‘The rapid progress true science now makes occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born too soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which it may be carried, in a thousand years, the power of man over matter. We may, perhaps, deprive large masses of their gravity, and give them absolute levity, for the sake of easy transport. Agriculture may diminish its labor and double its produce: all diseases may by sure means be prevented or cured (not excepting even that of old age,) and our lives lengthened at pleasure, even beyond the antediluvian standard. Oh that moral science were in as fair a way of improvement, that men would cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity.”
In fifty years we will hardly recognize our world. When we look back and examine how people once were, how they lived their lives, how they let their passions amok, how they allowed themselves to be divided by intangible trifles and petty materialism, and how they allowed their ignorance to almost destroy all of civilizations achievements, we will take a sigh of relief and be thankful we have come so far. All of the lofty ideals once espoused, all of the grand political ideologies, will be nothing more than curiosities to coming generations, a generations which will know neither hunger nor war nor disease nor hate nor fear nor death.
We are approaching the end of humanity’s adolescence. Our decadent culture, obsessed with the wealth and the body, with the doings of popular figures and the pablum fed to us by mainstream media, will seem more and more infantile as the years pass. Our culture, bent on acceptance and mediocrity for the many, turns a blind eye to the mind. All the comings and goings, all the accusations and protests, all of the grand schemes to improve the lot of our species through legislation and empty rhetoric, will seem childish compared to the exponentially increasing strides of modern science. Yet, in spite of all it has given us, all the comforts, cures and wonders, there are many who spit upon progress and have no admiration for those who work tirelessly to to promote it. They prefer to bask in the banality of lust and greed, of Eros and Thanatos, of all their loathsome faults and pathetic limitations imposed upon them by biology as we know it now.
All arguments between liberals and conservatives, theists and atheists, libertarians and Marxists, as well as the all principles of governance founded upon anything but pure reason will seem absurd to our cognitively enhanced descendants. Our very emotions will seem one dimensional and our lack of control over them less than optimal. In a short span of time we have progressed from flint tools to silicon instruments manufactured with incredible precision. In affairs of the mind few men and women have progressed beyond the rudiments of what is possible; few have even attempted to ponder if it can be transcended if, perhaps, we are now but mere shadows of what we will become. At last the keys to the cosmos, to happiness, to genius, to everlasting beauty and immortality are within sight.
At this moment we live but a short while before we die. We live for a short while before our bodies and brains begin to deteriorate. We must die, we are told. We must never attempt to augment ourselves, to better ourselves, we must conform to a culture of mediocrity and illiteracy by embracing primitivism and the love of death. Shall we collectively regress? Shall we long for the idyllic childhood that never was? Or shall we see ourselves for what we are and our history for what it is. More than ever we inhabit an era characterized by frivolities, by materialism and by misplaced priorities. We are finite beings longing for the infinite and, but it is within our reach.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”