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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?

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Chapter Two: Collective Consciousness: Industrial Man and the Paradoxes of Social Logic


chapter two

Collective Consciousness: Industrial Man and the Paradoxes of Social Logic

If the philosophical qualities are potentialities of all minds, then their significance and application in daily life should in time become commonplace, leading in time to a less conflict-ridden social realm. This is a taken-for-granted ground-principle of utopian thinking through the ages. Such an assumption nonetheless misses an essential point: There are developmental limits of the human mind, both over time and in any specific cultural setting.

Man’s intelligence establishes him as an individual, who aims to live and work out his personal fate by using his intelligence to advantage, even when that means exploiting others of his kind. Yet only man has reached that level of intelligence, which allows him, at least in theory, to examine himself, to become “self-critical” as to his role in the complicated give and take of social living. He can adjust his behavior in light of his own view of himself. When this actually happens, he takes what in evolutionary terms might be called the next upward step in intelligence’s struggle against universal meaninglessness. We may go even further and define it as the “only possible” next and vital step—from mere animal consciousness to “philosophical” consciousness.

But far distant from concocted utopias, real life brings us face to face with this endless variety of mankind. Social life is a single reality, yet what we in fact observe is a chaos of behavior, which...

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