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Lem wrote in 1968

In the middle of the century a total fear paralyzed politics, but did not change it; the strategy remained the same. Days were put before months, years over centuries, but the reverse should have been done; the idea of seeing to the welfare of the species should have been written on the standards; the technological ascent should have been bridled, to keep it from becoming a fall.

In the meantime, the material gap widened between the Superpowers and the Third World – a gap called by the economists an “expanding harmony”. Responsible personages, holding in their hands the fates of others, said that they realized that such a state could not go on indefinitely; but they did nothing, as if waiting for a miracle. It was necessary to coordinate progress but not to trust in it as in a machine, an accelerating automatic process. Surely it was madness, this faith that to do everything that was technologically possible was to act wisely and safely; surely we could not rely on a miraculous helping hand from Nature, more and more portions of which, turned into fuel for bodies and machines, we had incorporated in our civilization. And yet this incorporation may turn out to be a Trojan horse, a sugar-coated poison that poisons not because the word wishes us ill, but because we have proceeded blindly.

S. Lem, His mater’s voice, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois, chapter XI, pp. 126-127.


What do you think about this now?