There is an ever louder babble of apocalypse-predicting subcultures, amplified and partly sustained by the internet: peak-oil doomers, who believe the world’s energy supplies will collapse and mass famine will follow; Christians who anticipate an imminent day of rapture when believers will ascend to heaven and non-believers will perish; interpreters of the ancient Maya calendar who, contrary to mainstream scholarship, are convinced that the world will end on 21 December 2012; and traditional survivalists, stockpiling tinned goods and constructing rural “survival retreats” to sit out armageddon….
Václav Havel: “Politics and Conscience”
To me, personally, the smokestack soiling the heavens is not just a regrettable lapse of a technology that failed to include “the ecological factor” in its calculation, one which can be easily corrected with the appropriate filter.
To me it is more, the symbol of an age which seeks to transcend the boundaries of the natural world and its norms and to make it into a merely private concern, a matter of subjective preference and private feeling, of the illusions, prejudices, and whims of a “mere” individual.
It is a symbol of an epoch which denies the binding importance of personal experience including the experience of mystery and of the absolute and displaces the personally experienced absolute as the measure of the world with a new, man-made absolute, devoid of mystery, free of the “whims” of subjectivity and, as such, impersonal and inhuman. It is the absolute of so-called objectivity: the objective, rational cognition of the scientific model of the world.
Modern science, constructing its universally valid image of the world, thus crashes through the bounds of the natural world, which it can understand only as a prison of prejudices from which we must break out into the light of objectively verified truth.
The natural world appears to it as no more than an unfortunate leftover from our backward ancestors, a fantasy of their childish immaturity.