Science and Myth

“Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same” —Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 6.42

“Whoever concerns himself with the Greeks should be ever mindful that an unrestrained thirst for knowledge for its own sake barbarizes men just as much as a hatred of knowledge.”—Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks

33. Western man lacks the attitude for the ethical or aesthetic: He looks to science for the meaning of the world. Economics instructs him on how to act in it. His technology he accepts as the limits of his world.

42. Myth leaves the world as it is, but changes man’s attitude towards it. Myth provides a clarity about the world that changes man’s feeling about it. His clarity exists as a feeling, an aesthetic experience of the world. It is a clarity that leaves the world unchanged. Science, in contrast, attempts to produce a clarity absent any feeling by breaking the world down and separating it and, in the service of technology, by transforming it.

45. To be without a feeling towards the world or other men is to be without any ethics, any aesthetic sense. The man of science calls this objectivity. The man of economics calls this rationality. To Western men these are privileged and valuable positions. (These are the attributes of the autistic.)

64. Western man wants to take orders. What is orderly can be made to function more efficiently. He conceives life in terms of his systems and their smooth running. The threat to the functioning of his systems is the meaning of life.

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