The cover article of this week's Economist is a remarkable, landscape-view of Western history, "Progress and its Perils: Why is the Modern View So Impoverished?"
To quote Alan Wallace: "As a species, we have progressed in two ways, and two ways alone: knowledge and power. Why has there not been commensurate progress in wisdom and compassion?" Modernity remains a child of the Enlightenment, and The Economist its pamphlet. This article feels a lot like a modernity that is wrestling with Wallace's question. Science, modernity's dominant religion, replete with its own rituals and articles of faith, turns out not to be inherently ethical -- or even wise. GDP, as it turns out, is not the same thing as well-being -- far from it. Capitalism is only as good as the character of the individuals who constitute its marketplace. Are we defined by fear and greed, or can we work towards a higher purpose than keeping up with the Joneses (or Chans or Guptas)?