Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/34

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

Science and Citizenship

XIII

It may be taken as a postulate of social geography that every region contains the potency of a city or cities, which shall be for that region, here and now, its heaven or its hell. And in the complexity of causes that lead to evolution towards the ideal city or towards its negation, there is a geographical factor awaiting discernment, analysis, comparison with the other factors, and re-synthesis into a synthetic conception. The traditional Civitas, the Urbs Solis, and other similar Utopist visions, have thus their necessary geographical aspect, unless they are to be completely divorced from reality. To the traveller (who is, of course, an incipient geographer) one aspect at least of the geographical factor is necessarily known. The hard experience of the desert is, to the traveller, a geographical prerequisite of the good time that awaits him in Damascus; and, if dispensing with the geographical prerequisite, he attempts to make his Damascus a perpetual Elysium, what happens? He is not long in discovering the reality of the phenomenon known in archaic phrase as the Fall, and he quickly discovers a vital connection between geography and theology. Geography, indeed, like every other science, has its element to contribute to the reinterpretation and revitalising of religious phenomena. If it may be allowed to a modest geographer to revise the judgment of so great a theologian as St. Augustine, it would be to point out the tenuity of his geographical

29