From the very particular perspective of an English-Canadian Grant looked outward to view the latter as within the western tradition. Grant felt he was watching the inevitable disintegration of morality, that which is most human in humanity. Grant felt that technological progress and its offspring, modern liberalism, were bringin about the destruction of western man and any others who might choose to embrace their attractive but pernicious vision of man’s destiny. With evident sadness Grant saw that carried within the consciousness created by technology were the seeds of destruction for modern liberalism, the last stronghold of morality in our age, and that Nietzsche’s society of amoral last men and those who will, for will’s sake, the nihilists, might be coming to fruition in our modern technological era.
Morality in the Western, tradition is identified by Grant with our sense of justice. In North America, with its strong liberal tradition, justice is defined according to the “principle of liberty and equality”2. It is this “public conception of good”3 which has undergone significant revision as a result of changes in technology and in politics. This position will be gradually elucidated during the course of the essay.
At the core of this term is the understanding that “technology” is an artifice of man and hence a derivation of our reason. In one sense technology refers to the “means” which our reason has constructed to achieve results, to improve our “quality of life”5. Further on he defines technology as the process in which man devalues everything, turning “the world into potential raw material”6, by appraising according to the relative use of a thing, “at the disposal of our creative wills”7. It is the world which this rationally based technology creates that is referred to by Grant as the modern technological era. This era carries with it its own consciousness, social, moral, cultural, economic, political, and so on. Whence Grant’s observation: “Technology is the ontology of the age”8.
Technological progress is equated with mans increasing mastery over nature. This “dynamism of technology”9 is the guiding purpose, says Grant,...