MAN, THE UNKNOWN by ALEXIS CARREL
"This book", tells the Nobel prize winning author, "originated from the observation of a simple fact--the high development of the sciences of inanimate matter, and our ignorance of life." modern society--that society produced by science and technology--is committing the same mistake as have all the civilizations of antiquity. It has created conditions of life wherein life itself becomes impossible. Well depicted by the quote "Civilization is a disease which is almost invariably fatal." Man is not able to manage the world derived from the caprice of his intelligence?
The democratic ideology itself, unless reconstructed upon a scientific basis, has no more chance of surviving than the fascist or Marxist ideologies. The present civilization may escape the common fate, because it has at its disposal, the unlimited resources of science. But it may not, since it is not science, but fear, enthusiasm, self sacrifice, hatred, or love that can make us act.
The book begins by examining the many facets of man, specially focusing on the slow progress of the knowledge of ourselves, and the way we delight in contemplating simple facts. And how, as a result, the knowledge of the human being, as compared with the splendid ascension of physics, astronomy, chemistry, and mechanics, may show slow progress.
But the environment which has molded the body and the soul of our ancestors during many millenniums has now been replaced by another. And has failed to produce people endowed with imagination, intelligence, and courage. In short, the environment, which science and technology have succeeded in developing for man, does not suit him, because it has been constructed at random, without regard for his true self.
The book then goes on to attribute the confusion in our knowledge of ourselves that comes chiefly
from the presence, among the positive facts, of the remains of scientific, philosophic, and religious systems, what the author tells as intellectual slavery. Which causes undue importance being given to some part at the expense of the others. This is followed by an examination of our physiological attributes and how those affect the state of modern man, further followed by a survey of human activities of the mental plane. Like how modern life acts upon consciousness, what promotes idiocy and insanity, etc.
The many facets of time is then discussed, both relating to external world and of our physiology. How science, which has transformed the material world, gives man the power of transforming himself. How our crumbling civilization is capable of discerning the causes of its decay, utilizing the gigantic strength of science. Using the power of science, how we can develop all the potentialities of our body. For the first time, the fate of the inhabitant is in his own hands.
This book once again proves the relevance of my books. It also talks about certain unexplainable transactions constantly taking place with man. But, the abstract reasons proposed, though in quite convincing and elegantly worded expressions, does not in itself, establish a connection with the actual state of things. I think the author's conclusions would have been different had all forms of life been studied together, instead of letting oneself affected by the (apparent) peculiarities of only the humans.