Hope is not broken

When the literary world disagreed with Mind

at the End of its Tether, I believe it was only

because it missed the very valid point that Wells was

making only because, good writers though many of its

critics may have been, they just did not understand

evolution and Darwin and his whole concept of natural

selection and the struggle for life. Wells is making a

very valid point that "ordinary man is at the end of

his tether" and that "homo sapiens in his present form

is played out." Wells may have been making the most

important point of the century. It is a keen

observation that homo sapien at his best is "curious,

teachable, and experimental from the cradle to the

grave." That is perhaps a more insightful definition

of homo sapien than perhaps even the paleoantologists

offered, back when they called us thinking man. What

is more the book is the distilled wisdom of

everything he ever wrote, one need not own any other

book he ever wrote. He even said this himself. It

touches on the fundamentals of every aspect of his

motif, and it serves as a great quick reference to the

essentials as well. I love what he says about

relativity. Its compactness is attractive and

practical. It has perhaps more relevance today, actually, than when wrote it.

What is going on here with people just sitting

back and waiting for global warming to do us in? I found

the answer in Mind at the End of its Tether, by H.G.

Wells. Apparrently, "the mind is retrospective, to the

end." "We live in reference to past experience, and

not to future events, no matter how inevitable." And

he says: "But the masses of our fellow creatures have

not that vision to sustain them, and we have to square

our everyday conduct to theirs."

Thus we see what the problem is: we need to evolve, if we want to save

ourselves. Now current theories suggest that that can only happen if some

random mutation in an individual is by chance favorable, and that person

reproduces thus replacing “ordinary man” who is quote "at the end of his

tether". Such progress only takes place over geologic time, and by then, that

might be too late. Or is it? Folks, lets not give up too easily, Wells clearly


at the problem: “the mind is retrospective to the end.” How about we start

thinking about the future, expanding our minds and doing what Darwin says

has to happen, which is, in the words of Wells: “adapt or perish”.

We might think at this point we have dead ended, as though Wells, this

overlooked writer who may have held the key to humanity’s survival, in a

sense relegated to obscurity, was our only last hope. But as Yoda said in Star

Wars, “there is another”, and as it turns out after some thought I have found

this other thinker. He is Jacob Bronowski. Though I shamefully do not have

any of his books, I had at some point in my life, not too long ago, written down

his words in my journal from my Dad’s library. He said:

"No kind of Magic will do. We have to establish a unitary sense of the human

situation, of the fact that cognitive knowledge is the one thing that human

beings have been endowed with. That this has made us the only animal that

does not fit into the evolutionary niche, but that carves out its own, that


its physical and mental and cultural environement. And a crucial part of

making that cultural environment is to see that the only plan we follow is the

great, unbounded, ethical plan of a set of values by which we direct our

actions because that’s how we are. That is the way to be human."

Magic, Science and Civilization