“There are nightmares of the future from which a fortunate collision with some wandering star, reducing the Earth to incandescent gas, might be a merciful deliverance.”
Winston Churchill made that observation in December 1931. At the time, many probably discarded it as the fatalistic musing of a cantankerous politician. In 2010, one reads that statement and gets chills. Today Churchill’s “nightmares of the future” are becoming grim reality. Whether we admit it or not, mankind is nearing the point where a catastrophic collision between Earth and some “wandering star” would indeed be a “merciful deliverance” from the inconceivable horrors now hovering over us.
Churchill began “Fifty Years Hence” recalling that prior to the 17th century, human civilizations crawled forward, and sometimes backward, slowly. He then took stock of mankind’s more recent rapid and spectacular accomplishments. “The changes have been so sudden and so gigantic that no period in history can be compared with the last century,” he surmised. And what is responsible for producing this “prodigious speed of man?”
“Science is the cause.”
The unleashing of the latent and terrific forces of “science” transformed human civilization, Churchill explained. Civilizations that for millennia had been empowered by “muscular energy” began to be driven by “molecular energy.” New discoveries produced new technologies and inventions, which in turn revolutionized human existence, from the structure of society to industry to politics to economics to war.
“Immense new sources of power … made possible novel methods of mining and metallurgy, new modes of transport and undreamed-of machinery. These in their turn enable the molecular sources of power to be extended and used more efficiently. … Each invention acted and reacted on other inventions, and with ever growing rapidity that vast structure of technical achievements was raised which separates the civilizations of today from all that the past has known.”
Mankind has “enjoyed” more than 75 years of scientific advancement since Churchill penned those words. Scientists today grow human organs on the backs of rats; biologists genetically modify crops for greater food production. Ours is an age of computer chips and automated systems, of gps’s, Blackberrys, laptops and iPods. We live in the space age, an age of satellite-guided, unmanned aircraft and wireless communication.
In 1931, Churchill forecast a time when “explosive forces, energy, materials, machinery, will be available upon a scale which can annihilate whole nations. Despotism and tyrannies will be able to prescribe the lives and even the wishes of their subjects in a manner never known since time began.” Take an honest survey of this planet: We are living Churchill’s nightmares!
As much as he decried the spectacular advancement of science, Churchill didn’t fear man’s material progress the most. Above all, he was concerned that despite the rapid advancement of human civilization, the character of humans, and mankind’s “virtues” and “wisdom,” had not “shown any notable improvements as the centuries have rolled” (emphasis mine throughout).
Science had bestowed unprecedented power, but the terrifying nature of man “remained hitherto practically unchanged.”
Churchill worried that mankind’s acquisition of the powers of science and technology was rapidly outpacing mankind’s acquisition of the moral character and discipline needed to prevent those powers from obliterating human civilization. In spite of all the contributions science had made to human civilization, Churchill worried that its foremost contribution would be equipping mankind with the means of obliterating the human race!
This nightmare scenario concerned Churchill so much he believed it would be safer for man to “call a halt in material progress and discovery.” There are secrets, he wrote, “too mysterious for man in his present state to know, secrets which, once penetrated, may be fatal to human happiness and glory.”
No one can dismiss Winston Churchill as a man ignorant of the extreme value of science and knowledge. As a historian, he made a living acquiring, distilling and communicating knowledge. As a military and political leader, he encouraged scientific development and guided a multitude of new inventions.
Unlike most intellectuals, however, Churchill recognized many of his intellectual limitations—and, more significantly, the limitations of science. Despite its splendid virtues, science, he concluded, “does not meet any of the real needs of the human race”! What good is scientific development, he asked, if it cannot answer the “simple questions which man has asked since the earliest dawn of reason—‘Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Where are we going?’”
“Fifty Years Hence” thus concludes by resurrecting questions and discussions that have perplexed mankind for thousands of years, questions that even Winston Churchill—an intellectual giant rarely afraid to venture an opinion on virtually any topic—simply could not answer.
Aren’t you interested in learning the answers to these questions? To learning why man was put on this planet, to learning about the purpose of life, to discovering where human civilization is headed? Wouldn’t you like to understand why science—despite its many fantastic contributions to human civilization—has only brought mankind to the brink of extinction?
Churchill spent his lifetime grappling with these questions. Now you can have them explained to you clearly, logically and with plenty of biblical proof. How? It’s simple: Request, then study, Mystery of the Ages. Written by the late Herbert W. Armstrong, this book could be your “merciful deliverance” from our nightmarish world.
Take the opportunity now to obtain a free copy of this, the book Winston Churchill needed most. ▪