A Tree in the Forest
We are all engaged in the fulfillment of prophecy. Little less than a century ago the Swiss historian, Jacob Burckhardt, prophesied the coming of a new order of barbarians whom he called the Terrible Simplifiers, who would govern Western society by applications of force and terror on a scale no one had ever used before. And just after the opening of this century, Henry Adams, observing the same social factors at a later stage of development, predicted that in less than half a century "law would disappear as a theory or a priori principle and give place to force; morality would become police; explosives would reach cosmic violence; disintegration would overcome integration."
But the worlds of Burckhardt and Adams, swept up in a blind confidence in material progress, ignored their warnings. We had but to conquer nature, and the Golden Age would be upon us. Now we have succeeded. Man has in large measure mastered the instruments of physical power. He has probed the secrets of the atom. He knows how to manipulate money and markets, machines, and other men to his own advantage. He can fly in the air and sail under the sea.
But he has not yet learned how to walk on the earth in peace. Far from giving him mastery over his world, man's triumph has apparently brought with it only the fulfillment of terrifying prophecy.
More men tremble under the shadow of cosmic violence than ever before. Coercive systems or military demands are, in fact, driving states to replace morality with police. Explosives have become totally destructive. Acceptance of the doctrine of violence is so widespread that man is becoming hardened to mass extermination, and indifferent to mass human suffering. Indeed, man's indifference to violence is almost as disturbing a symptom of our time as his readiness to practice it. This is an age of violence.
from Facing the Paradox