Some people disguise these difficulties from themselves by saying that all will be well in the future. It is true, I dare say, that if we could all look forward to a future in which suffering was triumphantly surmounted and wickedness was overcome, we should then be complacent enough about the past and regard it as something like an evil dream that had vanished with the morning sun. In general there is some reason for supposing that the balance of good being the same, nearly anyone would prefer a progress towards heaven than a retrogression from a Golden Age, although (as it seems to me) many who cannot reasonably expect either a long life or an easy death, nevertheless find sweetness, as Epicurus did, in the memory of their youth and of their prime. Such arguments, however, seem plainly to be irrelevant to the general question of the theodicy of the process itself. If the entire history of the world were an avoidable episode, the nett balance of good over evil might be precisely the same if the episode had been progressive, had been retrogressive or had oscillated in these respects. The sum of things, we are strongly inclined to suppose, would have been better if there had never been an earth. We might not greatly care if our own sins and sorrows had become things of the past and would never recur. We might shut our eyes to the sins and the sorrows of those who went before us. But a creator who was wise and good could not be indifferent to the baseness, ugliness and misery that had vanished in the end. For what could have been the need for them?