John Cassian is back


December 7, 2005 by AK

…and here’s one of his, ahem, favorite Thinkers talking.

“Darwinism implies that the only eternal life we have is in the recycling of our atoms. I find that comforting.” That’s George Monbiot, straight out of Chekhov or Dostoevsky or Turgenev: Russian 19th century fiction must be packed with characters consoling themselves with atomic recycling until some silly incident of fate, or severe depression, kills them at a blooming age. As Ostap Bender remarked (if you don’t know who OB is, do find out), “There’s no God. It’s a medical fact.”

And, as Nikolai Oleynikov wrote in 1934 in a weird, painful and great poem, a poor cockroach in vivisectors’ hands

would not be afraid of death
If he knew there was a soul.
Science has, however, proven
That the soul does not exist,
And that bones and lard and liver —
All the things that form the soul —
Are, in fact, articulations —
Nothing but — and then, connections.
It is hopeless to resist
Arguments of science.
So the cockroach, clasping hands,
Has prepared to suffer.

Not only the coleopterous martyr of science but respectable bloggers, Deogolwulf for one, disagree that “out of his eyes a red, red rose” would be an encouraging prospect should “my” replace “his.”

Now jokes aside, Darwinism does not imply anything about eternal life unless Darwinism is extended to dimensions of a philosophy, like Freudism or Marxism. Let us hope that credit for the quoted snippet goes to a Guardian editor.


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