Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/279

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209
CONCLUSION

fitness in the several parts to the whole as we there behold. A mind of no mean order would seem to have presided over the system we see,—a mind certainly of considerably more comprehensiveness than that which presides over the various departments of our own public works. Party politics, at all events, have had no part in them; for the system is planet wide. Quite possibly, such Martian folk are possessed of inventions of which we have not dreamed, and with them electrophones and kinetoscopes are things of a bygone past, preserved with veneration in museums as relics of the clumsy contrivances of the simple childhood of the race. Certainly what we see hints at the existence of beings who are in advance of, not behind us, in the journey of life.

Startling as the outcome of these observations may appear at first, in truth there is nothing startling about it whatever. Such possibility has been quite on the cards ever since the existence of Mars itself was recognized by the Chaldean shepherds, or whoever the still more primeval astronomers may have been. Its strangeness is a purely subjective phenomenon, arising from the instinctive reluctance of man to admit the possibility of peers. Such would be comic were it not the inevitable consequence of the constitution of the universe. To be shy of anything resembling himself is part and par-