THE RATIONAL WORLD
“The only incomprehensible thing about the world
is that it is comprehensible.”
Paul Davies, The Mind of God
THE present chapter deals with the fact—or fiction—of a ‘rational universe’, which has been particularly important for human beings in their efforts to reduce their anxiety in an unknown universe. It also discusses the contradictions and ambiguities inherent in human reason; how it is able not only to create but also to destroy ‘meaning’; how it may turn against morality; how it may turn into unreason—into a force which, instead of building, destroys civilization.
Reason has always been one of our major instruments in constructing the symbolic structures of our civilization and protecting us against our existential fears and anxieties. However, despite its brilliant achievements, it has played an ambiguous role in our history.
Prague, 24 May 1618. The city is in revolt. A Protestant crowd bursts into the Castle and throws the imperial regents out of the window.1 In a couple of months, Europe will be submerged for thirty years in one of the bloodiest