In the poem ‘Five Ways to Kill a Man’ one of the ways described by which man can be efficiently killed is via gas warfare.
Dispensing with nobility, you may,
if the wind allows, blow gas at him.
But then you need a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters, more mud,
a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats made of steel.
In the this stanza the poet describes the cruel practise used in the First World War. "...you may if the wind allows, blow gas at him..." sounds as harmless as a child blowing bubbles or at the most someone blowing cigarette smoke in your face. This poem, often considered an anti-war poem, is in fact a warning about science allowed to run rampant without the restraints of humanity.
The point the poet seems to be saying is that: if science becomes all technique and technology, if all science does is superimpose new technology on the same old problems, if there's very little understanding of higher human purposes that technology ought to be striving to serve, if an element called humanity is missing then, all we are doing is putting horrific killing power in the hands of barbarians for, about the only thing that hasn’t evolved over the centuries is man.
Sadly, the majority of people living today are no different than primitive stone age tribes. Nothing basic has changed, all the old greediness and covetousness are still with us
By Ann Massey