Certain predictions in the foregoing chapter will have suggested to all wh_ccept them that the cultivation of pleasure must occupy a large part of th_nergy of the new age. From the moment when men, sufficiently astute an_urposeful to accumulate enormous fortunes if they were permitted to do so,
are required by law to desist from useless and injurious money-getting, a vas_mount of ingenuity will be diverted to the development of the useless. Th_kill expended upon money-making—and let it be admitted frankly that, howeve_nscrupulous one may be, it is not easy to become a millionaire—will be turne_o the task, almost equally difficult, of spending it satisfactorily. We ma_onsider it as practically certain that the pleasures of the new age will b_argely intellectual in their nature. The stupidity of merely sensua_leasures will revolt the intelligence of the future. Athletic sports of som_ind, facilitated by certain inventions which can easily be foreseen, will n_oubt be a source of much enjoyment, though the growing gentleness of mankin_ill abolish, as barbarous, games which take the form of modified assault, a_ootball, boxing, wrestling, fencing and the like. We shall certainly acquir_ great distaste for fighting in any form when growing humanitarianism shal_ave put an end to war—a development which may confidently be predicted fo_he present century. Similarly—"Am I God, to kill and to make alive?"—we shal_ease to take life for our amusement; as, for sentimental and other reasons,
it has been shown that we shall cease to kill for food.
What then will be our games ? One of the most likely instruments of sport wil_o doubt be the small flying-machine. It is not in the least probable, so fa_s can at present be foreseen, that purely aerial and self-directed vehicle_or purposes of travel or transportation will be a feature of the ne_ivilisation. The dangers and inconvenience of large aerostats are les_ccidents of imperfect invention than inherent difficulties of the subject. I_s very probable that some means of propelling self-supported vehicles betwee_uideways may be discovered. But, as it is not at all likely that any means o_uspending the effect of air-resistance can ever be devised, a flying-machin_ust always be slow and cumbersome. Travel and transportation, to b_ttractive in the new age, must be rapid in the extreme. Ships no doubt wil_kim the surface of the sea instead of resting upon it. But air-ships are no_ery likely to be anything but a sort of vast toy, within, at all events, th_ext hundred years.
But, as a means of amusement, the idea of aerial travel has great promise.
Small one-man flying-machines, or the aerial counterpart of tandem bicycles,
will no doubt be common enough. We shall fly for pleasure; and just a_housands of working: men and women now take a Saturday-afternoon spin on _icycle, so they will go for a sky-trip, and visit interesting mountain-top_or (non-alcoholic) picnics. The bicycle or the motor-cycle will perhaps b_he point of development. It is quite certain that within the next ten o_ifteen years some means will have been discovered by which we can ride on _ingle wheel. The saving of weight thus effected will go a long way toward_urmounting the flight problem. Then, when motor-unicycles are presentl_ropelled by force transmitted (in the same way as Marconi's telegrams) from _ixed power-house, the difficulty of flight will be within sight of an eas_olution. Any competent mechanician of the present day could design a flying-
machine if the mere weight of the motive appliance could be overcome. When th_otor is fixed on _terra firma_ , and the vehicle only needs to carry a devic_or utilising the aetheric waves which the source of power wirelessl_ransmits, flight will be at least as simple a matter as wireless telegraph_s to-day.
When it is possible to cross the Atlantic in a day by means of surface-ridin_hips, propelled, like the flying-machines, by setheric force, the field o_musement will be vastly increased, and although (as I shall show) it will n_onger be necessary to travel in order to " see the sights " of any part o_he world, the pleasure of being present at the actual events of life i_ifferent countries will probably never pall. So long as any parts of th_orld remain comparatively unfamiliar, young men and maidens will love travel.
When it is possible, wrapped in warm woollens and provided with portabl_eating-appliances, to pay a short visit to the Arctic circle and enjoy th_atchless spectacle of the Aurora Borealis amid the awe-compelling obscuritie_f the Polar night: when, with even less inconvenience, we can take a trip t_he tropics and witness, here the unchangeable processes of Nature'_uxuriance, there the perhaps immutable conservatism of the East, the ne_eisure of the coming time will have great stores of recreation for thos_appy enough to live in the dawning twenty-first century.
The more distinctively intellectual pleasures of the new age will be muc_ubserved by one class of invention, of which the rudiments already exist. B_eans of the phonograph we are able, not very perfectly, to reproduce as ofte_s we desire sounds created in favourable circumstances. By various kinds o_ineto-scope we can reproduce a rudimentary sort of picture of an event whic_as taken place in a good light. But when the phonograph has been developed,
when moving pictures have been perfected, what a vast implement of amusemen_ay be foreseen! Each of these inventions is comparatively new. If we imagin_he discovery of means, developed from the phonograph, by which any sound_hich have once existed in the presence of a recording machine can b_eproduced at will, not in a makeshift sort of way, but without any loss o_imbre and quality, with perfect articulation where articulation is necessary,
with exactly correct time-regulationautomatically determined by the firs_nunciation, and all this cheaply and compendiously, what vast resources o_ultured enjoyment are offered to the lover of music! How many people, denie_he pleasure of learning to understand good music by the difficulties an_xertion attendant upon our infrequent and expensive concerts, will becom_rue lovers and appreciators of it! For music is only to be really enjoyed b_he average man when it is repeatedly heard, repeatedly considered. Certainl_he people of the new age will be epicures of the emotions which comprehende_usic is so nobly capable of stirring.
No doubt the new age will have solved, in a far more satisfactory way than w_ave been able to solve as yet, the problem of chromatic photography. Whe_olour influences photographic plates or some contrivance substituted fo_hem, not indirectly by a mechanical Sorting-out of tints, but by affectin_irectly the optical properties of the plates or whatever may succeed plates,
we shall have marvellously accurate pictures. [](footnotes.xml#footnote_6)
Nor is this all. The kinetoscope, as at present exhibited under variou_npleasing names, is imperfect in two ways : first because it is powerless t_eproduce colour, and secondly because it o-ives at best a mere magic-lanter_icture violently out of focus, and by its pulsatory motion horribl_istressing to the eyes. Chromatic photography will overcome the forme_ifficulty. When we find out how to increase greatly the receptive rapidity o_hotographic emulsion without spoiling what photographers call the "grain" o_t; or when we have improved, as we every year are improving, the optica_ualities of lenses, we shall be able to have our pictures in focus. Th_istressing flicker of moving pictures is an objection purely mechanical i_ts cause. But when, as they will be in a few years, all these objection_xcept the first have been removed, and even when we have colour-photograph_n a true sense of the word, there will still remain one field to conquer. W_ust have, instead of moving pictures, something which represents all object_s solid. The difference is the difference between an ordinary photograph an_ highly-improved stereoscopic picture magnified to life-size. When thes_dvantages are attained it will be possible to represent, exactly as i_appened, any event which has been suitably photographed.
The utility of this as a means of intelligent amusement will be at onc_erceived. Imagine the theatre of the future. Probably it will not be beyon_he means of the rich, even when restrained from over-possession as it i_vident that they must be, to have theatre-rooms in their own houses. But th_asses will no doubt go to the theatre much as they do now. Only instead o_eeing a company of actors and actresses, more or less mediocre, engaged i_he degrading task of repeating time after time the same words, the sam_estures, the same actions, they will see the performance of a complete "star"
company, as once enacted at its very best, reproduced as often as it may b_anted, the perfected kinetoscope exhibiting the spectacle of the stage, th_alking machine and the phonograph (doubtless differentiated) renderin_erfectly the voices of the actors and the music of the orchestra. There wil_e no need for the employment of inferior actors in the small parts. As th_roduction of any play will only demand that it be worked up to the point o_erfection and then performed once, there will be no difficulty in securin_he most perfect rendering that it is capable of. The actor's art will b_mmensely elevated, not only by his relief from the drudgery of repeate_erformance and by the leisure thus afforded him for study and reflection, bu_lso by the removal of what is keenly felt by all players of sensibility an_mbition as one of the greatest drawbacks of the stage. We are accustomed t_he actor's complaint that whereas the author, the sculptor, the painter, th_omposer of music, makes for himself a fame imperishable as the products o_is art, the actor frets his hour and disappears from the stage, to b_romptly forgotten by an ungrateful public. Well, the actor's art, like th_rt of the executant musician, will have the endowment of permanency. An_here will be a magnificent opportunity for the actor as artist, in that h_ill be able to compare himself and his fellows with the actors who are dea_nd can act no more. It is probably true that Irving is the greatest acto_ince Garrick, but who can prove it ? The actor's art is transient to-day : i_ill be permanent, it will be classical, in the next century. By this fact no_nly will the pleasures of the theatre be made cheap, convenient and varied,
but the art of the theatre will be vastly improved.
Just as the actor will be spared the drudgery of mechanical, parrotlik_epetition, so the indifferent maidens of the new age will have no need t_aste their time in learning to play upon musical instruments more or les_mperfectly. No doubt some who are not professional musicians will do so fo_heir own pleasure. But the professional executant himself will cease, lik_he actor, to rank as a sort of superior harlequin or performing animal,
exhibiting his powers for the diversion of an assembled public. What he ha_nce played can, if he choose, be constantly repeated. The executant will b_aid by a royalty on each reproduction, when he is wise. Less prudent artist_ill sell their records for a lump sum, just as the unthrifty author sells hi_opyrights. But let it be noted that, on the assumption that the reproductio_s perfect, the evolution above predicted is a highly artistic one. Instead o_he executant or singer being judged by his performance on an occasion whe_atigue, illness or unfavourable circumstances may militate against hi_erfect success, when the nerve-shattering conditions of the platform probabl_n any case offend his susceptibilities and detract from the perfection of hi_erformance, he will be able to found his reputation upon the very bes_erformance he is capable of. He will be able to try and try again in th_rivacy of his study. When he has satisfied himself, and then alone, will h_ublish his artistic effort to the world. He can destroy as man_nsatisfactory records as he pleases, just as the sculptor can break up hi_lay when he has not succeeded, just as the painter can paint out his pictur_hen it has not pleased him, and be judged only by his best.
It would be ignoring the most obvious characteristics of mankind to suppos_hat the pleasures of the new age will be limited to a mere mechanica_evelopment of those which we enjoy at present. There can be no doubt that ne_elights will be invented. With a general improvement in intelligence and i_he standard of comfort; with a moneyed class compelled, by the enactment_hich we have imagined, to enjoy a considerable accession of leisure ; wit_onditions which will, as we have hoped, reduce materially the necessary hour_f labour for the worker ; with some of the most engrossing amusements of th_resent age abolished for sentimental reasons ; we may take it for grante_hat a great demand for new recreations will develop. Some of thes_onsiderations might easily give us pause. We might perhaps fear tha_ice—either the extension of existing vices or (if that indeed be possible)
the invention of new ones—might be a terrifying problem of the next century,
if we had not foreseen, concurrently with the other developments anticipated,
a marked moral improvement in human nature. There is in the calculations o_he pessimist and the reactionary no fallacy more mischievous than the oft-
recited aphorism that human nature is the same in all places and at all times.
That is precisely what human nature is not. Spectacles which delighted ancien_ome would revolt modern civilisation. Spectacles which are still keenl_njoyed in Spain would revolt England or the United States, and probabl_waken the activity of the police. Human morality has demonstrably advanced i_istoric time : it has very perceptibly advanced, as I showed in an earlie_hapter,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_7) during the nineteenth century. But th_mprovement in this respect which the next hundred years will show must, i_ll human probability, greatly excel that of the past time. And thus, though _ane and reasonable anticipation will not exclude the possibility o_egrettable accidents in the future moral history of mankind, it will als_egard them as probably transient. The vices regarded as incident t_omplicated civilisations have perhaps been too hastily considered by-
despairing moralists. Vice is essentially stupid. It is only in occasional, i_poradic instances that we are presented with the terrible spectacle of grea_ntelligences depraved by gross immorality and animalism : and even then, thi_ombination is only possible where a high degree of culture is in contact wit_ widespread unintelligence. Most likely it will be found, when the abstrac_aws of vice come to be mapped out with more exactness than, so far as I a_ware, they have yet been, that the degeneracies and immoralities of greatly-
civilised ages are in reality only the product of luxury seated upo_egradation. The French moralists of the eighteenth century had a glimmerin_f this in their idyllic pictures of reformed society, when the old moralit_f the simple life was to return with the abolition of oligarchic splendou_nd popular misery.
In one direction we may see means by which intelligent recreation may b_upposed capable of vast developments. Already the study of the psychical sid_f man has been the means of extraordinary discoveries. Our knowledge o_ypnotism, suggestion, thought-transference and similar psychological wonders,
obscured though it has unhappily been by charlatanism and the importation int_he subject of irrelevant follies, has great promise for the future man, whos_sychical faculties will unquestionably develop at the expense of his anima_nstincts. It is hardly possible to limit our conception of the means by whic_hought will be communicated in the next century, but we may see just wher_he change will probably come. A printed essay, such as this, is obviously _uccessive translation of thought into words (in the brain), then of the word_nto letters, and then of letters into type, which is picked up by the eye,
retranslated into words by one part of the brain, and finally transmuted int_hought again in another part. If some method can be discovered of abolishin_ne or more of these processes, thought can be conveyed from brain to brain a_n enormously increased pace, and with a delicacy of which we have no presen_onception. This development is not so inconceivable as it at first appears.
We know as yet almost nothing of the processes by which (for instance)
vibration, accepted by the ear as sound, is, in the brain-cells behind th_ar, converted into thought. Speech and writing are purely conventiona_evices. If, instead of using these conventions, we can learn to transmi_deas immediately from brain to brain, the next step may be an extraordinar_evelopment of intellectual pleasures, in the case of those individuals whos_astes are capable of thus being ministered to. But to say this is not t_mply that the ordinary means of human intercommunication will be dispense_ith. For most occasions, and for all but the subtlest and most refine_ecessities of thought, no doubt books, newspapers and letters will remain _eature of everyday life—though of course with such modifications as th_rogress of the century will have called forth. The future of the newspaper i_articular is a subject of such great importance that It requires to b_iscussed In detail.