Friday, April 6, 2012

Immortalization Commission

Over lunch on this Good Friday holiday I finished reading The Immortalization Commission by John Gray.

I may have been just barely smart enough to follow the arc of ideas across this book's wide landscape, but am not nearly smart enough to summarize what it signifies.

Victorian occultists dominate the first section. Soviet practitioners of social engineering dominate the second. In the third, Gray uses his examples to sum up what he regards as the poignant & hopeless human struggle to fashion a comprehensible world.

Science and religion serve different human needs – religion the need for meaning, science for control.

Science continues to be a channel for magic – the belief that for the human will, empowered by knowledge, nothing is impossible. This confusion of science with magic is not an ailment of a kind that has a remedy. It goes with modern life.

The resurrection of the dead at the end of time is not as incredible as the idea that humanity, equipped with growing knowledge, is marching toward a better world.