CHAPTER EIGHT
ONE POWER OR MANY?

THE PROBLEM IS: WHAT WILL THE FUTURE DO TO OUR PLANS and the things which we have already created through them? This is not just a problem which touches the planner or the student of history. It is one of the commonest feelings of men: Where am I going? What is the meaning of my present job, of my life, of the society and nation of which I am a member?

When we look back we are balked on all sides by limits to our knowledge of origins and of the causes and roots of present events; our knowledge of history and nature is never exhaustive. Beyond these limits lies a mere It, a Something whence we sprang. When we look forward, we find another such limit immediately before us. Our fate even in the next moment is uncertain. What happens to us depends, not only upon our intentions, but also upon the blind forces of history and nature, upon the It or Something which is the world we never made. These tender hopes and plans of youth, what will the objective world do to them? This confident round of habits and institutions on which our society sets its blessing, can it survive the blows of reality? These creations of our civilization, what place will history have for them?

What is this source from which things appear and into which they disappear? Is it chaos: the senseless clash of many isolated and incompatible centers of being? Or is it an order: a something which in part preserves and corresponds to the lesser, transient orders of my existence and my society? In all ages and in various moods, practical and poetic, emotional and dryly intellectualist, men have asked this question. In it lies that wonder which Plato held to be the beginning of philosophy. From it also issues that not ignoble fear, which some have regarded as the beginning of wisdom.

-111-

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