There Is No End: Some Observations on Man's Struggle against Oblivion

There Is No End: Some Observations on Man's Struggle against Oblivion

There Is No End: Some Observations on Man's Struggle against Oblivion

There Is No End: Some Observations on Man's Struggle against Oblivion

Excerpt

I have often wondered by what stroke of circumstance I came to be on earth during the most eventful period of human history. You may argue that other ages were happier, more peaceful or brought more enduring blessings to mankind. That involves an appraisal of values. It is a matter, too, of who is doing the appraising--and when.

Certainly a life which began with the automobile and stood in awe and wonder at radio transmission, the airplane, television and the splitting of the atom--and all the major and minor marvels in between--has been witness to a succession of events which, for sheer excitement, must stand alone in the long continuity of civilization.

On the debit side this segment of eternity includes two disastrous wars and is now clouded by the haunting fear of a third.

Unhappily the increasing destructiveness of war is the sequel to man's inventive genius. We have now reached the point where an all out world conflict would end in a blackout of civilization. What chance has man to avert such a catastrophe? Is the last great event of this eventful age to be the triumph of man's scientific mind over his body and his soul? Or will man by slow and trying processes-- through a fortitude of mind and spirit that marks him as the master of his fate--come at last upon his greatest triumph?

My first postwar visit to Europe was not made in search of answers to these questions. Indeed I had no purpose more profound than that of the conventional traveller in Scandi, navia. Among the Scandinavians, however, I found a philosophy and a perspective which was at once provocative and sobering. Not that these North Europeans were solely responsible, for I should probably have made the journeys anyhow, but by the autumn of 1952 I had completed five postwar journeys to Western Europe which carried me into no less than ten countries of that continent.

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