Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Surviving The 21st Century

Noam Chomsky gave a speech at an English university that identified global warming, and the potential misuse of nuclear energy, as the major threats to our survival in the 21st century.  He compared this threat to the devastation to our planet from an asteroid many centuries ago.  He argues that we have become the asteroid which has the potential for species destruction in the modern era.  His speech goes well beyond the issues of global warming and nuclear energy.  He argues that we have the ability to prevent species destruction, but he raises questions about our system of governance in which the maintenance of state power takes precedence over the security of the population. Most of his speech is devoted to his analysis of the state.  He is a critic of the Communist state and the Democratic state.  He argues that both are used to maintain systems of social hierarchy which he opposes.  He has spent much of his time searching for more democratic forms of hierarchy. 

Chomsky disrupted the field of linguistics which tended to study the differences between languages.  He argued that all languages are similar in their deep structure which is determined by human genetics which enables children to acquire a language at a very early age without instruction.  He was also a critic of behaviorism and learning theory which were the dominant forces in academic psychology.  His critiques helped to shape the development of cognitive psychology which attempts to describe the "deep structure" of human psychology. Much of what he argues in this article will be disruptive to much of what many of us believe about the ways in which the world works.  He is an enemy of the plutocratic state which he regards as the enemy of the people.

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