Progress Has Brought About a Deadly Threat

progressMy old friend, journalist and columnist, Sergei Leskov, had a conversation with the director of the Institute of Philosophy at the Russian Academy of Sciences, academician A. Guseynov. Dr. Abdusalam Guseynov was present at the defense of my dissertation at the aforementioned institute. I am grateful for his position on this process.

His words are as follows (my comments appear in italics): Until now humanity’s fundamental conviction was that scientific and technological progress was good. But these hopes have proved to be illusory.

Philosophy was founded on the possibility of creating a heaven on earth by changing human nature. Now it is clear that the progress has brought about a deadly threat, and this fact requires us to take responsibility on a fundamentally new level.

The Kantian “ethics of goodwill” must be supplemented with the ethics of responsible action. This puts greater emphasis on the role of absolute prohibition, embedded in the ancient code of Moses – first and foremost on the prohibition on violence, or in other words: “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you.” This rule is a stepping stone to the rule, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” For more on this, see Baal HaSulam’s articles “The Revelation of Godliness (Matan Torah)” and “The Arvut.”

On the other hand, the process of individualizing morals continues. In other words, the society delegates the right to decide what’s right and wrong to individuals. If these individuals are Kabbalists – those who have already attained “the future of humanity,” then they can be trusted, but those who “don’t live in the world of tomorrow” must not be trusted under any circumstances. They will be wrong, as they always are, because they are governed by their egoism.

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