The pride of intellectuals is a powerful thing. Indeed, after a certain point, it becomes the only thing: since pride is what holds them together, gets them out of bed in the morning, and keeps them striving.
(A world fueled and sustained by the worst of all sins...)
Intellectual pride led to the demand for intellectual independence - to throw off constraints, to follow though wherever it led, to make a mark, to gain status, to change the world - to use knowledge for power in this world, to use power to alleviate misery and to make happy.
(The voice of conscience stilled by the assurance that power would be used not selfishly, but for the general good... ultimately.)
The first steps were rewarded with power undreamed of: philosophy, science, technology, the arts...
Creative genius everywhere...
The industrial revolution - continual economic expansion, power in war, increasing capability to act on the world and on other humans.
All 'thanks' to the pride of intellectuals, in particular to creative genius unleashed.
But then the same process led to dismantling and destroying the whole thing (while consuming the products and living of the processes of the previous stage).
And people didn't really seem to care...
Well, pride is the worst of sins, and self-disgust could not forever be held in check, nor distracted-from.
But neither the intellectuals not the people repented - not at all, not one whit; they continued to want power - but, somehow, they just couldn't do it any more.
They became passively sinful - mistaking passivity for virtue.
They worshipped pride in others even when they did not feel it in themselves; they had turned away from the light and now it hurt their eyes, so they doused the light, and made way for the pride of darkness to triumph.
They became secret allies of darkness: at all times, and everywhere - even in the solitude of their thoughts.
In sum: they hated the light more than they feared the dark.
How could they be so foolish?
Well, pride is like that.