chapter  16
Dreaming and waking
Pages 7

For human beings, the alternative to thinking of the universe as, in some vast and remote way, purposive and benign, is to think of it as purposive and radically malignant. At the euphoric end, a simple but groundless factual guarantee is offered of a secure and glorious future for the human race, a human heaven on earth as the inevitable end of the whole natural process. At the despairing end, a vision which is reminiscent of the darker elements in some traditional religions displays the universe not simply as a linked set of physical processes, but animistically, as a field for the play of malign forces attacking or exploiting humanity. The modern one rules that only one form of human activity can escape this general paralysis, namely the practice of science itself. Euphoric visions of a guaranteed human future still persist - although the word 'future' itself is still often used as the name for a simple, endless technological heaven.