The Problem with Modern People

The problem with modern people – one of the problems – was that they’d forgotten how to be humble…men and woman blandly confident of their importance in the scheme of things, assured that as inhabitants of a global city, citizens of the most powerful country on the planet, they were the inheritors of certain rights, among them the right to know the world in its totality, or if they chose not to know…then for others to know on their behalf, so that an explanation could potentially be made to them, or if not to them, then to an expert who would receive it and act in their best interest…
…she’d seen the flip side of their self-assurance: the outrage when something unknowable reared up before them…unknowable in principle, inaccessible to human comprehension. Their fear made them dangerous – murderous even – for in their blind panic they’d turn on whoever they could find as a scapegoat, would tear them into pieces to preserve this cherished fiction, the fiction of the essential comprehensibility of the world.
…The lesson she’d learned…was that knowledge, true knowledge, is the knowledge of limits, the understanding that at the heart of the world, behind or beyond or above or below, is a mystery into which we are not meant to penetrate.

HARI KUNZRU, Gods Without Men


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