Richet, Charles Robert - A prophecy
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Aurochs, elks, chamois, bears have almost disappeared, whereas a century ago they were widely diffused in Europe. In proportion as man takes possession of the earth to cultivate it, he kills off every wild species and replaces them by domestic species where race loses its value. If this goes on, a time will come, unfortunately, when all-powerful man, having given himself up to the thoughtless destruction of everything not of immediate use to him, will have wiped off the face of the earth all save domestic animals. There will be hens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guinea-fowls, sheep, oxen, donkeys, horses, cows. Perhaps for the pleasure of hunting, a few deer and a few hares will be preserved ; but all wild species which cannot be reproduced in captivity will have disappeared, will no longer be there to delight our gaze.
It is not without sadness we think of that future civilisation, a brilliant one perhaps from several points of view, but monotonous and tame, as it will no longer possess this marvellous variety of different animal species which is as one of the smiles of nature. A pitiable uniformity will replace the varied forms which natural selection has taken thousands of years to bring forth; and then perhaps some tardy poet, in contemplation before the vast sheepfolds and poultry farms, where man will cultivate the species of use to him, will regret those far off days when birds of all kinds sang in the forests, blending their gambols with those of the graceful animals which human civilisation will have annihilated.