Sunday, May 4, 2008


Our species' moniker, Homo sapiens, still eludes us, still remains our dream more than our true designation, since we are far from wise. So, for the nonce, I propose a more accurate taxonomy: Homo cogitator, or whatever would be the proper Latin for “Man the Rationalizer” or “Man the Sense Maker,” because, above all, we are driven to make sense of everything, to resolve the infinite mysteries we perceive and to master the unknown.

We are Man the Unceasing Seeker but, even more, Man the Sense Maker because our craving for certainty drives us to formulations and conclusions that sate our hunger even if they fail to nourish us. Sometimes we even find ourselves, like starving children in Haiti, eating mud cakes instead of bread, when there’s no truth to be had, only simulacra.

Thus have we worshiped false idols and proclaimed phony theories throughout our history, ideas now exploded by better evidence and keener reasoning. But we have not left all such foolishness behind, nor have all of us now alive arrived at the same degree of clarity as our foremost seekers have attained. And most if not all of us remain but partially enlightened and unwise.

To make better and better sense of things is our calling as a species, and that vocation is imperative since the power of our knowledge now allows us to destroy ourselves unless we are tempered by wiser reckonings. We must root out our foolish fallacies, our spurious beliefs, and our toxic ideologies leading us toward Armageddon and the holocaust of Earth.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions, after more than 100 years of existence, has produced a noble document, The Global Ethic, that remains more wishful than irresistible in its propositions. Thus more must be done to reconcile conflicting convictions, deep-seated belief systems that now imperil our survival.

In this Age of Globalization, we need to globalize our common goals. We need a worldwide Parliament of Good Sense working to establish fundamental principles for all human beings to live by in civilized accord.

Let us make that so.