This is the title of the book I purchased this week, written by H.G. Wells and published in 1935. It is a small volume, on the direction which `Wells believed humans should take and the means by which we might achieve a better world. In short, it is a treatise for a new world order, based on a very thorough examination of our species: its history and nature. What kind of world did Wells want? He called for people to unite in an Open Conspiracy to change the world and bring about a future scientific world commonweal; a united world with no war, corrupt governments or wasted effort.
Everything is pointless, but a common striving to achieve a better world, is less pointless than pretending a non-existent god will reward us after death. An extract from the book:
Fundamentally important issues upon which unanimity must be achieved from the outset are:
Firstly, the entirely provisional nature of all existing governments, and the entirely provisional nature, therefore, of all loyalties associated therewith;
Secondly, the supreme importance of population control in human biology and the possibility it affords us of a release from the pressure of the struggle for existence on ourselves; and
Thirdly, the urgent necessity of protective resistance against the present traditional drift towards war.
Written in 1935, Wells foresaw WWII and really hoped that his plan could prevent a repeat of the devastating loss of life that had occurred during WWI. His three points are entirely correct though. His words on patriotism and the worship of political leaders rings worryingly true, if not more so, today:
In nearly every country of the world there is, in deference to the pretended necessities of a possible war, a vast degrading and dangerous cultivation of loyalty and mechanical subservience to flags, uniforms, presidents, and kings. A president or king who does his appointed work well and righteously is entitled to as much subservience as a bricklayer who does his work well and righteously and to no more, but instead there is a sustained endeavour to give him the privileges of an idol above criticism or reproach, and the organized worship of flags has become--with hanged conditions of intercourse and warfare--an entirely evil misdirection of the gregarious impulses of our race.
That George Bush II and Tony Blair, both look increasingly like unsympathetic dictators, wielding ever more draconian powers, shows you that little has changed. Hitler, Stalin, Saddam. People are ever willing to follow an idiot down the paths of ruin. And the really depressing thing about Wells' book, is that he was such a well known figure (his books sold in the millions) and yet what has his great plan done for the world? Wells urged that scientists help break down the sheepish thinking installed during formal education and to disseminate the truth about the nature of existence. Funny, as that is one of the reasons for my writing this blog. But human behaviour hasn't changed much over that time - and human being is to blame:
The mind is very self-protective; has a disposition to abandon too great or too far-reaching an effort and return to things indisputably within its scope. We have an instinctive preference for thinking things are "all right"; we economize anxiety; defend the delusions that we can work with, even though we half realize they are no more that' delusions. We resent the warning voice, the critical question that robs our activities of assurance.
So, what do we do? This is directed mainly to atheists, but others that want to achieve something may be interested. Are we prepared to sit around and complain at the state of the world, without doing more? If we don't do it, who will? My hope is very much like Wells'. The eradication of wars. To reduce the power of the state. To improve the living conditions of all humans. Science is not a nefarious process, but an endeavour by other apes on this rock, spinning in space, to improve things. History has shown that people are capable of behaving in quite inhumane ways. Politicians and soldiers exist mostly for their own ends: in a harmonious world each would hopefully be extinct - or at least diminished in need and capacity. Neither is such a hope Utopian. There is no god in the universe and the only people we can thank for all we have today, is the success of our ancestors - other human beings. Birth control, better education, the eradication of poverty and disease - can be achieved with a sustained and motivated human effort.
The alternative is we wait to die (and let society collapse around us). Or we let others less qualified and with ulterior motives, control our lives - the corrupt and the abusive, who would bend the effort of the people to their own benefit. If we scientists and atheists do not try to succeed, honestly, then who will? But since this is the same call that Wells made, over 70 years ago, I am growing to believe that there is no will on the part of anybody to accept the nature of existence and then to try and do something radical with that knowledge. From RonaldBruceMeyer.com:
H.G. Wells died an Atheist on 13 August 1946. It was Wells who said, "I do not believe in the least that either the body of H.G. Wells or his personality is immortal."
Ah, were he only still here today!Go Top