O que estou tentando mostrar é que a ciência, por causa do seu método e de seus conceitos, projetou um universo no qual o domínio da natureza ficou ligado ao domínio do homem e que ela favoreceu esse universo — e esse traço de união tende a tornar-se fatal para esse universo em seu conjunto. A natureza, apreendida e controlada pela ciência, ainda está presente no aparelho técnico de produção e de destruição que garante e facilita a vida dos indivíduos e que, ao mesmo tempo, submete-os aos donos do aparelho. Assim, a hierarquia da Razão e a hierarquia da sociedade se interpenetram. Deste modo, se havia uma mudança no sentido do progresso que romperia o laço entre a racionalidade da técnica e aquela da exploração, haveria igualmente uma mudança na própria estrutura da ciência — no projeto científico. As hipóteses da ciência, sem perder seu caráter racional, desenvolver-se-iam num contexto experimental essencialmente diferente (o de um mundo pacificado) e, por conseguinte, a ciência iria dar em conceitos da natureza essencialmente diferentes, estabeleceria fatos essencialmente diferentes. Uma sociedade realmente racional subverteria a ideia de Razão.
No matter how one defines truth and objectivity, they remain related to the human agents of theory and practice, and to their ability to comprehend and change their world. This ability in turn depends on the extent to which matter (whatever it may be) is recognized and understood as that which it is itself in all particular forms. In these terms, contemporary science is of immensely greater objective validity than its predecessors. One might even add that, at present, the scientific method is the only method that can claim such validity; the interplay of hypotheses and observable facts validates the hypotheses and establishes the facts. The point which I am trying to make is that science, by virtue of its own method and concepts, has projected and promoted a universe in which the domination of nature has remained linked to the domination of man—a link which tends to be fatal to this universe as a whole. Nature, scientifically comprehended and mastered, reappears in the technical apparatus of production and destruction which sustains and improves the life of the individuals while subordinating them to the masters of the apparatus. Thus the rational hierarchy merges with the social one. If this is the case, then the change in the direction of progress, which might sever this fatal link, would also affect the very structure of science—the scientific project. Its hypotheses, without losing their rational character, would develop in an essentially different experimental context (that of a pacified world); consequently, science would arrive at essentially different concepts of nature and establish essentially different facts. The rational society subverts the idea of Reason.
I have pointed out that the elements of this subversion, the notions of another rationality, were present in the history of thought from its beginning. The ancient idea of a state where Being attains fulfillment, where the tension between “is” and “ought” is resolved in the cycle of an eternal return, partakes of the metaphysics of domination. But it also pertains to the metaphysics of liberation—to the reconciliation of Logos and Eros. This idea envisages the coming-to-rest of the repressive productivity of Reason, the end of domination in gratification.
The two contrasting rationalities cannot simply be correlated with classical and modern thought respectively, as in John Dewey’s formulation “from contemplative enjoyment to active manipulation and control”; and “from knowing as an esthetic enjoyment of the properties of nature … to knowing as a means of secular control.”27 Classical thought was sufficiently committed to the logic of secular control, and there is a sufficient component of indictment and refusal in modern thought to vitiate John Dewey’s formulation. Reason, as conceptual thought and behavior, is necessarily mastery, domination. Logos is law, rule, order by virtue of knowledge. In subsuming particular cases under a universal, in subjecting it to their universal, thought attains mastery over the particular cases. It becomes capable not only of comprehending but also of acting upon them, controlling them. However, while all thought stands under the rule of logic, the unfolding of this logic is different in the various modes of thought. Classical formal and modern symbolic logic, transcendental and dialectical logic—each rules over a different universe of discourse and experience. They all developed within the historical continuum of domination to which they pay tribute. And this continuum bestows upon the modes of positive thinking their conformist and ideological character; upon those of negative thinking their speculative and utopian character.