The adventure of life - PDF-ebook by Robert William MacKenna

The adventure of life

The adventure of life
The adventure of life

The life of everyone who will read these words has been influenced in some way by the war. It has rudely broken many old and sacred ties; it has touched with calamitous finger innumerable homes; it has altered life-long habits and shattered many a fondly cherished be- lief. It has introduced a ferment into human thought, and men who had accepted without questioning and with little understanding of the mysteries of existence are finding their beliefs challenged and their faith is shaken by the iron discipline of events. 

They are asking, as they watch civilization ablaze in the furnace if there is an answer to the riddle of the universe; if there is any righteousness in the scheme of things; if there is any purpose in life: or if it is all nothing but an ugly delusion or a hideous dream. 

There is a danger that some will find in a crude doctrine of materialism the sole resting-place for their feet, but the materialistic creed is a creed of pessimism — a foundation from which no useful and enduring edifice of belief can ever arise. That humanity may spring from the ashes of civilization with vigour renewed and vision purified, we must cultivate an invincible spirit of optimism. For such an attitude of mind, we have good grounds: we have none for the sterilizing dogmas of materialism. It is given to the physician to see much of human life. 

He has many opportunities of beholding its sordidness. He is the daily witness of its high heroism. He is constantly faced with its problems; he can never get away from its mysteries; his knowledge of its adaptations is intimate, and though there is still much about it that is hidden from his inquiring eyes, he is aware of some of its potentialities. Personally, I cannot bring myself to believe that life can ever be explained in the terms of sheer materialism, reduced to mere chemical equations, or expressed entirely in the language of the physical or physiological laboratory. 

The indomitable logic of facts has driven me to the conclusion that behind all and above all there is an intelligent and beneficent Mind, immanent in nature and in the life of man. If this is true we have good reason to hail the future with glad confidence. 

The chapters which follow have been written in the hope that they may help to illuminate with a ray of light, however feeble, the clouds of perplexity with which many an earnest seeker after the truth finds himself surrounded. The book is neither a scientific monograph nor a philosophical treatise and will be easily comprehended by all. 

As far as possible I have endeavoured to avoid the use of technical terms. My aim has been to impress upon all who care to read the wonder and the harmony of life, and the complete interdependence that subsists between all forms of life. I believe that the goal of Nature is Life; the aim of Life is the development of Intelligence, and the object of Intelligence is knowledge of God.

I The Universality of Life 1
II The Origin of Life 9
III The OniGiN of Man 25
IV The Dominant Role of Intelligence in
THE Evolution of Man 37
V The Protection of Life 53
VI Heredity and Environment 74
VII Man's Freedom, and Man's Soul ... 96
VIII What is Life? 109
IX The Phenomenon of Pain 129
X The Mechanism of Pain 144
XI The Mystery of Pain and Suffering . . 151
XII The Discipline of Sickness 171
XIII Love and Marriage 183
XIV Work 195
XV The Revelation of God to Man: Religion 210
XVI The Adventure of Death 223
XVII The Mysteries of Life 227 

the book details :
  • Author: Robert William MacKenna 
  • Publication date:  1919
  • Company: New York, Macmillan

  • Download The adventure of life - PDF-ebook  - 4.7 MB

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