HAS our era without nuance, the information frenzy goes from one question to another without ever taking the time to answer it. On the surface of the media agitation spread out hopelessly uncertainties and perils of all kinds: pollution, pandemics, wars; but also and on a daily basis, collective deconstruction and self-surrender. From the past – but also from the present – we should only remember the dark hours, the ugliness and the horrors. Nothing more is needed for despair.
No beauty can resist tabula rasa new despisers, so much lack of hindsight to hope for the future. Statues are overthrown, works of art defiled, sciences accused, men and women of good will suspected. Would we have become so blind, to no longer discern the beauty in research and invention, in the face of technical and technological developments, in its promises of benefits in well-being, in better living?
There was a time when the certainty that progress would generate its own antidote to the disorders it could generate triumphed. We had to face the facts. In many areas and as time passed, what was called progress gradually became nothing more than a response to one’s own misdeeds. Progress lost its meaning as it is true that, whatever the remedy, beauty does not go along well with side effects.
Dufy and “The Electricity Fairy”
The positivist then progressive vision, resulting from the unprecedented acceleration of scientific and technical advances throughout the 19e century, will soon take on the appearance of belief in the XXe century.
Scientific religiosity invented for itself a beauty carried by beneficial vectors for humanity, such as the energy of the photons which lit up nocturnal streets and homes at all hours. It multiplied the production capacity of the factories. The painter Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) captures its beauty in his fresco The Electricity Fairy which, in 1937, placed the engineer on the same level as the ancient gods. A pictorial premonition which is now being revealed with the solutionist discourse of Silicon Valley companies for whom technology, and technology alone, could solve all the problems of this world.
Faced with disillusions commensurate with the hopes it engenders, but also with ethical questions that seem to remain unanswered, technological innovation is now arousing unprecedented mistrust that is keeping students away from scientific courses, investors from certain industrial sectors and consumers. products resulting from scientific engineering.
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Source: Le Monde