- What does this saying mean exactly? Give examples.
- Illustrate by one striking instance.
- How do lives of the great bear this out?
- Conclusion; it is difficult that – encourages action.
There are many ways of stating the truth that is contained in the title of this essay. One is the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” which is very old indeed; and Shakespeare wrote in one play, “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” But all illustrate the same fact that is seen in daily life, that it is difficulty and need which spur men on to action, and make them capable of achievements which would otherwise bave seemed impossible. The crow in the fable illustrates this. The bird wanted to drink from a jar with a narrow neck, but the water was at too low a level. After much thought, he threw a number of small stones into the water till it rose up in the neck of the jar and he was able to drink. The need had stimulated the powers of thinking and invention, so it is with men.
A certain illustration was seen in the terrible danger which met the Allies in the Second World War, the magnetic mine. This was a powerful bomb, filled with explosive, and lying on the floor of the sea. But it was magnetised, and, when a steel ship passed over, the magnetic mine rose up to the ship and sank it. Great were the losses till the scientists sat down and attacked the problem. They devised anti-magnetic belt for each ship to demagnetise it or destory the magnetic attraction which the steel of the ship had for the mine. The problem had been solved in the face of necessity, and ships were able to sail on in safety.
If we study the lives of great men, it will be found that, practically without exception, they were lives of difficulty and danger. No sooner was one obstacle overcome, no sooner was one problem solved; than another arose to confront them. There would be a period of halt, of consideration, while the mind confronted the difficulties and then the solution would be found. The hour of danger and difficulty had found the man who could lead the people past it. The need had sharpened their inventive powers.
This illustrated, to a great extent, in the lives and characteristic of nations. The people who live in a fertile land, producing crops without difficulty and having a climate where one can dispense with clothing, even with houses, have no incentive to effort. This is seen in the case of the light hearted South-Sea Islanders. Fruits are there is abundance for the taking, and fish are swarming in the ‘sea, so they eat with little effort and sleep most of the time. But the Laplander has to fight continually or a living in his land of ice and snow, and so develops a stern and determined type of character. There is no doubt that hard necessity is the great tonic which develops the mind of men and make them strong.