“Western civilization is still suffering from an unjustifiable cultural pride which vitiates all its contacts with the other peoples of the world; this may truly be called ‘spiritual wickedness in high places’… the ‘spirit of evil in things heavenly’ … I should go so far as to say that this fixed idea is a cardinal danger to world peace. For ‘he that despiseth Man, despiseth not Man but God’ ” [Joseph Needham, 1961].
The great bio-chemist Joseph Needham, “The Man Who Loved China”, and introduced Chinese science and civilisation to the world also had fascinating ideas about The Holy and society. See extended essay by Paul Crook on this subject by clicking on the file attached.Joseph Needham
Source: Pure Being: Einstein
When Einstein experienced a sense of timeless awareness when observing the planets, his response was: “At such moments one imagines that one stands on some spot of a small planet gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable. Life and death flow into one, and there is neither evolution nor eternity, only Being”.
Why is Social Darwinism seen in such negative terms in popular discourse? It is seen as endorsing violence, ruthless capitalism, violent militarism and imperialism, Nazi eugenics. In fact Darwinist theory was multivalent and multilayered, and a myriad of political derivatives were made from it, including liberal reformist, even socialist agendas. For Paul’s comments on this dark imaging, see his contribution to a symposium on Truth and Reconciliation for Social Darwinism in the online science journal This View of Life: The Evolution Institute, issue September 2015. Paul’s piece is entitled “Social Darwinism: Myth and Reality”.
… we are but dust, like grass before the rake, a flower and falling leaves. The wind has only to blow over it, and it is there no more. And so man passes away, his end is nigh [Psalm 149, set to music in Bach’s “Sing to the Lord a New Song”].
Are Americans reappraising themselves, or at least are intelligent Americans doing so?
The old stereotype was of America, the land of the free, the home of the brave etc. Not that all writers and thinkers thought this by any means. But a new collection of writings shows a growing sense of disillusionment. Ben Marcus’s New American Stories, according to a reviewer in the Guardian Weekly (11.9.2015), “steadily crystallises a vision of the US as a locus of callous narcissism, exclusionary greed and militaristic aggression”.
Does the same apply to Australia?
“The problem of death is not a ‘problem’ at all, it is due simply to the clash between an idealistic egoistic philosophy and the disappearance of the individual, not in the least to the fact of death” [Pascal].