[FPSPACE] The Martyrdom of Man by Winwood Reade
Alex Michael Bonnici
albonnici at vol.net.mt
Tue Aug 30 22:37:29 EDT 2005
The Martyrdom of Man by Winwood Reade
"The whole world will be united by the same sentiment which united the
primeval clan, and which made its members think, feel, and act as one.
Men will look upon this star as their fatherland; its progress will be
their ambition; the gratitude of others their reward. These bodies which
now we: wear belong to the lower animals; our minds have already
outgrown them; already we look upon them with contempt. A time will come
when Science will transform them by means which we cannot conjecture,
and which, even if explained to us, we could not now under stand, just
as the savage cannot understand electricity, magnetism, steam. Disease
will be extirpated; the causes of decay will be removed; immortality
will be invented. And then, the earth being small, mankind will migrate
into space, and will cross the airless Saharas which separate planet
from planet, and sun from sun. The earth will become a Holy Land which
will be visited by pilgrims from all the quarters of the universe.
Finally, men will master the forces of Nature; they will become
themselves architects of systems, manufacturers of worlds."
Jacob Bronowski once said in his famous landmark
television series "The Ascent of Man" -
"Man is not a figure in the landscape, but a shaper of the landscape".
The idea that one day humankind will venture forth from his planet to
reshape the Cosmos to his liking and other transhumanist thinking have
had there intellectual antecedents in the past. The Martyrdom of Man
by Winwood Reade is one that deserves honorable mention.
Winwood Reade's Martyrdom (published in 1873) is a cosmic view of
history that then extrapolates this cosmic vision into the far future.
Martin A. Danahay in the Broadview edition of H. G. Wells' War of the
Worlds and Brian W. Aldiss in his introduction to the SF Masterworks
edition of Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker cite Winwood Reade's influence on
the thinking on these two authors.
Arthur C. Clarke in turn was influenced greatly by Stapledon's and
Wells' work. And many of us in turn can trace our fascination with
Space Exploration and the future to the works of Clarke.
If you would like to obtain a copy of this fascinating work you can
download the e-text edition from www.blackmask.com
More information concerning Windwood Reade and The Martyrdom of Man can
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