If you’ve lived long enough you may agree. Cliches are a lot more than, well, just cliches. Over the many centuries they’ve lasted, some have earned the right to be taken more seriously. Take for instance that little classic: “The more things change, the more they’re the same.”
But lets not only apply it to this or that event. How about to the entire trajectory of human events…!
When our ancestors first peered out from trees and caves, they stared at an enormous world of chaos, all apparently designed to destroy them. Untamed nature…untamed beasts…untamed weather. Easy to understand why life expectancies were so awesomely short. Absolutely no certainty out there. And so they turned to religions of many kinds wherein gods and goddesses helped explain the chaos, and afforded them some controls over the uncertainties.
Over the eons, this worked well enough for the race to survive. But then, at long last about 500 years ago, our ancestors discovered a new way to master their uncertainties. Modern science. That particular way of thinking and operating wherein there are no divinities. Only reason, logic and mathematics. Whatever laws were to be found in this existence were to be found by scientists empirically testing observations, not clergy spiritually discovering beliefs.
Modern science has served us well, and yet here in the 2ist C we’re experiencing the prickly irony of this same stubborn cliche. As it turns out, so many of the uncertainties we believed we had tamed are somehow still here. Nature, beasts, weather, even time & space appear to be beyond the controls we thought science had finally imposed on them.
And so today our climates, our computers, our communication systems often rebel, run amuck, even reject some of our carefully-designed controls and controllers. The cages we built for our ancient uncertainties are, well, they’ve somehow pried open just enough to make our lives almost as uncertain as before. Only now, these uncertainties smash into us and our leaders on massive, global scales never before known. Planetary disasters! climate disasters! personal disasters!
Could it be that this cliche is much more than simply a cliche? Has it really been a warning all along that mankind can cage and control only so much? That at some point we may have to accept that some things in this universe will forever remain just beyond our finest controls?
For some, these thoughts might even remind us all the way back into those ancient beliefs which pronounced: Humanity by itself is just not enough.
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