Western nations in the present day often fancy themselves to be more civilized and enlightened than past nations and cultures that are either extant or extinct. This is in part because we see ourselves as more logical and and rational than the rest of the world. And in a sense, we are. We’ve perfected the ability to operate based purely on quantitative data rather than qualitative experience. We prize the abstract and the objective as more reliable than the concrete and subjective. We seek to interpret reality in a formulaic and methodical fashion. We do all this, driven by a belief that by eliminating the subjective and abstracting the concrete we see reality more clearly, a belief that is and can only be tested by implementation.
The Western world is engaging in a very large and important experiment that is essentially a widespread exercise in rationalization. Is it the case that rationalized beliefs make for a better life, a better world, a better reality? Or is it simply that we humans do as we often do and convince ourselves by way of that same rationalization that we are doing the right thing by reducing the qualitative to the quantitative?
It is so frequently the case that we find in our own minds a convincing justification for that which, upon examination, is a failure on our part. If only we all had the ability to effectively fight this tendency to rationalize our behaviors rather than seeing them.