Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My essay "Leibowitz and the Limits of Human Knowledge" was posted today at The Imaginative Conservative. In it I explore the complex relationship between ignorance and arrogance throughout Walter M. Miller Jr.'s post-apolyptic bestseller:
A Canticle for Leibowitz suggests that the amount which man does not know is infinite, and that his efforts to increase his knowledge merely reveal the extent of his ignorance. Perverted by pride, knowledge puffs up, and the learned become ignorant of their own ignorance. Greater information, greater technology, greater comfort, greater luxury, even greater civilization—these transform the conditions of human lives, but leave the human condition unchanged. Rather than perfecting man, such relative improvements tempt humans to suppose in their pride that they have cast aside the limitations of ignorance. Those who believe in progress and human perfectibility strive ever on to increase man’s knowledge—and his power—in order to make the world better. Mr. Miller, however, clearly stands with one of his abbots, who asserts that the world “never was any better, it never will be any better. It will only be richer or poorer, sadder but not wiser, until the very last day.”
Read the whole thing at The Imaginative Conservative.