February 1973

The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology.

Author Affiliations



By Barry Commoner. Price, $6.95. Pp 326. Alfred A Knopf Inc, 201 E 50th St, New York 10023, 1971.

Arch Intern Med. 1973;131(2):305-306. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.00320080141023

In an editorial entitled: "Smog, Smut and the Socialization of Human Endeavor" (Cincinnati J Med 30:84-85, 1949) written over two decades ago, I noted that if self preservation is the first law of human behavior, the second must be exploitation. Man enterprising freely was considered to be bringing upon himself the socialization that he purported to dread so. Obviously he was not dreading it enough to halt the degradation!

Alfred North Whitehead said a half century ago: "The early liberal faith that by the decree of benevolent providence, individualistic competition and industrial activity, would necessarily work together for human happiness had broken down as soon as it was tried." Despite the innumerable harbingers of impending catastrophe, exploitation of the ecology has continued unabated, and pollution increased as there has piled up a debt to nature so massive that nothing short of a world-wide alert can now hope to contain it.

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