We have been watching a re-run of the series “The First World War” which is based upon Professor Hew Strachan’s book. It is difficult to watch as the body count increases, the weapons are improved, the destruction is immense and the idiocy of war is front and centre. The twentieth century must be the cruellest of centuries as we humans engage in war after bloody war. I kept thinking, while watching the series, that every politician and every religious person should watch this and remember the past.
We humans do not seem particularly good at learning from our mistakes. Driven by the worst emotions we lurch from war to war while at the same time destroying the environment around us.
About ten years ago I [Richard Marshall] interviewed Noam Chomsky, and the first question I asked him was why, with all the irons he has in the fire, he dedicates so much time to engaging with philosophers. He said his concern was really part of a more general concern – that “it should trouble us that we’re not thinking about what we’re up to, and those questions happen to be the domain of what philosophers pay attention to.” I feel that there are just too many human enterprises that are not being subjected to critical thinking, and the problem is getting worse rapidly.