After expressing my opinion in the last post, it was interesting to reflect on this novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera.
In the novel, this Czech veteran of Communist oppression talks about what he calls, “kitsch”
Kitsch has its source in the categorical agreement with being.
But what is the basis of being? God? Mankind? Struggle? Love? Man? Woman?
Since opinions vary, there are various kitsches: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Communist, Fascist, democratic, feminist, European, American, national, international.
Since the days of the French Revolution, one half of Europe has been referred to as the left, and the other half as the right. Yet to define one or the other by means of the theoretical principles it professes is all but impossible. And no wonder: political movements rest not so much on rational attitudes as on the fantasies, images, words, and archetypes that come together to make up this or that political kitsch.
The fantasy of the Grand March that Franz was so intoxicated by is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies. The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles not withstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March.
The dictatorship of the proletariat or democracy? Rejection of the consumer society or demands for increased productivity? The guillotine or an end to the death penalty? It is all beside the point. What makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March.
What we are facing now is the kitsch of Global Warming and the kitsch of Climate Change. One adopted by the leftist Grand March and one adopted by the rightists. The only real difference between the two is the vocabulary of the particular kitsch. The real issue, what is happening to the environment, is irrelevant to both sides. All that is important is which kitsch generates the greatest emotional appeal.
All religions are philosophies and science is also a philosophy. If we apply the Pareto principle to science only 20% of science uses valid hypothesis, oberservation, method, data, apparatus and events. 80% of science is suspect. And a bunch of priests of science will not persuade me that they are somehow superior morally or intellectually to me or anyone else. When I think about eugenics, lobotomies, unnecessary medical procedures, chemical, biological and nuclear toxins and weaponry, non-biodegradable waste and the plethora of other gifts of science, why can’t I say that scientists in the last century have done more damage to the planet than all of history’s religions combined?
So a bunch of climatologists are saying that science has destroyed the environment in less than a century? Big news. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Maybe it is time for Scientists to wake the hell up to what they have created. Perhaps, like Prometheus, scientists should have their livers eaten every day. Because, it appears to me that there is no difference whether a person has many, one or zero gods, Mr. Dawkins. It’s just another vocabulary for another form of kitsch. What we need is a new level of consciousness, higher than the philosophy of science.
And that is how Milan concludes his novel. We have to recognize that everything natural has its own level of consciousness. Nothing living is a machina animata. Nothing dead is machina intertia. Man is not as Descartes claimed, “maître et propriétaire de la nature.” Nature is not a universe of unconscious machines over which humanity is master and proprietor. And that, science cannot accept.