To some extent, we have already
altered the destiny of mankind by choosing to have universal
educational goals for all of our people, and to foster similar goals in
all of the nations of the world. Admittedly, this probably began with
the selfish motivations of industrial barons who did not wish to pay to
provide the necessary education for their employees. But, as Toffler
notes, the impact ranges far beyond the factory floors. Just having
most people able to read provides a market for the writing of numerous
books, newspapers, and other types of reading material. All of those
words flowing into the brains of our populace cannot help but have some
impact upon "human nature."
A good example of this is our attitudes towards racial segregation. Even as late as the 1940s, racial segregation was viewed by our federal government as a good and necessary policy in our armed services. Fast-forward a mere five decades, passing over the battles for equality in the 1960s and 1970s, and you get to the armed services of the 1990s, which are totally intolerant of racial segregation because we, as a society, have decided not to tolerate it. We invested a great deal of time and money to change one aspect of our own human nature: our own attitudes towards racial segregation. Sure, there are throwbacks to those earlier days; people whose attitudes about race have not changed. But we gradually root those people out if they disobey our laws, and we attempt (through education or by other means) to at least ensure that their children grow up with the ideal of racial tolerance embedded within their individual human natures, trusting time to remove the recalcitrant.
Before the nineteenth century, slavery was part of the natural order of things; you could say it was part of human nature to simply assume that those at the top of the power structure would "own" those at the bottom. In fact, if you think about it long enough, you will realize that this attitude is a natural consequence of the early forms of political rule. The "king" (or equivalent person) more or less "owns" all of the subjects in the kingdom. All civilizations for which we have sufficient knowledge carried the institution of slavery into the final days of their Civilization, with the sole exception being our own Western Civilization. In Western Civilization, all of the important countries abolished slavery as an institution at some point in the nineteenth century. During the twentieth century, we have worked to see it eliminated everywhere in the world. Somebody who was alive before 1800 would assert that a condition of slavery for part of the population was just part of the natural order of things, i. e., part of "human nature." Most people alive in 2000 will deny that slavery has any business at all as part of "human nature."
It has taken roughly two centuries to all but eliminate the institution of slavery throughout the civilized world. Certainly, most people who are born today in countries which are most closely associated with Western Civilization will, after they are educated, automatically deny that slavery has any place in a civilized society or was ever in any way part of the natural order of things. We have only been trying for five decades to go the next mile and change our attitudes about racial segregation. Clearly, we have some distance to go yet in this regard, but just as clearly, we have made a great deal of progress in our quest to change that particular aspect of "human nature."
I spent all of this time discussing how race relations have been impacted by moral commitments made by Western Civilization in order to illustrate at least one significant success which mankind has achieved in altering "human nature."
It has long been a part of conventional wisdom that "Nothing endures but change."38 Why, then, should we be at all surprised that we can successfully alter our own "human nature?" Of course, we should not be at all surprised, for it has been going on for as long as there have been humans to have a "nature."
But the point of this entire exposition has been to illustrate, yet again, that mankind decides its own destiny! Given our newly developed ability to alter our own genetic makeup, there is absolutely no portion of "human nature" which is not subject to alteration by a determined group of our species.
So, who controls the ultimate destiny of mankind? Is it some "God," or is it just mankind itself? If you have been paying attention at all, you know there is only one answer to these kinds of questions; and it is the answer I have been repeating throughout this Section: "mankind decides its own destiny!"
It is frequently convenient to blame some disaster upon "an act of God." Nobody has ever figured out how to sue God and recover from Him, so it is in the interests of the business people who stand to get nailed for the costs of some disaster to divert attention from themselves and blame God for the disaster. This has been going on for so long that the phrase, "an act of God," is deeply rooted in our common law. However, if you look deeper, you will always find the hand of man as the true villain. Perhaps the building in question should not have been built where it was built; or perhaps it should have been built to better safety standards; or perhaps any number of other possible commissions or omissions could explain why somebody is now injured or dead when they should not be.
Take this as a given: whenever and wherever any disaster strikes, and anyone is injured or dies, there are one or more people someplace who are ultimately responsible for that occurrence. I do not necessarily mean that they are legally responsible; that is a question which must be answered in accordance with our system of laws. Instead, I mean that they are morally responsible because, for whatever reason(s), they did not do what was necessary for them to do to prevent that injury or death from occurring under the circumstances which existed at the time of the event in question.
Take airplane crashes, for example. Our government assigns some reason to each one. I know of no case where the reason assigned was "an act of God." Many of them are assigned to "pilot error" because a dead pilot is just as easy a scapegoat as is God. But even if it is true that the pilot made an error, the design of the airplane still permitted that error to be made. The design of a "perfect" airplane would not allow the pilot to make an error! Why, then, do we not design "perfect" airplanes? Well, we want airplanes now, and it will cost too much and take too long to design a "perfect" airplane, and meantime who is going to pay the bills for this if we can't sell "imperfect" airplanes as we go along?
A similar analysis can be applied to automobile crashes. Frequently, a drunken driver is blamed. But if you ask if it is possible to prevent drinkers from driving, the answer is an unequivocal: "Of course!" The difficulty is that the "cure" imposes costs upon our society which our citizens are as yet unwilling to pay. As for other kinds of automobile disasters, the same analysis applies as that stated for airplanes: either the automobile was not designed to prevent an error by the driver, or the design allowed some mechanical failure to cause the automobile "accident." The reason for not saying this openly is that it would tend to hurt the financial interests of the automobile companies!
In general, every person who is injured or dies prematurely is harmed by decisions made by some other person(s) who performed some form of cost/benefit or profitability analysis and determined that the thing(s) needed to prevent that injury or death would cost too much or take too long to develop, so it was not done. These are acts of man!
Upon careful and sober consideration, you cannot find one iota of human destiny which is not controlled by a voluntary decision made by some human(s) somewhere. No "act of God" causes anything at all to occur in our lives.39 This is the Truth!
In Book V, Section C, I discuss my own personal belief that God exists, and acts upon mankind in the only way possible in our universe, through the creation of a soul; which inspires mankind to act in an anti-entropic fashion, creating Order out of Chaos. Such a force does not control any decisions over details; it only inspires mankind to greatness. As an inspiration to greatness, this force which I choose to call God cannot be blamed for any imperfection in the achievements of mankind. Any such imperfections are solely the responsibility of mankind. So, the ultimate truth about God, mankind, and destiny is that: God provides only inspiration to mankind; from that, mankind crafts its own destiny.
One of the classic quotations from the New Testament occurs at John 8:31-32, which reads:
31 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."40
I now assert
to each of you out there who have worked your way through this somewhat
difficult book: you now "know the truth, and the truth shall make you
Spengler asserts that the end state of a Civilization occurs with the masses stuck in a "Second Religiousness," which is empty and hollow, preventing further progress by a total lack of spiritual freedom. There is no "soul" in the "Second Religiousness."
It is also clear that, if mankind wishes, we can choose a different destiny for ourselves, and move off in some direction other than that predicted by Spengler. We can dare to be different. We do have free will.
The final question, then, is: "What will mankind choose to do with this freedom?"
38 Attributed to Heraclitus (c. 540 b. c.-c. 480 b. c.), from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book IX, Section 8, and Plato, Cratylus, 402A.
39 I choose to ignore, for the purpose of this analysis, alleged "miracles" that occur as a result of prayer. I make this choice simply to avoid any arguments with a bunch of religious bigots who I could never convince of the truth in any case. But I personally take it on faith that any alleged "miracles" which occur in this fashion have occurred as a consequence of the "mind over matter" effects of prayer and not because the people involved have any way to cause God to intervene in any such minor affair.
40 There is much which could be said about these two verses, including the obvious fact that Jesus was trying to tell the Jews that He was the Messiah who had come to set them free. Viewed objectively, these verses demonstrate the tendency of myth makers to weave accepted "Truth" into the particular myth which they are peddling in order to give it that certain "ring of truth" that will make the myth believable. If Jesus had really been passing out wisdom on that day, He would have said instead: "Seek the Truth, for when you know the Truth, it shall make you free."
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