Tantalus or The Future of Man






Fellow and Tutor of 
Corpus Christ i College, Oxford 


Broadway House : 68-74 Carter Lane, E,C. 

First edition September 1924 

Printed in Great Britain by 

W. P. Robinson & Co., Ltd., at The Library Press, Lowest© 


I rather anticipate that superficial 
critics who do not like the argument of 
this essay will accuse it of pessimism, a 
charge which perhaps means little more 
than that they do not like it. Nevertheless, 
it may be worth while to point out, 
(i) that pessimism is not a logical objection 
to a contention of which the truth cannot 
otherwise be questioned, and (2) that 
though the argument of Tantalus may be 
said generally to corroborate that of 
Daedahis and Teams, yet its conclusion is 
much less pessimistic than theirs, because 
(3) it makes it very plain that the evils 
which threaten the future of mankind 
are in no case unavoidable. If it is called 



* pessimism ' to point out the methods 
by which men may escape destruction, 
because men do not care to adopt them» 
I suppose it must be ' optimism " to rush 
violently and open-eyed down a precipice 
and to expect to be saved by a miracle. 
Certainly such would appear to be the 
belief upon which human affairs are at 
present conducted. 


[ 6 ] 



When I read in Mr Haldane’s Daeda- 
lus the wonderful things that Science 
was going to do for us, and in Mr Russell's 
Icarus how easily both we and it might 
come to grief in consequence, it at once 
became plain to me that of all the 
heroes of antiquity Tantalus would be 
the one best fitted to prognosticate the 
probable future of Man. For, if we 
interpret the history of Daedalus as 
meaning the collapse of Minoan civiliza- 
tion under the strain imposed on its 
[ 7 ] 


moral fibre by material progress, and 
the fate of Icarus as meaning man’s 
inability to use the powers of the air 
without crashing, one could gauge the 
probability that history would repeat 
itself still further, and that man would 
once more allow his vices to cheat him 
of the happiness that seemed so clearly 
within his reach. 

I determined, however, to confirm 
this intelligent forecast by consulting 
Tantalus himself. To consult the ora- 
cle of a dead hero, it was, I knew, only 
necessary to undergo the process of 
‘ incubation,' a sort of camping out on 
his tomb, in the sHn of a sacrificial 
beast; and fortunately the tomb of 
Tantalus had just been discovered in 
Phrygia by the archaeologists of the 
British School at Athens. 

[ 8 ] 


I set out, therefore, with great 
promptitude, and in due course arrived 
at the ruins of the tomb of Tantalus. 
They did not much resemble a first- 
class hotel, and, of course, my idea of 
an • incubation ’ was well laughed at, 
but I managed to find a pretty level 
corner, more or less sheltered from the 
wind. Here I wrapped myself up in my 
excellent rug, having decided to dis- 
pense with the more correct method of 
ensconcing myself in the gory hide of a 
sacrificial ox. The night was fine, 
though cold, and fortunately there were 
no mosquitoes, nor any of the other 
insects one would inevitably have en- 
countered in the dwellings of the living. 
But the ground was very, very, hard, 
and I tossed about for hours, regretting 
my classical education and the psychi- 
[ 0 ] 


cal researcher’s rashness in trying foolish 

At last I fell asleep — at least I suppose 
so. I also fell a great deal further. I 
seemed to go right through my rocky 
bed, and to fall down, down, down, 
interminably, through a sort of elastic 
space. When at last the not wholly 
unpleasant moti onstopped, I found 
myself in a vast, grey, sandy plain, 
illuminated by a cold grey light as 
though of dawn. The only thing to 
catch the eye was a small round 
hummock, not very far from me. On 
it grew a mighty tree, with dark green 
pointed leaves and drooping branches, 
surrounded by a gleaming white fence 
or paling. I naturally walked towards 

As I got near, I noticed that the 
[ 10 ] 


white paling, which completely enclosed 
the hummock, was composed of hones, or 
rather of every imaginable sort of spine, 
tooth, and sting, garnished with the 
saws and swords of sawfish and sword- 
fish, and all knit together into an im- 
penetrable cheval de frise that prevented 
approach to the foot of the tree. The 
soil all round this strange hedge had 
apparently been trodden into deep mud 
by some creature that had walked 
round and round the tree, and the 
water required for its manufactmre was 
supplied by a small spring which rose 
within the enclosure and flowed out 
through its interstices. 

As I walked round the tree to the 
further side of the hummock, I came 
upon an extraordinary sight. I beheld 
a naked man trying to reach some of 


the fruit that dangled down from the 
outer branches of the tree but appeared 
to be just out of his reach, and so intent 
upon his design that he did not notice 
my approach. He seemed a tall man, 
and the upper part of his body was well 
formed. His features were good and 
regular, though somewhat hard, and 
not intellectual ; his resolute jaw 
bespoke the man of action, accustomed 
to command and to be obeyed. So 
far, his appearance would have done 
credit to any modem captain of indus- 
try. But the lower half of his body 
appeared to be misshapen. His'thighs 
were so curved that he could not walk 
upright, but had to stoop and lean 
forward as he slowly shambled along. 
Still more monstrous seemed the feet, 
with which he churned up the mud 
[ 12 ] 


around the fence ; they were enormous 
and hardly seemed human in their 
shape, though they were too deeply 
plunged in the mud to permit one to 
see what exactly was wrong with them. 

This strange being, whom the bold 
intuition of the dream-consciousness 
at once identified with Tantalus, was 
evidently tr3dng to grasp the fruit that 
hung from the lower branches of the 
tree. For a while his efforts were vain, 
but then a gust of wind brought within 
his reach a large conical shining red 
fruit he had long coveted. It was one 
of the strange features of the tree that 
it was covered with fruit, and higher 
up also with flowers, of the most 
various sizes, shapes, and colours. He 
seized it triumphantly ; but the effect 
was surprising. For he had hardly 
[13 j 


touched it when it exploded, and 
covered him from head to foot with 
its blood-red juice. He at once sank 
senseless to the ground. But, after a 
while, he slowly recovered, and recom- 
menced his old game. This time, he 
attacked a large round yellowish fruit ; 
but when he succeeded in seizing it, 
it too exploded, and poured out upon 
him volumes of a heavy yellow-green 
vapour. Again he collapsed, and this 
time his stupor lasted longer. 

By the time he began to stir again 
I had, I thought, grasped the situation, 
and determined to intervene. So I 
drew near, and addressed him : “ Can 
I be mistaken in thinking that I see 
before me the far-famed hero, Tantalus, 
boon companion of the gods ? ” “And 
their victim.” “ And what tree is 



this, I pray you, about which you busy 
yourself ? ’* The Tree of Knowledge.” 

“ And the water, which you have 
trampled into mud, is what ? " “ xhe 
Elixir of Life.” “ Then you seem to 
have all the materials for a happy life. 
Why don’t you eat of the fruits of the 
tree, and drink of the. elixir ? " « you 
have seen the results of my efforts.” 
“ I cannot but think you have been 
unfortunate in your choice of the fruits : 
there are many that look much better 
higher up.” “ And how am I to get 
at them ? ” “ Well, of course, you 

must break through all these debris of 
former animal life, which bar your 
access to the trunk of the tree, and 
prevent you from drinking of the 
water of life ; after that, you can climb 
up the tree, and pick the best of the 



fruits,” ” And how am I to break 
through the barrier of bones ? ” “ Even 
though you appear to have no instru- 
ments, you can surely find a stone ? ” 
“ Where shall I find a stone in the Plain 
of Forgetfulness ? And besides, how 
should I climb the tree with these 

feet ? ” And he lifted up one 

of his monstrous limbs. “ Certainly 
you seem to be pretty badly earth- 
bound,” said I, ” but I will try to find 
you some stones.” 

So off I set, I had not got far when a 
fierce blast struck me and peppered me 
with sand. I struggled stoutly against 
it, but was nearly choked. And then, 
suddenly, I awoke to find that day was 
dawning and that the wind had gone 
round to the north, and was blowing in 
my face. But I was well satisfied with 



my experiment. The interpretation of 
the response I had obtained from 
Tantalus was too plain to need the 
aid of a psycho-analyst. 


Our best prophets are growing very 
anxious about our future. They are 
afraid we are getting to know too 
much, and are likely to use our know- 
ledge to commit suicide, or rather, 
mutual murder, after the fashion of 
the Kilkenny cats. 

To these dismal forecasts it is reason- 
able to reply that there is nothing novel 
in the present situation. The human 
race has always known enough to 
wreck itself, and its abounding folly 
has always inspired its wise men with 
the gravest apprehension for its future. 
Yet, either by chance or providence, 
it has always known also how to avoid 
destruction. It has never known 
enough to make itself happy ; nor 



does it know enough to do so now. Its 
future has always been precarious 
because it has always been uncertain 
whether it would use its knowledge 
well or ill, to improve or to ruin itself. 
It has always had a choice between 
alternative policies, and it has so now. 

What sense then is there in making 
such a fuss about the present crisis ? 
It is a particularly plain case of the 
perennial choice of Hercules, What is 
needed is just a little clear thinking and 
plain speaking to a society more than 
usually debauched by a long regime of 
flattery, propaganda, and subterfuge. 
Mankind can make a fool of itself, as 
it always could ; if it does, its blood 
will be on its own head. For it has 
knowledge enough to avoid the dangers 
that threaten it, if it will use its 
knowledge properly. 



The first fact to be enunciated 
plainly, and faced, until it grows 
familiar, and its import is appreciated, 
is that, biologically speaking, Man has 
ceased to be a progressive species long 
ago. The evolutionary impetus which 
carried our ancestors from the level 
of the ape or even of the lemur, through 
such subhuman types as Pithecan- 
thropus, and the Heidelberg and Nean- 
dertal men, to ‘ modern ’ man, seems 
to have spent itself by the middle of 
the palaeolithic period, i.e. say, thirty 
thousand years ago. At any rate, the 
Cro-Magnon people of the Aurignacian 
age, who then appeared upon the scene, 
were in no wise inferior to any subse- 
quent race of men, either in stature or 
[ 20 ] 


in brain capacity. They averaged six 
feet three inches in height, with one- 
sixth more brains than the modem 
European. So far indeed as their 
physical remains can indicate, they 
seem to have been very definitely the 
finest race of human beings that has 
ever existed. If we have improved on 
them, it has probably been only in 
such minor matters as resistance to the 
microbes of the many diseases which 
flourish among dense populations under 
slum conditions. Against that proba- 
bility have to be set such certainties 
as that our toes and many of our 
muscles are being atrophied and that 
we are getting more liable to caries and 

This remarkable fact of the arrest 
of his biological development is certain- 


ly the greatest mystery in the history 
of Man. It at once raises two further 
questions : In the first place, how did 
it happen, and what caused it ? And, 
secondly, what has enabled man, never- 
theless, to progress in other respects, 
in knowledge, in power, and in culture ? 

To answer the first question we 
cannot do better than argue back from 
what is now the most salient feature 
about man’s biological position, namely 
that his survival is determined far more 
by his relations to the social group 
to which he belongs than by personal 
efficiency : hence he can draw on the 
collective resources of his tribe, and, 
to a growing extent, gets emancipated 
from the control of natural selection. 
Thus social selection and the survival 

of societies proformdly modify (and 
[ 22 ] 


often defeat), the working of natural 
selection. The advantages are obvious ; 
it is no longer essential for a member of 
a society that collectively controls the 
conditions of existence to develop any 
high degree of personal capacity, in 
order to survive. A single wise and 
provident minister, Uke Joseph, is 
enough to keep alive millions of 
Pharaoh’s subjects through the lean 
years of famine. But the inferior and 
incompetent survive with the rest. 

Now, if we suppose that by mid- 
palaeolithic times man had established 
his ascendency over nature and per- 
fected his social organization sufl&dently 
to render these services to his fellows, 
we have suggested a possible cause of 
the cessation of biological progress. 
For social influences are as likely as not 



to be ‘ contra-selective/ that is, to tend 
to preserve by preference the stocks 
which are less viable from a merely 
biological point of view. They are 
markedly so at present, and it would 
be asking too much to expect the tribal 
chiefs of early men to have been wise 
and provident enough to see to it that 
their social institutions were eugenical 
in their effects. We cannot even now 
find such a pitch of wisdom and provi- 
dence in the controllers of our destinies. 

[ 24 ] 


The answer to the second question 
is much easier. The human race has 
continued to progress in its culture, in 
its knowledge, in its power over nature, 
because it has devised institutions 
which have created for it a continuous 
social memory that defies death. Now, 
as ever, the wisest and the best must 
die, while their place is taken by babies 
bom as ignorant and void of knowledge 
as in the beginning. Only there has 
been invented apparatus which relieves 
the civilized baby of his hereditary 
ignorance, and renders him potentially 
the heir to all the wisdom of the ages. 

In the first place, Language not only 
extends enormously the possibilities of 



co-operation and common action, but 
also renders possible the consolidation 
of customs and their preservation by 
oral tradition. In the next place, 
Writing enables a society to record all 
that it considers worth remembering. 
Upon these two inventions may be 
reared vast intricate structures,religious, 
political, social, and scientific, which 
knit together and dominate human 
societies from generation to generation, 
and create the conditions for an almost 
mechanical accumulation of knowledge. 

Man has thereby become an educable 
creature and fallen a victim to the arts 
of the examiner. Provided the mechan- 
isms of education do not get out of 
gear, it is hard to set limits to the 
amounts of knowledge with which he 
can be crammed ; but it is clear that 


they are far greater than he could 
ever have acquired in a lifetime for 
himself. And as education (of sorts) 
has now become world wide, it might 
seem that the future of knowledge 
was now assured, and no longer hable 
to setbacks such as those due to the 
famous burning of the library of 
Alexandria at the command of the 
Caliph Omar, or the extinction of the 
only Greek scientists who seriously 
concerned themselves with the applica- 
tions of science to life, of Archimedes 
and his School, in the sack of Syracuse. 
At any rate, it seemed clear that pro- 
gress in knowledge could continue 
indefinitely, even in an otherwise 
stationary or decadent society. 

Whoever argued thus would fail 
to make sufficient allowance for the 



perversity of human nature. Human 
institutions, like the human body, are 
ever tending to get clogged with the 
waste products of their own working. 
Hence, so far from performing the 
functions for which they were intended, 
they are constantly becoming the most 
formidable instruments for their frus- 
tration. Experience shows how easily 
Churches become the most effective 
deadeners of religious zeal, how often 
Law becomes the negation of justice, 
how deadly is the School to the inborn 
craving for knowledge which seemed 
to Aristotle so characteristic of man’s 

Accordingly, no one familiar with the 
actual working of academic institutions 
is likely to fall into the error of pinning 
his faith to them. They are, of course, 


designed for the purpose of preserving 
and promoting the highest and most 
advanced knowledge hitherto attained : 
but do they anywhere fulfil this pur- 
pose ? Its execution must of necessity 
be left to professors not exempt from 
human frailty, always selected by more 
or less defective methods, whose inter- 
ests by no means coincide with those 
of their subjects. The interest of 
the subject is to become more widely 
understood and so more influential. 
The interest of the professor is to become 
more unassailable, and so more authori- 
tative. He achieves this by becoming 
more technical. For the more technical 
he gets, the fewer can comprehend 
him ; the fewer are competent to 
criticize him, the more of an oracle 
he becomes ; if, therefore, he wishes 



fi >i HU ('Uby life of undisturbed academic 
leisuie, the more he will indulge his 
natural tendency to grow more tech- 
nical as his knowledge grows, the 
more he will turn away from those 
aspects of his subject which have any 
direct practical or human interest. 
H<; will wi'ap himself in mysteries of 
technical jargon, and become as nearly 
as possible unintelligible. Truly, as 
William J tunes once exclaimed to me, 
apropos of tlio policy of certain philos- 
ophers, “ the natural enemy of any 
subject is the professor thereof ! ” It 
is clear that if these tendencies are 
allowed to prevail, every subject must 
in com'se of time become unteachable, 
and not worth learning. 

Thus educational systems become 

the chief enemies of education, and 

seats of learning the chief obstacles 
to the growth of knowledge, while 
in an otherwise stagnant or decadent 
society these tendencies sooner or later 
get the upper hand and utterly corrupt 
the social memory. The power of 
the professor is revealed not so much 
by the things he teaches, as by the 
things he fails or refuses to teach. 

History is full of examples. How 
many religions have not perished from 
ritual sclerosis, how many sciences 
have not been degraded into pseudo- 
sciences or games ! Logic has been 
just examinable nonsense for over 
two thousand years. The present 
economic chaos in the world has been 
indirectly brought about by the policy 
adopted by the professors of economics 
forty or fifty years ago, to suit their 



own convenience. For thej- then de- 
cided that they must escape from the 
unwelcome attentions of the public by 
becoming more ' scientific ’ ; i.e. they 
ceased to express themselves in plain 
language and took to mathematical 
formulae and curves instead ; with 
the result that the world promptly 
relapsed into its primitive depths of 
economic ignorance. So soon as the 
professors had retired from it, every 
economic heresy and delusion, which 
had been exposed and uprooted by 
Adam Smith, at once revived and 
flourished. In one generation econo- 
mics disappeared completely from the 
public ken and the political world, 
and the makers of the Peace Treaties 
of 1919 were so incapable of imder- 
standing an economic argument that 



not even the lucid intelligence of 
Mr Keynes could dissuade them from 
enacting the preposterous conditions 
which rendered impossible the realiza- 
tion of their aims.* Nor was it so very 
long ago that, in order to save the 
Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge, 
it had to be recast, because it had 
degenerated into an intellectual jig-saw 
puzzle, wholly unrelated to the applica- 
tions of mathematics to the other 
sciences. To avoid jealousies, I hasten 
to add that the University of Oxford, 
which has organized itself as an asylum 
for lost causes, skilfully cultivates, 
by means of its classical and historical 

* The most absurd perhaps was the clause, 
appearing in all the Peace Treaties, which made 
^ reparations ’ a first charge on all the assets of 
the defeated countries. This, of course, com 
pletely destroyed their credit, and incapacitated 
them from raising a loan, forcing them to have 
recourse to progressive inflation, and so into 

[ 33 ] 


studies, a backward-looking bias in 
its alumni. The true ‘ Greats ’ man 
is meant to go down indelibly imbued 
with the conviction that in matters 
of morals and politics nothing of import- 
ance has been discovered or said since 
Plato and Aristotle, and that nothing 
else matters. 

Clearly then we cannot take for 
granted that in any society knowledge 
can progress without limits, nor can 
we count on our academic institutions 
to save us from stagnation and decay, 
even in matters of knowledge. All 
institutions are social mechanisms, and 
aU mechanisms need a modicum of 
intelligent supervision, in the absence 
of which they become dangerous en- 
gines of destruction. 

[ 34 ] 


It appears then that we can extract 
no guarantee of progress either from 
the nature of Man or from the nature 
of human institutions. There is no 
law of progress, if by law be meant 
a superior power able to coerce the 
creatures that are said to ' obey ’ it. 
Neither can we extract from history 
any proof of the superiority of civilized 
man over his uncivilized ancestors. 
Such progress as has been attained 
has been achieved only by the active 
co-operation of the progressive 
organisms : every step has been fought 
for, and progress has ceased whenever 



effort ceased, or was switched off into 
different directions. 

Consequently, modem man has no 
right to ‘ boast himself far better than 
his fathers ’ — ^in intrinsic quality. In- 
trinsically, i.e. apart from the effects 
of culture and social training, it is 
probable that he is slightly in[enor 
in capacity to his own ancestors, 
while very markedly inferior to the 
great races of antiquity (like the 
Greeks) in their hey-day. Nor is there 
any reason to suppose that his moral 
nature has changed materially. Modern 
man may be a little tamer and better- 
tempered, because he has been herded 
together much more closely than primi- 
tive man, and city life, even in slums, 
demands, and produces, a certain 
■urbanity.’ For many generations 


those who would not pack tight and 
coiild not stand the strain of constantly 
exhibiting ‘ company manners ’ and 
accommodating their action to those 
of their fellows, must have fled away 
into the wilds, where they could be 
independent, or have eUminated them- 
selves in other ways, e.g. by committing 
murder. It is probable that the social 
history of Iceland, settled as it was 
by unbridled individuahsts who would 
not brook any form of organized 
government, might tlirow some light 
on this process of taming the individual. 

Nevertheless there is little doubt 
that, in the main, humanity is still 
Yahoo-manity. Alike in mentality 
and in moral, modem man is still sub- 
stantially identical with his palaeolithic 
ancestors He is still the irrational, 


impulsive, emotional, foolish, des- 
tructive, cruel, credulous, creature he 
always was. Normally the Yahoo 
in him is kept under control by the 
constant pressure of a variety of social 
institutions ; but let anything upset 
an established social order, and the 
Yahoo comes to the front at once. The 
history of the past fifty years abund- 
antly proves that man is still capable 
of atrocities equal to any in his record 
Not only have we lived through the 
greatest political and the deadliest nat- 
ural convulsion, the Great War and 
the Tokio earthquake, but the Russian 
Revolution has outdone the French, 
and Landru the legendary Bluebeard, 
while for mingled atrocity and baseness 
the murders of Rasputin and of Alex- 
ander of Serbia are unsurpassed in 
[ 38 ] 


history. The painM truth is that 
civilization has not improved Man’s 
moral nature. His moral habits are still 
mainly matters of custom, and the 
effect of moral theories is nugatory 
ever5where. Thus civilization is not 
even skin deep ; it does not go deeper 
than the clothes. 


Clearly it is risky to expose the 
inelastic nature of so stubbornly con- 
servative a creature to new conditions 
at a rapid rate. He may not be able 
to adapt himself quicldy enough, and 
his old reactions, which did Uttle or 
no harm before, may become extremely 
dangerous. Yet this is just what 
has happened. Science has exposed 
the palax)lithic savage masquerading 
in modern garb to a series of physical 
and mental shocks which have endang- 
ered his equilibrium. It has also enor- 
mously extended his power and armed 
him with a variety of delicate and 
penetrating instruments which have 



often proved edge tools in his hands 
and which the utmost wisdom could 
hardly be trusted to use aright. Under 
these conditions the lighting instinct 
ceases to he an anti(]uatod foible, like 
the hunting instinct, and liecomos a 
deadly danger. No wonder the more 
prescient are dismayed at the prospect 
of the old sa\’agt‘ passions running 
amok in the full panoply of civilization ! 



Nor is this the final item in our tale 
of woe. A third and most sinister fact 
which has to be faced is that Civiliza- 
tion, as at present constituted, is very 
definitely a deteriorating agency, con- 
ducing to the degeneration of mankind. 
This effect of Civilization is nothing 
new, but has been operating, it would 
seem, from the beginning, though not 
probably as intensively as now : its 
discovery, however, is very recent. It 
is quite indirect, unintended, and fortui- 
tous, but cumulative, and in the long 
run has probably been a chief cause 
in the decay of States and civilizations, 
as well as an important factor in the 


arrest of biological development which 
we have had to recognize. 

A simple and easily observable socio- 
logical fact is at the bottom of the 
mischief. The different classes in a 
society have different birth-rates and 
death-rates, and the differences be- 
tween these yield their several net 
rates of increase or decrease. Now, 
whereas under the conditions of savage 
life class differences can hardly exist 
or, at least cannot be accentuated, so 
that the whole tribe flourishes or 
perishes together, and among bar- 
barians the upper classes have a very- 
great advantage and the tribe recruits 
itself chiefly from the children of the 
chiefs, because the conditions of life 
are so severe that the lower classes 
are not able to rear many cMdren ; in 
143 ] 


civilized societies these conditions are 
reversed. It is found that though both 
birth-rates and death-rates grow as we 
descend the social scale, so does the net 
rate of increase. Indeed, the highest or 
ruling class nowhere appears to keep 
up its numbers without considerable 
recruitment from below. So society, as 
at present organized, is ahvays dying 
off at the top, and proliferating at the 
bottom, of the social pyramid. 

The disastrous consequences of this 
sort of social organization may easily be 
apprehended, with a little reflection, 
i) All societies, even those whose social 
structure is most rigid, have need of 
ability, discover it, and reward it by 
social promotion. But (2) as this pro- 
motion means passing into a class with 
a relatively inadequate rale of repro- 



duction, the biological penalty attach- 
ing to social promotion is racial 
extinction. Thus (3) the ultimate 
reward of merit is sterilization, and 
society appears to be an organization 
devoted to the suicidal task of extirpa- 
ting any ability it may chance to 
contain, by draining it away from any 
stratum in which it may occur, pro- 
moting it into the highest, and there 
destroying it. It is exactly as though 
a dairyman should set in motion 
apparatus for separating the cream 
from the milk, and then, as it rose, 
skim it off, and throw it away ! 

At present it is calculated that the 
highest classes in the chief civilized 
societies only reproduce themselves to 
the extent of fifty per cent, of their 
number in each generation, so that the 



herediUiry ability of half of tlieni is 
lost in each generation. But even then 
the remainder is largely wasted. It is 
churned into froth and scum by social 
forces. For neither now nor at any 
time has social intelligence showm itself 
equal to devising a training for the 
youth of the highe.st classes that would 
provide them with adequate stimuli 
to develop their faculties, and to lead 
a strenuous life of social service. The 
children of the rich are tempted to live 
for ‘ society ’ in the narrower sense, 
which means frittering away one’s life 
on a round of vacuous amusement ; and 
they rarely resist the temptation. 

Naturally it is difficult to trace the 
accumulation of ability in the upper 
social strata which is theoretically to 
be expected. On the other hand, in 

some subjects at any rate, the symp- 
toms of a world-wide dearth of ability 
are becoming unmistakable. The Great 
War, though it made abundantly mani- 
fest the prevalence of incompetents in 
high places, did not reveal the existence 
either of a great general or of a great 
statesman anywhere. 

It is superfluous to insist either on 
the fatuity of a social organization such 
as this, or on the certainty of racial 
degeneration which it entails : but it 
may be well to draw attention to the 
rapidity with which these degenerative 
processes are at present sapping the 
vitality and value of our civilized races. 
The failure to reproduce does not, as 
in former times, affect merely the 
aristocracy in the highest social strata ; 
it has spread to the whole of the pro- 



fossional and middle classes, and to most 
classes of skilled labour. It is not too 
much to say that, with the exception 
of the miners, none of the desirable 
elements in the nation are doing their 
bit to keep up the population, and that 
its continued growth is mainly due to 
the unrestrained breeding of the casual 
labourers and the feeble-minded. 

In the rest of the population its 
increase is checked by birth-control 
and the postponement of marriage, 
neither of which affects the undesir- 
ables. They are too stupid, reckless, 
and ignorant to practise the former, and 
have nothing to gain by the latter. 
Also, to make it quite certain that they 
shall form a true ‘proletariate,’ the 
wisdom of our rulers ordains that a 
knowledge of birth-control shall be a 


(fatal) privilege reserved for the intelli- 
gent and well-to-do. They instruct 
the police to prevent it from penetrating 
to the poor and stupid — apparently 
from the mistaken idea that the State 
needs plenty of cheap labour and cheap 
cannon-fodder. So child-bearing re- 
mains compulsory for the wretched 
women of the poor, whereas elsewhere 
only those women produce children 
who desire them, and natural selection 
is thus allowed gradually to eliminate 
the temperament of the unwilling (and, 
therefore, probably less competent) 

The dysgenic effects of this class- 
discrimination are further intensified 
by other tendencies ; (i) The advance 
of medicine and hygiene has enormously 
diminished selective mortality in all 



dasses, and improved the chances of 
weaklings to survive and leave descen- 
dants. (2) The advance of philan- 
thropy preserves them, espedally in 
the lower classes, where formerly the 
mortality was largely selective and a 
high death-rate both counteracted an 
excessive birth-rate and increased the 
value of the survivors. The emotional 
appeal of ‘ baby-saving ’ goes so 
directly to the heart of civihzed man 
that his head never reflects whether the 
particular baby is worth saving, and 
whether a baby from a different breed 
and with a better pedigree would not 
be better worth having. (3) Modern 
obstetrics save the lives of thousands 
of women, whose physique is such that 
in former times they would inevitably 
have died in child-birth. The result is 
[ 50 ] 


that child-birth is becoming more diffi- 
cult. Also babies brought up on the 
bottle, which has an irresistible attrac- 
tion for microbes of all sorts, are apt to 
be less healthy than those nourished in 
the more primitive manner. 

(4) Lastly, the bastardizing, which 
used formerly to provide for a con- 
siderable infusion of the blood of 
the upper classes into the lower, has 
now practically ceased. Since the 
merry days of King Charles II, very 
few noble families of royal descent have 
been added to the peerage. 


Our civilization, therefore, carries 
within it the seeds of its own decay and 
destruction, and it does not require high 
prophetic gifts to predict the future of a 
race which goes the way marked out 
for it by such perversely suicidal insti- 
tutions. It cannot improve, but must 
degenerate, and the only question 
would seem to be whether the deca- 
dence of Man will leave him viable as 
a biological species. At present it 
looks very much as though his blind 
leaders would lead their blinder follow- 
ers from catastrophe to catastrophe, 
through imperialist world-wars to class- 
wars and to race-wars : but even if, by 
some miraculous rally of human intelli- 



gence, these convulsions should be 
averted, the prospect will not really be 
improved. The violent destruction of 
the human race by war will only be 
more dramatic : it will not be more 
fatal than its gradual decay as its arts 
and sciences slowly fossihze, or peter 
out, in an overwhelming flood of feeble- 



This is the one alternative. We shall 
get to it, if we go on as we are going ; 
but it is not our doom. The alternative 
is to exorcize the danger by an adequate 
reform of human nature and of human 
institutions. This again seems attain- 
able in at least two ways. 

The first, and more paradoxical, of 
these would make a direct frontal 
attack on the palaeolithic Yahoo, and 
try to bring about his moral reforma- 
tion. The means for this purpose are 
ready to hand. Christian ethics have 
been in being, as a moral theory, for 
nearly two thousand years. If the 
Yahoo could be really christianized, he 
would at any rate cease to cut his own 
154 ] 


throat in cutting his neighbour’s. And 
it is astonishing how much scientific 
support is forthcoming for the para- 
doxes of Christian ethics. It is an 
historical fact that the meek have a 
knack of inheriting the earth after 
their lords and masters have killed 
each other off, and that passive resis- 
tance wears out the greatest violence, 
and conscientious objection defeats the 
craftiest opportunism, if only you can 
get enough of them. It is a biological 
fact that the rabbit survives better 
than the tiger ; and the same would 
appear to be true of the human ‘ rabbit ’ 
and the Niet^schean ‘ wild beast.’ 
Intrinsically, therefore, Christian ethics 
might be well worth trying. 

I wish I could believe it likely that this 
policy will be tried. But the palaeolithic 



Yahoo has been dosed with Christian 
ethics for two thousand years, and they 
have never either impressed or im- 
proved him. Their paradoxes give him 
a moral shock, and he has not brains 
enough to grasp their rationality. He 
will exclaim rather with the gallant 
admiral in the House of Commons, 
when justly indignant at the unheard-of 
notion that a ‘ moral gesture ’ of a 
Labour Government might be the best 
policy, “ Good God, sir, if we are to 
rely for our air security on the Sermon 
on the Mount, all I can say is, ‘ God 
help ws ’ ! ” Besides, the proposal to 
put Christian principles into practice 
would be bitterly opposed by all the 
Churches in Christendom.* 

* This does mean, of course, that there are 
no Christians in the Churches, but only that they 
are not in control of these institutions. 



It may be more prudent, therefore, 
to try a safer though slower way, that 
of the eugenical reform and recon- 
struction of our social organization. 
As to the possibilities in this direction, 
I incline to be much more hopeful than 
either Mr Haldane or Mr Russell. 
Mr Haldane despises eugenics, because 
he is looking for the more spectacular 
advent of the ‘ ectogenetic baby,’ to be 
the Saviour of mankind. But he might 
not aiTive, or be seriously delayed in 
transmission, or fail to come up to 
Mr Haldane’s expectations ; and, mean- 
while, we cannot afford to wait. 

Mr Russell distrusts eugenics, because 
he fears that any eugenical scheme put 
into practice will be ‘ nobbled ’ by our 
present ruling rings, and perverted into 
an instrumonL to consolidate their 



power. He thinks that dissent from 
dominant beliefs and institutions will 
be taken as proof of imbecility, and 
sterilized accordingly,* and that the 
result would merely be to spread over 
aU the world the hopeless uniformity 
and commonplaceness of the ideals and 
practice of the American business man, 
as depicted by Mr Sinclair Lewis. 

This prognostication would be very 
plausible, if we supposed eugenics to be 
introduced into the social structure 
from above, privily, and in small doses, 
and by way of administrative order, as 
under the existing Acts to check the 
spread of feeble-mindedness. 

But this method would be impractic- 
able. It would not generate anything 
like the social momentum necessary to 

♦ Icafus^ p. 49. 


carry through any radical reform. To 
make it effective, it would have to be 
backed by a powerful, enthusiastic, 
and intelligent public sentiment. This 
presupposes that the public has been 
biologically educated to appreciate the 
actual situation, and has been thoroughly 
wrought up about the fatuity of our 
social order, and imderstands what is 
wrong with it. If it understands that 
much, it can also be made to see that it 
is fantastic to expect to leap to the 
Ideal State by a social revolution. 
No one now knows what the institu- 
tions of an Ideal State would be like, 
nor how they would work. We only 
know that they will have to be evolved 
out of our present institutions, even 
as the Superman has to be evolved 
out of the primitive Yahoo. In either 
[ 59 ] 


case, the process will be gradual, and 
its success will depend upon details, on 
taking one step after another at the 
right rate in the right direction, making 
a new adjustment here, overcoming 
an old difficulty there, removing ob- 
stacles, smoothing over the shell-holes 
and scars dating from Man’s lurid 
past, and, in general, feeling one’s way 
systematically and scientifically to 
better things. Such a mode of pro- 
gression may seem unheroic, but it 
has the great advantage that it is 
unlikely to go irretrievably wrong. 
If we know from the outset that we 
are tentatively feeling our way, we shall 
always be on the look out for traps 
and possibilities of going astray, tr3dng 
out the value of our policies by their 
results, and willing to retrace our 

steps when we have made a false one. 

The social temper, therefore, will 
become far more intelligent and reason- 
able than it has been hitherto. It 
win be slow to dogmatize, and will 
regard the toleration of differences 
of opinion as among the cardinal 
principles of a sanely progressive social 
order. For as we can no longer assume, 
with Plato and the other Utopians, 
that •perfection may be postulated, 
provision has always to be made for 
the improvement of the social order. 
It can never be accepted as absolutely 
good, but must always be regarded as 
capable, in principle, of being bettered. 
Even the best of established institutions 
are only good relatively to the 
alternatives to which they showed 
themselves superior : under changed 


conditions they may become inferior, 
and may fail us, or ruin us, if we do 
not make haste to transform them into 
something better fitted to the new 
conditions. Hence the social order must 
be 'plastic, and must never be allowed 
to grow rigid. There must always 
be room in it for experiments that 
have a reasonable prospect of turning 
out to be improvements. For progress 
will depend on the timely adoption 
of such novelties. 

But society has no means of com- 
manding them at will. It has to wait 
till they occur to some one. As bio- 
logical variations have to arise 
spontaneously before they can be 
selected, so valuable new ideas have 
to occur in a human mind before they 
can be tried and approved. Society 

cannot originate discovt-rios, it can 
only refrain from so organizing itself 
as to stamp them out when they occur. 
It is vitallj* neccssarj^ therefore, that 
we should beware of suppressing varia- 
tions, whether of thought or of bodily 
endowment, that may prove to be 

Also, of course, wc shall have to 
realize that oin whole procedure is 
essentially experimental, and all that 
tliis implies. We do not know, at the 
outset, what would be the best obtain- 
able type, either of man or of society ; 
true, but we mean to find out. Nor 
is it unreasonable to expect to do so 
as we go along. We start with a 
pretty shrewd suspicion that certain 
types, say the feeble-minded, the sickly, 
the insane, ai-e undesirable, and that 



no good can come of coddling and culti- 
vating them: we similarly are pretty sure 
that certain other types, say the intelli- 
gent, healthy, and energetic, are in- 
herently superior to the former. We 
try, therefore, to improve and increase 
the better types. How precisely, and 
how most effectively, we do not quite 
know, though we can make pretty good 
preliminary guesses. So we try. That 
will entail experimentation in a variety 
of directions, with ‘control experiments,’ 
and a modicum of mistakes. But 
our mistakes will not be fatal, because 
if we advance tentatively and with 
intelligent apprehension, we shall reahze 
them in time, and shall not feel bound 
to persist in any course that yields 
unsatisfactory results. 

It is I'eally one of the great advan- 



tages of eugenics that it cannot proceed 
upon any cut-and-dried scheme, but 
will have to be guided by the results 
of experiment and the fruits of exper- 
ience, each of which will be followed 
and discussed by an intensely inter- 
ested public. For the difficulties of 
eugenics are all difficulties of detail, 
and intelligent attention to detail 
may overcome them all. Thus the 
dysgenical working of civilized society, 
which has come about unintentionally 
through the unfortunate convergence 
of a number of tendencies, may be 
altered similarly, by changing the 
incidence of social forces. 

[ 65 ] 


If scientific eugenics can put a stop 
to the contra-selection incidental to 
civilization, Man wiH recover the plas- 
ticity and the progressiveness he once 
possessed, and will be able to evolve 
further — ^in whatever direction seems 
to him best. We need not take alarm 
at this possibility, for with his superior 
knowledge he may surely be trusted to 
make a better job of his evolution 
than the Lemur and the Pithecan- 
thropus, who were our progenitors and 
managed to evolve into modem man. 

But the process will necessarily be a 
slow one, even though a comprehensive 
scheme of eugenics will be providing 
simultaneously two sources of improve- 
[ 66 ] 


ment, by the elimination of defectives 
at the bottom of the social scale, and 
by the increase of ability at the top. 
As, moreover, time presses, and sheer 
destruction may overtake us before 
eugenics have made much difference, 
it would be highly desirable if some 
means could be found to accelerate the 
change of heart required. For this 
purpose, I am much less inclined to put 
my trust in the advance of phar- 
macology than Mr Haldane and Mr 
Russell. ^ Hitherto new drugs have 

only meant new vices, sometimes (like 
cocaine) of so fascinating a character 
as to distract the whole police force 
from their proper function of repressing 
crime. So it seems legitimate to be 
very sceptical about moral transforma- 
* cf. Daedalus, p. 34 ; Icarus, p. 54. 



tion scenes to be wi-ought by pills and 

On the other hand there does seem 
to be a science from the possible pro- 
gress of which something of a sen- 
sational kind might not unreasonably 
be expected. It is, moreover, the 
science most directly concerned with 
affairs of this sort. Psychology, the 
science of human mentality, is, by 
common consent, in a deplorably back- 
ward state. It has remained a ground 
for metaphysical excursions and a 
playground for the arbitrary pedantries 
of classificatory systematists. Its 
efforts to become scientific have only 
led it to ape assumptions and to borrow 
notions found to be appropriate in 
sciences with widely different problems 
and objects. The results, as the 
[ 68 ] 


psychologists themselves confess, are 
meagre and disappointing ; which, of 
of course, only proves that the borrowed 
notions are inappropriate and incapable 
of making Psychology into an effective 
science. But if psychologists should 
take it into their heads to settle down 
to business, to recognize the primary 
obligation of every science to develop 
methods and conceptions capable of 
working upon its subject-matter, 
and so tried to authenticate their 
‘ truth ’ after the ordinary fashion of 
the other sciences, namely by the 
pragmatic test of successful working, 
some surprising effects might be elicited 
even from the actual human mind. 

For there is reason to suppose that 
its present organization is very far 
from being the best of which it is 



capable. It has come about in a very 
haphazard manner, and we are not at 
present making an3rthing like an 
adequate use of aU our powers. Hence 
by changing the gearing and re-arrang- 
ing the traditional coupling, so to speak, 
of our faculties, improvements might 
conceivably be wrought which would 
seem to us to border on the miracu- 
lous. Thus a pragmatically efficient 
Psychology might actually invert the 
miracle of Circe, and really transform 
the Yahoo into a man. 

170 ] 

I have endeavoured in this very 
summary sketch to show that the 
doom of Tantalus is by no means 
unconditional, and that he can save 
himself if he chooses, and that by no 
superhuman effort, but merely by 
recognizing facts that are right before 
his nose and well within his com- 
prehension, and by a little clear thinking 
upon their import. But I would not 
presume to predict that he will save 
himself : history affords no un- 
ambiguous guide. It seems to show 
that something worse and something 
better than what actually happens is 
always conceivable, and that neither 
our hopes nor our fears are ever fully 


realized. If so, poor Tantalus, hoping 
against hope, fearing against reason, 
may muddle along for a good while 
yet, without repeating either his ancient 
error of imagining that he could sup 
with the gods, or his modern folly of 
using his reason, as Goethe’s Mephis- 
topheles declared, only to become more 
bestial than any beast ! 

Occasionally iHxiShatea 



Eachy poti 8vo, 2/6 net 


•^HIS series of books, by some of the 
^ most distinguished English thinkers, 
scientists, philosophers, doctors, critics, 
and artists, was at once recognized 
as a noteworthy event. Written from 
various points of view, one book frequently 
opposing the argument of another, they 
provide the reader with a stimulating 
survey of the most modem thought in 
many departments of life. Several 
volumes are devoted to the future trend 
of Civilization, conceived as a whole ; 
while others deal with particular pro- 
vinces, and cover the future of Woman, 
War, Population, Clothes, Wireless, 
Morals, Drama, Poetry, Art, Sex, Law, etc. 

It is interesting to see in these neat 
little volumes, issued at a low price, the 
revival of a form of literature, the 
Pamphlet, which has been in disuse for 
200 years. 

Published by 


Broadway House: 68-74 Carter Lane, Loudon, E.C.4 I 



Daedalus, or Science and the Future. 
By J. B. S. Haldane, Reader in 
Biochemistry, University of Cambridge. 
Seventh impression. 

" A fascinating and daring little book.** 
— Westminster Gazette. ** The essay is brilliant, 
sparkling with wit and bristling with 
challenges.** — British Medical Jovrnal. 

** Predicts the most startling changes.** 
■ — Morning Post. 

Gallinicus, a Defence of Chemical War- 
fare. By J. B. S. Haldane. 

Second impression. 

Mr. Haldane’s brilliant study.** — Times 
Leading Article. ** A book to be read by every 
intelligent adult.** — Spectator. " This brilliant 
little monograph.** — Daily News. 

Icarus, or the Future of Science. By 
Bertrand Russell, f.r.s. Fourth 

** Utter pessimism,” — Observer. '* Mr 
Russell refuses to believe that the progress of 
Science must be a boon to mankind.** — 
Morning Post. *‘ A stimulating book, that 
leaves one not at all discouraged.** — Daily 

What I Believe. By Berteand Russell, 
F.R.S. Second impression. 

“One of the most brilliant and thought- 
stimulating little books I have read — a better 
book even than Icarus.** — Nation. “ Simply 
and brilliantly written.** — Nature. ” In 
stabbing sentences he punctures the bubble of 
cruelty, envy, narrowness, and ill-will which 
those in authority caU their morals,** — New 

[ 2 ] 


Tantalus, or the Future of Man. By 
F. C. S. ScriTLLKR, D.Sc., Fellow of 
Corpus Christ! College, Oxford. Second 

** They are all (Daedalus^ Icarui^ and 
Tantalus) brilliantly clever, and they supple- 
ment or correct one another — Dean In^e, in 
Mormnsf Post, “ Immensely valuable and 
infinitely readable.” — Dattv Newt. “ The 
book of the week.” — Spectator, 

Cassandra, or the Future of the British 
Empire. By F. C. S. Schiller, D.Sc. 

” We commend it to the complacent of all 
parties ” — Saturday Peviem. ” The book is 
small, but very, very woisfhtv ; brilliantlv 
written, tt ono^ht to be read bv all shades of 
politicians and students of politics.” — Vork- 
shire Post. ” Yet another addition to that 
bright constellation of pamphlets.” — Spectator. 

Quo Vadi’miis ? Glimpses of the Future. 
Bv F. E. Fournier d'AlbkD.Sc., author 
of'" vSelenium, the Moon Element,*' etc. 

” A wonderful vision of the future. A book 
that will be talked about.” — Daily Graphic. 

” A remarkable contribution to a remarkable 
series.” — Manchester Dispatch. ** Interesting 
and singularly plausible.” — Daily Telesraph 

Thrasymachus, the Future of Morals. 
By C. E.' M. JOAD, author of Common- 
Sense Ethics/' etc. 

“His provocative book.” — Graphic 
“ Written in a style of deliberate brilliance.” 
— Times Literary Supplement. ” As outspoken 
and unequivocal a contribution as could well 
be imagined. Even those readers who dissent 
will be forced to recognize the almirable 
clarity with which he states his case. A book 
that will startle.” — Daily Chronicle. 


Lysistrata, or Woman's Future and 
Future Woman. By Anthony M. 
I-UDOVici, author oC A Defence of 
Aristocracy ", etc. 

‘‘ A stimulating book. Volumes would be 
needed to deal, in the fullness his work pro- 
vokes, with all the problems raised.'* — Sunday 
Times, “ Pro-feminine, but anti-feministic.” 
Scotsman, ” Full of brilliant common-sense.'* 
— Observer, 

Hypatia, or Woman and Knowledge. By 
Mrs Bertrand Russell. With a 
frontispiece. Second impression. 

An answer to Lysistrata. " A passionate 
vindication of the rights of women.” — 
Manchester Guardian. “ Says a number of 
things that sensible women have been wanting 
publicly said for a long time.” — Daily Herald, 
” Everyone who cares at all about these things 
should read it.” — Weekly Westminster. 

Hephaestus, the Soul of the Machine. 
By E. E. Fournier d’Albe, D.Sc. 

* A worthy contribution to this interesting 
series. A delightful and thought-provoking 
essay.” — Birmingham Post. ” There is a 
special pleasure in meeting with a book like 
Hephaestus. The author has the merit of really 
understanding what he is talking about.” 
— Engineering. ” An exceedingly clever 
defence of machinery.” — Architects* Journal. 

The Passing of the Phantoms : a Study 
of Evolutionary Psychology and Morals. 
By C. J. Patten, Professor of Anatomy, 
Sheffield University. With 4 Plates. 

” Readers of Daedalus^ Icarus and Tantalus^ 
will be grateful for an excellent presentation 
of yet another point of view.” — Yorkshire 
Post. ” This bright and bracing little book.** 
Literary Guide. “ Interesting and original.” 
— Medical Times. 


The Mongol in our Midst : a Study of 
Man and his Three Faces. By F. G. 
Crookshank, m.b., f.r.c.p. With 28 
Plates. Second Edition, revised. 

“ A brilliant piece of speculative induction.** 
— Saturday Review. “ An extremely interes- 
ting and suggestive book, which will reward 
careful reading.** — Sunday Times. ** The 
pictures carry fearful conviction.** — Daily 

The Conquest of Cancer. By H. W. S. 
Wright, m.s., f.r.c.s. Introduction 
by F. G. Crookshank, m.d. 

Eminently suitable for general reading, 
'j’lie problem is fairly and lucidly presented. 
One merit of Mr Wright*s plan is that he tells 
people what, in his judgment, they can best 
do, here and now.*^ — From the Introduction. 

Pygmalion, or the Doctor of the Future. 
By R. McNair Wilson, M.D. 

** Dr Wilson has added a brilliant essay 
to this series,*' — Times Literary Supplement. 

This is a very little book, but there is 
wisdom in it.** — Evening Standard. “ No 
doctor worth his salt would venture to say that 
Dr Wilson was wrong.** — Daily Herald. 

Prometheus, or Biology and the Ad- 
vancement of Man. By H. S. Jennings, 
Professor of Zoology, Johns Hopkins 

** This volume is one of the most remarkable 
that has yet appeared in this series. Certainly 
the information it contains will be due to most 
educated laymen. It is essentially a discussion 
of . . . heredity and environment, and it 
clearly establishes the fact that the current 
use of these terms has no scientific 
justification,** — Times Literary Supplement. 
*‘An exceedingly brilliant book.** — Hew Leader. 


Narcissus : an Anatomy of Clothes. By 
Gerald Heard. With 19 illustrations. 

* A most suggestive book." — Nation. 
' Irresistible. Reading it is like a switchback 
journey. Starting from prehistoric times we 
rocket down the ages." — Datly News. 
" Interesting, provocative, and entei taming." 
— Queen. 

Thamyris, or Is There a Future for 
Poetry? By R. C. Trevelyan. 

" Learned, sensible, and very well- writ- 
ten." — Aijahle Hawky in New Statesman. 
" Very suggestive."—/. C. Squire, in Observer. 
‘‘A very charming piece of work. I agree 
with all, or at any rate, almost all its 
conclusions."—-/. St. Loe Strachey, in Spectator. 

Proteus, or the Future of Intelligence. 
By Vernon Lee, author of ‘'Satan the 
Waster,” etc. 

" We should hke to follow the author's 
suggestions as to the eflect of intelligence on 
the future of Ethics, Aesthetics, and Manners. 
Her book is profoundly stimulating and should 
be read by everyone." — Outlook. " A concise, 
suggestive piece of work." — Saturday Review. 

Timotheus, the Future of the Theatre. 
By Bonamy DoBRfiE, author of Resto- 
ration Drama, ” etc. 

"A witty, mischievous little book, to be 
read with delight."— Literary Supple- 
ment, " This is a delightfully witty book." 
— Scotsman " In a subtly satirical vein he 
visualizes various kinds of theatres in 200 years 
time. His gay little book makes delightful 

[ 6 ] 


Paris, or the Future of War. By Captain 
B. H. Liddell Hart. 

*A companion volume to Callinims. 

A I't close* thinking and clecliiction." 

— Observer . "A noteworthy contiibution to 
a problem of concern to every citizen in this 
oountiy /' — Daily Chronulc. “ There is some 
lively thinking about the future of war in 
Pans, just added to this set of live-wire 
pamphlets on big subjects/* — Manchetfer 

Wireless Possibilities. By Professor 
A. M. Low. With 4 diagrams. 

“ As might be expected from an inventor 
who is always so fresh, he ha.<5 many inter- 
esting thingvS to say .** — Evening Standard, 
'* The mantle of Blake has fallen upon the 
physicists. To them look for visions, and 
w-e find thorn in this book.’*-— Statesman, 

Perseus : of Dragons. By H. F. Scott 
Stokes. With 2 illustrations. 

** A diverting little book, chock-full of ideas. 
Mr Stokes’ dragon-lore is both quaint and 
v'anous,** — Mornmg Post. “ Very amusingly 
written, and a mine of curious knowledge for 
which the discerning reader will find many 
uses.”—* Glasgow Herald. 

Lycurgus, or the Future of Law, By 
E, S. P. Haynes, author of Concerning 
Solicitors, etc. 

’*An interesting and concisely written book/* 
— Yorkshire Post, *‘ He roundly declares that 
English criminal law is a blend of barbaric 
violence, medieval prejudices, and modem 
fallacies. ... A humane and conscientious 
investigation.** — Weekly, ** A thought- 
ful book — deserves careful reading/* — Law 


Euterpe, or the Future of Art. By 
Lionel R. McColvin, author of “ The 
Theory of Book-Selection.” 

“ Discusses briefly, but very suggestively, 
the problem of the future of art in relation to 
the public." — Satufday Review. " Another 
indictment of machinery as a soul-destroyer 
. . . Mr. Colvin has the courage to suggest 
solutions," — Westminster Gazette. " This is 
altogether a much-needed book." — New 

Birth Control and the State : a Plea 
and a Forecast. By C. P. Blacker, 
M.C., M.A., M.R.C.S.. L.R.C.P. 

‘ ‘ A very careful summary." — Times Literary 
Supplement. " A temperate and scholarly 
survey of the arguments for and against the 
encouragement of the practice of birth control." 
— Lancet. " He writes lucidly, moderately, 
and from wide knowledge ; his book un- 
doubtedly gives a better understanding of the 
subject than any other brief account we know. 
It also suggests a policy. — Saturday Review. 

Atlantis, or America and the Future. 
By Colonel J. F. C. Fuller. 

" Candid and caustic." — Observer. " Many 
hard things have been said about America, 
but few quite so bitter and caustic as these." 
•—^Daily Sketch. " He can conjure up possi- 
bilities of a new Atlantis." — Clarion. 

Midas, or the United States and the 
Future. By C. H. Bretherton, author 
of The Real Ireland/' etc. 

A companion volume to Atlantis. " Full of 
astute observations and acute reflections . . . 
this wise and witty pamphlet, a provocation 
to the thought that is creative." — Morning 
Post. "A punch in every paragraph. One could 
hardly ask for more ‘ meat — Spectator. 

[ 8 ] 


Nuntius, or Advertising and its Future. 

By Gilbert Russell. 

" F,xprossos the philosophy ot advertising 
concistdy and well.” — Ohst'yvey. ” It is doubt- 
iiil if a more straightforward exposition of 
the part advertising plays m our public and 
piiwato lite has been written .” — Manchester 
Guard lit n. 

Pegasus, or Problems of Transport. 
By Colonel J. F. C. Fuller, author of 

Hie Reformation of War,'* etc. With 
8 Plates. 

” The foremost militarv' prophet of the day 
propounds a solution for industrial and 
unemployment problems. It is a bold essay 
. . . and calls tor the attention of all con- 
cerned with imperial problems.” — Daily 
Telfisnil>h. “ With a broad imaginative grasp 
he finds the solution lu * tracked * vehicles.” 
— Oaselie. ” Practical, timely, 
very interesting and very important.” — J. St 
Loe Strachey, in SpcctalOY. 

Ouroboros, or the Mechanical Extension 
of Mankind. By Garft Garrett. 

” Foretells a day when machines will drive 
the world to destruction.” — Daily Chronicle. 
” tret OuYohovos and read it. It is a fascinating 
study.” — Clarion. ** This stimulating, thought- 
provoking essay.” — Aberdeen Press. ” A dis- 
turbing book.” — Northern Whift. ” An out 
standing book.” — Northern Echo. 

Orpheus, or the Music of the Future. By 
W. J. Turner, author of" Music and 

This imaginative essay by a poet who is 
also a musician analyses the author's concep- 
tion of music, its individuality, and its content 
to the reader who is not a musician. 



Plato’s American Republic. By J. 

Douglas Woodruff. 

“ This skit in the Platonic manner is full of 
amusing things /' — The Times. Mr. Wood- 
rufi in a satincal and amusing book imagines 
Socrates' return to Athens after a lecture tour 
in the States. . . Tins book is more than an 
amusing skit. It is also the vehicle of critic- 
isms so pertinent that one is curious to sec 
how America will take them Anyway, 
Socrates ought to be certain ol a great sale m 
the States." — Standard. 

Artifex, or the Future of Craftsmanship. 
By John Gloag, author of “ Time, 
Taste, and Furniture/’ 

After a suggestive sketch of the history of 
craftsmanship, the author examines the 
possibilities in the use of machinery to extend 
craftsmanship and make beautiiuf articles of 

Sybilla, or the R(‘vival of Pro})hecy. Bv 
C. A. Mace, University of St. Andrew’s. 

An examination ot the possibilitie.s of 
scientific forecasting, whh special reference to 
certain volumes in this senes. 


Terpander^ or Music and the Future. By 

Edward J. Dent. 

Mr. Dent deals with the past, present, and 
future of the art of music, and its relation to 
the other arts in a clear and helplul manner.