Today I learned about Jean-Jacques Rousseau
I've learned that "Rousseau and Voltaire hated each other. In fact, it would be hard to ever envision the urbane and suave Voltaire and the
radically democratic Rousseau ever seeing eye to eye on much: Voltaire believed that through education and reason man could separate himself from the
beasts while Rousseau thought that it was precisely all this which made men "unnatural" and corrupted. As Betrand Russell put it so eloquently: "It
is not surprising that Rousseau and Voltaire ultimately quarreled; the marvel is that they did not quarrel sooner." Like many intellectuals, Rousseau
was a great lover of mankind as a collective but singularly unable to appreciate or get along with any individual persons who he encountered in his
life. On the other hand, Voltaire was not a person you wanted to engage in a literary tête-a-tête as his scorn and ridicule were lethal."
I like both of these men, albeit for different reasons.
I have long believed as Rousseau, that man is basically good and that the evils we see in the world are the result of political and religious power
structures which one my call society. At the same time I also agree with Voltaire that human beings are basically flawed with fear and greed which
cause much suffering for themselves and those around them.
I think both things are true.
Voltaire was a "liberal" by today standards because he wanted to move forward with the society we have, and attempt to reform, improve on, or work
around humanities flaws. Rousseau it seems took the classical "conservative" approach and pined for a return to humanity romantic period when the
People of the First Nations lived of the land in small communities without the need for property rights.
I find myself holding on to both the "liberal view" that we must move forward with technology and the "conservative view" that humanity was
happiest living in community. That dual-view is not liberal or conservative, and I happen to believe both are true. I see no way to turn back the
clock for all of humanity, society does corrupt us all, but time travel isn't the answer. If we are all in a conspiracy against one another, or if
the society is in conspiracy against each one of it's members. What difference does it make? Here we are.
The way I see it, we can watch "Democracy Now" all day and point out all the things going wrong in the world, or we can ignore it. I choose to
ignore it. That doesn't mean I value ignorance, on do not. On the contrary, I think we all need to educate ourselves about Big History and not get
bogged down in the details of recent events. I suggest we have a general philosophic view of the world while we avoid adopting any dogmatic ideologies
about what SHOULD BE done about it.
We need to have a Big Picture world-view that is honest about what is does not know and remains open to new information. This Big Picture world-view
would not be an dogmatic ideology which would promotes one theory over another, but rather we OUGHT TO question the conventional wisdom. It bothers me
to see scientist screwing data on Global Warming to push a political agenda. I wish that when they taught the Big Bang theory the would not ignoring
contrary evidence that argues against that theory.
The Big Picture World-View would like people to adopt is the non-political and non-conventional collection of inconvenient facts. More that that, it
would anti-ideological, meaning that the enemy of the Big Picture is well defined, not as ignorance, but rather as narrow-minded dogmatic ideology
itself. "Convictions are greater enemies of truth than lies."
In the Big Picture we are not native born sons of the Milky Way, we are refuges of Sagittarius Dwarf (Sgr) Galaxy. We the product of a Super Novel
that took place a long time ago and a different region of space. The Milky Way is sucking our Galaxy into her vortex of gravitational tidal forces. In
addition to our native homeland there are 9 other known spheroidal galaxies that orbit the Milky Way.
Oddly, Sagittarius Dwarf's orbit indicates that is has been through our the Milky Way several times before, and survived! The current theory on how
that may be possibility is that Sgr contains a great deal of low-density dark matter that hold it together gravitationally during these collisions.
How do we know this, we don't. Remember, we don't know what we don't know, and just a few moments ago you didn't know your were from a different
Galaxy which is invading the Milky Way.
This is the kind of paradigm shift one can expect when they look to a Big Picture World-View, rather then hold on to an romantic idea of the past or
an idealized vision of a bright and better future.