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Elon Musk’s Arrogance

September 28, 2016

Walter A. McDougall’s history of the Space Age examined the will to control nature that underlies space exploration much as did the Renaissance Hermeticists. In sum, there is a very strong arrogance that permeates culture in the West with roots deep into the Protestant Reformation, emigration of Puritans to America, and the influence of scientific discovery.

Most of us who have interesting toys do not store them in closets. Elon Musk is an example. Musk is planning to launch a mission to Mars and by 2022 send men to Mars.

His “space company” is designed to try to advance rocket technology to enable humanity to become a space-based civilization.

Musk thinks big and is concerned about the future of mankind. Yet that future cannot be experienced except through concepts common in our time. Those concepts include issues of sustainable energy, global warming, population growth and technological progress. Listening to Musk in a YouTube interview reveals a modern, scientific man unhindered by theology, philosophy or a sense of human limits. Unfortunately, Musk was preceded by thinkers similarly motivated to control nature. The Renaissance Hermeticists developed a view of magic as a means to predict the future and control nature. You can read about them in Frances Yates’ study of Giordano Bruno.

The history of Renaissance magic is part of a long tradition of attempts to free us from our humanity in the realization that we are gods. You can read about that temptation in my essay titled “Modern Political Religions.”


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