2. In many ways the relationship of humanity to Earth is like that between an eighteenth century physician and his patients. Humanity shares with him a vast ignorance illuminated only by an instinct that warns us not to act precipitately, for such action is potentially as disastrous as inaction.
3. Today it is more difficult to form a synthesis of the various disciplines of knowledge and the arts than it was formerly. For while the mass and the diversity of cultural factors are increasing, there is a decrease in each man's faculty of perceiving and unifying these things, so that the image of "universal man" is being lost sight of more and more. Nevertheless it remains each man's duty to retain an understanding of the whole human person in which the values of intellect, will, conscience and fraternity are preeminent. (Second Vatican Council. Gaudium et Spes, 1965).