Listen, are we helpless? Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the Phoenix, in an unending sequence of rise and fall? Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, the Empires of Charlemagne and the Turk. Ground to dust and plowed with salt. Spain, France, Britain, America-burned into the oblivion of the centuries. And again and again and again.
Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing?
This time, it will swing us clean to oblivion, he thought.
And on something missing in the garden:
a few harassed colonies of humanity that had had small help from Earth thus far; and now they might expect no help at all, there in their new non-Edens, even less like Paradise than Earth had been. Fortunately for them, perhaps. The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier for them to see that something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn. Well, they were going to destroy it again, were they?-this garden Earth, civilized and knowing, to be torn apart again that Man might hope again in wretched darkness
It never was any better, it never will be any better. It will only be richer or poorer, sadder but not wiser, until the very last day.
And yet even if the Eden were perfect, man is not.