13 APRIL 1929, Page 17


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—One must agree that the only point of view, from which Nature's methods can be judged, is that of the victims of her processes. Your correspondents, however, seem to have ignored the wonderful compensatory law which gives much solace and satisfaction to the sufferers. As a surgeon, now retired, who has spent a lifetime in observing the sufferings of one's fellow creatures, both human and not human, I am convinced that this compensation like poise and counterpoise, and action and reaction, observable in the realm of Physics, is as true in the animate as it is in the inanimate world.

One must remember that this law operating in human society compels us to devise means which we call sanitation to destroy myriads of creatures whose habit is to feed on the living human organism. These creatures arc none the less creatures because they are microscopic, and they are sentient as anyone can discover who has a microscope. Nature seems to limit the amount of pain that any individual has to suffer, and provides a sense of exaltation or other means which is very great indeed. Does the bird not experience some exaltation when it is being fascinated by the snake ? Did not the martyrs of old experience something of the same, only of course of an infinitely more noble character ?

One must not be taken to argue from this, of course, that we should not do anything to stop suffering. The higher intelli- gence that man has evolved enables him to control Nature, or will enable him to control Her more and more as he further develops, and as Bacon said, " we can only control Nature by obeying Her." Volumes could be written on the purposes of pain as a great motive force in the evolution of man.—I am, Sir, &c.,

ALFRED H. HORSFALL, Red House, Bexley Heath, Kent.