Monday, December 18, 2017

Book Review: MAN, THE UNKNOWN

MAN, THE UNKNOWN by ALEXIS CARREL 
The book tells in the beginning, its significance has increased continually. "..We are beginning to understand the meaning of the crisis. We know that it does not consist simply in the cyclic recurrence of economic disorders. That neither prosperity nor war will solve the problems of modern society." And I wanted to learn, what, then will?
It begins with a good observation, I myself has expressed elsewhere. That the high development of the sciences of inanimate matter, when contrasted with our ignorance of life, is something that deserves serious consideration. "Mechanics, chemistry, and physics have progressed much more rapidly than physiology, psychology, and sociology. Thus, modern society has been built at random, according to the chance of scientific discoveries and to the fancy of ideologies." After examining the giant leaps, man has taken, the book observes that 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.
Next chapter examines our ignorance of ourselves. That it is of a peculiar nature, which arise reasons other than the difficulty in procuring the necessary information, from its inaccuracy, or from its scarcity. The book then goes on to prescribe a series of suggestions to ensure better living prospects for the human race, with the application of scientific progress, eugenics and other more controversial topics.
After reading the initial chapters, I was hoping for some really revolutionary suggestions, some of the observations presented being clearly noteworthy. 
But I was disappointed. The most common and intelligent escape route, dwelling on abstract reflections to the hilt, can be seen to be in action here. The following, is a good example. "We have infringed natural laws. We have thus committed the supreme sin, the sin that is always punished. The dogmas of scientific religion and industrial morals have fallen under the onslaught of biological reality. Life always gives an identical answer when asked to trespass on forbidden ground. It weakens. And civilizations collapse." I am surprised that this is from an author, who is a Nobel Prize winner.