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AN IMAGINARY INTERVIEW
THOMAS HENRY : I fancy you had. . . . Ah, those were happy times
—or so we thought. In any case., they were very happy ip^Qm-
parison with your present chaos. " ;>:
JULIAN: I gather you don't find 1942 a very congenial period?' :
I'm not surprised!
THOMAS HENRY : From all I hear, it's a bad time for a Victorian
scientist to come visiting.
JULIAN : You discussed a great many topics in those famous essays
of yours, but I don't remember that war was among them.
THOMAS HENRY : I think you are right. We lived through various
wars: but we never conceived, even as an idle speculation, that the
world as a whole would ever again collapse into a state of belligerent
barbarism, nor did we dream of what you call total war.
JULIAN : And what about the political theories of to-day? You, I
know, like most progressive men of your time, were a great admirer of
German science, German literature, German philosophy. What do
you make of their modern doctrines of Blood and Soil, of Aryan and
Nordic racial superiority, of their burning of books, their persecution
of thought because it is unorthodox by Nazi standards, or even because
it is Jewish?
THOMAS HENRY : It appals me. Knowing that cranks are always
with us, I'm not in the least surprised to find some people believing
such nonsense. But that it can have become the official doctrine of
a great nation, and apparently one of the forces contributing to its
military triumphs, and to its belief in its high destiny—this I find
JULIAN : It isn't conceivable—but it's happened.
THOMAS HENRY : It must have shaken the very foundations of your
JULIAN : Of course, we have had nearly thirty years to adjust our-
selves to the collapse of the world system that seemed so stable and so
full of promise in your time and even in my young days. . . . First the
war of 1914-18; then a period of cynical disillusionment; then the
most spectacular economic collapse in history; then the rise of
Fascist aggression. But there are plenty of people who have still not
adjusted themselves, and quite fail to realize that they're living in the
middle of one of the greatest revolutions in human history.
THOMAS HENRY : What about those who do realize that they are
living in a revolution, but happen not to enjoy the fact? I am trying,
you see, to visualize the impact of the situation.
JULIAN : Well, there are several ways in which such people react.
A few indulge in tempered optimism and try to plan ahead for the