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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/644

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634
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

wasp; the farmer in the agricultural ant; the bridge-builder in the spider; the weaver in the weaver bird; the creator of water power in the heaver, and so on. Yet no other animal except man has developed or extended any of these arts. No other animal except man has learned to make and use fire and not to run away from it.

If, then, man by his power of mental energy converts the original and crude forces with which the earth is endowed into new forms, and by giving them new direction increases his power of production of the means of his own subsistence and enjoyment of life, does it not follow that creation is a continuous procession in which man is a factor? "There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we may." The ideal of 'an honest God the noblest concept of man' becomes the converse of an honest man the noblest work of God—honest in a broad sense in his dealings with the forces of nature; true to his function.

There is a painful side to statistical and economic study. The penalty of being able to read what is written between the lines and the columns of the figures is the conclusion that after we have all done the best work that the present conditions of science will permit, the entire product barely suffices to keep mankind in existence; his fixed capital, so-called, is at the mercy both of time and of the inventor who substitutes better methods which at less cost of effort or labor yield more abundance to the community as a whole. But on the other hand, no matter how hard the struggle for existence may be, we find the promise of future abundance even in the insufficient product which has been derived from the application of science and invention up to date. Witness the relative progress of the last century as compared with all the previous centuries; then attempt to conceive what will be the condition of humanity a century hence, knowing, as we do, that the applications of science through mental energy now proceed in geometric progression, reversing the dogma of Malthus and leading to the concept of production unlimited, consumption limited.

If it be true that there is no conceivable limit to the power of mind over matter or to the number of conversions of force that can be developed, providing in increasing measure for the wants of the human body, it follows that pauperism is due to poverty of mental energy, not of material resources.

The next step in the development of this theory may be presented in this form: No man is paid by the measure in time or physical effort, for the work or labor that he performs. No man can claim payment in money or in kind on the ground that he has done a day's work of a greater or less number of hours. In all civilized countries we are members one of another; rich or poor; whether we work with our hands or our heads, or both combined. Material existence is supported by conversion of one form of physical energy into another. Social energy