81 CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnHOMAGE TO T.S. ELIOT by Thomas FlemingnNineteen eighty-eight is the centennial year of T.S. Eliot’snbirth, and there is sure to be a flood of tributes to a writernthat has changed the course of poetry and criticism andnwhose reactionary pronouncements on politics and religionnhave been an inspiration to conservatives of every description.nInstead of offering to Mr. Eliot a series of analyticalnessays exploring his contribution, we are presenting a set ofnessays—some of them, indeed, on Eliot himself—he mightnhave enjoyed. The two feature essays are the Ingersoll Prizenaddresses of Octavio Paz and Josef Pieper, both of whomnpay tribute to the poet, critic, and philosopher whose worksncontinue to challenge the spirit of the age. This month’snperspective was delivered as an address on the occasion ofnnnthe 1987 Ingersoll Prizes Banquet at the Drake Hotel innChicago on 5 November.nAVictorian gentleman who happened upon our age bynaccident would be delighted, in many respects, by whatnhe found here. All the conveniences of life on which mennwere wont to speculate 100 years ago, we have innsuperabundance — air ships, undersea boats, devices thatnsend pictures and voices across the globe, and expeditionsnmounted to explore the solar system. Our proper Victoriannwould no doubt smile into his beard—delighted that hisntrust in science had been justified after all.nIndeed, science has transformed the world, but thentransformation is more than the bric-a-brac of skyscrapers,nmiracle drugs, and the science-fiction devices that disturbnour quiet. We often hear of modern man’s Faustian pactnwith science. But the author of Brave New World, AldousnHuxley, found a more accurate parallel in Shakespeare’snTempest. In that play, Prospero the magician has created anmarvelous world, a life of ease charmed by hidden voices,nbut he has had to rely upon the witch’s son, Caliban, anresentful and rebellious servant we might just as well namenTechnology. Like Prospero we moderns work wonders, butnalso like him we risk being deposed and displaced by ournsubhuman servants. We have changed the face of the worldnand made it reflect our aspirations. Even time has notnresisted our efforts.nWe live in a universe of time and space quite differentnfrom the world inhabited by either the ancient pagans, whonsaw time as a wheel, or the not so ancient Christians, whonlooked towards eternity. As Octavio Paz has written in hisnmost recent book, “The civilization of progress has situatednits geometrical paradises not in the world beyond but inntomorrow. The time of progress, technology, and work isnthe future. The time of the body, the time of love, andnpoetry is the present moment.”nThis was not the first time that Mr. Paz has coupled lovenand poetry in opposition to progress and technology. It hasnbeen the aggressive spirit of scientific inquiry that hasninvaded sphere after sphere of the human spirit. Thenrewards have been enormous, not only in all those littlenconveniences of life we have learned to take for granted, butneven more in our understanding of the mechanics of thencreation. For the first time, we may be in a position to tracenthe origin of life and of the universe itself. Our scientificnstudies of the human species and its nearest relatives maynsoon reveal the secrets of human society, the how and whynof power arrangements, the rules of family life, the principlesnbehind all forms of good government.nBut there is always a price for these advances in humann