While humankind may have conquered nature, have they conquered their own nature?
"(Excerpted from Pitirim A. Sorokin,
The Crisis of Our Age.)
In regard to scientific and philosophical systems of truth -- the truth of the senses and of reason -- this is hardly questioned nowadays. The systems are admitted with their sources of truth: the dialectic of human reason and the testimony of the organs of the senses. Mathematics and logic are mainly the system of truth of human reason; and the natural sciences are mainly the depository of the truth of senses. More questionable nowadays is the truth of faith derived from such a source, which is called by diverse names as: "intuition," "inspiration," "revelation," "extra-sensory perception," "mystic experience," and so on. Does such a source, as distinct from discursive dialectics, or testimony of the organs of senses, exist?
The answer has to be positive. We may not know exactly the nature of this source of truth. We must also admit that, like observation in all its forms (experimental, statistical, clinical) and reasoning, it does not always guarantee the truth. But any careful investigator of the history of human experience, science, philosophy, religion and truly creative cultural value, can hardly deny the existence of such a source of truth and its great and positive contributions to the history of human thought, science, art, philosophy, religion, ethics, technology, and even to economic and practical creative values.
First of all, for the reason that some kind of intuition is at the very basis of the validity of the systems of truth of reason and of the senses. Second, because intuition, as distinct from discursive dialectic and sensory experience, has been one of the most important and fruitful "starters" of an enormous number of the most important scientific, mathematical and philosophical discoveries and technological inventions. Third, because a variety of the religious and mystic intuition has been the main source and the main force for the creation of the greatest artistic, religious and ethical systems of culture. Fourth, because there is a sufficiently large body of the testimonies of the great thinkers, creators of religion, of art values, of science, demonstrating the reality, the functioning and the power of this source of truth. Let us elucidate these points briefly."
"According to Glyn-Jones, the central dilemma of history is this: the dynamic that promotes economic prosperity arises largely from the conviction that the material world alone constitutes true 'reality'. Yet that self-same dynamic, developing into a critique of all belief in the supernatural as at best superflous, and at worst a damaging superstition, undermines the authority of moral standards and thus leads eventually to the destruction of the very security, prosperity and artistic achievement on which civilizations rest their claim to greatness. Focussing on dramatic entertainment as the barometer of social change, this book shows in vivid detail how the thesis worked itself out in four different civilizations, those of Greece, Rome and medieval Christendom and now in our own contemporary society."
"finally, men will master the forces of Nature. They will become themselves architects of systems, manufacturers of worlds. Man will then be perfect; he will then be a creator; he will therefore be what the vulgar worship as a god." Cited by Anne Glyn-Jones, Holding up a Mirror: How Civilizations Decline, pp. 371-372.