A Slow Life is a Source of Blessings, While the
Fever of Selfishness Makes Everyone Unhappy
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
Two of the editions of the story, one of them in French
The short story “Doctor Ox’s Experiment”, by Jules Verne, is one of the many stories written by the French writer which have a theosophical meaning and spiritual importance.
The small city of Quiquendone, in Flanders, exists “in spite of geographies”. No one will find it in any map, ancient or modern. Yet it is there, says Jules Verne. And time has no hurry to flow in Quiquendone.
Everyone leads a slow life and the people are happy because of this. There is but one policeman, who has nothing to do in such a role. The burgomaster spends long years making no administrative decision regarding the city, and all citizens live in peace.
One day, however, someone arrives to Quiquendone who brings a great technological innovation. Progress and comfort are coming. The new technology is spectacular. The city changes. Everything becomes accelerated. The atmosphere gets tense, and hatred emerges. There is no calm or quietness any longer.
Born on the 8 of February, Jules Verne is a master in the literature of all time. With an ironical language, he makes an irreverent satire of the false technocratic progress, which destroys the basis of social harmony and makes it hard to preserve respectful cooperation among people.
The story “Doctor Ox’s Experiment” shows that there is a direct relation between the slow moderation in talking and acting and a deep, durable feeling of happiness.
A visionary prophet, a pioneer of science-fiction, Jules Verne (1828-1905) denounces that material progress – if seen as a goal in itself – is carried away by blind feelings like anxiety and personal ambition. Once this takes place, the fever of selfishness provokes unnecessary levels of conflict and fear and makes everyone unhappy.
The lesson of a simple life is taught by theosophy and the higher wisdom present in the different religions.
In the 21st century, it will be necessary to reclaim the principle of slowness and the idea of long term in human affairs. To live slowly is the blessing. A calm voluntary simplicity stimulates one’s ability to understand life and allows us to see the fact that the main progress to be sought is the progress of the soul.
 This is an important tenet of the Taoist tradition, as we can see in classical works like “Wen-Tzu” and “Tao Teh Ching”.
See in our websites the book “Dr. Ox’s Experiment, and Other Stories”, by Jules Verne. It’s the classical 1875 edition published in Boston by James R. Osgood and Company, with 332 pages.
The above article was published in the associated websites on 25 June 2020. It is reproduced from March 2019 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, pp. 4-5, where it will be read under the title of “The Ethics of Modern Knowledge”.