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Title Two horizons, a report on the race with catastrophe, The
Subject Civilization, Modern; Education
Description Twelfth annual Frederick William Reynolds memorial lecture.
Creator Clapp, Edwin Roosa, 1902-
Publisher Extension Division, University of Utah
Date 1948-02-11
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,308
Source LD5526 .U8 n.s. v.38 no.13
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "The two horizons." Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6d798c9
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-08-04
ID 319606
Reference URL

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Title Page 8
Description THE TWO HORIZONS add, however, that man's world and civilization are not identical, that the latter is a fragile creation and may well not survive a modern war, and that we have a choice between taking our own evolution in hand through the improvement of human nature and ceasing to exist. These opinions, you will recall, were expressed near the mid-point of the half-century, the first World War being past, the second still to come. At that date, Haldane thought the tapping of atomic energy "wildly unlikely," to use his own words, and the odds therefore slightly against such a catastrophic end of civilization. Everyone knows the true event. The United States employed an atomic bomb against the Japanese at Hiroshima, August 6, 1945. In 1947 Albert Einstein, Harold Urey, and other eminent scientists in a public statement entitled "The Last Hour before Midnight" held that the process of nuclear fission will shortly become common property, that men will then possess the means of self-destruction, and that the alternative to peace has become "the death of our society." This is the near horizon. One way to summarize the history of the first half of the twentieth century is thus to note that at its beginning human destiny could be described as unlimited save by the fate of the earth itself, and at its close (so far as civilization is identified with humanity) as limited by men's capacity to save themselves from themselves â€" and this within a period not of millions of years but of perhaps at most a decade. This sudden, this gigantic, constriction of our horizon seems to me terribly real and terribly urgent. As to the meaning of a conflict in which atomic weapons would quite possibly be teamed with the less spectacular but perhaps even more lethal devices of the bacteriologist, I am willing to accept the testimony of the expert. It is not reassuring. As to its possibility, I am willing to trust my own observations. They are not reassuring either. It can, of course, be said that, even at worst, the far horizon is still open, that a third war would involve mainly the western world and could produce an event only of the order of the collapse of classical civilization and the so-called Dark Ages, and that times in hope might see another Athens risen, a Bethlehem at peace, the American dream fulfilled. To many, such assurance will seem cold comfort. With all its faults we are used to western civilization; we should probably miss it if it were gone. And though the death of our cosmos at some astronomical date is a sobering thought, somehow it does not touch us like the imminent prospect of our own. With Charles Lamb, we have an "intolerable disinclination to dying," and are "in love with this green earth." Then too we have a regard for our flesh-and-blood children warmer than for those hypothetical descendants who, admirable though they may be, are, after all, perfect strangers. No, the near horizon is real. We must face it, change it, push it back. If I did not think this possible, I would have chosen another topic tonight. The role of Jeremiah lacks fascination. I believe Einstein when he says, "To our generation has come the possibility of making the most fateful decision in the recorded history of the human race," and to believe this is to hold that we have a choice leading to fruitful action â€" in other words, to accept responsibility. The responsibility that we accept should be seen, however, not in terms of one horizon only, but
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 008-RNLT-ClappER_Page 8.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: The two horizons, a report on the race with catastrophe by Edwin R. Clapp.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 319588
Reference URL