Intelligence and Evil in Human History:
An Answer to Intellectual Defeatism
The terms “transition” and “crisis” are two great semantic beacons of our times. They blink at us, not only in the ephemera of journalism, but in the most abstruse pages of contemporary political, social, and philosophical discussion. And yet, in one sense, every age is an age of transition in that it is an overlapped and overlapping segment of a historical process; and every important problem is a “crisis” in the affairs of men. “The crisis of our time” is thus a standing rubric in the interpretation of history.
Indeed, in so far as history is the consequence of human decision, crisis—crisis for someone in respect to something—is of its very substance. As good a definition of man as any is that he is a creature of crisis. Whoever bestows upon him a permanent freedom from crisis frees him from history and from life. Happily, there is more in life than crisis, and we do not have to make a philosophy of it—or a habit of it—as the modern metaphysics of adolescence, existentialism, recommends. There is enough anguish in experience without seeking for more.
About the Author