For food was then our most pressing problem, and the progress of the regeneration schemes, and the advance of the cultivation lines on the maps, was followed with almost as much attention as an earlier generation had paid to battle fronts.
In temperate countries, where man had succeeded in putting most forms of nature save his own under a reasonable degree of restraint, the status of the triffid was thus made quite clear. But in the tropics, particularly in the dense forest areas, they quickly became a scourge.
It must be, I thought, one of the race’s most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that “it can’t happen here”—that one’s own little time and place is beyond cataclysms. And now it was happening here.
“You know, one of the most shocking things about it is to realize how easily we have lost a world that seemed so safe and certain.”
There is an inability to sustain the tragic mood, a phoenix quality of the mind. It may be helpful or harmful, it is just a part of the will to survive—yet, also, it has made it possible for us to engage in one weakening war after another. But it is a necessary part of our mechanism that we should be able to cry only for a time over even an ocean of spilt milk—the spectacular must soon become the commonplace if life is to be supportable.
Decent intentions seem to be the most dangerous things around just now.
I found that the sights affected her less than they did me: children have a different convention of the fearful until they have been taught the proper things to be shocked at. The depression was all mine.
“Do you think we could—do you think we should be justified in starting a myth to help them? A story of a world that was wonderfully clever, but so wicked that it had to be destroyed—or destroyed itself by accident? Something like the Flood, again? That wouldn’t crush them with inferiority—it could give the incentive to build, and this time to build something better.”