We live in a rational age, a new Enlightenment (for a given value of enlightened….) Science pushed ever further towards revealing what few mysteries are left. The mind, far from a fog of the unknown, if declared a machine like any other, bound by rules that can learned and understood, and manipulated by those who possess the knowledge. Love…chemical reactions in the brain, to delivered in pill form courtesy of Big Pharma! Hate…a sickness to be cut out of your gray matter, really its for your own good in the end. What need for silly things like faith, hope, charity, imagination and wonder, they’re all nothing more than electrical impulses firing in the great central switch box that is the brain? God is dead, Science has replaced him. Instead of priests we have physicists, biologists and various other -ist’s, telling what what we need to know, what we’re supposed to think and why we should think it. And lest anyone think to object, there’s a whole intelligentsia following up behind them, writers, reporters, professors, commentators of every stripe and color, all eagerly proclaiming that we are nothing more than lumps of self-mobile meat destines to end up rotting and to think otherwise is to prove yourself a silly relic, a throwback to the ancient darkness in dire need of re-education….
We’ve been here before, of course, there’s a reason why I refer to the Enlightenment. The Golden Age of reason, where outmoded superstition in all it’s dark splendor was hurled aside in favor of a bloodless clockwork rationality. The world would be rebuilt, it would be sane, orderly, every though would finally be made the way it was supposed to be….uncountable deaths later, from all those wars fought in the name of Reason, and they still couldn’t admit they might have been wrong.
Against this tyranny of the boring and the unimaginative rose a new move. Romanticism, a lovely rebellion against this mindset. Love, desire…to feel is to be alive, the understanding that there is more to life than dull rationality. “Only religion and art can educate a nation—what use is science, which analyzes everything and explains nothing?” So spoke Richard Wagner, and whatever his other faults, I think he had a point.
Nowadays were live a world that is more technocratic than ever, presided over by a new priestly caste who wave their credentials as a bishop would his crozier. Worthless in the end, man is more than the sum of his flesh and organs! We need a new Romantic movement, something once again affirms the centrality of wonder, of emotion, of desire and bliss! Love, not mere sexual attraction. Glory, not simply prosperity. Something that once again lets us know You are a human being. You are more than mere flesh and bone. Even in death you are alive.
Here endeth the rant.