Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership

Title: Darkness and the Light
Author: Olaf Stapledon
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0601311.txt
Edition: 1
Language: English
Character set encoding: Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit
Date first posted: June 2006
Date most recently updated: November 2007

This eBook was produced by: Richard Scott

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at

To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to

Darkness and the Light (1942)
Olaf Stapledon


A REVIEWER OF an earlier book of mine said that it was difficult to
see why such a book should ever have been written. From his point of
view the remark was reasonable enough, for the aim of the book
happened to fall outside the spot-light of his consciousness. All the
same, the fact that the great majority of books ought never to have
been written must give the writer pause. To-day, what with the paper
shortage and the urgency of war work, the question whether a book is
worth writing, let alone publishing, is more pertinent than ever.
Whether this book has enough significance to justify its appearance
must be left to the judgment of readers and reviewers; but perhaps
they will not take it amiss if I offer a word of explanation.

This book is, of course, not meant to be regarded as prophecy. Neither
of the two futures which I here imagine for mankind is in the least
likely to happen. Historical prediction is doomed always to fail. The
most sophisticated sociologist, let alone a writer of fiction, is
scarcely a more trustworthy prophet than Old Moore. Certainly I, who
entirely failed to foresee the advent of Fascism, cannot lay claim to
describe the next phase of European change.

But this book is not concerned to prophesy. It seeks merely to give a
symbolic expression to two dispositions now in conflict in the world.
For lack of better words I call them the will for darkness and the
will for the light. I present in concrete form, but rather as
caricature than with photographic accuracy, two kinds of possibility
that lie before the human race. The justification for writing such a
book depends on the answers to three questions. Is there such a
conflict? Is it important? Is the caricature that I have drawn of it
well enough drawn to clear the mind and stir the heart?

October 1941



IS IT credible that our world should have two futures? I have seen
them. Two entirely distinct futures lie before mankind, one dark, one
bright; one the defeat of all man's hopes, the betrayal of all his
ideals, the other their hard-won triumph.

At some date within the age that we call modern, some date not
precisely known to me, for I looked back towards it from the distant
futures as though searching in my remote past, the single torrent of
terrestrial events is split, as though by a projecting promontory, so
that it becomes thenceforth two wholly distinct and mutually exclusive
surging floods of intricate existence, each one a coherent and actual
history, in which the lives of countless generations succeed one
another along separate ravines of time.

How can this be? It cannot! Yet I have seen it happen. I have watched
those two divergent futures. I have lived through them. In any world,
as on our planet, it needs must happen, when the will for the light
and the will for the darkness are so delicately balanced in the
ordinary half-lucid spirits of the world that neither can for long
prevail over the other. Out of their age-long stress and fluctuating
battle must spring at last a thing seemingly impossible, seemingly
irrational, something wore stupendously miraculous than any orthodox
miracle. For how can time itself be divided into two streams? And if
our planet has two futures, which of them has place in the future of
the solar system, and what of the other? Or does man's vacillation
create not only two future Earths but two future universes of stars
and galaxies?

Reader, affirm if you will that only one of the two futures that I
have watched is the real future, knit into the real cosmos, while the
other is mere fantasy. Then which, I ask in terror, is real, the
bright or the dark? For to me, who have seen both, neither is less
real than the other, but one is infinitely more to be desired.
Perhaps, reader, you will contend that both are figments of my crazy
mind, and that the real future is inaccessible and inconceivable.
Believe what you will, but to me both are real, both are somehow
close-knit into the dread and lovely pattern of the universe. Nay
more! My heart demands them both. For the light is more brilliant when
the dark offsets it. Though pity implores that all horror should turn
out to have been a dream, yet for the light's own sake some sterner
passion demands that evil may have its triumph.

As I write this book my own death must lie somewhere in the near
future. When, I cannot tell; for so minute an event could not imprint
itself on the vision that has possessed me. Seemingly it is at the
time of my death that the strange experience begins, obscurely and
intermittently at first. For this reason the earlier part of the
twofold story is fragmentary and chaotic, like the experiences of
childhood remembered in maturity.

Moreover the twin streams of history are in their upper reaches so
similar as to be indistinguishable, like the almost identical views
which a man has through his two eyes. Not till the two futures begin
to differ strikingly can they be distinguished and known to be
inconsistent themes. Thenceforth whoever witnesses them, as I did,
must become a divided personality, living not merely two lives but in
two universes.

As I write this book, immersed once more in the passions and savage
deeds of contemporary mankind, hearing each day of horror and
brutality, fearing that very soon some hideous disaster may fall upon
my people and on the whole human race, and on those few who, being
most dear to me, are for me the living presence of humanity, it is
impossible for me to recapture fully the serene and intelligent mood
of my post-mortal experience. For throughout that age-long future I
must, I think, have been strengthened by the felt presence of other
and superhuman spectators. Was it that the more lucid populations of
the cosmos, in their scattered worlds, up and down the constellations,
here and there among the galaxies, had sent observers to witness the
terrestrial miracle; or had focused their attention and their presence
from afar on our little orb, so forlorn, so inconsiderable, where man,
poised between the light and the dark on the knife-edge of choice,
fought out his destiny. It was as though, under their influence, I was
able to put off to some extent my human pettiness; as though,
haltingly and with celestial aid, I could see man's double fate
through the eyes of those superhuman but not divine intelligences.
Their presence is now withdrawn. But in memory of them I shall do my
utmost to tell the twofold story at once with intimate human sympathy
and with something of that calm insight which was lent to me.


AT SOME DATE which to readers of this book is far off in the future I
became aware that I had long been dreamily witnessing a flux of human
events. Peering back into my post-mortal memory as though into a
second infancy, I came upon fragments of what must have been a long
age of turmoil. Within that age must have lain, or must lie, the
period that readers of this book call modern, a moment within a longer
period during which the struggle between the light and the darkness
remained inconclusive.

On the one side was the sluggish reptilian will for ease and sleep and
death, rising sometimes to active hate and destructiveness; on the
other side the still blindfold and blundering will for the lucid and
coherent spirit. Each generation, it seemed, set out with courage and
hope, and with some real aptitude for the life of love and wisdom, but
also with the fatal human frailty, and in circumstances hostile to the
generous development of the spirit. Each in turn, in the upshot of
innumerable solitary ephemeral struggles, sank into middle age,
disillusioned or fanatical, inert or obsessively greedy for personal

The world was a chrysalis world, but the chrysalis was damaged. Under
the stress of science and mechanization the old order had become
effete, the old patterns of life could no longer be healthily lived;
yet the new order and the new mentality could not be born. The swarms
of human creatures whose minds had been moulded to the old patterns
were plunged from security into insecurity and bewilderment. Creatures
specialized by circumstance to knit themselves into the existing but
disintegrating social texture found themselves adrift in dreadful
chaos, their talents useless, their minds out-moded, their values
falsified. And so, like bees in a queenless hive, they floundered into
primitive ways. They became marauding gangsters, or clamoured for some
new, strong, ruthless and barbaric tribal order, into which they might
once more themselves. In this nadir of civilization, this wide-
craving for the savage and the stark, this night of spirit, there rose
to power the basest and hitherto most despised of human types, the
hooligan and the gun-man, who recognized no values but personal
dominance, whose vengeful aim was to trample the civilization that
spurned them, and to rule for brigandage alone a new gangster society.

Thus, wherever the breakdown of the old order was far gone, a new
order did indeed begin to emerge, ruthless, barbaric, but armed with
science and intricately fashioned for war. And war in that age, though
not perpetual, was never far away. In one region or another of the
planet there was nearly always war. No sooner had one war ended than
another began elsewhere. And where there was no actual war, there was
the constant fear of wars to come.

The crux for this unfinished human species, half animal but
potentially humane, had always been the inconclusive effort to will
true community, true and integrated union of individual spirits,
personal, diverse, but mutually comprehending and mutually cherishing.
And always the groping impulse for community had been frustrated by
the failure to distinguish between true community and the savage unity
of the pack; and on the other hand between a man's duty to the
innermost spirit and mere subtle self-pride, and again between love
and mere possessiveness.

And now, in this final balance of the strife between light and
darkness, the newly won Aladdin's lamp, science, had given men such
power for good and evil that they inevitably must either win speedily
through to true community or set foot upon a steepening slope leading
to annihilation. In the immediate contacts of man with man, and in the
affairs of cities, provinces, slates and social classes, and further
(newest and most dangerous necessity) in the ordering of the planet as
a whole, there must now begin some glimmer of a new spirit; or else,
failing in the great test, man must slide into a new and irrevocable
savagery. And in a world close-knit by science savagery brings death.

In the new world, made one by trains, ships, aeroplanes and radio
there was room for one society only. But a world-wide society must
inevitably be planned and organized in every detail. Not otherwise can
freedom and fulfilment be secured for all individuals. The old
haphazard order so favourable to the fortunate and cunning self-
seeker, was everywhere vanishing. Inevitably men's lives were bound to be
more and more regulated by authority. But what authority, and in what
spirit? A great planned state, controlled without insight into true
community, must turn to tyranny. And, armed with science for
oppression and propaganda, it must inevitably destroy the humanity of
its citizens. Only the insight and the will of true community can
wield rightly a state's authority, let alone a world's.

Lacking that insight and that will, the states of the world in the age
of balanced light and darkness bore very heavily on their citizens and
on one another. For national safety men's actions were increasingly
controlled by the state, their minds increasingly moulded to the
formal pattern that the state required of them. All men were
disciplined and standardized. Everyone had an official place and task
in the huge common work of defence and attack. Anyone who protested or
was lukewarm must be destroyed. The state was always in danger, and
every nerve was constantly at strain. And because each state carefully
sowed treason among the citizens of other states, no man could trust
his neighbour. Husbands and wives suspected one another. Children
proudly informed against their parents. Under the strain even of
peace-time life, all minds were damaged. Lunacy spread like a plague.
The most sane, though in their own view their judgment was unwarped,
were in fact fear-tortured neurotics. And so the race, as a whole,
teased by its obscure vision of the spirit, its frail loyalty to love
and reason, surrendered itself in the main to its baser nature.




OF THE detailed historical events of this age of fluctuation I cannot
recover much. Of the war which is present to me as I write this book I
remember almost nothing. A few shreds of recollection suggest that it
resulted in a British victory of sorts, but I place no reliance on
this surmise. If it is correct, the great opportunity afforded by this
victory, the opportunity of a generous peace and a federal order in
Europe, must have been missed; for rival imperialisms continued to
exist after that war and real peace was not established. Subsequent
wars and upheavals come rather more clearly into my mind. For
instance, I seem to remember a defeat of the democratic peoples, led
at first by the British, but later by the North Americans, against a
totalitarian Europe. For a while the struggle was between Britain
alone and the whole of Europe, martialled once more by Germany. Not
till the remnant of the British forces had been driven into Scotland,
and were desperately holding a line roughly equivalent to the Roman
Wall, did the American power begin to make itself felt, and then only
for a while; for in America, as elsewhere, the old order was failing,
its leaders had neither the imagination nor the courage to adjust
themselves to the new world-conditions. Consequently, when at last
their turn came they were quite incapable of organizing their
haphazard capitalism for war. The American people began to realize
that they were the victims of incompetence and treachery, and the
population of the Atlantic seaboard demanded a new regime. In this
state of affairs resistance became impossible. Britain was abandoned,
and North America reverted to a precarious isolationism knowing that
the struggle would very soon begin again.

This Euro-American war was certainly not the war which is being waged
while I write this book, in spite of obvious similarities. At this
time the Germans had recovered from that extravagant hooliganism which
had turned the world against them in an earlier period. They had in a
manner reverted from Nazism to the more respectable Prussianism. Other
facts also show that this was not our present war. Both India and
South Africa had left the British Empire and were already well-
established independent states. Moreover, weapons were now of a much
more lethal kind, and the American coast was frequently and
extensively bombarded by fleets of European planes. In this war
Scotland had evidently become the economic centre of gravity of
Britain. The Lowlands were completely industrialized, and huge tidal
electric generators crowded the western sounds. Tidal electricity had
become the basis of Britain's power. But the British, under their
effete financial oligarchy, had not developed this new asset
efficiently before the German attack began.

After the defeat of the democracies it seemed that the cause of
freedom had been lost for ever. The Russians, whose initial
revolutionary passion had long since been corrupted by the constant
danger of attack and a consequent reversion to nationalism, now
sacrificed all their hard-won social achievements for a desperate
defence against the attempt of the German ruling class to dominate the
planet. China, after her victory over Japan, had split on the rock of
class strife. Between the Communist North and the Capitalist South
there was no harmony. North America became a swarm of 'independent'
states which Germany controlled almost as easily as the Latin South.
India, freed from British rule, maintained a precarious unity in face
of the German danger.

But the Totalitarian world was not to be. The end of the German power
came in an unexpected manner, and through a strange mixture of
psychological and economic causes. Perhaps the main cause was the
decline of German intelligence. Ever since the industrial revolution
the average intelligence of the European and American peoples had been
slowly decreasing. Contraception had produced not only a decline of
population but also a tendency of the more intelligent strains in the
population to breed less than the dullards and half-wits. For in the
competition for the means of comfort and luxury, the more intelligent
tended in the long run to rise into the comfortable classes. There
they were able to avail themselves of contraceptive methods which the
poorer classes could less easily practise. And because they took more
forethought than the dullards for their personal comfort and security,
they were more reluctant to burden themselves with children. The
upshot was that, while the population as a whole tended to decline,
the more intelligent strains declined more rapidly than the less
intelligent; and the European and American peoples, and later the
Asiatics, began to suffer from a serious shortage of able leaders in
politics, industry, science, and general culture.

In Germany the process had been intensified by the persecution of free
intelligences by the former Hitlerian Third Reich, and by the
subsequent Fourth Reich, which had defeated America not by superior
intelligence but superior vitality and the resources of an empire
which included all Europe and most of Africa.

The Fourth Reich had persecuted and destroyed the free intelligences
in all its subject lands, save one, namely Norway, where it had been
necessary to allow a large measure of autonomy.

The Norwegians, who many centuries earlier had been the terror of the
European coastal peoples, had in recent times earned a reputation for
peaceable common sense. Like several others of the former small
democracies, they had attained a higher level of social development
than their mightier neighbours. In particular they had fostered
intelligence. After their conquest by the Fourth Reich their
remarkable fund of superior minds had stood them in good stead. They
had successfully forced their conquerors into allowing them a sort of
'dominion status'. In this condition they had been able to carry on
much of their former social life while fulfilling the functions which
the conquerors demanded of them. Two influences, however gradually
combined to change their docility into energy and berserk fury. One
was the cumulative effect of their experience of German domination.
Contact with their foreign masters filled them with contempt and
indignation. The other influence was the knowledge that, under German
exploitation, their country had become the world's greatest generator
of tidal power, and that this power was being used for imperial, not
human, ends.

The German dictatorship had, indeed, treated the Norwegians in a very
special manner. Other conquered peoples had been simply enslaved or
actually exterminated. The British, for instance, had been reduced to
serfdom under a German landed aristocracy. The Poles and Czechs and
most of the French had been persecuted, prevented from mating and
procreating, and finally even sterilized, until their stock had been
completely destroyed. But the Scandinavian peoples were in a class
apart. The Nordic myth had a strong hold on the German people. It was
impossible to pretend that the Norwegians were not Nordic, more Nordic
than the Germans, who were in fact of very mixed stock. Moreover
Norwegian maritime prowess was necessary to the German rulers; and
many Norwegian sailors were given responsible positions for the
training of Germans and even the control of German ships. Finally, the
exploitation of tidal power in the fjords had produced a large class
of Norwegian technicians with highly specialized skill. Thus little by
little the small Norwegian people attained for itself a privileged
position in the German Empire. Prosperity and relative immunity from
German tyranny had not brought acceptance of foreign domination. The
Norwegians had preserved their independent spirit while other subject
peoples had been utterly cowed by torture.

The initial fervour of the old Hitlerian faith had long since spent
itself. Gone was the crazy zeal which had led millions of carefully
indoctrinated young Germans to welcome death for the fatherland to
drive their tanks not only over the fleeing refugees but over their
own wounded, and to support a cruel tyranny throughout Europe. The
German ruling minority was by now merely a highly organized,
mechanically efficient, ruthless, but rather dull-witted and rather
tired and cynical bureaucracy. The German people, who claimed to have
taken over from the British the coveted 'white man's burden’, were in
fact the docile serfs of a harsh and uninspired tyranny.

There came a time when the Reich was seriously divided over the
question of succession to the semi-divine post of Fuhrer. (The
original Fuhrer, of course, was by now a mythical figure in the past,
and the empire was sprinkled with gigantic monuments to his memory.)
Suddenly the Norwegians, seizing the opportunity afforded by
dissension in the German aristocracy, set in action a long-prepared
system of conspiracy. They seized the tidal generators and military
centres, and declared Norway's independence. They also issued a call
to all freedom-loving peoples to rise against their tyrants. The
Norwegians themselves were in a very strong position. Not only did
they control the Reich's main source of power, but also a large part
of the mercantile marine and Imperial Navy. The huge sea-plane force
was also mainly on their side. Though at first the rebellion seemed a
forlorn hope, it soon spread to Britain and Northern France.
Insurrection then broke out in Switzerland, Austria, and southern
Germany. The decisive factors were the revived passion for freedom and
for human kindness, and also the new, extremely efficient and
marvellously light accumulator, which enabled not only ships but
planes to be driven electrically. The new accumulator had been
secretly invented in Norway and secretly manufactured in large
quantities in Spitsbergen. Even before the insurrection many ships and
planes had been secretly fitted with it. After the outbreak of war a
great fleet of electric planes, far more agile than the old petrol
planes, soon broke the nerve of the imperial force. Within a few weeks
the rebels were completely victorious.

With the fall of the German Reich the human race was once more given
an opportunity to turn the corner from barbarism to real civilization.
Once more the opportunity was lost. The free Federation of Europe,
which was expected to bring lasting peace, was in fact no free
federation at all. Germany was divided into the old minor states, and
these were disarmed. This would have been reasonable enough if the
victorious Norwegians, realizing the precariousness of the new order,
had not insisted on retaining control of their own tidal generators
and their air fleet, which, though disarmed, could very easily be
turned into bombers. Thus, they hoped, they would be able to control
and guide the Federation during its delicate infancy. Inevitably the
demand for 'the disarmament of Norway' was used by the secret enemies
of the light in their effort to dominate the Federation. After a
period of uncertain peace, full of suspicion and intrigue, came the
great European Civil War between the Scandinavian peoples and the rest
of the European Federation. When the federated peoples had reduced one
another to exhaustion, Russia intervened, and presently the Russian
Empire stretched from the Behring Straits to the Blasket Islands.

During the first, confused phase of my post-mortal experience I failed
to gain any clear vision of events in Russia. I have an impression of
alternating periods of light and darkness. Sometimes the truly
socialistic and democratic forces dominated, sometimes the
totalitarian and despotic. In spite of the grave perversion of the
original generous revolutionary impulse, so much of solid worth had
been achieved that the Soviet system of states was never in serious
danger of disintegration. During the long peril from the German Fourth
Reich the Russian dictator, who was now known as the 'Chief Comrade',
enforced a very strict military discipline on the whole people. When
Germany had fallen, a wave of militant communist imperialism swept
over the vast Russian territories. Hosts of 'Young Communists'
demanded that 'the spirit of Lenin' should now be spread by tank and
aeroplane throughout the world. The conquest of Europe was the first
great expression of this mood. But other forces were also at work in
Russia. After the destruction of German power, true socialistic,
liberal, and even reformed Christian tendencies once more appeared
throughout European Russia and in Western Europe. The Western peoples
had by now begun to sicken of the sham religion of ruthless power.
Christian sects, experimental religious movements, liberal-socialist
and 'reformed communist' conspiracies were everywhere leading a
vigorous underground life. It seemed to me that I must be witnessing
the turning-point of human history, that the species had at last
learnt its lesson. But in this I was mistaken. What I was observing
was but one of the many abortive upward fluctuations in the long age
of inconclusive struggle between the will for the light and the will
for darkness. For, though men utterly loathed the hardships of war,
their moral energy remained slight. Their loyalty to the common human
enterprise, to the spiritual task of the race, had not been

Thus it was that the movement which had seemed to promise a
regeneration of Russia succeeded only in creating an under-current of
more lucid feeling and action. The power of the dictatorship remained
intact and harsh; and was able, moreover, to inspire the majority, and
particularly the young, with superb energy and devotion in the
spreading of the Marxian ideals which the regime still claimed to
embody, but had in fact sadly perverted.


I shall not pause to recount all the wars and social tumults of this
age. I could not, if I would, give a clear report on them. I can
remember only that waves of fruitless agony spread hither and thither
over the whole planet like seismic waves in the planet's crust.
Fruitless the agony seemed to me because time after time hope was
disappointed. The door to a new world was thrust ajar, then slammed.

Thus in India, when freedom had at last been gained, and under the
stress of external danger Hindus and Mohammedans had sunk their
differences, it seemed for a while that out of these dark Aryan
peoples the truth was coming which could save mankind. For the ancient
Indian wisdom, which permeated all the faiths, now came more clearly
into view, stripped of the irrelevances of particular creeds. The new
India, it seemed, while armed with European science and European
resolution, would teach mankind a quietude and detachment which Europe
lacked. But somehow the movement went awry, corrupted by the surviving
power of the Indian princes and capitalists. The wealthy controlled
the new state for their own ends. Public servants were venal and
inefficient. And the ancient wisdom, though much advertised, became
merely an excuse for tolerating gross social evils. When at last the
armies of the Russian Empire poured through the Himalayan passes, the
rulers of India could not cope with the attack, and the peoples of
India were on the whole indifferent to a mere change of masters. Not
until much later were the Indians to make their great contribution to
human history.

There were other hopeful movements of regeneration. Obscurely I can
remember a great and promising renaissance in North America. Adversity
had purged Americans of their romantic commercialism. No longer could
the millionaire, the demi-god of money power, command admiration and
flattering imitation from the humble masses. Millionaires no longer
existed. And the population was becoming conscious that personal money
power had been the main cause of the perversion of the old
civilization. For a while the Americans refused to admit to themselves
that their 'hundred per cent Americanism' had been a failure; but
suddenly the mental barrier against this realization collapsed. Within
a couple of years the whole mental climate of the American people was
changed. Up and down the continent men began to re-examine the
principles on which American civilization had been based, and to sort
out the essential values from the false accretions. Their cherished
formulation of the Rights of Man was now supplemented by an emphatic
statement of man's duties. Their insistence on freedom was balanced by
a new stress on discipline in service of the community. At the same
time, in the school of adversity the former tendency to extravagance
in ideas, either in the direction of hard-baked materialism or towards
sentimental new-fangled religion, was largely overcome. The Society of
Friends, who had always been a powerful sect in North America, now
came into their own. They had been prominent long ago during the
earliest phase of colonization from England, and had stood not only
for gentleness and reasonableness towards the natives but also for
individual courage, devotion, and initiative in all practical affairs.
At their best they had always combined hard-headed business capacity
with mystical quietism. At their worst, undoubtedly, this combination
resulted in self-deception of a particularly odious kind. A ruthless
though 'paternal' tyranny over employees was practised on weekdays,
and on Sundays compensation and self-indulgence was found in a dream-
world of religious quietism. But changed times had now brought about a
revival and a purging. The undoctrinal mysticism of the Young Friends
and their practical devotion to good works became a notable example to
a people who were by now keenly aware of the need for this very

Under the influence of the Friends and the growing danger from Russia,
four North American states, Canada, the Atlantic Republic, the
Mississippi Republic, and the Pacific Republic, were once more
unified. North America became once more a great, though not the
greatest, power. For a while, moreover, it looked as though North
America would become the model community, destined to save mankind by
example and by leadership. Here at last, it seemed, was the true
though inarticulate and un-doctrinal faith in the spirit. Here was the
true liberalism of self-disciplined free citizens, the true communism
of mutually respecting individuals. Rumour of this new happy society
began to spread even in conquered Europe in spite of the Russian
imperial censorship, and to hearten the many secret opponents of the
dictatorship. Between the new North America and the new India there
was close contact and interchange of ideas. From the Indian wisdom the
Friends learned much, and they gave in return much American practical

But it became clear that the American renaissance somehow lacked
vitality. Somehow the old American forcefulness and drive had waned.
On the surface all seemed well, and indeed Utopian. The population
lived in security and frugal comfort. Class differences had almost
wholly vanished. Education was consciously directed towards the
creation of responsible citizens. European classical and Christian
culture was studied afresh, with a new zeal and a new critical
judgment; for it was realized that in the European tradition lay the
true antidote to the new-fangled barbarism. Yet in spite of all this
manifestation of sanity and good will, something was lacking. The
American example appealed only to those who were already well-
disposed. The great mass of mankind remained unimpressed. Many
observers conceded that North America was a comfortable and amiable
society; but it was stagnant, they said, and mediocre. It was
incapable of giving a lead to a troubled world. No doubt this general
ineffectiveness was partly due to the decline of average intelligence
which North America shared with Europe. There was a lack of able
leaders and men of far-reaching vision; and the average citizen,
though well trained in citizenship, was mentally sluggish and
incapable of clear-headed devotion to the ideals of his state. The new
Russian imperialism, on the other hand, in spite of all its faults,
combined the crusading and at heart mystical fervour of the short-
lived German Fourth Reich with some measure at least of the
fundamental rightness the original Russian revolution. In competition
with the vigour and glamour of Russia, the American example had little
power to attract men. Even in the South American continent the lead
given by the North Americans proved after all ineffective. One by one
the Southern states turned increasingly to Russia for guidance, or
were forcibly annexed.

In the Northern Continent itself disheartenment was spreading. One of
its causes, and one of its effects, was an increasingly rapid decline
of population. Every inducement was made to encourage procreation, but
in vain. The state granted high maternity subsidies, and honorific
titles were offered to parents of large families. Contraception,
though not illegal, was morally condemned. In spite of all this, the
birth rate continued to decline, and the average age of the population
to increase. Labour became a most precious commodity. Labour-saving
devices were developed to a pitch hitherto unknown on the planet.
Domestic service was completely eliminated by electrical contraptions.
Transport over the whole country was carried out mainly by self-
regulating railways. The predominantly middle-aged population felt
more at home on the ground than in the air. There was no shortage of
power, for the deeply indented north western coast-line afforded vast
resources of tidal electricity. But in spite of this wealth of power
and other physical resources North American society began to fall into
disorder simply through its mediocre intelligence and increasing
shortage of young people. Every child was brought up under the anxious
care of the National Fertility Department. Every device of education
and technical training was lavished upon him, or her. Every young man
and every young woman was assured of prosperity and of a career of
skilled work in service of the community. But the increasing
preponderance of the middle-aged gave an increasingly conservative
tilt to the whole social policy. In spite of lip-service to the old
pioneering spirit and the old ideal of endless progress, the effective
aim of this society was merely to maintain itself in stability and
comfort. This was no satisfying ideal for the young. Those young
people who were not cowed by the authority of their elders were flung
into violent opposition to the whole social order and ideology of the
Republic. They were thus very susceptible to the propaganda of Russian
imperial communism, which under the old heart-stirring slogans of the
Revolution was now making its supreme effort to dominate the world,
and was able to offer great opportunities of enterprise and courage to
its swarms of vigorous but uncritical young.

The fall of India dismayed the middle-aged North American community.
When at last the Soviet dictatorship picked a quarrel with it,
internal dissensions made resistance impossible. The regime of the
middle-aged collapsed. The youthful minority seized power and welcomed
the Russian aerial armada. The Hammer and Sickle, formerly the most
heartening emblem of the will for the light, but now sadly debased,
was displayed on the Capitol.

The whole double American continent now fell under the control of
Russia, and with it Australia and New Zealand. In Southern and Central
Africa, meanwhile, the Black populations, after a series of abortive
and bloody rebellions, had at last overthrown their white masters,
avenging themselves for centuries of oppression by perpetrating the
greatest massacre of history. If the Negroes had been politically
experienced they might now have become one of the most formidable
states in the world, for the inland water power of their continent was
immense. Even under European domination this had been to a large
extent exploited, but vast resources remained to be tapped.
Unfortunately the Black populations had been so long in servitude that
they were incapable of organizing themselves and their country
efficiently. The Negro states which emerged in Africa were soon at
loggerheads with one another. When foreign oppression had been
abolished, unity of purpose ceased; and the condition of Africa was
one of constant petty wars and civil wars. Little by little however,
Russian imperialism, profiting by Negro disunity, annexed the whole of


One power alone in all the world now remained to be brought within the
Russian grasp, and this was potentially the greatest power of all,
namely China. It was in the relations between Russia and China that
the discrepancy in my experience first became evident, and the two
parallel histories of mankind emerged. Since these two great peoples
bulk so largely in my story, I shall dwell for a while on the forces
which had moulded them.

The first Russian revolution, under Lenin, had been mainly a groping
but sincere expression of the will for true community, and also an act
of vengeance against a cruel and inefficient master class. When the
leaders of the Revolution had established their power, they proceeded
to remake the whole economy of Russia for the benefit of the workers.
Foreign hostility, however, forced them to sacrifice much to military
necessity. Not only the physical but also the mental prosperity of the
population suffered. What should have become a population of freely
inquiring, critical, and responsible minds became instead a mentally-
regimented population, prone to mob enthusiasm and contempt for
unorthodoxy. Danger favoured the dictatorship of one man and the
dominance of a disciplined and militarized party. The will for true
community tended more and more to degenerate into the passion for
conformity within the herd and for triumph over the herd's enemies.

For a long while, for many decades or possibly a few centuries, the
struggle between the light and the darkness in Russia fluctuated.
There were periods when it seemed that discipline would be relaxed for
the sake of liberal advancement in education. But presently foreign
danger, real or fictitious, or else some threat of internal conflict
would become an excuse for the intensification of tyranny. Thousands
of officials would be shot, the army and the factories purged of
disaffected persons. Education would be cleansed of all tendency to
foster critical thought.

The two military regimes which now vied with one another for control
of the planet were in many respects alike. In each of them a minority
held effective power over the whole society, and in each a single
individual was at once the instrument and the wielder of that power.
Each dictatorship imposed upon its subjects a strict discipline and a
stereotyped ideology which, in spite of its much emphasized
idiosyncracies, was in one respect at least identical with the
ideology of its opponent; for both insisted on the absolute
subordination of the individual to the state, yet in both peoples
there was still a popular conviction that the aim of social planning
should be fullness of life for all individuals.

Between the two world powers there were great differences. Russia had
been first in the field, and had triumphed largely through the mental
bankruptcy of European civilization. Though the Russian culture was
itself an expression of that civilization, the Russians were
relatively an uncivilized race, which had found no great difficulty in
breaking away from a lightly imposed alien ideology. China, on the
other hand, boasted the oldest civilization of the planet, and one
which was more conservative than any other. Moreover, while the
Russians had asserted themselves against a decadent but partially
civilized Europe, and had always been secretly overawed by Europe's
cultural achievement, the Chinese had asserted themselves against a
people whom they regarded as upstarts and barbarians, the Japanese.
More consciously than the Russians they had fought not only for social
justice but for civilization, for culture, and the continuity of their

Whatever the defects of the Chinese tradition, in one respect it had
been indirectly of immense value. Among both rich and poor the cult of
the family had persisted throughout Chinese history, and had survived
even the modern revolutionary period. In many ways this cult, this
obsession, had been a reactionary influence, but in two respects it
had been beneficial. It had prevented decline of population; and, more
important, it had prevented a decline of intelligence. In China as
elsewhere the more intelligent had tended to rise into the more
comfortable circumstances. But whereas in Europe and America the more
prosperous classes had failed to breed adequately, in China the
inveterate cult of family ensured that they should do so. In post-
revolutionary China the old love of family was a useful stock on which
to graft a new biologically-justified respect not merely for family as
such but for those stocks which showed superior intelligence or
superior social feeling. Unfortunately, though public opinion did for
a while move in this direction, the old financial ruling families,
seeing their dominance threatened by upstart strains, used all their
power of propaganda and oppression to stamp out this new and heretical
version of the old tradition. Thus, though on the whole the Chinese
Empire was richer in intelligence than the Russian, it seriously
squandered its resources in this most precious social asset. And
later, as I shall tell, the reactionary policy of the ruling caste
threatened this great people with complete bankruptcy of mental

In social organization there were differences between imperial Russia
and imperial China. In Russia the heroic attempt to create a communist
state had finally gone astray through the moral deterioration of the
Communist Party. What had started as a devoted revolutionary corps had
developed as a bureaucracy which in effect owned the whole wealth of
the empire. Common ownership theoretically existed, but in effect it
was confined to the Party, which thus became a sort of fabulously
wealthy monastic order. In its earlier phase the Party was recruited
by strict social and moral testing, but latterly the hereditary
principle had crept in, so that the Party became an exclusive ruling
caste. In China, under the influence partly of Russian communism,
partly of European capitalism, a similar system evolved, but one in
which the common ownership of the ruling caste as a whole was
complicated by the fact that the great families of the caste secured a
large measure of economic autonomy. As in Japan at an earlier stage,
but more completely and definitely, each great department of
production became the perquisite of a particular aristocratic, or
rather plutocratic, family. Within each family, common ownership was
strictly maintained.

There was a deep difference of temper between the two peoples. Though
the Russian revolutionaries had prided themselves on their
materialism, the Russian people retained a strong though
unacknowledged tendency towards mysticism. Their veneration of Lenin,
which centred round his embalmed body in the Kremlin, was originally
simple respect for the founder of the new order; but little by little
it acquired a character which would have called from Lenin himself
condemnation and ridicule. The phraseology of dialectical materialism
came to be fantastically reinterpreted in such a way as to enable the
populace to think of 'matter' as a kind of deity, with Marx as the
supreme prophet and Lenin as the terrestrial incarnation of the God
himself. Marx's system was scientific in intention, and it claimed to
be an expression of intelligence operating freely on the data of
social life. But the early Marxists had insisted, quite rightly, that
reason was no infallible guide, that it was an expression of social
causes working through the individual's emotional needs. This sound
psychological principle became in time a sacred dogma, and during the
height of Russian imperial power the rejection of reason was as
complete and as superstitious as it had been in Nazi Germany. Men were
able, while accepting all the social and philosophical theories of
Marx, to indulge in all kinds of mystical fantasies.

In this matter the Chinese were very different from the Russians.
Whatever the truth about ancient China, the China that had freed
itself from Japan was little interested in the mystical aspect of
experience. For the Chinese of this period common sense was absolute.
Even in regard to science, which for so many Russians had become
almost a religion, the Chinese maintained their common-sense attitude.
Science for them was not a gospel but an extremely useful collection
of precepts for gaining comfort or power. When the educated Russian
spoke of the far-reaching philosophical significance of materialistic
science, the educated Chinese would generally smile and shrug his
shoulders. Strange that the fanatical materialist was more addicted to
metaphysical speculation and mystical fantasy, and the unspeculative
adherent of common sense was in this respect capable of greater piety
towards the occult depth of reality.

The culture of the new China was often regarded as 'Eighteenth
Century' in spirit, but at its best it included also a tacit intuitive
reverence for the mystery which encloses human existence. Even after
the bitter struggle against the Japanese there remained something
eighteenth century about the educated Chinese, something of the old
urbanity and liking for decency and order. The old respect for
learning, too, remained, though the kind of learning which was now
necessary to the aspiring government official was very different from
that which was required in an earlier age. Then, all that was demanded
was familiarity with classical texts; now, the candidate had to show
an equally minute acquaintance with the lore of physics, biology,
psychology, economics, and social science. In the new China as in old,
the supreme interest of the intellectuals was not theoretical, as it
had been with the Greeks, nor religious, as with the Jews, nor
mystical, as with the Indians, nor scientific and industrial, as with
the Europeans, but social. For them, as for their still-revered
ancestors, the all absorbing problem was to discover and practise the
right way of living together.

To understand the Chinese social ideas of this period with their
emphasis at once on freedom and self-discipline for the common task,
one must bear in mind the effects of the Japanese wars. At the outset
the Chinese had been hopelessly divided against themselves, and the
Japanese had profited by their discord. But invasion united them, and
to the surprise of the world they showed great skill and devotion in
reorganizing their whole economy to resist the ruthless enemy. Though
their armies were driven inland, they contrived to create a new China
in the west. There, great factories sprang up, great universities were
founded. There, the young men and women of the new China learned to
believe in their people's mission to free the world from tyranny and
to found a world-civilization which should combine the virtues of the
ancient and the Modern.

During the first phase of the resistance against Japan, during the
emergence of the new national consciousness which was also a new
consciousness of mankind, the whole resources of the state and the
whole energy of the people were concentrated on defence. Arms had to
be bought or made, armies raised. And the new soldiers had to be
politically trained so that each of them should be not merely an
efficient fighter but also a radiating centre of the new ideas.
Education, military and civilian, was one of the state's main cares.
Under the influence of a number of brilliant minds there appeared the
outline of the old new culture. Based on the ethics of the ancient
China, but influenced also by Christianity, by European democracy, by
European science, by Russian communism, it was at the same time novel
through and through.

Unfortunately, though the ideas that inspired the new China included
common service, common sacrifice, and common ownership, the structure
of Chinese society was still in part capitalist. Though under the
stress of War the commercial and financial oligarchy sacrificed much,
freely or under compulsion, it managed to retain its position as the
effective power behind the throne of the people's representatives, and
later behind the dictator. In the period of acute danger this power
had been exercised secretly, and had effected intrigues with the
similar power in Japan. Later, when the tide had turned, when the
Japanese armies were either surrounded or in flight to the coast, the
plea of national danger was no longer sufficiently urgent to subdue or
disguise the efforts of finance to re-establish itself. A period of
violent internal strain was followed by a civil war. Once more the
rice plains were overrun by troops and tanks, railways were destroyed,
cities bombed, savage massacres perpetrated in the name of freedom or
justice or security.

The result of the war was that Communism triumphed in the North,
Capitalism in the South. For a while the two states maintained their
independence, constantly intriguing against one another. The North, of
course, depended largely on Russian support, and as Russia was at this
time triumphantly expanding over Europe, it looked as though South
China must soon succumb. But Russia, though by now the greatest
military power in the world, was no longer a revolutionary and
inspiring influence. The jargon of communism was still officially
used, but its spirit had vanished; much as, in an earlier age, the
jargon of liberal democracy was used in support of capitalist
exploitation. Consequently the leaders of the South were able to
defeat communist propaganda both in their own country and in the North
by ardent appeals to Chinese nationalism. The result was that after a
while the nationalists seized power in the North. There followed a
solemn act of union between the North and South Chinese states. And
thus was created the formidable Chinese financial-military

While the Russian Empire was busy digesting America and Africa, the
Chinese would-be empire was consolidating itself throughout eastern
Asia. In the north, Japan, Korea, Manchuria and Mongolia, in the
south, Assam, Siam, Burma and the East Indies, were one by one brought
within the new empire. Tibet, which had formerly been part of the
ancient Chinese Empire, was able to maintain a precarious independence by
playing off each of its formidable neighbours against the other.

The period of human history that I have been describing may seem to
have been one in which the will for darkness triumphed, but in fact it
was not. It was merely as I have said, a phase in the long age of
balance between the light and the dark. Neither of the two empires
that now competed for mastery over the planet was wholly reactionary.
In each great group of peoples a large part of the population, perhaps
the majority, still believed in friendliness and reasonableness, and
tried to practice them. When the sacrifice was not too great, they
even succeeded. In personal contacts the form and often the spirit of
Christian behaviour or of the ancient Chinese morality were still
evident. Even in indirect social relations liberal impulses sometimes
triumphed. Moreover in, both empires an active minority worked
vigorously for the light, urging humane conduct and propagating the
idea of a just social order in which all might find fulfilment. In
fact on both sides the more intelligent of the adherents of the light
confidently looked forward to a great and glorious change, if not in
the near future, at least in the lifetime of their children. Even the
rulers themselves, the military-political groups which controlled the
two empires, believed sincerely not indeed in radical change, but in
their mission to rule the world and lead it to a vaguely conceived
Utopia of discipline and martial virtue. In neither empire was there
at this time the ruthless lust for power and delight in cruelty which
had for a while dominated Germany. Between the rulers of the two
empires there was an ambiguous relationship. Though each desired to
conquer the other by diplomacy or war, and though to each the social
ideas and the forms of social behaviour propagated by the other were
repugnant, yet, both agreed in regarding something else as more
repugnant, namely the overthrow of their own state by their own
progressive minority. Consequently their policy was guided not only by
fluctuations in their power in relation to the enemy but also by the
strength or weakness of their own progressives. Sincerely, and
sometimes even with sincere reluctance, they used the plea of external
danger to enforce stricter discipline at home. Yet at times when
social upheaval seemed imminent they would not scruple to ask the
external enemy to ease his pressure for a while. And invariably the
request was granted; for neither of the ruling groups wished to see
its opponents overthrown in revolution.


The life and death struggle which at last broke out between the
empires of Russia and China centred upon Tibet. More important, it was
seemingly in Tibet that the balance between the will for darkness and
the will for the light was finally destroyed. It is necessary
therefore to examine the fortunes of the Tibetans in some detail.

Although their lofty, secluded, and mainly arid land had formerly been
an outpost of the ancient Chinese Empire, it had always maintained a
measure of independence. During China's long struggle with Japan this
independence had become absolute, and henceforth the clerical
oligarchy of Tibet maintained its freedom by playing off Russia and
China against one another. Within the Tibetan frontiers there was a
constant struggle between the secret propagandists of Russia and those
of China, but the Tibetan government put up a strong resistance
against both. Ever since the age of the commercial expansion of Europe
Tibet had fought for the preservation of native culture. Foreigners
had been excluded from the country. Foreign loans for exploitation of
Tibet's natural resources had been refused. Little by little, however,
the barriers had broken down. European and American, and subsequently
Russian and Chinese, goods and ideas had found their way into the high
valleys and plains. Modern aids to agriculture, modern methods of
transport, the cinema, the radio, seemed to threaten to destroy the
individuality of this last stronghold of unmechanized culture.

But in the case of Tibet, forewarned was indeed forearmed. After a
period of internal conflict an economically progressive, but
culturally conservative, party was able to seize power and effect a
revolution in the economic life of the country. The new rulers, the
new advisers of the Grand Lama, wisely distinguished between the
material achievements of modernism and its social and moral
absurdities. They undertook to modernize their country materially and
even to some extent mentally, while preserving the essentials of the
native cultural life. In this they were but following in the footsteps
of the Japanese, but with the tragic example of that upstart modern
society ever before them. Moreover in the Tibetan culture there was
something far deeper, more spiritual and more hardy than in the
culture of Japan. The natural poverty of the country, too, had proved
a blessing. Powerful neighbours regarded Tibet as not worth systematic
exploitation or conquest; and the belated native attempt to develop
the country without foreign aid could not produce, even if it had been
intended to do so, anything like the flood of luxury and the insane
lust for commercial power which had enervated the dominant class in
Europe. Physically Tibetan resources were indeed negligible. Save for
certain remaining deposits of gold, mostly in the eastern part of the
country, there was little mineral wealth, and agriculture was hobbled
by severe shortage of water. Even pasture was at first desperately
meagre. Sheep and cattle, however, and particularly the hardy native
yak, formed the mainstay of the population. The government undertook a
great irrigation scheme; with the willing and even heroic co-operation
of the people. Within a few decades, it was hoped, much of the country
would be capable of intensive cultivation.

But the main resources of Tibet were the people themselves. A pacific,
industrious, and sturdy folk, they had been encouraged to regard
themselves not as a backward race doomed to succumb to foreign powers,
but as the custodians of the ancient wisdom in a period of worldwide
darkness. Some of their recent leaders had suggested also that the
Tibetan people must now become the pioneers of a new and comprehensive
wisdom in which ancient and modern should be combined more
significantly than was possible, for instance, in the depraved
communities of Russia and China.

The leaders of the first Tibetan revolution, though they saw vaguely
the need to modify the native culture, were not in practice able to
carry forward the great process of development which they had started.
There had to be a second revolution, which was led by the forward-
looking section of the Lama class, with the backing of the people.
This new class of leaders had come into being through the first
revolution. A measure of frugal prosperity had increased the people's
leisure and thoughtfulness. Though they were eager for certain
physical improvements to their country, they had escaped the dangerous
spell of modern industrialism, for that simple faith had by now been
discredited among thoughtful people throughout the world. Though these
'servants of the light', as they called themselves, welcomed the
scientific education which the government offered them, they also
welcomed its insistence on the ancient wisdom. Indeed the young began
flocking into the monasteries, and particularly to the houses of the
reformed, modernistic monastic orders. The leaders of this new Lama
class were persons who, after being well grounded in the principles of
Buddhism, had in their maturity been greatly influenced by modern
ideas without being false to the essence of the native culture. Most
of them had spent a year or two in China or India, many in Russia,
some in America, where they had been impressed by the Friends. Foreign
contacts had made them realize fully the superstition and hypocrisy of
the worst type of Lamas and the shallow pretentiousness of much of the
orthodox learning. But this disillusionment had merely brought out
more clearly the truth which had been perverted. This, they affirmed,
was a truth not of intellect but of intuition. It was a feeling or
apprehension of something which put all things into their true
perspective. The whole intellectual edifice of Buddhism, they said,
was an attempt, sometimes sound sometimes false, to elucidate this
inarticulate discovery. And the discovery itself was to be won not at
a stroke but progressively, through a long discipline of actual life.
In modernism also they found a truth of feeling. The real achievement
of modern culture, apart from science, they summarized under three
headings; first, its insistence on action, individual and social, as
opposed to Eastern quietism; second, its demand for equality of
opportunity for all human beings; and, finally, its understanding of
the primitive unconscious sources of all human thought and feeling.

The new monastic orders were at first tolerated and even encouraged by
the Lhasa oligarchy, but presently they were reprimanded for stirring
up unrest. For though each had its headquarters in some craggy
monastery, the inmates travelled periodically, exhorting the people.
They were in fact something between monks, friars, and revolutionaries.
They preached a sort of religious communism, and demanded the abdication
of the ruling class, the wealthy monastic orders. The crisis came when
the new Lamas renounced the celibacy which for centuries had been
accepted by the monastic class. The motive of this change was a
thoroughly modernistic motive. It was realized in the new monasteries
that the two most precious innate social capacities were the disposition
for genuine community and the capacity for intelligent action. It was
realized also that, although the average level of intelligence had
not sunk so far in Tibet as in more advanced countries, there was
a steady drain of the more intelligent into the celibate monastic
orders. This, said the servants of the light, must stop. Recognizing
the importance of self-denial for spiritual discipline, they recognized
also the importance of propagating intelligence. They therefore boldly
affirmed their intention of striving for complete spiritual discipline
and insight though 'unsupported by the prop of celibacy'. Biological
responsibility, they said, must not be shirked by the servants of the
light, even though they must assume other weighty responsibilities.
Not only so, but the experience of family life, with all its trials
and all its mental enrichment, must not be shirked by those who
undertook to lead and govern the people. They recognized that family
life must not be allowed to absorb too much attention, but to avoid
this they advocated that the state should assume the final
responsibility for the upbringing of all children.

The renunciation of celibacy and the attack on the ruling class
inevitably caused a serious conflict between the old and the new
monastic orders. Inevitably the Grand Lama excommunicated the servants
of the light, and finally outlawed them. Civil war followed. Since the
Young Lamas, the servants of the light, were strongly supported by the
people, their victory was decisive. It happened that at this critical
moment of Tibetan history neither Russia nor China was in a position
to interfere effectively, because a move by either would have
precipitated an attack by the other; and since internal unrest in both
empires was grave, war would have turned into civil war. So the second
Tibetan revolution was successfully accomplished, and a new Tibet was
founded, a society which to all earlier statesmen would have seemed a
fantastic dream.

While modest economic development was continued, the main work of the
new government was to educate the people in citizenship and in the
new, purged version of the ancient culture. At the same time equality
of opportunity for the rising generation, opportunity both economic
and educational, was made absolute. In the new constitution ultimate
power lay with the whole adult population. The constitution could be
altered only by their elected assembly, which also could depose the
government or withhold supplies. Current legislation, however, was
carried out not by the general assembly but by a body elected by a
section of the population known as the Active Citizens. These were men
and women who had qualified by undertaking certain kinds of social
service and by passing certain intelligence tests and academic
examinations. The Active Citizens elected representatives from among
themselves, but only those who had completed a rigorous political
training, practical and theoretical, could stand for election.
Parallel with this system there was a kind of Soviet system, based on
occupation. All important legislation had to be sanctioned both by the
representatives of the Active Citizens and by the body which formed
the elected apex of this occupational system. This constitution could
never have been put into action had there not already existed
throughout the country a high standard of political education and a
body of trusted leaders, proved in the revolution.

The new government at once passed a mass of progressive legislation.
Ownership of all means of production was vested in the state, but
delegated, with suitable checks, to the occupations themselves. In
particular, the peasants were assured of ownership of their land. For
some purposes their control was individualistic, and for other
purposes co-operative. The government also issued 'an appeal to all
persons of goodwill throughout the world' to work with new courage to
found a new and unified world order, 'to establish freedom and the
rule of the spirit'. The Tibetans, it declared, dedicated themselves
absolutely to this end.

It is to this point of the history of man that I shall return when I
begin to tell of the triumph of the will for light. Meanwhile I must
from this point pursue the story of increasing darkness; for at this
very moment, when seemingly the will for the light had gained
unprecedented power, the will for darkness gathered its strength for
final triumph.

The actual bifurcation of history may have begun long before this
date. It may have begun in China, in Russia, in America, in Britain,
or in all these countries at different dates. But equally it may well
be that Tibet was the crucial point. Whatever the truth about the
actual bifurcation, the relations of the new Tibet with its two mighty
neighbours constituted the occasion on which the great duplication
became unmistakable and irrevocable. Henceforth my experience was
dual. On the one hand I witnessed the failure of the Tibetan
renaissance, and the destruction of the Tibetan people. This was
followed by the final Russo-Chinese war which unified the human race
but also undermined its capacity. On the other hand I saw the Tibetans
create, seemingly in the very jaws of destruction, a community such as
man had never before achieved. And this community, I saw, so fortified
the forces of the light in the rival empires that the war developed
into a revolutionary war which spread over the whole planet, and did
not end until the will for the light had gained victory everywhere.





THE AWAKENING of the Tibetans caused a stir throughout the world. For
a while it seemed that at last the light would win. Bold young
Tibetans, 'itinerant servants of the light', left their frugal and
crag-bound 'incipient Utopia' to spread the gospel across the high
passes of the Karakorum Range into Sinkiang and far into the Russian
plain. Others, still more daring, penetrated eastward to the upper
reaches of the Hwang Ho. Evading the efficient Chinese police, they
carried the word even to Shanghai, and thence to Japan. Yet others,
crossing the more difficult and neglected of the Himalayan passes,
percolated like an invisible ferment into the peoples of India; while
others again crept along the gorges of Kashmir, seeking Europe.
Thousands were caught, and tortured with all the cunning of medical
and psychological science. In China these tortures were often carried
out in public to entertain the people and warn those who had any
leanings towards the light. But few of the missionaries were
extirpated before they had infected with their message many who were
ripe to receive it. Meanwhile in Lhasa and the other great centres of
the new-old truth swarms of young men and women were being trained to
carry on the great task.

In every land the servants of the light were heartened. The servants
of darkness were bewildered and anxious. Here and there throughout the
two great empires brave attempts were made to copy the Tibetan
experiment. Here and there, notably in Britain, the party of the light
organized an armed rebellion.

The three peoples of Britain, the English, the Scotch, and the Welsh,
had long ago ceased to count politically in the world. Enslaved first
by Germany and then by Russia, they had adapted themselves to their
servile condition. Nevertheless they retained a precious memory not
only of their ancient national splendour but also of that humane and
liberal spirit for which, in spite of heinous faults, they had once
been famous. Whenever in any part of the world a stand was made for
freedom and individual integrity the three British peoples, and often
the Irish too, were ready to cause trouble for their masters. Rumour
soon told them that the new Tibetan state was not the Gilbert and
Sullivan fantasy which Russian propaganda reported. Presently the
secret emissaries of Tibet were at work in London and the North-west.
The gospel spread. But the British, imperfectly schooled in the life
of the spirit, never clearly grasped it. Only the political aspect of
it was fully intelligible to them. Politically they were still gifted
with a certain tact, forbearance, and inventiveness; and they were not
incapable of making a bold stand against tyranny. But this was not
enough. To break the mechanized power of the foreign dictatorship they
needed to have, as a whole people, that outstanding fortitude and
integrity which are possible only to those who have endured a long and
intelligent discipline under the light. The British rebellion failed
because the spirit behind it was confused and uncertain, and therefore
incapable of that fantastic and universal heroism which alone can
triumph over odds that are obviously impossible. The young Russian
air-police quickly obliterated the few towns which the rebels were
able to seize.


This little episode on the fringe of the Russian Empire was of no
general significance. The focus of interest was always Tibet itself.
The two imperial powers had, of course tried to frustrate the Tibetan
revolution, but at first each had regarded the strange commotion on
'the Roof of the World' as a comic side-show. Each had been concerned
to gain a diplomatic victory over its rival in the Tibetan no-man's-
land rather than to preserve the old Tibetan régime. But when the
revolution was actually accomplished, the Russian and Chinese
oligarchs began to be alarmed. And when it became evident that the
insignificant Tibetan state was fomenting the subversive forces beyond
its frontiers and planning a world-wide revolution, both the imperial
governments began to take serious action. The campaign of terrorism
which each undertook within its own frontiers was not as successful as
had been hoped. The progressive minority, disciplined by Tibetan
leaders, showed fanatical courage. Moreover each imperial government
at first made the mistake of fostering the subversive movement in its
rival's territory. Not till matters had become very grave was this
policy abandoned by a tacit agreement between the two great powers to
postpone all action against one another till the epidemic of sedition
had been crushed. Even so, neither could trust the other not to use
the crushing of the Tibetan experiment as a pretext for annexing the
country. Whenever one of the two powers threatened invasion if Tibetan
propaganda did not cease, the government at Lhasa was able to count on
diplomatic or even military intervention by the other.

There came a time, however, when fear of Tibetan ideas overcame
imperial rivalry. Both oligarchies were finding it impossible to cope
with the rising tide of religious fanaticism within their own
frontiers. Though every city had now its own congested concentration
camp, though time after time these camps were emptied to provide a
public holocaust in which, before the eyes of a howling and ecstatic
mob, thousands were roasted alive or vivisected by machinery devised
to produce maximal pain, the movement continued to spread. It even
infected the troops. In these circumstances the two oligarchies were
forced to put aside their rivalry. Their leaders met in conference in
the newest and wealthiest suburb of Irkutsk, on the forest-clad shores
of Lake Baikal. There they worked out a common policy. The conference
was dominated by a young Chinese official psychologist who claimed to
have an infallible cure for the world's madness.

To appreciate his contentions it is necessary to understand the
mentality of the oligarchs. They were in the main sincere believers in
their respective empires, and in imperialism itself. Their conscious
minds were those of devoted, meticulously accurate civil servants who
felt that their society was in danger of disintegration through an
enthusiasm beyond their comprehension. On the whole they disliked the
orgy of torture with which it was hoped to break the movement, but
they believed it necessary. Moreover most of them unwittingly derived
satisfaction from it, for most were frustrated spirits, teased by an
unrecognized itch of resentment against those who had maintained
spiritual liberty and integrity by rebelling against the established
barbarism. Moreover in the Russian and the Chinese cultures there were
elements which favoured cruelty. The Russians were a kindly not a
cruel people, but in the pseudo-mysticism of degenerate Russia there
was in some respects a return to pre-revolutionary ideas. Suffering
was conceived of as the supreme purifier and the supreme source of
illumination. Consequently the infliction of suffering on others might
sometimes be laudable. The Chinese, on the other hand, though so
fastidious and so friendly, had always been liable both to cold
cruelty and to passionate vindictiveness. The Chinaman who had 'run
amok' did but manifest an impulse which was latent in all his race,
and indeed in all mankind, though with less dramatic expression.

The argument of the young psychologist was briefly this. Tibet had
become obsessed with an idea, and was infecting every people. To
resist such an emotional and dynamic idea it was necessary to have
another idea, contrary and even more potent. It was necessary to give
the people something to live for, die for, and kill for. The Tibetan
idea was the incredible ideal of a world in which men would fulfil
their powers in joyful service of the common weal. To counter this
insidious doctrine it was necessary to preach sacrifice, self-
immolation, enlightenment in suffering, obedience to the divine and
ruthless Will, embodied, of course, in the fiat of the state. Two
ideas, the psychologist insisted, must be reiterated on all possible
occasions and given some kind of concrete symbolization. In the first
place it must be constantly pointed out that though the Tibetans
themselves insisted on submission to the divine will, their conception
of that will was effeminate. Moreover the Tibetan emphasis on
submission was incompatible with the contrary exhortation to strive
for revolutionary change. Submission must be absolute, fervent,
ecstatic. Only at the command of the state must it give place to
struggle, and then struggle itself must spring from utter submission
to the divine state. Of course if the state was palpably not divine,
if it was, for instance, the utterly perverted Tibetan state, struggle
must be constant and resolute until the true state was founded. But
under the divine state the supreme virtue was obedience. For the state
in its wisdom would decide what was the right function of everyone. As
for the right to education, there was no such thing. In its place must
be set the right and duty of ignorance. Let each man know merely
whatever was needed for the fulfilling of his function. To know more
was wicked, and to the truly spiritual mind repugnant. Obedience
involved also the pious acceptance of suffering, one's own and one's
neighbour's. But indeed suffering was not only to be reluctantly
accepted; it must be welcomed. For the second great idea which the
psychologist stressed was the excellence both of suffering and of
cruelty. In praising kindliness and mutual respect the Tibetans had
overlooked another important value. No doubt there was a place for
kindliness. Between members of one family, and between loyal members
of the divine state, kindliness was necessary so long as it did not
infringe against loyalty, But from the spiritual point of view there
was a virtue more important and more illuminating than kindliness,
namely cruelty. For cruelty, he said, was complementary to suffering.
In torture, both victim and agent should experience an ineffable
illumination. Like the union of love, and in a far more vivid manner,
the union of victim and torturer was a creative synthesis in which a
new and splendid reality was brought into being. The proof of this was
in the experience itself. The torturer knew well that ecstasy. The
victim, if he was spiritually disciplined beforehand, should
experience an even more exquisite, excruciating joy.

The psychologist urged that the two governments should secretly select
and train the future prophets of this faith, and launch them out as
spontaneous religious enthusiasts throughout the two empires. It would
be well that these agitators should be critical of the existing
imperial governments, condemning them as but feeble embodiments of the
truth. Indeed these state-aided revolutionaries should be encouraged
to demand a new regime. Let them go so far as to incur persecution by
the existing governments. Some of them would then have to be
sacrificed, but the survivors must be heavily financed to rouse a
revolutionary fervour among the populace, the object of which would be
not the milk-sop liberal-socialist Utopia achieved by Tibet but the
fulfilment of the potentialities of the existing order. Only when the
true divine state had been established would the virtue of absolute
acquiescence be possible.

Such a movement, the psychologist prophesied, would sweep the world.
It would appeal both to the universal impulse to 'pass by on the other
side' when help was demanded and to the no less 'widespread need for
destruction and cruelty’. He suggested that, in consonance with the two
national temperaments, acquiescence should be stressed in Russia,
cruelty in China. This difference, he added, could be used as a basis
on which to build Russo-Chinese national hatred when the time came (as
it surely would) for the world-wide ruling class to tighten its grip
on the people by means of a world war. It was never clear whether the
young man believed in the faith that he was preaching or whether he
advocated it merely as a piece of necessary statecraft. It was as
statecraft that the conference accepted the policy.

Presently the Tibetan missionaries found themselves confronted by a
rival missionary movement, with which they could not cope. The
instigators of this new movement were a kind of wild dervish. They
lashed their audiences into fury, preaching sacred cruelty and
demanding a revitalization of the imperial state. After their meetings
there was always a lynching, sometimes a mass sacrifice of captive
servants of the light. The movement spread from Canton to Leningrad.
The two governments bowed before the storm. Their personnel was
somewhat changed, their policy clarified and brought into line with
the new faith. National differences were for the time submerged under
the common will to destroy Tibet.


It was obvious that the Tibetans, few, relatively poor, and unequipped
for war, could not resist the combined forces of the two empires that
covered the world. There was only one hope, namely that the servants
of the light in all countries would be able to carry out so great a
campaign of passive resistance and active sabotage that the attack
would never be launched.

The Tibetan renaissance had been strongly pacifist in temper, though
never pledged to absolute non-violence. The Indian influence had been
complicated by the influence of China. In the new crisis a vociferous
party urged that, since resistance was anyhow hopeless, the time had
come for heroic non-resistance to invasion; and that sabotage in the
two empires must not be encouraged. Against this view it was pointed
out that non-resistance was doomed to fail against invaders schooled
to despise gentleness, and that no policy could succeed but one which
combined total revolutionary action in the imperial territories,
desperate resistance to invasion, and absolute loyalty to the spirit.

This became the official policy, but as the war proceeded the pure
pacifists became strong enough to blunt the edge of resolution. In
relation to Russian and Chinese propaganda in Tibet the strength of
pure pacifism in the country had an unfortunate influence. Large
numbers of the less intelligent Tibetans, seeing clearly enough that
pure pacifism would not work against the ruthless enemy, conceived
suspicion and disgust against all those who were in any way
sympathetic to pacifism. They thus laid themselves open to the
propaganda of the servants of darkness, who soon discovered that their
efforts to undermine Tibetan faith were not wholly unsuccessful.

But the battle was not yet lost. The servants of light throughout the
empires did succeed in rousing many peoples to organize strikes and
rebellions in defence of Tibet. In parts of Western China, in
Sinkiang, and in Kashmir, all of which had been greatly influenced by
the new Tibet, the imperial governments were defeated, and governments
of the light were created. Even in far Europe and in farther America
the Russian power was seriously threatened. Everywhere the rebels knew
that they were fighting in a desperate cause, and that if they were
defeated the vengeance of the tyrants would be diabolic. But Tibet had
become for millions throughout the world a holy land, and its people
the chosen people who must be preserved at all costs. For Tibet was
thought of as the germ from which a new world-organism would in due
season develop. If the germ was destroyed, all hope would be for ever

While these rebellions were in progress, and while throughout Asia
munition factories were mysteriously blowing up and aeroplanes showing
a strange inability to leave the ground, the Tibetans were hastily
organizing a forlorn defence. Rebellions beyond their northern
frontiers made it possible to work unhindered to turn the Karakorum
and Dangla Ranges into a continuous fortress. To the south the
Himalayas were a natural barrier. To the west the successful Kashmiri
rebels would defend them to the death. Eastward the Chwanben gorges
were still being held.

But the main defence against invasion, though not against attack from
the air, was a device recently invented by geneticists and biochemists
in one of the great reformed Lamasseries. The character of this
invention shows how strangely science was developing under the
influence of will for the light. Some miles in front of the
fortifications the new defences formed a belt about two miles wide and
completely surrounding Tibetan territory, save for the exits and
entrances of rivers. Throughout this belt the ground was impregnated to
a depth of several feet with a micro-organism which had been
artificially bred from a natural virus. It had a strange property.
Though in one stage of' its life-cycle this ultra-microscopic object
remained deep underground in chemical reaction with certain products
of vegetable decomposition, in another stage it gradually percolated
towards the surface and finally drifted off into the air, to reproduce
and take part in other chemical reactions before settling once more on
the ground and sinking into the subsoil. In the air this virus formed
an ultra-microscopic dust which would inevitably be inhaled by all
animals in the infected area. From the respiratory organs it travelled
to the brain. It had a startling effect on the higher brain centres.
It produced a complete but temporary loss of memory and of nearly all
acquired skills. Even those habits that were most long-established and
familiar were seriously disturbed. Speech and walking became
infantile, perception largely meaningless. Intelligence remained; but,
shorn of all its acquired experience, it was like the intelligence of
a bright and ignorant child. But the most striking aspect of the virus
was that its influence could be almost completely resisted by minds of
high intelligence and integrity that had undergone a thorough
spiritual discipline. Many Tibetans, therefore, could cross the
defence belt in safety so long as they kept their minds occupied with
meditation, while on the journey and resisted the oppressive
drowsiness which was the first symptom of disintegration.

When at last the dull-witted armies of Russia and China with their
irresistible war machines attempted to cross the belt, their personnel
was mysteriously reduced to infantilism. Many accidentally killed
themselves with their own machinery. The army became a stumbling,
helpless mob. They were shepherded back into their own territory by
Tibetan police. Many were then slaughtered by their Russian or Chinese
compatriots as worthless goods. Some were preserved for observation,
and after a few weeks they completely recovered. Fresh attempts at
invasion met with the same fate. Respirators were of no avail, for the
ultra-microscopic spores could pass through any filter, and nothing
would poison them that was not also poisonous to human beings.

But though on the ground the frontier was inviolate, the virus
provided no defence against attack by air. The Tibetans had a small
but brilliant air force. It had been assumed that in any attack by one
of the two empires the other would be eager to check aggression by its
rival. In such circumstances such an air force as Tibet possessed
might prove invaluable. But against the combined air forces of Russia
and China, it must surely (thought the leaders of those empires) prove
impotent. This calculation omitted the spiritual factor. Not only had
the Tibetan airmen been trained to the highest technical proficiency.
They were also, one and all, conscious servants of the light. Boys
though they were, and therefore as yet incapable of the deeper
spiritual insight, they had been brought up to experience without
perversion the fundamental values for which Tibet was standing. Full
well they knew that the Tibetan community was the one sane and joyful
community in a crazy world, and indeed the first terrestrial society
to be consciously planned for the full expression of the spirit. They
also knew that if they allowed Tibet to be conquered they would doom
the human race to servitude under the will for darkness. They knew
that henceforth all human loveliness would wither and vanish. And they
were convinced that for themselves fulfilment must lie in perfect
service in the air. With a calm and absolute courage more formidable
than any fanaticism these young men soared against the invading
bombers, and brought them down in thousands.

In passing I record one unusual qualification which the Tibetan
government exacted of its young airmen. They must be married men.
Further, none might go into action against the enemy unless he had a
child, or his wife was pregnant. It even became a point of honour with
these strange 'aces' not to take extreme risks until they had at least
three children to their credit.

So effective was the defence put up by the Tibetan air force that the
repeated waves of attack became more and more infrequent and finally
ceased for several years. During this period the Tibetans maintained
themselves in complete isolation from the rest of the world, save by
radio and occasional daring excursions by planes to foment revolution
or seize some much needed commodity. Meanwhile the imperialists were
preparing so great an air-fleet and so numerous a population of pilots
that effective resistance by the shrunken Tibetan air force would be

When the great attack was launched, the sky over Tibet was darkened by
the invading bombers. Every town and village and all the great
isolated monasteries were very soon destroyed. Lhasa, the spiritual
heart of the country, was completely obliterated.

Watching these events from my look-out in the remote future, with
superhuman intelligences as my fellow spectators, I might surely have
been immune from human pity. But in fact compassion and admiration
overwhelmed me. For here was a people most sensitive, most aware, the
heirs and upholders of a most rare and glorious social fabric, a
people rightly believing themselves to be the sole effective champions
of the light in a darkened world. And all that they had built was
being destroyed. Not only the loved temples of their faith, not only
their precious houses of learning and all their instruments of
economic production, were now being sacrificed, but also, and far more
precious, their young people, the perfect fruit of all their past
endeavour. Homes were broken up for ever, parents bereft, children
orphaned, and lovers, seizing delight even under the wings of death,
were suddenly mingled in a hideous and undesired union. By night the
high clouds were lit up continuously by the flashes of guns and bombs
and the sinister but lovely glow of the great fires. By night and by
day the bombs still screamed and crashed, while men searched the
wreckage for their companions. The Tibetans did not give way to self-
pity. The prevailing temper was a devoted patriotism, which, like so
many earlier patriotisms, but this time with justice, regarded the
preservation of this nation and its culture as urgent for the well-
being of humanity. At this stage of the war the population went about
its work in a state of exaltation tempered by humour; with a sense
that this was the supreme moment of mankind and a battle infinitely
worth fighting, yet with surprisingly detached relish of the irony of
Tibet's plight.

The people now set about adapting themselves to their new conditions.

The country was large, and the population small. Agriculture, which
had been so carefully fostered by the new régime, now ceased to be
possible, for the homesteads were bombed and machine-gunned, and the
dams of the great reservoirs were destroyed. But the yak remained; the
population reverted to a nomad pastoral life. Wandering in small
groups, pitching their camouflaged tents in fresh places every night,
they offered a poor target to the enemy. Fortunately the imperialists
at first made no attempt to land troops by plane, for they believed
that the whole country was infected with the strange disease that had
frustrated the first land attacks. The Tibetans, meanwhile, were
hastily spreading the precious virus throughout their territory. Its
effect was to eliminate all who did not attain the necessary standard
of lucidity to resist infection. Only a small minority were thus put
out of action. These were cared for in special homes. A much larger
number, but still only a minority, suffered from temporary mild
attacks of the disease. The virus was now also spreading itself beyond
the frontiers. There, of course, its effects were incomparably worse.
Organization in the infected areas completely vanished.


For long the Tibetans remained in good heart, sending constant radio
encouragement to the tormented servants of the light throughout the
world. But the bombing increased. The whole strength of the two
empires was concentrated on the destruction of the heroic nomads.
According to a current jest Tibet had bombs instead of raindrops. The
enemy air forces succeeded in infecting the reservoirs with disease-
germs. Disease spread like fire through the population. Prolonged
freedom from infection had deprived it of the normal powers of
resistance. Meanwhile the pure pacifists, and also the secret
believers in the synthetic faith which was propagated from the
empires, were urging the government to surrender. From the point of
view of the 'fifth-columnists' peace was indeed earnestly to be
desired; for the gradual impregnation of the whole land with the virus
of defence was already reducing them to imbeciles. Many whose faith in
the light had been strong were now so physically enfeebled by the
strains of war that even they could no longer resist the virus. It
soon became evident that in time the great mass of the population
would succumb.

The obliteration of Lhasa had destroyed the educational and spiritual
nerve-centre of the state. For a while the great provincial religious
institutions successfully carried on the task of maintaining the
spiritual discipline of the population. But one by one these were
destroyed. The older generation were still fortified by their past
schooling, but the education of the young, formerly the state's most
urgent task, had now perforce to be neglected in favour of the
insistent demands of defence. Consequently it became increasingly
difficult for adolescents to resist the virus. Even at the height of
Tibet's prosperity the population had been small. Warfare had now
greatly reduced it. Under the progressive regime the Tibetans had been
the world's healthiest people. Native toughness had co-operated with a
magnificent health service. Those days were gone, for war had not only
introduced disease germs but destroyed the health service. Moreover
there had been heavy casualties among the herds of yak. Famine was
still further weakening the stamina of the people. Worst of all, the
water supply, always meagre, had been greatly reduced by the constant
bombing of the dams.

Already the weaker brethren were openly demanding surrender and even
plotting betrayal. But betrayal turned out to be impossible because it
involved spiritual disintegration, and therefore surrender to the all-
pervading virus.

Beyond the frontiers the rebellions organized by the servants of the
light had long since been crushed. Tibet now faced the world alone.
The only hope was that, since the victory of the imperial powers
seemed now certain, they would begin to quarrel with one another and
use their armaments for mutual destruction. But the Russian and
Chinese ruling classes now regarded Tibet with unreasoning, obsessive
terror and hate. Consciously believing in their own righteousness and
their social usefulness, they were at the same time unconsciously
tormented by a guilt which they dared not confess to themselves, a
guilt which was both social and spiritual. Against a community which
had purged itself of that guilt, and demanded a world-wide purge, they
felt bitter resentment and loathing. Moreover the Tibetan community
had manifested strange powers which the imperialists in their own
hearts knew to be the powers of light, but which consciously they
condemned as diabolical. Thus their action against Tibet showed all
the persistence of one who, discovering on his body the first minute
pustule of some frightful disease, believes it to be the fruit of his
own sin, and resolves to cut out the infected part.

For the Tibetans the crisis came when a party within the government
itself declared that further resistance was not only futile but wrong,
since it involved the useless sacrifice of lives. The advocates of
surrender were clearly not guilty of treason against the spirit, for
they showed no signs of succumbing to the virus. The disagreement was
between persons of equal integrity. In the end the peace party
triumphed. Those who were still determined to maintain their freedom
at all costs withdrew into the wild country on the northern slopes of
the Himalayas.

Tibet surrendered; and, under the shock of this recognition of defeat,
practically the whole population succumbed to the virus.. Those who
retained their sanity strove in vain to protect the hosts of their
childish compatriots from coming to hurt; but these, unable to cope
with ordinary situations, were killed off in thousands. Their decaying
bodies littered the plains and added to the pestilence. The sane were
helpless, and their numbers constantly decreased. Meanwhile surrender
had not brought peace. The victors dared not enter the conquered
country, lest they should succumb to the virus. They therefore
continued their efforts to exterminate the Tibetan people from the
air. In this policy in due season they succeeded. For a few years the
Himalayan remnant miserably survived, but in the end these last
servants of the spirit were discovered by the Russian airmen.
Henceforth their high valleys and gorges were systematically bombed
until all trace of habitation had vanished.

The imperialists still dared not enter the country, for fear of the
virus. They first undertook what must have been the greatest of all
decontamination operations. Aeroplanes systematically sprayed the
whole vast area with a strong disinfectant which destroyed not only
the virus but every trace of animal and vegetable life. The home of
the world's most developed community was thus turned into a desert.




THE WAR against Tibet had enabled the ruling classes of Russia and
China to impose a conveniently strict discipline upon their respective
peoples. When the war was over, the excuse for this discipline
vanished. Inevitably the change from war to peace brought hardship to
many. The transition was not simply haphazard, as it would have been
under individualism; it was controlled by the supreme capitalist, the
state. And it was controlled in such a way as to strengthen the ruling
class, not to increase general prosperity. Further, it was clumsily
controlled. Skilled workers were put to unskilled work for which they
had neither the ability nor the temper. Whole populations, deprived of
their livelihood by the exigencies of peace, were left to starve.
Other populations, meanwhile, were over-worked mercilessly, and in bad

Among the worst sufferers were the Japanese. In an earlier phase of
the industrialization of the East this swarming island people had
played a vigorous but unhappy part. The old feudal ruling class,
wisely refusing to allow European finance to exploit the country, had
itself undertaken the westernization of Japan. Unfortunately the
Japanese were far more successful in imitating the worst features of
European commercialism than in absorbing the best spirit of European
civilization. Ruthless industrialism and ruthless imperialism landed
them in the long and disastrous attack on China. Their ultimate defeat
brought loss of markets, unemployment, and constant social turmoil.
Henceforth China, not Japan, was the economic master of the East.
Japan's feverishly accumulated machinery fell out of use, and its
human adjuncts were starved. The crowded population could not possibly
be kept alive on home-grown food. The standard of living, never high,
sank to famine level. The communists, though repeatedly exterminated,
repeatedly reappeared, and with increasing strength. Meanwhile the
military and financial oligarchy could think of nothing better to do
than copy the notorious 'two hundred families' of France, as it had
formerly copied the pioneering industrial families of Britain. It
preached an anti-bolshevik crusade, made overtures to the Chinese
Empire, and finally surrendered Japan's independence. Like the men of
Vichy before them, the Japanese rulers hoped that at least a few
crumbs of power would thus be secured to them. This, of course, did
not happen. The only result was that the Chinese police took charge of
the country, and 'made an example of' all those who caused trouble,
whether on the left or the right. Through the combination of famine,
torture, and profound disillusionment the population of the Japanese
islands was greatly reduced, while immense numbers of Chinese
officials were settled in the country to reorganize the whole economy
of Japan as a slave state for the benefit of the Chinese Empire in its
crusade against Tibet.

After the fall of Tibet and the end of war-time economy, the Japanese,
like the rest of the world, eagerly awaited the promised improvement
of conditions and relaxation of discipline. But like the rest of the
world they were disappointed. Very soon desperation in Japan reached
the pitch at which suicide becomes the commonest form of death. The
population seemed to be so completely cowed that the Chinese army of
occupation was reduced to a skeleton. At this point the will for the
light in Japan blunderingly reasserted itself. Once more the Japanese
copied the West, with their accustomed thoroughness and lack of
understanding. The Communist leaders, skilfully using Russian gold,
succeeded in persuading large numbers in Tokio and elsewhere that it
was better to die for the Revolution than meekly commit suicide. They
declared, moreover, that revolution was by no means doomed to failure.
The fall of Tibet, they said, had been due to contamination from
sentimental bourgeois ideas derived from the ecclesiastical oligarchy.
That mistake must not be made again. The basis of the Japanese
revolution must be strictly materialistic, and its emotional drive
must come from hate of the oppressor, not from metaphysical delusions.

Entirely careless of their lives, the revolutionaries advanced in
thousands on the machine-guns of their masters. Before effective help
could come from China the régime was broken, and a people's government
was in command. The rulers of China were at this time much occupied
with the danger from Russia. They refrained from sending an
expeditionary force against Japan, and contented themselves with a
very strict blockade. The new Japanese government set about
slaughtering all who were suspected of implication in the former
regime, and all who disobeyed its orders. Food was the supreme
problem. The more people were killed, the more hope for the survivors.
The death penalty was therefore inflicted for the most venial
offences, and whenever guilt seemed at all plausible. Everything
feasible was done to stimulate agriculture. The peasants were forced,
under threat of death, to cultivate vast tracts of poor land, for
which, owing to the blockade, fertilizer were lacking. It was
promised, however, that though in the coming year famine was
inevitable, next season would see a plentiful harvest. Loyalty towards
the future of Japan and the human race, it was said, demanded the
utmost sacrifice from the present generation. But the new land
produced a miserable crop; and the people, enfeebled by famine and
disease, harassed by brutal treatment, and utterly without the
religious stiffening that had fortified Tibet, became incapable of
effort, and too physically weak for hard agricultural work. The régime
was impotent. The more desperate its plight, the more it killed and
tortured. The new rulers knew well that any relaxation of discipline
would have brought immediate destruction to themselves; and most of
them still sincerely believed that their survival was necessary to the
state. In the end the Chinese government, choosing its own time,
quietly recovered possession of the Japanese islands.


Both the Chinese and the Russian Empires, had been harassed by social
disorders. It was clear that nothing short of another major war could
restore discipline. The leaders of the two ruling classes therefore
secretly conferred with one another and agreed to institute a
worldwide war between the two empires. They agreed also on the rules
of this lethal game. Certain districts were to remain inviolate. Trade
intercourse between the two empires was to be maintained through
certain demilitarized ports and frontier towns. Each side was to
refrain from blotting out the other's main centres of production,
while seeming to attempt to do so. On the other hand, whenever there
was any awkward social disturbance in any locality in one of the
empires, the government of the other, if requested by its rival, was
to launch a violent air attack on the infected area. Steps would be
taken secretly by the inviting government to see that its defending
air-force was unable to put up serious resistance.

There was no lack of a casus belli. The two industrial oligarchies had
long been maneuvering against one another to secure the large unworked
gold deposits of Eastern Tibet. There had been a time when the
rivers of Tibet were rich with gold-dust, brought down from the hills.
Gold had also been profitably mined within a few feet of the surface.
That time had long since passed. The new Tibetan state had been aware
of deeper and vaster gold deposits, but had not troubled to exploit
them. To the rival empires this bright treasure was a perennial lure.
China, plausibly stealing a march on her accomplice and rival, now
seized this territory. With an indignation that was by no means
feigned, the Russian government protested, and attacked.

For some years all went according to plan. On the plea of danger,
discipline was restored. The synthetic faith which had been so
effectively used to create unity against Tibet was now with equal
effect used to rouse a savage hate between the two great groups of
people ruled by the Russian and Chinese oligarchies. This time the
differences between the Russian and the Chinese versions of the faith
were duly emphasized. In Russia it was said that the Chinese heresy,
which glorified cruelty, was perverse and diabolic; in China, that the
Russian heresy, which exaggerated acquiescence and irresponsibility,
sprang simply from lethargy, and was insincere and base.

Under the stress of violent warfare social conditions throughout the
two empires inevitably grew worse. On the plea of military necessity
legislation to protect labour was repealed, hours were lengthened,
wages reduced, food adulterated, and rationed in such a way as to
leave the rich the chance of buying substitutes which the poor could
not afford. In China, for instance, rice was rationed to a bare
subsistence minimum, but a new and more nutritious grain, which was
rapidly supplanting rice, was left unrationed. Its price mounted far
beyond the poor man's means. The whole crop was available for the
rich. Personal liberty was of course, so far as possible, destroyed.
The military could move anyone to any part of the empire, could
imprison, kill, or torture at their own pleasure. They did not
hesitate to do so. Education was wholly concerned with producing
efficient machine-tenders who could be trusted to carry out orders
without question. The synthetic faith was inculcated from childhood
onwards. Nearly all accepted it outwardly; most people thoughtlessly
believed it; a few secretly doubted while they outwardly conformed;
still fewer tried to rally the forces of light, and were promptly
destroyed; a fairly large minority believed the faith with some degree
of conviction; and of these a small number practised it with passion.

These were the active servants of darkness, and increasingly the
rulers of the planet. Of many psychological types and all social
classes, they had at least one thing in common. All were frustrated
spirits. Many were innately of low-grade sensibility, incapable of
appreciating any values but physical gratification, personal
dominance, and sadistic passion. These were frustrated in that
civilization had hitherto restrained them from the only kind of self-
expression that they could conceive. Many more were innately normal,
but they had been permanently warped in infancy through untoward
relations with their elders. Some, though their homes had been fairly
wholesome, had been damaged by their schools. Others had suffered
distortion in youth or early maturity through economic failure or the
lethal sense that society was against them. All alike, though in
differing manners, had been forced by the disease of their society to
regress into primitive behaviour. The whole population, of course,
suffered in some degree from the prevailing social neurosis, but these
active servants of darkness had suffered excessively. In them neurosis
bred the positive will for darkness, the satanic will. In them, for
one reason or another, the natural impulse of spiritual growth had
been thwarted and turned into a perverse craving for power, for
destruction, for cruelty. These unhappy souls did indeed experience in
the act of cruelty a kind of ecstasy of release and self-expression,
which all too easily they mistook for an ecstasy of illumination.

But these servants of darkness had no lasting joy in their service. In
all of them the will for darkness was a perversion of the will for the
light. In all but a few maniacs the satisfaction of the will for
darkness was at all times countered by a revulsion which the unhappy
spirit either dared not confess even to itself, or else rejected as
cowardly and evil. In all, darkness appeared in the guise of light, so
that they believed themselves to be the true and faithful servants not
of darkness but of light, heroically denying in themselves the subtly
disguised temptations of the dark power.

Such were the servants of darkness. The great majority in the two
empires consisted of minds in which the darkness and the light were
still equally balanced, but upon which the impact of circumstance
overwhelmingly favoured darkness. For from childhood onwards they were
conditioned to inhuman behaviour and to an evil faith. Though not
themselves inherently perverse, but merely weak and obtuse, they were
wholly incapable of resisting the climate of their age, in which
darkness was persistently presented in the guise of light. Many of
them indeed might reasonably be called true servants of the light,
true to the flickering light in their own hearts, but utterly
bewildered by the prevalent ideas which they had neither the wit nor
the courage to reject. In personal relations with their children,
wives, husbands, friends, and workmates they were still intermittently
and timorously faithful to the ancient light which had entered them
from a more lucid age. But in public affairs they meekly accepted the
perverse conventions of their society, either withdrawing their
attention and making a virtue of acquiescence, or surrendering
themselves to the tribal passion of hate and cruelty against
unfortunate individuals whom they dared not recognize as indeed their

Though for some years the policy of 'synthetic war' instituted by the
Russian and Chinese rulers was very successful, it was bound sooner or
later to fail. For its success, the two imperial powers had to be
approximately equal in strength. So long as this condition held, each
party respected the other's interests and relied on the other's co-
operation. Thus a serious rebellion against the Russian authorities in
Capetown was crushed by a vigorous Chinese air raid. South Africans
were persuaded to believe that defence against Chinese aggression was
at the time more important than the assertion of local rights against
the Russian government, which after all was far less methodically
ruthless than its rival. On the other hand when, in the course of a
successful Russian offensive in Manchuria, the power of the local
Chinese authorities began to break, and a progressive anti-war party
attempted to make an independent peace so as to found a new,
independent, and socialistic state, the Chinese government telephoned
to Moscow to stop the offensive until the rebels had been crushed. The
request was complied with, and all military action against the Chinese
forces ceased. Only in the region of the Khingan Mountains, where the
rebels had set up their government, did the Russians continue
hostilities, attacking from the west while the Chinese pressed forward
from the east.

Gradually, however, the balance of power in the world altered in
favour of the Chinese Empire. This was due at bottom to the greater
efficiency and colder intelligence of the Chinese ruling class. The
world's most ancient and most phlegmatic civilization, though by now
so grievously perverted, had an advantage in this respect against the
world's newest, immature, and equally perverted civilization. Moreover
though Chinese imperialism was handicapped by a late start, it was
better organized, more wealthy, and more united than the Russian
variety. After the trouble in Manchuria the Chinese government
tightened its hold on all its outlying provinces, moving whole
populations hither and thither so as to create a homogeneous people
stretching from the Altai Mountains to the Timor Sea. Thus the rulers
contrived that, although in every region there was servitude and
frustration, in none was there a sufficient local tradition and
consciousness to form the focus of a serious uprising. In the huge,
straggling Russian Empire, on the other hand, the ancient Soviet
tradition had maintained a great deal of local autonomy. Further, the
personnel of the Russian imperial service, if it lacked the tyrannical
meddlesomeness of the Chinese, lacked also its cunning in propaganda
and oppression. The Russian provinces were therefore in a constant
state of unrest, which frequently broke out into turmoil, now in North
America, now in Britain, now in India. Indeed every country had its
history of revolt, alternating between secret sedition and open
rebellion. The consequence was that throughout the latter part of the
Russo-Chinese war Russia appealed to China for help far more often
than China to Russia.

There came a time when the Chinese imperialists began to make excuses
for not carrying out the suggestions of their Russian colleagues and
rivals. At last, so far from helping the Russian government, they
actually sided with the rebels. This first occurred in India, where
clumsy oppression had produced widespread revolt. Instead of bombing
the progressive centres, the Chinese dropped leaflets offering help
and protesting their own progressive and liberalizing intentions. At
the same time they launched a great attack by means of giant mountain-
crossing tanks through Burma and Assam, while their navy seized the
main Indian ports. The misguided Indians welcomed them with
enthusiasm. Throughout India the Russian ruling class was massacred,
and the regime collapsed. An independent Indian state was founded,
under Chinese supervision, and within a few years the Indians were
completely assimilated to the Chinese Empire.

The Russo-Chinese war now became frankly a struggle by the Russian
oligarchy to retain its territories against the attack of its more
efficient rival. Man's powers of destruction were being constantly
improved. There was at this time little or no research for the
improvement of health, nutrition, psychological adjustment, or social
organization, but vast state-financed researches into military
technique, and psychological methods of discipline. Tidal electricity,
which formerly had been the world's main form of industrial power, was
by now subordinate to volcanic sources. The great natural volcanic
regions of South America, the East Indies, and Japan were immensely
developed by artificial borings to tap the planet's subterranean
energies. The light accumulator and the greatly improved methods of
electrical transmission made it possible to distribute electricity
economically into every region of the world. In respect of volcanic
power, the two empires were at first equally well fortified, but the
Chinese gradually outstripped their rivals by their more resolute
development of their resources.

There is no need to tell in any detail of the course of the final
phase of the forty-years war between Russia and China. Like all wars
it was of absorbing, even obsessive, interest to those whom it
directly affected, but to the developed mind its battles and campaigns
and ultimate massacre are more depressing than significant. One or two
striking features of the war may be mentioned. Throughout, the Chinese
were greatly helped by the rebelliousness of the Russian dependencies.
One by one they asserted their independence or succumbed to Chinese
attack. The Russian imperialists were by now fully engaged in
defending the heart of their empire, and could do nothing to maintain
their authority in Africa, America, or Western Europe. In the decisive
campaign the Chinese used two new inventions against which the
orthodox methods of Russia were powerless. One was the giant tank, the
other the legged aeroplane. The new Chinese tank was so large that to
call it a land-battleship was to disparage it. This new engine was
indeed a moving fortified town, complete with its own workshops, and
food stores for its thousand men for three weeks. It could crush and
trample modern sky-scraper cities. On good ground it moved at a
hundred miles an hour. It could travel over mountainous country by
using its great clawed mechanical arms or legs. The legged aeroplane
had the great advantage that it could land anywhere and take off
anywhere. It was indeed a giant mechanical fly which could cling to
precipitous places or suddenly leap from the ground by kicking with
its prodigious thighs. Some hundreds of the new tanks, each attended
by its own swarm of the new aeroplanes, advanced through central Asia.
Russian bombers attacked in successive waves of a thousand planes, but
their bombs could not harm these armour-plated monsters, whose
artillery swept them from the sky. Unchecked, these greatest of all
man's engines streamed across the prairies and deserts of Outer
Mongolia, flattened out the forest, crossed the mountain barriers,
turned aside here and there to grind a town to rubble, took the Urals
in their stride, and headed for Moscow. The Russian government fled.
The city surrendered. But the enemy, obsessed with the worship of
cruelty and ecstatic with slaughter, hurried on to catch the city
before it could be evacuated. Arrived, the monsters steam-rollered the
whole urban area into a flat waste of rubble. The sacred mummy of
Lenin was pulverized in the general ruin. The invaders then amused
themselves by overtaking and squashing the hosts of refugees as a man
may crush a swarm of ants under his boot. Leningrad and other cities
were similarly treated.


Thus ended the Second Russian Empire, the evil offspring of man's
first great though ill-starred attempt to organize society for the
well-being of the many rather than for the power of the few. Some of
the former Russian provinces hastily made peace, others declared their
independence of both empires, only to be speedily crushed. America
alone resisted for two years, but was finally overcome and treated to
a very special punishment for its contumacy. The whole child
population was transported to various parts of the world as slaves.

With the fall of America the human race had succeeded for the first
time in establishing the political unity of the whole planet. The
imperial Chinese government now assumed the title 'The Celestial
Government of the World', and ordered celebrations in every town and
every household of the planet. Everywhere desperate efforts were made
to produce tolerable specimens of the ancient Chinese dragon flag,
which had been revived by the second empire and was henceforth to be
the dreaded emblem of the world-government. Everywhere, even on the
blood-stained Russian plains, this emblem, or some crude approximation
to it, was now anxiously flaunted. It was affirmed that at last the
green Chinese dragon had devoured the red orb that had for so long
hung tantalizingly before him in the golden sky. The red orb was no
longer interpreted as the sun of Japan but as the red world of Russian
imperialism. It was added in a whisper that, with luck the dragon
might soon die of indigestion.

World-unity had been attained! But what a unity! Nowhere throughout
the world was there any considerable group who were at peace with the
world, save the governing class and its jackals. Everywhere the
peasants were enslaved to the universal imperial landlord. Everywhere
they toiled to produce the world's food. Everywhere they starved and
were harshly regimented. Miners and factory hands were in the same
condition. The world-government, instead of organizing a great and
universal movement of social reconstruction, thereby keeping the
workers and the soldiers in employment, dismissed half its armies and
kept the rest in idleness. The workers it treated with utter contempt,
confident in its power to coerce them. The great class of technicians
who had been persuaded to support the war in the hope that under
world-unity they would be given the chance to build universal
prosperity, found themselves used either for strengthening the
oligarchy or for producing its luxuries; or else dismissed and
maintained by the state in a sort of half-life of penury and despond.

Although individualistic capitalism had long since vanished, the
universal decadent state-capitalism was in many ways subject to the
same disorders. Though the power for social planning was in the hands
of the world-government, the will was lacking. The rulers were
concerned only to maintain their position. Vast economic powers, at
first the perquisites of the great ruling Chinese families, were now
farmed out to irresponsible state-servants, who turned themselves into
dictators of the industries under their control. And since there was
little co-ordination of their actions, and, anyhow, they were mainly
concerned to feather their own nests, chaos followed. Unemployment
increased, and brought with it its attendant evils. Desperate
populations became difficult to handle. Punitive massacres were very

At last a new invention, one of the very few which the declining
species managed to achieve, brought temporary aid. A biochemist
produced a method of putting human beings into a state of suspended
animation from which, he said, they could be easily wakened, 'fresh
and young', after a sleep of many years. The world-government,
believing that unemployment was a passing phase, and that later on
there would be a great need of labour, set about building in every
country a system of cold-storage warehouses where unwanted human
beings could be deposited until the times changed. The unemployed and
their families were forcibly stored in these warehouses. The
struggling creatures were chained down, lying shoulder to shoulder on
tiers of shelves inside huge tanks, which were then filled first with
a succession of gases and finally with a preserving liquid. Millions
of men, women, and children in almost every country were thus stored
for future use. Though the lives of the workers were almost
intolerably arid and distressful, they did all in their power to avoid
being sent to the cold-storage houses. The will for the light
expressed itself in them as a blind will for active life, however
abject. But a few welcomed this opportunity of escape, without
irrevocable extinction; believing that in their next phase of active
life they would have better opportunities of expressing themselves. In
most of these, the acquiescence in suspended animation was at bottom
an expression of the will for darkness, though rationalized to satisfy
the still smouldering will for light. For the individual in whom the
will for the light is strong and clear finds his heart inextricably
bound up with the struggle of the forces of light in his native place
and time. Much as he may long for the opportunity of fuller self-
expression in a happier world, he knows that for him self-expression
is impossible save in the world in which his mind is rooted. The
individual in whom the will for the light is weak soon persuades
himself that his opportunity lies elsewhere. And so, as the spirit of
the race was progressively undermined through ever-deteriorating
physical and psychological conditions, acquiescence in 'the deep
sleep' became more and more widespread.

One of the main factors in the waning of the will for the light in
this period was the attitude of the intellectuals. The academics,
musicians, painters, cinema-artists, and, above all, the writers
flagrantly betrayed their trust. In all these groups there were
persons of four types. Many were paid servants of the government,
engaged on propaganda through work which was ostensibly independent.
These were concerned chiefly to put a good complexion on the regime,
and to praise the fundamental principles of the synthetic faith, in
particular the virtues of acquiescence and obedience, and the ecstasy
of cruelty. Still more numerous were the independent but futile
intellectual ostriches who shut their eyes to the horror of their time
and won adulation and power by spinning fantasies of self-
aggrandizement and sexual delight, distracting men's attention from
contemporary evils with seductive romances of other ages and other
worlds, or with exalted and meaningless jargon about a life after
death. There were also large numbers of progressive intellectuals.
These saw clearly enough that contemporary society was mortally sick,
and in a dream-like, unearnest way they expounded their tenuous
Utopias, in which there was often much common sense and even wisdom;
but they preached without that fury of conviction which alone can
rouse men to desperate action. And they themselves lived comfortably
upon the existing system, in their flats and suburban houses. Vaguely
they knew that they ought to give up all for the revolution; but being
what they were, they could not. The fourth type were the very few
sincere and impotent rebels, who flung away their lives in vain and
crazy attempts to be great prophets.

Crucial to the fate of the human race at this time was the attitude of
the class of technicians, the host of highly trained engineers,
electricians, aeronautical experts, agricultural experts, and
scientific workers in industry. These, if they could have formed a
clear idea of the plight of the race, might have saved it. But they
were experts who had been carefully trained in the tradition that the
expert should not meddle in politics. In times of great stress, of
course, they did meddle; but, because they had consistently held
themselves aloof, their pronouncements were childish, and their
attempts at political action disastrous. A few had, indeed, taken the
trouble to study society, and had come to understand its present ills.
These fought constantly to enlighten their fellows and unite them in a
great effort to control the course of events. Undoubtedly, if the will
for the light had been strong in this great class, which controlled
throughout the world all the innumerable levers and switches and press-
buttons of the material life of society, it could have overthrown the
world-oligarchy in a few days, and set about organizing a sane order.
But the appeal to the technicians met with a half-hearted response.
Most of them shrugged their shoulders and went on with their work. A
few took timid action and were promptly seized and put to torture by
the rulers. The movement failed.

It seemed to me very strange that a class which included nearly all
the best intelligence of the world and very much of the world's good
will should be incapable of ousting a set of tyrants who were both
insensitive and stupid. The explanation, seemingly, was twofold.
First, the rulers found themselves in possession of a vast and highly
mechanized system of oppression. If anyone did anything obnoxious to
the régime, immediately and automatically he was put out of action.
Some colleague would certainly inform against him, and the police
would do the rest. For the whole population, it must be remembered,
was now tormented by neurotic jealousy and fear. The infliction of
pain on a fellow mortal could afford a crazy satisfaction. Informers
were, of course, well rewarded, but it was the joy of persecution that
inspired them. Secondly, the mechanization of propaganda had been
developed to an extent hitherto unknown. Psychology, the youngest of
the sciences, had by now attained a thorough knowledge of the
primitive and the morbid in man without reaching to any real
understanding of the distinctively human reaches of human personality.
Government psychologists had worked out a subtle technique of
suggestion by reiterated symbolic appeals to suppressed motives. This
method, applied from infancy onwards, had ensured that all the
unwitting cravings of a neurotic population, all their unacknowledged
fear, hate, energy, cruelty, lechery, selfishness, and mob-passion,
should depend both for stimulation and assuagement on the existing
social order, and should issue consciously in a jealous and vengeful
loyalty to the oligarchy. Thus did a group of scientists who should
have used their skill for the purgation and elucidation of men's minds
help to deepen the general darkness and misery. The power of
propaganda was greatly increased by the prevailing educational
principles. The free intelligence, which criticizes fearlessly and
without prejudice, was ridiculed, condemned, and carefully suppressed.
Bound intelligence, acting within the universe of discourse of the
established culture, was encouraged; but it was mane clear to every
pupil that intelligence was rather a necessary evil than a thing to
prize for its own sake. What was intrinsically good was orthodoxy,
unison with the tradition. To strengthen the passion for orthodoxy it
was ordained that school classes should be as large as possible, and
that the main method of teaching should be by organizing mass chanting
of the traditional truths. Had the will for the light been less
feeble, this procedure might well have induced in some pupils a
revulsion in favour of free intelligence; but in this latter day of
the human race, such rebellion was very rare.

The government's control over its subjects was greatly increased by a
new invention which would have been asource of increased social well-
being had it occurred in a more wholesome society. This was the
product of advances in physiology and electrical engineering. The
mechanism of the human brain was by now fairly well known; and by
means of a vast mesh of minute photoelectric cells, inserted by a
brilliant surgical technique between the cerebral cortex and the
skull, it was possible to record very accurately the ever-changing
pattern of activity in the cortical nerve-fibres. Advances in the
technique of radio made it easy to transmit this record over great
distances, and to decode it automatically in such a way that the
thoughts and impulses of the observed person could be accurately
'read' by observers in far-away government offices. The immense
knowledge and skill which went to these inventions might have caused
untold benefits to mankind; but through the treason of the
technologists and the power-lust of the rulers they were combined to
form a diabolical instrument of tyranny.

A law was passed by which everyone suspected of harbouring dangerous
thoughts was condemned to have his brain made available for constant
observation. This involved an operation for the insertion of the
photoelectric mesh under his skull and the attachment of the necessary
miniature accumulators to his crown by screws driven into the skull
itself. If any attempt was made to tamper with the instrument, or if
the accumulator was allowed to run down beyond a certain point, the
unfortunate individual was automatically subjected to the most
excruciating pain, which, if prolonged for more than an hour or so,
culminated in permanent insanity. In addition to this transmission-
instrument there was a minute radio telephone receiver driven into the
mastoid bone. Thus not only were the subject's thoughts and feelings
open to inspection at every moment of his life by some remote official
but also instructions, threats, or repetitive gramophone propaganda
could be inflicted on him morning, noon, and night.

At first this technique was applied only to those under suspicion, but
little by little it was extended to all classes of society, save the
oligarchs themselves and their most favoured servants. Immense offices
were set up in all the main centres, where hosts of inspectors were
constantly at work taking sample readings of the world's two thousand
million minds. Every ordinary man, woman, and adolescent knew that at
any moment he might be under inspection. At any moment a voice might
interrupt his thoughts with some propaganda commentary on them, or
with a rough warning or the imposition of a penalty. While he was
going to sleep he might be invaded by music and incantations
calculated to mould his mind into the temper approved by the
government. Those who were brought up from childhood to be accustomed
to this treatment accepted it cheerfully. The very young were
sometimes even impatient to receive what they foolishly regarded as
this certificate of maturity. Under the constant influence of official
scrutiny the minds of adolescents became almost perfectly correct.
Dangerous thoughts, even of the mildest type, were for them
unthinkable. Those who received the treatment as grown men or women
suffered prolonged mental agony, and many committed suicide.

The policy of those who controlled this vast system of espionage was
simply to ensure that all minds should be orthodox. As time went on,
the inquisitors themselves came to be chosen solely from the ranks of
those who were products of the system itself. So amazingly correct
were these minds that they suffered nothing from the publicity of all
their mental processes.

The strangest aspect of the system was this. Those who controlled it
were themselves enslaved to it; they used their power not to
emancipate themselves but to support the ruling caste. In the earlier
phase of the Chinese world-empire the caste, or rather the non-
hereditary class from which the caste later developed, had maintained
its position by superior cunning and resolution; but in its later
phase, when cunning and resolution had given place to stupidity and
self-indulgence, the position of the ruling caste was maintained
automatically by the mechanical functioning of the established social
system. The rulers had immense privileges and great arbitrary powers.
For them the workers piled up luxuries. In accordance with the
vagaries of their fickle taste, fashions changed, whole working
populations were suddenly worked to death or flung aside into the
cold-storage warehouses. When the rulers said 'do this' or 'do that',
the world obeyed. But their power lay wholly in the fact that the
technicians were hypnotized in their service, hypnotized, not through
the cunning and resolution of the rulers themselves, but through the
vast momentum of traditional culture. Thus little by little the ruling
caste became at once helpless and absolutely secure. In the same
manner the slave-owning ants depend wholly on the ministrations of
devoted slaves who have all the skill but not the wit to rebel.

The perfection of the system of social control was reached by means of
a further triumph of inventive genius. After much laborious experiment
a method was devised by which the impulses and desires of the
individual could be either stimulated or suppressed by radio. Thus it
was possible for the officials in a distant government office to force
upon a man an irresistible craving to carry out a prescribed course of
action. Like one under hypnotic influence, but with full consciousness
of the enormity of his action, he might find himself compelled to
betray his friend, to murder his wife, to torture his child or
himself, to work himself to death, to fight against impossible odds.

Little by little the whole subject population of the world was fitted
with the instruments of volitional control. The government was now
practically omnipotent.

Once more, the strangest aspect of the new invention was that those
who controlled it were themselves under its control. For the operators
themselves were fitted with the instruments. Operators in each
department were controlled by their superiors, and these by their
superiors. These again were controlled by the supreme council of the
locality, which was composed of all heads of departments. The supreme
council of the locality was in turn controlled by the council of the
province or state; and the state councils by the World Imperial
Council. Members of this body were automatically controlled. Automatic
machinery ensured that any incipient desire inconsistent with the
orthodox system of desires should automatically be obliterated, while
certain desires fundamental to orthodoxy were automatically

This ingenious system, it must be noted, had not been devised by the
rulers themselves but by the technologists, by physiologists,
psychologists, and electrical engineers. They had done it partly out
of blind professional enthusiasm, partly because they felt the need of
such a system to fortify their orthodoxy against the unorthodox
impulses which occasionally distressed them.

As for the rulers themselves, these sacred beings, these sacred
animals, were not controlled. They were free to think and act
according to their nature, which by now had degenerated into a mess of
stupidity, selfishness, and malice. Their stupidity was the stupidity
of beasts. Though they were free, they were powerless. Of degenerate
stock, they were conditioned by upbringing to a life of fantastic
luxury and desolating self-indulgence. So long as they behaved
according to the orthodox pattern, they were preserved and reverenced.
If any showed some sign of individuality he was at once de-classed and
operated upon for radio control. But this was very rare. Nearly all
were content to live at ease on the fat of the land and the adulation
of the masses. They were kept busy with the innumerable ceremonies and
pageants without which, it was thought, the state would collapse, and
in which the representative members of the ruling caste always played
the central part. Those who obscurely felt the barrenness of their
lives sought notoriety in the fields of sport or aeronautics. But, as
the generations passed and their capacity deteriorated, they were
forced to seek less exacting forms of self-display. Of these, one of
the chief was the infliction of torture. The subject population,
though conditioned to believe in the mystical virtue of cruelty, and
though capable up to a point of relishing the spectacle of torture
inflicted on strangers, were prone to lapse into squeamishness or even
compassion. Not so the rulers. Unconsciously poisoned by their own
futility and baseness, they were obsessed by hatred of the masses, the
technicians, their own peers, and themselves. Without any radio
control, therefore, they could inflict the most disgusting tortures
with equanimity, and even unfeigned relish. When one of them had to
perform the office of tearing out the eyes or bowels or genitals of
the sacrificial victim, he did so without a qualm. To the fascinated
and nauseated spectators this callousness appeared as aristocratic
virtue. When humble people came to be subject to radio control of
volition they often welcomed the artificial reinforcement to their
ruthlessness. On the other hand when an erring member of the ruling
caste had to be de-classed and put to torture, he invariably showed
less than the average fortitude. It never occurred to the public,
while they howled with glee at his discomfiture, that the aristocrats,
even before de-classing, were after all no better than themselves; for
the ceremony of de-classing was supposed to have deprived the culprit
of his native virtue.

One of the causes of this admiration of cruelty in the world-culture
of this period was the widespread respect for 'the unconscious'. The
distinction between the conscious and unconscious motives, which had
played such a beneficial part in an earlier psychology, had by now led
to absurdities. The unconscious was now said to be the divine will
working in us. The unconscious sources of action were therefore
sacred. In a race in which, through unwholesome conditioning, the
'unconscious' was a tissue of perverted cravings, this meant that the
perverse was deified.

Another curious aspect of this degenerate culture was that, along with
'the unconscious', reason was deified; and this in spite of the bitter
condemnation of the exercise of free intelligence. But sacred reason
was nothing whatever like ordinary human reasoning. It was the occult
rationality of the universe, forever inaccessible to man. Everything,
it was said, had in the divine view its reason. Everything followed
necessarily from the divine reason. In the human sphere free
intelligence was an impious attempt to probe the divine reason. The
true scope for man's own divine spark of reason was not in the free
exercise of intelligence but in the pious and unquestioning study of
the metaphysical arguments of the inspired scriptures.

One branch of the cult of reason was a fantastic use of mathematics.
But again, what was admired was not the free exercise of mathematical
intelligence. This, indeed, was heartily condemned. A number of
complex and valid mathematical operations were, of course, performed
by the technicians for practical purposes; but they were all well-
established operations, handed down from a more intelligent
generation. Mathematical innovation was deemed wicked.

Further, the actual symbols of mathematics were gradually acquiring
mystical virtue. As intelligence deteriorated, the time-honoured
operations continued to be used both in industrial research and in
religious ritual, but they were performed with ever-dwindling insight.
In the final phase mathematical understanding had vanished altogether.
The operations were still called rational, but their rationality was
said to be patent only to the divine reason. This was proved by the
fact that the whole of physical nature 'obeyed' mathematical laws.
Human reason, however, could not possibly detect the occult necessity
of the higher mathematical processes. Any attempt to do so was




I CANNOT BE sure how long the Celestial World Empire endured. Its life
must certainly be counted in centuries, and possibly it lasted for a
couple of thousand years. Though the world empire was at heart a
diseased society and bound to disintegrate, it inherited from earlier
societies a certain toughness of fibre, and its structure was such
that it could carry on in a sort of living death so long as conditions
remained unchanged. While its material resources were unimpaired it
functioned automatically and without change.

The human race had in fact attained the kind of stability which insect
species have maintained for many million years. Its whole economy had
been worked out in intricate detail by the technicians of an earlier
age through a period of many decades, and had at last become
absolutely stereotyped. Raw materials, produced in appropriate regions
and in regular annual quantities, were assigned to manufacturing
districts according to a time-honoured plan, to be distributed in
time-honoured proportions to the various nations and social classes.
The whole industrial technique had acquired a kind of religious
sanctity. No variations were to be tolerated, except the seasonal
variations which were themselves sanctified.

In these circumstances the function of the technicians, the
unacknowledged but effective rulers of the planet, was radically
altered. From being primarily inventors of new processes and new
adjustments they became simply orthodox vehicles of the sacred lore.
Intelligence, therefore, even bound intelligence, came to have an
increasingly restricted function. Before the onset of decline,
planning had been becoming more and more comprehensive and far-seeing.
Men had planned for centuries ahead and for great societies, even
tentatively for the future of the species. But after the world empire
had become firmly established and stereotyped, large planning was no
longer necessary. Only in the ordering of individual lives was there
any scope for intelligence. Even here, as individual lives became more
and more dominated by the regularities imposed by the state, the
office of intelligence became more restricted. Whenever any daring
spirit did try to improve upon the orthodox procedure, his
intelligence proved feeble and his action misguided. His failure
merely strengthened the general distrust of innovation.

For a very long while the material resources and the biological
condition of the race did remain in effect constant. To the subjects
of the world empire it seemed certain that the existing order was
eternal. The idea of progress, material or mental, had long since
ceased to seem plausible, for society was universally regarded as
perfect. On the other hand the idea of racial decline was never
contemplated. But behind the appearance of stability great changes
were already at work, both in the physical environment and in the
constitution of the human race itself.

Though volcanic power was inexhaustible, certain essential raw
materials were not. Coal and oil had long ago been superseded as
sources of power, but as raw materials for many synthetic products
they were valuable, and becoming ever more difficult to procure. The
world's phosphate deposits, so necessary for agriculture, were being
steadily reduced. Guano, long ago abandoned, was once more assiduously
collected. Potash deposits had been heavily worked and were seriously
depleted. An earlier age had known that an unlimited supply of potash
could, when necessary, be obtained from sea water, but there had been
no need to work out a technique for isolating it. Now, when potash was
scarce, there was no longer the inventive capacity to tackle so
difficult a task. Nitrogen had for long been derived from the air for
use in fertilizers and high explosives. In this case, however, the
technique was well established, and so there was no immediate danger
of its loss. Iron, though one of the commonest of all elements, was
becoming steadily more difficult to reach. All ordinarily accessible
deposits were seriously depleted, and the skill for much deeper mining
was by now lacking.

The condition of forestry in the latter days of the world-empire
throws a strange light on the mental decay of the race. Wood-pulp had
been the main raw material for many synthetic products. In early days,
when the intelligence of the technicians was still effective,
afforestation schemes had been organized so as to keep the balance of
production and consumption. But latterly planting had seriously lagged
behind felling. This may seem surprising, since the balance of
planting and felling was part of the rigid and sacred technique of
social organization. The cause of the ever-increasing discrepancy was
very simple but completely hidden from the sluggish minds of the
latter-day empire controllers. The original scheme had been calculated
on the assumption that the art of forestry would continue to be
practised with quick intelligence. Some margin had been allowed for
accidents and errors, but not a fool-proof margin. When intelligence
had declined, mistakes became more frequent, and less successfully
repaired. Consequently the old sacred formulae failed. The forests
slowly but surely dwindled. But according to the sacred scriptures of
afforestation this was impossible, if the formulae had indeed been
followed. Therefore it was impious to suggest that the forests were
dwindling. Therefore anyone who began to suspect that this was
happening turned a blind eye on the facts. Thus the rot continued
without any attempt being made to stop it.

The same disastrous decay took place in agriculture. The original
organizers of the empire's tillage had worked out a delicately
balanced agricultural system which should yield an adequate crop of
food-stuffs without impoverishing the land. But this system had
depended on intelligent adjustment. It was not fool-proof. When
sluggish minds took charge, there was a far greater wastage at every
point in the system. The old formulae therefore became inadequate. But
since any alteration would have been impious, the upshot was that
century by century rather less was put into the ground than was taken
from it. Thus there set in a steady process of denudation. Slowly but
surely all the great agricultural districts became less productive.
The corn-bearing plains of North America and Russia, the rice plains
of China and India, the great scattered areas that had provided the
world's greens, the fruit lands of California, Australia, South
Africa, one and all deteriorated. Little by little they turned into
wastes of sand, like the once fertile Sahara. The process was made all
the worse by climatic changes caused by the shrinking of the forests.

The gradual failure of agriculture was of course a very slow process.
Ordinary citizens of the empire did not notice it. True, there were
great desert tracts in which the ruins of former farmsteads might be
observed; but the slow-witted populace never dreamed that this was a
symptom of an ever-spreading disaster. Only by comparing the present
output with past records could the trouble be realized. But the
records and the sacred proportions of agricultural production were
known only to the 'mystery' of agriculture, in fact to the heads of
the world agricultural system. These magnates knew vaguely that
something was wrong; but since for sundry reasons it was unlikely that
there would be trouble in their day, they held their tongues. The
decline was in fact easily concealed, because, while supplies were
dwindling, the population of the world was also rapidly decreasing.


The decline of world-population had started long ago after the period
of rapid increase which took place in the early phase of
industrialization. It was due partly to the widespread use of
efficient contraceptive methods, partly to anxiety about economic
insecurity, partly to a vague sense of the futility and falsity of
civilization. In the rather tired Utopia of North America, where the
decline was first seriously felt, insecurity cannot have been a cause,
for prosperity was universal. But disillusionment about a curiously
aimless Utopia was a serious factor in American life. The early
totalitarian states had always feared decline of population, and had
done their utmost to check it, but without much success. The newer
totalitarian states, the Russian and Chinese Empires, and the World
Empire in its early phase, had attacked the problem with
characteristic ruthlessness.

The most obvious way to increase population was waken the hundreds of
millions whom past governments had from time to time put into cold
storage all over the world in order to solve the unemployment problem.
There was at first great reluctance to do this, for a reason which
reveals the incredible stupidity and superstition of the human race in
this period. Declining population, far from solving the unemployment
problem, had increased it. Demand was constantly declining. Mass-
productive machinery could less easily be worked at a profit. Though
the rulers saw clearly enough with one side of their minds that an
increase in population was needed, on the other side they were
painfully aware of the unemployment problem, and reluctant to add to
the stagnant pool of potential labour. Consequently, though there was
much discussion about the cold-storage houses, nothing was done.
Meanwhile population continued to decline.

The governments tried to compel the peoples to reproduce. Women were
educated to believe that their sole function was reproduction. Mothers
were honoured in relation to the number of their offspring. Those
produced fifteen or more babies were given the title 'Prolific
Mother'. Any who succeeded in launching twenty human beings were
deified. Contraception was made illegal and condemned as immoral. In
spite of all these measures the fertility-rate declined. In
desperation the World Government tightened its grip on the women.
Every girl was compelled to have intercourse with a man as soon as she
was certified as mature. A month after certification she appeared
before her medical board again and was examined to prove that she was
no longer a virgin. If after three months she had not conceived, she
was sent to an institution that combined the characters of a brothel
and a stud-farm. If after another three months she still failed to
conceive, she was subjected to medical and surgical treatment to cure
her barrenness. If this also failed, she was publicly disgraced,
appropriately tortured, and gradually killed.

After helplessly watching the decline of population for many decades,
perhaps centuries, the World Government decided to take the obvious
step, which, moreover, was sanctioned by scripture. For it was part of
the sacred canon that some day, when there was great need of workers,
the sleepers must be wakened. The rulers now declared that the time
had come. In panic and without proper preparation it ordered the
physiologists to thaw out the whole refrigerated multitude. The
process was a delicate one, and the instructions left by an earlier
and brighter generation were at first badly bungled. Millions were
killed, or woke up to a brief period of misery and bewilderment,
speedily followed by death. Millions more survived only for a life of
permanent invalidism or insanity. The majority, however, though
seriously damaged by their rough awakening, were fit for active life
of a sort. But they had slept through much history. Their minds had
been formed by a world long vanished. Their speech and thought were
often so archaic that modern individuals could not understand them.
Their limbs, and their minds too, moved at first with painful
sluggishness. Their procreative impulses were apparently quenched.
Moreover they gradually discovered that their new world was even less
propitious than the old one. Some of them, when they had entirely
thrown off the miasma of their age-long sleep and had painfully
adjusted themselves to the new environment, proved to be rather more
quick-witted than their normal neighbours in the new world. And, as
they had not been brought up to accept the recent and more extravagant
prejudices of the new world, they were generally very critical of the
modern customs and institutions. In fact they soon became a grave
nuisance to the authorities. The Government hastened to order that all
the 'reawakened' should at once be fitted with radio control. This
obvious precaution had been delayed less through fear of putting them
to too great a strain before they had recovered from the effects of
refrigeration, than out of an amazingly stupid reluctance to raise
them to the rank of citizens. Millions were now subjected to the
operation. Half of these died under the anaesthetic. Millions more put
up a desperate resistance and had to be destroyed. Here and there,
where there was a large concentration of the 'reawakened', they were
able to seize power and set up a rebel state. The spectacle of human
beings resisting authority was utterly bewildering to the robot
citizens of the world-state. In many minds there arose an agonizing
conflict between the orthodox radio-generated will and a shocking
impulse to rebel. This would probably not have occurred had not the
technique of radio-control seriously degenerated, owing to the general
decline of intelligence. Many of the unfortunate sub-humans (for men
were no longer human) went mad or died under the stress of this
conflict. Some succeeded in resisting the control and joined the
rebels. It almost appeared that an era of new hope was to begin for
the human race. Unfortunately the 'reawakened' could not stand the
strain. While their cause prospered, all was well with them, but every
passing misfortune was accompanied by a great crop of suicides. So
little heart had they for life. One by one the rebel centres
collapsed, till none was left.

The population problem remained unsolved. One other method of coping
with it had been tried, at first with some success.

In the early middle period of the world empire, while innovation was
still possible, a group of physiologists and surgeons had devized a
method which, it was hoped, would settle the matter for ever. The new
technique was a half-way stage towards true ectogenesis. The womb and
other necessary organs were removed from a young woman and kept alive
artificially. The mutilated donor of these precious organs was then
destroyed, but part of her blood-stream was put into artificial
circulation through the excised organs and used as the medium for
supplying them with necessary chemicals. The womb could then be
inseminated, and would produce an infant. By various technical methods
the process could be made far more rapid than normal reproduction.
Moreover quintuplets could be procured from every conception.
Unfortunately the excised organs could not be kept alive for more than
ten years, so it was necessary to have a constant supply of young
women. The government therefore imposed the death penalty on women for
the most trivial offences, and used them up for artificial
reproduction. At the same time it tried to educate female children in
such a way that when they reached maturity many would actually desire
the supreme glory of sacrificing their lives so that their wombs might
live on with enhanced fertility. The response to this propaganda was
disappointing. In fear of a really catastrophic decline of population
the government passed a law that every woman, except members of the
sacred governing class, must 'give her life for her children's sake'
at the age of twenty-five.

Unfortunately the method of artificial reproduction involved a very
delicate surgical technique, and it did not come into general use
until first-class manipulative intelligence was already in decline.
Increasingly, therefore, the excised wombs failed to survive the
operation, or, if they did survive, failed to produce viable infants.
Presently it became clear to the few free intelligences of the race
that the method, far from increasing the population, was actually
hastening its decline. But already the method had become part of the
sacred tradition and could not be abandoned. For decades, therefore,
it continued to be practised with increasingly disastrous results.
There came a time, however, when even the dull and enslaved wits of
the Celestial Empire could not but realize that if the decline of
population was not quickly stopped civilization would disintegrate. A
great struggle ensued between the orthodox and the protestants, until
at last a compromise was agreed upon. At the age of twenty-five every
young woman must receive a ceremonial cut on the abdomen, accompanied
by suitable ritual and incantations. This, it was believed, would
increase the fertility of her reproductive organs without the
necessity of excising them.

In spite of everything, population continued to decline. I was not
able to discover the cause of this universal process. Perhaps the root
of the trouble was physiological. Some chemical deficiency may have
affected the germ cells. Or again some subtle mutation of the human
stock may have rendered conception less ready. Or perhaps the neurotic
condition of the population had produced hormones unfavourable to
conception. I am inclined to believe that the real cause, through
whatever physical mechanism it took effect, was the profound
disheartenment and spiritual desolation which oppressed the whole

Whatever the cause, the world-population continued to shrink, and in
the process it became a predominantly middle-aged population. The
small company of the young, though cherished and venerated, counted
for nothing in decisions of policy. An ice-age of feebleness and
conservatism gripped the world with increasing force.


Presently there came a time when the sacred customs could no longer be
even superficially maintained. There was neither the labour nor the
degree of vigour and intelligence to maintain the sacred stereotyped
functions of society. The first serious breakdown was connected with
volcanic power. Whenever great volcanic eruptions occurred, the
machinery for harnessing and using the submerged titan was likely to
be thrown out of gear or destroyed. When the tumult had subsided the
local system had to be reconstructed, probably in new conditions.
Great eruptions are rare, but over the centuries they occur in every
active volcano. So long as intelligence was strong, the damage was
quickly repaired. Long after the extinction of the fully free
intelligence the limited, bound intelligence which functioned only
within the orthodox system of ideas and values was still capable of
great practical inventiveness. When a volcanic power station was
destroyed and the volcano changed its whole configuration, even the
bound intelligence was able to reconstruct the generating system. But
when the actual innate capacity for intelligence had seriously
declined, when even the best surviving intelligence was not only bound
but feeble, such great problems of engineering could seldom be
successfully tackled. In due season they became completely insoluble.
Inevitably the great volcanic power stations fell one by one into
disuse. The world's supply of power steadily diminished. Since the
needs of the declining population were also shrinking, this might not
have mattered, had it not been for the effect on communications. After
a while it became impossible to maintain the world's transport system.
Little by little the continents, and then the regions within a single
continent, failed to maintain the orthodox trade-intercourse with one
another. This obvious breakdown in the sacred system caused not only
grave economic disorder but also a severe psychological disturbance in
men's minds. It should be mentioned that radio-control of thought and
volition had by now broken down completely. The delicate surgical
operation and the delicate mechanism which it involved were far beyond
the compass of latter-day man. Relieved of this tyranny, men were once
more independent individuals; or at least they would have been, had
not the tyranny of mob-feeling and suggestion still controlled them.
Generally mob-feeling and suggestion favoured the government; but the
increasing gap between the official version of events and the state of
affairs that men perceived around them sometimes inclined even the
degenerate latter-day mobs to criticism. For at last it became
impossible even for the average dullard of the race not to recognize
that the Celestial World Empire, for which he had been taught to
sacrifice himself body and soul, was disintegrating. This knowledge
produced a kind of religious terror. The very universe, it seemed, was
crumbling about men's heads.

The process of disintegration must have lasted for several centuries
at least. During this period, until the isolation of the provinces was
complete and all clear memory of the past age had been lost, there was
a phase of violent social unrest. The race, it seemed, was on the
verge of waking from the neurotic trance which had so long gripped it.
It might at any moment insist on revolutionary changes. But such was
the strength of the old culture, and such the stupidity and
aimlessness of the revolutionaries, that the crisis was weathered.
Instead of waking into sanity the race somnambulistically adjusted
itself to its new circumstances without sacrificing its cherished

The transition from a very complex and close-knit world-economy to a
medley of isolated societies was very significant of the condition of
the species. So long as some meagre communication persisted, it was
impossible for people not to realize that foreign countries existed,
and to be perturbed by the failure of the empire. When mechanical
transport had collapsed altogether, attempts were made to maintain
contact by sailing-ships and caravans. But both these occupations
depended on techniques long since abandoned. The half-wit populations
could not effectively recover them. The radio still for a while
maintained contact between peoples, for this technique, though fairly
complex, was preserved in the tradition. Radio communication with
foreign lands, however, came to seem very objectionable to the
provincial governments, which, of course, controlled the whole of each
provincial radio system. Radio news kept reminding people of the
existence of a world which, from the government's point of view, they
should forget; since the recollection of it filled them with
restlessness and awkward questioning. One by one the governments
therefore broke off all radio communication with foreign countries.
Any attempt to make contact by radio with 'imaginary other lands' was
henceforth punished by death. This state of affairs lasted until the
final loss of radio through the further deterioration of intelligence.

When contact with the outside world had been completely severed, each
isolated people was able to readjust itself mentally by accepting the
fiction that it was in fact the whole of mankind and that its state
was the world empire. The sacred formulae for production and
consumption could not, of course, any longer be literally applied; but
they were 'symbolically interpreted' to mean something very different
from their original intention, something adapted to the reduced life
of the 'world empire'. It was interesting to observe the stages by
which this reinterpretation established itself.

The slow breakdown of communications had, of course, involved a
constantly increasing infringement of the sacred formulae for
international trade. In the heyday of the empire the provinces had
been highly specialized for particular forms of agriculture, mining,
and manufacture. Specialization had been encouraged by the early
world-governments, for individuals, social classes, and peoples.
Everything must be done to increase dependence on the imperial
organization and the government. No region must be self-sufficient, no
individual a person of all-round development. No one must ever be more
than a cog in the great machine or a specialized cell in the great
body politic. But now the failure of communications forced the peoples
to change their whole economy or be extinguished. The great change was
of course unplanned or misguided. The paucity of intelligence and the
sanctity of the traditional economy made conscious planning
impossible. New industries had to sprout in every region; but lack of
inventiveness and organizing talent, and the universal condemnation of
novelty, forced the pioneers to flounder along under a heavy cloak of
subterfuge and self-deception. Inevitably the standard of living in
each province deteriorated. Little by little the flood of mass-
produced machine-made goods gave place to a miserable trickle of the
crudest hand-made makeshifts produced by local craftsmen who were
hampered not only by innate obtuseness, but by lack of all traditional
technique, and also by the enervating sense that their occupation was

In agricultural regions, though food was for a while plentiful,
comfort vanished; and presently, through the failure to procure new
agricultural machines, tillage itself degenerated into a kind of half-
wit caricature of primitive methods. In manufacturing regions there
was for a while a huge surplus of certain goods and a complete absence
of others, while food became ever more difficult to obtain.
Populations were slowly starved, their numbers shrinking,
catastrophically. The remnant, generation by generation, turned more
and more to tillage of a wretchedly inefficient type.

In the old industrial regions the sacred tradition of industrialism
remained as a cult wholly divorced from practical life. The ruins of
the great factories were treated as temples, where, once every seven
days and on the many sanctified 'bankolidays', everyone repaired to
carry out rituals which were corruptions of the forgotten techniques
of the ancient industry. The fields would not bear, it was believed,
unless these rituals were meticulously performed. Throughout the week
men guiltily scratched the surface of the earth with home-made
implements of stone or bone, implements which the ancient Stone Age
men would nave been ashamed to use. On the sabbath the whole
population implored the gods of industrialism to forgive men their
impious infringement of the sacred law, and to refrain from blasting
the fields. One or two of the great machines in some of the former
industrial regions were successfully maintained by a caste of priestly
engineers, and put in action on holy days. When possible, appropriate
raw materials were procured for them, so that they were able to
produce a small and erratic stream of the ancient goods. These were
considered far too sacred to use. Since in the old days the products
of the local industry had mainly been exported, these ritual products
were, if possible, carried to the sea by a great procession of the
faithful. They were then loaded into a sacred ship which was taken out
to sea and over the horizon, there to be ceremonially sunk.


I hoped that when the power of the Celestial World Empire had been
thoroughly broken and the culture on which it was based had been
reduced to absurdity, the human race might be able to develop a much
less specialized economy, so that the distinctively human capacities
would at last reassert themselves, and history begin again. But this
was not to be. The rot had already gone much too far. Superficially
the isolated human communities had still the appearance of
civilization, though a severely damaged civilization. To a slight
extent mechanical power was still used. Electric lighting, the
telephone, water and sewage services remained in the more fortunate
states, though they were all extremely inefficient, and a serious
breakdown was apt to defeat all efforts at repair. Here and there,
even railways remained, connecting a metropolis with some specially
important provincial town. But accidents were so frequent that many
people preferred to sacrifice speed for safety in the resuscitated
stage-coach. The ancient main-line continental railways  could still
be traced by their cuttings and embankments, but the tracks had long
since vanished. In the wars which frequently broke out between states
with common frontiers explosives were still used, though tanks and
aeroplanes were no longer available.

The cultures of the states, though both crude and crazy, were such as
could not have existed save as products of a past civilization. In
most regions the average intelligence had sunk almost to the bushman
level, and in the more degenerate populations far below it. Even
outstandingly brilliant individuals were mostly mere dullards
according to early standards. And these dullards were grievously
hampered by their faulty upbringing. The languages of this age, mostly
corruptions of the ancient English, Russian, or Chinese, were rich in
fossil remains of ancient thought. Language was much cherished. It was
the vehicle through which the sacred wisdom was handed down. Two dead
languages, ancient English and ancient Chinese, were taught to the
children of the wealthy, and proficiency in these languages was
demanded of every aspirant to posts of responsibility. Ancient
literature and historical records were very carefully studied, and
subtly interpreted so as to accord with local mythology about the
World Empire. Much of the ancient thought, particularly the great
scientific and philosophical inquiries of the past, were by now far
beyond the understanding of even the brightest individuals.
Nevertheless immense labour was devoted to criticism of the ancient
texts, which were given symbolical or magical meanings adapted to the
degenerate modern mentality. Meanwhile the great mass of scientific
knowledge accumulated by earlier ages was reduced to a few well-tried
practical precepts, of use in manufacture and electrical engineering
of a very crude kind. In physics and astronomy certain sensational
mysteries were still handed down in the sacred tradition, but they
were accepted without any attempt at understanding, and in general
they were gross perversions of the original discovery. For instance,
the theory of relativity was completely lost, but it was affirmed that
if a man were to walk far enough in a straight line he would reach his
starting-point. This true statement was not derived from the roundness
of the earth, for the earth was assumed to be flat; it was regarded
simply as a sacred mystery. Men also believed that the universe was
very big; but since astronomy was a lost science, they assumed that
the universe itself was a sphere, half of which was solid ground and
the other half sky. Sun, moon, and stars were supposed to emerge from
the eastern rim of the ground to be blown across the sky, and finally
to settle down once more in the west.

In consequence of the decline of intelligence all complex organization
tended to disintegrate. The great national states, the former
provinces of the world-empire, fell into hopeless disorder. One by one
they crumbled into small quarrelling principalities. These were ever
rising and collapsing, coalescing into petty empires, splitting into a
score of fragments, passing from the hands of one tyrant to another.
Little by little even these small social units decayed into mere
tribal territories, each occupying its own valley or plain.

Meanwhile the manner of life of the degenerate tribes of men steadily
decayed. Agriculture was less and less efficient. In district after
district, through lack of fertilizers and intelligent rotation of
crops, it was gradually abandoned. The miserable remnant of mankind
now sank to collecting wild vegetable foods and hunting the swarms of
wild animals which had greatly increased with the decline of man. Wild
cattle were abundant in many regions, but only the hardiest and most
cunning of the half-wit hunters dared attack such large and dangerous
beasts. For the most part the populations lived on the swarms of
rabbits and other small rodents that thrived in a world in which the
large carnivora had long since been exterminated. In some regions the
starving tribes were reduced to eating mice, toads, and beetles.

Once more it seemed to me possible that from this utter debasement man
might now once more take the first step on the long journey towards
lucidity. The whole lethal social order which had hitherto frustrated
it had now vanished. Reduced once more to the primitive family, surely
men would rediscover their essential humanity. But this could not be.
The dead hand of the past still gripped even their most intimate
relationships. Debased intelligence, debased self-consciousness,
debased sensibility towards others made it impossible for the new sub-
men to realize the folly and cruelty that they were constantly
perpetrating. No individual was ever treated with respect even for
such rudiments of personality as he might possess. Every man and woman
was merely the node of a number of formal social relations. Everyone
was either a chieftain or a slave or a free hunter, either a husband
or bachelor, a wife or a virgin, and so on. And for each relationship
there was an intricate pattern of conventional conduct, which must
never be infringed. These patterns were in the main not expressions of
existing circumstances but confused survivals of a past culture, in
many cases cruelly frustrating to the individual. This state of
affairs was damaging to everyone, not only because of the discrepancy
between his actual circumstances and the behaviour imposed by
convention, but also because in everyone there still lurked a tortured
and bewildered germ of that spirit which in the past had flowered as
Jesus, Socrates, Gautama, and the hosts of the wise and the good.

Though the degenerate species was no longer capable of revival, it did
at last attain a condition of equilibrium. The scanty world-
population, scattered throughout the continents in little isolated
groups persisted probably for half a million years. Floods, climatic
changes, volcanic eruptions, land subsidence, plagues, might now and
again wipe out whole tribes, but their place would sooner or later be
taken by others. Man had found his appropriate niche in the natural
system of the planet's fauna. Generation after generation he survived.
His sluggish wits were wholly occupied in the tasks of food-gathering,
the maintenance of crude shelters, reproduction, and the performing of
traditional rites.


This prolonged equilibrium was insecure. Sooner or later some more
than usually widespread scourge would extinguish the species. The end
came in a manner that I had not expected. The rat had accompanied man
through all his adventures. Indeed, long before man appeared on the
earth, the rat was well-established. And it was destined to survive
him. A considerable part of the energy of the human race had always
been devoted to defence against the rat. Even at the height of
material civilization this ubiquitous rodent devoured much of man's
food stores and infected him with plagues. With the decline of human
intelligence the rat became a much more serious menace. It exacted a
far heavier toll on his food stores. It multiplied extravagantly. In
the last long phase of human degeneracy the rat-catcher was the most
honoured profession. Only the most intelligent of men could cope with
the limited but adequate native cunning of the inferior species.
Century by century man held his own against this formidable enemy, but
only by a narrow margin and at great cost.

At last there came a crisis. Some climatic change covering the whole
planet seems to have made life rather suddenly more difficult for man,
and therefore for his parasite. Driven by starvation, the rats began
to change their habits. Not content with ravaging man's food stores,
they attacked men themselves. They began by devouring the babies
whenever they were left for a while unguarded. Sleeping adults were
also attacked. Sometimes a host of hungry rodents would waylay a
lonely hunter, seize his legs, clamber up his body, hang on to his
flesh with their incisors, bite at his throat, drag him to the ground
and devour him alive. It seems probable that some mutation in the rat
had increased its efficiency as a carnivorous beast, for attack on
large mammals and particularly on men became increasingly common. Men
were by now much reduced in stature, rats increased in weight. There
came a time when the rats no longer confined their attention to
stealthy attacks on children and sleeping adults or to persons
isolated from their fellows. They gathered in great armies and invaded
the scattered settlements, exterminating their inhabitants. Century by
century men fought a losing battle. Tribe after tribe was
exterminated, country after country depopulated, until only in the
most favoured region a few hard-pressed families lurked in the woods,
feeding on roots and worms, meeting at the full moon in solemn
conclave to chant their spells against the rodent enemy, and assert
with stupid pride their superiority over all beasts. The almost
meaningless jargon which issued from these baying mouths was their one
remaining title to humanity. In it there still lurked fantastic
corruptions of civilized speech, relics which had lived in the times
of Shakespeare, Plato, Con-fu-tsze. For a few decades, perhaps
centuries, these ultimate remnants of mankind hung on to life,
attacked not only by the rats but many other pests and plagues, and by
the weather. In this constant warfare their frail human physique
combined with their sub-human mentality to make extinction inevitable.
At some time or other, unmourned and unnoticed, the last human being
was destroyed.

The planet which had once and again haltingly attained the lucid
mentality sank now for ever into torpor. For no species remained on
earth capable of evolving to the human level. The torch which had
fallen from the hand of man could never be picked up and carried
forward by a fresh runner. For incalculable aeons, for a period
immeasurably longer than the whole career of mankind, the terrestrial
globe spun and circled, its surface possessed by a host of lowly

Meanwhile the sun, like all stars of his age and size, was growing
hotter, through the increasingly rapid release of energy in his
interior. The more highly specialized biological types on the Earth
were gradually destroyed. The lowlier kinds became adapted to an ever
more torrid climate. More and still more of the ocean vaporized into
the atmosphere, shutting out the heavens with perennial cloud. Little
by little conditions on the earth passed beyond the limit of
adaptability of any terrestrial species. The ocean began to boil, the
sands to melt, the atmosphere to vanish into outer space. The
increasing heat of the sun, however, had favoured the evolution of
life on Uranus. Slowly, as on Earth, there appeared a multitude of
species. And as on Earth these one by one reached a climax of
specialization beyond which no further evolution was possible to them.
At last, as on Earth, one single type, specialized only for
versatility, stood at the threshold of lucidity. But then the sun, as
so many stars before him, exploded into the nova state, fusing all his

These remote events I did not witness. They seem to have been
obscurely borne in upon my mind through contact with the minds of my
superhuman fellow explorers.

My personal experience was confined to terrestrial events. And as soon
as earth's brief flicker of lucidity had ended, my attention was
withdrawn from this whole sad stream of time, in which the will for
darkness had prevailed. For other scarcely less agonizing but glorious
events were all the while unfolding before me.





READER, WE have followed the sorry tale through to its end. We have
seen one of the two great streams of history lose itself in a swamp of
misery and abject brutishness. We may now return to that point where I
first realized an inconsistency in my experience of man's career,
where, in fact, the torrent of history was already dividing. This was
the point at which the Tibetan revolution had been successfully
brought off by the Young Lamas. Under their guidance the new Tibetan
state was already becoming a thing of splendid achievement and more
splendid promise.

I had already noticed among the Tibetans two very different tempers.
Sometimes the one had dominated, sometimes the other. In the one mood
the leaders of the new society faced their task with sober fortitude
and a clear understanding that only by a miracle could they preserve
the new order against the hostility of the two great empires. In the
other mood these same leaders, though they fully realized the
difficulties and dangers, were buoyed up by a seemingly irrational and
almost boisterous hopefulness, nay a certainty of victory. Though they
recognized that only a miracle could save Tibet and perhaps the whole
species, they also knew, so long as the mood of exaltation was on
them, that the miracle had already happened in themselves, and that it
could be made to happen in the whole Tibetan people. By now the
Tibetan people had supreme confidence in their leaders. Even the
dullards, who could not appreciate at all clearly the aim of the new
society, felt vaguely that they were sharing in a glorious enterprise.

The first sign of inconsistency in my experience was a strange sense
that this miraculous hopefulness both dominated and did not dominate
the whole life of the people. Then inconsistencies of external events
began to appear, so that little by little my torn mind was forced to
live in two mutually exclusive worlds.

This duality of temper, followed by a duality of external events, soon
made itself evident beyond the frontiers of Tibet. The progressive
minority in all lands was dominated and was not dominated by a new,
defiant, and gay confidence. Each mood produced everywhere its effect
on action; but it was in Tibet that hope first triumphed, and it was
Tibet's miraculous success that inspired the rest of the world.

It was in connection with the synthetic faith propagated in Russia and
China that the Tibetans gained their first important success. The
calculated appeal to man's baser nature, it will be remembered, had
been propagated in order to defeat the Tibetan missionaries. In the
story that I have already told it succeeded; in the story that I shall
now tell it failed. The Tibetan missionaries in their mood of bright
confidence disconcerted the imperial governments by laughing the new
movement into frustration. For a sham faith cannot stand ridicule. The
symbols and slogans of the religion of pain were ridiculed and
parodied on every wall. By skilful heckling the meetings organized by
the dervishes were given a tilt towards farce. But this was not all.
Many a missionary bore witness to his own faith by unflinching
behaviour under torture. For the governments were at first eager to
'make an exhibition' of them, until it was clear that every public
martyrdom merely spread the Tibetan faith. The missionaries were
trained both in spiritual discipline and in the technique of
advertisement. The symbols and slogans of their faith were made to
appear in every public place, often superimposed on the emblems of the
synthetic faith. The propaganda meetings organized by the dervishes
were often frustrated by some obscure member of the audience who
challenged the speaker to compete with him in an ordeal by torture.
According to the synthetic faith, it will be remembered, the supreme
ecstasy was to be experienced under torture. The challenger would
suggest to the dervish that they should both, in public and at once,
inflict severe pain on themselves, or be tortured by a third party.
The mere challenge was often enough to expose the impostor. But when
dervishes who had been specially chosen and handsomely paid for their
ability to endure pain undertook to prove their faith under torture,
it soon appeared that the missionaries could draw upon some source of
strength inaccessible to hired martyrs. The missionary could allow his
flesh to be torn or crushed to a far greater extent, and in doing so
he made no false claim that he enjoyed it. Though he rejoiced in the
opportunity to bear witness to his faith through pain, he took no
delight, he said, in pain itself. The dervish, on the other hand,
would make agonized protestations of delight, until suddenly, and
sooner than his rival, he called out for release. The governments did,
indeed, gain a temporary success by sending out dervishes who had been
specially prepared for the inevitable ordeal by having an arm
permanently anaesthetized. But it was not long before the trick was
exposed. The next move by the imperialists was to organize
'spontaneous' lynchings of those who dared to challenge the dervishes.
But this policy also was defeated, partly by the courage of the
missionaries, partly by highly trained crowd-controllers who by shrewd
interjections often succeeded in turning the temper of the mob from
sadism to kindliness.

The source of the courage of the missionaries was, of course, their
faith in the spirit. But courage alone might not have achieved so
swift and complete a discomfiture of the synthetic faith had it not
been reinforced by a sly and friendly ridicule. There was nothing new
in the method of the missionaries; but never before had it been used
on such a scale and with such expert psychological understanding. And
never before had those who used these methods been the emissaries of
an established Utopian society preparing to fight for its life.

The success of the missionaries certainly did not depend wholly on
their powers of enduring pain. They constituted a great army of
'fifth-columnists' disseminated throughout the imperial territories,
secretly inspiring the people with dangerous political and social
thoughts. The original Tibetan missionaries were reinforced by a great
company of native missionaries in every country. Altogether there were
millions of them, and each one was a travelling spark of the new fire.
Under this influence men's desiccated hearts were tinder. Most of the
missionaries worked at some trade in the lower or middle reaches of
society, and were at pains to earn the respect and love of their
fellow workers for their efficiency, integrity, and loyal comradeship.
Armed with this personal prestige, they were able to capture the
allegiance and fire the imagination of all who were not yet hopelessly
perverted; and to build up little by little a great body of servants
of the light in every land. Their method combined that of the
religious missionary with that of the social revolutionary. On the one
hand, though they showed no insistence on any metaphysical doctrine,
they preached the inner light, and manifested it in action. On the
other, though they avoided the subtle Machiavellian intrigues which
had been used by so many revolutionaries in the past, they entered
into political disputes and declared, often at the cost of their
lives, that the time had come to withhold from Caesar the things that
were Caesar's. Of the universe, as a whole, they said, man knows next
to nothing; but in our hearts we find that in right personal relation
man fulfils himself. Love, they said, and wisdom are right absolutely.
True community of mutually respecting individuals, and also fearless
free intelligence and imagination, are right absolutely. And we all
knew it. There is one intrinsic good, they said, and one only, the
awakened life, the life of love and wisdom. This is the sacred thing
which all developed beings throughout the universe cannot but will,
unless they have been blinded. This spirit, they said, is in the long
run all-powerful in the affairs of conscious beings. But the run may
be very long. And what the scope of that spirit is in the whole of
things no man can know, nor needs to know.

The world-wide missionary effort would have been far less effective if
the missionaries had not been able to point to the example of Tibet's
actual achievement. 'In Tibet the police are few and unarmed,' they
said. 'In Tibet no doors need be locked. In Tibet no one feels any
need of the debauch of cruelty. We have neither rich nor poor. Our
prisons have been destroyed or turned into laboratories and art
galleries. We know how to live, and we have the means.' Visitors to
Tibet were welcomed and could see for themselves that these claims
were true. At last the imperial governments adopted drastic measures.
Realizing that 'the roof of the world' was becoming a Mecca where the
seditious gathered to study and plan revolution, they forbade all
travel to Tibet, and made a great effort to round up and destroy all
the missionaries. But intercourse with Tibet continued. In spite of
all restrictions, hosts of daring enthusiasts managed to slip through
into 'the fortunate country' for mental and spiritual fortification;
and to slip out again to spread the gospel. And the stream of native
Tibetan missionaries was restricted not by the imperial attempt to put
an end to it but by the needs of the home country to organize a
desperate military defence.


At last war came. I have told how, in the theme of darkness it
resulted in the destruction of man's most promising society. In the
theme of light the issue was far otherwise. Not only had the empires
been effectively undermined by the missionaries, so that rebellions
were frequent; more important was the fact that the servants of the
light in all countries, and specially in Tibet, were armed with an
inner certainty of victory. As in the darker theme, the Tibetan
frontier was defended by microbes which reduced the invaders to
infantilism. But whereas in the dark theme the respite thus secured
was used merely for strengthening the defence, in the theme of the
triumphing light it was turned into an opportunity for attack. Against
all probability, the small but highly trained and highly mechanized
Tibetan army, supported by its small but well-appointed air force,
pushed forward into the imperial territory of Kashmir. There it
attacked before the Russians had had time to recover from the effects
of the microbe, and it gained a surprising victory. The Russian
imperialists hastily concentrated vast new armies and air forces upon
the invaders; but owing to a combination of inefficiency, corruption,
and above all half-heartedness and positive disloyalty the imperial
armies put up a feeble resistance, and were presently retreating in
disorder, closely pursued by the Tibetans, and constantly attacked by
the natives themselves. Organized revolt had of course broken out in
Kashmir, and the imperialists' defeat ensured its success. The whole
of this mountainous land was soon freed. A temporary government was
set up by the Kashmiri servants of the light, and the new state formed
a close alliance with Tibet.

The moral effect of this surprising victory was immense. In Russia
itself, particularly in Moscow, there was serious disorder. An army
which was ordered to proceed to the recovery of the lost territory,
was incapacitated by mutiny. Meanwhile the whole mountainous tract
stretching from Kashmir through Afghanistan, Persia, and Turkey to the
Aegean Sea rose against the oppressors. In Greece, in Britain, and in
Scandinavia isolated rebellions were started. To the north of Tibet,
Sinkiang and the more mountainous part of Outer Mongolia overcame the
local imperial forces. Meanwhile the main Tibetan land and air
armament, far from resting on their success, were hurried from the
western to the eastern end of the country where the Chinese, a much
more formidable enemy, were heavily bombing Lhasa and the whole
comparatively rich eastern part of Tibet.

It was desperately important for the Tibetans to secure at once some
positive and spectacular success against the Chinese Empire, so as to
start in China also that process of galloping decay which was already
at work in the rival empire. The people of eastern Tibet were able to
retire to their deep shelters, prepared long before the war, and to
escape the destruction which now fell upon their cities, their herds,
their precious irrigation system. It now appeared that the government,
convinced many years ago of the inevitability of war, had established
a great number of underground munition factories. But the attack was
too heavy to be endured for long without the crippling of the Tibetan
resistance. The method of surprise, which had succeeded so well in
Kashmir, was impossible against the Chinese imperialists, for they had
concentrated an immense force in Chwanben. The efficiency of this army
was beyond question. Its loyalty to its imperial master had never been
tested. After much discussion the Tibetan leaders decided that there
was nothing for it but to court disaster and hope for a miracle. Or
rather, divinely confident of victory, they saw that the only way to
it was the way of inspired foolhardiness. The Tibetan air force,
though heavily outnumbered, proved far more resourceful and skilful
than the Chinese, and their courage was fanatical. They did their
utmost to destroy the enemy aerodromes. They dropped bombs and the
microbes of infantilism on the advancing army in Chwanben. They
scattered leaflets on the great industrial centres. At the same time
the Tibetan land forces put up a desperate defence upon the frontier.

There is no need to give details of the fighting. At one time it
seemed that resistance had broken, yet the Tibetan leaders and
fighters maintained their irrational confidence. 'Hang on, hang on,'
it was said. 'The tide will turn.' And sure enough it did. The enemy's
attack began to weaken, both in the air and on land. Deserters, who
came over in large numbers to the Tibetan side, told that the
population of Chwanben had sacrificed itself in thousands so as to
create confusion behind the lines. The spirit of the imperial army was
changing from bored acceptance of this tiresome frontier war to
whispering complaint and doubt. The air force was suffering from badly
damaged professional pride. The Tibetan leaders judged that the moment
had come for the great gamble. Instead of using the lull to recuperate
and prepare to withstand the next blow, they threw the whole Tibetan
strength into an attack which violated all the accepted principles of
warfare. Though they were the weaker side, they flooded the whole of
Chwanben with parachute troops, leaving Tibet almost undefended. The
effect was as spectacular as the result of peppering a forest with
incendiary bombs. Bewildered by the multitude of the parachutists, and
never imagining that this move was the last effort of a beaten enemy,
the Chinese troops fell into disorder. Some, of course, obeyed their
officers and rounded up the aerial invaders, but many others rallied
to the parachutists themselves. The whole of Chwanben fell into chaos.
The minute remnant of the Tibetan land army advanced into Chwanben
without meeting serious opposition. From the eastern heights of the
province they looked down upon the hilly lowlands of Szechwan, amazed
at their own success. Disorder now broke out all along the Yangtze
Valley and spread to most of the great cities of China.

But the Chinese Empire was tougher than the Russian. The imperial air
force bombed many of the revolting cities into submission. The routed
imperial armies in the Yangtze Valley were rallied and stiffened with
fresh troops. The rebels in the eastern part of Szechwan were overcome
and massacred. The fantastic Tibetan advance was checked before

The leaders of Tibet knew well that the peoples of China could not be
freed unless the imperialists were everywhere attacked by their own
subject population. This seemed at first likely to happen; but Chinese
nationalism was a strong sentiment, and the rulers were able to make
good use of it. The Tibetan leaders, though daring and even foolhardy
when their daemon urged them forward, were also realists. Instead of
trying to press on into the heart of China, they consolidated the
positions they had gained, and waited. They also broadcast to the
people of China, saying in effect, 'We are not conquerors. We desire
no empire. If you want freedom, rebel, and we will press on to help
you. Otherwise we shall leave you alone. We shall merely defend those
peoples whom we have already freed, and only if they wish us to help
them.' All this they said knowing that the Chinese rulers had an
exaggerated idea of the Tibetan power, that they feared the complete
destruction of their empire, and that they were in the mood to arrange
a peace.

The imperialists believed that if they could stave off the immediate
disintegration of their empire they could later gather all the
resources of both empires to crush Tibet for ever. They therefore
proposed a peace conference. The final settlement was one which left
China itself almost intact. The Tibetans held plebiscites in their
conquered territories, and respected the wish of the majority in
Szechwan to remain within the imperial system. Chwanben, however,
along with the rest of the great plateau of southern central Asia,
including Afghanistan, chose to be free from the rule of the
imperialists. The rebellions in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey had been
crushed by the Russian forces. The freed peoples of Central Asia now
formed a Mountain Federation, which was dominated by the Tibetans in
virtue of their civilization and military prestige.

The effect of the war was from the political point of view by no means
spectacular. It might even be represented as a kind of victory for the
empires, since they recovered much territory that had at first been
lost to the rebels. Moreover Tibet had been very seriously crippled
from the air. Lhasa was destroyed. Most of the surface factories had
been put out of action. A large proportion of Tibetan adult males had
been killed in the fighting. On the imperial side the damage was very
small in proportion to total population and resources. But
psychologically the effect of the war was far-reaching. The empires,
in spite of their traditional and inveterate hostility, had thought it
worth while to combine to crush weak and 'barbarian' state which, it
had seemed, could easily have been destroyed by either of them alone.
Yet the mountain people had not only successfully defended themselves
but had counter-attacked, and in the end it was the empires that sued
for peace. In every country the imperialists, in spite of their loud
rejoicing over their 'victory', were secretly dismayed; while their
enemies gradually came to realize that the war had opened a new and
hopeful chapter in the history of man. At the peace conference the
Tibetans had firmly refused to agree to refrain from propaganda in
imperial territories. Indeed they declared that they would do all in
their power to support the struggle for freedom in every country, and
that whenever opportunity offered they would assist rebellion so long
as its aims seemed to them to spring from the will for the light. The
mere fact that the empires were unable to alter these provisions
showed how far their authority had been damaged.


The human race now settled down to a long period of armed peace, in
which the Mountain Federation developed its defences, propagated its
gospel, and strove to make its own social order a model for the future
order of the world. The imperialists meanwhile prepared for the war in
which Tibet and its satellites and their dangerous ideas must be
extirpated. Peace, however, revived the rivalry of the imperial
tyrannies. When a sudden rebellion broke out in the remote British
Isles, and was supported by an attack by the Mountain Peoples against
Russian forces in Iran, the Chinese government refrained from helping
Russia by attacking Tibet from the east. This was a grave error, for
Britain gained its independence, and Iran, Iraq, and Turkey joined the
Federation. The economic resources of the Federation were still
ridiculously small compared with those of the empires, whose sway
covered all the rest of the earth save isolated Britain; but the
prestige and moral authority of the Federation were ever increasing.
The Russian Empire's territories were now constantly in revolt. Chief
offenders were India, so near to Tibet, and America, so remote from
Moscow. It was clear to the Chinese rulers that the whole Russian
system would soon collapse, if nothing was done to save it; and that
its fragments would coalesce with the hated Federation. They therefore
determined to seize what they could before it was too late. India was
the obvious starting-point. They proposed to police the turbulent
subcontinent for the Russian government, and they reinforced the offer
with threats. Russia had no choice but to agree. The Chinese
imperialists then flooded India with police, commercial agents, and
propagandists. Rapidly they gained complete power, so that Russia's
relationship became one of theoretical and impotent suzerainty.

Further details need not be given of the process by which the whole
Russian Empire was gradually annexed to China. The world now consisted
of a mighty imperial system and a small federation of free peoples
occupying a tract which was very largely mountain. Britain had failed
to maintain itself against the more efficient imperial power.

In the imperial system the great majority of human beings were
practically serfs, while in the free system all shared equally in the
frugal prosperity of the whole federation, and there was ample
individual freedom. The one was a gigantic police state, the other a
co-operative venture of free men. In the one there was strict
censorship, in the other complete freedom of expression. In the one
the dominant mood was apathy, mutual suspicion, and neurotic
vindictiveness; in the other buoyant confidence and unfailing mutual
friendliness prevailed in spite of the constant external danger. It
might have been expected that the need for watchfulness and unity
would have forced the Tibetans to sacrifice freedom to military
dictatorship, and would set up the kind of deterioration which
external danger had long ago caused in revolutionary Russia. But the
Tibetans were by now too sure of themselves and of each other to feel
the need to restrict freedom. Their discipline was at bottom a
thorough self-discipline, which, though it permitted unlimited
discussion and criticism, freely and fervently accepted in the last
resort the decision of the government. And treason was by now

The contrast between the two systems must not be overdrawn. Within the
Empire was much that was good, much right personal relationship, much
of true culture, much honest search for the way to a better world. But
all this was crippled by the system and poisoned by the false
assumptions on which the system was based. On the other hand in the
Federation there was much that was thoroughly bad. The individual
human beings who made up the freed peoples were themselves mostly pro-
ducts of the bad old system. They could not at a stroke wipe out the
mental damage that had been done to them. Save in Tibet, where the new
order was by now well established, there was probably in men's daily
lives almost as much sheer self-seeking, downright meanness,
insensitivity, cruelty, and stupidity as there was in the rest of the
world. Sometimes the forces of darkness gained considerable power in
some region of the Federation, and might threaten to dominate. In
Turkey, for instance, a movement was started to gain special privilege
for this wealthiest of the newly federated countries. There was a
dangerous recrudescence of nationalism within the Federation. The
'fifth column' of the Empire did its best to use this opportunity for
weakening its enemies. The imperial government even suggested secretly
that imperial gold and armaments might help the Turks to gain their
point. But this danger was turned to a new strength by the forbearance
and tact of the federal government. By an overwhelming majority the
Turks reaffirmed their loyalty.

The great difference between the Empire and the Federation was that,
while in the one case human decency was damped down by a false social
system and moral tradition, in the other it was immensely strengthened
by the new institutions and the steady dominance of the will for the
light. In the one case the average frail but potentially humane
individual was nearly always corrupted by a debasing environment,
while in the other he was constantly supported in a higher range of
integrity and intelligence than would otherwise have been possible to

For several decades the world remained divided between the Empire and
the Federation. More than once in this period the Empire made ready to
crush the Federation; but, as zero hour approached, unrest within the
Empire itself strangely increased to such a pitch that at the critical
moment serious rebellions, generally in Britain or America or China
itself, made attack impossible. Throughout these decades the
government of the Federation concentrated on defence and social
development. For defence it relied partly on its mountains, but mainly
on a great air force, built at heavy cost of luxury and comfort.
Economic resources were meagre. A modest supply of oil was still
produced in the western territory of the Federation. Water-power was
developed to the utmost. Gold was assiduously sifted from the river-
beds and mined in the mountains for the purchase of urgently needed
foreign goods. Agriculture and pasture were the main occupations
throughout the territory, apart from the manufacture of munitions and
planes. The manner of life of the Free Peoples had perforce to be very
simple, but it was adequate to health and fullness of mentality, and
the standard was the same for all.

Throughout these decades the Mountain government continued its
propaganda in every part of the Empire, and kept its frontiers open to
all political refugees who were able to pass an expert psychological
examination for sincerity. After a month of this careful observation
they were given citizenship. Many fugitives from imperial tyranny were
caught before they reached the frontier, but a steady trickle of
immigration from every part of the world crept in through the coastal
cities of Asia Minor, the passes of the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea,
from far-eastern Nan Shan, along the valleys of Chwanben, over the
Himalayan passes, and through the ports on the Persian Gulf. Thus
little by little the Federated Peoples were impregnated with new
blood, new skills, and new elements of culture. This influx of
refugees caused a serious food problem, but in spite of protests from
short-sighted critics the Federal Government insisted on welcoming the
new-comers. Intensive cultivation and new development of earthless
agriculture alleviated the problem.


At last the long period of armed peace came to an end. Propaganda for
the light was rapidly gaining ground throughout the Empire. The
imperialists decided that at all costs they must destroy their enemy
at once. For some years they prepared in secret, while trying to
persuade the Free Peoples of their increasing friendliness. Then
suddenly they flung their whole armament into a double attack, from
north to south, to cut the Federation in two between Afghanistan and
Kashmir. With clouds of planes and swarms of mountain tanks the
imperial armament pressed up among the hills. Behind the attacking
forces came 'supporting' forces whose office it was to bombard the
attackers should they show any signs of wavering. The Federation
defended itself desperately, but the pincer movement of the enemy
succeeded in cutting the Federal territory in two. Not long afterwards
the richer and more vulnerable western half of the Federation
collapsed. Tibet, with Kashmir and Chwanben, was once more alone
against the world, a world more effectively organized than that which
they had formerly opposed. Moreover their own economy was gravely
mutilated by the loss of the western lands, which had been well
integrated with the eastern districts. Tibet had become largely
dependent on the more industrial West. But once more the Tibetans rose
to strange irrational and almost hilarious confidence. Aided by their
mountains and their microbes, they held the frontiers intact. Air
bombardment once more blasted their homes and factories and
reservoirs. Yet Tibetan life continued. Still the yak browsed, the
crops were tended, save where lack of water had ruined them. Food was
strictly rationed. No one had enough, but none actually starved. The
whole population of Tibet, Kashmir, and Chwanben was united in the
will to resist. 'If we hang on long enough,' they said, 'the tide will
surely turn.' They were right.

Throughout the world the rumour spread that the whole strength of the
World Empire could not subdue these mountain peoples. Their example
encouraged the servants of the light in every land to organize a crop
of well-correlated rebellions, of which the most important was in
China itself. With surprising suddenness the imperial power throughout
Asia and Europe collapsed, giving place to a medley of unstable
independent local states, some genuinely of the light, some merely
ostensibly so, some frankly nationalist and blind. For a while the
imperialists retained their hold on China, America, and South Africa,
but in time these also were lost to them.

The world was in chaos. Already minor wars were breaking out in China
and Europe. Already little leaders were seeking a foothold on the
ladder to power. The Mountain Federation was at once re-formed, and
the Federal Government issued an appeal to the peoples of the world,
urging a world-wide federation. The forces of the light in every
country worked strongly for the new order. There was a short period of
civil wars and interstate wars. But behind the backs of these
struggles, so to speak, the new world order was steadily ramifying.
World-wide commissions for transport, health, postal services, the
regulation of industrial disputes, and so on, were gradually forming
into a vast network of cosmopolitan organization. Even states at war
generally respected this incipient supranational organization, and it
was common for enemies to co-operate with one another in the spheres
of health, industrial, and agricultural organization. But mere
commissions could not prevent wars from occurring. Potentially hostile
states would not surrender to any mere committee their control of
aeroplanes and tanks. And because they would not do this, and because
in many of the new states the new ruling class, though ostensibly
loyal to the light, was in fact a power-seeking oligarchy, predatory
towards other states and its own subject population, economic rivalry
often produced the bitter fruit of war.

But though it seemed at first that in breaking the World Empire
mankind had merely exchanged one evil condition for another, the
period of chaos was brief. One by one the peoples of the world joined
the new 'Federation of the Light'. Within a couple of decades the
whole planet was brought within the new order, which then was solemnly
renamed the Federation of Mankind.

The preamble to the constitution of the new world organization became
one of the most cherished scriptures of the human race. It was based
on the appeal which the Tibetans had issued after the downfall of the
world empire, and it had been developed little by little in subsequent
years by the best minds of all countries; so that in its final form it
was truly co-operative and anonymous. I now remember and will quote
some garbled fragments of it.

  'We, inhabitants of every land, intelligences of the planet Earth,
having overthrown a world-wide tyranny, having abolished a world-wide
darkness of the spirit, now, through our chosen representatives,
pledge ourselves to the light. We acknowledge that the high goal of
all the lives of men is to awaken themselves and one another to love
and wisdom and creative power, in service of the spirit. Of the
universe we know very little; but in our hearts we know certainly that
for all beings of human stature this is the way of life. In service of
the spirit, therefore, we the human inhabitants of this planet, unite
in a new order, in which every human being, no matter how lowly his
nature, shall be treated with respect as a vessel of the spirit, shall
be given every possible aid from infancy onwards to express whatever
power is in him for bodily and mental prowess, for his own delight and
for service of the common life. We resolve that in future none shall
be crippled in body or perverted in mind by unwholesome conditions.
For this end we declare that in future no powerful individual or
class or nation shall have the means, economic or military, to control
the lives of men for private gain.'




THE TROUBLES of mankind were by no means over. Nor will they ever be.
But with the founding of the new world-order the species entered on a
new phase of its career, in which the balance of the forces of the
light and the forces of darkness, already slightly favourable to the
light, was tipped still farther by a much improved social structure.
To many of the generation which founded the new world it seemed not
only that a new age had started, which was true, but that henceforth
there could be no serious troubles. In this they were mistaken. Masses
of human beings who were not ready for the new order were included in
it against their wills. In their hearts they still clung to the old
values. They still desired a disorderly world so that they could
continue to practise brigandage of one kind or another. They still
cared mainly for personal dominance or for tribal glory. In the new
world, therefore, they set out to make trouble. They tried to
undermine the federal authority and the people's confidence in the new
order. They exaggerated its failures, disparaged its successes,
fomented the differences between the peoples and between social

Two great conflicts had to be solved before the new order could be so
firmly established that no large group within it would ever dare to
take arms against it. The one was a conflict between the eastern and
western hemispheres, the other between the leaders and the led.

In the conflict of hemispheres, Australia and New Zealand must be
counted in the American hemisphere, as they had long ago come under
the American influence. During the struggle between the free peoples.
and the empires the Americans had been relatively untouched. The North
Americans had greatly changed since their tired Utopia had been
annexed by the Russian Empire. Under the not very efficient tyranny
which followed they discovered a new aim, namely to free themselves. A
new generation of young people, sons and daughters of those earlier
young who had welcomed the Russians, began to rediscover the virtue of
the great American tradition. The heroes of the first American
republic, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, were once more, though
secretly, studied and praised. A new but vigorous and underground
current of individualism began to flow through North America. Once
more the state, even in the Utopian form that had once existed in
America, began to seem merely an unpleasant necessity. The Russian
state was an unmitigated curse. Men lauded once more the virtues of
individual enterprise and ingenuity, liberty and personal integrity.

During the decline of the Russian power the movement of individualism
generated a sort of submerged individual capitalism, a Robin Hood
capitalism, one might say; for the outstanding American intelligences,
copying in this respect the Jews of the medieval world, found means of
wresting wealth from their conquerors and transferring much of it to
their own oppressed people. Under the subsequent and more efficient
Chinese rule this system of illicit capitalism in America was
methodically destroyed, but it left a spirit of passionate
individualism. With the fall of China the Americans reverted to a more
or less benevolent and restrained capitalism. There followed a great
wave of material reconstruction under the influence of the new
aristocrats of wealth. The new capitalism was strikingly different
from the old. It was much more like what the old capitalism had
claimed to be but never was. No doubt the higher standard of the new
capitalism was a symptom of the slightly increased power of the will
for the light in the minds of ordinary people.

Imperial tyranny had never impinged on the peoples of America,
Australia, and New Zealand with quite the same searching brutality as
on the rest of the world. And so, confident in their own spirit of
responsible individualism, they did not easily recognize the urgency
of bringing the private enterprise of individuals, social classes and
nations under the control of a common world authority.

Trouble arose over the disposal of American tidal power. The World
Federal Government declared that all the great resources of production
must henceforth be controlled exclusively by the World Government,
which alone could organize them effectively for the immense task of
raising the standard of life of all peoples to the level needed for
full psychological development. The American capitalists replied that,
having constructed their great tidal system by their own enterprise,
having watched it for so long being exploited and misused by the late
imperial government of the world, they intended to retain control of
it themselves. They agreed, of course, that the system ought to be
used strictly for the benefit of the human race as a whole. They had
no intention of using it to benefit America exclusively, still less to
strengthen their own capitalist class. 'But since we,' they said, 'by
fostering private enterprise in our country, have become the world's
greatest inventors and organizers, we claim the right, nay the duty,
of managing our own unique generating system and disposing of its
power as seems fit to us for the full economic development of the
world. Who else could do it? Not the Tibetan revolutionary leaders.
Splendid as their record is, their experience of economic organization
is far too restricted. Not the Indians, for they are neither
organizers nor engineers. Not the Chinese, for they are for the
present too soaked in the tradition of their recent imperialism. It is
the Americans alone who must take charge in the field of organization,
leaving to the Tibetans the great task of educational and spiritual
leadership.' In reply it was urgently pointed out that no one people
and no one class should be assigned leadership in any sphere. Those
individuals who were capable of leadership would rise to positions of
responsibility in whatever fields were suited to them. Privilege and
vested interest must never more be allowed to appear on the earth.
Moreover the American social system, though it had usefully built up
American prosperity behind the backs of the alien tyrants, was quite
unsuited to the new world-order, in which there must be fully co-
ordinated planning of the world as a whole.

The American capitalists refused to give way. Though unarmed they were
confident in their strength, because they were confident in the
rightness of their cause. The American national government announced
its withdrawal from the World Federation. To this direct challenge the
World Government, including its American members, appealed to the
Americans in the most friendly terms to reconsider this momentous
step, and reminded them of the ancient American 'War of Secession'.
They added, reluctantly but firmly, that, if necessary, force would be
used to prevent the secession from the new and greater Federation. The
human race had declared its unity and would no longer tolerate local
sovereign powers. In answer the American capitalists cut the great
cables by which their surplus current was transmitted to Europe. The
World Government ordered the world police in America to occupy all the
generating stations and see that the cables were repaired.

The Americans, of course, like all other peoples, had agreed to the
abolition of national armaments. They had their own unarmed police;
and a contingent of the armed World Police, drawn from all peoples,
was stationed at key points throughout the two continents. The seizing
of the generators was carried out without opposition; but the American
Government organized a general strike in protest, and there were great
demonstrations in all the cities. In several parts of the continent
rioters attacked the offices of the World Government. The native
police did not intervene. Thereupon the World Police took control of
the whole of the two American continents, along with Australia and New
Zealand. Democratic government in the American hemisphere ceased.
Rioting became widespread. But the American, Australian, and New
Zealand governments, recognizing the futility of mere rioting,
organized a vast campaign of civil disobedience and non-co-operation.

Throughout these troubles the World Government showed great
forbearance. There were many arrests, but the prisoners found
themselves treated almost as honoured guests. Many of them were not
even retained in captivity at all but put on parole on condition that
they left the American hemisphere and spent their time, until further
notice, in touring the rest of the world, at the expense of the World
Government. Thus, it was hoped, they would see the system at work and
be impressed by it. Special facilities were given them for
interviewing high officials in charge of industrial organization.

Meanwhile a great war of words was resounding throughout the world.
The Americans were allowed complete freedom of expression. Floods of
radio propaganda issued from both sides. It became increasingly
difficult to keep order in the Americas. There were many attacks on
foreigners. Sheer nationalistic passion grew from day to day.

At last the President of the World, at this time a Zulu, decided to
make a great gesture to end the dispute. He offered to tour the
Americas, along with two American members of the World Government, and
to meet all the leaders of American capitalism for intimate
discussion. Before leaving the hemisphere he would make fresh
proposals. The offer was accepted. It is hard to say which member of
the party needed the greater courage, the President, whose race was
still distasteful to the Americans, or the two American 'traitors'.
Unescorted and unarmed, they travelled in the hemisphere for four
months, then called all the American leaders to a conference. The
President reminded his hearers of the epic struggle of the Tibetans,
and the founding of the Federation of Mankind.

He then paid a generous tribute to the achievement of America and the
ideals for which the rebels (he did not shrink from the word) were now
(he recognized) making a sincere stand. He himself had learnt much
from his tour, and he now had a proposal to make. He recognized that
in the world's present transitional state, a state of rapid and
bewildering economic enrichment, there was much to be said for
allowing a good deal of scope to private enterprise in industry. He
recognized also that the motives of most of the American capitalists
were generous social motives, and that the American peoples on the
whole supported them. On the other hand the World Government could not
tolerate any attempt to flout its authority; otherwise the whole new
order, so painfully created and on the whole so beneficial, would soon
break down. Authority, however, had been unhesitatingly asserted. The
World Government could now afford to be generous. He therefore
proposed, with his Government's full assent, a temporary arrangement
allowing the Americas economic autonomy within the Federation. The
World Government reserved the power of constant inspection of American
industry and would not permit any infringement of the rights of the
workers, as laid down in the preamble to the constitution of the
Federation. Certain kinds of industry were excluded from capitalist
enterprise entirely, such as armaments and the great means of
expression. These, and education, were to be nationalized under the
American state, subject to final control by the World Government. It
also reserved a power of veto on any industry which it regarded as
undesirable from the point of view of the world, and it might order
American industry to produce some particular kind of goods needed by
the world. Such work might be subsidized by the World Government. The
American capitalists, then, must regard themselves as civil servants
under the World Government, liable to dismissal and confiscation of
their property if they broke the agreement, though paid for their
services through the open market. The American peoples, of course,
would regain the right to abolish the whole system of local capitalism
at any time.

Such was the compromise of 'capitalism within socialism' that was
finally established. The conflict could never have been successfully
solved by such a precarious arrangement had not both sides been
convinced of the fundamental goodwill of the other. The World
Government came out of its first great crisis with increased
authority. On the whole the compromise worked.

In South America, however, it lasted only for a decade. There the
worse elements of the capitalist class gained power and indulged in
secret violations of the agreements. The peoples of South America came
to realize that they were being exploited, not flagrantly, as in
former times, but at least annoyingly. The movement for socialism
rapidly gained ground. The World Government, foreseeing the end,
refrained from action, preferring that the change to a socialistic
local economy should be brought about by local effort. The bosses of
South American capitalism appealed to their colleagues in the northern
continent, but in vain. Without trouble the South Americans went over
to socialism.

A few years later Australia and New Zealand followed suit. And within
a couple of decades the North Americans themselves, not without heated
discussion, decided to enter fully into the world economic system.


The other serious conflict which troubled the early World State did
not come to a head until a couple of centuries after the solution of
the American trouble. This was a new kind of class war, a worldwide
struggle between the bureaucracy and the mass of ordinary citizens.

The world bureaucracy was selected by psychological tests for
organizing ability and moral integrity. It was known that superior
organizing ability ran mainly in certain families or biological
strains. Consequently there began to emerge strong traces of an
aristocracy of birth, rather in the manner of the loose network of
crystals which appears in water in the act of freezing. The ranks of
the bureaucracy were never closed to suitable candidates from outside
the great bureaucratic families, but in subtle ways scions of the
well-tried stocks had the advantage. Certain family names became
labels promising bureaucratic ability. The prouder families guarded
their names very jealously. Members who failed to come up to the
family's high standard of ability were deprived of the family name.
Able children of female members of the family who married into humbler
stocks were granted the name of the maternal family. New-comers into
the bureaucracy were subtly influenced by the prestige of the old
families, imitating their manners and ideas, and seeking to gather
similar prestige for their own family names.

Thus, little by little, the new aristocracy crystallized upon the
surface of the world-society. It was an aristocracy not of mere birth,
nor of wealth, but of genuine ability; but of a special kind of
ability, namely the aptitude for organization and for managing human
beings. It did its work well; and superior intelligences of other
kinds, such as the scientific and the literary, were well content to
leave the born organizers in power. But there came a time when people
began to murmur that the bureaucrats were becoming rather self-
important and meddlesome. No one denied that their rule was in the
main efficient and honest, but there was a growing suspicion that they
were growing too fond of power, and that their loyalty to the world
community was increasingly tempered by unwitting preoccupation with
their own prestige, not as individuals but as a class. They held their
position, of course, under the will of the federal and national
assemblies. Unfortunately the politicians were themselves members of
the bureaucratic class, and would seldom take action against officials
who exceeded their powers. Thus, little by little, the strength of the
bureaucrats broadened out from precedent to precedent. Increasingly
they resented criticism. Increasingly they hung together, developing
little by little the beginnings of a distinctive way of life and a
distinctive moral code.

Matters came to a head when a great physical research-laboratory in
Russia was ordered by the World Research Ministry to give up its
inquiry into the condition of matter in the interior of stars and to
concentrate on the practical problem of applying sub-atomic energy to
industry. The eminent Russian physicists protested, refused, appealed
to the World President, and were arrested. There was great indignation
in scientific circles throughout the world. Many research workers went
out on strike in defence of their arrested colleagues. Industrial
workers, though their pay was good and their hours were short, took
this opportunity of complaining of excessive discipline in the
factories and of interference in their home life. The small but well-
established class of pioneering industrial capitalists (incorporated
in the World State as a result of the American experiment) complained
that factory inspectors used every means to hamper their work and
destroy their profession. Certain writers affirmed that they could not
get their books published because the national or federal ministry of
publication disliked them. This, they said, was a violation of the
original function of the ministries, which had been founded not to
censor but to foster matter critical of the régime. Similar charges
were made against the ministries of radio.

The movement of protest began in the British Isles, and, though it
spread throughout the world, the British and Irish peoples were its
most vigorous upholders. The islanders expressed their discontent in
mass meetings, processions, broadcasts, letters to the press, letters
to members of parliament and cabinet ministers, and above all in
hearty resistance to particular instances of bureaucratic tyranny. The
most popular slogans were, 'Less efficiency, more freedom', and 'Less
producing, more living', and above all 'We won't be robots'. I could
not but smile when I compared the grievances of my countrymen of this
period with the disheartening inroads into civil liberty which had
occurred in my own time and had been far less indignantly resisted.
The dominant note of this movement was the insistence on
individuality. Comic relief was given by processions of 'typical
Englishmen'. The marchers, or rather the disorderly stragglers, were
persons made up to represent 'unstereotyped types' and odd individuals
in the present world and in all ages. Nineteenth-century tramps, and
vagabonds of every period were the most popular figures. They were
represented as unshaven, ragged, filthy, drunk, and friendly. Each was
got up to be as unlike as possible to every other. These jostled with
medieval minstrels, friars, and fools, scatter-brained philosophers,
artists, research scientists entangled in electric wires and test-
tubes. This motley host of ancient and modern eccentrics strayed along
the street in studied disorder, singing songs of freedom, blithely
recalcitrant to the efforts of the comic 'officials' who fussed beside
them, trying to get them into regular formation. In contrast with this
rabble might come a batch of well-drilled robots, made up to look like
machinery and linked together by red tape or electric cables. All this
buffoonery the real bureaucrats regarded with contempt and
indignation. In their view it was a symptom of a sinister weakening of
social morale, a neurotic craving for anarchy, a denial of the dignity
of the human species.

The agitation and the comic relief welled up in every country. The
governments were forced to promise certain immediate reforms, and the
World Government set up an independent commission to investigate the
whole matter. It was characteristic of the improved condition of the
human race that the commission's report was issued within three
months, and that, although it firmly condemned the bureaucrats for
their unnecessary officialism, it also won their respect by its
insight into their point of view. But its proposals for reform they
strongly condemned. There was to be a vast system of special courts of
appeal to deal with cases of alleged officialism and interference with
liberty. The most notorious bureaucrats in every country were to be
dismissed. Worst of all, in future no family should have more than
three members in the bureaucracy at any time. After much debate the
World Government decided to accept the plan, with a few modifications.
Thereupon the bureaucrats, honestly convinced of their own importance
and the rightness of their ideals, announced that they alone, who were
carefully selected and carefully educated for their task, could
possibly know what was needed in the life of the world society. They
frankly claimed to be a true aristocracy; and in this emergency they
were forced, they said, to suspend the constitution and resume
dictatorial power. The World Parliament and the swarm of national
parliaments, composed almost entirely of members of the bureaucratic
class, and secretly in sympathy with their claims, put up only a half-
hearted resistance. In all the states except Britain, Ireland, and
Tibet, the oldest and the newest homes of freedom, the coup d'etat was
at once successful, for the chiefs of the World Police were of course
members of the bureaucracy. In Ireland the local government split, and
the country boiled up in disorder. The British and Tibetan governments
made a stand for freedom. Guarding themselves with their unarmed
police, they arrested the local bureaucratic leaders and appealed to
the local World Police to defend the constitution. But the World
Police carried out the instructions of its Chief Constable. Armed
forces appeared at the two 'rebel' parliaments. Much to the distress
of the police, the rebels made an effort to resist, and fire-arms had
to be used against them. Several members of the two parliaments were
slightly damaged by shots fired at their legs. The governments were
duly arrested, along with their supporters.

But the peoples of the earth were by now far too spirited to accept
dictatorship, even a dictatorship which was manifestly benevolent
according to its lights. A general strike started in Britain, was
taken up in Tibet, Iceland, America, New Zealand, and developed into a
universal campaign of civil disobedience. From the point of view of
the bureaucrats the human race had gone quite mad. For these hosts of
civil servants and politicians were very conscious of their own
integrity and fundamental human loyalty. They were not Nazis or
'wicked capitalists' but conscientious servants of mankind, and,
moreover, demonstrably superior members of it. Their only fault was
that they had served not wisely but too well. This one fault, however,
they could not recognize. They attributed the whole agitation to
'subversive elements', to ne'er-do-wells who could do nothing but stir
up trouble. But the agitation increased. Only minimum services were
maintained. In a world of limitless wealth, people settled down to a
life of penury till liberty could be restored. Meanwhile there was
still complete freedom of expression. There were great demonstrations
and protest meetings, and many serious clashes between rioters and
police. Yet, though feeling was now very strong, there was practically
no bloodshed, for the temper of mankind had indeed improved. But the
new spirit was still frail.

As the conflict developed, both sides became more exasperated and
harsh. Matters came to a head in London. Huge crowds converged on
Whitehall and broke the windows of the World Government Building. The
Chief World Emissary himself appeared on a balcony to appease the
crowd, but as luck had it some one threw a bottle which hit him in the
face and covered him with blood. Suddenly the repressed brutishness of
both sides surged up and broke away all restraint. Anyone dressed as a
bureaucrat was roughly handled. The authorities were forced to make a
display of their fire-arms. This merely roused the mob to fury. They
charged the building. The guards fired at their legs, but the majority
rushed on, overwhelmed the guards, broke into the building, and set
fire to it. The officials were badly knocked about, but even at this
stage no serious hurt was committed. A fresh force of the World Police
was brought to the spot. Not realizing that they were confronted by a
brawl rather than a bloody revolution, the new-comers used machine
guns. Owing to the practise of low firing there were very few serious
casualties, but the crowd, far from being quelled, rushed forward,
regardless of further casualties. There was a massacre. But thousands
upon thousands of furious citizens now poured in from all directions.
The police, now completely surrounded and fighting for their lives,
fired indiscriminately. Walls of dead and dying surrounded them. But
the people of London were by now possessed by savage and reckless
hate. All the barbarous impulses that had been so thoroughly tamed
during the last three centuries suddenly took charge. As the wall of
dead rose, new attackers climbed over it, only to add their own dead
bodies to its height. Presently ammunition ran out. The mob broke in
and murdered everyone of the defenders. By now large reinforcements of
World Police were converging on London. Desperate struggles took place
in the suburbs.

At this stage the Lord Mayor of London made a radio appeal by loud
speakers in the streets, urging the World Police to retire, and the
people to go home. Meanwhile the metropolitan unarmed police, who were
popular with the London crowds, were sent out to all the danger spots
and coolly took charge of their rather weary fellow citizens. Seeing
that the mobs were now well in hand, the armed police retired.

The news of London's orgy spread by radio over the world. Other cities
flared up in rage, and one by one were persuaded into quietness again.
At last a statement was broadcast by a large section of the World
Police in every country saying that they would no longer carry out the
orders of their bureaucratic chiefs. It was now clear to the
bureaucrats that the game was up. The World Government resigned, and
many national governments followed its example. In Japan the ministers
committed hara-kiri. Many of the chiefs of the great public services,
national and international, surrendered their offices. Most of them
reaffirmed their ideals but recognized that mankind was not yet ready
to live up to so high an aim. Others recanted. For a whole month there
was scarcely any public authority anywhere in the world except the
local governments of Tibet, Britain, and Iceland. There was no world
government. The police and the civil services were without their
administrative heads. Yet there was no disorder. Everything functioned
normally, in the spirit of benevolent anarchy. This condition could
not last indefinitely, but no one had any authority to alter it.
Earnest discussion took place by radio; and from this, as in a world-
wide Friends' Meeting, it emerged that the 'feeling of the meeting'
was in favour of reinstating the old governments and the old
bureaucratic class in general, and charging them with the task of
putting the world on its feet again. Meanwhile the new political and
social constitution could be thought out in detail. Thus for the time
being the old governing class, chastened by its experience, retained
its position, save for a small number of fanatics and adventurers who
were dismissed. It is impossible that a revolution should end in this
manner in any community that had not already far surpassed our present
level of integrity and intelligence.

Thus the human race successfully avoided the danger of taking the
first step towards reviving class dominance. With the warning of the
recent troubles constantly in mind mankind gradually acquired a new
temper and tradition of morality in public life. It was but an
extension of the new temper and tradition of personal relations which
had resulted in the slight but general increase in the will for the
light. Once it had become firmly rooted, this new temper grew with
surprising vigour. Whereas formerly honesty and generosity had been
regarded as ideals difficult to attain, and men had on the whole
expected their neighbours to treat them scurvily and their rulers to
be tyrannical and corrupt, now honesty and generosity were
increasingly 'in the air'. Both in private and in public affairs men
confidently expected to be treated decently.


The human race was now able to carryon without distraction enterprises
that had been started as soon as world unity had been attained.
Industrial production and distribution had to be fully developed in
such a way as to afford security, comfort, and full growth of body and
mind to every human being between the poles. Resources of tidal and
volcanic power had to be exploited to their full extent. For the needs
of the race would soon be a thousandfold what they had been. New and
better synthetic materials must be invented, and some old materials
must be produced in far larger quantities. There must be new and
plentiful building materials and standardized parts of buildings, more
durable plastics for articles of domestic use, better and far more
plentiful fabrics for clothing, better food, better transport, far
more lavish educational equipment.

All this production must be done in such a way that 'sub-human' work
could be carried on solely by machines. Of course, so long as the
standard of human capacity remained what it was, many world-citizens
would be content with low-grade work; but no human being must ever
have to spend his life on work below his capacity, and none must ever
be tied to a kind of work for which his special aptitudes were
unsuited. There must be a great advance in vocational psychology, and
therefore much research.

Psychology, indeed, now came into its own. Human culture in the
scientific age had at first been dominated by physics and chemistry,
then by biology; and now finally it was largely influenced by
psychology. As the understanding of human nature increased, great
advances were made in educational method. Crippling neuroses gradually
disappeared. A composite photograph of mankind would have shown an
expression of frankness, confidence, and friendliness such as in an
earlier age was to be seen only in those who were outstandingly
fortunate in their genes and their nurture.

By now it was universally realized that fullness of life, though it
involved ample material means, was not to be measured simply in terms
of luxury, but rather in terms of bodily well-being and the higher
ranges of bodily and mental skill. A rather sharp distinction was made
in the new order between articles of mere luxury and articles needed
for the development of body or mind. Industry was planned so as to
make the former difficult to procure, the latter easy. Luxury was by
no means condemned, but the unlimited power of the world-society to
produce luxury articles was deliberately restricted, so that though
every one could procure a certain amount of pure luxury with his
'luxury allowance', no one could gather to himself masses of choice
articles which it was beyond his power to use or appreciate. Thus the
more flamboyant kinds of clothing, though not banned, were produced in
very small quantities; while simpler materials and patterns were
plentiful and various. Essential foods were obtainable everywhere in
lavish amounts. Luxury foods and the more precious kinds of wine were
difficult to come by. Serviceable motor cars and aeroplanes were
available for every citizen. Luxury cars and planes were to be
obtained only by the fanatic who was willing to stint himself in all
other respects. Choice jewellery was almost unobtainable, and was used
mainly for communal rather than individual display, but simple
trinkets, hand-made by craftsmen steeped in some local tradition or
venturing upon new forms, were available for all who wanted them. In
general the aim was to use the vast mechanical resources of the race
not to complicate but to simplify life, and to bring all that was
needed within the reach of all. Full use was to be made of machinery
while ensuring that machinery should not dominate. In the old days the
needs of ordinary people were catered for incidentally by enterprises
undertaken for private profit. The result was a constant appeal to the
more primitive and more insistent impulses of men, and a gross
degradation of sensibility and integrity. But now that public need was
the first claim it was necessary to decide what the public need really
was, and which needs were most to be fostered. Industry had to be
planned accordingly.

The world which now began to emerge was of very different type from
the old one. While nearly everyone was in some style a worker, the
'working class' was rapidly vanishing. No longer did the bulk of the
population work for long hours and for insufficient pay, living more
or less in squalor, and failing to secure that small amount of self-
expression without which mental health is impossible. The general
frustration and misery of the past had produced a characteristic
mentality, now vanished. In politics, for instance, frustration had
expressed itself in a gnawing vindictiveness which later on seemed
merely silly. At each end of the political spectrum, and indeed to a
great extent throughout it, fear, jealousy, hatred, and a frustrated
itch for self-display, were dominant motives, though often appearing
under the guise of righteous indignation. Hence Fascism, Nazism, and
the baser sort of Communism. By now, Fascism and Nazism had of course
long ago vanished. Communism, which at one time had made so great a
contribution to thought and feeling and institutions, was no longer a
fanatical creed. In a sense all sane men were communists, since all
accepted much of the Marxian social analysis; but the militant
Communist Party had long since vanished, and the Marxian attempt to do
without the primacy of the fundamental values, love and wisdom, was
recognized as a perversity due to the poisonous atmosphere of the
machine age.

Instead of the 'working class' there were increasing millions of
people whose standard of life we should call 'comfortable middle-
class', but whose minds were very different from our middle-class
minds, since they were no longer moulded by the desperate necessity of
trying to get the better of their neighbours in the commercial dog-
fight. Most men were now salaried servants of the world state or some
national state or local or vocational authority. Three classes alone
received no salary, but drew, when necessary, the liberal maintenance
allowance to which every citizen was entitled when he needed it. The
small and curious class of private capitalists, whose function it was
to provide society with the benefits of daring private enterprise in
industrial pioneering, lived on profits, but were prevented by
sumptuary laws and taxation from attaining more than the tolerated
degree of affluence. Their employees were skilled workers of all
kinds, attracted by the possibility of somewhat higher pay and shorter
hours than were allowed in state service, and by a sense of adventure
in a small common enterprise. Most of them were persons who had saved
up their luxury allowances to contribute to the equipping of the
factory. Thus they themselves were capitalists. The aim of the
original capitalist or group of capitalists who founded the concern
was always to build up a co-operative and self-governing society in
which all the members were in some degree capitalists.

The second class of unsalaried persons were the artists and writers
who started professional life in complete dependence on the
maintenance allowance and such extra help as they could obtain from
their parents or friends. They might also gain state 'subsidies of
merit'; but in the main they hoped to live on the sale of their works,
since in the new world the demand for books, pictures, musical
performances, and so on, was far greater than in our own day.

The third unsalaried class was made up of the born idlers and tramps.
These, a small minority, either supplemented their maintenance
allowance with an occasional day's labour, or frankly depended wholly
on the 'dole'. Although the great majority of these people were
socially quite useless, the world society could easily afford to keep
them in idleness for the sake of the few outstandingly creative or
critical minds that now and then emerged from among them. Many of
these inveterate tramps were people with strong anti-social impulses.
They regarded all social organization as a nuisance and as 'fair game'
for the predatory wanderer. The fact that they were nevertheless
tolerated and even fostered is a measure of the stability and the
wisdom of the leaders of the new world. These ne'er-do-wells were very
few, for improved education had greatly reduced the number of merely
warped minds. These were apparently not warped but innately
individualistic. Some were individualistic to such an extent that they
refused to avail themselves of the dole, and lived almost entirely by
pilfering, sometimes by audacious highway robbery. To me it seemed at
first incredible that this sort of thing should be permitted in this
almost Utopian society. But these 'outlaws' were a minute section of
the individualist class, and anyone who suffered from their attentions
could claim compensation from the state. There was therefore no
attempt to eradicate them. When they were caught they were very
leniently punished, except when they had done bodily hurt to their

In the vocational representative system which ran parallel to the
parliamentary system, the capitalists, writers, artists, and tramps
had their own voting colleges, along with the salaried occupations,
such as engineers and teachers. The tramps and outlaws, however, very
seldom exercised their right to vote.

The lives of salaried persons of course varied very much. The aim was
to provide that in boring occupations hours should be short, and in
interesting work long. Exceptionally, some monotonous work involved
rather long hours, but in such cases the workers were chosen from the
psychological class who thrive best on monotonous occupations in which
they can day-dream. On the other hand some enthralling work was
restricted to short hours because of the strain which it involved.

One striking institution, first tried out in North America, but
immediately copied in China and soon adopted throughout the world, was
the Corps of Emergency. This consisted of workers from almost every
occupation chosen for their versatility and enterprise, and kept in
training and on full pay, to be moved hither and thither as occasion
required. Thus, if for some reason a river had to be deflected, a
mountain removed, a sea drained, thousands of civil engineers were
available without disturbance to existing enterprises. The Corps
fulfilled the function of the unemployed in the old capitalist system,
but with a very different temper.

The professed aim of the World Government was to secure a right
balance of specialization and all-roundness. Thus the more specialized
a man's trade, the more he was encouraged to take up outside
activities. Every individual, of course, was educated primarily to be
a developed personality and a responsible citizen. He was given an
outline of world-history and of the modern world culture. He was also
deliberately educated for breadth of sympathy and understanding.
Whatever his special capacities, he was trained to some degree of
insight into the activities of others. It was constantly urged upon
him that his prime duty was twofold, both to develop his own special
aptitude and to comprehend and foster so far as possible the special
aptitudes of others.

The World Government jealously exercised its right to supervise all
national educational systems so as to ensure that the essential
principles of education for citizenship in the new world should not be
violated; should in fact be vigorously practised. The aim was, not
only to impart a clear outline of man's story, along with some detail
of national and provincial history, but also to foster the two
supremely important human impulses, the will for community and the
will for intelligence. Not only as between individuals but also as
between peoples specialization was carefully restricted. Inevitably at
first some countries were predominantly industrial, others
agricultural, but it was deliberately designed that this
specialization should be based on an underlying self-sufficiency. This
surprised me, for the danger of war between the peoples had by now
vanished. Why, then, this insistence on self-sufficiency? Partly,
self-sufficiency was a result of natural economic development. With
the great advance of physical and chemical technique, industry had
become far less dependent on locality. Anything from food to
typewriters could now be produced in almost any district, for the
primary raw materials were vegetable tissues and the very common

But there was another reason for increasing self-sufficiency. At first
sight it seemed a reason pointing in the opposite direction. The aim
of the world government was the development of the world as a whole,
not of any one people. Local cultural differences were therefore to be
fostered, since it was realized that mental diversity was the breath
of life. This, it might seem, would involve fostering economic
specialization in each country, since economic diversity should
produce mental diversity. But extreme psychological specialization was
now recognized to be very dangerous. The highly specialized factory
worker of the past had been but the caricature of a real man. The
agricultural worker who knew of nothing but turnips had been equally
limited. For a people to be capable of significant cultural variation
it must have within its range a great diversity of activities. Persons
in each walk of life must be open to the direct and constant influence
of persons whose occupations, and therefore their mentalities, are
different. A highly specialized national economy breeds a lop-sided
mental culture. In a world of highly specialized nations this danger
can be partly avoided by the insistence on foreign travel; but not
effectively; for travel is either a holiday occupation, in which case
its effect though valuable, is not far-reaching; or a way of life, in
which case the traveller is mentally uprooted from his native culture.

The aim of the leaders of the new world was a high degree not only of
national but of provincial self-sufficiency. Thus in Britain, where
economic organization centred on the tidal generators of the west
coast of Scotland, industry was not allowed to concentrate in that
district. Improved transmission made it possible to take the electric
current into every part of the island, and to scatter the new bright
factories and workers' dwellings throughout the agricultural regions.
On the other hand much of the former congested industrial area of
Lancashire and Yorkshire and the Midlands was once more largely
agricultural. In consequence, not only the Scottish and Welsh nations
but the new-old English provinces of Wessex, East Anglia, Northumbria,
Mercia, and so on, developed each its own limited but vigorous
autonomy, and made its own contribution to the English culture.
England in turn was becoming far more self-sufficient than of old.
Improved agriculture and reduced population made it possible for the
three British peoples to feed themselves, though there was always a
large import of luxury foods from abroad. Britain had long ago ceased
to be 'the workshop of the world', since every country was in the main
its own workshop, but Britain's imports were 'paid for' by the export
of the special lines of high-quality machinery and fabrics for which
the British were becoming famous. Trade, in fact, was becoming more
and more an exchange not of necessities, but of products which local
genius produced for the amplification and embellishment of life
throughout the world. Each people aimed at being basically self-
sufficient but also at producing for the world economy some special
class of goods which could be produced with unique success by its
local tradition and skill. Each also prided itself both on its
cosmopolitan and on its national culture, both on its insight into the
common human tradition and on its peculiar contribution to that ever-
exfoliating culture.

Thus the British, never a highly cultured race in the intellectual
sense, claimed with some justice that they could still teach the world
through the example of their political life, with its anomalous but
effective institutions and its temperate and forbearing spirit. And
though the population of Britain remained relatively unresponsive to
literature, English writers, and particularly English poets, wrote for
the world and were read by the world more than the writers of any
other land. This was partly due to the importance which the luck of
history had given to the English language, for at this time it had
become the 'second language' of all other peoples, and was being
constantly enriched by extensive borrowings from other languages, to
such an extent that the Englishman of that age considered the English
of our day as archaic as Chaucer's English.

The Germans still gave the world great music, monumental works of
philosophy (increasingly often written in English) and meticulous
applications of science. Their organizing ability expressed itself
throughout the world in the great preponderance of Germans in the
control of cosmopolitan institutions such as the World Commissions for
Health, Postage, Radio, Transport. Indeed there were those who
murmured that the Germans had at last achieved their dream of world
empire. The Russians, freed from their delusion of imperialism,
rightly claimed the world's admiration for their powers of insight
into personality and their spirit of comradeship. The Tibetans, ever-
respected for the glorious victory that they had won against the
forces of darkness through their spiritual discipline, were
universally regarded as the main fastness of the spirit. The more
subtle and more diverse Indians, however, were becoming the main
interpreters of spiritual experience to the rest of the world. The
North Americans, now the leading pioneers in industrial invention, and
also in man's ever-increasing astronomical exploration, claimed in
addition that they were leaders in the important task of digesting and
co-ordinating the other cultures. The Chinese, who in virtue of sheer
numbers and the continuity of their civilization played an immense
part in forming the culture of the new world, ensured that the
ordinary man should indeed within his powers be a cultured man, and
provided him with a subtle and humane pattern of personal conduct.
Thus at the outset of the phase of Utopian development there was great
cultural diversity among the peoples. Of course, to excel in any one
cultural direction an individual had not necessarily to belong to the
people which was its chief exponent. Indeed, in every cultural sphere
outstanding contributions might be made by individuals of any nation.
Moreover, some cultural activities were far more international than
others. Most of the natural sciences, for instance, depended on many
peoples equally. But on the whole, and in the long run, each people
gained its special reputation, and to excel in any sphere a man must
if possible start by absorbing the contribution of the people that had
done most in that sphere. Not that the talent of a people remained
fixed for ever. Reputations might be lost, and new ones made. Indeed
each people was capable of surprising the world with achievement in
directions hitherto unattempted by it. Few would have expected that
the Russians, after an age of fanatical materialism, would develop a
special aptitude for mystical experience; still fewer that the minute
and storm-racked population of the Shetland Isles would come to excel
in philosophy to such an extent that the new little university of
Lerwick vied with the great German and Indian seats of learning in
this respect.

Though everything possible was done to encourage each people to
develop its special capacities, certain essential principles were
ensured in all states, namely those customs, institutions, and values
which were deemed necessary for the welfare of mankind as a whole and
the further development of human capacity. Thus in education, while
each people and each large minority within a people was permitted to
arrange curricula and the temper of its schools and colleges in accord
with its peculiar needs and tradition, all must conform to the
fundamental principles of the new world, educating for personality and
world-citizenship, and the full expression of the potentiality of man.
Similarly in respect of law, though each country preserved its legal
system mainly intact, all must in respect of such vital matters as
civil liberty, health, the prevention of economic exploitation, fulfil
certain essential requirements. If in any respect its national legal
system fell short of the common standard of mankind, changes, however
drastic, had to be made. But indeed, in respect of law there was a
strong tendency to abolish all national oddities and to work out a
single uniform system of world law.

Now that the new world order was firmly established the main concern
of the World Government was the detailed organization of human affairs
so as to secure that future generations should have the best possible
conditions. In the economic field the aim was to strike such a balance
between producer's goods and consumer's goods that, though present
conditions should be as favourable as was necessary for physical and
mental health, future conditions should be far better. This involved a
great deal of research and bold planning by the World Economic
Development Commission. At the same time the World Health Ministry was
able to organize a well-co-ordinated attack on disease, and to secure
that the rising generation should be more healthy than their


Of all the problems that confronted the World Government the most
difficult was that of population. During the period of the Russian and
Chinese Empires and subsequently under the World Empire, population in
most countries had very seriously declined, and the average age had
increased. The French had dwindled to a sprinkling of disheartened old
people in a swarm of German and Russian invaders. Yet Germany and
Russia themselves had suffered a startling decline of population.
China under the Empire was badly depleted. The Japanese, whose
sufferings had been worse than those of any other people, were almost
exterminated. The Indians had multiplied after gaining their
independence from Britain, but had declined heavily under the Russian
and Chinese Empires. The British, reduced during the tyranny to a
handful of semi-barbarians in a land of ruined factories, had later,
under the influence of Tibetan missionaries, conceived a new national
purpose even under the heel of the tyranny, and had concentrated on
reproduction so effectively that the decline was stayed and these
island peoples became sufficiently vigorous to undertake rebellion
after rebellion. At the founding of the World Federation, Great
Britain was inhabited by some eight million human beings.

The two empires had tried to stem the downfall of world population by
forbidding birth-control and persecuting the childless. These methods
had little effect, for under the empires life was not worth living.

While numbers were declining, the average level of intelligence was
declining also. The more intelligent were more reluctant than the
dullards to burden themselves with children in a hostile world; or
else, climbing into wealth and comfort without any social or religious
ideals to stimulate them into assuming the burden, they avoided it.

One of the first acts of the World Federal Government was to set up a
Ministry of Parenthood, charged not only with stemming the general
decline of population but also with securing that intelligent stocks
should not dwindle while dull stocks increased. The first task was to
make parenthood attractive to people of average and superior
intelligence. This was done partly by heavy subsidies. Every
intelligent child, far from being a burden to its parents, became a
financial asset. Great efforts were made to free childbirth of its
distress and danger, and to ensure that the upbringing of children
should not demand the enslavement of the mother during the best years
of her life. With the aid of communal meals, communal nurseries and
labour-saving devices within the home the mothers were freed and yet
the home was preserved as the fundamental unit of social life. All
girls were trained in mothercraft. The Ministry also undertook careful
propaganda to persuade all young people that parenthood was at once
their supreme privilege and their first obligation; the supreme
privilege, because only through marriage and the rearing of a family
could they know community in its most intimate form; the supreme
obligation because in the present condition of the species the most
urgent need was that the decline of population should be checked, and
that there should be a lavish supply of vigorous and intelligent
young. For this age of mankind's history, they said, was the true age
of sunrise. The period from the origin of the species to the overthrow
of the world tyranny had been merely the long-drawn-out dawn. But with
the founding of the Federation of Mankind bright light had suddenly
appeared over the horizon. At last the whole prospect was clear and
golden. Not only must population cease to decline; the needs of the
new world were such that the number of human beings must be increased
to a hundred times their present number. The world-resources were
ample, and for the fulfilment of man's potentiality it was necessary
to have a world of many scores of great diversified peoples. But more
important even than numbers was quality. It must be the task of each
generation to secure that its successor should be more healthy, more
intelligent, more generous, more sane, and more creative than earlier
generations. Every young couple must surely desire this for its own
children, and must covet the rarest of parental glories, namely to
bring into the world some outstanding genius, whether in political
action, science, art, or spiritual leadership.

Much was done in order to foster intelligence and integrity in the
rising generation. Lavish research produced at last very reliable
mental tests. Defectives and certain types prone to criminality were
sterilized. Dullards were severely discouraged from having children.
Parents of good average intelligence were of course helped to have
large families. Those of exceptionally high intelligence were
handsomely subsidized. Outstanding children were treated as the
world's most precious possession, and trained with the utmost care and
skill to enable them to make full use of their powers.


Within a few generations this policy of fostering intelligence and
integrity began to have surprising results. Society began to be
stratified in ranks of ability. People tended to confine their mating
within their own rank of capacity. Consequently the first signs of a
new caste system appeared. Serious problems were thus raised, and two
world-wide political parties, opposed to one another with increasing
emphasis, advocated opposite policies. One party, the Aristocrats,
favoured the acceptance of the caste tendency, and even the deliberate
breeding of specialized human types for specialized functions,
including a caste of world-organizers or rulers. The other party, the
Democrats, insisted that, though inevitably there must be great
differences between men in respect of mental and spiritual
developments, and some differences were no doubt desirable, it was
important to prevent such divergences from broadening into
unbridgeable gulfs. The distinctive attribute of man, they said, was
not specialism but versatility, not social organization of types alien
to each other, but free community among mutually understanding and
respecting persons. For man, the way of aristocracy was the way of
insectification and of death.

Against this view it was insisted that society was like an organism
composed of highly specialized cells. A man's body could not be made
up wholly of brain cells; nor could a highly developed society consist
wholly of the highest possible types of individuals. The Democrats
agreed, but added that human society was far more like a brain than a
body. Its body was the material fabric of civilization. Itself was a
cerebrum which, whatever the specialization of its cells, must act as
a whole. Every unitary member must be at least able to appreciate the
rhythm of the whole. In fact, human society must be human society,
must be a genuine community. Just as in the body the cells must not be
so different that they could not hold together in organic relation, so
in a human community the members must not be so different that they
could not hold together in the distinctively human relation of true
community. Or rather, it did not matter how great the differences. The
greater they were the better for mutual enrichment, so long as it
remained possible for every member to recognize the humanity of every
other whom he might encounter, to speak to him as man to man, to feel
fundamentally at one with him, to welcome his differences for the sake
of his essential kinship, nay to value them for their enriching power.

Some of the Aristocrats were inclined to agree with all this; but they
held that in the time of transition from semi-humanity to full
humanity the race must inevitably consist of an élite and a
commonalty, and that the élite must be segregated and given special
privileges and responsibilities. True, replied the Democrats. The
élite clan must carry forward the advance of humanity, must do all the
creative work. Their capacity to do this is in fact their supreme
privilege. They need no other, save the special environment and
instruments needed for their special occupations. But if they come to
demand as of right that inferior types should exist beneath them to do
the baser work of society, they are being false to their own humanity.
Sub-normal individuals, of course, there will inevitably be in any
society, and they must be cared for and if possible helped to serve in
some humble capacity; but no society can be healthy, can be really
human, if it requires that some of its members should fall short of
that level of mentality needed for intelligent partnership in the
common enterprise.

The Aristocrats argued that the urgent task was to improve the calibre
of the creative intelligence which led the human advance, gradually
specializing all the castes for their peculiar functions, the clerks
for clerking, the manuals for hand-labour, and so on. The Democrats
demanded that the main effort should be to raise the general level and
blot out the incipient caste systems.

This great dispute was carried on for centuries, and became
increasingly violent as its solution became more urgent. Successive
world-governments adopted conflicting policies. Some peoples inclined
more to one view, some to the other. The upshot of this confused and
ineffective policy was that the caste structure gradually developed
automatically. It became possible to tell a man's caste even by the
appearance of his naked body. The heavy-limbed labourer, the brisk and
bird-like clerk, the strong-armed, weak-legged mechanic, could be
singled out in the swimming bath. Already there was a movement to
provide special accommodation for each caste and to forbid

Little by little, however, it became clear even to members of the
Aristocratic Party that the world was once more falling sick, and that
the source of trouble was the caste system. Sharp conflicts arose
between the castes, and particularly between the more privileged and
the less privileged. Official secretiveness and official
meddlesomeness began to return. Fundamental human liberties were
imperceptibly but ceaselessly curtailed, save for the élite. The
sacred scriptures of the race began to echo reproachfully in men's
ears. In spite of the improved intelligence and goodwill of the race,
the bulk of the privileged class found reason for clinging to their
privileges. It seemed that the world must sooner or later be torn once
more by a bitter class conflict and a civil war. But once more the
improvement in mentality, slight though it was, made the difference
between disaster and precarious triumph. Many even of the supporters
of the incipient caste system could not shut their eyes to the fact
that their party was drawn almost entirely from the élite alone, that
the rest of the race was violently opposed to their policy, and that
oppression, though tempered with decency, was once more appearing.

As so often before, a crisis was brought about by a change in the
method of production. Through a long series of new discoveries and
inventions a new and incomparably mightier source of mechanical power
was at last brought into action. This source was sub-atomic; but
whether it lay in the disintegration of atoms or in the actual
conversion of the ultimate material particles into free energy, or
some more obscure activity, I could never clearly understand. Its
impact on society, anyhow, was obvious. Both tidal electricity and
volcanic power were quickly superseded. Power could now be generated
anywhere on the earth's surface, and to a limitless extent. The
generators, however, though small were extremely complex and delicate.
They were dangerous too, for mishandling might easily lead to the
devastation of a whole province. Only a highly trained physicist of
superior intelligence could control them. The adoption of the new
process throughout the world was restricted by the lack of a supply of
practical intelligence of sufficiently high grade; and also by the
fact that the huge class of workers connected with the old sources of
power were too specialized to be turned over to any other skilled
work. Owing to the caste tendency, they had become 'bound
intelligences' of an exaggerated type, apt for the routine problems of
their profession, but utterly incapable of versatility.

Thus the work of adapting the structure of society to the new means of
production was very difficult. Physicists had to be trained in huge
numbers; the old engineering profession had somehow to be transformed.
But how? Some advocated pensioning off the whole population of them
for life. Some few did not scruple to suggest the lethal chamber.

This state of affairs brought the caste problem to a head. Discussion
was world-wide and heated. The radio sets of all the peoples resounded
with earnest speeches from those who advocated the abolition of caste
and a rapid change over, and on the other hand from those who urged a
slow transformation both of the caste system and of the productive
method. There were some who would have sacrificed sub-atomic power
altogether in order to preserve the caste principle. But to common
sense it had long ago become obvious that the caste principle was
harmful anyhow. Many even of the Aristocrats were by now convinced at
heart. In an earlier age this would not have prevented them from
fighting to the death for their privileges, but the temper of men had
indeed improved. By an overwhelming majority the Parliament of the
World accepted the principle that henceforth everything possible
should be done to raise the general level of intellectual and moral
calibre rather than to produce a caste of cultural and social leaders
supported by specialized castes of various types of bound
intelligence. It was recognized that special aptitudes would always be
needed and must be developed to the full, so far as they did not
interfere with the fundamental human identity of all members of the

Certain principles of policy were laid down for the guidance of the
World Government. The transition to sub-atomic power must be tempered
to the needs of the old engineering caste. These unfortunate servants
of the human species must be given the choice of either accepting a
pension, or learning some new work, or continuing their present
occupation in normal circumstances, even if this involved slowing down
the rate of transition to sub-atomic power. Intermarriage between
castes must be encouraged. Social segregation of castes must be
prevented. Individuals with extreme specialized characters must be
forbidden to marry individuals of the same type. And so on.

The dissolution of the incipient caste system formed the end of an
epoch. Hitherto the great conflicts which occurred in the human race
had been in the main uncontrolled and gravely damaging. In tribal
warfare, national warfare, and class struggles the organs of humanity
tore at one another in blind fury, so that their common life was at
all times crippled and abject, and every human being was to some
extent warped. Not only were the types of cell within the great
organism but feebly united but often by nature they were lethal to one
another. Each was to the other an army of disease cells. Even during
that long first phase of the career of the species some conflicts had
of course been successfully integrated into the life of the whole, or
at least into the life of a whole nation or class. But henceforth,
conflicts were far better subordinated to the needs of the whole human
race. They ceased to be desperate internecine life-and-death
struggles, and became merely internal strains, needed to preserve the
taut balance of the common life, like the tension between the
antagonist muscles of a limb.

Two conditions, it seemed to me, assured this new sanity of the race.
The first was a social order in which every individual who was not
gravely sub-normal could count on a life of self-expression and co-
operation. The second was the widespread, heartfelt, and not merely
verbal acceptance of the fundamental religious aim of social life,
namely the development of man's capacity for personality in service of
the spirit.




THE AGE that now dawned was one of almost explosive progress,
explosive, yet controlled. Unlike the industrial revolution, which is
familiar to readers of this book, it was not dependent on licentious
economic individualism. Its energy was derived, of course, very
largely from the self-assertive itch of able individuals, but the
means of satisfying this craving were now in the main centrally
planned and socially useful.

Superficially at least I was able to grasp the material achievement of
the race in this period, but its cultural life henceforth increasingly
escaped me, outranging my comprehension.

Nevertheless it seems worth while to describe the main features of the
new order, not only because it was characteristic of the human race
for a very long time but also because of its novelty and its
significance for our own age. At the outset the innate calibre of the
average human being was not appreciably higher than our own. Men were
on the whole no more intelligent, and had no more capacity for
generosity than we have; but, owing to the world-wide victory of the
will for the light and the founding of a new tradition of moral
integrity and a more wholesome economy, average individuals behaved
far better. They lived normally far nearer the upper limit of their
capacity. Instead of being constantly degraded by their environment,
they were constantly braced and humanized. The rulers of the new world
were not content with this. The whole social organization was
dominated by the aim of continuously raising the average human
capacity far beyond its present level.

The social order of the new world was very different from any earlier
form. It might be described as at once 'super-modern' and yet in a way
medieval. At bottom it depended on the special characters of the new
source of mechanical power. Two contrary but harmonized tendencies
were at work. On the one hand mechanization was being steadily pushed
forward; on the other there was a surprising recovery of manual skill
and versatility in the life of the ordinary human being. On the one
hand came the fulfilment of social unity and harmony, on the other the
development of the individual's self-sufficiency and all-roundness.

This balanced economy was greatly assisted by the fact that power came
to be accessible almost anywhere and was derived from quite ordinary
materials. In our own age, no doubt, such an order would be far more
difficult to establish, since in our stage of industrial evolution,
power and manufacture both demand far-reaching organization, and the
reducing of individuals to specialized cogs in the great machine. But
even we, had we clear sight and the will for change, could at least
set our faces in this direction.

Though at first the generators had been exceedingly cumbersome and
delicate, the method was later transformed by a series of brilliant
inventions, resulting from world-wide co-operative research. The
standard generator, which supported the new civilization as combustion
engines of all sorts support our own, was a subtle little machine
which could be housed in a small barn. All the skill of the most
expert physicists was needed for the making of this instrument; but
the finished article, if not fool-proof, was reliable, potent, and
versatile. It could be used not only for the production of power but
also for the transmutation of the elements, and the synthesizing of a
vast range of materials for use. As a power-unit it demanded little
more skill than we use in motoring; but as an instrument for the
varied synthesizing of materials it could employ every range of
ability. Some elements and compounds could be produced easily by any
competent person, some demanded rather special aptitude and training,
some could be attempted only by the most brilliant masters, and some
had to be undertaken in the great electro-chemical factories.

Little by little every village came to have its own power plant. Even
isolated houses generated their own power and could produce the
simpler materials. In the main, however, the village was the unit of
the new social system. Its strength was due to the scope and
limitations of the standard generator, which employed directly and
indirectly in village industry and agriculture between fifty and five
hundred persons. The population of the average village consisted of
the electro-magnetic engineers who saw to the generating of power, a
number of craftsmen specialized in the production of the different
kinds of material needed by the village, and another set of craftsmen
who worked up the materials into articles of use. The former class of
craftsmen, who were called 'atomic weavers', used as their raw
material ingredients in the local earth. These they bombarded with
sub-atomic particles, fired out by their mighty power plant, and thus
they produced a great range of elements and compounds. The process
demanded the same kind of skill as that of the old-time hand-spinners
and weavers, the craftsmen vying with each other to produce the
subtlest and most serviceable compounds and mixtures free from all
impurities. These products were then worked up by craftsmen of the
other class into crockery, furniture, cutting tools, building
materials, clothing, and so on. The village textile workers clothed
their fellow villagers in a great variety of simple but pleasing
fabrics. Even isolated households, with their smaller plant, could
provide themselves with many of the simpler materials. On the other
hand some villages excelled so much in a particular line of
craftsmanship that their products were in demand throughout the
countryside. Only the most difficult materials and articles had to be
brought to the village from the local factory, itself but a large and
highly specialized village or cluster of villages around a great power
house and synthesis station.

The food of the village was not produced by the synthesis of organic
compounds under sub-atomic power. Agriculture was still practised. But
the old kind of agriculture was rapidly giving way to direct photo-
synthesis of the essential food factors under sunlight. The village
was surrounded by its private gardens and communal fields. The earth
was impregnated with appropriate chemicals and sprinkled with the
spore of an artificial 'organic molecule', which absorbed light and
propagated itself till it covered the field with a green exfoliation.
It was then gathered by a tractor armed with a sort of vacuum cleaner,
washed, and worked up with other materials (similarly produced) into a
great variety of food-stuffs. Throughout the summer the fields were
harvested at intervals of about a week. The advantage of this system
over the old-fashioned agriculture was that the land produced nearly
ten times its former yield in food value.

Certain luxury foods, and every villager demanded his share of luxury,
had to be procured from the local or national factory, and some
specially choice articles from foreign lands. But any village with any
pretension to taste and local pride could produce characteristic local
variants of the essential synthetic 'meats', 'breads', 'cheeses',
'fruits', and drinks. Many an isolated homestead, if its food-making
was managed with intelligence and artistry, could produce a simple but
elegant meal to delight the most fastidious traveller.

Little by little the new processes transformed the whole economy of
the world. A miniature aeroplane, driven by sub-atomic power derived
from one of the rarer elements in the air, made it possible for
everyone to travel anywhere at a speed which we should regard as more
than adequate. For very long fast journeys people had to resort to
air-liners and stratosphere-liners; but enterprising young men, and
young women also, often went to the farthest countries in their own
miniature planes. These little vehicles, commonly called 'flies', were
rather smaller than our smallest gliders. The flyer lay full length on
his stomach in the coffin-like fuselage, which was padded to form a
sort of bed.

Towns such as we know were disappearing. It was no longer necessary
for people to live in great warrens, and  there was a general demand
for spaciousness. Owing to the invaluable fly, this was no longer
incompatible with constant social intercourse. Many of the old towns
were being demolished or thinned out so as to display to better
advantage their few but valued architectural treasures. Slums had long
since been turned into parks or agricultural land, with here and there
a village. Of the old towns, the great ports alone fulfilled their old
function, but these too were transformed. Save where ground space was
restricted, as in New York, the congested area gave place to a host of
villages separated by parks, market gardens, orchards, and fields. The
great increase of local self-sufficiency might have been expected to
kill sea-borne trade, but though at first the ports declined, a new
tendency soon appeared. Sub-atomic power had released so great a fund
of human energy and skill that many of the peoples began to specialize
once more, not indeed in the production of basic necessities, but in
luxury foodstuffs, luxury handicrafts, superfine machines and tools. A
new and fierce competition arose between peoples that vied with each
other to produce the very best articles of some particular type, such
as optical instruments, textiles, furniture, and so on. This
competition was not of the capitalist sort. Its motive was sheer pride
of workmanship and enlightened patriotism. In consequence of all this
 new industrial specialization, sea-borne and air-borne trade, and
the transport of goods along the great arterial roads of the
continents, were still important social services. Every village in
this new and prosperous world demanded that, in addition to its self-
sufficiency in essentials and its pride in local craftsmanship, it
should have a share in the choicest products of the excess energy of
all peoples.

The average individual in the new order, in whatever land he lived,
was either a village craftsman in one of the specialized sub-atomic
skills or a sort of glorified subsistence farmer. On his personal acre
or in the communal village fields he produced enough food for his
family or co-operated in the communal production of the village.
Enough was left over for taxes, bartering, trade with foreign lands,
and lavish hospitality. As he would not be fully occupied by the new
agriculture, unless he specialized in some difficult luxury product,
he might also be enough of a craftsman with the sub-atomic machinery
to make many of his household goods. His wife, possibly aided by the
daughters, would prepare the food and keep the house in order. With
the new power and the new labour-saving devices this would occupy no
more than a couple of hours a day. The women would therefore lend a
hand on the farm and probably spend a good deal of time on the
production of clothes for the household. The children also would help
on the farm, chiefly for their education. They would learn crafts for
future use. The difference between the village agriculturalists and
the village craftsmen was only one of emphasis. Both classes practised
both activities, but while the agriculturalists supplemented their
main occupation with simple crafts, the craftsmen were tillers and
gardeners in their spare time.

As in the period that we call the Middle Ages, the great majority of
men were agriculturalists to some extent; though minorities
specialized completely, working in the factories, laboratories, and so
on. In some districts specialism was more common than elsewhere. The
different countries retained much of their characteristic pattern of
life, but native customs were transmuted to accord with the general
pattern and spirit of the new world. In some lands the ordinary
village included, along with the houses of the village craftsmen,
those of the local agriculturalists, who went to the communal or
private fields each day by fly. Elsewhere the villages were populated
mainly by craftsmen. The agriculturalists lived in scattered farm-
houses throughout the countryside. In some countries there were few
specialists, in others many. In some, agriculture was mainly
individualistic, though subject to strict control by the state or the
village; in others it was carried on by communal village enterprise.
In some, where population was sparse, the grown sons would set up new
farms in the untamed land. In others, densely populated, the sons
might either decide among themselves who was to take over the paternal
farm, or all might stay on in the old home with their wives and
families, supplementing its produce by trade in handicrafts. Sometimes
the individual homestead expanded into a clan village. Sometimes a
dwelling-house would be little more than a dormitory, all social
activity being centred upon the village. Sometimes the villages them-
selves tended to be mentally dominated by some neighbouring town or
metropolis. But even the greatest cities of the world were now
organic clusters of villages, each making its own special contribution
to the city's life.


One remarkable institution was almost universal, namely the village
'meeting', a gathering of all the villagers for the planning of their
communal life. The 'meeting' took a great variety of forms in
different lands; but nearly always it centred on a building which
combined many of the characters of a village hall, a church, and a
public house. By some freak of the evolution of language it was known
in all countries as the 'poob'. In it the village met every evening to
yarn, play games, sing, drink their synthetic elixirs, smoke their
synthetic tobaccos. It was also the communal eating-house where
friends could meet over a meal, where many of the more sociable
villagers fed every day, where the guests of the village were
entertained, where village banquets were held. In it also the
villagers met for concerts and lectures. In it at regular intervals
they held their formal 'meetings' to discuss communal business and
settle disputes. There they also held their sacred ceremonies, such as
marriages, funerals, initiations into citizenship, commemorations of
great events, local, national, or cosmopolitan.

The poob housed the village sports trophies, historical relics, and
art treasures. It contained also, normally behind curtains, but
displayed on great occasions, the village 'ark'. This was at once a
safe where valuable documents were preserved, a mascot, a sacred
symbol, and a shrine. The ark was a great carved chest, often
surmounted by a symbolic statue or picture. Sometimes it was the work
of local craftsmen, sometimes it was a much treasured import from the
near-by city or some foreign land. These objects varied greatly in
aesthetic value and in symbolic power. A few were visited by pilgrims
from every part of the planet. Others, though dear and sacred to the
hearts of their own villagers, drew no attention from elsewhere. These
symbols sometimes represented in a stylized manner incidents of
special significance in the life of the village or the nation or
mankind. Sometimes they symbolized love or reason or family, or the
unity of the human race, or man's relation to the cosmos. On any
solemn occasion, such as a marriage or one of the regular 'days of
contemplation', the ark would be unveiled, and the assembled villagers
would sit in silence for a few minutes before it. Music would follow,
choral or instrumental, and then the brief and simple ceremony would
be performed by the village headman or some specially deputed villager
or stranger, either with some well-established form of words or
impromptu, or perhaps with silent gesture. When the ceremony was over
the ark would be once more veiled, and the villagers would drink or
feed together.

Often the poob was simply the ancient village church or temple. In
cities it might be the cathedral or the city hall or some other
historic building. Meetings of essentially the same type as the
village meetings, but more ritualistic, took place in all the cities
and in each national metropolis. Specially important meetings
occurred in the four great cultural world-centres, Peking, Benares,
Moscow, and San Francisco. But most exalted of all were the annual
commemorations in sacred Lhasa.

Now that the economic problem had been solved, public attention was
more and more directed to the cultural life of the race. Education was
no longer dominated by the need to equip the young for the
individualistic economic 'battle of life', nor yet by the demand for
efficient and docile robots. Vocational training was still an
important element in education, but it no longer devoured the whole
time and attention of the young people. All children were brought up
mainly in their native village. There were no boarding schools, great
swarms of young things living in monastic isolation from the life of
the world. Normally every child lived at home, and grew up in the
normal environment of farm life, acquiring the various skills which
were demanded by the varied life of adults. The village schools,
though some were severely criticized for inefficiency or laxity, were
in the main inspired by the new tradition of the race. In every
country the teachers were jealously selected, and carefully trained in
the great residential universities. In some countries a group of a
score or a hundred neighbouring villages might combine to set up a
common school for the brighter children of the whole district.
Elsewhere this principle was rejected as tending to create a class
division between the bright and the dull. Instead, both types were
kept in the village school, but those who showed superior capacity
were allowed to absent themselves from classes so long as they kept
pace with the class work. The time thus gained they spent on
developing their special powers or interests. A searching system of
vocational selection skimmed off from the village schools those
children of leaving age who had superior aptitude for particular
occupations, and those who, through high general intelligence were
fitted to become teachers or research workers in some branch of
science or in technical philosophy, and also those whose special
talents for organizing and social intercourse were needed for
industrial management, large-scale economic planning, and political

Potential artists were also selected. These might either go into
residence at one of the great art schools or universities; or else,
living on the maintenance grant, they could allow their genius to
pursue its own course, eking out their meagre grant by selling their
works. Of set purpose, and not through mere niggardliness, the state
allowed the young man or woman who chose to avoid all state-organized
professions only a bare minimum of help, whether his field of
adventure was art or science or philosophy. Thus it was hoped to weed
out those who had not actually 'got it in them' to produce creative
work. On the other hand, no matter how preposterous or shocking to the
public his products might be, the adventurer was at least assured of
his minimum grant. And if it had any real merit (unperceived by the
majority), and indeed often if it had no real merit at all, he might
well succeed in selling. For, unless his work was both technically
feeble and quite extravagantly idiosyncratic, it was very likely to
find some sort of market in the new culturally conscious world. For in
this new world-society pictures, statues, music, and writing were in
demand, in some cases by the national, in others by the world-wide
public, and in yet others by one or other of the special publics, each
interested in some particular sphere or genre of art. It. was not
uncommon for a neglected young painter to leap from penury to
affluence and fame on the sale of a single work. Many artists,
however, had no such luck, and were forced to live on the maintenance
grant alone throughout their lives. Some of these, ahead of their
time, became world-famous after death, but the great majority were
merely untalented enthusiasts. No one dreamed of grudging them their
futile but harmless careers, since the community could well afford to
maintain them. Indeed, since most farms kept open house for any stray
travellers, and all villages provided meals and beds for a constant
flow of visitors, these artistic failures could eat and sleep their
way over the face of the earth and use their maintenance grant wholly
for clothing and extra comforts.


One class of persons in the new world-order it is very difficult to
describe. They cannot be fitted into any of our categories. Moreover
their function gradually changed and increased in importance. In the
earlier period of the continually developing world-Utopia they were
merely tramps with a bent for self-observation, observation of their
fellow men and speculation about the universe. Later, they became a
recognize and increasingly respected profession. They were called by
an Indian name which was translated into the English of that period as
'the forwards'. In some respects they were the equivalent of the
ancient 'Servants of the Light' who had played so great a part in the
overthrow of the Tyranny, but their function was not to overthrow a
social order and found another. In some ways they were a religious
body, but they had no common creed save their common loyalty to the
spirit. Like the medieval friars they were under a vow of poverty. A
forward's belongings were never to be more than such as could be
carried easily in a moderate-sized rucksack. They spent much of their
time wandering from village to village and from continent to
continent, much also in retreat in the austere and beautiful hostels
which they themselves had built with their own hands. There they
occupied themselves with communal farming and craftsmanship, and also
with meditation and discussion. They practised 'psychic exercise', a
form of self-discipline leading to super-normal clarity and depth of
experience and to profound personal integration. On their travels they
often helped in harvesting or other emergency work, and they took part
in the social and religious life of the villages where they stayed,
absorbing the atmosphere of the local poob and in return giving
whatever was communicable in their own life of contemplation and
discipline. They were under no vow of chastity, but marriage and
domesticity were rare among them. A few married couples lived in the
hostels or wandered together, gipsy-like, with their children. The
celibate sometimes permitted themselves sexual love, either with
colleagues of the opposite sex or with persons outside the order.
Women who bore children from these unions were not disgraced but
honoured. The extramarital sexual relationships of the forwards were
mostly passionate and brief. Long before their fire was quenched the
consecrated partner would hear the call to pass on. Then in grief but
without rancour, and in thankfulness for the past, the lovers would

It was the aim of every member of the order to participate so far as
possible in all the great emotional experiences of the awakened human
life, while at the same time remaining in his innermost self detached
from all save fundamental loyalty to the spirit. Thus sexual love, and
even marriage and the responsibilities of parenthood, must be broken
off at the first sign of enthralment, and on the other hand before the
deep and pure current of emotion was contaminated by disillusionment.
Every partner who entered into relation with one of the forwards knew
well that this was the stern condition of the union. But the agony of
these separations could be a fruitful agony for both members. It was
the claim of many of the forwards themselves that in the desolate
recovery from these partings they sometimes rose to their states of
clearest vision. On the other hand those few who lived in permanent
marriage were apt to pity rather than admire the majority, saying,
'Well, for each there is an appropriate way; but for us the undying,
the life-giving union.'

In addition to the duty of detachment from ordinary human experiences,
the forwards laid upon themselves a complementary obligation. They
must in a manner preserve detachment even from their supreme
consecrated task of spiritual adventure. This too, if it should become
enthralling to the hungry individual spirit, or lead to any slightest
withdrawal of active sympathy from the life of the world, or again if
it should be poisoned by any faint breath of self-pride, must be at
once abandoned. The penitent would then impose on himself some weeks
or months or even years of mundane life, as a farm worker or
craftsman, a factory-hand, organizer, or teacher.

The twofold aim of the forwards was to explore the highest capacities
of the human spirit and to impart their findings to the world. They
were very widely respected, but not universally. There were some
intellectuals of sceptical temper and also some hard-headed men of
affairs who regarded the whole enterprise of the forwards as futile.
These critics pointed out that in the perfecting of society and the
raising of average intelligence and the endless developing of
intellectual culture the race would be able to occupy itself fully for
centuries to come, and probably for ever. There was no need, they
said, to peer into the black fog of mystery.

For hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years I seemed to watch the
successful carrying out of this policy, the patient perfecting of the
social organization, the amplification of human life, the slow but
universal rise of intelligence, the proliferation of culture in a
thousand novel directions. Throughout this long period the forwards
played an unostentatious but valuable part. Their spiritual researches
led to no striking discovery, but they formed mankind's permanent
outposts towards the super-human; and their influence in keeping the
daily lives of ordinary men and women sweet, and in preventing the
temper of the race from becoming merely mundane, was probably very
great. Of course there were fluctuations in their integrity and in
their usefulness, phases of corruption and regeneration, of stagnation
and of significant change; periods too when their presence was barely
tolerated or even actively resented, and others when their influence
was very great. But on the whole throughout this age their part was
never central and dominant, as it was later to become.




I HAVE TOLD how, after the victory of the will for the light, there
followed a period of explosive progress which gradually gave place to
a much longer phase of Utopian stability. This phase, in which
material civilization changed only in minor ways, must have lasted for
many centuries. In the cultural life of the race also, though minor
experiments and advances were constantly being made, no revolutionary
changes occurred. The best minds of the race were busy exploring the
new vistas which had been opened up for intellect and feeling by the
founding of the new order. Of these cultural achievements naturally I
can say no more than that achievement did occur. In the earlier part
of this phase the new cultural ventures were not, I think, beyond the
range of our contemporary human intelligence, but we have not the
necessary background of experience to comprehend them. As well might a
resuscitated ancient Egyptian understand modern science. Suffice it
that throughout this period the growing point of culture kept shifting
from one field to another. At one time it lay in pure science, at
another in the application of science to industry or eugenics, at
another in one or other of the arts, or in philosophy, or in the
minutiae of concrete personal relations, or in religious feeling.
Cultural leadership would pass now to one people or one social class,
now to another.

As the centuries passed, the various new vistas became more and more
fully explored and exploited. The golden age gave place to a silver
age devoted to minute intensive cultivation of the heavily cropped
ground of human experience. Only the steady though slow rise in
average and superior intelligence prevented stagnation by making it
possible to dig more thoroughly into the familiar soil.

Occasionally some outstanding mind in peculiarly stimulating
circumstances would cause a minor revolution in some branch of
culture, the consequences of which might afford to less original
workers decades of minuter exploration. But in the main, since social
circumstances remained stable, culture became more and more

Throughout this period the main purport of cultural development was
grasped by every member of the race. And though all kinds of strains
and conflicts occurred between peoples, between classes, vocations,
political parties, these conflicts were subordinated to the universal
acceptance of world-community. Wars and revolutions were never
contemplated. Similarly in the sphere of personal contacts, though
rivalries and conflicts were no less common than with us, they were
seldom permitted to interfere seriously with co-operation in the
public cause. Vindictive persecution was almost unknown.

It is difficult for us, who live in an exceptionally tumultuous age,
to conceive of the bland happiness and leisurely progress of this
future world. All men were assured of personal expression, and all
were blessed with a sense of responsibility within the great common
enterprise, the development of the capacity of man, the perfecting of
the human race to become an ever finer vessel of the spirit.


But this age of peaceful development and confidence was not to last
for ever. The first symptom was a crisis among the forwards. This
crisis was at first kept secret, but in time it became clear that
something grave was afoot. The forwards were evidently deeply
disturbed. Those that were in the hostels and houses of contemplation
came pouring out into the world. They travelled and took up work, but
they lived in a state of anxious abstraction. There were endless
private discussions during casual encounters, and many prearranged
conferences, the subject of which was never disclosed. At last a world
conference was arranged at Lhasa. For many months hosts of forwards
from every city crowded the sacred city, and camped in the surrounding
country. Several months were spent by the assembled forwards in
discussing their secret problem and performing severe spiritual
exercises in order to fit themselves for right judgment. During this
period the rest of the world showed little curiosity. Life was far too
full of more interesting matters. When at last the conference had
ended and the forwards had returned to their home countries, a
manifesto was issued to the peoples of the world. Its content was
greeted by ordinary world-citizens with astonishment, varying from
dismay among the friends of the forwards to hilarious incredulity
among the sceptics.

It was not possible to me, a creature of an earlier age and a less
developed culture, to understand save in the most superficial way the
immense expansion of experience which the forwards had achieved, and
the terrible choice which was now to be forced upon the human race.
But the effect on the life of the race was far-reaching. Although the
statement of the forwards was at first treated as merely remote
sensationalism, their presence in every village, bearing witness to
its truth and constantly directing men's attention to its dreadful
significance for the human race, gradually turned incredulity into
heavy-hearted acceptance.

The new discovery, if such it was, carried human consciousness beyond
the familiar physical actuality, and opened up in one stride a sphere
of existence which was of an entirely different order.

Man's knowledge both of the physical cosmos and of mentality within
the physical cosmos had for long been very far-reaching. It was known,
for instance, that there were other intelligent races on planets
belonging to other solar systems. Already the scientists of the earth
had turned their attention to exploring our own sun's other planets,
believing that in the exploitation of these globes lay the next great
field of human enterprise. Some day, they said, it would be possible
even to attempt the immense journey to the sun's nearest stellar
neighbour, which was now known to have attendant planets. Indeed there
was already a dispute between the romantic enthusiasts for 'human
advancement' in the form of extraterrestrial ventures and the
'classicists' who insisted that any such enterprise would distract man
from his proper task, since here on earth there was far more than
enough to occupy the race. The endless refinement of sensibility and
intelligence, they affirmed, offered a task far more worthy of the
human spirit than the schoolboy's excitement of interplanetary travel,
and the unnecessary attempt to tap the resources of remote worlds. By
all means let telepathic communication be improved, if possible, so
that man could communicate easily and profitably with remote
intelligences, but the childish dream of interstellar travel must be

Another great dispute was also coming to the fore, namely between the
classical humanists and the eugenists, who urged that the time had
come for man to 'take charge of his own evolution' and create a new
and more highly developed human type. They believed that by genetic
control the range of intelligence and sensibility could be immensely
increased. To this the classicists replied that any such rash
adventure might undermine the constitution of the race and bring chaos
into the well-tried order of the world. By all means let minor
eugenical researches be carried out for increased health, longevity,
and the prolongation of mental maturity, but the hope of transforming
human nature into something superhuman must not be entertained.

At the time when these two great disputes were ceasing to be merely
academic, and were actually appearing over the horizon of practical
politics, the forwards stumbled upon the discovery, or seeming
discovery, which, if true, must force the abandonment, not only of
interstellar adventure and of eugenical improvement, but also of
classical humanism itself. The announcement which they made, so far as
I could comprehend it, was to this effect.

They had discovered, they said, that the universe of familiar space
and time, though no mere illusion or dream, was but the surface of a
deeper reality. The familiar natural laws, both physical and
psychological, were not fundamental laws at all, but superficial
descriptions of the 'local' incidence of deeper and hitherto unguessed
laws. Plato's parable of the shadow figures cast by unseen persons and
an unseen source of light was to this extent profoundly true. The
whole universe of stars, of galaxies, though fully actual and no mere
figment of man's mind, was but spindrift caught up by occult winds and
driven along the surface of an occult ocean of existence. The laws of
this spindrift universe, which science had so thoroughly explored,
were up to a point coherent; but certain things could never be
adequately described in terms of these laws alone, for instance mind,
and good and evil. It was in the hope of gaining insight into these
matters, but above all in order to have access to the occult reality,
that the forwards had been working during the preceding centuries.

At last, they said, they had momentarily penetrated to the deeper
truth. They had for the first time come face to face with the vaster

But the experience, far from being beatific, had been terrible. They
had recoiled in horror from the unspeakable facts. Servants of the
light, children of the light, they had discovered that the light
itself in their own eyes was but a subjective figment, like the
retinal lights that a man sees in the dark, or when his eyes are
closed. For a moment they had succeeded in opening their eyes, but
only to discover a deeper and more formidable darkness. Or was it
something worse than darkness?

They had pressed forward thus far without any doubt that their venture
would lead to a fortifying of the struggling human spirit by
intercourse with a vaster but essentially kindred spiritual reality.
Over a period of many generations many great saints and thousands of
devoted followers, spurred by this hope, had passed through the
testing fires of discipline, had ventured into strange and icy spheres
of spiritual experience, had gathered signs and intimations of a glory
still to be revealed, had borne witness to their fellow men. And now
at last the heirs to all this great treasure and greater promise,
having gathered all their strength for the final assault on the locked
door of mystery, had prized it open only to glimpse an incomprehensible
horror, and to fall back in dismay.

During the long conference in Lhasa the whole population of forwards,
assembled under their spiritual leaders, dared once more to face the
terrible truth, lest there should have been some mistake. But once
more they encountered the seemingly ultimate horror. After long
contemplation and discussion they came to a decision, and then
dispersed to tell the little human race the truth, and to suggest a
course of action.

Their discovery, they insisted, transcended the Powers of human
language. It was ineffable. It could be described only in metaphor.
They had been seeking, they said, evidence that man's struggle for the
light was in harmony with the essential spirit of the universe They
had found instead a vast and obscure confusion of powers, careless not
only of man's fate but of all that he had so painfully learned to hold
sacred. To communicate their discovery they conceived a myth which,
though fantastic and petty, did, they affirmed, convey the essence of
the strange and desolate truth. This universe, they said, of galaxies
and atoms, of loves and hates and strifes, is no more than a melting
snowflake which at any moment may be trampled into the slush by
indifferent and brawling titans. Not otherwise than in this far-
fetched image, they said, could they express the truth that they had
seen. It was an inadequate image; for these snowflakes, descending
from the formless and impenetrable blackness of the night sky, were
indeed not frozen but warm with the potentiality of life and of
spirit, and their thawing was in truth a dying, a dissipation of their
vital energy. Myriad upon myriad of these snowflakes, each one a great
physical cosmos, faltered downwards and rested on the field of snow.
The footmarks of the 'titans', the forwards affirmed, developing the
strange myth, were areas where thousands of these universes had been
crushed together into a muddy chaos. Every moment, as the meaningless
brawl continued, new devastations were inflicted. The snowfield of.
universes was more and more closely trampled, like a city more and
more bombed, month by month. At any moment the fundamental physical
structure and substance of our own many-galaxied cosmos might be
reduced to chaos, so that in a flash all its frail intelligent worlds
would vanish. At any moment, they insisted, this might happen. Indeed,
that it had not already happened, seemed to be a miracle.

The forwards affirmed that they had peered and peered upwards (so to
speak) between the rioting titanic limbs in search of the celestial
light; but the only luminosity was on the ground. It was all though
the flakes themselves, congested into a thawing snowfield, created in
their constant dying a dim phosphorescence. Pursuing this strange
metaphor, which (they reiterated) was almost wholly inadequate to the
unspeakable facts, they declared that the faint, diffused glow emitted
by each separate snowflake universe, resolved itself in closer,
microscopic inspection, into a myriad instantaneous scintillations,
each one a short-lived world's bright climax of spiritual lucidity.
Overhead there was nothing but the blinding darkness, whence the
flakes vacillated groundwards.

Such was the bleak image by which the forwards tried to express their
new and dreadful vision. They also discussed the implications of the
repugnant truth, and the policy which the human race should adopt
towards it. One and all, they affirmed their continued loyalty to the
spirit. 'Every man,' they said, 'knows in his own experience that the
life of love and of intelligence is good absolutely, is the only
satisfying life for awakened beings. No devastating discovery about
the nature of the ultimate reality can shake that immediate
perception. Therefore, whatever the prospect, the human race will
continue the struggle for love and intelligence here on earth. But it
would be foolish to pretend that our metaphysical discovery makes no
difference. Formerly it seemed that man would soon make contact with
the life-giving and enheartening source of all spirit. We have found
only desolation.'

But the forwards did not leave matters thus. They suggested also a
hope and a policy. The hope lay in the fact that, after all, the
snowstorm of physical and potentially spiritual universes must come
from somewhere. The 'titans' were not the whole ultimate reality. And
so it might after all be that further discipline and contemplation
might enable man to penetrate the utter blackness of the sky and come
at last face to face with the true light.

Hope, they said, might even permit itself a higher though a precarious
flight. For some of the most adept forwards had claimed that in their
most lucid moments they had seen something more. They had seen that in
spite of the precarious existence of the snowflake universes and of
the conscious beings within them, these beings themselves, when they
attained mature spiritual stature, acquired very formidable powers.
The pioneering forwards claimed that, in terms of the inadequate
image, they had sometimes seen a brief but dazzling effulgence blaze
up within some snowflake, like the brilliance of a new star. So
brilliant might this conflagration be that it illuminated the whole
wide snowfield. When this happened, the 'titans', seemingly terrified
by the sudden light, fled in all directions, away from its source.
Some of them were even annihilated by the radiance, like the shades of
night at sunrise. Clearly, then, the right course for every
intelligent world was to strive for that brilliance of the spirit.
Clearly this alone could overcome the 'titans'. Clearly what was most
lovely and precious, though commonly so frail, was also, in the
fullness of its growth, the mightiest power of all. But this power,
intensified to such a pitch that it could destroy the 'titans', was
not the power of a few individuals exploring in isolation; it was the
power of a whole race, of a whole conscious world, perhaps of a whole
cosmos, united in most intimate spiritual communion. And such power
was not to be attained without the utmost racial dedication.

Hence arose the challenge which the forwards laid before mankind. It
was a call to action. It was a call to all individuals throughout the
world to live wholly for the common task, to give up everything but
the spirit, to discard not only mundane ends but also the vanity of
science and art and intellectual exploration, to detach themselves
absolutely even from the gentle bondage of personal love, to refrain
from procreation, to drain the whole energy of the race to the last
drop for the supreme spiritual task.

Hitherto there had been two possible ventures open to the human race.
One was the romantic scientist's ideal of developing communication
between the planetary systems, so as to create a galaxy-wide community
of intelligent worlds. The other, which assumed that man's proper
business must always be with man, was the classical aim of the
intensive development of man's present home and culture.

A third and more revolutionary policy was now open. For the
inhabitants of a snowflake among brawling 'titans', it was the sole
reasonable policy. This was the heroic venture of sacrificing
everything in the attempt to destroy the 'titans' with the lucidity of
the human spirit.


When the peoples of the earth first heard all this they were indeed
incredulous. But little by little the new knowledge invaded their
peace. There was endless discussion between the romantic scientists,
the classical humanists, and the forwards. It was not claimed by the
forwards that if their advice were not taken the universe would be
annihilated certainly and soon. Possibly it would last for thousands
of millions of years. Possibly, if the human race were to choose to
remain in its present course of social and cultural advancement, it
would be able to prosper for a very long age. But at any time it might
be annihilated, and the whole cosmos with it. And, anyhow, it would
always be haunted by the knowledge that its supreme test had been
refused. In such a condition there could be no health.

The decision was postponed. Little by little, under the weight of the
new knowledge and the continual indecision and uncertainty about the
future, there appeared signs of mental strain. The texture of
community throughout the world began to deteriorate. Men became rather
less conscientious, rather less considerate. Personal intercourse,
formerly so bland and genial, showed symptoms of resentfulness and
bitterness. Sadistic crime, formerly unknown in the new world, once
more troubled society. A new note of perversion and diabolism appeared
in the arts and in public affairs. Clearly the race had fallen into a
gravely neurotic condition. Children suffered in a special manner.
Their minds were poisoned by a suspicion of the insincerity of their
elders. Unless something could be done to stop the rot, this glorious
society, the achievements of age-long bitter experience, would be
corrupted beyond hope of recovery.

As the plight of the race grew worse, feeling on both sides became
more violent. The fundamental accord on which the world-community had
for so long been founded began to fail. Matters reached such a pitch
that civil war seemed once more possible. The scientific romantics and
the classical humanists had settled their differences, but only to
combine against the supporters of the forwards and their policy of
ascetic dedication. Every village, every family was divided against
itself, but in some countries one side was on the whole stronger, in
some the other. Preparations were actually made for a war which would
have had all the bitterness of the old wars of religion, but would
have been waged with more formidable weapons than man had ever used
before. For sub-atomic power could be easily directed to mass murder.

In this situation the forwards themselves were divided. One party
single-mindedly preached the new policy. The other, dismayed at the
prospect of war, realized that a race which could contemplate the use
of violence to settle such a dispute could not yet be fit to undertake
the destruction of the 'titans' by the power of the spirit. They
therefore suggested a compromise. Let the life of the world be carried
on much as before, but with a slowly increasing emphasis on the spirit
and the great task which lay ahead. When the race had outgrown its
present adolescent state, it would face that task with singleness of
purpose. Perhaps it would be destroyed before maturity was reached. No
matter! Some other race in some other cosmos would perhaps accomplish
the task.

This policy was in the end accepted by all the peoples of the world,
expressing themselves through a special plebiscite.


From this time forward my contact with the human race in the far
future became more and more uncertain. It was of course something of a
miracle that I had been able to keep in touch even thus far. Without
the constant influence of the superhuman beings who were my fellow
spectators even this would have been utterly impossible. But now even
their presence could not sufficiently aid me. This was due, I think,
to the fact that the mentality of human animals was beginning to
outreach my mental range in a new manner. I had always been grievously
hampered by the fact that I had not the cultural background of these
future men, but the actual calibre of their minds had not hitherto
been greatly superior to that of my own generation. Now, however,
human affairs began to include themes which were wholly meaningless to
me. And as events became less intelligible I was less able to maintain

I did, nevertheless, receive certain general impressions of the course
of history and of a few outstanding events. After the settlement of
the great dispute mankind recovered its fundamental unity of purpose.
The villages carried on their busy and varied lives and their
worldwide intercourse. The scientists continued their patient
explorations and inventions. The classicists pursued the development
of human culture into endless exfoliation. The forwards persisted in
their spiritual exploration. As the general level of thought and
feeling was raised, new spheres of experience were constantly
explored. Generation succeeded generation with ever increasing
capacity and opportunity. But also each generation came more surely
into the knowledge that all this continuous Utopianism was in fact but
a preparation for a great ordeal, and that before the race was ready
to face that ordeal the very foundations of existence might crumble.
The stars might suddenly be swept away like dust. Man's dear and
beautiful home might be shattered, and man himself annihilated.

This knowledge did not seem to weigh heavily on men. Each generation
faced it and accommodated themselves to it. But its presence in the
background of every mind changed the temper of the race into something
very different from that of the age before the forwards had made their
strange discovery. Then, the prospect of limitless human advancement
had bred a certain complacency; now, the expectation of endless
progress was succeeded by the possibility of sudden destruction, and
by the frail hope of utterly new horizons. The mental climate of the
race therefore changed to an intenser appreciation of its ordinary
mundane life, compact of personal joys and sorrows, and at the same
time a more constant loyalty to the spirit. No doubt the ordinary man,
intent on his private affairs, gave little conscious thought to the
prospect of the race, which, he felt, would probably last out his time
anyhow. But in his phases of contemplation the sense of fleetingness
would enter deeply into his mind, so that at all times the physical
features of the planet, the woods, the hills, the sea, affected him
with an added poignancy. The customs of daily life, such as dressing
and eating, the technique of his work, the little common acts of
friendliness, the intonations of familiar voices, all these became
more dear because more precarious, because balanced from day to day on
the brink of the unknown. At the same time the standard of personal
conduct was seemingly raised by the sense that the species as a whole
had accepted the challenge to live beyond its normal nature.

I was able to realize that there was a gradual shift, so to speak, of
the centre of gravity of culture. Metaphysics was absorbing more and
more of human attention. The natural sciences tended to fall into a
second place. Spiritual discipline was undertaken by every member of
the race. The numbers of the forwards greatly increased, and their
influence became more far-reaching.

All this I could realize, though vaguely and externally. What passed
my comprehension was the changing detail of social and cultural life.
It was natural in the circumstances that living should be greatly
simplified. Luxuries were less and less in demand. The arts were shorn
of their luxurious detail. On the other hand art of a stripped and
purposeful kind played an increasing though an altered part in life.
In words, in music, in colour and plastic form, men created a
ceaseless flood of symbolic aids to the spirit, mostly in styles which
I could not at all appreciate. Surprisingly, also, though living under
the threat of annihilation, men were addicted to erecting great and
durable temples, upon which they lavished all the skill and care which
was ceasing to find an outlet in ordinary life. Sub-atomic technique,
by its wealth of new materials, had made possible a far more daring,
soaring, and colourful architecture than is known to us. Along with
the new materials came new architectural canons, strange to me. The
architecture of mundane life was simple and impermanent. The temples
alone were built to last; yet they were often demolished to make room
for finer structures.

One striking aspect of culture was a vast development of the technique
of personal intercourse. Language blossomed into a great forest of
terms for all the new subtleties of emotion and intuition, and all the
types and shades of personality. The citizen of the new world could by
the use of this rich linguistic symbolism become intimately aware of a
stranger's personality in an hour. There was also a subtle ideography
of psychological and spiritual phenomena. By the careful drawing of a
number of Chinese-looking symbols an artist who was something between
a novelist and an abstract painter could present the essential form of
the intercourse of several human beings from birth to death. In
comparison with these ideograms, verbal language, though so greatly
improved, was a cumbersome medium. A single meticulously inscribed
page could convey a whole biography. Thus arose a new visual art,
which, by means of highly abstract signs charged with the emotional
and intellectual experience of the race, obtained the far-reaching
effect of great poetry.

This ideographic art I could at least comprehend sufficiently to grasp
its general nature, but it must also have symbolized ranges of
experience beyond my reach. It played a great part in the decoration
of the temples; and certain ideograms, which remained meaningless to
me, seemed to have a mystical power over anyone that earnestly
contemplated them.

My contact with future mankind became more and more vague and
intermittent, until I received but random intimations of a few
outstanding and often very strange events. Sometimes, for instance, I
seemed to see that great companies of men and women had chosen to
destroy themselves because they felt that they could no longer play a
useful part. Sometimes the concord of the race was broken by a keen
but never a vindictive dispute about some matter which lay beyond my
understanding. It would then be found necessary to restore harmony by
a world-wide penance.

At last, after how many centuries or millennia I know not, there arose
a generation which felt itself fully equipped for the great task. A
Sacred Year was appointed for the supreme effort, a quarter of a
century ahead. Meanwhile procreation was to cease, and all forward-
looking social and economic activity. Enough food must still be
produced to keep the ascetic population alive, and the temples must be
kept in good order. Apart from this necessary work, the energy of the
race must be concentrated wholly on the great task.

It was a strange and austere world in this period. No  babies were
anywhere, then no children, then no adolescents; only young men and
women and their elders. Population, of course, rapidly declined. Life
was wholly dominated by the spiritual enterprise, which inevitably lay
beyond my comprehension. It was not uncommon for people to be so
abstracted from the physical world that they forgot to feed, and so
would have starved to death, had not some neighbour recalled them.
Most individuals, however, still carried on a normal life, though in a
state of remote detachment.

A date was appointed, towards the end of the twenty-fifth year, after
which no more food was to be eaten. Meanwhile feeding was to be
progressively reduced throughout the world so as to leave the spirit
unhampered by bodily vigour. When the time came for the complete
cessation of feeding, all private houses were to be deserted. The
population was to gather into the poobs and temples, to fast and
contemplate, and create in themselves that extreme spiritual lucidity
which, it was now confidently believed, would destroy the 'titans' and
attain a clearer, brighter, truer view of all existence. Under the
stress of this adventure the exhausted race would die. The earth would
be given over once more to sub-human nature. Visitors from some other
world might some day discover the ruins of the great temples, not
suspecting, perhaps, that those who had built them and died in them
had conquered the 'titans', and had thereby secured the salvation of
all beings in all the snowflake universes; the salvation, it was
surmised, not of external life for individuals, but of escape from
premature racial extinction before the potentiality of the race was
fulfilled by the attainment of spiritual maturity and the supreme
beatific vision.


Such was the great plan, but an unforeseen event frustrated it. About
a year before the appointed climax and the complete cessation of
eating there appeared among the frail and ageing population a new and
strange disease. I was never able to determine whether its source was
wholly natural, wholly intrinsic to our physical cosmos, to our
snowflake, or whether in some manner beyond my comprehension some
obscure powers of darkness had somehow made incursion into our cosmos
to stimulate or create this hideous epidemic. Its form and the time of
its onset seemed nicely calculated to undermine the impending victory
of the light.

The first symptom of the disease was violent vomiting and diarrhoea.
So formidable were the spasms that the gullet and rectum might be torn
and even forced outwards. Many patients succumbed in this initial
phase. Those that recovered were left with terrible glandular
disturbances which might result in any or several of a number of
frightful symptoms. A very common trouble was galloping senescence,
which turned the young man into a maundering and toothless gaffer in a
few weeks. But infantilism of body and mind was almost as common.
Another effect was an extravagant growth of the skeleton, such that
the overstrained flesh and skin would split on every limb, revealing
the bare bone. But a softening of the bony structure was also a
frequent symptom, causing the limbs to bend in unnatural places and
the head to turn as soft as an over-ripe orange. Or the skin might
grow till it became a loose voluminous garment. Sufferers were often
in danger of tripping on the folds of skin trailing from their own
legs. Another frequent result was rapid confusion of sex. Men would
visibly acquire female characters, women would turn mannish. Most
distressing of all, perhaps, was the frequent and fantastic
exaggeration of sexuality. The organs became grossly distended. The
secondary sexual characters, such as the female breasts, were
repulsively enlarged. The mind became so enslaved to the pressure of
the body's superabundant sexuality that every physical object and
every concept became charged with sexual meaning, and even the most
self-disciplined found themselves swept away in a continuous orgy of
fornication and all kinds of perversion. Other consequences of
glandular disorder were purely emotional. Some sufferers were obsessed
by recurrent fits of objectless and frantic rage, others by irrational
terror or equally irrational bravado. Sometimes a sudden access of
hate would force the patient to kill or torture whoever was at hand.
Sometimes a permanent and icy hatred would be concentrated on a wholly
innocent victim. The disease might take the form of maudlin
sentimentality, directed either on human persons or animals, or the
human race as a whole, or some fictitious deity invented to suit the
patient's peculiar needs. One common effect was a crazy dread of
isolation. Another was such panic fear of the presence of other human
beings that, when the patient was surprised by a visitor, he might
leap out of an upper window or dash himself against the wall like a
terrified bird. Yet another effect was a reduction of sensibility.
Blind and deaf, without taste and smell, almost without touch, the
wretched creature would snatch a morbid pleasure from the only sense
that remained to rouse him to some faint interest, namely pain. With
fumbling eagerness he would tear back his finger-nails, crush his
eyes, bite his tongue to bloody pulp.

Some of these symptoms were permanent, some passed off in a few weeks.
But in every case the final emotional state was identical and
permanent. The patient emerged into profound apathy. In extreme cases
he cared for nothing but the satisfaction of bodily needs of nutrition
and excretion. Even these might cease to interest him, so that, if
left to himself, he might lie inert from morning till night. Such
extreme cases were uncommon, but on the average the damage caused by
the disease, though less obvious, was scarcely less disastrous. Most
people recovered so far as to behave in a normal manner in respect of
all simple animal impulses, but they no longer found any satisfaction
whatever in the activities which are distinctively human. Thus an
impulsive animal affection might be within their reach, but persistent
and genuinely other-conscious human love was beyond them. Impossible
also were all the other, less intimate forms of true community. Old
habits of community-behaviour would persist and might at first carry
the sufferers through the familiar social situations without any
manifest change; but the fire was quenched. Little by little even the
forms of decent social behaviour were abandoned. Abstract thought,
even when their intelligence was still capable of it, they found
unutterably boring. Art had no longer any meaning for them. Or rather,
though intellectually they might still understand its technique, it
could no longer stir them. The life of the spirit was wholly fatuous
to them. The great common discipline and adventure, which they
formerly accepted with enthusiasm, now stimulated them only to yawn
and shrug their shoulders. Intellectually they understood it, but they
had no feeling for it.

Different types of mind reacted differently to this deep change in
themselves. All suffered from a severe conflict between their
established mental habit and their new disposition. Many put up a
half-hearted struggle to feel in the old way, and were bewildered and
oppressed by their failure. Some, though the inner light was
extinguished, listlessly carried on all the old forms of behaviour,
but with increasing slovenliness. Others became well-bred cynics.
Others gradually conceived a cold and spiteful hatred of all that was
once so precious to them and now escaped them, and a relentless
vindictiveness against those who had not been affected by the disease.
Hate sometimes seemed even to provide them with a new intensity of
feeling, and become the dominant motive of their lives, leading them
to do all in their power to distress and defeat those who were still
faithful to the light.

One serious aspect of the disease was not at first realized. It
emerged into view as data accumulated. On the whole the emotionally
most developed individuals, though rather less susceptible, were also,
when the microbe secured a hold on them, far more gravely damaged.
Their initial resistance was greater, but once it had been broken
down, they were specially liable to die in the early phase. At the
other end of the scale the lowest emotional types, though very liable
to contract the disease, recovered easily and suffered only mild
after-effects. The young were specially susceptible, though if they
succeeded in surmounting the first phase of the disease, they tended
to make a good recovery, escaping serious after-effects, and sometimes
even the final apathy.

In preparation for the sacred year the medical services had been
greatly reduced. Both cure and research into the causes of the plague
were seriously hampered. It seems to have begun in Malaya during the
wet season. Thence it soon spread into Asia, and into every continent.
Within a few months millions had died and more millions had recovered
only to live on as helpless invalids or cripples. Whole populations,
though their bodily health was restored, were emotionally reduced to
apathy or cynicism. Research proved that the disease was caused by a
micro-organism which infested rain-drops, rivers, lakes. A cloudy
atmosphere and a heavy rainfall were peculiarly favourable to the
spread of the plague. The microbe entered the human body by the mouth,
multiplied in the digestive organs, and spread thence by way of the
blood into the glands. If it was detected early enough it could be
destroyed, and the patient cured by a very simple method, namely the
drinking of large quantities of alcohol. Thus it came about that a
generation which had consecrated itself to the most exalted life was
forced to drown its troubles in drink.

The sacred year had to be postponed. This was a very grave step, for
the population was ageing, and there were no children. But no other
course was possible. The ban on procreation was removed, and the
peoples were urged to have as many children as possible. The apathetic
populations made little response to this appeal.

Meanwhile the disease continued to spread, though less rapidly, and
with decreasing virulence. One strange aspect of the scourge suggested
that the real enemy was not the micro-organism itself but some
devilish intelligence which was directing its attack. It was noticed,
for instance, that when a district had been cleared of the disease, a
spell of bad weather was apt to occur. Contaminated rain drenched the
ground and filled the reservoirs. Moreover, maps plotting the
incidence of the disease from month to month had revealed a
startlingly purposive movement in the advance of the microbe. Not only
was the plague mysteriously attracted to populous districts, but in
order to reach a great centre of population it might extend a vast
pseudopodium of wet weather and infection, even across an arid desert.
This was particularly striking in its advance from Asia to South
Africa. While Iran was in the throes, a great tongue of drenching
weather was protruded across the Arabian Desert and Abyssinia into
moist Central Africa. Thence the bad weather extended southwards till
it reached the crowded areas in South Africa. In order to reach
America it appeared to make several attempts to bridge the Atlantic
from Britain, but its 'artificial' east winds were overcome by the
prevailing westerlies. Finally, however, it stretched out an arm of
cloud from West Mica to the Amazon, whence it spread throughout the
Americas. Australia it invaded from its original foothold in the East
Indies. New Zealand it failed to discover.

This seeming purposiveness may have been illusory. Some natural cause
may very well have produced it. But when it is taken in conjunction
with the fact that the disease attacked the human race just when its
physical resistance was weakest owing to universal under-nourishment,
and when its spiritual power was not yet fully developed, some occult
evil purpose seems plausible.

The plague was not finally stamped out until a majority of the world
population had been reduced to apathy. In most countries not more than
about three in a hundred persons retained their full human calibre,
and these became generally so disheartened by their neighbours apathy
that they too sank into lethargy. Two regions alone were unaffected,
namely Tibet, through the fortunate combination of its exceptionally
dry climate, its altitude, and the high development of its population
and New Zealand, which the plague had not 'discovered'.

Lhasa wisely abandoned all hope of restoring the sacred year, and
called upon mankind to devote itself for the present mainly to
reproduction and the re-establishment of material civilization. New
Zealand responded eagerly. Elsewhere small groups and isolated
individuals answered the call in full sincerity. The rest either
professed agreement and did nothing, or ignored the appeal.

Owing to the prevailing lethargy, village life in most countries
gravely deteriorated. Sub-atomic agriculture and handicrafts were
still carried on, but in a slipshod manner. The life of the poobs
degenerated into something like the life of the pubs in our own day,
often into something far less wholesome. Many persons who had been
cured by alcohol had contracted an addiction to this habit-forming
drug, and made no effort to restrain themselves. Fornication of a
lazy, unenterprising sort, was general, but procreation was prevented
by birth-control. The surviving forwards indolently carried on the
outward forms of their old life, but its spirit was lost. Sluggishness
inevitably produced a rapid deterioration in all social behaviour and
institutions. The old vices of self-seeking and mob mentality
reappeared, but without the old vigour and passion. Population
steadily declined, for very few children were born; save in Tibet and
New Zealand, where every woman of child-bearing age was devotedly
producing a child every year. Presently research discovered a method
of securing triplets, and the birth-rate was promptly trebled. Under
the strain, and in spite of all the care and skill and honour that was
lavished on them, the mothers were heavily overstrained. They clung to
their task, however, and though maternal mortality was high,
population increased rapidly. The children were of course given every
possible advantage, under state supervision. The whole social
organization of the two peoples was arranged for their benefit.

There came a time when emigrants from Tibet and New Zealand were
flooding into other countries to intermarry with the remnants of the
native populations, and to reorganize their moribund society.
Gradually village life was revitalized. All the familiar activities of
the civilized world were once more afoot. The forwards once more
explored; though for the present there was no question of reviving the
abandoned spiritual venture. The main task of the race was to recover
its strength and to find out how to prevent any recurrence of the
plague. For there were occasional incipient epidemics. They occurred
whenever and wherever the work of the forwards was most active. It was
as though the pioneers of spiritual activity contracted the disease
through the very success of their adventure. Even if they happened to
be individuals of so developed a type that they were immune, they
apparently became carriers (or actual generators?) of the microbe,
infecting the atmosphere through their breath.


From this time forward my intimations of humanity's future became too
vague to be worth reporting at length. I have a fairly clear
impression of the recovery of material and cultural civilization, and
the re-peopling of the planet. Dimly I saw, or I vaguely sensed, the
world-wide preparation for a fresh attack on the occult 'titanic'
forces. But dimly also I felt that with the advance of knowledge and
spiritual insight the problem must have taken on an entirely new form;
for there seems to have come a time, remotely future to us, when,
after earnest debate, the main energy of the race was diverted from
the occult back to the scientific, and particularly to the eugenical
problem of producing a superior human type. But whether this new type
was to be specially equipped for spiritual activities or for natural
life on the earth or perhaps for migration to another planet I cannot

All I know is that the enterprise was cut short, almost before it had
begun, by the need to concentrate all human energy upon a purely
terrestrial problem. For at this time the surface of the planet began
to suffer from immense upheavals and subsidences, buckling and
cracking like the skin of a roasting apple. Prodigious volcanic
eruptions calcined whole countries. The seas poured torrentially into
new depressions, drowning the populations; or retreated from newly
upheaved continents; or was sucked down, in gigantic maelstroms
through fissures in the ocean bed, to issue again with explosive and
devastating effect as spouts of superheated water and steam, tearing
apart the solid crust of the earth, boiling the cities, and soaring to
the stratosphere. Whether this disastrous activity was due to the
accumulation of radioactivity in the planet's core or merely to the
cooling and shrinking of the core, and the consequent collapse of the
crust, or to some occult cause, I do not know.

The disturbance was brief. Within a few centuries it was over. There
emerged a world the geography of which was largely unfamiliar and its
climate temporarily moister; for much of the ocean had been boiled
into the sky, and immense tracts of hot lava had appreciably raised
the average temperature, so that the moisture in the air did not at
all quickly condense. Mankind was reduced to a remnant living in the
less devastated corners of the lands. Material civilization was
destroyed, and men were forced to resort once more to primitive
agriculture. The factories for the making of sub-atomic machinery were
all destroyed, and most of the generators themselves. Experts of all
kinds were decimated. Precious skills were lost. Laboratories,
libraries, the records of human culture, were nearly all burnt or
submerged under the new seas or the floods, of lava.

But throughout the disaster the will for the light remained alive in
men. Each generation handed onto its successor the essential wisdom of
the developed mind, the essential loyalty to the spirit. When the
earth's crust had settled down to its new form, recovery was carefully
planned, and rapid. The main centre of henceforth was not China, which
had been largely submerged, but the great new island of Atlantis,
thrust up between America and Europe. At first a continent of mud, it
soon became fertile beyond other lands, and in time was invaded by
colonists from Europe and America, who crossed the narrow oceans in
their sailing ships, and settled down to farm and rediscover the lost
arts of civilization. Within a few centuries the planet was once more
a well-ordered, flourishing, diversified, populous, human world.

Obscurely it seems to me that the dominant concern of that world was
to produce a new human type, capable of greater powers of intelligence
and sensibility, and also of spiritual insight. Obscurely I see that
the new type was indeed produced; for I have a darkling vision of a
prolonged and tense yet temperate divergence of will between the
primary human race and the secondary, more developed race which the
primaries had so lovingly conceived and patiently actualized. The
disagreement was about the goal of human co-operative endeavour. The
secondaries advocated some re-orientation of world policy which to the
primaries was repugnant. The nature of this re-orientation I could not
determine. I suspect that the whole primary population were incapable
of comprehending it, and that they resisted it simply because it
conflicted with their own world-policy. But it seemed to me that in
the end they were persuaded to accept this re-orientation, humbly
acknowledging that if the secondaries willed it, it must be the way of
the light. Thenceforth the primary human race gradually withdrew from
active control of human destiny. For a while it continued to reproduce
itself, though at a steadily decreasing rate, and continued to perform
minor functions within the new world economy; but its status was
something between that of the aged parent, the pensioned family-nurse,
and the conquered 'aboriginals'. Its young people found themselves
unable to keep pace with the young of the new type. They came into a
world which could never be their own world, though they obscurely
recognized it as a world ruled by the very same light that ruled in
their own hearts. In these conditions the primary population
inevitably dwindled into extinction. The secondaries possessed the
earth and proceeded in the way that seemed good to them.

Beyond this point I see nothing. The life of those future men is
wholly beyond my range. I emerged from my vision in weariness but also
in peace and joy, for it seemed that those new men, though I could not
keep pace with the movement of their minds, were loyal to the light
and well equipped to serve it, loyal to that same light which my own
generation so vaguely sees and falteringly serves.


This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia