Here is a planet whirling in sunlit space.
This planet is energy. Every apparent substance composing it is energy. The envelop of gases surrounding it is energy. Energy pours from the sun upon this air and earth.
On this earth are living creatures. Life is energy.
Every living creature has consciousness and desires. The imperative desire is to continue to live, and living is not easy. Life struggles to exist, among non-living energies that destroy it.
The energy of heat, cold, storms, floods, drought is the deadly enemy of every human being. His second enemy is the living energy of other creatures, the animals, the plants, that kill him and that he kills for his food and other uses.
Everyone must constantly be defended against these enemies. Linemen know it, and engineers, chemists, truck drivers and railroad men and oil drillers and sand-hogs and construction workers and airplane pilots and weather forecasters—all the fighters who protect human lives in modern civilization, and keep this civilization in existence.
These men, who know the human situation on this earth, and stand the brunt of it, enable others to forget it.
The thinkers, scholars, teachers, writers, politicians—fed and warmed and lulled like babies, can forget their real situation.
But their acts recognize it. They live in houses, they use electric lights, they pay someone to stoke the furnace. They are thrifty of water when a drought threatens their city water supply and their lives. And, as men were never able to do before, they take precautions against the microbes that kill more people than wars.
Men are alive on this earth only because the imperative human desire is to attack the enemies of human life. Today, many Americans, and others around the world, may not know this—unless fire, flood, hurricane, epidemic, breaks through the thin defenses built around them.
The human situation on this earth is not changed. It cannot be changed.
This is the nature of human energy; individuals generate it, and control it. Each person is self-controlling, and therefore responsible for his acts. Every human being, by his nature, is free.