Thursday, August 13, 2009

Three Leading Minds in 1938 on the Future of Mankind

(from wiki). The three quotes below are from the Westinghouse Time Capsule buried in 1938 that will be opened in 6939, if there is anyone still around.

Albert Einstein's message,
Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilise power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves. However, the production and distribution of commodities is entirely unorganised so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Further more, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce some thing valuable for the community. I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.

Robert Millikan's message,
At this moment, August 22, 1938, the principles of representative ballot government, such as are represented by the governments of the Anglo-Saxon, French, and Scandinavian countries, are in deadly conflict with the principles of despotism, which up to two centuries ago had controlled the destiny of man throughout practically the whole of recorded history. If the rational, scientific, progressive principles win out in this struggle there is a possibility of a warless, golden age ahead for mankind. If the reactionary principles of despotism triumph now and in the future, the future history of mankind will repeat the sad story of war and oppression as in the past.

Thomas Mann's message,
We know now that the idea of the future as a "better world" was a fallacy of the doctrine of progress. The hopes we center on you, citizens of the future, are in no way exaggerated. In broad outline, you will actually resemble us very much as we resemble those who lived a thousand, or five thousand, years ago. Among you too the spirit will fare badly it should never fare too well on this earth, otherwise men would need it no longer. That optimistic conception of the future is a projection into time of an endeavor which does not belong to the temporal world, the endeavor on the part of man to approximate to his idea of himself, the humanization of man. What we, in this year of Our Lord 1938, understand by the term "culture" a notion held in small esteem today by certain nations of the western world is simply this endeavor. What we call the spirit is identical with it, too. Brothers of the future, united with us in the spirit and in this endeavor, we send our greetings.

1 comment:

bill greene said...

Einstein was a great mathematician but his ideas about the contribution of an intelligentsia vs the dumber masses illustrate the wrong direction mankind has followed since the Enlightenment. The great wars of the 20th century, fought by the supposedly ignorant masses, were all the work of intellectuals.

Woodrow Wilson, the brilliant Princeton professor, abandoned the Monroe Doctrine and got America involved in the unending conflicts of the European nations. Hitler's master race and Stalins planned economy were all creations of the elite philosophers who thought they knew more than the common people.

The future of mankind rests on the common sense of ordinary people--every nation's most valuable resource. Unless we remove the intellectuals from power, wars and conflicts and economic misery will continue indefinitely.

The success of open and free economies, devoid of the abtract theories of intellectuals, have been proven as effective throughout history. All governments must be limited and downsized to minimize the harm they do. Laws must be observed that limit the corruption and intrigues of the elites who govern. Those are the lessons of history that, if observed, could create a brighter future of peace and prosperity for all.