Hopeless Hubris

There’s a dangerous arrogance to hopelessness… Total hopelessness assumes that we know everything there is to know.…
When we think we know everything, we preclude opportunity.

James McCarthy

In a recent panel discussion on Climate Change, James McCarthy played Enlightenment standard bearer as he derided the hopeless. Steven Pinker, whom I’ve mentioned in this vein plays to the same tune.

Whether realistic, simply optimistic, or Pollyannas remain to be seen. Future history will be the final arbiter, but I want to touch on the relationship of arrogance to hopelessness.

McCarthy is right to make the equation, but what’s left unsaid is the hubris on the other side, of the Scientists, who put more faith in possible solutions than is, perhaps, warranted. This, too, is arrogance:

We gotten here from there, so we must be able to continue from here to the next there… along our next journey to progress.

It reminds me of the one about the person falling to their death from a tall building. At the fifth floor, in response to the question, ‘How’s in going?’ says, ‘So far, so good‘.

This is missing the perspective that we could already have situated ourselves into some evolutionary dead end, just awaiting the inevitable ground splat.

I’m not a pessimist. I am merely pointing out the arrogance of both vantages. In fact, I see it as a line curved so as to bend back upon itself.

Hubris Circle

Whilst one said may be correct, it is not through knowledge but through ignorance and emotion they arrive at their position. It’s primarily temperament and opinion. It’s certainly not science, save the blind faith variety.

I don’t really have much to say on the subject at this moment. I just wanted to share my reaction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s