Sunday, October 17, 2010

From Yugoslavia to String Theory: Modernist Towers of Babel

The scientific successes of Newtonian mechanics eventually led to the intellectual hubris of the Englightenment and Modernism. The promise of rational man discovering universal truth that will liberate him and create a just technological society.

I found the following fascinating
Marxist-Leninist ideology concerning the national question was largely derived from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment: it wanted to overcome the past and reject it. When applied to Yugoslavia, exactly because of its similarity to the Enlightenment it helped the Yugoslav Communists to perceive the common ethnic, linguistic and other characteristics of Croats and Serbs.... Marxism and the Enlightenment also shared the belief that humanity could create new human beings and a fundamentally different society
The contested country: Yugoslav unity and communist revolution, 1919-1953, Aleksa Djilas (Harvard University Press, 1991).

In my lectures in Serbia this was juxtaposed with the final sentences of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time where he looks forward to what String Theory can offer humanity.
If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, .... Then we shall all ...[discuss] why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would truly know the mind of God.
This all reminds me of Genesis 11:
1Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.... 4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth."
Science, technology, and multi-culturalism have their merits and a role to play. But, none can deliver an inevitable progress towards human utopia nor a personal knowledge of the Creator and Redeemer of the universe.

1 comment:

  1. The one common fallacy of all of these views is that they never take into account our corporate and individual fallenness. And as Chesterton and others have rightly noted, the doctrine of sin is the one empirically obvious reality that it takes a willful blindness to ignore. But ignore it they (we) do, over and over again.