Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Auschwitz AND Penicillin created Post-Modernity

No matter how many scholars say it while dancing on the sharp point of a pin, it simply isn't true.

The horrors that Auschwitz came to represent simply weren't enough to break through human civilization's enormous hubris in the heady post-victory days of 1945.

In fact, the journalists had already all been squared and the agreed story was to be that the Nazis had long been openly at war, well before 1939, against the modern world.

That they were a throwback to our barbaric past, trying to destroy civilization.

But Modern Civilization had been stronger, with better, more modern science, and had so cast out this one bad apple from the European basket.

Primitive barbaric Nazi science had been bested.

And soon all would be once again bright and cheery in the broad uplands of this best of all possible current worlds.

(And please put your sunglasses on and hold onto your hats, because the Future's going to be so Bright, you gonna wanna wear shades !)

Yes, Modern Civilization had had one bad outlier, its tame apologists boldly admitted, but the structure itself was sound.

But in fact it was 'the best of Allied science' that had been bested - and not by some yet more advanced civilization - but rather by the most primitive and despicable creature imaginable : stinky smelly basement fungal slime.

All the Smartest Chemists in the Universe, from all civilizations in the world, working full out with unlimited funds, had failed to make penicillin - something the despised slime tossed off with the ease and grace of Nijinsky.

The 'primitive' slime was supposed to remain securely at the very bottom of the Ladder of Progress - with 'advanced' civilizations like Germany and America supposed to be secure at the very top.

When suffering humanity needed advanced civilization the most, it let them down - instead a despised being, a broken vessel, a stone all builders rejected, gave them life...

Now human hubris had a tough contrast to reconcile : all civilization (not just a nasty outlier of it) had failed to produce the priceless lifesaver penicillin - instead that was done - and worse, done easily and effortlessly - by the supposedly most primitive life form imaginable - a lower fungus.

What on Earth then was truly Progressive and what was truly Primitive ?

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