Are we standing at the beginning of a new age of scientific development, of supersonic speeds, of atomic energy, of more and more wonderful machines? Or are we standing, unaware, at the end of the machine age, at the end of the progress of scientific power? Are we about to enter an era of greater wealth, greater luxury, greater leisure, the modern home, people emancipated from drudgery? Or has this age of power reached its climax, and will this civilization destroy itself with those forces that it has created?
To reject this question, to sail onward in the arrogant confidence that man can and will manipulate these tremendous forces for the good of all, is to put more pressure on the drift to catastrophe. Is not this the poison of the age, the belief of man in man? “Man is certainly stark mad,” said Montaigne, “He cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.”
Yet many people have the question in their hearts, and many, many people are haunted by the fear of another war…. All this leads to a further question: Is man himself making spiritual progress; is he, together with his indisputable intellectual enlightenment, becoming a more noble creature?
Today man can speak and his voice be carried instantaneously to a hundred million listeners, thousands of miles apart – but has he anything to say that is more vital for the welfare of humanity than what Isaiah, or Plato, proclaimed with the unaided voice?