“Our worldviews connect us with our communities, stabilize our sense of who we are as individuals and groups through time, anchor our visions of a desirable and hopeful future, and, not least, provide us the raw materials for our personal hero stories. So we’re terrified when they’re threatened, and often come passionately and sometimes even blindly to their defense.
“In the end, though, as we all essentially know, embittered reactions only make us more afraid and more divided – and collectively less able to solve our common problems. We need instead worldviews that are complementary enough to unite us around an immortality project for our entire species as we work to stop, and even reverse, the rapid deterioration of our planet’s vital natural systems – worldviews that help us surmount fear by inspiring rather than extinguishing the hope that motivates our agency.”
“We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
“Plainly there is no way back. Like it or not, we are stuck with science. We had better make the best of it. When we finally come to terms with it and fully recognize its beauty and its power, we will find, in spiritual as well as in practical matters, that we have made a bargain strongly in our favor.
“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. The method of science, as stodgy and grumpy as it may seem, is far more important than the findings of science.”
The Demon-haunted World
“The deal between states, markets and individuals is an uneasy one. The state and the market disagree about their mutual rights and obligations, and individuals complain that both demand too much and provide too little. In many cases individuals are exploited by states and markets, and states employ their armies, police forces and bureaucracies to persecute individuals instead of defending them.
“Yet it is amazing that this deal works at all – however imperfectly. For it breaches countless generations of human social arrangements. Millions of years of evolution have designed us to live and think as community members. Within a mere two centuries we have become alienated individuals. Nothing testifies better to the awesome power of culture.
“… Despite the astonishing things that humans are capable of doing, we remain unsure of our goals and we seem to be disconnected as ever. We have advanced from canoes to galleys to steamships to space shuttles – but nobody knows where we’re going. We are more powerful than ever before, but have very little idea what to do with all that power. Worse still, humans seem to be more irresponsible than ever. Self-made gods with only the laws of physics to keep us company, we are accountable to no one. We are consequently wreaking havoc on our fellow animals and on the surrounding ecosystem, seeking little more than our own comfort and amusement, yet never finding satisfaction.
“Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?”
Yuval Noah Harari