Reader: Now you will have to explain what
you mean by civilization.
Editor: It is not a question of what I mean. Several
English writers refuse to call that civilization which passes under that name.
Many books have been written upon that subject. Societies have been formed to
cure the nation of the evils of civilization. A great English writer has written
a work called Civilization: Its Cause and Cure. Therein he has called it a
Reader: Why do we not know this generally?
Editor: The answer is very
simple. We rarely find people arguing against themselves. Those who are
intoxicated by modern civilization are not likely to write against it. Their
care will be to find out facts and arguments in support of it, and this they do
unconsciously. believing it to be true. A man whilst he is dreaming, believes in
his dream. he is undeceived only when he is awakened from his sleep. A man laboring
under the bane of civilization is like a dreaming man. What we usually
read are the works of defenders of modern civilization, which undoubtedly claims
among its votaries very brilliant and even some very good men. Their writings
hypnotize us, And so, one by one, we are drawn into the vortex.
Reader: This seems to be very plausible. Now will you tell me something of
what you have read and thought of this civilization?
Editor: Let us first
consider what state of things is described by the word
"civilization". Its true test lies in the fact that people living in
it make bodily welfare the object of life. We will take sonic examples. The
people of Europe today live in better-build houses than they did a hundred years
ago. This is considered an emblem of civilization, and this is also a matter to
promote bodily happiness. Formerly, they wore skins, and used spears as their
weapons. Now, they wear long trousers, and, for embellishing their bodies, they
wear a variety of clothing, and, instead of. spears, they carry with them
revolvers containing five or more chambers. If people of a certain country, who
have hitherto not been in the habit of wearing much clothing, boots, etc., adopt
European clothing, they are supposed to have become civilized out of savagery.
Formerly, in Europe, people ploughed their lands mainly by manual labor. Now,
one man can plough a vast tract by means of steam engines and can thus amass
great wealth. This is called a sign of civilization. Formerly, only a few men
wrote valuable books. Now, anybody writes and prints anything he likes and
poisons people's minds. Formerly, men traveled in wagons. Now, they fly
through the air in trains at the rate of four hundred and more miles per day.
This is considered the height of civilization. It has been stated that, as men
progress, they shall be able to travel in airship and reach any part, of the
world in a few hours. Men will not need the use of their hands and feet. They
will press a button, and they will have their clothing by their side. They will
press another button, and they will have their newspaper. A third, and a
motor-car will be in waiting for them. They will have a variety of delicately
dished up food. Everything will be done by machinery. Formerly, when people
wanted to fight with one another, they measured between them their bodily
strength; now it is possible to take away thousands of lives by one man working
behind a gun from a hill. This is civilization. Formerly, men worked in the open air only
as much as they liked. Now thousands of workmen meet together and for the sake
of maintenance work in factories or mines. Their condition is worse than that of
beasts. They are obliged to work, at the risk of their lives, at most dangerous
occupations, for the sake of millionaires. Formerly, men were made slaves under
physical compulsion. Now they are enslaved by temptation of money and of the
luxuries that money can buy. There are now diseases of which people never dreamt
before, and an army of doctors is engaged in finding out their cures, and so
hospitals have increased. This is a test of civilization. Formerly, special
messengers were required and much expense was incurred in order to send letters;
today, anyone can abuse his fellow by means of a letter for one penny. True, at
the same cost, one can send one's thanks also. Formerly, people had two or three
meals consisting of home-made bread and vegetables; now, they require something
to eat every two hours so that they have hardly leisure for anything else. What
more need I say'? All this you can ascertain from several authoritative books.
These are all true tests of civilization. And if anyone speaks to the contrary,
know that he is ignorant. This civilization takes note neither of morality nor
of religion. Its votaries calmly state that their business is not to teach
religion. Some even consider it to be a superstitious growth. Others put on the
cloak of religion, and prate about morality. But, after twenty years' experience,
I have come to the conclusion that immorality is often taught in the name of
morality. Even a child can understand that in all I aye described above there
can be no inducement to morality. Civilization seeks to increase bodily
comforts, and it fails miserably even in doing so.
This civilization is
irreligion, and it has taken such a hold on the people in Europe that those who
are in it appear to be half mad. They lack real physical strength or courage.
They keep up their energy by intoxication. They can hardly be happy in
solitude. Women, who should be the queens of households, wander in the streets
or they slave away in factories. For the sake of a pittance, half a million
women in England alone are laboring under trying circumstances in factories or
similar institutions. This awful act is one of the causes of the daily growing
This civilization is such that one has only to be
patient and it will be self-destroyed. According to the teaching of Mohammed this would be considered a Satanic Civilization. Hinduism calls it a Black Age.
I cannot give you an adequate conception of it. It is eating into the vitals of
the English nation. It must be shunned. Parliaments are really emblems of
slavery. If you will sufficiently think over this, you will entertain the same
opinion and cease to to blame the English. They rather deserve our sympathy.
They are a shrewd nation and I therefore believe that they will cast off the
evil. They are enterprising and industrious, and their mode of thought is not
inherently immoral. Neither are they bad at heart. I therefore respect them.
Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that
the English are at present afflicted by it.