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." His most recent biographer, however, calls the volume "both the starting point and the lowest point in Wells's career as a social thinker."
Taking the revolution in transport facilitated by the "mechanical revolution" as his point of departure, Wells told readers they were living through a reorganization of human society that would alter every dimension of life. An academic biographer has described the degree of accuracy of Wells's predictions as "certainly phenomenal."
The chapters of Anticipations appeared in Great Britain in the Fortnightly Review (April–December 1901) and in the United States in the North American Review (June–November 1901), and were published as a book in November 1901. Anticipations was "Wells's first non-fiction bestseller." The volume was reissued by Chapman and Hall in 1914, on the eve of World War I.
|Author||H. G. Wells|
|Original title||Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought|
|Publisher||Harper & Brothers (US)|
Chapman & Hall (UK)
Proposing to forecast "the way things will probably go in this new century," Wells's point of departure is "the probable developments and changes of the means of land locomotion during the coming decades." Taking the "steam engine running on a railway" to be the most characteristic symbol of the 19th century, he analyzes the historical factors that led it to appear when it did. Wells predicts that "new motor vehicles" will lead to trucks, cars ("motor carriages"), and buses ("the motor omnibus") that will be "segregated" from horse traffic on "special roads" competing with railways.
Wells argues that the speed of land travel stands "in almost fundamental relation to human society." The speeding up of land locomotion will therefore revolutionize human society. Rather than producing even larger cities, a new sort of "human distribution" will be created, with the increase in the distance a worker can travel in an hour acting as a "centrifugal" force leading to a considerable development of "suburbs" while this development is counterbalanced by "centripetal considerations" like a desire for access to shopping districts, good schools, doctors, and "the love of the crowd." The terms "town" and "country" will become obsolete as a new kind of "urban region" develops.
The two-class social system of a lower class administered by a superior class derived from the speed of horses in an agricultural society, according to Wells. The revolution in technology, he predicts, will produce in the 20th century a system of four classes: (1) "the shareholding class" administering "irresponsible property"; (2) "the abyss," consisting of people "without either property or any evident function in the social organism"; (3) a reconstructed, productive, and "capable" middle class, including, notably, "mechanics and engineers," whose potential will depend on the education this class receives, no longer being "middle" in any meaningful sense; and (4) a class of non-productive business managers, political organizers, brokers, financiers, clerks, etc. "All these elements will be mingled confusedly together, passing into one another by insensible gradations." Wells regards the United States as "the social mass which has perhaps advanced furthest along the new lines."
Circa 2000, Wells predicts, the capable productive class will have developed a way of life characterized by a scientific worldview, an ethos of social duty, and an unsentimental view of personal relations that lead it to view "a childless, sterile life" as "essentially failure and perversion." Families of this class will live in efficient households with no need for domestic servants. The shareholder class will cultivate opulent, archaic decoration, which Wells clearly deplores, and he also fears that its wealth may enable it not only to "buy up almost all the available architectural talent" but also "in a certain figurative sense—buy up much of the womankind" that would otherwise belong to the capable class.
Wells argues that "democracy" is a term with little specificity, signifying little more than a denial "that any specific person or persons should act as a matter of intrinsic right or capacity on behalf of the community as a whole." As a political creed, Wells considers democracy flimsy and untenable: "I know of no case for the elective Democratic government of modern states that cannot be knocked to pieces in five minutes." The appearance of representative democracy Wells links to what he called the "mechanical revolution" (hence its early appearance in Great Britain, the U.S., and France), and explains the appearance of a belief in "the people" as little more than a disbelief in monarchs and nobles. In Wells's view, it is not the people but rather "a scientifically trained middle-class of an unprecedented sort" that "will become, I believe, at last consciously the State." The real governors that "democracy" produces—political bosses and demagogues—Wells regards as likely to provoke wars. But they will be incapable of managing these wars, leading to their replacement.
Wells sees the mechanical revolution as making the division of armies into infantry and cavalry obsolete. The "new war" is determined by the increasing range and accuracy of the rifle (and also of the field gun). Wells predicts that a few snipers will be able to defend territory against a larger force. War will become less "dramatic" and more "monstrous." The State will organize all of society for the support of its war machine. Wells analyzes how tactics will be altered by rapid locomotion, command of the air, and "light, swift ships." (But "my imagination, in spite even of spurring, refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocate its crew and founder at sea.") Technical, not moral factors will be determinate. Societies with the most well developed and consolidated "educated efficient classes" will prevail.
Wells predicts that "unifying sources" give only English, French (or possibly German), and Chinese a chance of flourishing in the future. Dismissing the racialist thought associated with romantic nationalism as "nonsense," he predicts that languages like Spanish and Russian by the year 2000 will "be tending more and more to be the second tongues of bilingual communities."
Though it may take "centuries of misunderstanding and bloodshed," Wells predicts that the process he is describing "aims finally, and will attain to the establishment of one world-state at peace within itself." Present-day economic integration anticipates this, as do "at least five spacious movements of coalescence": Anglo-Saxonism, British imperialism, Pan-Germanism, Pan-Slavism, and the idea of a union of "Latin" peoples. Wells analyzes each of these. But he believes it is "a naturally and informally organized, educated class" rather than any regional political movement that will be the means whereby "a New Republic" will come to dominate the world. Wells scrutinizes the present for signs of such a development, and finds them in American trusts, unofficial organizations like the Navy League, philanthropic tycoons, etc.
In his concluding chapter, Wells went as far as he ever did in the direction of eugenics, advocating a "euthanasia of the weak and the sensual." In his text, he insists that social groups will not be treated "as races at all" but as individuals. It cannot be denied, however, that it is in remarks that are more than a little tinged with racism and anti-Semitism that Wells declares that he rejects racism and anti-Semitism. A recent biographer has said that "Nothing has done more damage to Wells's reputation than the concluding chapter of Anticipations."
Wells predicts that a stern morality freed from the trammels of exploded religious beliefs and based on ideas of Malthusianism and natural selection will sustain aggressive action of the "World State" to "check" and "control" human activity so as "to favour the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in humanity." The future rulers will not quail before the need to use the "method" of "death"; about death "they will have no superstitions." "[G]ood scientifically caused pain" may also be used, but its use can be "unsafe and demoralizing" for those who inflict it. So "[t]o kill under the seemly conditions science will afford is a far less offensive thing." Sexual morality, on the other hand, will be comprehensively liberalized, facilitating the goal of having "perhaps half the population of the world, in every generation, restrained from or tempted to evade reproduction." Declaring these to be policies devoted to "a purpose greater than happiness," Wells declares that it is not for immortality, but for the "spacious" "future of our race" [i.e. the human race], that the "kinetic men of the coming time" will "live and die."
The idea of writing the articles that became the chapters of Anticipations was suggested to Wells by James B. Pinker, his literary agent. Pinker persuaded Wells that "the thinking literary men" had a responsibility to express their views. It is perhaps also noteworthy that the book was written while Wells awaited the birth of his first child, George Philip ("Gip") Wells, born on July 17, 1901.
In a letter to Elizabeth Healy, Wells said that the purpose of Anticipations was "to undermine and destroy the monarch, monogamy, faith in God & respectability—& the British Empire, all under the guise of a speculation about motor cars & electric heating."
In the words of a biographer, Anticipations "took England by storm," making Wells "almost famous in fact." Vigorously promoted, the book and its views were widely discussed. "Every significant thinker [in Great Britain] apparently read and thought about the book," according to an academic biographer.
The publication of Anticipations led to Wells's friendship with E. Ray Lancaster, the director of the Museum of Natural History. The book was appreciated by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who introduced Wells to Graham Wallas. William James predicted that Anticipations would influence British youth, but thought that Wells did not allow sufficiently for "human nature."
Wells's Anticipations, together with his next production, The Discovery of the Future, established him as "a great man," according to one biographer, and as a result he was soon sought out by many leading figures of the day. "Bertie Wells had been transformed into H.G." He became a major literary figure as well as new socialist leader who was courted by the Fabians.
Later readers have recoiled at what Lovat Dickson in 1969 called the book's suggestion of "strong-armed fascism." W. Warren Wagar, discussing Anticipations' advocacy of racism, eugenics and capital punishment, noted "To Wells' credit, he would soon abandon such thoughts, but they were all here in plain English in Anticipations and we have no power or licence to wish them away". A number of writers (e.g. Michael Coren and John Carey ) have made even stronger charges against Wells. But in fact Wells responded to criticism and was soon arguing against the negative eugenics advocated in Chapter 9, and he later became a leading advocate of human rights. Sherborne notes within two years of the publication of Anticipations: "Wells would be arguing against negative eugenics; within three defending black people against race prejudice; within four advocating the desirability of a multitracial society".
The 1824 State of the Union Address was written by James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States. Delivered to the 18th United States Congress on Tuesday, December 7, 1824. James Monroe presided over the Era of Good Feelings. He began with, "The view which I have now to present to you of our affairs, foreign and domestic, realizes the most sanguine anticipations which have been entertained of the public prosperity. If we look to the whole, our growth as a nation continues to be rapid beyond example;" He ended with, "From the present prosperous and happy state I derive a gratification which I can not express. That these blessings may be preserved and perpetuated will be the object of my fervent and unceasing prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe."
In the middle of the address, Mr. Monroe said, "There is no object which as a people we can desire which we do not possess or which is not within our reach. Blessed with governments the happiest which the world ever knew, with no distinct orders in society or divided interests in any portion of the vast territory over which their dominion extends, we have every motive to cling together which can animate a virtuous and enlightened people." James Monroe, a founder of his country, predicts that his country will become a world power, and must animate with virtue and enlightenment.Cyberpunk derivatives
A number of cyberpunk derivatives have become recognized as distinct subgenres in speculative fiction. These derivatives, though they do not share cyberpunk's computers-focused setting, may display other qualities drawn from or analogous to cyberpunk: a world built on one particular technology that is extrapolated to a highly sophisticated level (this may even be a fantastical or anachronistic technology, akin to retro-futurism), a gritty transreal urban style, or a particular approach to social themes.
One of the most well-known of these subgenres, steampunk, has been defined as a "kind of technological fantasy", and others in this category sometimes also incorporate aspects of science fantasy and historical fantasy. Scholars have written of these subgenres' stylistic place in postmodern literature, and also their ambiguous interaction with the historical perspective of postcolonialism.American author Bruce Bethke coined the term "cyberpunk" in his 1980 short story of the same name, proposing it as a label for a new generation of punk teenagers inspired by the perceptions inherent to the Information Age. The term was quickly appropriated as a label to be applied to the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, Rudy Rucker, Michael Swanwick, Pat Cadigan, Lewis Shiner, Richard Kadrey, and others. Science fiction author Lawrence Person, in defining postcyberpunk, summarized the characteristics of cyberpunk thus:
Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.
The relevance of cyberpunk as a genre to punk subculture is debatable and further hampered by the lack of a defined cyberpunk subculture; where the small cyber movement shares themes with cyberpunk fiction and draws inspiration from punk and goth alike, cyberculture is much more popular though much less defined, encompassing virtual communities and cyberspace in general and typically embracing optimistic anticipations about the future. Cyberpunk is nonetheless regarded as a successful genre, as it ensnared many new readers and provided the sort of movement that postmodern literary critics found alluring. Furthermore, author David Brin argues, cyberpunk made science fiction more attractive and profitable for mainstream media and the visual arts in general.Ex-ante
The term ex-ante (sometimes written ex ante or exante) is a phrase meaning "before the event". Ex-ante or national demand refers to the desire for goods and services which is not backed by the ability to pay for those goods and services. This is also termed as ‘wants of people’. Ex-ante is used most commonly in the commercial world, where results of a particular action, or series of actions, are forecast in advance (or intended). The opposite of ex-ante is ex-post (actual) (or ex post). Buying a lottery ticket loses you money ex ante (in expectation), but if you win, it was the right decision ex post.Examples:
In the financial world, the ex-ante return is the expected return of an investment portfolio.
In the recruitment industry, ex-ante is often used when forecasting resource requirements on large future projects.The ex-ante (and ex-post) reasoning in economic topics was introduced
mainly by Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal in his 1927–39 work on monetary theory, who
described it in this way:
An important distinction exists between prospective and retrospective methods of calculating economic quantities such as incomes, savings, and investments; and [...] a corresponding distinction of great theoretical importance must be drawn between two alternative methods of defining these quantities. Quantities defined in terms of measurements made at the end of the period in question are referred to as ex post; quantities defined in terms of action planned at the beginning of the period in question are referred to as ex ante.)
Focusing attention on the relation between saving and investment, Myrdal argued
that one may without any contradiction consider that, as they are made by separate
agents, ex ante saving and investment decisions are not at parity in general while ex post saving and investment are recorded in bookkeeping balance exactly:
There is in fact no contradiction at all between the statement of an exact bookkeeping balance ex post and the obvious inference that in a situation when saving is increasing without a corresponding increase of investment, or perhaps with an adverse movement in investment, there must be a tendency ex ante to a disparity. (Gunnar Myrdal, Monetary Equilibrium, London : W. Hodge 1939: 46)
This analysis has become a standard tool in macroeconomics.
Prices are quantities that directly refer to a point of time: they are determined at a point of time, after an ex ante adjustment process has taken place. As for the macroeconomic quantities, Myrdal proposed to refer to the point of time at which they are calculated.
Gunnar Myrdal further explained that ex ante disparity and ex post balance are made consistent through price changes, which result from the behavior of economic agents, which is based on ex ante anticipations:
For these anticipations determine the behaviour of the economic subjects and consequently those changes in the whole price system which during a period actually occur as a result of the actions of individuals. (Gunnar Myrdal,Monetary Equilibrium, London : W. Hodge 1939: 121)
In context of ex-ante, the Swedish economist Myrdal also dealt with the question of the unit of time, which he proposed to solve by reducing the actual time-dimension of macroeconomic variables such as income, saving and investment to a point of time:
Some of these quantities refer directly to a point of time. That is true of "capital value" as also of such quantities as demand and supply prices. Other terms – as e.g. "income", "revenue", "return", "expenses", "savings", "investments" – imply, however, a time period for which they are reckoned. But in order to be unambiguous they must also refer to a point of time at which they are calculated. (Gunnar Myrdal, Monetary Equilibrium, London : W. Hodge 1939: 46–7)
Economist G. L. S. Shackle claimed the importance of Gunnar Myrdal´s analysis by which saving and investment are allowed to adjust ex ante to each other. However, the reference to ex ante and ex post analysis has become so usual in modern macroeconomics that the position of John Maynard Keynes to not include it in his work was
currently considered as an oddity, if not a mistake. As Shackle put it:
Myrdalian ex ante language would have saved the General Theory from describing the flow of investment and the flow of saving as identically, tautologically equal, and within the same discourse, treating their equality as a condition which may, or not, be fulfilled. (Shackle, G.L.S. (1989) "What did the General Theory do?", in J. Pheby (ed), New Directions in Post-keynesian Economics, Aldershot: Edward Elgar.)First Romanesque
One of the first streams of Romanesque architecture in Europe from the 10th century and the beginning of 11th century is called First Romanesque or Lombard Romanesque. It took place in the region of Lombardy and spread into Catalonia and into the south of France. Its principal decoration for the exterior, bands of ornamental blind arches are called lombard bands. It was characterized by thick walls and lack of sculpture in facades, and with interiors profusely painted with frescoes.
During the first quarter of the 11th century, much architectural activity by groups composed of Lombard teachers and stonemasons (Comacine Guild), who worked throughout much of Europe and Catalan territories and erected fairly uniform temples, some of which still exist today. For a considerable area this process of craft diffusion started in Lombardy and Lombardus became the word for mason at an early period. One might call the First Romanesque style the style of this Italian architectural reconquest. The large promoter and sponsor of this art in Catalonia was Oliva, monk and abbot of the monastery of Ripoll who, in 1032, ordered the extension of the body of this building with a façade with two towers, plus a transept which included seven apses, all decorated on the outside with the Lombardic ornamentation of blind arches and vertical strips.
Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch suggested that what was formerly considered the late form of pre-Romanesque architecture in Catalonia bore features of Romanesque and thus classified it as First Romanesque (primer romànic). The First Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boí were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in November 2000.
The geographical proximity of this Iberian region to the rest of Europe, resulted in depictions of the emerging Romanesque art being brought to Catalonia. While the art failed to take root in the rest of the Iberian Peninsula until the second third of the 11th century, there are numerous examples of its presence in Catalan counties before this time. Though this style may not be considered fully Romanesque, the area contained many of the defining characteristics of this artistic style.
To avoid the term Pre-Romanesque, which is often used with a much broader meaning than is generally suited to refer to early Medieval and early Christian art, and in Spain may also refer to the Visigothic, Asturias, Mozarabic and Repoblación art forms, Puig i Cadafalch preferred to use the term "First Romanesque" or "first Romanesque art" to designate those Catalan anticipations of the Romanesque itself.George Tradescant Lay
George Tradescant Lay (c. 1800 – 6 November 1845) was a British naturalist, missionary and diplomat.
Lay was a naturalist on the English sailing ship HMS Blossom under the command of Captain Frederick William Beechey from 1825 to 1828, where he collected specimens in the Pacific including California, Alaska, Kamchatka, China, Mexico, South America, and Hawaii, and other South Pacific islands. He is credited as being one of the discoverers of Layia gaillardioides, as a result having the genus Layia named for him.
He then went on to become a missionary in China for the British and Foreign Bible Society from 1836 to 1839. During this time, he studied the Chinese language and culture. Upon returning to England in 1839, his experience in China helped him obtain a position of British Consul in China. He was posted in Canton in 1843, then Foochow in 1844, and finally Amoy in 1845, before dying later that year from a fever.
His son, Horatio Nelson Lay following in his footsteps, was also a diplomat in China.Lapsus
A lapsus (Latin for "lapse, slip, error") is an involuntary mistake made while writing or speaking, something long studied in philology.Le Villi
Le Villi (The Willis or The Fairies) is an opera-ballet in two acts (originally one) composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Ferdinando Fontana, based on the short story Les Willis by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. Karr's story was in turn based in the Central European legend of the Vila, also used in the ballet Giselle. The opera, in its original one-act version, was first performed at the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan, on 31 May 1884.Le Villi is Puccini's first stage work. It was written for an 1883 competition of one-act operas by the publisher Sonzogno in his periodical Il teatro illustrato, but did not even earn an honourable mention. According to Mosco Carner, this may have been because it was written in such haste that the score was all but illegible. His supporters, who included Arrigo Boito, funded the first production, whose favorable reception led to publication by Giulio Ricordi. Puccini's mother received the following telegram on the night of premiere at the Teatro dal Verme on 31 May 1884: "Theatre packed, immense success; anticipations exceeded; eighteen calls; finale of first act encored thrice"'. Ricordi urged the composer to expand the work, and Puccini did, producing a new version later that year, which was followed by modifications in 1885, and the final version in 1889. A performance typically lasts 64 minutes.Leap2020
LEAP (Laboratoire Européen d'Anticipation Politique, English: European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) is a think tank established to analyze and anticipate global economic developments from a European perspective and to publish a paid-subscription monthly economic forecast bulletin. It was founded in 1997 under the title "Europe2020" by Marie-Helene Caillol (the current president of LEAP since its founding) and Franck Biancheri, the founder of the European student network AEGEE (Association des États Generaux de l'Europe) and one of the few pan-European parties, Newropeans and relaunched as LEAP in 2005. LEAP claims to be the first European website of anticipation, independent from any government or lobby.
In 2006, LEAP examined the possibility of a great depression similar to the breakdown of the stock markets in 1929, which is labelled "Global Systemic Crisis". Subscriptions for its monthly Global European Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB) cost 220 euros per year. This bulletin contains several anticipations, always signed by the LEAP research team, often six to twelve months ahead. They are publishing each month a public summary of their anticipations so it is very easy to observe their high success in anticipating major events in the Global Systemic Crisis. They are following a fully transparent and rigorous method they have created and described in the Manual of Political Anticipation.
They are not always right about the dates : some anticipations were included a Euro/USD exchange rate of 1.75 by the end of the year 2008 and the inevitable default of the United States government on its treasury obligations by the summer of 2009. But they have announced the September 2008 financial breakdown and 2011 revolutions in Maghreb with high precision, among others.Mankind in the Making
Mankind in the Making (1903) is H.G. Wells's sequel to Anticipations (1901). Mankind in the Making analyzes the "process" of "man's making," i.e. "the great complex of circumstances which mould the vague possibilities of the average child into the reality of the citizen of the modern state." Taking an aggressive tone in criticizing many aspects of contemporary institutions, Wells proposed a doctrine he called "New Republicanism," which "tests all things by their effect upon the evolution of man."The volume consists of eleven "papers" that were first published in the British Fortnightly Review from September 1902 to September 1903 and in the American Cosmopolitan, and an appendix. It was reprinted by Chapman and Hall in 1906 in a cheaper edition, and again in 1914, on the eve of World War I.Nationale Postcode Loterij
The Nationale Postcode Loterij (National Postcode Lottery) is the biggest charity lottery in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1989 by Novamedia, a marketing agency that sets up and runs charity lotteries. Fifty percent of the proceeds of this lottery are donated amongst 81 charities, which, in 2010 amounted to over 270 million euros.Prize winners are the lot owners whose postal code, a code that forms part of the winners' residential address, has been drawn. Hence even if not participating one may still find out that one would have won had one played. Anticipations of post-decisional regret influence decisions to play the Postcode lottery. Till 2012 it was not even allowed to use the postal code for commercial purposes. In that year these rules were just abolished by the government.Precursorism
Precursorism, called in its more extreme forms precursoritis or precursitis, is a characteristic of that kind of historical writing in which the author seeks antecedents of present-day institutions or ideas in earlier historical periods. This kind of anachronism is considered to be a form of Whig history and is a special problem among historians of science. The French historian of medieval science, Pierre Duhem, exemplifies several of the characteristics of the quest for precursors of modern scientific ideas. Duhem was trained as a physicist, rather than as a historian; he was French and many of the precursors he identified were French or studied at the University of Paris; he was a devout Catholic and many of the precursors of the theologically troubling Italian, Galileo, were members of religious orders. Most striking among them was the French bishop and scholastic philosopher, Nicole Oresme.The concept has been applied to those who would find precursors of Darwin in the early nineteenth century, and to those who would find anticipations of modern science in ancient cultures from the Near East to Mesoamerica. Precursorism has recently been identified as a significant factor in some studies of the work of Islamic scientists.It is now commonly assumed that historians of science should study past scientific "ideas in their own right, avoiding anachronism and precursoritis."Pyrola (album)
Pyrola is the second studio album by Swedish progressive rock band Qoph. The album was released in Sweden and Germany in 2004 and in Japan by Disk Union in 2005. The Japanese edition includes the bonus track "Anticipations" with Mats Öberg (Mats/Morgan Band) guesting on moog. The double vinyl version contains two more bonustracks: "Resh" and "Will the Sun Be Back Tomorrow.The Aachen Memorandum
The Aachen Memorandum is a 1995 thriller novel by Andrew Roberts. The author has described it as "a dystopian vision of what Britain might turn into if it became a minor satrapy of a vast protectionist, illiberal anti-American, politically correct EU."The Best Science Fiction of the Year 8
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #8 is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Terry Carr, the eighth volume in a series of sixteen. It was first published in paperback by Del Rey Books in July 1979, and in hardcover by the same publisher in conjunction with the Science Fiction Book Club in August 1979. The first British edition was issued by Gollancz in the same year.
The book collects twelve novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, with an introduction, notes and concluding essays by Carr and Charles N. Brown. The stories were previously published in 1978 in the magazines Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Omni, Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the anthologies Andromeda 3, Anticipations, and Universe 8.The Discovery of the Future
The Discovery of the Future is a 1902 philosophical lecture by H. G. Wells that argues for the knowability of the future. It was originally delivered to the Royal Institution on January 24, 1902. Before appearing in book form, it was published by Richard Gregory in Nature on February 6, 1902, and was also published as part of the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution. Available online.The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth
The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, first published in 1904. Wells called it "a fantasia on the change of scale in human affairs. . . . I had hit upon [the idea] while working out the possibilities of the near future in a book of speculations called Anticipations (1901)." There have been various B-movie adaptations. The novel is about a group of scientists who invent a food that accelerates the growth of children and turns them into giants when they become adults.The World Set Free
The World Set Free is a novel written in 1913 and published in 1914 by H. G. Wells. The book is based on a prediction of a more destructive and uncontrollable sort of weapon than the world has yet seen. It had appeared first in serialised form with a different ending as A Prophetic Trilogy, consisting of three books: A Trap to Catch the Sun, The Last War in the World and The World Set Free.A frequent theme of Wells's work, as in his 1901 nonfiction book Anticipations, was the history of humans' mastery of power and energy through technological advance, seen as a determinant of human progress. The novel begins: "The history of mankind is the history of the attainment of external power. Man is the tool-using, fire-making animal. . . . Always down a lengthening record, save for a set-back ever and again, he is doing more." (Many of the ideas Wells develops here found a fuller development when he wrote The Outline of History in 1918-1919.) The novel is dedicated "To Frederick Soddy's Interpretation of Radium," a volume published in 1909.
Scientists of the time were well aware that the slow natural radioactive decay of elements like radium continues for thousands of years, and that while the rate of energy release is negligible, the total amount released is huge. Wells used this as the basis for his story.
In his fiction,
The problem which was already being mooted by such scientific men as Ramsay, Rutherford, and Soddy, in the very beginning of the twentieth century, the problem of inducing radio-activity in the heavier elements and so tapping the internal energy of atoms, was solved by a wonderful combination of induction, intuition, and luck by Holsten so soon as the year 1933.
Wells's knowledge of atomic physics came from reading William Ramsay, Ernest Rutherford, and Frederick Soddy; the last discovered the disintegration of uranium. Soddy's book Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt praises The World Set Free. Wells's novel may even have influenced the development of nuclear weapons, as the physicist Leó Szilárd read the book in 1932, the same year the neutron was discovered. In 1933 Szilárd conceived the idea of neutron chain reaction, and filed for patents on it in 1934.Wells's "atomic bombs" have no more force than ordinary high explosive and are rather primitive devices detonated by a "bomb-thrower" biting off "a little celluloid stud." They consist of "lumps of pure Carolinum" that induce "a blazing continual explosion" whose half-life is seventeen days, so that it is "never entirely exhausted," so that "to this day the battle-fields and bomb fields of that frantic time in human history are sprinkled with radiant matter, and so centres of inconvenient rays."
Never before in the history of warfare had there been a continuing explosive; indeed, up to the middle of the twentieth century the only explosives known were combustibles whose explosiveness was due entirely to their instantaneousness; and these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange even to the men who used them.
Certainly it seems now that nothing could have been more obvious to the people of the earlier twentieth century than the rapidity with which war was becoming impossible. And as certainly they did not see it. They did not see it until the atomic bombs burst in their fumbling hands [...] All through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the amount of energy that men were able to command was continually increasing. Applied to warfare that meant that the power to inflict a blow, the power to destroy, was continually increasing [...]There was no increase whatever in the ability to escape [...]Destruction was becoming so facile that any little body of malcontents could use it [...]Before the last war began it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city.
Wells viewed war as the inevitable result of the Modern State; the introduction of atomic energy in a world divided resulted in the collapse of society. The only possibilities remaining were "either the relapse of mankind to agricultural barbarism from which it had emerged so painfully or the acceptance of achieved science as the basis of a new social order." Wells's theme of world government is presented as a solution to the threat of nuclear weapons.
From the first they had to see the round globe as one problem; it was impossible any longer to deal with it piece by piece. They had to secure it universally from any fresh outbreak of atomic destruction, and they had to ensure a permanent and universal pacification.
The devastation of the war leads the French ambassador at Washington, Leblanc, to summon world leaders to a conference at Brissago, where Britain's "King Egbert" sets an example by abdicating in favor of a world state. Such is the state of the world's exhaustion that the effective coup of this "council" ("Never, of course, had there been so provisional a government. It was of an extravagant illegality.") is resisted only in a few places. The defeat of Serbia's "King Ferdinand Charles" and his attempt to destroy the council and seize control of the world is narrated in some detail.Brought to its senses, humanity creates a utopian order along Wellsian lines in short order. Atomic energy has solved the problem of work. In the new order "the majority of our population consists of artists."The World Set Free concludes with a chapter recounting the reflections of one of the new order's sages, Marcus Karenin, during his last days. Karenin argues that knowledge and power, not love, are the essential vocation of humanity, and that "There is no absolute limit to either knowledge or power."Young Fabians
The Young Fabians is the under age 31 section of the Fabian Society, a socialist society in the United Kingdom that is affiliated to the Party. The Young Fabians operate as a membership-driven think tank that organises policy debates, research projects, publications, conferences, and international delegations. The organisation holds no collective position on policy. The current National Chair is Charlotte Norton.Zoo Station (song)
"Zoo Station" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the opening track from their 1991 album Achtung Baby, a record on which the group reinvented themselves musically by incorporating influences from alternative rock, industrial, and electronic dance music. As the album's opening track, "Zoo Station" introduces the band's new sound, delivering industrial-influenced percussion and several layers of distorted guitars and vocals. Similarly, the lyrics suggest the group's new intents and anticipations. The introduction, featuring an "explosion" of percussion and a descending glissando for a guitar hook, was meant to make the listener think the album was mistakenly not U2's latest record or that their music player was broken.
The song's lyrics were inspired by a surrealistic story about Berlin from World War II that lead vocalist Bono heard, when overnight bombing damaged the zoo and allowed animals to escape and wander around the city's rubble. Bono was also inspired by the city's Berlin Zoologischer Garten railway station and used it as a metaphor for a reuniting Germany. "Zoo Station" was performed as the opening song at every concert on U2's Zoo TV Tour. The song received positive reviews from critics, many of whom analysed the song as a representation of the band's reinvention.