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There Is No God But Chemistry

And in like man­ner, if cot­tages are ever to be wisely built again, the peas­ant must enjoy his cot­tage, and be him­self its artist, as a bird is. Shall cock-robins and yellow-hammers have wit enough to make them­selves com­fort­able, and bull­finches peck a goth­ic tracery out of dead clematis, —  and your Eng­lish yeo­man be fit­ted by his land­lord with four dead walls and a drain­pipe ? That is the res­ult of your spend­ing 300,000l. a year at Kens­ing­ton in sci­ence and art then ? You have made beau­ti­ful machines, too, where­with you save the peas­ant the trouble of plough­ing and reap­ing, and thresh­ing; and after being saved all that time and toil, and get­ting, one would think, leis­ure enough for his edu­ca­tion, you have to lodge him also, as you drop a pup­pet into a deal box, and you lose money in doing it ! and two hun­dred years ago, without steam, without elec­tri­city, almost without books, and alto­geth­er without help from “Cassell’s Edu­cat­or” or the morn­ing news­pa­pers, the Swiss shep­herd could build him­self a châ­let, dain­tily carved, and with flour­ished inscrip­tions, and with red and blue and white ηοικιλία ; and the bur­gess of Stras­burg could build him­self a house like this I showed you, and a spire such as all men know; and keep a pre­cious book or two in his pub­lic lib­rary, and praise God for all: while we,  —  what are we good for, but to dam­age the spire, knock down half the houses, and burn the lib­rary, —  and declare there is no God but Chem­istry ?

What are we good for ? Are even our engines of destruc­tion use­ful to us ? Do they give us real power ? Once, indeed, not like hal­cy­ons, but like sea-eagles, we had our homes upon the sea; fear­less alike of storm or enemy, winged like the wave pet­rel; and as Arabs of an indeed path­less desert, we dwelt in the pres­ence of all our brethren. Our pride is fallen; no reed shaken with the wind, near the little singing halcyon’s nest is more trem­u­lous than we are now; though we have built iron nests on the sea, with walls impreg­nable. We have lost our pride  —  but have we gained peace ? Do we even care to seek it, how much less strive to make it ?

John Ruskin : The Eagle’s Nest

 
 
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This work by Claverhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
css.php
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Claverhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.