Evolution and Consciousness: Human Systems in Transition

Jantsch, Erich

In our time, the clash between the two dominant myths in the dualistic world view of Western man becomes accentuated again in a most dramatic way: Prometheus, who stole the fire from heaven and set out to establish mankind as a creed of counter-gods, is still the hero of the official Western ideology of progress and dominance through technology; whereas Sisyphus, who struggles to roll his fate on to a platform of eternal rest, but has to recommence over and over again, turns out to be the involuntary, sad hero of all those frustrated attempts to create a lasting structure somewhere, anywhere in the human world: from Marxism with its promise of classless society over Keynes (who speculated that postindustrial society will get along without economy) and the quickly vanishing post-World War II confidence in Western science as the monolithic religion for a coming world culture, all the way to America's missionary zeal in "bringing democracy to the world," governments' avowed purpose to preserve the institutions of society, and coming to prominence in our day-the ideology of enforced structural stabilization behind world models cast in rigid behavioral and equilibrium terms. The futility of such attempts to stop the world is always blamed on external forces-which tends to alienate us further from our own world, which is becoming increasingly elusive and callous to our idea of imposed control.

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