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PROPHECIES

Within a hundred years Mars and Venus will be inhabited". Such a "scientific" prophecy was reported not long ago by the newspapers. We copy this literally as we read it:

"A two-hour working day, the abolishment of old age and in its place one's entire life spent as if in the interval from the 22nd to the 35th year; the delivery of water to Mars and likewise the provision of oxygen to Venus will make them habitable. Such prophecies for the next century have been made by an American, chemical society on the occasion of celebrating a particular anniversary in that country.

"Ten thousand scholars were present at this celebration.

"These forecasts were made by Dr. Thomas Midgley,1 a chemist and vice-president of the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation.

"Dr. Midgley says that within a hundred years the causes of colds, influenza, tuberculosis, and probably also of cancer and many other diseases that are now regarded as dangerous will be eradicated.

"In the synthetic house of the future century you will discard bedclothing as needless, heat your apartment instantly by merely pressing a button, and throw your soiled pajamas in the trash-basket, because cellulose products will be so cheap that it will not be worth-while to launder them.

"With the discovery of certain hormones, indigestion will be unknown, and the taking of a single pill will give relief from all discomfort.

"Sleep will be undisturbed and bad dreams will disappear. There will be sleeping tablets that produce only pleasant dreams, or tablets of another sort which will rid one of the need of sleep altogether.

"The engineering profession expects from chemistry a fuel that will relieve it of considerations that have hitherto handicapped it. The invention of such a fuel will make possible interplanetary communication.

"The use of gasoline, explosives, and other materials will undergo such a transformation that a new supply of energy will have to be found, perhaps in radioactivity.

"I do not wish to create the impression that interplanetary communication will immediately become accessible to everyone. Many preparations are necessary for this. Mars needs water, Venus a new atmosphere; all this requires the labors of future chemists and engineers.

"The world will be more healthful. The better health which will be found will make possible the development of such conditions of life and of intellectual occupations that presently insoluble scientific problems will be solved in a single day.

"Age will be under complete control; it will be possible for each one to arrange for an interminably long life by freeing oneself from casualties and maintaining life on nearly the same level. As an example, life could be prolonged at the same level as between the ages of 23 and 35.

"Agriculture will become an exact science through the use of powerful fertilizers and synthetic hormones for producing the harvest. This will also signify a far larger and quicker meat supply. Chickens will grow to the size of pigs, pigs to the size of cows, and cows will attain the size of mastodons; yet in order to attain such growth they will not have to be fed any more than at the present time."

Once again we point out that these forecasts are taken from a scientific report published in the newspapers. Many alluring prophecies lead to particular reflections. Thus, for example, a scientist who knows that more vitamins are contained in vegetables than in meat concludes his report with something presumably far more attractive to him, such as the growing of monstrous chickens  as large as pigs. Likewise amusing is the fact that a scientist is concerned about bringing Mars and Venus into earthly conditions of habitability. For some reason he limits his thinking by desiring to subject the other planets to the conditions of Earth, perhaps the least of their sisters.

Very likely it has occurred to the scientist more than once, while he dreams of subjecting the other planets to earthly conditions, that the beings who dwell on the other planets are at the same time probably thinking about how to bestow their best conditions upon Earth. Will it not be conceit to assume that the inhabitants of the other planets must go about in earthly jackets and caps? Is it possible for the grandeur of the horizon to invoke thoughts full of earthly conceit?

Indeed, it would be beautiful if the prophecies of the learned chemist relative to the eradication of earthly diseases were fulfilled within a hundred years. Of course, what could be better? But unfortunately it is not for chemistry, along with the engineering profession, to succeed in this direction. True prophylaxis will consist not in the swallowing of chemical tablets, but first of all in improvement of conditions of health in the mode of life. It is possible to swallow all sorts of tablets and still vegetate in extraordinarily filthy and slovenly conditions. One may think of discoveries in engineering and yet sully them with neglect, falsehood, and human hatred.

Surely all Earth dwellers would welcome the forecasts of the learned chemist if in them a fitting place for spiritual development were allotted, if the great psychic energy, which in the last analysis is more powerful than any chemical tablets, were appreciated. One might ask why longevity for people, why remain outwardly at an age of no more than 35 years, if even since childhood, one is spiritually decrepit?

Why should people violate their great gift of health-giving sleep, fastening upon themselves forced dreams, as do opium-eaters? Of course, all morphine and heroin addicts, and similar dope addicts, and drunkards, likewise, instead of leading a healthy thoughtful life, try to bring themselves by compulsion into an illusory state. At present all the governments in the world are beginning to grapple with the evil of narcotism. Consequently, not by means of forcible tablets, but precisely by a healthy way of life is it possible to attain healthy, heartening sleep. Surely people sleep, not for enforced dreams, but for something far more essential.

To propagate life by force is just as monstrous as are chickens the size of pigs. In this forced attachment of oneself to the earthly shells there is expressed an unwilling-ness to think more broadly, and particularly within the confines of those countless planets and heavenly bodies to which the learned chemist would like to betake himself, probably clothed for such a triumphal journey not in an ordinary jacket, but in formal evening dress.

One would think that the time had already passed when anyone could be dreaming merely about crude material solutions. True, there have been days when the severed head of a dog, under the influence of forced currents, began to bark, and the miscreants who contrived this announced that death had been conquered. Such conquerors of death show, first of all, that they themselves are much afraid of so-called death and that they limit their thinking to the earthly vehicles.

If people would glance more often at the boundless horizon and reflect about the relationship of Earth with infinity, they would not be thinking about chemical tablets alone. The power of thought, the power of psychic energy would indicate to them entirely different paths on which they will not need forced dreams and visions.

Tzagan Kure

June 21, 1935

1 Discovered tetra-ethyl lead.

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