Many of the forms of so-called progress which we have seen in the past century and a half were really corrections of the evils which the beginning of the Industrial Age had brought into being. They were not really new forms, real progress, but rather rectification of the wrongs we had done. Cities have grown immense in many countries, bringing many evils, difficulties, and problems which never existed before. The machine which can do so much to help us if used with wisdom and caution has become a Frankenstein. Chemicals have followed the same path in medicine and food, making it more difficult to get pure food, or to get well-healed without introducing new and hostile complications.
Of course, a world-wide spiritual awakening--by which I do not mean a merely religious awakening--could also remove the threat of self-destruction. But this century has been a period of challenge, and it is for the human beings to accept this challenge and rise to it positively if they want a positive result. So far we have seen mostly that the high degree of knowledge and skill which science has developed has been developed on a lavish scale financially for the weapons and instruments of destruction, and much less for pacific purposes.
If this short survey of the situation seems depressing, it will not alter the general structure of the World-Idea. The cycles through which we pass, the grim and the grand, must one day also bring us to a union of this high intellectual development exemplified by science with the less materialistic and gentler ideals which originally spread out from the East.
-- Notebooks Category 13: Human Experience > Chapter 2: Living in The World > # 135