30 / CHRONICLESnican theologian Reinhold Niebuhr returnednin The Nature and Destiny ofnMan in 1939, at a time when mankindnwas relearning the reality of evil innhuman nature.nFar from a merely interesting surveynof Christian doctrine, Pelikan’s wellillustratednstudy examines such visualnrepresentations of Christ as the mysticallynlighted Savior of El Greco, paintedn”from the eye of a faith-filled soul,”nand the Christ Appearing of WilliamnBlake, uniting the risen Christ and thenhistorical Jesus. Pelikan raises to prominencenthe rich Christian basis ofnWestern culture, expressed in suchnmanifold forms as the Lutheran choralesnof Bach, the novels of the ChristiannDostoevsky, and the pitiless modernnmirror of the orthodox believernT.S. Eliot.nThe Enlightenment of the 18thncentury sought another image ofnChrist: a Teacher of Common Sensen”purified” of divinity, whose preceptsnthe deist Thomas Jefferson neatly dividednbetween the “true” and then”false.”nIn our own day, Pelikan notes thensignificant emphasis in the pronouncementnof the Second VaticannCouncil on Christ as the all-reachingn”true light that enlightens every man”nuniversally. Is he “A Man for AllnAges,” as Pelikan in conclusion characterizesnhumanity’s central figure?nWhether one accepts the Christiannaffirmation or not, it seems difficult inna bloody century, dominated by thengods of party, state, and limitless self,nto deny the rightness of the Augustiniannprognosis: Man is impotent in hisnmisery. Even as 20th century technologynprobes the outer planets, the skynhangs low over a modern world thatnfinds itself no longer able to protect annunborn child or to define pornographynor condemn sodomy or name evil bynname.nThe 21st century, Andre Malrauxnhas said, “will be religious, or it willnnot be at all.” What images of Christnwill the next millennium know, sonsoon to be upon us? As the percentagenof Christians in the total world populationndeclines, Pelikan sees as inconceivablenthat the Christian Churchnwill ever conquer the population of thenworld. But while respect for the organizednchurch has declined, he believes,nreverence for Jesus has grown. “With­nin the church, but also far beyond itsnwalls, his person and message are, innthe phrase of Augustine, a ‘beauty evernancient, ever new.”‘nJohn Romjue is a historian with thenU.S. Army.nDialogue of Self andnSoulnby Philip F. LawlernDeath of the Soul: From Descartesnto the Computer by William Barrett,nNew York: Doubleday; $16.95.nYears ago, I was a different person. Inlooked different, thought differentiy,nacted differently. And yet I am also thensame person; there is no doubt in mynmind that the “I” of, say, 10 years agonis fundamentally the same person asnthe one now writing this review.nEvidently “I” cannot be identifiednneatiy as this set of muscles and bones,nthoughts and feelings—although allnthose are certainly a part of me. Actionsnand experiences, states of mindnand of body: take them altogether, andnstill they do not add up to the “I” Inrecognize. Where is that “1,” thatnelusive self?nYeats asked the question in poeticnlanguage in “Among School Children”:n”O body swayed to music, onbrightening glance, / How can wenknow the dancer from the dance?”nNow William Barrett turns the questionnon modern philosophers and findsntheir answers consistently inadequate.nSince the beginning of the modernnepoch, philosophers have found themselvesnfrustrated, stymied, and at lastndriven to increasing lengths of absurditynin their attempts to explain humannconsciousness.nIronically, Yeats makes a cameo appearancenin Death of the Soul, as annillustration of the nonsensical propositionsnto which modern philosophy hasngiven birth. In a devastating argumentnagainst the notion that a computerncould write poetry, Barrett points tonthe dramatic development of Yeats’snart, the palpable effect that agenbrought to his poetry. Could a computernbe similarly influenced by itsnexperiences? Of course not, because annncomputer is not conscious.nBut there it is again: consciousnessn—the “I” behind my thoughts. DavidnHume insisted that human consciousnessnis no more than a collection ofnsense impressions. Translated intoncontemporary scientific idiom, perhapsnwe could say that Hume’s consciousnessnis simply a matter of electronicnimpulses. And if that is true,nthen of course a computer could donanything that a man can do. So thensflly notion that a computer couldnwrite poetry is not simply a product ofnvapors in Silicon Valley. On the contrary,nas Barrett demonstrates, it is anlogical outgrowth of the ideas thatnhave dominated philosophy since then17th century.nAt the outset, modern philosophynearnestiy imitated the methods of then”New Science” that had revolutionizednour understanding of the world.nBut Barrett points out that the principalnheroes of the “New Science” werendeeply religious men. Isaac Newton,nin particular, spent more time meditatingnon theology than on physics.nThese men had learned to study naturenas a series of empirical, materialnobjects and forces; still they neverndoubted the simultaneous existence ofna spiritual realm. Only when Descartesnretired to his solitary room, tonemerge with his “Cogito,” did philosophyncut human consciousness loose ofnits moorings in the soul.nTo trace the history of modern philosophynfrom that point of origin to itsnpresent predicament would requirenunusual insight. But William Barrettnis equal to the challenge. And Barrettnis not only an acute analyst but also annengaging writer. He skips lightly fromnone thinker to another and back, viewingneach philosopher through thenprism of this one question: the naturenof consciousness. Occasionally he interruptsnhis own argument andnlaunches onto what seems a tangentialnissue; careless readers might not noticenhow artfully those tangents are devised.nOf course any serious student ofnphilosophy will find flaws in some ofnhis observations. (1, for one, cannotnaccept his conclusion that Descartesnand Locke were sincerely religiousnthinkers.) But Barrett’s goal is not tonsummarize all of modern philosophy;nhe is concentrating on one particularntheme, and in that context his analysisn