You can't be too careful, by H. G. Wells

Chapter 5

And After Sapiens?

SUPPOSE, and the facts leave us quite free to suppose it, suppose that the latent sapiens in us succeeds in its urge to rationalise life, suppose we do satisfy our dogmatic demand for freedom, equality, universal abundance, lives of achievement, hope and cooperation throughout this still largely unexplored and undeveloped planet, and find ourselves all the better for having done so. It can be done. It may be done. Suppose it done. Surely that in itself will be good living.

“But,” says that dead end; that human blight, Mr Chamble Pewter, making his point with a squeak in his voice and tears of controversial bitterness in his eyes, “What is the good of it? Will there be any finality in your success?” he asks.

None whatever, is the answer. Why should there be? Yet a vista of innumerable happy generations, an abundance of life at present inconceivable, and at the end, not extinction necessarily, not immortality, but complete uncertainty, is surely sufficient prospect for the present. We are not yet Homo sapiens, but when at last our intermingled and selected offspring, carrying on the life that is now in us, when they, who are indeed ourselves, our heredity of body, thought and will, reassembled and enhanced, have established their claim to that title — can we doubt that they will be facing things at present unimaginable, weighing pros and cons altogether beyond our scope? They will see far and wide in an ever-growing light while we see as in a glass darkly. Things yet unimaginable. They may be good by our current orientation of things; they may be evil. Why should they not be in the nature of our good and much more than our good —“beyond good and evil”?


This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:02