Freeman

ARTICLE

Quo Vadis?

JANUARY 01, 1958 by E.F. HUTTON

Mr. Hutton is the well-known industrialist, investment banker, and author of the column, "Think It Through."

 
If the Founder of the Christian religion had traveled on a space ship to the moon and back, would the Sermon on the Mount be any better than it is?

If Abraham Lincoln had built a hydrogen bomb that won the Civil War in one week, would the Gettysburg Address have been improved?

If Thomas A. Edison had invented a world satellite instead of the electric light bulb, would mankind be better off?

Or would these and all other great men and women have been _ so bedazzled by the glitter of scientific and material progress that they could not sense man’s hunger for enough to eat and a little time of peace to love and dream during life’s brief span?

Where is this mad race for power and prestige to end?

Now we have the intercontinental ballistic missile costing billions. Then will come the missile to intercept the missile, and the missile to intercept the interceptor — costing trillions.

And with them the cold contemplation of using them on millions of women, children, and the aged in war more stark and brutal than jungle tigers.

Our attitude toward war and death and brutality is being changed by the merciless instruments for killing we invent.

Can such an atmosphere produce a better Sermon on the Mount, improve the Gettysburg Address, create better plays than Shakespeare’s, better paintings than Titian’s, or better men?

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January 1958

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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