Wells argues in Mind at the End of its Tether that human existence is about to be extinguished. He claims that there has been a change in the conditions of the universe and that this change signals the end of being. Previously, events had a cord of logical consistency running through them; 'now it is as if that cord had vanished'. Wells searches for the correct term that can capture this nascent negative force and eventually opts for 'The Antagonist'.
Wells' viewpoints may be considered the solipsism of an unhealthy mind projecting an individual state onto the macrocosm. He acknowledges that the healthy person, with their innate gift for self-evasion, is a component of 'the normal multitude, which will carry on in this ever contracting NOW of our daily lives, quite unawake to what it is that makes so much of our existence distressful'. Faced with extinction, Wells projects his existential state beyond the parameters of his personal condition onto the whole of humanity. Wells' perturbation may be distancing him from reality, in that he believes that there has been a manifest change in the status of being. Decay has always been the symbiont of creation: what may have occurred was a realisation that the former was leading to the final contraction of his 'now'. We do not need to invoke an 'antagonist' to explain a finite life which is played out in an indifferent universe. However, it is not necessarily crude anthropocentric idealism to believe that, to all intents and purposes, the world dies with us. The death faced by Wells will be faced by us all and therefore his generalisations are appropriate. Wells muses about death and considers the nihilistic likelihood of oblivion. Wells believes that our lives are insubstantial and, a la Macbeth, signify nothing. Our loves, hates, triumphs and tragedies are enacted within the inexorable march of insentient time. Our striving is in vain - we will be forgotten.
He also cites examples of the evolution of existence and how this led to conscious human life. He describes how animals developed backbones as a result of the capricious meanderings of nature. Wells recognises the contingency of occurrences that accumulated to eventually spawn human existence. He writes about the development of primate species which gave rise to homo sapiens. There is nothing romantic or sacred about this development; it was a result of the blind, amoral and aggressive march of evolution. Wells notes: 'the little fellows faded out before the big fellows, according to the time-honoured pattern of life'.
One may presume, however, that Wells possessed these insights earlier in his life; it is only now that he documents them as a source of discomfort. There has been no change to the pattern of logical consistency, only a change in Wells apprehension of this pattern. Rational endeavour contains no intrinsic orientation towards hope, salvation or progress. Wells' outpourings may be the result of spiritual crisis when contemplating the proximity of an utterly inevitable death - rationality cannot ease this burden. Distinctive human attributes that have contributed to the development of scientific inquiry have somewhat paradoxically generated knowledge which denies human value and distinctiveness. Rationality it seems offers us 'no way out or round or through the impasse'.