Ferocious Minds: Polymathy and the New Enlightenment
Two centuries ago, the first Enlightenment failed when its dream of reason smashed into the passions and fury of stubborn humans. Without a deep, broad understanding of the world, the emerging Enlightenment was left floundering, its best impulses perverted into the bloody excess of the French Revolution. Arguably, its idealism and noble goals led directly, and shockingly, to the 20th century's totalitarian nightmares. Now the 21st century is learning anew the Faustian hunger to know everything that can be known. But Enlightenment values of reason and tolerance, enriched by new knowledge, face a complex world no less eager to embrace medieval terrorism and ancient superstitions, a world bizarrely denying itself many of the fresh opportunities amd insights availed by science. Can we find cures for poverty, unhappiness, ignorance, the ruination of the planet, aging, and perhaps for death itself? If so, should we? Damien Broderick's own ferocious mind invites you to explore today's unexpected treasure-house of understanding-and provides enticing glimpses of tomorrow's.
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