It matters, it matters a lot that one of the world’s greatest thinkers, a humanist at heart, is declaring what he thinks of the war in Syria and the failure of humanity to stop it. His point of view is of great importance because he is weighing his arguments against the fate of man and life on earth. Hawking is concerned about civilization and accordingly, he evaluates the Syrian war and the miscarriage of universal ethics to do something about it from this perspective. Alisar
Syria’s war must end
Stephen Hawking is the author of “A Brief History of Time” and a former professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that the universe had existed forever. The reason humanity was not more developed, he believed, was that floods or other natural disasters repeatedly set civilization back to the beginning.
Today, humans are developing ever faster. Our knowledge is growing exponentially and with it, our technology. But humans still have the instincts, and in particular the aggressive impulses, that we had in caveman days. Aggression has had definite advantages for survival, but when modern technology meets ancient aggression the entire human race and much of the rest of life on Earth is at risk.
Today in Syria we see modern technology in the form of bombs, chemicals and other weapons being used to further so-called intelligent political ends.
We now know that Aristotle was wrong: The universe has not existed forever. It began about 14 billion years ago. But he was right that great disasters represent major steps backward for civilization. The war in Syria may not represent the end of humanity, but every injustice committed is a chip in the facade of what holds us together. The universal principle of justice may not be rooted in physics but it is no less fundamental to our existence. For without it, before long, human beings will surely cease to exist.
I commented on the direction some of the comments in The Washington Post were taking, the usual inhumane jargon, by saying:
Stephen Hawking knows what he is talking about. He is talking about civilization and humanity in terms of life on earth, evolution and the terrible perils that might return man to the cave. But some debaters refuse to see that Syria is part of the whole that might place the whole in the vortex of disaster. They cling to platitudes and banalities, thus sinking the debate to the usual level of rotten, stinking, political debate. Alisar