H.G. Wells on the Future

We look back through countless millions of years and see the great will to live struggling out of the intertidal slime, struggling from shape to shape and from power to power, crawling and then walking confidently upon the land, struggling generation after generation to master the air, creeping down into the darkness of the deep; we see it turn upon itself in rage and hunger and reshape itself anew, we watch it draw nearer and more akin to us, expanding, elaborating itself, pursuing its relentless inconceivable purpose, until at last it reaches us and its being beats through our brains and arteries, throbs and thunders in our battleships, roars through our cities, sings in our music and flowers in our art. And when, from that retrospect, we turn again towards the future, surely any thought of finality, any millennial settlement of cultured persons, has vanished from our minds. The fact that man is not final is the great unmanageable disturbing fact that rises upon us in the scientific discovery of the future, and to my mind at any rate the question what is to come after man is the most persistently fascinating and the most insoluble question in the whole world. Of course we have no answer. Such imaginations as we have refuse to rise to the task.


It is conceivable that some great unexpected mass of matter should presently rush upon us out of space, whirl sun and planets aside like dead leaves before the breeze, and collide with and utterly destroy every spark of life upon this earth. There is nothing in science to show why such a thing should not be. It is conceivable, too, that some pestilence may presently appear, some new disease, that will destroy, not 10 or 15 or 20 per cent of the earth's inhabitants as pestilences have done in the past, but 100 per cent, and so end our race. No one, speaking from {293} scientific grounds alone, can say, that cannot be. There may arise new animals to prey upon us by land and sea, and there may come some drug or a wrecking madness into the minds of men. And finally there is the reasonable certainty that this sun of ours must some day radiate itself toward extinction; that at least must happen, until some day this earth of ours, tideless and slow moving, will be dead and frozen, and all that has lived upon it will be frozen out and done with. There surely man must end. That of all such nightmares is the most insistently convincing. And yet one doesn't believe it. At least I do not. And I do not believe in these things because I have come to believe in certain other thingsā€”in the coherency and purpose in the world and in the greatness of human destiny. Worlds may freeze and suns may perish, but there stirs something within us now that can never die again.

We are in the beginning of the greatest change that humanity has ever undergone. There is no shock, no epoch-making incident, but then there is no shock at a cloudy daybreak. At no point can we say, here it commences, now, last minute was night and this is morning. But insensibly we are in the day. What we can see and imagine gives us a measure and gives us faith for what surpasses the imagination.


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H.G. Wells:Person (0.764829 (positive:0.399291))

Earth (0.971132): dbpedia | freebase
Mind (0.783943): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
English-language films (0.562646): dbpedia
World (0.557300): dbpedia | ciaFactbook | freebase
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 The Discovery of the Future
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Wells , H. G. (2014-05-01), The Discovery of the Future, The Floating Press, Retrieved on 2015-01-24
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: philosophy


    24 JAN 2015


    Notes for the books. Quotes, memes, things to include.
    Folksonomies: writing science fiction
    Folksonomies: writing science fiction