The New Enlightenment: Combining Voltaire
Wim Rietdijk, D.Sci.
The Essential Social
Reformer: Techno-Science pushing Reason, Rational Values and Emotional
This page is about some aspects of The Scientifization
of Culture, by theoretical physicist C.W. Rietdijk, with
an Introduction by psychologist H.J. Eysenck. You
can find more about this politically, sociologically and philosophically
highly incorrect work on The Scientifization of Culture.
One of the essential aspects
of this publication is the thesis that thinking, not only in the
political domain but also in those of sociology, economics, philosophy,
our ideas about the meaning of life and various others, has
been unconsciously adjusted to dominating group interests and
corresponding ideology, taboos and habits of thought. One
of the consequences is that various vital facts and theories on
them simply remain repressed because of their not fitting with
such interests and ideology: thinking about them is taboo.
In what follows we give an
idea of what this actually means, as a physicist applies his more
objective ways of thinking to the interests-, tradition- and taboo-infested
domains of social, moral, sexual and other vital typically "human"
1. "A British team of scientists
has discovered how defective genes can be removed from sperm and
eggs, raising the prospect that scores of hereditary diseases
could be eliminated from mankind. The breakthrough, described
by eminent scientists as landmark research, means that faulty
genes... could be replaced by healthy ones before an egg is fertilized,...
A more controversial possibility would be to use the process to
enhance the genetic make-up of sperm and eggs in order to produce
offspring born with cosmetic 'improvements',..."
"Dr Stephen West, who
led the research team at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund's Clare
Hall Laboratories in Hertfordshire... [said] 'I honestly think
that 20 years from now it will be fairly routine. The implications
are phenomenal... You could create super-races effectively'."
(The Sunday Times, 8 Dec. 1996.)
Great care will be necessary,
but in the future many human problems will be sensibly tackled
by genetic engineering.
In coherence with their missing
the boat as to joining in with today's all-important process:
the techno-scientific revolution, most intellectuals and "idea-mongers"
failed completely in seeing that most core human problems are
in the domain of "natural" shortcomings and defects
rather than in those of politics, group relations, the "existential"
philosophical and the like. It would be fine for politicians,
ideologues and obscure philosophers if they were in the latter
domains, but it is not so. For example:
a) Internet will do more in obviating unofficial censorship
and social sieves - and, therefore, in fighting conformism - than
all good intentions, and also in making kindred spirits find each
b) Sexual problems have much more to do with a "genetic scarcety"
of physical attractiveness and good characters, and with the irrationality
of the "marketplace" for love partners (too much coincidence,
too small in scale,...) than with anything else.
c) Elevating the level of politics would be helped by giving politicians
and journalists the right to interview each other while using
ever more sophisticated technological lie-detection, rather than
by verbal ethics.
d) Religious problems and that of a possible afterlife can better
be addressed with scientific research - parapsychology, near-death
experiences, brain and reincarnation research,... - than via churches
and speculative philosphy.
e) In the last resort, social and other relational problems could
be brought nearer to a solution by the genetic improvement of
man as referred to in our above quotation (and by eugenics) than
via the "disadvantaged industry", which asserts rearguard
groups - underclasses, anti-socials, most addicted,... - to be
"deprivileged". (This does not imply help and the enforcement
of middle-class values to be useless with respect to most "disadvantaged".)
f) Government would improve more by our successfully selecting
Thomas Jefferson's "natural aristocracy of virtue and talents"
via future subtle measurements of brains and genes, in coherence
with voting, than by keeping to the beaten tracks. Also, easy
electronic referenda can do much to foster democracy.
g) Modern contraceptives, automotion, economic growth and the
"spirit of rational techno-science" did more to reduce
sexual taboos, racism, nationalism, dogma and stupid convention
than politicians, philosophers and - again - good intentions.
2. Anti-egalitarianism traditionally
has been "rightist" - nationalistic, racist or associated
with class-rule or discrimination of people in no way morally,
intellectuelly or genetically inferior -, and produced much evil.
However, in the course of
the past half century many politicians, a "new class"
of bureaucrats in redistribution, help and policymaking bodies,
and most intellectuals who were integrated into the establishment,
got vested interests in both an expanded state and egalitarian
tendencies and "help". That is, redistribution and
much "help" got institutionalized (in Quigley's
sense). The corresponding ideology (now called "political
correctness"), especially propagated by the intelligentsia,
serves the "help agencies" by asserting that underclasses,
lazy, undisciplined and unintelligent pupils or students, anti-socials
and addicts are "deprivileged". I.e., their situation
is purported to result from "social disadvantagedness"
rather than permissive values and/or bad genes. Good news for
all working in the field, who also have a "Parkinsonian"
interest in many "problem people" being around and,
therefore, in mismanagement of the phenomenon of their existence.
An example is the educational
establishment, thriving on problem groups, much bureaucracy
to "help" them, permissive values to cause them to proliferate,
and fending off performance ethic, delayed gratification, back
to basics and discipline. It also thrives on studied inefficiency,
such as teaching physics, mathematics, languages etc. in an unsystematic
way. E.g., physics is said to be best teached via "discover
it by yourself", and foreign language by "discovering"
grammar and words from reading rather than clear, systematic and
conveniently arranged thorough textbooks. That is, textbooks putting
coherent reasoning, theses and laws first and foremost in science,
and grammar, wordlists and translation exercises in foreign languages.
The more problem groups and inefficient teaching, the more the
educational domain can Parkinsonian-like expand. Such a thing
is institutionalization. Emphasizing discipline, fifteen
hours homework a week, simple marks and selection into rather
homogeneous classes according to levels of intelligence, are all
taboo in the politically correct egalitarian world. Good for those
thriving on human failure.
3. Alas, our institutionalized,
politically correct intelligentsia does not constitute the only
specimen of moral and intellectual failure among our elites. Neither
does its political correctness form the unique example
of its own failure. Its "cultural" correctness
competes with it: our intelligentsia's massive involvement with
irrational and anti-moral (subjectivistic and relativistic) philosophy
and incoherent or inane art completes it (Heidegger, Foucault,
postmodernism, Beuys, Appel, Rauschenberg...).
A few examples out of many
about the state of our elites:
a) Whistle-blowers will be dismissed or frustrated rather than
promoted or decorated;
b) After pope Pius XII's war-time silence about concentration
camps and the Holocaust, no after-war government uttered
criticism or publicly asked for an explanation;
c) For decades, the US and other Western powers left cruel dictators
in power in many cases in which it would have been easy and without
risk of great wars to bring them down. Think of the Duvaliers
in Haity, Batista in Cuba, Somoza in Nicaragua: they were "puppets"
of the West. Also think of leaving Saddam Hussein in power by
stopping the Gulf War too early in 1991, leaving many to the murderer
d) The French and Italian governments had a secret arrangement
with Libya and the PLO containing that the first-mentioned would
do nothing to bother terrorists en route on their territories,
in exchange for the promise that no French and Italians would
be attacked. (NRC Handelsblad, April 4, 1986.)
The number of similar cases
is so enormous that the above characterizes a mentality
of our establishment: that of lacking integrity and neighbourly
love, which make up the difference between good and evil.
4. Points (2) and (3) above
make it clear that not too much trust as to social progress has
to be put in our establishment and the sector of it constituted
by the organizing, policymaking or ideas-creating intellectuals:
they are either immoral ("realistic") or conformistic,
politically correct, or both. Or they invested heavily in irrational
"postmodernism" or incoherent poets, painters and composers.
At that, their prevalent egalitarianism is in itself kindred to
nihilism, viz. to the idea that somebody's having or lacking moral,
intellectual and emotional qualities does not make much difference
Actually, the bulk of our
intelligentsia became a kind of clergy: jointly shaping and pushing
a rather uniform orthodoxy, i.e., political correctness, such
as egalitarianism, "nurturism" as against genes and
the idea that the rationalism of the Enlightenment is "outdated"
(and that values are relative). Such political correctness functions
as the interest-supporting ideology of people and organizations
who/that thrive on problem groups ("the disadvantaged")
and on all Parkinsonian, group-privilege and other corruption
having to fear from the objective, enlightened ethic as well as
from an emerging Promethean culture to which lie-detection, the
measurement of man and transparency up to and including genes
are going to be inherent.
In short, our intelligentsia
sold out enlightened values such as objective truth, integrity,
human quality and neighbourly love with respect to the victims
of moral and genetic rearguards. It reduced everything to
the "social", group and relations-based domains from
which it derived organizational and manipulative power, ignoring
the true liberators of man from poverty, disease, unofficial censorship
and coincidence: the techno-scientific revolution and the ideas
of the Enlightenment. Instead, reactionary subjectivism such
as Heidegger's, the chaotic nihilism of postmodernism or the cultivated
unreason of Michel Foucault, and incoherent "modern art",
serve as foci of attention. These precisely have in common their
utmost contrast with the Enlightenment and with the idea that
man can systematically improve his fate by applying the rule:
Conscious striving combined with intelligence results in method,
in coherent action.
Of course, such contrast is
not a coincidence: the relevant anti-Enlightenment, anti-rationalistic,
chaos-emphasizing and relativistic ways of thinking unconsciously
are attuned to repressing precisely such kind of facts and coherent
theories that could endanger core interests of the dominating
relatiocracy and the troubled waters they need in various respects.
5. John Kenneth Galbraith said
in The Affluent Society that in times of peace economic
growth will be only a small part of what it could be. In Chapter
6 of my book it is discussed in detail why this is so, and what
can be done to it. An outline of my argument:
Starting from Fisher's formula:
I propose a policy aimed at fostering growth and containing inflation
at the same time. Its essence is:
a) Increase the money supply (M in the formula) by creating a
limited additional amount of it, corresponding to raising demand
so as to effect optimum employment (V, representing money's rate
of circulation, is supposed not to change much);
b) Make price-increasing and efficiency-reducing agreements, regulations
and practices in the economy punishable by law, and apply price
controls where such measure works insufficiently to foster competition;
c) Substitute or complement negotiations between unions and employers
about wages etc. by obligatory arbitration that fixes them mainly
in conformity with market forces, as far as macro-priorities such
as fighting inflation and justice allow so. Forbid strikes as
an instrument of cartelized labor.
The above policy will cause
MV in Fisher's formula to rise, while P (the general price level)
does not (because of b) and c)). Therefore, production volume
T will increase. Of course, M should not be increased so much
that total demand would exceed production capacity, because
then inflation would indeed be unavoidable.
Why our politicians did not
bring the above policy into practice? In short: because too many
special interests are humoured by them. E.g., unions are not fond
of arbitration and making strikes unlawful, whereas employers
do not like the prohibition of myriad regulations and the authorities
sometimes applying price controls.
Hence we see: It is vested
interests in inefficiency that frustrate reason (and rational
ethic) also in economics - which keeps silent about all of the
above -, as they do in so many other domains discussed in The
Scientifization of Culture.
Actually, democracy in particular
means that the votes of the electorate prevail on organized groups.
Extensive public discussion about the above policy should precede
voting on it in parliament or in a referendum, and governments
should not be much interested in the opinions of organized business
or labour about it. In order to create such situation, we should
deprive the relevant groups of all means to sabotage democratic
votes, such as strikes or contributions to election campaigns.
6. Not even from physics ideology
is absent, especially in cases where a connection exists with
what one will call "the problems of life".
of Culture shows this, too, in remarkable detail. In Chapter
10 Einstein is quoted saying "The most surprising of all
is that the world almost certainly has a meaning", and many
concrete instances are given that strongly suggest him to be right.
In spite of their having been published earlier by the author
in well-reputed scientific Journals, and their never having been
refuted, the relevant results remained far from being intensively
discussed. Again ideology is responsible: present-day cult
of uncertainty, relativism and incoherence - in philosophy, art
and often in people's way of life - contrasts to the highest degree
with the implications of both Einstein's pronouncement and the
results in question, as will appear below and even more in the
book at stake.
E.g., the author proved that
the Special Theory of Relativity implies that the world is four-dimensional
in a realistic sense, so that the future actually exists "already".
[See Philosophy of Science, Vol. 33 (1966), p. 341, and
also C.W. Rietdijk in D. Diner et al. (eds.): The Wave-Particle
Dualism; A Tribute to Louis de Broglie on his 90th birthday
(Dordrecht, 1984), p. 433.]
This demonstration causes
the world to be a lot less "coincidental" than many
like to believe. The more so because in addition the author proved
that not merely the existing world is four-dimensional, but various
physical laws are so too. The latter is of major significance
because it implies that not only some very concrete physical processes
show an aspect of the ("already" existing) future having
influence on the present - via very exact formulae -, but that
human destiny could have such aspect too. An aspect which
may cause life to be less "coincidental" than many think
and even could make it indeed meaningful in Einstein's sense.
[As to the proofs about four-dimensional physical laws that imply
the future to sometimes cast its shadows before see, e.g., C.W.
Rietdijk in Foundations of Physics, Vol. 8 (1978), p. 615
and Vol. 11 (1981), p. 783.]
of Culture contains 75 pages of scientific discussion
about such physical results - explaining them for the layman as
far as possible - and their possible relations with parapsychology,
religion and deeper laws in our lives. Within this scope, also
an extensive experiment about "The Roots of Coincidence"
(title of a book by Arthur Koestler) is discussed, in which many
coincidences in his own life convinced the author of their showing
long-term coherence. Most popular - too popular - authors
writing about the "new physics" and its connection with
human life and destiny (such as Fritjof Capra) think that its
consequences amount to such life being more "coincidental"
and uncertain than implied by classical physics. Being a rationalist,
I am, on account of my own physical and other research - and giving
many references to scientific publications in my book - of the
opposite opinion. It is emphasized that "traditional"
rationalistic physics (and reductionistic rationalism at all)
was a very partial rationalism. I.e., it implied the
world to function systematically, according to precise laws, merely
in the small domain, at the same time being chaotic on the macro-level
of a whole human life, evolution or the universe as an entirety.
Chapter 10 of my book is even more rationalistic: subtle coherence
does not only govern local physical and other processes,
but also does so with respect to what transcends locality, in
various physical processes and - probably - in human life too.
In such sense it also "orchestrates results in the long term".
In this stage between facts
(nonlocal coherence in quantum physics) and (strong) hypotheses
(about macro-coherence in human lives), the author, still being
a rationalist, felt himself driven to start his Chapter 10 with
"The dynamic and the
emotional, good and evil, beauty and disharmony, the questions
of life and death, of fate and wisdom, of love, passion and the
magnificent, of triumph and defeat get a new dimension of majesty
and depth if they would appear to fit within an integrating, coherent
scope. This is why I studied theoretical physics and also tried
to find out something about the laws of human destiny and of the
fabric of society. In listening to beautiful music, in having
tears in my eyes in seeing the sun set over the sea, my overwhelming
feeling is God speaking to me:
'My works surpass everything in your imagination, My laws and
coherence cause the world to evolve from one Supreme Principle
they reflect and from which ensues all that was, is and ever will
be. I neither play dice, nor can I be outwitted.'
Because only a deeply coherent
world can fully verify such feeling, this book is devoted to reason
and moral sense which are inseparable."
Without such view on life
- in which "God" is a deep coherence in natural laws,
somewhat comparable to how our "mind" is a coordinating
instance in the functioning of our bodies, not violating but integrating
"local" laws - also consistent nonconformism seems hardly
to be worthwhile...
7. Also, a general subject of
The Scientifization of Culture is that in modern
society an excess of permissiveness is endemic with respect to
human failure and inferiority in general, at the cost of their
victims. We see this, inter alia, in politics, in the
domains of law and education, as to eugenics and in social security.
What is more, even social
science, philosophy and our value system to a high degree are
subtly adjusted to the moral failure and inefficiencies on which
various powerful groups thrive. In economics, this resulted
in its not seeing the obvious. Also it led up to our social thinkers
failing to expose "progressive" education, sexual taboos
and emperor-without-clothes kinds of "modern art".
Within this scope, radical
relativism and postmodernism can most simply be explained as ideological
inventions to shield from science and reason much that is wrong
in man and society. (From the time of Jesus of Nazareth mankind
invented myriad other excuses for not taking truth, good and evil
More generally, The
Scientifization of Culture shows that socio-cultural bias
constitutes the single most important cause why social science
failed in producing a coherent theory of culture and society,
and why so many concrete problems in them could not be solved.
(E.g., think of crime, education, economic stagnation,...) Reason
and science should not be adjusted to man, his culture and society,
but man and his shortcomings should adjust to science, reason
and concomitant integrity.
The latter adjustment will
be a major consequence of the ongoing information and Promethean
revolution. This is the main reason why so many hate it instinctively,
and either conservatively revert to the past or call on Heidegger,
Foucault, postmodernism, "modern art" or the cult of
"irreducible, inviolable and transcendental man", being
above science. This in order to avert the relevant calamity and
shield from reason and rational values everything immoral or inferior
on which they could so nicely thrive up till now. Within this
scope, "mystery" and the "non-rational" are
euphemisms for troubled waters.
Actually, Western governments
will be so nihilistically indifferent to human quality that they
do not even bother about moral and/or intellectual rearguards
outbreeding high-IQ groups, and tolerate the massive immigration
of low-IQ people.
8. A core problem of life is
the menace emanating from "the others" as far as they
are immoral, and our finding safety from them: at least an inner
stronghold against injustice and the unsympathetic. Only enlightened
religion may give an ultimate answer here, but society can help
much. E.g., by seriously emphasizing the moral dimension in unmistakably
taking sides with integrity and compassion as against crime, deceit
in business and politics, and so on.
Apart from being a scientific
treatise, The Scientifization of Culture also calls
on you for help as to this vital problem.
Please react! See our Discussion Page
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