The End of the Road Paperback – January 1, 1970
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Such a theory, if true would seem to strike at the very heart of Western philosophy and ethics; small wonder that Mr. Allegro's book aroused passionate feelings, much as Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds of Collision did nearly twenty-five years ago(1945). The validity of the Bible, the status of the Church, the moral foundations of our thought and institutions for the past 2000 years -- all are called into question if Mr. Allegro's argument is to be accepted.
In The End of a Road Mr. Allegro assumes the correctness of his theory and proceeds to build upon the destruction it must inevitably occasion. The result is a frest concept of humanism strong enough to compensate for the lost faith and capable, through reason and technology, of leading mankind down a broader and better road to a more satisfying future. Reeducation, self-disipline, courage and honesty will be required. This companion volume to a startling, disturbing book is reassuring affirmation of a man's ability to transcend his fears and fashion his own destiny.
However, although I am not displeased that I had the chance to read Mr. Allegro's last book (and I do mean last), I am glad I will not have to read any more. I am not antagonistic to atheism or agnosticism. But, the End of a Road comes close to fascist. In it, Allegro suggests man as god, which is ok, hypothetically speaking. But, in the chapter Playing God, Allegro broaches eugenics, and his arguments and prejudices seem so out of date, so, so...60's! For instance, he talks about old people as dribbling cabbages. He talks about babies born with spinal bifida as if it would be better that they are terminated, so as not to impose undue burden on parents, who will inevitably grow to resent the handicapped child. These are the sweeping judgments I came to loathe in this book.
I met a man in college with spinal bifida. He was coherent, imaginitive and intelligent. I wonder what he would have to say about Mr. Allegro's "solutions" to overpopulation. And how would Mr. Allegro answer Stephen Hawking, a legend in our own time, who apparently outlived Mr. Allegro, anyway?
Allegro boldly promotes an atheistic humanism, and I can appreciate boldness, and I don't begrudge him atheism. However, what he doesn't tell you is that the fantastic evolutionary leaps in science, of all things, were made largely by men and women who were seeking God or divine manifestation, not fact. You want names? How about Pythagoras, or Galileo, or Isaac Newton, or Albert Einstein? It's not impossible to imagine that a scholar who spent a lifetime translating Hebrew and Aramaic intertestimental religious texts would become disenchanted and burned out. After all, the Essenes wrote war scrolls, temple scrolls, and Messianic prophecies, but in 70 AD they were wiped out by the Romans. A lot of good all of that prayer and planning for an overthrow of the "Kittim" and "Sons of Belial" did them! I often reflect on that irony, myself.
The reality is, humans have a need, and are perhaps hard-wired to seek God consciousness. In our search for God, we may not come face to face with Him, but we certainly uncover marvelous and enduring treasures as a byproduct of our God-quest. This is the conundrum of science, that it profits best when we seek the mystical. Humans without God dry up eventually. I'm not even especially religious, yet I recognize that much.
Another thing that bothers me about Allegro's "fogeyish" mentality is his dated diatribe about hallucinogens. He called early Christians and Judaic mystics druggies, and he bandied the phrases "pot head" and "drug addict" or "druggie" with some beligerance. He tried too hard to dissociate himself from the counter culture of the 60's, but in so doing gave the appearance of being a propaganda machine, wearing his politics on his sleeve. Such blind prejudice is annoying and cuts into his objectiveness, further jeopardizing his credibility. Did Mr. Allegro have some unresolved issues with drugs? I wonder, but his generalizations throughout the End of a Road were broad-brushed, stereotypical and unoriginal. He should not have strayed from a lucrative and respectible position on the DSS translation team into social scientist or armchair historian, roles at which he was not especially proficient.