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at least, that the few geniuses I have in mind are drawn from no exclusive hierarchy or caste, but appear in the cradles of the world as capriciously as the wind which bloweth where it listeth, and according to laws, if such there be, that hitherto have defied the search of the new-born science of eugenics.
My statement is novel only in one respect. The geniuses I have in mind are the creative geniuses of science, rather than those of literature or art. In this field, the statement is as commonplace as regards Shakespeare or a Michael Angelo. Its novelty, if it is novel, is that it applies to the practical values of the everyday world, the measure of which is money, as much as to æsthetical and ethical values, which cannot be measured in the current coin. I know I shall be told, though probably not by you, that these latter things are of more value than money, that a man may gain the whole world and lose his own soul, and so on. You, at least, will not be over-impressed by this talk about the dangers of materialism, which comes appropriately enough from those that neither toil nor spin. You will have sufficient acquaintance with the realities of the world in which you live to know that, for every soul slain by over-indulgence and luxury, thousands perish besotted by the lack of the bare necessities of a decent existence, and that the animalising influence of want, and a hopeless, unremitting battle for the primal needs of the body, must be faithfully dealt with before you can even begin to think of the higher spiritual and social aspirations of humanity, rather than of the few. Before the advent of science such universal aspirations were not capable of being satisfied.
So if I choose this ground-the ground of practical everyday life rather than that of the visionary and dreamer-it is not because it is the only aspect of
THE EMANCIPATION OF HUMANITY
science, but because it is the one of most general practical importance.
The elevating influences of the study of Nature, the sublime emotions awakened by the spectacle of the mists being slowly dissipated from the veiled countenance of Truth, are at least as potent as any encountered by man in his persistent and unwearing dissection of his own self. But, distinct from this, science is unique in pointing the way to the realisation of that necessary practical antecedent of all that makes life universally holy rather than animal. Neglect it, and the finer voices may call, but the ears that should hear will be dull.
There may be a tendency on the part of some of my audience to regard science as something particularly associated with the waging of war and to look upon scientific men as a class as under the suspicion of being in the pay of the great armament firms of the world, and as finding, in the universal race for armaments, the most profitable and natural outlet for their inventive and productive genius. Whether or not I am mistaken in that impression, at least it can hardly be gainsaid that this point of view is foremost in the minds of those most influential and vocal of the leaders of public opinion, to whom, for the most part, the war has discovered the importance and indispensability of science for the first time.
I wish to-night, if I can, to do something first to combat this false impression. It is true, of course, at the moment that scientific researches and inquiries are now very largely suspended, and that the energies of scientific men in this country have almost wholly been drawn into the vortex, in common with the rest of the energies of the nation. Scientific men here now, as much or more than any other class, are concerned with science no longer, but only with its
profane application to the more efficient destruction of their fellow-men. But this which, at the moment, passes for science with the ignorant is an aspect which is the absolute opposite of its proper function. A fire-engine, the purpose of which is to quench a conflagration by pouring water on the flames, could even more effectively be used for an exactly opposite purpose by supplying it with petroleum instead of with water. Is the inventor of the fire-engine less a benefactor of the community on this account? If some lunatic used a fire-engine for this purpose, would you immure the inventor or the lunatic?
Those who in the early stages of the war were so ready to regard the initial supremacy in military science of the enemy as but one aspect of his moral degeneracy, have now realised that science is as indispensable to a good cause as to a bad one. Science is not responsible for the morals of its human employers. That is their affair. No one in his senses would recruit C3 policemen because the cause of the criminal is bad.
The newly awakened interest for science in this country is entirely due, not to any sudden love of truth, any desire to understand and walk familiarly through the labyrinth of Nature, any weariness with the old rule-of-thumb and hit-or-miss methods of our ancestors. It is due simply to the realisation of the fact that it is indispensable in war, and that without it we shall go down as completely as the Dervishes did at Omdurman and for precisely the same reason.
It was, I think, a German philosopher who remarked "Chemistry to one is a goddess, to another an excellent cow," and to this one might add, "to the third a handmaid of war."
So one can discuss the relation of science to the State from this triple point of view. Science as the representative of Mars has now been admitted to be
THREE ASPECTS OF SCIENCE
indispensable. As the cow to be milked for marketable knowledge, it is beginning also to be realised that in times of peace, or rather the peaceful war of industrialism and commerce that is expected to follow the signing of the terms of peace, science is as important and indispensable as it is for open hostilities. Plenty there will be to advocate its claims under these heads.
But its third claim as the goddess, as indispensable for the enrichment of the life of the common people and the elevation of ideals, is the one with which I am to-day most nearly concerned; in the words of Huxley, "in the conviction which has grown up with my growth and strengthened with my strength, that there is no alleviation to the sufferings of mankind except veracity of thought and action, and the resolute facing of the world as it is when the garment of make-believe with which pious hands have hidden its uglier features has been stripped off."
I know some of you are great readers, and I can recommend to you, for this aspect of science, a book by Professor R. A. Gregory called Discovery, or the Spirit and Service of Science. Whilst as specially concerned with chemistry and what it has accomplished for the material well-being and uplifting of mankind, the recent Thomson lectures in Aberdeen by Professor Findlay, now issued under the title of Chemistry in the Service of Man, will probably be a revelation to those to whom the term chemistry has hitherto meant either an apothecary or an analyst.
I may quote one passage from the former :
"Blessing and honour and glory and power are not the usual rewards of a life devoted to science. All the benefits of modern civilisation are due to the achievements of science or inventions based upon
them; but neither the multitude nor its masters are familiar with the names of the men whose work has provided the comforts of the present day. If you seek fame and riches, enter not upon a scientific career; for they are easier won in politics or commerce or many other walks of life. If, however, you will be content with the satisfaction which faithful and unselfish work always brings, Nature offers you a rich field in which you can exercise your intellect."
Rather than being in league with militarism and armament firms, science is, in fact, the only really working socialism. Scientific men work too often without reward for the love of their science, and freely publish their discoveries for the good of the whole community. Though the contributor of the last mite of knowledge usually gets popular credit for the whole discovery, the advance of science as a whole is entirely bound up with this communism of its inheritance. The spirit of secrecy, and of individual ownership of knowledge, is absolutely antagonistic to the spirit of science.
It is a commonplace to the scientific man that the grandest discoveries that have been made and those at once most productive and fruitful in money-making applications, both to the legitimate arts of peace and the illegitimate purposes of war, have been made by men in the simple pursuit of truth for its own sake and without thought of any pecuniary reward, or even of practical applications. You can trust the State, after the lesson it has had, to see that the application of science to war and to industry and manufacture receives more attention and encouragement than it did in the past. But pure scientific research and investigation, made with the simple desire to extend the bounds of knowledge, is the goose that lays these golden eggs, and there