Updated: Apr 20, 2022
In simplistic terms, to banish a thought from existence would be utterly impossible. It’d be a miracle if it could happen, just as Sophocles stated, “You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea”. However, hypothetically banishing a thought or an idea from existence is mind provoking in the sense that it could alter the ideals of man. It could make a man believe in the mechanical nature instead of the spiritual nature without the curiosity of the two existing together. This could lead to an intimidating nature that many tyrants have tried to create.
Scientists have been questioning existence since the beginning of time and why we as conscious beings are all here and living. A common question, what is the meaning of life, is the biggest unanswered question to date and to think realistically, for eternity. For many, it is thought that there is a superior being that is in control. According to Dewey, this thought process can lead people to constant analysis on their final moments, during the duration of their life. With this thought in their mind, they would live their life, while simultaneously making decisions that would co-relate with the thought of their “final casualty” or moment of death. This could make their “prophecies” and studies biased in the way that no matter what happens here on earth, there is always something more. Tending to relate their personal studies to a more spiritual sense instead of a natural (sensory based) sense.
If we were to banish the thought of final casualty and death, or an afterlife, scientists would then regard nature as a set of mechanical interactions. Described in the reading, this led to it apparently losing all purpose and meaning. I believe that Dewey saw this as the only way to correctly and scientifically observe nature. By banishing all thoughts that were considered outside of the spectrum of human nature.