Fear of Flying
Mankind is a slow learner, but a learner he/she/it is. In 1749, a Frenchman sat down at the roadside and invented answers to the question about moral value of progress in science and in the arts. He found none. To the contrary, progress in sciences and arts had a destructive influence upon morality. Man (and woman, though nobody was politically correct about gender yet) was born free as a natural noble savage, but he/she/it was spoiled by civilized education and upbringing. Material welfare (brought by science) and spiritual beauty (brought by arts) spoiled morality. Wicked institutions deformed noble features of man/woman/child as an iron cage of a social division of labor and leisure. Rousseau became a celebrity, but mankind still voted for progress, sciences, arts and the rest of civilization, including luxury and politics, which he condemned.
In 2019, a Swedish teenager convinced her mother, who was an opera singer, to stop flying because airplanes also leave footprints in the atmosphere. Mama obliged, so the girl went national. She stopped learning at school and went on strike against the rest of mankind. She sat down in front of the Swedish parliament and said that mankind should follow her mother’s example (not only in refusing to fly). Sponsors obliged and sent her overseas to the United Nations General Assembly. She became a celebrity, and she did not even have to win an essay competition. Is this a progress? What have we learned?
Haarlem, Sept.26, 2019