a "weekly journal
of independent inquiry," ceased publication on December
28, 1988, not quite 41 years after its first issue. Henry Geiger,
the man who conceived the publication and wrote almost every
word of each eight-page issue, died February 15, 1989, at the
age of 80.
Such was Geiger's passion for anonymity
that his name appea red in his weekly only once or twice
a year, and then only in the statement of ownership and management
required by law. That same statement always reported the
small circulation of MANAS, somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000
subscribers. But, as Robert M. Hutchins once put it, "They're
the 2,500 most interesting people in the world."
Hutchins, former president of the
University of Chicago, was one of very few contemporary
writers who wrote for MANAS. Others ranged from Caryl Chessman
to Marc Chagall, from Henry Miller to E. F. Schumacher (whose
classic essay "Buddhist
Economics" was published first in the United States
in MANAS). The psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow,
the poet/farmer Wendell Berry, and social critics such
as John Holt and Theodore Roszak also wrote occasionally
for the unusual "paper," as
the editor called it.
But above all, MANAS was Henry Geiger,
a man without elabor ate formal education, who had been variously
a chorus boy on Broadway, a journalist, a conscientious objector
in World War II, a commercial printer, and a lecturer and leader
in The Theosophy Lodge in Los Angeles. He really meant it when
he said MANAS would present "viewpoints
and ideas, not personalities." Geiger's technique
was to quote from and reflect on his pantheon of heroes
and heroines: Plato, Gautama Buddha, Lao Tse, Gandhi,
Tom Paine, Emerson, Pico della Mirandola, Simone Weil,
Jose Ortega y Gassett, Abraham Maslow, Hannah Arent,
Thoreau, and a host of others. He considered these men
and women to be eternally present through their work,
available for stimulation, inspiration, and dialogue,
and above all, for the building of one's own philosophical
There was no better companion in that
process than Henry Geiger. Abraham Maslow once called him "the only small
'p' philosopher America has produced in this century"'
and a Canadian journalist who read MANAS for six m onths
but had never met Geiger wrote a feature column about him
Lives Again in Los Angeles."
His passing, and the cessation of MANAS, leaves an
abyss in the lives of all who came to know him through
his remarkable and unique journal.
- Richard Grossman