From the French philosopher’s The Unlearned Lessons Of the Twentieth Century: An Essay On Late Modernity, ht MS:
The interplay of frailty and promise forbids us to dismiss all philosophies of man as illusory and compels us to reflect on humanity. Because the human fabric remains imperfect, it cannot be reinvented by the will or indefinitely molded by desire. It commands respect through its weight and resistance to manipulation. We must try to understand this frailty before we can put a face on the promise. The presence of evil prevents the future from creating its own order; it must respect a certain givenness of being which must always remain largely unknown.
The Constitutive incompleteness of man forbids him to attempt to turn perfection into reality. But he can care for what exists, and it is probably this caring that defines what is uniquely and properly human. This style of being, as it were, expresses itself in the attention man pays to the world he has inherited in order to understand that world. The world we inherit and share is full of being, in the sense that forces are at work that we did not ourselves introduce. Having focused on reinventing the world, we must now turn our gaze toward the potentialities of being. Our fascination for planning must be replaced by attending to desirable possibilities. In order to care for, improve, and clear the brush away from what exists, we must keep in check our will to begin again ex nihilo, loving both existence and those beings who exist. That is, we must love them more than the products of our own minds.
The failures of the twentieth century reveal who we are. We are not demiurges. We are gardeners.