September 16, 2019

Anticipation Keeps Making Us Wait – Orwell, Call Your Office

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought, generally known as Anticipations, was written by H.G. Wells at the age of 34. He later called the book, which became a bestseller, “the keystone to the main arch of my work.” Wikipedia
Originally published: 1901
Author: H. G. Wells
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19229/19229-h/19229-h.htm

Sample:
VIII
The Larger Synthesis

We have seen that the essential process arising out of the growth of science and mechanism, and more particularly out of the still developing new facilities of locomotion and communication science has afforded, is the deliquescence of the social organizations of the past, and the synthesis of ampler and still ampler and more complicated and still more complicated social unities. The suggestion is powerful, the conclusion is hard to resist, that, through whatever disorders of danger and conflict, whatever centuries of misunderstanding and bloodshed, men may still have to pass, this process nevertheless aims finally, and will attain to the establishment of one world-state at peace within itself. In the economic sense, indeed, a world-state is already established. Even to-day we do all buy and sell in the same markets—albeit the owners of certain ancient rights levy their tolls here and there—and the Hindoo starves, the Italian feels the pinch, before the Germans or the English go short of bread. There is no real autonomy any[Pg 246] more in the world, no simple right to an absolute independence such as formerly the Swiss could claim. The nations and boundaries of to-day do no more than mark claims to exemptions, privileges, and corners in the market—claims valid enough to those whose minds and souls are turned towards the past, but absurdities to those who look to the future as the end and justification of our present stresses. The claim to political liberty amounts, as a rule, to no more than the claim of a man to live in a parish without observing sanitary precautions or paying rates because he had an excellent great-grandfather. Against all these old isolations, these obsolescent particularisms, the forces of mechanical and scientific development fight, and fight irresistibly; and upon the general recognition of this conflict, upon the intelligence and courage with which its inflexible conditions are negotiated, depends very largely the amount of bloodshed and avoidable misery the coming years will hold.

The final attainment of this great synthesis, like the social deliquescence and reconstruction dealt with in the earlier of these anticipations, has an air of being a process independent of any collective or conscious will in man, as being the expression of a greater Will; it is working now, and may work out to its end vastly, and yet at times almost imperceptibly, as some huge secular movement in Nature, the raising of a continent, the crumbling[Pg 247] of a mountain-chain, goes on to its appointed culmination. Or one may compare the process to a net that has surrounded, and that is drawn continually closer and closer upon, a great and varied multitude of men. We may cherish animosities, we may declare imperishable distances, we may plot and counter-plot, make war and “fight to a finish;” the net tightens for all that.~HG Wells

Share