Bernard Shaw defended the intellect and spoke of “the mind’s eye” of the future:
” Just as Life, after ages of struggle, evolved that wonderful bodily organ the eye… so it is evolving today a mind’s eye that shall see, not the physical world, but the purpose of life, and thereby enable the individual to work for that purpose instead of thwarting and baffling it by setting up shortsighted personal aims as at present”
Don Juan in Hell 1907
Shaw loved to attack drama critics ” for their gross ingratitude to us, their arrant Philistinism, their shameless intellectual arrogance, their low tastes. their hatred of good work, their puerile romanticism, their disloyalty to dramatic literature, their stupendous ignorance, their susceptibility to cheap sentiment, their insensibility to honour, virtue, intellectual honesty, and everything that constitutes strength and dignity in human character….”
(piece in Daily Telegraph, 7 May 1908)
As Bernard Shaw wrote:: ” What really happened was that the impact of physical death and destruction, the one reality that every fool can understand, tore off the masks of education, art, science, and religion from our ignorance and barbarism, and left us glorifying grotesquely in the license suddenly accorded to our vilest passions and most abject terrors”.
Do you find here an echo of Freud’s theory in Civilisation and Its Discontents?
Shaw explained to a prospective biographer that he should emphasise that sheer hard work and experience rather than natural capacity ” enabled me to produce an impression of being an extraordinarily clever, original, and brilliant writer, deficient only in feeling, whereas the truth is that though I am in a way a man of genius… yet I am not in the least naturally ‘brilliant’ and not at all ready or clever. If literary men generally were put through the mill I went through and kept out of their stuffy little coteries, where works of art breed in and in until the intellectual and spiritual product becomes hopelessly degenerate, I should have a thousand rivals more brilliant than myself. There is nothing more mischievous than the notion that my works are the mere play of a delightfully clever and whimsical hero of the salons: they are the result of perfectly straightforward drudgery…”
[letter to Archibald Henderson, an American, 30 June 1904].
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During Callendar’s later years (c.1950-1964) his CO2 climate warming theory was questioned by other climate scientists, who pointed to the undoubted complexity of global climate science and called for more research into factors such as the timescale of ocean-atmosphere exchange, deep ocean conditions and apparent discrepancies in the uptake of fossil fuel carbon. He continued his deep research (in a private capacity) and by the time of his death opinion was swinging strongly in his direction. As James Fleming concludes about this remarkable man:
“[His research judgment]] led him to conclude that the trend towards higher temperatures was significant, especially north of the 45th parallel: that the increased use of fossil fuels (and, to a lesser extent, deforestation and other practices) had caused a rise of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere that would only continue and would most likely accelerate; and that increased sky radiation from the extra CO2 was directly linked to the rising temperature trend. The world’s glaciers were shrinking, and he thought it unlikely that the oceans would absorb the excess carbon” [Callendar Effect, p.87].
Fleming goes on to say that most scientists now agree that Callendar was basically right, and that we now live in a world that has reached levels of atmospheric CO2 unknown to Callendar.
Rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere had been well documented by 1950. What was the effect?
“Reduced to its simplest terms…whereas CO2 is almost completely transparent to solar radiation, it is partially opaque to the heat which is radiated back to space from the earth [mainly due to the expansion of industry]. In this way it acts as a heat trap, allowing the temperature near the earth’s surface to rise above the level it would attain if there were no CO2 in the air… It may be said that the climates of the world are behaving in a manner which suggests that slightly more solar heat is being retained in the atmosphere. This could be due to its increasing opacity to terrestrial heat as a result of the additions of CO2”
[Guy Callendar, “Can CO2 Influence Climate? ” Weather 4 (1949), pp. 310-314].