In the Shadow of the Great War

In the Shadow of the Great War

The concept of development fell out of favor in the course of the 20 th century. When precisely, and why?

In a current essay I mentioned the essential function of the World Wars. Here’s a quote that includes weight to this– from Progress and Power, by historian Carl Becker, released in 1936:

For 2 centuries the Western world has actually been sustained by an extensive belief in the teaching of development. God the Father had actually withdrawn into the locations where Absolute Being dwells, it was still possible to preserve that the Idea or the Dialectic or Natural Law, working through the mindful functions or the unconscious activities of guys, might be counted on to secure humanity versus future threats. Developed, with whatever device of philosophic or clinical terms protected, the teaching was in essence a psychological conviction, a types of faith– a religious beliefs which, according to Professor [J. B.] Bury, served as an alternative for the decreasing faith in the Christian teaching of redemption …

Since 1918 this hope has actually perceptibly faded. Standing within the deep shadow of the Great War, it is hard to recuperate the nineteenth-century faith either in the reality or the teaching of development. The tip delicately thrown away some years earlier by Santayana, that “civilization is maybe approaching among those long winter seasons which surpass it from time to time,” appears less perverse now than when it was made. Present occasions provide credit to the prophets of catastrophe who forecast the collapse of a civilization that appeared however the other day a long-term conquest of human factor …

At the present minute the world appears certainly out of joint, and it is tough to think with any conviction that a power not ourselves– the Idea or the Dialectic or Natural Law– will ever set it. Today minute, for that reason, when the truth of development is challenged and the teaching rejected, appears to me an appropriate time to raise the concern: What, if anything, may be stated on behalf of the mankind? May we still, in whatever various style, think in the development of humanity?

( Emphasis included.)

I discover it interesting to see that the failure of the concept of development started as early as this, after World War I. World War II maybe just enhanced a current pattern.

I likewise discover remarkable Becker’s concept that mankind needed some sort of secure, a “power not ourselves” to “set it right.”

There is no power beyond humankind. We are the masters of our fate, for much better or for even worse. If there is to be a 21 st-century approach of development, it requires to be based not on an Idea or a Dialectic, however on human company.

Remark: Reddit, LessWrong

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Author: admin