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The Ethics of Enjoyment: The Christianís Pursuit of Happiness by Kenneth Cauthen


Dr. Cauthen is the John Price Grazer Griffith professor of theology at Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Grazer Theological Seminary. Published John Knox Press, Atlanta, 1975. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


Chapter 4: Living Between Efficiency and Ecstasy


Technological reason and visionary reason may sound remote from everyday life. They have the ring of abstraction. They suggest the atmosphere of the college classroom. Nevertheless, these terms refer to down-to-earth realities that are shaping the world of today and tomorrow. The way technological reason and visionary reason interact with each other will in large measure decide whether the future should be welcomed or dreaded. Technological reason, by its sheer power, affects our individual destinies every day in many ways. On the other hand, visionary reason, with its goals and values, guides our entire life. Meeting the challenges that lie ahead requires them both. Just what do these terms mean in relationship to each other? Why is it important that technological reason be the servant of visionary reason? The answers to these questions will connect what is going on in the world today with the moral vision rooted in Christian faith.

Technological reason attempts to find the most effective way to achieve a certain goal or solve a given problem. Computers, interstate highways, systems analysis, and intercontinental ballistic missiles are all products of technological reason. So are the miracle wheat and rice of the Green Revolution, the technology of behavior modification proposed by B. F. Skinner,1 and the computerized model of the global ecology produced by the authors of The Limits to Growth.2 This kind of reasoning operates within the limits of what is possible as defined by (1) the available material and human resources, (2) the laws of nature, and (3) the state of knowledge at the time. It also works within another set of limits that I call boundary conditions. The boundary conditions are set by the persons in charge who make the decisions about the problem that is to be solved. Boundary conditions include (1) a definition of the system or organization that is to be taken into account, (2) the time limits that are to be observed, and (3) the goals to be reached and the means allowable to reach them. Within this framework technological reason aims at getting the job done in the most efficient way, getting the most in its results from the least in its resources.

The problem is that technological reason limits itself to practical effectiveness. It is surrounded by larger and deeper value questions that it cannot resolve by itself3 The technical expert may make judgments about these more comprehensive issues of good and bad. In order to do this, however, he or she must dip into the reservoir of moral beliefs held as a person. To say it differently, technological reason is an excellent judge of means but a poor judge of ends. What does it mean to say that technological reason needs the help of visionary reason in deciding what is better or worse for human beings?

It is in the nature of technological reason to maximize results and minimize costs.4 The decision-makers who are in charge of a given organization or task may specify boundary conditions which forbid certain means. They may demand the inclusion of functions which qualify efficiency. Left to itself, however, technological reason gravitates toward solutions which get the most done with the least expenditure of money, time, or effort. Technological reason is most effective when the information it uses to accomplish its task can be put into mathematical equations. It deals best with what can be weighed, counted, or measured in some way. Technological reason thrives on numbers that can be related to other numbers by a formula. It is better at telling us how to build a bridge than at giving us a cure for a psychotic in a mental hospital. Some human problems confront us in which efficiency is not the most important consideration. Some decisions vital to our welfare do not involve much that we can touch, count, and measure. In these areas it is not easy to get a set of numbers to work with. These are the reasons why there is a tension between the practical effectiveness of technological reason and its total human adequacy. By human adequacy I mean its capacity for dealing with the larger questions of right and wrong, good and bad, which people face In their quest for a satisfying, happy life. This is why visionary reason needs to come into the picture: it deals with these fundamental issues of what the truly good life is and how it is to be achieved humanely.

Imagine the president of a large chain of short-order restaurants who calls in a team of experts to advise him on a human relations problem he is having with his employees.5 The cooks and the waitresses are fighting. All four of the experts submit a different analysis but all suggest the same solution. (1) The sociologist notes that conflicts occur during rush hours and are related to status problems. Waitresses, lower in status, are required to give orders to the cooks. The solution is a spindle put on the order counter. The waitresses could relay information through this impersonal device and avoid the conflict. (2) The psychologist gives a Freudian interpretation. The manager is the father, the waitress is the daughter, and the cook is the son. When the daughter gives orders to the son, ego problems arise. The remedy is a spindle. (3) The anthropologist sees the issue in terms of a value conflict and proposes a spindle. (4) The systems analyst views the restaurant as an organization that transfers information from one form to another. At times there is a problem of information overload which blocks the flow and threatens to jam the whole system. His cure is a spindle.

Assuming that the spindle solves the problem, the only merit in the interpretations of the first three experts is that they possibly throw some light on the motivations involved. They offer nothing different or better in the way of an answer. Suppose we look further at the work of the systems analyst. By doing so we can get a better idea of how technological reason goes about its job. It takes from the personal relationships among the employees only the information it needs. To put it differently, it abstracts from the total situation only those functions which are relevant to the operation of the system under consideration. The whole person Joe is reduced to his "cook function." Mary is seen in terms of her "waitress function."

Other people serve a "customer function," "manager function," and so on. It is easy to see how thinking of the problem in this way aids one in deciding how the job can be done with the least cost and energy. We can also see what the pessimists mean when they argue that technological reason in its quest for rational efficiency tends to reduce people to a cog in the social machine. When technological reason has organized all human activities and found absolutely the most efficient way to do everything, then people will indeed have become things. So the pessimists claim.

To pursue our example further, suppose now the systems analyst enlarges his task and inquires whether the functions of the waitresses and cooks could be fully automated. Costs could be reduced by installing a device for ordering and delivering food to customers at their tables. Automation would be indicated, unless customers would rather pay more for food served by waitresses. Suppose it does turn out to be more profitable to automate the restaurant and fire the waitresses. At this point the president of the chain faces a decision: how will he draw the boundary conditions? He might decide to take into account the larger communities in which the restaurants are located. Conceivably he might conclude that the damage done through an increase in unemployment outweighs the value of his private gain. But obviously, some powerful motives operate in favor of firing the people and installing machinery. Three come to mind at once: (1) the companyís immediate self-interest, (2) the logic of free enterprise capitalism, and (3) the bias of technological reason towards efficiency. Nevertheless, the systems analyst cannot do his job until the president of the food chain has weighed these considerations and decided. Will the president view the restaurant as simply a profit-making enterprise? Will he see his business as a responsible member of a larger community whose welfare must also be considered? How will he decide between his immediate private gain and the increase in unemployment that automation would cause?

At this point a slippery but very important problem arises. Technological reason always seeks immediately a better way to do something. Ultimately, it looks for the one best possible way that can be found. However, confusion may arise over what constitutes the definition of better. The logic of technological reason says that better means more efficient. But better is also determined by what the people making the decisions want. Automating the restaurant may be more efficient. Yet the president of the food chain may decide against automation because it would cause a loss of jobs for his employees. Here is where a good deal of discussion gets bogged down. People holding contrary points of view talk right past each other. Pessimists fear that solving problems by technological reason means that efficiency will finally prevail everywhere. Optimists claim that technological reason takes orders from whoever is in charge: they will decide what goals are to be sought and who is to benefit, and so ultimately everything depends on their values. Technological reason just seeks for the best way to do what people want done. Both the pessimists and the optimists are right in what they include. They are misleading or incomplete in what they leave out.

Is technological reason itself empty of any values other than efficiency? Is it simply the slave of orders that come from somewhere else? Has it no word of its own to offer about the larger questions of human welfare?

1. Technological reason does not so much ignore human welfare as come at it indirectly. A well-tuned motor saves money for the car owner. It also reduces pollution and eases the drain on dwindling fuel supplies. Hence, people benefit when efficiency is increased. In the example of the restaurants, automation would produce greater profits. If reinvested in the communities, such profits could lead to greater total employment and a rise in general prosperity for everybody. Efficiency makes it possible for people to get more of what they want with the resources they have.

2. Technological reason is led by its own logic to enlarge the perspective within which it works. This enlargement includes a shift from short-term to long-term considerations. In order for a smaller unit to survive, the larger unit which contains it will have to be preserved. No matter how efficient the liver is, it cannot function at all if the body to which it belongs dies. On this basis, technological reason can argue against continuing the rapid growth of population, pollution, industrial production, and use of natural resources. If growth is not curbed, the result will be eventual collapse of the global ecological system.

A value system is implicit in technological reason. Its ultimate point of reference is the viability of the largest unit that must be finally taken into account. What are the largest sets of requirements that must be met in order to keep any given system going for a long period of time? Survival becomes the final appeal. Insofar as there is an identity or connection between survival and human welfare, we are dealing with a valid moral principle. Hence, technological reason can help specify the minimal requirements of keeping something alive and functioning. However, if human beings desire not only to live but to live well and to live better, then technological reason alone cannot suffice. An ethical perspective is implicit in this form of problem solving, but it is minimal and incomplete.

Suppose that a problem arises in a large industrial plant. Study shows the facts to be as follows: (1) The productivity of black employees is substandard due to low morale as the consequence of continued discrimination. (2) White workers will not tolerate any change that might threaten their advantages.6 The problem is to increase productivity among the blacks without causing unmanageable turmoil among the whites. Further research indicates that it would be possible to get the desired results in two different ways. (1) One method would be to use propaganda techniques, along with some minor compensations to blacks. Morale would be boosted, but the basic discriminations would remain. (2) The other plan would involve mild coercion and moral suasion to reduce white resistance to racial equality.

The principle of efficiency alone gives no basis for choosing between these alternatives. The managers might decide for the second if they believed in racial justice. They might choose the first if they were prejudiced. Those who have the power of making decisions (determining boundary conditions) in situations like this are powerful indeed. In this situation the personal values of the decision-makers make all the difference. However, technological reason itself might decide on its own principles. The argument would be that in the long run the company would flourish best in a society that had achieved equality between the races. Hence, it would be better to eliminate white prejudice than to smooth over black discontent. But note that this approach to social justice is indirect and pragmatic. In the case we are considering, the most efficient way to run the company just happened to be the most moral. It does not always work out that way.

To summarize, technological reason can operate within two different settings. (1) It may function under strict orders from somewhere else. These orders (boundary conditions) lay down in detail the goals to be sought and the means to be used to achieve them. (2) It may proceed on its own, using its own logic. This logic specifies that efficiency within an assigned system may depend on the health of some larger system to which it is connected. The principle involved is similar to what we call "enlightened self-interest." In most cases, these two ways of operating will intersect and overlap. Pessimists like Ellul are worried that in the modern world the second is rapidly taking over. The first way is being squeezed out. Our use of technological reason is gradually causing us to link all networks and systems involving both machines and people. This linkage is necessary to keep them operating in harmony with each other. And gradually, the demands of "the system" are becoming more difficult to avoid or resist. The eventual consequence is that we will come to serve "the system" rather than having it serve us. Ellulís horror, this slavery to our systems, is one of the futures open to us, but not the only one. It all depends on whether visionary reason can keep the logical tendencies of technological reason under control. Just what is visionary reason? How does it work?

Reason is the gift we have from God that enables us to gain understanding of the world. It also helps us find our way toward a good and satisfying life. Reason, then, has two sides: (1) it provides understanding and (2) it guides action. Hence, we speak of theoretical reason and of practical reason. We commonly distinguish between theory and practice, yet we should not separate them too sharply. Science and philosophy are basically forms of theoretical reason. Yet they have practical implications for life. Technology and theology are basically forms of practical reason. Yet each has a theoretical side.7 Visionary reason is practical in nature. It is the steering agency that enables people to cope with, adapt to, and act upon their environment. All this is done in quest of the best satisfactions life can offer. Visionary reason aims not only at the good but at the better and the best.

In the words of Alfred North Whitehead, theoretical reason is the disinterested search for complete understanding which Plato shares with the gods. Practical reason is the effort to devise an immediate course of action which Ulysses shares with the foxes.8 By this definition, reason is not unique to people. It is found in some form throughout nature. We can gain new appreciation for the unity of all living things if we recognize that what we know as reason in humanity has its counterpart at a lower level in the animal world. Birds build nests. People build houses. Beavers build dams with logs. People build them with concrete. The higher animals pursue their food. Human beings domesticate cattle. Insects have evolved a complex social organization with elaborate divisions of labor. The relatives of Plato and Ulysses form governments and invent the assembly line. Chimps use a chopstick to dig eggs out of an anthill. Termites have air-conditioned dwellings. Bats have radar. Dolphins have sonar. People invent tools. Reason in humanity unites Plato with the gods while at the same time uniting Ulysses with the foxes.

The visionary reason of God is at work in the whole process of nature. This accounts for the first appearance of life on earth. It explains the emergence of successively higher species over long billions of years. This drama has culminated in the appearance of human beings. In humanity reason takes a unique form. We have the intelligence and the imagination to begin to understand what has happened in the past and led up to the present. We can also use our imagination to invent a better future. People are dreamers who can envision states yet unrealized. People are doers who can build a road toward utopia. Reason "directs and criticizes the urge towards the attainment of an end realized in imagination but not in fact." 9 The Bible teaches that humanity was made in the image of God. Guided by intelligence and imagination, the human search for the good life is a reflection of the visionary reason of God. Godís visionary reason guides the whole universe and all of history toward his goal -- namely, the Kingdom of heaven about which the Bible speaks.

The task of reason is to promote the art of life, Whitehead says, and he goes on to offer us a memorable phrase. Reason, he declares, acts in obedience to a threefold urge: "to live, . . . to live well, . . . and to live better."10 Survival is the first aim of living beings, but not the last. Life comes with a built-in desire to experience to the fullest all the pleasures and joys of being alive. Not only that, it also comes with a drive to go beyond any present state of achievement in quest of what is better. A theologian who lived 1500 years before Whitehead expressed similar thoughts in these remarkable lines:

Truly the very fact of existing is by some natural spell so pleasant, that even the wretched are, for no other reason, unwilling to perish; and, when they feel that they are wretched, wish not that they themselves be annihilated, but that their misery be . . .[removed]. . . . is it not obvious how. . . What! Do not even all irrational animals, . . . from the huge dragons down to the least worms, all testify that they wish to exist, and therefore shun death by every movement in their power? Nay, the very plants and shrubs, . . . do not they all seek, in their own fashion, to conserve their existence, by rooting themselves more and more deeply in the earth, so that they may draw nourishment, and throw out healthy branches towards the sky?11

How do we account for the tenacity with which plants, animals, and human beings hang on to life? Why do they strive with all their might to live out their existence in the fullest way possible? St. Augustine suggests the answer. Life is enjoyable. By "some natural spell" existence is so pleasant that even the wretched donít want to die. They want their misery removed. People commit suicide because they have lost hope that their wretchedness can be overcome. They would prefer to live, if only their pain and unendurable sorrow could be taken away. Enjoyment, then, is the supreme reason for being and staying alive.12 When the author of Genesis 1 says that God looked at all that he had made and saw that it was good, very good, what was meant? I think the writer intended to say that it is good to be. Enjoyment is experiencing the goodness of being. Existence is inherently valuable, worthwhile. The higher we go up the scale of life from plants to animals to people, the greater capacity there is for enjoying the goodness of being. God, the inspired writer of Genesis tells us, made everything good. The implication is that God experiences the keenest enjoyment of all.

Do plants have feelings? I donít know. Certainly there is a difference between health and disease and between life and death in trees, flowers, weeds, and grass. I can look out my window right now and see a garden filled with beautiful poppies in full bloom. In order for poppy seeds to grow to maturity and produce blossoms and new seeds, they must have the right combination of air, temperature, soil, rain, and sunshine. Health in a flower occurs when conditions are such that the potentiality in the seed is developed. This process leads to the production of colorful petals. The seed "knows" how to become a flower. It has the urge "to live, to live well and to live better." All it needs is the opportunity. It will strive with all its might and "reason" to stay alive and grow. If a pebble is on top of it, it will find a way around, if possible. It will do all it can to get to the sunshine.

Animals and people, of course, are more complicated in their needs and in their capacities for enjoyment. Nevertheless, the general principle holds for them as well as for plants. They are healthy and they enjoy their existence if their potentialities can be brought to flower. If a human being is to grow to full enjoyment, its physical needs must be met from the time it is born. As a child, it needs to grow up in a family surrounded by love. And as an adult, it requires opportunities for developing and expressing its talents and for fulfilling its ambitions. If these conditions are met, the resulting health of body and spirit will be experienced as enjoyment. Enjoyment is the feeling one has inside when the possibility given at birth is being actualized. To live in bodily health, to participate in loving human relationships, and to engage with society in physical, mental, moral, and spiritual adventures, is to bring the whole potential of oneís life to full bloom. This is what the creation story means when it tells us of the goodness of all beings. Human life is to be enjoyed. It comes with that built-in possibility and desire. Life is enjoyable when its capacities for good are realized. In considerable measure, of course, we spoil our capacities by actions and choices that are ignorant, foolish, selfish, and destructive. Nevertheless, our "fallenness" and sinfulness do not change the fact that Godís intention built into the creation is that life should be enjoyed.

Enjoyment does not refer simply to the pleasures of the body. That is part of it. Many Christians are suspicious of the sensuous side of life. Erskine Caldwell in his novel Godís Little Acre has the old man Ty Ty say something like this: "Coffee is so good, I donít know why itís not a sin to drink it." But the supreme end of life is not some particular pleasure of the body. Neither is it some specific joy of the spirit. What is enjoyed is life itself. I am speaking of the joy in being, in living. It is good to be. This kind of enjoyment occurs when the possibilities that come with life are realized in healthy, full, and positive ways. Just as our bodies need food, so our spirits need to love and be loved. Life is enjoyed when the needs of the body and the requirements of the spirit are fulfilled.

Enjoyment, then, refers to the inner experience that accompanies a healthy state of body and spirit. Now and then there are moments when enjoyment reaches an especially intense climax in what the mystics might call the vision of God. In these transient and occasional "mountain top" experiences, the whole self is flooded with an overwhelming sense of being united in love with all of life and with its ultimate source. One day, in the spring of 1955,1 was returning to my apartment from a class at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The sky was blue. The sun was shining brightly. The wind was blowing softly through the grove of pine trees through which I was walking. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I was filled with an intense feeling of joy. I had a direct, immediate, unqualified, intuitive awareness of the sheer pleasure of being alive. Somehow it seemed that all of nature around me shared the experience. All around me was the busy world of humanity hill of conflict, suffering, and dying. But in that quick moment in the pine trees, I knew deeply that creation was very good. Such fleeting moments of religious ecstasy are enjoyed for their own sake. So are those experiences of loving union with others which now and then exalt our feelings to the point of perfect joy. These occasions represent the attainment of lifeís highest good. They are a means to nothing at all beyond themselves.

To summarize, practical reason moves between two poles. At the one extreme are the rules of mathematics which guide technological reason in its search for the most efficient way of achieving some limited and prescribed goal. We use that kind of reasoning upon those things, quantities, and relationships which can be manipulated and controlled with the precision of numbers. At the other extreme are those moments of ecstatic joy which are the zenith in our quest for the good life. The reasoning associated with those events can only experience and seek; for nothing that occurs in our ecstatic moments can be manipulated or controlled. This is not to deny that there are spiritual disciplines that can increase our chances of experiencing these mystical moments. It is only to say that this is the realm of grace in which we are surprised by free gifts. We can only receive them with gratitude and hope that the Giver will surprise us again soon.

Most human experience lies somewhere between these absolute limits of efficiency and ecstasy. The daily lot of all of its is caught up in the rhythm and flow of ordinary life with its routine duties. We experience varying mixtures of joy and sorrow, success and failure. This is life in its common ordinariness in which we try at least to preserve our sanity and at most to improve our lot and that of others around us. In these everyday settings what I have called technological reason and visionary reason intersect and overlap. The former focuses on means, the latter on ends. In most everyday experiences, the relationship between these two forms of practical reason is that between problem solving and goal setting. The chimpanzee using a stick to get eggs from an anthill, a child figuring out how to tie her wagon to a tricycle, and the country politician developing a strategy to get elected to the legislature all illustrate the interweaving of imagining ends and inventing means. Likewise, a space team designing Skylab, an economist working on the challenge of inflation in the midst of recession, and a pastor searching for ways to revitalize a congregation show in many forms the interdependence of technological reason and visionary reason. So do a thousand other operations of common reasoning about ordinary things.

In the modern world the technical side of practical reason has taken a more scientific form. It works best with information that can be translated into numbers and put into a formula or equation. Technological reason is thereby limited in perspective, shallow, and incomplete. It obscures both the heights and depths of the larger meanings and purposes of life. Visionary reason is directed toward the more inclusive and ultimately toward ultimate goals. It pulls technological reason upward toward the vision of God and resists the gravitational pull toward an ethical outlook which knows no appeal beyond survival.

Visionary reason is rooted in the evolutionary origin and history of life. It reaches its highest expression in the Christian dream of the Kingdom of God. The Biblical idea of the final end envisions a community of persons united to each other in mutual love and to God in loving adoration. All evil is banished and blessedness reigns without qualification. For Christian believers this is the supreme ideal entertained in imagination but not yet realized in fact. Obviously, the moral principles and social goals implied in this vision do not at present dominate the world. Even Christians seldom rise to the moral heights pictured by this vision. Judged by the ideals of the Kingdom, most forms of visionary reason are deficient in ways that range from ignorance to idolatry. Selfishness, greed, fear, insecurity, pride, prejudice, and hate distort the motives and morality of human beings. "Everybody looks out for number one!" This is the common way of expressing the fact that individuals, groups, and institutions are most strongly motivated to strive for goals that benefit them. Moreover, the unavoidable trade-offs among competing values further prevent the real world of stubborn facts from being more fully transformed into the ideal of Christian imagination.

The task of visionary reason in this situation is to keep pressing the questions about what human life is and what it ought to be. What are human beings good for? What is good for them? For what destiny were we made? What potentialities are given with life? How can they be realized so as to produce the greatest range and depth of enjoyment? What did God intend us to be and to do? What would it mean here and now for us to do the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven? For the Christian, human potentialities and achievements are to be measured in the light of the creating, redeeming love of God manifested in Jesus. Christian visionary reason acts in accordance with the ideals of the Kingdom of God. This is the end for which the Spirit strives. Ideally, the church should be the bearer of Christian visionary reason. It should be the searchlight of humanity which points out the path to the future -- an earthly city made in the image of the New Jerusalem. But however grand the ideal is, it must also be made specific and applicable to everyday situations now. The vocation of the Christian is to keep one eye on the future city made perfect. The other eye should be on the immediate decisions and situations faced day by day in our present, still-imperfect city. In factories, schools, offices, laboratories, and government, Christians have many opportunities to draw boundary conditions. Their aim should be to create and enlarge the possibilities of human fulfillment, as marked out by the path that leads to the future God wills. Without a vision of the ideal future as our goal, we do not even know what direction to start in. Without a road map that tells how to get there from here, the goal can never be reached. To dream and to do, to imagine and to invent, to will and to work, to envision the distant goal and to institute a present plan -- these are the inseparable twins that define the role of visionary reason.

Between the ultimate and the immediate, there are many intermediate stages having to do with everyday, ordinary life. The goals of visionary reason can be worked out in detail only by those who know the facts of every particular situation. The plan of attack in every case involves the three dimensions of knowledge, decision making, and goal setting. To be more specific, the cybernetic model claims that the machinery of any self-correcting, goal-directed organization is made up of receivers of information, a control center, and effectors of action. Healthy functioning requires a flow of information back and forth to keep things working correctly. To correct any wrong or to improve any situation, four things are necessary: (1) an analysis of the ailment, complete with detailed facts; (2) communication of this analysis to those who have authority to make changes; (3) persuasion or coercion of those in authority to order some desirable changes; and (4) effective transmittal of orders and effective use of means to carry them out. The effort to change things for the better can break down at any point. This is a simplified summary. Nevertheless, this recipe for correcting or improving an organization applies to the simplest and to the most complex situations.13

There are two parts to every criticism of the functioning of an organization: the technical and the moral. The technical side points out that a function is not being carried out properly because of some fault in the machinery. The moral aspect points out that the function itself is defective. The first deals with facts, the real. The second deals with values, the ought. The technical dimension calls for "scientists" -- for expert knowledge and technical ability. The moral dimension calls for saints" -- for sensitivity and insight into what hurts and what helps people.14 These two dimensions correspond to the roles of technological and visionary reason. The former looks for effective means to carry out assigned ends or functions. The latter seeks to insure that the ends are good, right, and life-fulfilling. Both forms of practical reasoning seek what is better.

For technological reason, better means more efficient. For visionary reason, better means more beneficial to people. These concerns intersect and overlap, though they proceed from different motives.

Every reader can make this analysis specific by thinking of an organization that he or she knows well -- church, family, school, office, factory, laboratory, government bureau, hospital, or whatever. Each will find that whenever he has evaluated the organization or suggested change, he has combined technical and moral aspects in his thought. There is something of the "scientist" and something of the "saint" in all of us. The churchís task is to sensitize us to the ideals and goals needed for the coming Kingdom of God. The church must help us become more "saintly" in our jobs and in our communities. At present, in our vocations and in other parts of our daily lives, most of us are probably making the most use we can of our scientific knowledge and practical technique. Our aim for the future should be to raise the moral level of whatever organizations we are in. As Christians we have a binding obligation to make fullest use of our moral insights and creative imaginations to work for what is of most benefit to people. Our question in every situation should be: What would it mean here and now if the will of God were done on earth as it is in heaven? I have no illusions at all that this is an easy or painless task.

The final part of this book is to spell out in some detail the ethics of the Kingdom of God, and to specify what mission the church might undertake as the bearer and nourisher of Christian visionary reason. Can the church help citizens of the emerging postindustrial society be more "saintly" in their "scientific" endeavors? I believe it can.

 

Notes:

1. See Skinnerís Beyond Freedom and Dignity (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971).

2. Donella H. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (Washington, D. C.: Potomac Associates, 1972).

3. For a similar criticism of scientific reason, see my Science, Secularization and God (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1969), esp. pp. 49-61, 90-115.

4. Cf. Robert Nisbet, "The Impact of Technology on Ethical Decision-Making," The Technological Threat, ed. Jack D. Douglas (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1971), pp. 39-54.

5. Cf. Robert Boguslaw, The New Utopians (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1965), pp. 34-35.

6. The New Utopians, p. 196.

7. Science, Secularization and God, pp. 49-75.

8. Alfred North Whitehead, The Function of Reason (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1929; Boston: Beacon Press [paper], 1958), p. 10.

9. The Function of Reason, p. 8.

10. The Function of Reason, p. 8.

11. Augustine, The City of God, trans. Marcus Dodds (New York: Random House, 1950), Book XI, Chapter 27, p. 371.

12. I have developed these ideas in previous writings. See Science, Secularization and God, pp. 94-109, 226-229; Christian Biopolitics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1971), pp. 108-113.

13. For a detailed interpretation of these processes in organizations, see Kenneth Boulding, The Organizational Revolution (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1953; Chicago: Quadrangle Books [paper], 1968), pp. xvi-xxxiv, 66-86.

14. See The Organizational Revolution, pp. 66-86.

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