MAN’S PARTNERSHIP WITH NATURE
Dr. John M. Tyler
Nature will bear our burdens for us, if we will obey her laws and heed her suggestions.
[Footnote 1: These supplemental studies are based on lectures by Dr. John M. Tyler, given before the Utah Educational Association, by whose permission they are used. Parents will find Dr. Tyler’s book on Growth in Education of great interest. It is listed with other books at the close of this volume.]
How has all the material progress of the nineteenth century come about? I think we shall find that it was due to man’s intelligently and carefully and scrupulously going into partnership with Nature by obeying her laws. Not so very many years ago messages were sent across this continent by pony-riders; it was a slow process and a very expensive one. Now I step into an office here and I say, “I wish to send a message to my wife way out yonder in Massachusetts.” The man touches a button and says, “Your message is in Massachusetts, sir.” It is a miracle. The lightning has run with my message. Electricity not only carries our messages, it lights our houses; it turns many a wheel of machinery; it serves us beneficiently just as long as we obey the laws of electricity; but when we offend against these laws, it thwarts us or very likely destroys us. “Obey, and I will do anything for you in the world,” says Nature, “disobey and you cannot move me one single inch.” Coal hurries our great locomotives and long trains of merchandise and carries men and women across this continent without any great amount of human labor. The engineer and the brakeman do not get behind and push those great palace cars of ours; it is Nature which drives the train as if it were sport. Man guides and directs the water pouring down our hillsides, turning wheels of countless factories. A few ounces of gasoline send the automobile down the street, polluting the air and endangering our lives. The power of Nature is absolutely irresistible and unlimited; and furthermore, she is always working towards some great and good end.
When I was a child I used to hear that Nature was bad, and we used to have sermons to the natural man. They were excellent sermons, too, but they ought to have been preached to the unnatural man. The natural child was considered a child of wrath, and, having that reputation, he quite frequently lived up to it; but Nature is beneficient, as long as we let her be so, and she is always working toward great and grand ends. She has been working towards a higher and nobler and a better race of men than you and I are to-day. She is working for a race of men and women who shall tower above us as the sages and prophets in Athens and Jerusalem towered above their slaves. Can we not trust her just a little?