaking man, without any fault of his own, to hunger and misery. It often comes to pass as yet, that inundations, storm-winds, volcanoes, desolate whole countries, and mingle works which bear the impress of a rational mind, as well as their authors, with the wild chaos of death and destruction. Diseases still hurry men into a premature grave, men in the bloom of their powers, and children whose existence passes away without fruit or result. The pestilence still stalks through blooming states, leaves the few who escape it bereaved and alone, deprived of the accustomed aid of their companions, and does all in its power to give back to the wilderness the land which the industry of man had already conquered for its own. So it is, but so it cannot surely have been intended always to remain. No work which bears the impress of reason, and which was undertaken for the purpose of extending the dominion of reason, can be utterly lost in the progress of the times. The sacrifices which the irregular violence of Nature draws from reason must at least weary, satisfy, and reconcile that violence. The force which has caused injury by acting without rule cannot be intended to do so in that way any longer, it cannot be destined to renew itself; it must be used up, from this time forth and forever, by that one outbreak. All those outbreaks of rude force, before which human power vanishes into nothing—those desolating hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, can be nothing else but the final struggle of the wild mass against the lawfully progressive, life-giving, systematic course to which it is compelled, contrary to its own impulse. They can be nothing but the last concussive strokes in the formation of our globe, now about to perfect itself. That opposition must gradually become weaker and at last exhausted, since, in the lawful course of things, there can be nothing that should renew its power. That formation must at last be perfected, and our destined abode complete. Nature must gradually come into a condition in which we can count with certainty upon her equal step, and in which her power shall keep unaltered a definite relation with that power which is destined to govern it, that is, the human. So far as this relation already exists and the systematic development of Nature has gained firm footing, the workmanship of man, by its mere existence and its effects, independent of any design on the part of the author, is destined to react upon Nature and to represent in her a new and life-giving principle. Cultivated lands are to quicken and mitigate the sluggish, hostile atmosphere of the eternal forests, wildernesses, and morasses. Well-ordered and diversified culture is to diffuse through the air a new principle of life and fructification, and the sun to send forth its most animating beams into that atmosphere which is breathed by a healthy, industrious, and ingenious people. Science, awakened, at first, by the pressure of necessity, shall hereafter penetrate deliberately and calmly into the unchangeable laws of Nature, overlook her whole power, and learn to calculate her possible developments—shall form for itself a new Nature in idea, attach itself closely to the living and active, and follow hard upon her footsteps. And all knowledge which reason has wrung from Nature shall be preserved in the course of the times and become the foundation of further knowledge, for the common understanding of our race. Thus shall Nature become ever more transparent and penetrable to human perception, even to its innermost secrets. And human power, enlightened and fortified with its inventions, shall rule her with ease and peacefully maintain the conquest once effected. By degrees, there shall be needed no greater outlay of mechanical labor than the human body requires for its development, cultivation and health. And this labor shall cease to be a burden; for the rational being is not destined to be a bearer of burdens. But it is not Nature, it is liberty itself, that occasions the most numerous and the most fearful disorders among our kind. The direst enemy of man is man.


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