Lebanon in the world, future prospects. (Lecture at the Beirut cenacle in 1951)

“When we speak of prospects, in a figurative sense, we speak of what seems likely to happen at some point in the future time. Clear-sightedness and foresight both presuppose prospects, and it is the proper function of man not to separate the present from the future. Looking ahead and seeing ahead thus imply a combination of intelligence and imagination in thinking and looking- a reasonable amount of imagination (for imagination and intuition often meet) and with it the intelligence that is needed to discern the possibilities and realities of tomorrow amidst the mass of images and ideas that come our way.

The future prospects of a country go beyond the horizon uncovered by the naked eye. They are not distinct from that country’s situation with regard to the world, nor from its relations with the world. These relations may not always be the same, but they are always on the increase and are inevitable, because the general trend of the discoveries being made is to make everything universal. It takes just one event to change everything in the world, and this has often been observed in the past.

The greatest civilisations spring from religions and philosophies that were born from the enlightenment of the mind, from a flash of light. Whole centuries can be dominated by an accident of history. This foreword will have meaning only in so far as it creates an atmosphere and a frame of mind and in so far as it predisposes us for the logical search for a future towards which our curiosity is directed.

We shall look at our little country in much the same way as we look at a film in which narrative and scenery are found together, or at a property on which experiment and imagination are added to the work of nature.”

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  • Lebanon in the world, future prospects. (Lecture at the Beirut cenacle in 1951)