INTRODUCTION

By CHARLES A. BEARD


I

THE battle over the meaning and course of machine civilization grows apace, with resounding blows along the whole front. What appeared to be a few years ago a tempest in a teapot, a quarrel among mere "literary persons," has become a topic of major interest among hard-headed men of affairs. A subject mildly discussed in women's clubs has broken into offices, factories, smoking compartments, and political assemblies. No theme, not even religion, engages more attention among those who take thought about life as well as living; no class of thinkers or doers can go far without encountering it. None is so humble that he can entirely escape it; none is so great that he can wholly ignore it. A synthesis of modern aspirations, the very concept of this civilization as destiny and opportunity arrests even the witless; especially invites all who possess the power of brains or money to stop short in their path and consider what work, under the shadow of this challenge, is most worth while here and now.

For many reasons the conflict involves the principal interests of religion. As the concern of the churches about the other world declines in intensity, their activities, directed to the improvement of this, inevitably increase. Since the good life is a fundamental object of their solicitude, they cannot be indifferent to the conditions under which it must be lived. Moreover there is something of cosmic mystery about the creative urge at work in machine civilization, even though demoniacal as alleged. If a

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Toward Civilization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • I- The New Age and the New Man 21
  • II- Science Lights the Torch 38
  • III- The Spirit of Invention in an Industrial Civilization 47
  • IV- Power 69
  • V- Transportation 98
  • VI- Communication 120
  • VII- Modern Industry and Management 137
  • VIII- Agriculture 159
  • IX- Engineering in Government 176
  • X- Art in the Market Place - The Industrial Arts in the Machine Age 196
  • XI- The Machine and Architecture 213
  • XII- Work and Leisure 232
  • III- Education and the New Age 253
  • XIV- Machine Industry and Idealism 273
  • XV- Spirit and Culture under the Machine 282
  • XVI- Summary- The Planning of Civilization 297
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