The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)
This Lovely World
This Lovely World
This is the time of year when the spirit of thankfulness and good-fellowship has the freest play, and one thing that New Zealanders can be truly thankful for is that they have the good fortune to live on the choicest portion of this lovely world.
Looking at matters globularly, instead of nationally or internationally—a perfectly reasonable thing to do seeing that the world was here before we were—it can be seen that the lower half of the globe is the happier half, and that is not necessarily because there is more water in it. But the modifying effect on climate of so much sea has doubtless much to do with the more genial and tolerant natures of our southern peoples.
The attitude of the south is expansive in the true spirit of Christmas—it would make all the world its friend. It sees that, just as supreme art of any kind is appreciated the world over, and as some universal epidemic—the measles or the “fluzols”—makes the whole world kin, so at rock-bottom all mankind is just one form of life on this planet of the sun, and might better be happy than miserable, healthy than sick, helpful than hindering, friendly than hating, during the little span of life allowed to each.
There is more than humour in the two schools of philosophy lately evolved here—the compulsory astronomists and the compulsory micronomists—one school holding that if people were forced to see how small the world is in relation to the universe they would not feel so self-important; the other believing that when men realise how large they are in comparison with the infinitely smaller and lower forms of life, and how great are their opportunities, they will be big enough to give the rest of their fellows a chance.
The true exponents of these philosophies pay tribute to the loveliness of this world. They know that it becomes lovelier as the days go by, and that human senses are becoming more appreciative of the exquisite joys the world has to offer, taking the place of those grotesque terrors which arose from ignorance and oppression in the past.
Consider the sense of motion, a sense that has developed more in recent years than those of taste, smell, touch, hearing or sight. This sense has been with us from the time the monkey fell from the tree, followed right along through the rocking-cradle and rocking-horse stages and has seen us down to the old rocking-chair. But now we outfly the fastest bird, and anything that lets us cover more ground or sea or air with speed and ease is a perpetual source of interest and delight.
In all ways we contrive to beat nature. Our machines over-power the strongest elephant, our artists outpaint the fairest flower, whilst our buildings are more architecturally sound than the Alps.
The spirit of Christmas lies in giving; but all life consists in givings and doings which, under the universal law of compensation, are balanced by receiving—and enjoying. As man is naturally a very active fellow and the making of things his chief artistic outlet, the doer and the giver have the best of this lovely world in the long run.