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THE TRUE SENSE OF ENGINEERING

From the February 1947 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Of recent years, particularly since the utilization of the atomic bomb, the engineer and the scientist have heard much criticism of their work and many expressions of fear as to where science and engineering are leading the world. The answer is, of course, that it is not the discoveries and developments which are to blame but the use to which they are put. Mary Baker Eddy did not condemn useful inventions (see The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 345), and it is the duty of mankind to see that inventions are put to useful and not destructive purposes. Christian Scientists can aid in this work as no one else can.

It is interesting to note that although the words "engineering" and "engineer" do not appear in the Bible, engines are mentioned twice. However, both references are to engines of war. This is not surprising when it is remembered that the early engineers were mainly associated with contrivances for the prosecution of war, as may be seen from the statement concerning the designation "engineer" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica that "such military engineers were long the only ones to whom the title was applied."

Our beloved Leader says (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 60, 61): "Every creation or idea of Spirit has its counterfeit in some matter belief. Every material belief hints the existence of spiritual reality; and if mortals are instructed in spiritual things, it will be seen that material belief, in all its manifestations, reversed, will be found the type and representative of verities priceless, eternal, and just at hand." This statement, of course, can apply to engineering, which hints the existence of spiritual verities of which it is the human counterfeit. Our concept of engineering depends upon our state of thought, and as consciousness becomes spiritualized a better concept of engineering will emerge, resulting in a change of objective from weapons of destruction to constructive devices. Some evidence that this is happening is the fact that about the middle of the eighteenth century civilian engineers began to make their appearance, the term "civil engineers" being originally applied to distinguish them from military engineers. Later, of course, the profession became subdivided, and we now have mechanical, electrical, mining, marine, gas, and chemical engineering, to name a number of classes, civil engineering having become a single specific branch.

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