Show Less
Restricted access

The Philosophical Future

Man’s Psychic Journey: End or Beginning?


Charles R. Reid

This book surveys the breadth of mankind’s postmodern malaise, which is achieved through a discussion of the major challenges, social and psychological, which every individual faces in the effort to live fully in the twenty-first century. These challenges lay in broadly familiar domains: self- and group-consciousness; common man and his place in a future society in which mental activity dominates; work and leisure; knowledge and values accruing from it, both for self and others; possibilities in education; civilization, with its “Dark Age” phenomena and its dreams of progress; the role of the past in contemporary life; and power, both in society and within the sovereign individual who, though bound by physical and intellectual limits, functions as a seeker after the freedom and self-fulfillment which are so wholly integral to the human condition. And finally a serious question: What fate awaits the perpetual non-conformist, whose views, however unwelcome in his own time and in a contemporary environment, may in fact anticipate future living conditions?

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter One: Seeing Forward: Ordinary Man’s Clouded Perspective


chapter one

Seeing Forward: Ordinary Man’s Clouded Perspective

The realm of human happiness, it seems, might best be described in terms either of “the peace that surpasses understanding” or of numeric measurements. In the first instance, one has a vision, a dream of life free of cares and earthly struggle. In the second, one can actually count his blessings—a less ethereal but probably more realistic version of what is conceivable in this best of all possible worlds. But even private blessings cannot be toted up in a social vacuum. There is always “the other” and his behavior to consider. And “the other” is also fecund. We can hardly ignore that there are steadily growing numbers of humans entering this world.1 Still, even this stark fact of life cannot mean abandonment of the supreme ideal of happiness, individual and collective.

Diverse factors are at any rate always at work in an environment as complex as today’s. Over time the destructive effects of killer diseases like AIDS or avian flu, for example, may cancel out some of the troubling population surge. And even more drastic modes for culling excess human numbers may come about, as nature finds other means, as yet undiscovered, for protecting itself from the population scourge. But what the rapid growth-spurt in human numbers over the short time-span since 1850 already signifies for man’s longer-term future seems clear enough: Never again can the earth be a place of widely separated, non-competing tribal...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.