Monday, January 2, 2017

"The Ultimate Tragedy..."

“It would indeed be the ultimate tragedy if the history of the human race proved to be nothing
 more noble than the story of an ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump.”
- David Ormsby-Gore


  1. I don't know if that would be the "ultimate" tragedy."

    Ormsby-Gore sounds pretty much down on mankind. Rather than viewing the entirety as apes, I would rather consider the best that man achieves during his existence regardless of how it all ends.

    In the vein, I offer a thought from Viktor E. Frankl and his great book "Man's Search for Meaning."

    "“Man’s search for meaning may arouse inner tension rather than inner equilibrium. However, precisely such tension is an indispensable prerequisite of mental health. There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that so effectively helps one to survive even the worse conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.”

    I would rather summarize mankind in this way ... life affirming significance.

  2. Really 2 threads here, mankind collectively and individually. Perhaps Ormsby-Gore in his time was referring to the possibility of nuclear war and the resultant extinction of all life on this planet. That would certainly qualify as the "ultimate tragedy" for the collective human race. Fukushima, horrifyingly, is doing in slow motion what nuclear war would have done. That is a fact, not a conjecture or a shallow opinion, from which there is no escape.

    Acceptance of that unavoidable fact- and fate- makes Frankl's quote, and your summation, particularly relevant. How does an individual face such an unspeakable nightmare that's all too true? Not by falling into despair and giving up, though most would if they knew, but finding meaning and significance in our daily lives, doing what we can with what we have, "life affirming significance", a noble ideal for which to strive.
    This may add to those considerations:
    Thanks for stopping by and adding your excellent and insightful comments!