Problems of the Family

Checked out on Valentine’s Day 1933 no less. But, the title listed is actually a typo made by some disaffected librarian no doubt. The book in which I found this all to appropriate library card is actually Problems of the Future by Samuel Laing, a science writer, politician, and railway administrator.

Born in Edinburgh in 1810, Laign was primarily a modernist, an early one and an optimistic one at that. He believed humans enamored with science and so enthralled could not but follow the path of progress. So much for that.

Writing at a moment when the human mind was still capable of containing a fair percentage of all known knowledge, he was ambitions in his undertaking. He proposed to tackle such lofty questions as “the ultimate nature of matter and energy” and “the beginnings of life.”

Gone are the days when we coud suppose ourselves capable of answering such questions from the comfort of an armchair. But they are quant to look back on.


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