January 12, 2017 by John Bruce Leonard
Novus Ludus, Part II
On the Mechanization of Man
IT SHOULD BE far more shocking to us than it is, the speed with which technology has insinuated itself into every hour of our lives, and practically every facet and corner of our affairs. It should bring us at least to pause, if it does not bring us to wonder or to fear. In the span of a hundred years—aye, within the memory of many of those yet living—near all of this has been effected. To name but a few salient examples: one century ago, horses vastly outnumbered cars as the common means of travel; ninety years ago, this plastic, which we now cannot do without, and which we waste in unimaginable quantities, and which we go not five minutes without encountering in some form or other, did not exist at all; seventy years ago, the computer was no better than an abacus; fifty years ago, the cellular phone had yet to make its first even very awkward and clunky entrance onto the commercial field; and the ubiquitous and weird internet, with which we are all more or less superficially acquainted, and none of us very deeply, does not surpass the lifetime of the present author. Yet who of today could possibly live without these spawn of a mere few generations? Who would dare try? Or more to the point—who, apart from a few lone cranks here and there, would want to try? There is already nothing strange to us about the sight of some elder hippie, come from a long life of “fighting the machine,” with an Ipod in pocket and a Facebook page “befriended” by hundreds. And that individual amongst my readers who is able to go so long as a day without checking his email is easily the odd man out of this game. That is the trend of our times; what begins as a novelty becomes posthaste a luxury, and what is already a luxury converts itself, through that mysterious magic of which we are all unconscious practitioners, into need itself. What begins as the latest eccentricity of some laboratory warlock, ends as part of our very flesh.
To those with even a modest capacity for wonder, it must be eternally wondrous how much most people are capable of taking for granted. They seem to find their whole world complete at the moment of their birth. It comes to them as a thing they need never question. That is enviable in its way. They are not troubled by it, they take it so very easily. They do not learn to pry its many weakened joints, nor to see from any eyes younger than their own. This technology in all its myriad guises is carelessly taken up by them like something plucked from the very trees of this steel Eden or fallen from out of the wide skies like rain.
This essay, even apart from what ambitions it might cherish, would be well satisfied if it could but persuade some few of those of its readers who will, to hang a question mark behind the objects and ways of technology: to remind them not to treat as phenomenon, that which is but artifact.
We of this present moment are privy to the fascinating and totally novel vision of the inventor running breathlessly to catch up with his own invention. We should not so belabor this—since the present moment is commonly trivial—except for the fact that we are confronting a creature we have built, but which lives on an alternate timeline to us. The life of technology, that life which we have made and continue to make without molding, has its own history, racing parallel to our own; and that history is set to a tempo and a pace which makes our last twenty-five hundred years seem slothlike and unreal. What is more, that parallel history impinges on our own, and pulls us, too, to its heightened beat. Adequately to dwell beyond it, we must learn to be the jugglers of time; we must learn at once how to mimic and simultaneously how to resist the tempo of technology: to mimic it, that we might understand it; to resist it, that we might maintain our sacred, imperiled independence from it.
With that in mind we turn to this present day, this late year in which we find ourselves. We of today are privy, as I have said, to the maturation of the first generation raised in a technified world. This is somewhat inexact—technology has been at its subterranean work even since the industrial revolution began, for it was the inevitable offspring of science mated with democracy. Nonetheless, the younger generations today have been raised amidst a different kind of technology than has ever before existed, what we may call “psychological” technology, following the discoveries we made in the first part of this essay. My own generation grew somehow apace with this technology, as though it were growing into its own even as we were. I can recall—and those of my readers who share my age will likely recall—some of the principle moments in a certain transformation that technology underwent even around the time of my birth in the eighties. For example, I remember my first text-based computer, my first hand-held gaming device, my first color computer, my first color computer game, and my first internet connection. These things, I say, erupted from the hidden kingdom of science even as I matured and passed from infancy into childhood into adolescence. It is certain they were the products of the advent of the digital computer, and they can be understood as such; but even more fundamentally, I would like to claim the following: the history of technology to date has been a kind of imperfect and confused recapitulation of the functions of the human being, working from lower to higher. What is of note about the decade of my birth is that within it occurred the first tentative movements of technology into the inner human world. It is the first time the technological began systematically to mimic human thinking, memory, awareness, imagination; and it is no accident that it was during this time the discussion regarding “artificial intelligence” first became popularized in society. The great change in technology these past thirty years has been just this: the technology of man has begun to represent his soul as well as his body.
As stated, those of my generation did not grow up with all of this surrounding us as a fait accompli. Insofar as it was already even during our lives being produced and developed, it could not have seemed to us eternal, for the very reason that we were witness to the first ungainly throws of its birth. We saw it come into existence as a fact and feature of the world around us. In comparison with the children born the first decade of the twentieth century, those born in the nineties are as naïve to these things as my own generation. But they are nonetheless the first who lived their childhoods amidst these objects as amidst given facts: they are the first who have grown up partially within an artificially created mental space; the first to whom the internet and the computer and the cellphone are properly as common as trees and houses. We turn to them, then, for they have made the unintentional experiment of learning for us the first outcomes of our technology on the life of man. They who even now are coming into their majority can show us, even if only in a vague and initial way, what such a man shall be who cannot cut a pound of flesh without rupturing a hardwire.
We proceed then in our investigation of this generation, without, however, losing sight of two fundamental caveats: first, that the particular character of these presently young adults is of irreducible complexity, like all things human, and cannot be explained wholly as the result of their technological upbringing and environment; and second, that even the blackest rule has its glimmering exception, so that we must regard our work now as the observation, rather than the cursing, of the members of this generation.
Thusly prepared, what do we note when we look upon these our brethren? In general, and at the risk of injustice, I may make a sketch of their mental lives, which not altogether derived from watching them outwardly, but also from watching myself inwardly. On the whole, one finds them to be distractible, impatient, and quick of response to the point of thoughtlessness. Their memories have altered; while their memories for recent events become strong and sharp, those of the more distant past easily slide from their moorings and drift away. History—the extended memory of the race—is in large part indifferent to them; they but rarely can be convinced of the value of studying it, and yet more rarely, of the value of studying it well. It pertains to a past which is far, too very far, from the “newest and best” around which they build their lives. The center of balance in the realm of their memories has appreciably shifted; as always happens when anything retracts toward a point on the surface of the earth, the center of balance falls proportionately. Insofar as the memory of a man reflects his feeling for time, I take these developments to be remarkable. There has, indeed, been a curious abridgment of all sense of time’s continuum—a ramification of our growing scientific understanding of the world, which, to be sure, began as far back as antiquity, when science began to make us aware that the human being is no permanent feature of the world, but rather a passing and transient stranger to it—a sort of guest in this place, harrowed sometimes even by his host, and destined finally to be smudged out from the house’s ledgers and forgotten. Yet in our day what was originally an edifying insight into human transience, has become but the unimpassioned infatuation with transience as such.
This is reflected as much in their relation to the future as to the past. Tomorrow still exists for these young people; next month—but barely. Next year is already a distant target, and one can convince them to work for things like their future jobs or their future welfare only by establishing universally binding customs which they follow as a matter of course. For instance, it is becoming less and less exceptional to go to college; in many strata of society, it is simply expected, it is simply what one does. Four years is a long time, to be sure; but one is well paid for the trouble by a holiday every weekend in which one can lose one’s mind and loose one’s tension in some pleasant inebriation or other. And in any case, most everyone else is going, so it would be strange for one not to. So one takes it one step at a time, with hardly a thought for what will come after. (All of that can be sorted out as it arrives.)
And in this way one passes, not just four years at study, but one’s entire life, drifting from point to point like an unmoored bark bumping along the jetties of the quay.
One cannot too highly accentuate the importance of this: men have become momentary dwellers, obsessed with and absorbed into the rawest moment, forgetful of all past that does not visibly affect that moment, indifferent to all future which that moment does not visibly effect. They are now-dwellers—not, indeed, in the sense of the Buddhist monk, who cultivates deep awareness of the present, but rather as the beast who thoughtlessly takes it for what it gives him, in both good and bad, pleasure and pain, peace and disturbance, and goes about chewing his cud without reference to its roots.
They have a marked dislike of silence, these young persons of today, and do whatever they may to avoid moments without distraction. They are obsessed with music, and often listen to it without cessation; but despite this semblance of staying power, they have no patience for any musical piece which lasts longer than six or seven minutes, and they have no feeling, and still less tolerance, for musical in a classical mode. What does not seize them and carry them away—or better yet, what does not amble along nicely and warmly invite them to join—has no place in their ears. This is not to say that the music they adore is always nice and warm, for quite the contrary is true; it tends to be melancholic when it is not depressive, and discontented when it is not enraged. But it is a music which rarely prohibits its listener from entry, but rather seeks universally to seize everyone by the heart. And for that, it is easy for everyone to claim that they have “universal taste,” and that there is no special kind of music that they like or dislike, but that they listen a little to this and little to that, and a bit to everything in between.
They are tied to their fellows with the infinite invisible strands produced by the new digital communication, and are seldom without such superficial contact for even so much as a single hour; consequently, they are deeply intimidated by solitude, and have a heightened subtlety of awareness for loneliness and separateness in all their forms. They crave acceptance, and but rarely cannot find it in some group of peers, which becomes to them a kind of society in miniature, and allows them to embrace the wildest variations on the democratic theme. When they are within this group, they can be abrasive toward those who oppose them; but when they are alone, they are meek as kittens, for they fundamentally dislike conflict and confrontation.
They speak almost uniformly in absence of reflection, and are encouraged in such pure reactivity by so many external and internal influences that it should be impossible even to pretend their enumeration. Their speech is fragmentary and broken by stuttering repetitions and the use of superfluous and meaningless words, their sentences lack all structure and fluidity, and they often fly from one thought to the next without finishing either, even as they have learned to speak from their “social networks” and their perpetual “text messaging.”
They are thoroughly hedonistic, not indeed in the sense of pursuing pleasure tyrannically—one finds amongst them very few monsters—but rather in the sense of enjoying one’s little pleasure in the morning and one’s little pleasure in the evening, and a sort of nervous, frenetic pacifism in the midst. They are lazy to a degree sometimes astounding in many things relating to their personal lives, and willing to work equally hard when overseen by some watchful eye or other. They have an infinite capacity for whiling away hours in the most banal and shockingly tawdry of activities, so long as such activities demand of them mechanical and repetitive and utterly thoughtless motions of mind or body. They are contemptuous of past, idolatrous of present, and largely indifferent of future, and they suffer a remarkable intolerance for anything that requires time, prolonged effort, or powers of foresight. If the past to them is a relic, the future is at best a hypothesis upon which one would be wiser not to bet too much. As for eternity, they give it no thought at all. They embrace this or that pseudo-religion with such facility that one cannot avoid the impression that they are basically atheist. There is a hollow in them which they like to dress up in this or that mask, but it suffices to gaze into their eyes to understand at once everything.
Regarding their thought, one perhaps could best characterize it as commonplace commonsensical. That which they put themselves to consider, they consider in a straightforward and shallow and beyond all safe fashion, relying on truisms whenever they are able and, as in the case of most any nearing profound question, resigning themselves to insolubility almost at once, without, however, evincing much anxiety over this insolubility. Their logic works itself out in distinct dichotomies, in simplistic “yes-no” thinking much like the computers by which they are ever informed; indeed, one could readily and usefully describe their thought as binary and Boolean-logical. And they tend to shy from all ideas not embraced by the particular group to which they belong, and do not shun originality so much as lack it in their very hearts.
Their imaginations are paltry with all things that do not concern them, and their lives are quotidian, though they lack the sense of greatness to such a degree that they do not discriminate between life which is small and that which is grand. They have little ability to imagine mental states they have not known—here, perhaps, one finds a source of their fascination for drugs—and they lack the will for great expenditures of mental effort. They are, indeed, lazy and arrogant as thinkers, investigators, and critics, and flaccid and routine as dreamers and visionaries. They hope for little, are not commonly ambitious save at most for money, and possess a stunning dearth, not only of self-knowledge and self-awareness, but of the very thirst for self-knowledge and self-awareness. That celebrated script carved above Delphi has morphed for them: no longer does it read “Know thyself,” but always and ever, “Accept thyself.”
If I have been harsh in this after all very incomplete sketch, if I have handled roughly the members of the generation beneath my own, it is only because I see echoes of them in me, and so believe, as fervently I may, that we must wake up. Yet from certain slumbers one does not wake up without a jolt. Too long have we let things slide easily among us—perhaps we have even passed them one from another like a bitter cup none of us wished to drink. And perhaps we have reached already the point from which we may return. I know it has seemed a short time; and when compared with the august flow of millennia, it is a veritable nothing. But recall again that the “advances” we have made exist in a time their own, which cannot be confounded with our own human time save at greatest peril to our race and its future—not, let me make this clear, to its continuation, but to its future. And if we truly have lost capacity to differentiate between the two, I fear we truly are lost.
But if anything can save us, it will have to come from within us, from that which has been formed in us from the epoch itself: from our very heightened reactivity, our very sensitivity to this moment and all its changes. It will have to come from those keen and sprightly antennae which have sprouted from our head thanks to our technology, and which alert us to the merest changes in the breeze. Great is that man who turns his failings and defects to flow upon the course of his greatness: we are challenged with the alternative between becoming the sons and daughters, or the crippled side-effects, of our age.
To return: where may we locate the origins of this strange portrait I have endeavored to outline to our eyes, this vivisection of what smacks terrifyingly of the Last Man? Where precisely are its causes? For some of us, it is a simple thing indeed to point the finger at technology, and to guide it up the hill to play scapegoat under our resentful and trembling knives. And to be sure, one is not hard-pressed to find specific links which, as it were, corroborate our suspicions—such as that standing between the untoward haste of our time and its unrelenting intercommunication, to which we are all daily subjects. These links, I imagine, are often enough real, and merit comment, that we might be made aware of them. But to dwell overly in them we will do no better than our Western doctors, who address themselves to the symptoms of our maladies, and thus leave their root causes to work apace. We must strike deeper than that: the crisis of which we are each a part demands it.
The tale of Frankenstein, so justly fabled in our time, is yet flawed as an allegory of warning for us. The monstrous pseudo-creation of the excesses of science, this half-man half-machine produced in a laboratory, which then runs amok and puts to ravage the very human society that give it being—that is an allegory fit for the environmentalists and the “concerned citizens” whose ranks I have already foregone. In truth, the work that science, according to the tale, performs on some horrendous monster external to us, is today performed instead on our very flesh. This, and nothing less, can explain to us our situation: we ourselves are such monsters, and becoming moreso each and every day. We need not wait for the moment when computer technology intersects with computer, when the first nanochip is installed in the first brain, or the first credit-card sewn into our skin, or the first “designer baby” born amongst us. These would be but the carnal symbols of a spiritual transformation which is already being effected. We are already replacing our humanity with technology, and we are not even properly cognizant to the fact. And the fabled man-machine—the pseudo-creature raised to its half-life by Frankenstein—he is already alive today within us.
But let us return to our definition of technology: technology is the production, through scientific theory, of mechanical replacements, likenesses, analogues, extensions and augmentations of human functions. The hope contained deeply and almost secretly in this, the great hope, is that by replacing or extending these human functions, we do two things for ourselves at once: first, we augment our power in this world, perhaps beyond all reckoning; and second that we secure for ourselves a variety of goods and an excess of idleness in which enjoy them.
As regards the unquestionable and incredible potency that it grants to human beings, we may first note that this power today is technology’s best, and indeed its only real, defense. The old “proof by power” which once was said to stand beneath Christian thought, has transferred itself wholesale to science; because science gives us power, it must be true; and because its technology is powerful, it must be good. This is, of course, not the scientists’ position—in general, they no longer have truck with such “indefinable” notions as truth and untruth, good and evil—but it is eminently the layman’s position. The power of technology makes it adored.
Before aught else, then, it is necessary to perceive with some clarity the natural limitations of this power. I would like here to posit (with suitably scientific posturing) what I shall call the Law of Technical Equilibrium, and which I define thus: the artificial augmentation of human capacities always entails (lacking disciplined and systematic efforts of which we moderns are not only incapable but also unaware) a corresponding diminution in the natural power of the same capacities. Put otherwise: the blind attempt to make ourselves stronger via techne strengthens us externally, as it weakens us internally.
Let us take an example; indeed, let us take the very paragon. When first the discovery of fire was made amongst our distant ancestors—or perhaps, when fire was carried down to us from the heavens by some benevolent or jester god—we were a people inured to conditions which modern man cannot begin to imagine, and which would destroy him, were he cast into their midst, almost without remainder, and at remarkable speed. Those early men were the scion of a colder and more desolate world than ours, the forlorn bastards of our merciless mother nature. Whether or not we should have perished without our fire is a riddle insusceptible of resolution; but we may imagine how its discovery and cultivation propelled us forward. Fire was, we may say here exaggeratedly in the interest of clarification, one of the earliest forms of technology—the sort of pater primus of techne. And the first human functions which it served were those of animal heat and digestion: the one through its simple constant expenditure of energy; the second through its effect on our food, the purification of which it is capable.
Toward both these ends it must have served wondrously, miraculously, even—but I also do not doubt that before long our ancestors experienced a kind of prototypical example of what is happening to us today: the very functions which fire best served must have been reduced in power for it, even over the course of a few generations—aye, even more immediately than that. Those of our primitive ancestors habituated to the use of fire for warmth and cooking must have found their own heat-producing ability much reduced, as well as the strength of their digestion. And just as it has been common these past few hundred years to hear reports of European travelers freezing in cold weather, huddled tight in great fur coats whilst their aboriginal guides go about dressed in almost nothing at all, I imagine the earliest fire-users owned a similar relation to those of their kind who had not yet learned of its use, or, for superstition or fear, refused it. That which begins as a staff to strengthen our ascent up the mount becomes too very quickly a cane to supplement our weakness, and, eventually, a crutch to support the disability it itself has nurtured.
A builder who uses a nail gun will not develop the same muscles that a man does who wields a hammer. The farmer who hoes his field will be of different stuff than the industrial farmer who sits behind the wheel of his tractor. The more effective becomes our medicine, the frailer grows our health. Who lives in a desert, yet spends all day beneath air-conditioned breezes, does not live in a desert at all, and grows but little resistant to its heat, as he who gets his visions direct from the cinema will not have the inner sight that comes of reading books. The ancients, it is said, were in possession of prodigious memories, because writing materials were costly and rare, and so it was needful that they could commit even long poems and complete speeches to memory. Our memories likely diminished already with the arrival of Gutenberg’s press, to say nothing of mass printing. Imagine, now that we have our personal agenda in our smartphones, and can reference all the facts we wish with immediacy, wherever we go, via the internet!
Subtler examples. A man who lives in a sparser world, and has but seldom experience of great pleasures, will invent himself riches where we would find but poverty. He will take better joy of that fig there than we of our Christmas dinner. If he may but seldom hear music, then he will be more deeply moved when the occasional minstrel is at his ballad. If he has no constant enjoyment of “free love” then the love he does find will be that much the greater and more overpowering to him, and more totally transformative of his existence. But when all of these pleasures, or proxies for them, are furnished to him abundantly on behalf of technology, then they become bland to his taste, monotonous to his ear, numb to his body and to his mind. And he must seek then ever more extreme experiences to wake his slumbering soul, for his very senses have lost in their acuity to the degree to which they have been over-patronized.
Subtler examples yet. When knowledge has been converted to information, and its purchase is easy, then all that lies beneath the surface, all that is more profoundly and more truly effective, is lost to mind and to memory, and one becomes but the more facile as one becomes the “better informed.” When man’s locomotion has been improved and space itself telescopes and retracts, and he may go anywhere on this globe in a single day, or visit the most exotic locales in the very moment by means of video, then the exotic becomes normal, the alien familiar, and all places and all peoples take on an aspect of pedestrian mundanity. When “communication” is rendered “instantaneous” and one does not need wait weeks and months for letters, and one is with one’s friends even when one is distant to them, then communication itself becomes workaday and trivial, and, because it is less concentrated, becomes that much more diluted; one speaks more and more in stock phrases and “memes”; one says less of substance, style, and import. When photographs can be taken at any moment, and computer scripting can be used to reproduce hypnotizing visual spectacles of any sort you please, then the visual arts will abandon all “objectivism” and the talents, love, and higher lust which brought men to draw or paint or sculpt realistic images that are artistic and not photographic will wilt and vanish. When microphones augment the power of instruments and the voice, and when software can be used to clean recordings or to adjust tuneless players and singers, the quality of musicians will decline, their technical proficiency will grow lax, and their traditional will to perfection will loosen. When specialization has fragmented human culture into a thousand splinters, and the latest findings of any one of them can be accessed on this or that website at any moment one pleases—when one begins to develop the pleasurable sense of belonging to a greater human mind, an enormous human consciousness stretched across the face of the very globe, which devotes itself with ever greater precision and specificity to all human problems beneath the sun—then one will be but slave to equally dispersed technical “experts,” of whose theoretical and personal antecedents one knows nothing, and whose deepest premises one never so much as glimpses.
And when all of these changes, and more extreme ones yet, have come to pass, and have made themselves common to us for generations, then at last we will find that we need never be alone, nor ever bored, nor ever under any circumstances abandoned to the compromising company of our own thoughts and the unforgiving and unmitigable silence surrounding our own truer self.
Needless to say, this list is but a fragment of the length it could be; and each of these fragments of a fragment should be seen as but a tap-root, out of which comes flourished its own tree—the tree of all the total psychological consequences yielded up from each of these points. Strange are these gardens tended by this modern gardener. But it is not enough merely to note such changes and peculiar growths: one must understand what they mean, also in one’s own soul.
All precious things are rare; when they are made common they are made cheap. The energy of the man is not infinite, and its flood upon the various courses of his life is dispersed when it is forced to fill too many of them. He who would inundate must save his powers for the cloudburst. This is not a philosophy of parsimony; it does not recommend that we seek to live in need, though perhaps a due degree of simplicity would become us, and it is sometimes advisable to fabricate want in times of plenty. This is rather a philosophy of economy, economy of the soul, and it demands of each individual, with rigor and with ruthless honesty, that he comprehend himself as well as he might, in his needs and his debilities, in his strengths and his powers, and that he dispose of himself accordingly. It demands above all that one recognize the ways in which this ubiquitous technology influences one and acts upon one, in order to establish one’s right relation to it.
Anyone who faces this question openly will soon come upon a complication. It is clear that man without his ambiguous, and often enough equivocal, artifacts and inventions should, for their lack, be something else altogether—more thoroughly one of the animals, more securely one of the beasts. But because of this ability of his to redefine his conditions and remake his world, he first stands out from their mindless number, and they must regard him, and he them, as only distantly kin; aye, they must watch him with something like wonder, that one of their own children should have so weirdly and wildly gone astray. And this observation brings us to a matter of deep importance to our discourse: one cannot be a pure technophobe.
The roots of techne are too entangled with our own, and it is already too much a part of us. As fine a thing as it would be discover the clear line between some epoch of pre-technology and that inaugurating a dubious technologism—as sympathetic as one might be to those who would go back before the Digital Revolution, or before the Industrial Revolution, or even back farther still, to when man was still innocent and his garden still unspoiled—there is something indiscreet and irrational about all such divisions and all such firm and uncompromising negation of man’s technical ingenuity. Go back how far you will, but it shall not suffice for what you would have it; the seed always possesses the tree potential in its tiny belly, and man himself is an unnatural animal.
I hope it is needless to say that this does not warrant us to watch with complacency as the thing we have made swallows its maker, or binds us to slavery. If we cannot reject technology for fear of rejecting our very natures, then neither should we embrace technology so far that it ruins or distorts the same. Precisely because we are its makers, we are responsible for its right use.
And here the game advances. For, to say it again—while practically every one of the pre-modern developments in technology worked for the improvement of our physical selves, and therefore had principally physical consequences which were relatively easy to compensate for or alleviate, this most recent wave of development has entered the field of the human interior world, and must produce similar results there—as one has every right to anticipate—as our physical tools have produced in our physical beings. We are living in unprecedented times, and we are in desperate need of novel insights, new modes and manners, to face them.
We are not speaking with a jaunty reporter-like attitude of certain more or less undesirable side-effects of bustling modern life; we are speaking of a fundamental change which we are wreaking, even now, on our own human nature. We are not writing fairy stories about some person with a robotic arm—though that reality, too, is fast upon us: we are speaking of men who are learning to replace their very humanity with a secondary and artificial humanity, with the artificial fabrication of an irresponsible fabricator. The man of today is learning to put technology in the place of his own powers, abilities, potentialities, thoughts, dreams; even in place of his personality, even in place of his character. And speak not of the child who grows old amidst all this! That child is already part machine. We must learn, before it is too late, that technology giveth only as it taketh away.
Thus we see: mechanization of man does not refer to man becoming machine in body; it refers to him becoming so in soul. We are speaking of one who has ceded his highest natural potential to strictly artificial world, and who has therefore permitted himself to become the function of a function. And, as we will soon discuss, nothing less is menaced by this, endangered and reduced and ultimately perhaps rendered impossible, than those two highest peaks of his soul, those twin paramounts of human achievement and spirit—that greatest father and daughter of human self-made divinity: art and philosophy.
Return to Novus Ludus, Part I.
Continue to Novus Ludus, Part III.