Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is Life Worth Living?

Originally posted by commenter Karl:

This may be of interest to some people here. Debate with Clarence Darrow (the guy who defended the teaching of evolution in American schools) on whether life was worth living or not. Darrow spoke against the motion! Features a great quote from Arthur Balfour below the link.

"We survey the past, and see that its history is of blood and Man, so far as natural science by itself is able to teach us, is no longer the final cause of the universe, the Heaven descended heir of all the ages. His very existence is an accident, his story a brief and transitory episode in the life of one of the meanest of the planets. Of the combination of causes which first converted a dead organic compound into the living progenitors of humanity, science indeed as yet knows nothing. It is enough that from such beginnings famine, disease, and mutual slaughter, fit nurses of the future lords of creation, have gradually evolved, after infinite travail, a race with conscience enough to feel that it is vile, and intelligence enough to know that it is insignificant tears, of helpless blundering, of wild revolt, of stupid acquiescence, of empty aspirations. We sound the future, and learn that after a period, long compared with the individual life, but short indeed compared with the divisions of time open to our investigation, the energies of our system will decay, the glory of the sun will be dimmed, and the earth, tideless and inert, will no longer tolerate the race which for a moment disturbed its solitude. Man will go down into the pit, and all his thoughts will perish. The uneasy consciousness, which in this obscure corner has for a long space broken the contented silence of the universe, will be at rest. Matter will know itself no longer. "Imperishable monuments" and "immortal deeds," death itself, and love stronger than death, will be as though they had never been. Nor will anything that is be better or be worse for all that the labour, genius, devotion, and suffering of men have striven
through countless generations to effect."


Anonymous said...

This sounds like the closest thing to my own personal "religion" for lack of a better term. Such comfort in these words. Thanks for posting.

S. Hall said...

Wonderful quote. Thanks for sharing.


TGGP said...

From reading his Wikipedia entry, sounds like he was a rather dislikable fellow.