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Publisher's Summary

I rather anticipate that superficial critics who do not like the argument of this essay will accuse it of pessimism, a charge which perhaps means little more than that they do not like it. Nevertheless, it may be worth while to point out, first, that pessimism is not a logical objection to a contention of which the truth cannot otherwise be questioned; and second, that though the argument of Tantalus may be said generally to corroborate that of Daedalus and Icarus, yet its conclusion is much less pessimistic than theirs, because, third, it makes it very plain that the evils which threaten the future of mankind are in no case unavoidable. If it is called "pessimism" to point out the methods by which men may escape destruction, because men do not care to adopt them, I suppose it must be "optimism" to rush violently and open-eyed down a precipice, and to expect to be saved by a miracle. Certainly such would appear to be the belief upon which human affairs are at present conducted. 

Public Domain (P)2021 Russell Stamets

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