Saturday, December 31, 2011

Charles Krauthammer, after recounting the questions about whether there is other intelligent life in the universe, has this insight:
Rather than despair, however, let’s put the most hopeful face on the cosmic silence and on humanity’s own short, already baleful history with its new Promethean powers: Intelligence is a capacity so godlike, so protean that it must be contained and disciplined. This is the work of politics — understood as the ordering of society and the regulation of power to permit human flourishing while simultaneously restraining the most Hobbesian human instincts. There could be no greater irony: For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics (and its most exacting subspecialty — statecraft). Because if we don’t get politics right, everything else risks extinction. We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this: Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it.
The problem is that we're also an intensely emotional species, not always driven by rationality. How else to explain how so many in our universities believe that Marxist and Socialist policies can lead to prosperity despite the evidence of history. It also occurs to me that if extraterrestrials communicate across galactic distances, they've discovered some means to do so that we don't share. Perhaps telepathy, perhaps hyperspace, perhaps something that would appear supernatural or magick to us. I've believed since I began to ask myself about life, the universe and everything that God is a scientist, that "the glory of God is intelligence," the accumulation of truth. Mankind has placed a large sphere of truth outside of respectable inquiry, but expecting to receive radio signals limited by the speed of light is a pretty pointless if we ever really hope to discover the whole truth.

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