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VOLUME VI, NO. 21 MAY 27, 1953 CONCERNING PROPHECY THOSE who endeavor to think and write about matters of broad concern are bound, eventually, to come up against the question of "generalization," especially in relation to the discovery of "trends." MANAS, for one, has an obvious penchant in this latter direction and its writers, so far as may be observed, have no intention of abandoning the inclination. To put the matter briefly: human beings live in a field of experience. Human beings change and grow, and the reference-points of the field in which they change and grow are also changing. What history is worth relating is the history of the change and growth in this field of human experience, for these are the decisive environmental factors affecting individual development. On this basis, then, we may justify the searching out of "trends." Our current series, "Books for Our Time," is a measured attempt to exhibit certain farreaching changes in human attitudes toward life, morality, religion, science, and psychology. These changes seem to us to be of enormous importance; becoming aware of them, we think, is to gain some hope of living, in Ortega's phrase, "at the height of the times." Our method in such attempted discoveries and hoped-for "insights" is not the method of statistical sociology or psychology. Our method is frankly philosophical, even a bit "intuitive," at times, and grows out of central editorial convictions about the nature of man and the conditions and possibilities of human development. We have never made any effort to conceal these origins of what is said or discussed in MANAS. We take a definite position on such questions and, as a result, MANAS may be said to represent a "point of view." As to method, again, we have been much impressed by a paragraph by the Swiss diarist, Amiel, who wrote, some hundred years ago: There is a way of killing truth by truths. Under the pretense that we want to study it in more detail we pulverize the statue—it is an absurdity of which our pedantry is constantly guilty. Those who can see only the fragments of a thing are to me esprits faux, just as much as those who disfigure the fragments. The good critic ought to be master of the three capacities, the three modes of seeing men and things—he should be able simultaneously to see them as they are, as they might be, and as they ought to be. A difficult and hazardous ideal! Especially in relation to what "ought" to be. Yet it should always be possible to conceive an ideal and to consider means of realizing it. This is not, of course, very "scientific." But then, one of the "trends" to which we often have reference in these pages is the growing recognition that the methodological neglect of the ideal by science is rather a limitation of science than a defect of those who concern themselves with what "ought" to be. The moralists—for "ought" is the province of the moralist—have other defects—defects peculiar to their calling, and which it is above all the business of the moralist to explore, before turning to larger problems. We come, then, to the immediate point. Suspecting the accuracy of a recent generalization in MANAS, a subscriber writes: In your current issue (April 15), you describe your optimism or potential optimism in relation to domestic and foreign trends. I do not have any objection to optimism, because some of it is essential for intellectual and material progress. However, what evidence and notes you offer, based on the Jordan letter and the Phillips novel, do not justify any conclusion. They (letter and novel) are bits of information, the reports of two somewhat above-average individuals, interesting, constructive, and a little enlightening—but no reason for a generalization. Until you come up with substantial evidence showing real reverses in the situation to which you refer, "healthy skepticism" and vigorous intellectual negativism are more revealing and more rational. They disclose without trying to prove too much. May I point out at this time, too, that I should appreciate more of the critical, analytical, and investigatory, and much less of the sermon and philosophical generalization. MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 You would do well to have the information help a reader toward a conclusion. I don't want you to have the facts "speak for themselves." But more revealing data and less wishful thinking ("affirmation") would help. This is temperate, constructive criticism. Insofar as it applies—and doubtless it applies a good deal—it means, we think, that we have the defects which go with the merits of what MANAS is attempting to do. And since it is the business of those who take on a certain job to eliminate the weaknesses which typically emerge in their chosen activity, we have no real defense, except to say that we have tried to be aware of the tendencies this subscriber calls to our attention. There is, however, a defense of a sort to be made. First, as to "data." MANAS cannot pretend to offer "source materials." It candidly "mines" its contemporaries for the data of its discussions. There seems to be ample material already in existence, gathered by agencies better equipped than we are for research, and having the authority of their various specialties. Actually, a major complaint of our time is that while specialists have given us mountains of data, there is a dearth of thoughtful interpretation. As Clyde Kluckhohn remarked years ago, "To suggest that something is theoretical is to suggest that it is slightly indecent." Now if our reader rejoins that we often do not cite enough factual support for our generalizations, as we go along, he will doubtless be correct. It is true, for example, that the editorial in our April 15 number referred to the Jordan Letter's description of the kind of people who staff American agencies in Jordan, and to the essential honesty which breaks out in characters oppressed by conventional surroundings in Phillips' Second Happiest Day, and then spoke of "some sort of awakening" occurring in the United States. We spoke of other things, also—the liberal movement in religion, the influence of Gandhi—and suggested that the present looks more and more like "an age of moral discovery." The evidence may be inadequate, but is the generalization wholly unsound? It is no immodesty to say that we are not without experience in "intellectual negativism." Further, we would agree with anyone who says that a sentimental "optimism," defended simply on the grounds that seeing the "good" side of things has a value all its own, is a species of folly and Volume VI, No. 21 self-deception. The fact of the matter is, take it or leave it, that it seems to us that profoundly constructive forces are beginning to stir in the world. We did not, in this April 15 editorial, find them in "world affairs"; rather, we said that "practical idealism has been sharpened by its contrast with socio-political failures all over the world." Our feeling of a deep moral turning is based upon an accumulating sense of the hunger of men everywhere for new and better founded views of themselves and others. And when we say that we have strenuously watched for this sort of feeling for years, and only within recent months have felt able to speak of it with any confidence, we go out, we suppose, on some sort of limb of unsupported hunch. Yet the evidence is somehow there, we think, if you can only get at it. We try to get at it every week in these pages. Unless there be a premium on gloom, there is as much justification, today, for optimism, as there was, a century ago, for pessimism. We recall a number of notable prophecies of a century ago, or a half-century, which were largely subjective in origin, yet proved remarkably true. Take this by Amiel, written in September, 1851: The age of great men is going; the epoch of the anthill, of life in multiplicity, is beginning. The century of individualism, if abstract equality triumphs, runs a great risk of seeing no more true individuals. By continual leveling and division of labor, society will become everything and man nothing. As the floor of valleys is raised by the denudation and washing down of the mountains, what is average will rise at the expense of what is great. The exceptional will disappear. . . . The statisticians will register a growing progress, and the moralist a gradual decline: on the one hand, a progress of things; on the other, a decline of souls. The useful will take the place of the beautiful, industry of art, political economy of religion, and arithmetic of poetry. The spleen will become the malady of a leveling age. Is this indeed the fate reserved for the democratic era? May not the general well-being be purchased too dearly at such a price?. . . The only counterpoise of pure equality is military discipline. In military uniform, in the police court, in prison, or on the execution ground, there is no reply possible. But is it not curious that the régime of individual right should lead to nothing but brute strength? Jacobinism brings with it Cæsarism; the rule MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 3 of the tongue leads to the rule of the sword. Democracy and liberty are not one but two. A republic supposes a high state of morals, but no such state of morals is possible without the habit of respect; and there is no respect without humility. Now the pretension that every man has the necessary qualities of a citizen, simply because he was born twenty-one years ago, is as much as to say that labor, merit, virtue, character, and experience are to count for nothing; and we destroy humility when we proclaim that a man becomes the equal of all other men, by the mere mechanical and vegetative process of natural growth. . . . The superstructure of States may be monuments to the follies Amiel predicted, but the turning and wondering of individuals represent an awakening from those mistakes and self-deceptions. Perhaps it is time to turn away from "vigorous intellectual negativism" to resiliently positive attitudes of mind, retaining meanwhile our critical faculties, sharpened by disappointment and defeat, that our idealism will not again be misled and betrayed. Does this mean that I am an opponent of democracy? Not at all. Fiction for fiction, it is the least harmful. But it is well not to confound its premises with realities. If the men of our time could be as wise as Amiel was in his, we should see as far into the future as he did, and perhaps farther. Heine, too, saw what Amiel saw, but more darkly and melodramatically, and Tolstoy, at the turn of the century, offered his share of ominous prophecy. What was the source of these several predictions? Some sort of perception of the interrelation between historical change and the contrasting and alternating forces in human nature. Hugo, also, made prophecy, and Alfred de Musset— Hugo of a golden age to come, de Musset of a cycle of terrible disaster. Hugo, perhaps, brought the far-off too close for accuracy, while de Musset saw foreshadowed in the breakdown of faith what Ortega recognized in the collapse of reason—the revolt of the masses. Yet in these dreams and visions lies the best of what we may hope to know about the future. If ancient Greek philosophers, speculating widely, could in the twentieth century oblige Robert A. Millikan to admit that they had worked out "almost all the qualitative conceptions of the atomic and kinetic theories," then poets and writers may have an equal or better chance to serve as guides to the far more inexact social sciences. Let us remember, finally, that "optimism," and its more stable companion, idealism, must today be of sober and chastened variety. What in Amiel's time was a subtle triangulation of the future is now almost commonplace observation. We have had two or three revolutions since then, with corresponding disillusionments. The values which Amiel saw as fading are now being intensively sought, once again. Volume VI, No. 21 MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 4 Letter from CENTRAL EUROPE INNSBRUCK.—The world press has published many articles on the Saar problem. The Saar territory (between Germany and France) is rich in coal and iron, making it an important industrial center. Not daring to annex this flourishing part of Germany after World War I, France proposed a plebiscite to be held after fifteen years. The plebiscite, which took place during Hitler's regime, was supervised by an international commission and culminated in a nearly 100% vote for Germany. After World War II, France tried another way: the Saar was declared a politically independent country, yet economically united with the French. Rarely, however, does the world press report on that half of the Austrian Tyrol which, although entirely populated by German-speaking inhabitants, was annexed by Italy after World War I. The decision itself was a blow to the beginning of democratic thinking in Austria, for both the League of Nations and the President of the United States sanctioned the annexation, despite its violation of all democratic rights and the will of the population. The general suppositions were like those in the case of the Saar, although with regard to Southern Tyrol, there were no minerals in question. The Italians saw the wonderful possibilities which the Alpine rivers, running down to Northern Italy, offered for the exploitation for electric power. The fate of the South Tyroleans was not an enviable one. They were deprived of their language and even the tombstones had to carry non-German names and inscriptions. During the Abyssinian War, many Tyroleans volunteered to serve in Mussolini's army, in consequence of the promise that they would receive farms in the newly conquered regions of Africa. After invading Austria, Hitler thought it wise to end the differences with Italy by concluding an agreement declaring Southern Tyrol Italian territory, while allowing those who wished to leave their homes and settle in especially prepared homes either in Northern Tyrol or in Germany. But the hope of a peaceful life which the South Tyroleans expected to earn in this way became futile when Germany broke down in 1945. They were chased out of North Africa, and those settled in Northern Tyrol, being regarded by the new Volume VI, No. 21 Austrian authorities as having favoured the Nazis, did not receive any citizenship at all. The Italian Government declared that a return to their homes in Southern Tyrol would depend on the political attitudes evidenced during the past ten years. This would decide whether the person in question would find a home and adequate work in Southern Tyrol upon arriving there— something which thereby became practically impossible. The difference between the Saar and the Tyrol problems, as now regarded, is embedded in the fact that the Saar is still overwhelmingly German, whereas the Italianization of the Southern Tyrol has achieved great progress. The similarity lies in the attempt in both cases to create a kind of autonomy in these territories. No final decision about the Saar is yet in sight, whereas the Southern Tyrol will probably lose more and more its Austrian character and become entirely Italian. The latest news is that Italian statesmen and French diplomats, particularly the latter, now emphasize that the political status of the territories will eventually be of little importance, since both will be part of "United Europe," like any other country on this continent. It is hoped that this will come true and that these anticipations of a United Europe do not merely disguise a final annexation. If the people of these territories are able to become true building stones for the unification of this continent, it may safely be said that Austrians as well as Germans will regard the problems as finally solved on a higher plane, for the benefit of all Europeans. MANAS Reprint CENTRAL EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT May 27, 1953 5 A PERSISTENT MINORITY FOR some three years, now, we have been exchanging MANAS with the Vegetarian News, a British publication representing the London Vegetarian Society. The copies presently on our desk remind us of something that many people periodically realize, yet periodically forget—that the "fringe" minorities often focus ideas which deserve our serious attention and which do not find expression elsewhere. additional figures. Prepared by a member of Parliament, Peter Freeman, it was first a lecture delivered by the author under the auspices of Britain's National Institute of Nutrition. Our reason for noting the philosophical tone found in vegetarian writers like Mr. Walker, before quoting from Mr. Freeman, is to emphasize the fact that it is frequently the vegetarians who compile the sort of records which enable such studies as Mr. Freeman's to be made. These vegetarians, in other words, keep at it, and with each passing year seem to have more of a point. Our contact with Vegetarian News resulted from an appreciative review in MANAS of a world-food-supply-nutrition pamphlet, Bread and Peace, compiled by Roy Walker. Mr. Walker, as some readers will recall, is author of unusual studies of Shakespearean plays, The Time is Free (Macbeth), and The Time is Out of Joint (Hamlet), and a book called The Golden Feast. The latter volume, concerned with Golden-Age legends, their expression through poetry, and their relationship to a pantheistic respect for all forms of sentient life, is a demonstration of how philosophical and interesting certain aspects of "vegetarian" philosophy can be. Mr. Walker, for instance, was less interested in the "purity" of personality which might be furthered by abstaining from meat than in a Western philosophical equivalent of Gandhi's Ahimsa. The "golden age," in Walker's terms, exists whenever man lives without exploitation of other forms of life. Mr. Freeman begins with statistics of world population during the past three hundred years, from 1650 to 1951. During this time the total population of the globe has multiplied nearly five times. Experts expect that total to reach 4,000 million in the coming generation and perhaps 5,000 million by the end of the century. (The 1951 global census lists but 2,500 million.) Looking backward, we are jolted to discover that the total population in 1650 is estimated to have been 550 million! Mr. Freeman then asserts that the half of the world population which now consumes large amounts of meat, will, if this continues, be responsible for famine, pestilence and wars in years to come. In fact, Freeman claims that anyone "who insists on eating meat is depriving about 50 other people of their food supplies somewhere in the world!" Some substantiation for this apparently extreme claim is furnished by the following: In the pamphlet, Bread and Peace, Mr. Walker reviews the world food shortage. Employing facts and figures from William Vogt's Road to Survival and the studies of Lord Boyd Orr, he shows that the present world population could maintain adequate nutritional health on a vegetarian diet, but that heavy meat-eating decreases the amount of land otherwise available for production of cereals, grains, fruits and vegetables. Using figures provided by the British Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture of the U.S.A., which are accepted by the National Farmers' Union, we have the following. REVIEW The Spring 1953 Vegetarian News contains an able presentation of this thesis, buttressed by Volume VI, No. 21 An average acre of land produces per annum one of the following items: Animal Food lbs. Beef 168 Mutton 228 Pigmeat 300 Poultry 350 (average 250/300) MANAS Reprint Cereal & Vegetable Group lbs. Wheat, barley, etc. 2,000/2,500 Beans, maize, etc. 3,000/4,000 Rice 4,000/5,000 Potatoes 20,000 Carrots 25,000 May 27, 1953 6 (average 250/300) Swedes 30,000 Thus the figure for cereals is over ten times that of animal food, and that for vegetables is about 100 times as large. In addition, the animals themselves consume a great deal of food. Thus the pig eats at least five times his own weight. Over half of this food for animals has to be imported and much of it from dollar countries. 5,122,000 tons were provided in 1951-57 per cent of which was imported (Hansard, 4th December, 1951). Very many of these animals are unhealthy and are prone to tuberculosis, foot-andmouth disease (of which there have been outbreaks of over 500 cases in the last six months, each causing an average slaughter of about I20 animals), swine fever, fowl pest, etc. This has caused enormous losses. While in Australia, largely due to natural causes such as drought, it is estimated that over half a million cattle have recently had to be destroyed. More than one million cattle have been exterminated in S. Rhodesia since 1924 in Government attempts to eradicate the tsetse fly alone. Dr. W. S. A. Morgan (Sanitary Inspector of Port Talbot), in his official report for 1950, said that of the 1,391 cattle slaughtered, one out of six was wholly condemned after killing (because of animal diseases) and a further 48 percent were condemned in part; this means that nearly two-thirds of these cattle were found to be diseased. 112,485 carcasses were wholly condemned in 1950 by the Ministry of Food as unfit for human consumption (Hansard, 25th June, 1951). We have no present way of knowing whether Mr. Freeman was first a vegetarian and subsequently, because of this interest, a student of population trends and nutritional facts, or whether the development of his thinking was the other way around, but it is certain that many British officials now consider the arguments of vegetarianism very much a national issue. Sir James Scott Watson, Chief Scientific and Agricultural Adviser to the British Ministry of Agriculture, made the following comments at Birmingham in December, 1952: A change from meat eating to a vegetarian-fishand-milk diet is one way of keeping pace with the food needs of a growing world population. Another possibility would be a major change in food habits by people who now consume large quantities of meat. It has been calculated heat, if we ourselves would be Volume VI, No. 21 content with a vegetarian diet, which would be nutritionally satisfactory, we could become nearly self-sufficient. A United Nations statistical report prepared by Mr. Norris E. Dodd, Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, begins with these words: One of the striking developments of 1951-52 has been the intensified interest in the food and population problem. Intelligent people in all parts of the world are asking what the consequences will be if the gap between food supplies and population in the hungry countries continues to grow. Once it was argued that food production could be increased only so fast. If population grew faster, starvation for some was the natural redress of the balance. Now we know that the increase in food production can be speeded up. If it is not speeded up, then who shall bear the blame for starvation? And who shall starve? These questions account for some of the unrest now seething in the world. Mr. Freeman collects numerous similar statements, among them a 1952 broadcast by a spokesman for the Food Ministry which reminded Englishmen that "in this country alone the gross weight of our animal population is at least twice that of man, and on a world basis domesticated animals eat five to ten times the food consumed by the human race." Freeman then concludes: The production of our food supply is obviously limited by our available land, labour and machinery, etc. On the whole these are all being utilised to the full—taking into account other claims on our national resources. Any substantial increase, therefore, must come from a fundamental change of procedure. The chief and obvious one is to a vegetarian diet and by the production of the maximum quantity of vegetables, cereals and fruits. Thus 20 to 50 times the total supply of food can be obtained as compared to that supplied by pasturage for cattle. Only by so doing can this country (Britain) become practically self-supporting, avoid the immediate threat and danger of war-time starvation and find a permanent solution of our food supplies. What are we to make of all this? Here is a new kind of "vegetarianism," based on compelling sociological fact. Even if we allow for the human tendency to indulge in special pleading whenever MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 7 desirable statistics are available, the testimony of nutritional experts who verify much of what Mr. Freeman says takes the whole discussion out of the realm of "cultism." It also seems to be an open question whether the health of people indulging in a heavy meat diet is any better than it would be if a largely vegetarian diet prevailed, provided one recognizes that to live adequately without the concentration of proteins found in meat necessitates some understanding of nutrition. whether, instead, it represents simply an indulgence to which habit or fancy has led him. Some will say that the new science of hydroponics—the growing of vegetables in chemically treated water tanks—makes the vegetarians' concern with freeing land for grain production less imperative. But the disturbing fact is, in any case, that countries capable of sending vast shipments of needed food supplies to the undernourished and overpopulated sections of the earth are presently prevented from doing so by their concentration upon the production of meat. Further, if William O. Douglas and Stringfellow Barr are correct in their interpretation of the food shortage of Asia—and we think their political logic impregnable—the once amusing subject of "vegetarianism" may have a great deal more to do with Eastern unrest, leading toward Communist affiliation, than most of us would ever suspect. If the vegetarians will continue to minimize their personal moral or æsthetic reasons for renouncing meat (which make them sound selfrighteous), and to present the social, political, and political, and humanitarian evidence in favor of less meat-eating, their effectiveness will be greater than it could be if geared to the conviction that all who eat meat are somehow "beyond the pale." It would seem logical to us, at least, that there are persons who need a moderate amount of meat, including those suffering from digestive impairments and many forms of illness, and that the raising of stock for such purposes may be eminently sensible. Perhaps anything man seeks to enjoy is best considered in terms of whether or not it is actually necessary to his welfare, or Volume VI, No. 21 MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 8 COMMENTARY UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY HAD there been space, we would have added to this week's lead article a short addendum on what is usually termed the "supernatural" element in some kinds of prophecy. This is a fascinating subject, and even if those who dare to discuss it seriously risk being discredited in some quarters, there can be no excuse for neglecting what appears to be a very real region of human experience. It is of no small interest, first of all, that numerous religious groups, both past and present, have guided their lives by prophecy. The ancient Greeks seldom undertook any important project without consulting the Oracle of Delphi; the Romans sought the connivance of the gods in their military exploits; and the early Christians justified their contemptuous attitude toward Roman civilization by the promise of an early return of Jesus, who would rule over a transformed community of the "saved." Hinduism and Buddhism both place great confidence in the teaching of cyclic return of great saviors, Hindus believing in periodic avatars of Vishnu, Buddhists holding that Buddha himself, or some portion of the Buddha-spirit, reincarnates at regular intervals to renew in the world a knowledge of the law. The wanderings of Western sects like the Russian Molokans have been largely determined by the dreams and visions of Molokan elders. Hopi Indians who are faithful to tribal tradition believe that the future course of human affairs is clearly described in the prophecies of their ancestors— prophecies declaring that the Hopis will have a crucial role in leading the world away from war and evil ways. prophecy, no serious person has any business asserting "prophecy" to be impossible. Later investigations in "precognition" at Duke University give support to the findings of Dunne, so that, instead of being able to deny prophecy altogether, we are confronted by the far more difficult need to distinguish between genuine and spurious visions of the future, and to make some reasonable hypothesis as to how such foresight may "work." Finally, there is the further question of whether or not some as yet incommensurable psychic factor enters into the perceptions of men who make no pretense of special gifts, yet whose powers of mind seem well above the average, It was for centuries possible, if not particularly wise, to wave away such beliefs as "superstitions." However, since J. W. Dunne's Experiment with Time appeared in 1927, presenting favorable results of what must be conceded to be authentic scientific experiments in Volume VI, No. 21 MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 9 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves AT our house we have a problem—a very subtle and complicated problem, yet one which can only be solved, and must be solved, by a six-year-old grandmother. When this six-year-old was five-and-a-half, way back in her youth, someone gave her a baby kitty. This kitty became, of course, an outlet for our little girl's mothering instinct, of which there seemed an inexhaustible supply, as is apt to be the case with such little-girl-kitty relationships. We often wondered if kitty could possibly survive the amount of mothering she received, but she managed to, and, what is more, as the long months rolled by, matured into womanhood, attracted several suitors, and has now given birth to a nestful of duplicates. The present problem centers on the fact that while the six-year-old grandmother is willing to part with three of the new arrivals, to those owning respectable homes, she is unable to find any takers. Moreover, by a short course in genetics, she has been apprised of the fact that this sort of thing can happen as many as four times a year. Now, as grandmothers go, this one is fairly well off financially, and is able to add ten cents to her bank account nearly every week, but kittysupport is not tax-deductible, and besides it costs nearly ten dollars a year to keep each one in the groceries doting grandmothers insist upon supplying. A biologist from across the street was called in for consultation and, as is the habit of many men of his type, he announced that the whole thing is very simple; if a twelve-dollar loan might be floated the mother cat could be demotherized at the veterinarian's. An eminently practical solution, you will say, but six-year-olds are not always made of such practical stuff, and certain æsthetic considerations seem to side against the demotherizing process—apart from the fact that the first batch of kitties would be left over Volume VI, No. 21 anyway. Summing up a series of philosophical reflections we shall call Cat Broodings at Bedtime, our grandmother remarked: "But she wants to have babies!" There is no disputing the accuracy of this contention. The mother feline has never carried her head so proudly as now, and the look of "See what I've done!" is unmistakable as she parades in and out of the house. This mother was, in her own youth, christened "Frisky," because of many energetic and engaging antics. A little before adolescence set in, though, the carefree sparkle disappeared. Her physical behavior resembled that of a sack of meal, while her psychological condition appeared to verge on the neurotic. Now, even though a housewife and matron, she leaps and bounces, sashays and purrs like the Frisky of old. Obviously, woman fulfilled is a more pleasant companion than woman unfulfilled, for, as Karen Horney remarks, without self-esteem people are inclined to depreciate friends and acquaintances, and this must apply to cats, too. What then to do? Great-grandfather, who does a lot of traveling, quavered forth a tentative proposal concerning a scientific-type experiment which might be conducted—along with solving the financial problem. Everybody says that kitties, and especially cats, can find their way back from places far removed. Now, if the brood were to be carried a hundred or so miles eastward, or southward, we would be able to find out whether they Really Cared for their present home. Also, they would have to eat on the way while traveling, at their own expense, during which period no grandmother could be sued for non-support. If a triumphal return eventually took place, there would then be feasting and rejoicing; but, subsequently, since all life should be recognized as made of challenges, a later journey in a different direction would ensue. This procedure might result in our having the most traveled cats in the vicinity—they would be sure to develop a cosmopolitan air which would lend cultural credit MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 10 to the household. But no. "Their feet would get sore," said grandmother with finality. As is the way with all sociological dilemmas possessing ethical overtones, it is obvious that some kind of compromise will have to be effected. A shorter distance from home, perhaps, with a pan of food placed in a chosen nook of the hills every few days by a courier on roller skates? The mother cat is, after all, a superior bird-catcher if she wants to be, with enough talent left over after serving her own gastronomic needs to fill her family's larder betimes, and enough leisure hours remaining to pass on her foraging arts to her progeny. But if these cats were willing to remain away from the place of their birth, and accepted the challenge of full self-reliance, the prospects would still not be altogether good. Our biologist confides that female cats are so affectionate that they will mate with practically anyone, including a son. And brothers and sisters may do likewise. Therefore, a one-family cat-haven removed from the danger of death by traffic would probably have kitties peering out from behind every bush, and, in consequence, no bird or rodent would be apt to come within several miles of the spot. It is no use explaining to a six-year-old grandmother that what is wrong is The System, and that the real trouble began when people figured they could get solace from pets in the absence of adequate human friendships. The balance of nature was, we are sure, thus tampered with, and now, in order to prevent overpopulation, the pet owner seems obliged to "maintain balance" more drastically by means of such nasty methods as drowning or demotherizing. (A six-year-old, of course, can sometimes compromise by thrusting all the cat family out of a home save one young Tom picked from the litter. But this method leaves neighbors who own potential mother-cats holding a big bag, and even a six-year-old knows that masters and mistresses of Tom cats are not respected by one and all for this very reason—a Malthusian-type prejudice.) Volume VI, No. 21 So far, no real solution seems to be forthcoming, and the kittens, now nearly ready to open their eyes, have reached the equivalent of highschool age already. With the cares and worries of the world on her shoulders, our grandmother is now working additional shifts at the Plant in an indomitable effort to provide for what is and what is to come. If any readers of this column have coped successfully with such a dilemma, we now urge them to subscribe their knowledge in communications addressed care of MANAS—preferably printed in large block letters. Since in the writing of "Children . . . and Ourselves" we are aware that a tone of ponderousness sometimes invades our releases, and since no tradition can be broken all at once, we conclude with the reflection that the Satyagrahi of India has a much easier time with cat problems. For him there is no solution other than that of supporting endless successions of broods, so that the worry of decision never etches deep lines in childish brows. A friend of ours, Joseph Wood Krutch, who is more adept than we at expanding reflections on microcosmic problems until they become macrocosmic, would probably point out that a larger psychological menace may arise from the situation described if someone subsequently sells our six-year-old grandmother on the idea that the elimination of one undesirable economic group will enable everyone to live happily ever after. This is false doctrine. There will be cats and cats, just as there will be people and people; somebody will always be tempted to think his standard of living must be defended against all encroachments, and thus destroy when destruction is not necessary. MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 11 FRONTIERS Why so Much Psychiatry? As you ought not to attempt to cure the eyes without the head, or the head without the body, so neither ought you attempt to cure the body without the soul . . . for the part can never be well unless the whole is well. . . and therefore if head and body are to be well you must begin by curing the soul; that is the first thing. PLATO THOSE who have acquired some measure of distaste for the approaches and terminology of psychoanalysis and psychiatry sometimes ask why so many pages of MANAS need be devoted to writings in this field. Part of the answer, in our opinion, is that Western psychology is by degrees becoming that "science of the soul" which the term implies. A broader view of the "inner man" has lately developed, inclusive of man's aspirations and inspirations as well as his emotional failings. The other evening a Los Angeles meeting of "Friends of the Menninger Clinic" supplied more of the answer. As one of the speakers, a Menninger psychiatrist, remarked, men in his profession begin at a disadvantage in urging the need for "more psychiatry," since the public generally is tired of statistics. Facts and figures have been used to promote so many causes and sell so many wares that we have become inured to this type of appeal. Yet for those concerned with the sufferings of humankind, and particularly with those forms of suffering which can conceivably be eliminated, some statistics, such as those on mental illness, may still awaken humanitarian resolves—and, in this case, also provide glimpses of "what is wrong with the world" in specific terms. At the present time, more than half the hospital beds in the United States are occupied by mental patients. For each 700 of population a qualified medical doctor is available—not a bad ratio in comparison with the rest of the world. But in the United States there are 32,000 persons to one qualified psychiatrist! On conservative Volume VI, No. 21 estimates, moreover, 50 per cent of the men and women presenting themselves at doctors' offices and clinics for treatment of physical ailments, are suffering from emotional disturbances, which either aggravate systemic difficulties or are the cause of imagined disorders. Other estimates place the figure at 85 per cent. One of the reasons for talking so much about the work and philosophy of psychiatrists should thus be manifest. If we proceed from statistics to reflection upon the truism that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and if we concede, as all psychologists and psychiatrists do, that societal patterns and prevalent attitudes in "normal" life play a major role in pushing many persons over the brink into insanity, every one should accept some responsibility for thinking about problems of mental health. Psychiatric books are extremely popular today, and are perhaps the only books receiving consistent serious attention, yet the demand in public libraries for this literature is probably due largely to personal anxiety; if the books help the people who read them, these readers may do little to spread education in psychiatry, for the obvious reason that an emotionally disturbed person is not a good sales manager. The realm of psychiatry, meanwhile, has become an inviting terrain for both science and religion. Psychosomatic medicine is now plainly the medicine of the future, while leading liberal Christians find themselves engaged in the task of reinterpreting religious symbols in conformity with the conclusions of psychiatric research— disavowing authoritarian conceptions of God, for instance, and recognizing the danger in creedal rationalizations of personal helplessness. Psychiatric postulates about the nature of man are less and less something one can be "for" or "against." The science has matured remarkably, becoming a disciplined body of knowledge in which it is possible to separate what is known from what is merely theory. The psychiatrists, consequently, are no longer chip-on-the-shoulder MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 12 rebels, trying to shock the complacent public into consideration of unsuspected weakness in themselves and in their social arrangements, but are now the savants to whom troubled people come for advice—and this makes quite a difference, too. In any case, the point of greatest interest to the philosophically inclined is that the wonderful possibility of genuine synthesis between science and religion, if ever to be realized, will most likely come through the aid of a growing psychological science. Many of the works quoted in MANAS have been concerned with exploring this sort of possibility (see for example Allport's The Individual and His Religion and Fromm's Psychoanalysis and Religion). Some readers would like more attention paid to "what's wrong with psychiatry." In our opinion the only pertinent thing one can say in general is that the dominant assumptions of the greater number of psychologists may still be called "materialistic"—that is, both anti-theological and anti-metaphysical assumptions are encountered in many of the textbooks in the field, although, as has already been implied, some influential men emphasize quite other views. Many other things "wrong with psychiatry" are not wrong with psychiatry at all, but rather with people in general. The traditional, wealthy, neurotic dowager who is intrigued by the possibility of sharing her internal woes with a new victim—couch-psychoanalyst instead of priest—many corrupt a particular psychoanalyst, but this will not change the fact that, in clinics all over the country, the few trained men serving as analysts and psychiatrists are helping a great number of persons who are not hypochondriacs. Those who have uncomfortable feelings about the use, especially the wholesale use, of shock treatments, either electric or insulin, should also be reminded that this is medical science technique, primarily—the outgrowth of organic chemical rather than psychological research. Mention of clinics returns us to the "Friends of the Menninger Clinic" group. During the Volume VI, No. 21 course of the meeting mentioned, a "March of Time" film featured the extent to which the Menninger Clinic at Topeka had been sought by the Federal Government, just after the recent war, to help with an alarming increase of mental casualties. This was a long delayed public recognition of the signal services of that institution. In a recent review of Menninger publications (MANAS, Jan. 14 ) we recapitulated some of the stages in Menninger history, yet the story is one that cannot be adequately told in factual terms. When the senior psychiatrist of the Los Angeles group first worked at Topeka, only thirty-five beds were available. Today there are 3,000 beds, but evidence that this growth was much more a result of devotion than of extensive subsidy is the most inspiring part of the transformation. The attitude of the Menninger brothers during years of lonely labor was made quite clear the other evening, both by what the psychiatrists said about the Menningers and by what they said about themselves. An old Eastern saying counsels, "Be humble if thou would'st attain to wisdom; be humbler still when wisdom thou hast mastered." The Menningers have qualified in this respect, and their example seems to leave a lasting impression on young doctors who train there. This spirit was, for instance, a constant undercurrent in the discussion following the "March of Time" film. In presenting the startling statistics mentioned earlier, also, one doctor made these interesting qualifications. He said, in effect, "Of course, we have frequently to remind ourselves that trained psychiatrists are not the only ones able to assist people troubled by emotional dislocations. As has sometimes been pointed out, the art of medicine and the science of psychiatry often amount to much the same thing. An intuitive doctor may supply exactly what is needed in a given situation, aided by his background of understanding of the patient. The need for extension of facilities for specific psychiatric training is emphasized, however, because many whose intuitions might be undependable or slow in awakening can be alerted MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 13 to certain facts about the psychological nature of man, and may therefore be in a much better position to help a greater number of people." This, certainly, is a far cry from the "Nobody except us experts knows anything" attitude. Another speaker mentioned the extent of terra incognita stretching before psychology twenty years ago, and pointed out that many mysteries of that time must be recognized as still mysteries today. This, again, is healthy humility. Psychiatrists who speak so are more animated by the desire to learn than by an urge to propagandize their knowingness. They may wish to acquire popular, and, ultimately, more financial, support, to speed and extend research at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka—feeling, as Menninger people usually do, that no fully comparable center for allround training now exists in this country—but this is hardly a partisan concern. to sponsor a magazine designed for general education of laymen in this field. Such a venture might even be able to become self-supporting, provided that its writers keep seeking techniques for representing complicated matters in simple terms. At this point, it came to mind that the large portion of the public now seriously interested in psychological subjects needs a periodical, a monthly magazine, written in language which the layman can understand. With all due respect to the efforts of the Menningers in putting out their Bulletin, and with grateful acknowledgement to Psychiatry, the authoritative William Alanson White quarterly, neither of these suffice for popular education. Psychiatry is far too formidable, and the Bulletin too scanty in nontechnical material. This latter factor is of an importance hardly to be exaggerated. For the sort of support the Foundations desire and need will probably never be forthcoming until the general education of the public has proceeded considerably beyond its present stage. Here, in MANAS, we are frequently startled by the realization that no other journal, to our knowledge, carries an almost continuous series of layman's reviews on psychological treatises. Response to our efforts along this line would seem to indicate that both the Menninger and the William Alanson White foundations might do well Volume VI, No. 21 MANAS Reprint May 27, 1953 ... - [detail] - [similar]
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