Latest post written by my erudite colleague, Ralph Lelii.
by Ralph Lelii, English department
Jacob Bronowski, in his profoundly humane 1973 BBC series entitled, The Ascent of Man, ends the final installment in dramatic fashion. He returns to the lake behind the ovens of Auschwitz, a place of human evil where several members of his family, along with millions of others, were murdered. In the sediment of the lake lie the dumped ashes of thousands of corpses who were burned by the Nazi’s. Bronowski walks into the lake, reaches his hands down into the sediment, pulls up a handful of dripping ash, and says with great depth of feeling, “This is what men do when they are certain. This was not done by science. This was done by arrogance. When men believe they have the knowledge of Gods, this is how they behave.”
This visual moment was a powerful transition in my own intellectual life, and it led…
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