NEW YORK CITY
MAY 28TH, 1949
This essay in English was written in 1927 and first published in 1928
as a chapter in a symposium on the future of modern civilization
edited by the late Professor Charles A. Beard under the title,
Whither Mankind. I have selected this piece (with few deletions,
minor changes, and some added foot-notes) for several reasons.
First, because it was based chiefly on an original Chinese essay
which I had published in June 1926, and which embodied some of
my conclusions drawn from years of observation and thinking.
Those conclusions were strengthened by my trip to Europe in 1926
and to the United States in 1927.
In the second place, because this essay expresses a philosophical
position distinct and free from the usual "pose" of apologetic writers
from the Orient.
And lastly, because I sincerely believe that the central theme of
the essay--an eulogistic appraisal of the modern civilization of
Science, Technology and Democracy--may still deserve some atten-
tion at the present time. Professor Beard's symposium appeared
exactly a year before the stock-market crash of October, 1929. In
his preface, Beard announced that "the volume as a whole rejects
the pessimistic views of writers like Chesterton, Belloc, and
Spengler," and that "for visions of despair, it substitutes a more
cheerful outlook upon the future of modern civilization."
The years of the Depression and of the Second World War may
seem to many to have vindicated the pessimists. But have they been
really vindicated? As I reread these pages on one of the darkest
mornings in the history of my own people, I am still inclined to
agree with my optimistic views of twenty-one years ago. I do not
recant my main thesis in this essay. So here, with the permission of
the editor, will it stand as my renewed and considered tribute to
this modern civilization of scientific and technological progress and
democratic control of power.