The year is 2036. The world has changed but it has not changed. Prisoner No. 12 is still alive, he has gone on vacation several times and returned. Yes, vacation; it was instituted in many countries around the world some few years back. He wonders why he is still alive though: whether he too has been infected or it’s some dream or some fiction.
He sits in the library with a few others. He is sprawled on his seat watching his TV while the others also watch theirs – the individual viewing his innovation to reduce conflict and one added thing: a chorus of information from varied sources but no one knew this. He should have gotten one of those new gadgets that fit right into your neural system but he didn’t like them, they felt too intrusive or something like that. From the speakers of the several, the newsmen announce the goings-on on the streets. There seemed to be some mass action of sorts.
“And scientism has taken over the world,” they all seem to concur, paraphrased or not, “bionic boobs bounce around and everything is busy getting augmentation. Some have bemoaned whether humans think for themselves in these new times; everyone is just a computer program walking around, as you can see behind me. In that anonymous letter in 2015, we all vividly recall that eerie question that was asked, ‘when computers control computers, what would we have?’ It was a profoundly difficult question and here we have the results. But still, the author of that letter did make a caveat for he wondered if computers and machines were capable of evolution or mutation into real intelligences, or should anyone suppose that an archaic process like rusting alone was enough mutation, but could rusting alone birth that renegade that is human intelligence? Evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists have been thinking about it, evolutionary physicists have been too.”
Prisoner No. 12 thinks to himself: the world has not changed. People still complaining all over the place. The computer program seems to have frozen them in a world of 2015 although it appears their clocks still move and recognize time. I wonder if this newsman himself is a computer program.
He sighs pensively and leaves the room with his drawling walk.
He sits at the edge of his bed ruminating the issue and suddenly gets up. Moves to and fro and then settles in the middle of the room, in the soliloquy he too has never quit,
“Scientism is wreaking havoc on the world. This is an old humdrum story. It is not true as well. It is a failure of understanding is all,” nowadays, though, he has significantly changed, the former rampant excitement of his speech has been replaced by a quintessential calmness, “it is a failure of the intellect to properly emend its role and purpose in the world. It is not science’s fault. That is exactly what scientism itself is, a misunderstanding, then people lay the blame at it and sciences doorstep, blinding themselves to the essence of the problem. Always complaining but never investigating and trying solutions. That in itself is another misunderstanding: the laying of blame at science and scientism’s feet.
“I tell you, the intellect does not understand itself, neither does everything else understand it; I recall someone once said that the problems of philosophy concerned what to value and how to act. That was 2010. It was a Nietzschean that said that: these people incapable of thinking for themselves and deconstructing and critiquing the conclusions of others are like that, always collecting the conclusions from all over the place without a conscience and not viewing them as mere perspectives that need criticism. And it is just what happens with those very incapable of metaphilosophy and metagnoseology – it is not a condemnation of them, it is just an identification of the problems and a critique of the position. And unfortunately, they are in the way. Let me deal more forthrightly with the position:
“Knowledge is not produced essentially to give man values. Knowledge is just produced for its own sake. It is a disposition in man to make knowledge, just like the disposition to create values and the disposition to act. Like I said elsewhere before, it is primarily an instinct. Hence, science, philosophy, or learning in general, is simply an instinct. Just because knowledge, values and actions assist each other does not mean they exist for each others sakes. The exist, period.
“Mind you, philosophy and its problems are concerned with the production of knowledge.
“It is a blunt fatal evil to say that philosophy and its problems are merely concerned with showing man what to value and how to act. By extension, such people would also say the same of science, and learning in general. This is just too fallacious. They are confusing the subjective side of learning with the objective side. The subjective side deals with the formation of individual value systems, individual beliefs about oneself, personal philosophies and so forth, while the objective side deals with saying for a fact what the facts of existence are; the latter case which leads to us considering the various individual philosophies as well. There is the world of man as fact and the world of man as living, believing, valuing, acting, being.”
No. 12 pauses mid-speech to chew a bit on those intuitions he has just let off. He goes on,
“And these people accuse others of scientism. The scientistic also are very right to accuse them of philosophism, although the scientistic are so caught in their tradition and faith that they wouldn’t be capable of this feat. Or, is it only in theory. Well … Putting philosophy or any branch of man’s vast network of agencies above all of life and man. Such a flagrant crime!
“Knowledge is what it is. It may be used for so and so but it remains knowledge not that it was created for so and so. These arguments of intelligent design are boring, audacious and fallacious, going far beyond Nature. Alas, these supposedly rationalistic folk claim abstractions such as Nature are redundant, full of fart only, and that they are not useful in any meaningful or serious inquiry or discussion. Being so unpragmatic, they do not understand the practical significance of an abstraction, a term or a concept: it is supposed to subsume the many concepts and entities that are covered in their conception. Who has time and space to be listing all the variegation and vicissitude of all that is within that which we call Nature?
“Let knowledge alone to be. All these lies about this is for this and that for that is too reminiscent of the first cause argument and monism. Because when it is said that one thing was made for another, the legitimate follow-up question is what was made for that one thing to exist. And then something made the universe and so forth so that an infinite regress of universes ensues – not just one of space and different composition – but one with a markedly distinct purpose and quality; therefore, a qualitative difference, not one of structure or the empirical. Where will and what is the foremost universe, that largest one, in this series be, then? What is beyond the largest? Void? A return to Democritus? Isn’t the void also something that exists? But, it requires no cause, magically. It’s just there, not needing to be encased anywhere. Hmm … Perhaps, they speak of a material universe … Whatever … so what is this whole series trying to achieve? You? Man? How hubristic! That is what these great rational debaters imply. Nature and the elements and every other thing are just following their beat. Find out how things work, find out the benefits of the existence and operations of the one for the other and quit this fallacious talk of purposes and “for’s” and “becauses”.
“Nature and the elements and every other thing are just following their beat. Any order that you see is not chance nor is it design, it’s just … something else … what … heck, I don’t know.”
No. 12 lays on his bed watching at the ceiling, about to close his eyes when he says, “I don’t know but it sure isn’t chance or design.”