Progressive Science and Happiness

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    AMONG the publications issued in the United States with the object of directing attention to the value of science and engineering in human progress, are the Research Narratives, published monthly as small folders by the Engineering Foundation, the joint research organisation of the four leading engineering societies of America. Hitherto, these narratives have covered a wide range of subjects, but the last three numbers contain the first contributions by various writers, dealing with benefits from engineering progress. Happiness, it is remarked, has ever been a condition that human beings have earnestly desired, but the question may be asked: How wisely has mankind used the means of happiness provided by engineering ? One of the problems yet to be solved is the maintenance, without disastrous fluctuations, of the steady flow of enjoyment through well-ordered production, distribution, and consumption. “The present conditions”, says one contributor, “are difficult to contemplate with mental serenity and undisturbed confidence, but they carry more of ultimate value than the prosperous years that preceded them.” Many interesting views are expressed, and Dr. C. E. K. Mees, director of research of the Eastman Kodak Company, after remarking that happiness is not a thing which depends upon the possession of material things beyond a certain minimum, concludes his article by saying: “I believe that a large portion of. mankind will abandon the feverish quest for material things and will employ its greater leisure in the development of art and the cultivation of its soul”. The wise use of leisure is certainly one of the problems which is becoming of increasing importance, but perhaps the greatest problem of the moment is the provision for every one of that minimum of material things, the want of which is felt by so many millions.

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    Progressive Science and Happiness. Nature 129, 17 (1932) doi:10.1038/129017a0

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