The hominids hooted and scratched on the tall black obelisk by the river. None of them remembered seeing it there before, nor could they as their brain’s cognitive functions were not well-developed. Moon-Watcher felt the shiny metallic slab was put there by an alien race during the night. When the hominids touched it, their neurons were simulated to form new connections so that, in time, the ability to speak and think abstract thoughts developed.
So the story of 2001- A Space Odyssey begins.
The story is a myth, but all myths-the good ones- were early man’s attempt to impart order in his life. For this is intrinsic to man’s nature. He wants to make sense of everything. He is never satisfied. Thunderstorms might have been Zeus and Hera arguing over the thermostat and snowstorms caused by Persephone going south for the winter, but there is an element of truth to these stories.
Something higher. . .some Thing. . .Somebody was speaking to them. Not in words, but in pictures. Early man had a picture in his unconsciousness of an objective Right and an objective Wrong. He sensed the presence of something mysterious, large, looming over him much as humans watched over their pets. This tangible Other was greater than him and seemed to haunt everything.
Not everything seemed right in the world. For some of the things he did made him feel bad-sometimes remorseful. He noticed that when he did the Right things, he felt good for a time and tried very hard to do these things. He wasn’t always successful.
Sometimes when he tried to do the Right things, something or somebody, an Else, an unseen power, made its presence felt and persuaded him to do the Wrong things-even though the uncomfortable feelings returned.
He was encouraged by the fact the dark power was much less forceful than the higher power-and less scary.
Today, we have a rational explanation for these forces of nature and personality quirks and no longer believe in spirits and gods. Yet sometimes, when we least expect it, an unseen mysterious something-or-other makes its presence felt for no logical reason.
Something unexplainable stirs the masses.
For right or for wrong.
Explaining away evil spirits does not make them go away. On the contrary, it makes them more at home. It gives them more of a right to inhabit places you wouldn’t think they’d be. That’s one reason why people take Advil when Sauron comes a visiting.’
When everybody is certain no such creatures exist, the Evil senses its time has come and attacks in full fury under a scientific guise-complete with the helmet of Marx, the breastplate of Freud, and the Sword of Darwin.
People forget the Good. The Good has been explained away. But I’m sure its time has come. One must not forget the Good is not only better, but stronger, wiser, and around for much longer-And what is evil except a perversion of the good?
We’re at a crossroads in the history of the planet. The world of science, logic, and empiricism will be superseded by some fusion of the ancient and the modern. . .something a little like Star Wars.
The Age of Reason, illuminating as it is, is simply a stage man must go through to reach the next level. (I hope this doesn’t sound like I’ve joined a New Age cult.) I don’t know what it will be like. I’m sure it will be funner.