Home Forum Political Economy Questions Regarding Mumford’s Theory of the Mega-Machine Reply To: Questions Regarding Mumford’s Theory of the Mega-Machine

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Jonathan Nitzan
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Yes, we often project our social order onto the natural world. But we shouldn’t take this as far as the post modernists, and conclude that we can never understand the natural world because everything is clouded by ideology. Despite our tendency to delude ourselves, good science does happen.

At a risk of sounding simplistic, I’d say that human thinking requires categories; categories imply ‘likeness’; and metaphors are a major form of likeness: they compare and in some sense unite previously orthogonal domains.

Metaphors are everywhere in human thinking, and they pervade both organized religion and science.

One key difference between organized religion and science, is that organized religion worships its own inventions as if they are hetronomously given, while science is painfully aware that its frameworks and theories are its own Protagorean making.

In the monotheistic religions, God is literally the king of the universe, has to be obeyed by its inventors and their laity via his self-nominated earthy representatives, and remains in his position for millennia (or until the worshippers perish). In science, theories and even worldviews, no matter how entrenched, can succumb to counter evidence in a historical jiffy.

I think that as long as we remember that our metaphors are own inventions and don’t use them as externally given evidence, we remain scientists. When we start sanctifying our metaphors as heteronomous, we move over to the domain of organized religion.