The necessary precondition for the birth of science as we know it is, it would seem, the diffusion through society of the belief that the universe is both rational and contingent. Such a belief is the presupposition of modern science and cannot by any conceivable argument be a product of science. One has to ask: Upon what is this belief founded?
A society which believes in a worthwhile future saves in the present so as to invest in the future. Contemporary Western society spends in the present and piles up debts for the future, ravages the environment, and leaves its grandchildren to cope with the results as best they can.
...our societies appear to be intent on immediate consumption rather than on investment for the future. We are piling up enormous debts and exploiting the natural environment in a manner which suggests that we have no real sense of any worthwhile future. Just as a society which believes in the future saves in the present in order to invest in the future, so a society without belief spends everything now and piles up debts for future generations to settle. "Spend now and someone else will pay later."
There is an appearance of humility in the protestation that the truth is much greater than any one of us can grasp, but if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth it is in fact an arrogant claim to a kind of knowledge which is superior to [all others]...We have to ask: 'What is the [absolute] vantage ground from which you claim to be able to relativize all the absolute claims these different scriptures make?
The effect of the post-Enlightenment project for human society is that all human activity is absorbed into labor. It becomes an unending cycle of production for the sake of consumption. The modern concept of "built-in obsolescence" makes this clear. The cycle of production and consumption has to be kept going, and the work of the artist or craftsman who aims to create something enduring becomes marginal to the economic order.
The New Age movement, for all the validity of its protest and the value of some of its recommendations, is in truth a very old blind alley. There is a very long history to remind us of what happens when nature is our ultimate point of reference . . . . Nature knows no ethics. There is no right and wrong in nature; the controlling realities are power and fertility.