I recently started reading John Locke’s “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” as a personal challenge as well as recently learning that it influenced Jonathan Edwards. In Locke’s essay there is a pursuit of understanding that is tempered by a humble willingness to acknowledge the limitations of the mind to comprehend. This flies in the face of our current environment where one who cautions us of our limitations is viewed as a fool or weak individual.
There is something driving us to consume all knowledge, categorize and analyze until all is revealed and mystery (often called superstition) is buried 6 feet underground. From what I have seen about the upcoming film Prometheus this is one of the foundational philosophies of some of the crew. Pursue answers;no matter the cost. I look forward to watching this film and hope that in the midst of the jump out of your seat moments that Ridley Scott promises there will be some thought-provoking dialogue about the origins of life, the pursuit of knowledge, and our limitations.
I do not long to go back to the time of Edwards or Locke, but I wonder if it would be healthy for us to adopt a reasonable approach towards our personal consumption of knowledge. Do we all need to master all the topics of understanding? Do we need to step out so boldly in an effort to reduce or eliminate mystery in all areas? I believe mystery is both essential for grounding us in our reality/sanity and humbling to our darker prideful natures that would push everyone away for the sake of consumption.