Men would no longer be victims of nature or of their own largely irrational societies: reason would triumph; universal harmonious cooperation, true history, would at last begin. For if this was not so, do the ideas of progress, of history, have any meaning? Is there not a movement, however tortuous, from ignorance to knowledge, from mythical thought and childish fantasies to perception of reality face to face, to knowledge of true goals, true values as well as truths of fact? Can history be a mere purposeless succession of events, caused by a mixture of material factors and the play of random selection, a tale full of sound and fury signifying nothing? This was unthinkable. The day would dawn when men and women would take their lives in their own hands and not be self-seeking beings or the playthings of blind forces that they did not understand. It was, at the very least, not impossible to conceive that such an earthly paradise could be; and if conceivable we could, at any rate, try to march towards it. That has been at the centre of ethical thought from the Greeks to the Christian visionaries of the Middle Ages, from the Renaissance to progressive thought in the last century; and indeed, is believed by many to this day.
The view that the truth is one and undivided, and the same for all men everywhere at all times, whether one finds it in the pronouncements of sacred books, traditional wisdom, the authority of churches, democratic majorities, observation and experiment conducted by qualified experts, or the convictions of simple folks uncorrupted by civilisation---this view, in one form or another, is central to western thought, which stems from Plato and his disciples.
[People] cannot live without seeking to describe and explain the universe to themselves. The models they use in doing this must deeply affect their lives, not least when they are unconscious; much of [their] misery and frustrationis due to the mechanical and unconscious, as well as deliberate, application of models where they do not workThe goal of philosophy is always the same, to assist [people] to understand themselves and thus operate in the open and not wildly, in the dark.