The modern technological world appears overwhelming to many people. It drives some to pessimism and despair. It makes others doubt the future of mankind unless we retreat to simpler lives and even to the ways of our ancestors. What these people fail to realize is that we cannot go back to those ways and those days. Furthermore, for all our difficulties, life today is far better for more people and the possibilities for the future can be brighter than ever if we develop not only new knowledge, but a greater faith and confidence in the human mind and spirit.
There is a beauty in discovery. There is mathematics in music, a kinship of science and poetry in the description of nature, and exquisite form in a molecule. Attempts to place different disciplines in different camps are revealed as artificial in the face of the unity of knowledge. All literate men are sustained by the philosopher, the historian, the political analyst, the economist, the scientist, the poet, the artisan and the musician.
One of the first laws against air pollution came in 1300 when King Edward I decreed the death penalty for burning of coal. At least one execution for that offense is recorded. But economics triumphed over health considerations, and air pollution became an appalling problem in England.