Forster: "On [Peirce's] view, human beings are not cogs in a vast cosmic 
mechanism, but rather are free, creative agents capable of transforming the 
world though the active realization of intelligent ideals. The ultimate fate of 
the world is indeterminate and there is no guarantee that the forces of 
reasonableness will triumph.
Nevertheless, the potential for victory is there. All it requires, he thinks, 
is a community of individuals who devote their energy to the pursuit of truth 
and goodness, a community united, not by mutual self-interest, but by a common 
love of reasonableness" (Forster, op. cit., 245).

I could not think of anything worse than a community transforming the world 
through "intelligent ideals," and I do not think the statement accurately 
represents Peirce. This Pyrrhic victory of eviscerated, abstract intelligence 
in the service of ideals would be ruinous to life, just as Teilhard de 
Chardin's concept of a "noosphere" (in the sense of atmosphere, stratosphere) 
is, a film of planetary intelligence in which "life's domain" would be ruled by 
reason. Life from the neck up is ruinous to life: the noose sphere. Peirce, it 
seems to me, understood the limited place of science in the practice of life, 
which is why he thought pragmatically that science is impractical. Other 
people, such as Dostoyevsky and Melville and D. H. Lawrence, saw more deeply 
into the problem of the idealization of life than Peirce did, perhaps because 
they were artists. 

Life cannot be lived by ideals for long; life can be lived with ideals, never 
sustainably by them. Our age today, with its ideal religions and ideal science 
and technology, is fast realizing ideal ruination of the biosphere. 

We have butchered our spontaneous souls into ether, we have butchered our minds 
into believing that our bodies are machines and the universe is a machine, and 
we have butchered the earth: The poisoned fruit of our science and its cultural 
legacy. Scientific self-correction may be a matter of the long run. Hooray for 
it. The problem is that life is also a matter of once for all time. Cut its 
cord and it's gone. 

Creation issues forth as non-ideal spontaneous reasonableness, which may be an 
aspect of Peirce's understanding of the aesthetic as more encompassing than the 
ethical or logical and their concerns with the good and the true. "The 
admirable," literally that which one "wonders at," as an understanding of 
aesthetic (a word which means to perceive or feel), seems to have moved from 
its literal meaning of wonder toward one of idealizing, perhaps as an aspect of 
our idealizing, anesthetic age.  

Gene Halton

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