It is impossible to read "Macbeth" without noticing the prominence given to the belief that witches had the power of creating storms and other atmospheric disturbances, and that they delighted in so doing. The sisters elect to meet in thunder, lightning, or rain. To them "fair is foul, and foul is fair," as they "hover through the fog and filthy air. They can loose and bind the winds,1 cause vessels to be tempest-tossed at sea, and mutilate wrecked bodies.
Support Aeon Donate now As I was growing up in England in the latter half of the 20th century, the concept of intelligence loomed large. It was aspired to, debated and — most important of all — measured.
At the age of 11, tens of thousands of us all around the country were ushered into desk-lined halls to take an IQ test known as the Plus. The results of those few short hours would determine who would go to grammar school, to be prepared for university and the professions; who was destined for technical school and thence skilled work; and who would head to secondary modern school, to be drilled in the basics then sent out to a life of low-status manual labour.
The idea that intelligence could be quantified, like blood pressure or shoe size, was barely a century old when I took the test that would decide my place in the world. To say that someone is or is not intelligent has never been merely a comment on their mental faculties.
It is always also a judgment on what they are permitted to do. Intelligence, in other words, is political. Sometimes, this sort of ranking is sensible: But it has a dark side. As well as determining what a person can do, their intelligence — or putative lack of it — has been used to decide what others can do to them.
Throughout Western history, those deemed less intelligent have, as a consequence of that judgment, been colonised, enslaved, sterilised and murdered and indeed eaten, if we include non-human animals in our reckoning.
But the problem has taken an interesting 21st-century twist with the rise of Artificial Intelligence AI. In recent years, the progress being made in AI research has picked up significantly, and many experts believe that these breakthroughs will soon lead to more.
Pundits are by turn terrified and excited, sprinkling their Twitter feeds with Terminator references. To understand why we care and what we fear, we must understand intelligence as a political concept — and, in particular, its long history as a rationale for domination.
Nor does it have a direct translation into German or ancient Greek, two of the other great languages in the Western philosophical tradition.
Indeed, they were obsessed with it, or more precisely a part of it: Although today many scholars advocate a much broader understanding of intelligence, reason remains a core part of it.
So when I talk about the role that intelligence has played historically, I mean to include this forebear. The story of intelligence begins with Plato. In all his writings, he ascribes a very high value to thinking, declaring through the mouth of Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living.
Plato emerged from a world steeped in myth and mysticism to claim something new: And so he launched the idea that the cleverest should rule over the rest — an intellectual meritocracy.
This idea was revolutionary at the time.
Elsewhere, the governing classes were made up of inherited elites aristocracyor by those who believed they had received divine instruction theocracyor simply by the strongest tyranny.
Aristotle was always the more practical, taxonomic kind of thinker. He took the notion of the primacy of reason and used it to establish what he believed was a natural social hierarchy. In his book The Politics, he explains: So at the dawn of Western philosophy, we have intelligence identified with the European, educated, male human.By one of the most profoundly influential thinkers of our century, The Rebel is a classic essay on revolution.
For Albert Camus, the urge to revolt is one of the "essential dimensions" of human nature, manifested in man's timeless Promethean struggle against the conditions of his existence, as well as the popular uprisings against established orders throughout history.
The Theater of Insects. Notes from the Studio.
figure 1. There is a flicker of movement caught by the corner of my eye. I pause long enough from one of those questionably imperative tasks of the day, to ponder a minuscule, seemingly insignificant insect. If one carefully looks at the overlooked, a .
Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the newest additions. Man has, over the ages, been progressively moving towards a world and life of destruction.
What most people fail to realise is that this destruction is not only the destruction of the world around us, but also a systematic destruction of . Untie the winds: Exploring the Witches' Control Over Nature in Macbeth. From Elizabethan Demonology by Thomas Alfred Spalding. London: Chatto and Windus.
It is impossible to read "Macbeth" without noticing the prominence given to the belief that witches had the power of creating storms and other atmospheric disturbances, and that they delighted in so doing.
Destruction of Nature by Humans essaysWe as human beings are very fortunate to be living on this planet that we call Earth. We toil over the land, and in return we receive provisions off of which we live.
Even though we get all that we need from this bountiful land, we still for some reason feel lik.