The end of omniscience
"The underlying theme of this volume is the identification of that "indomitable tendency" to simplify the world of life so as to be able to dispose of it at will, which seems to be at the base of the hybris to which Homo sapiens subjects both the environment and his fellow human beings. Reconciling "technosciences" and "wisdom" by stipulating a "new alliance" between man and the environment is, for Mauro Ceruti and his philosophy of complexity, the way to emancipate himself from the myth of omniscience/omnipotence and build an anthropology suitable for a typically plural universe, which since the time of the "Copernican revolution", had proved to be devoid of centre, without boundaries and free from any artificial hierarchy. The hypotheses, theories, the "machines" that the technical-scientific enterprise gradually creates are no longer to be understood as means of representation/manipulation of an absolute reality, which man can nevertheless exploit, but as increasingly articulated attempts in a reciprocal process of adaptation between environment and man: almost like a river, which forms where the surrounding landscape allows water to flow best, and at the same time contributes to shaping the landscape itself. In the now distant 1986, I dedicated to Mauro Ceruti a splendid comment by Friedrich von Hayek: "Man is not and will never be the master of his own destiny: but his own reason always progresses, leading him towards the unknown and the unexpected, where he learns new things". Today, I think it is right to propose it to him again, precisely in the light of his idea that "Homo sapiens was not born human; if anything he learned to be human". (From the preface by Giulio Giorello).