Thursday, February 20, 2014



Norman Douglas (1868-1952), Looking Back: An Autobiographical Excursion (London: Chatto and Windus, 1934), pp. 298-299:
I have heard so much about science lately that I am tired of it, especially since the invention of wireless and our experiences in the Great War. Science behaves abominably nowadays. The deification of its appliances has filled our lunatic asylums with nervous wrecks. Listening-in, if conscientiously practised, engenders a brood of solemn idiots, not quite certifiable, yet barely to be distinguished from those others. In the shape of bio-chemistry it has cast a shadow over the world and made cowards of the bravest and the blithest; there never was a generation more scared of infections and of death. By the aid of science millions of the best of our race are annihilated in a moment; by its aid millions of the worst are artificially kept alive, when they should be allowed to die. Science, as here applied, makes for the survival of the unfittest. If it would turn its attention to inventing something sensible for a change—a decent dining-room table, for instance, under which it is possible to cross your legs...
"Listening-in" is "The action of listening to a radio broadcast..." (Oxford English Dictionary).

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