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WORLD WITHOUT MEASURE
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VOLUME XIII, NO. 3 JANUARY 20, 1960 WORLD WITHOUT MEASURE THERE is a sense in which the decline—if not the complete breakdown—of institutional religion has restored to human beings a sector of their existence which has not been really their own for thousands of years. We speak of the inner life. One of the worst habits of institutional religion was its confident explanations, even to Dantean and Miltonic diagrams, of the nature, activities, and fortunes of the soul. A man's soul was hardly his own, once the theologians got through telling him about it. With the coming of the scientific revolution, a retaliatory course seemed only sensible. The soul was eliminated from both man and the universe. Outspoken innovators made no bones about their intentions: they wanted a world animated by nothing more than mechanical causes. This was the sort of world they could deal with without interference from the priests of religion or the speculators in metaphysics. However, in their eagerness for freedom from dogma and abstract theorizing, the rebels overlooked the possibility that in dispensing with the soul—or whatever it is in human beings that the word "soul" represents— they were eliminating man himself from their equations. Thus, by the 1920's, which represented some kind of climax in the ascendancy of doctrinal Materialism, it was beginning to be evident that human life without a soul might be just as unsatisfactory as life with a soul that was in bondage to the authoritarians of religion. Today, it may be said that the denials of Materialism are about as dead as the presumptions of Theology. There are no longer any effective instrumental prohibitions concerning thought about the inner life. The only restraint is the obscurity of the subject—the difficulty with which we are able to fix any substantial meaning for the idea of the soul. What, conceivably, does the word "soul" mean, for the people of the present? What, that is, might it mean, without violating any of the recent lessons of history, or accepting too easily beliefs that the general experience of modern man has proved to be only superficial? First, there is the mysterious working of the creative spirit, which surely ought to be assigned to the province of the soul. We have no familiar or convenient formula for the creative activity of human beings; what we do have are the strange reports of creative individuals, and these are often wild, sometimes seeming nonsensical, yet with a kind of family resemblance among them all. Years ago, in the American Magazine for December, 1945, C. G. Suits, chief of the General Electric research division, told of the ideas of some of the men he had worked with. One engineer "insists that intuition is an awareness of Absolute Truth— a sort of spiritual receiving set that permits the owner to tune in broadcasts of universal knowledge." Another of Suits' colleagues had the idea that creative impulses or "hunches" flutter around in the brain like birds in a cage. Now and then one finds an exit unguarded by preconceived ideas and escapes into the conscious mind where the inventor is able to use it. Mr. Suits tells of a prominent chemist who explains his success by "the impression that unseen hands are guiding his operations." Another man feels the presence of a "guardian angel" who whispers advice and prevents mistakes. The consensus of people who do creative work is that "hard work invariably precedes the flash of inspiration," but that it is after "a season of complete mental rest" that "the hunch comes bursting in a flash as if heaven-sent." Probably the most exciting, not to say romantic, account of a scientific discovery which came in this way was reported by the German chemist, Kekulé One summer evening in 1865, when the chemist was in London, he went for a bus ride. In Kekulé's words: MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 I fell into a reverie, and lo! the atoms were gambolling before my eyes! Whenever, hitherto, these diminutive beings had appeared to me, they had always been in motion, but up to that time I had never been able to discover the nature of that motion. Now, however, I saw how, frequently, two smaller atoms united to form a pair, how a larger one embraced smaller ones; how still larger ones kept hold of three or even four of the smaller, whilst the whole kept whirling in a giddy dance. I saw how the larger ones formed a chain. . . . (Prescott, Modern Chemistry, p. 266.) That night he sketched out his dream, arriving finally at a system of formulas to represent the architecture of organic compounds. His pattern was the structure of the benzene molecule. Later, as the result of another dream, Kekule developed the scheme which chemists now call the benzene ring, Mr. Suits asks, "What stifles the creative spark?" He wonders if current methods of education are not at fault: Instead of being taught to think, children are taught to parrot the great thoughts of the "authorities"—which all too often turn out to be wrong. If we want Edisons and Whitmans—and America can use them!—our schools will have to deemphasize mere memory drills and start teaching intuition. There are interesting parallels between what Mr. Suits says and certain of Dr. Maslow's conclusions from his study of creative people. In his paper, "Creativity in Self-Actualizing People," he discusses the character of the great artist: He is able to put together clashing colors, forms that fight each other, dissonances of all kinds, into a unity. And this is also what the great theorist does when he puts puzzling and inconsistent facts together so that we can see that they really belong together. And so also for the great statesman, the great therapist, the great philosopher, the great parent, the great lover, the great inventor. They are all integrators, able to put separate and even opposites together into unity. We speak here of the ability to integrate and of the play back and forth between integration within the person, and his ability to integrate whatever it is that he is doing in the world. To the extent that Volume XIII, No. 3 creativeness is constructive, synthesizing, unifying, and integrative, to that extent does it depend in part on the inner integration of the person. In trying to figure out why all this was so, it seemed to me that much boiled down to the relative absence of fear in my subjects. They were certainly less enculturated; that is, they seemed to be less afraid of what other people would say or demand or laugh at. It was found that they had less need of other people and therefore, depending on them less, could be less afraid of them and less hostile against them. Perhaps more important, however, was their lack of fear of their own insides, of their own impulses, emotions, thoughts. They were more self-accepting than the average. It was this approval and acceptance of their deeper selves that made it possible to perceive bravely the real nature of the world and also made their behavior more spontaneous (less controlled, less inhibited, less planned, less "willed" and designed). They were less afraid of their own thoughts even when they were "nutty" or silly or crazy. They were less afraid of being laughed at or of being disapproved of. They could let themselves be flooded by emotion. By contrast, average and neurotic people walled off through fear, much that lay within themselves. They controlled, they inhibited, they repressed and they suppressed. They disapproved of their deeper selves and expected that others did, too. What I am saying in effect is that the creativity of my subjects seemed to be an epiphenomenon of their greater wholeness and integration, which is what self-acceptance implies. The civil war within the average person between the forces of the inner depths and the forces of defense and control seems to have been resolved in my subjects and they are less split. As a consequence, more of themselves is available for use, for enjoyment and for creative purposes. They waste less of their time and energy protecting themselves against themselves. If we are able to accept such reports and analyses as these, we are beginning to get a kind of shadow-graph of the soul. It is the soul which is capable of uncalculating, non-imitative expression. The soul is without any of the sticky kind of self-consciousness. It does not understand fear. Its activity is "undisciplined" in the sense that the soul never gets in its own way; the discipline, when discipline is needed, has to do with the regimentation, not of the soul, but of the obstacles to soul-perception and soul-activity. In MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 3 works of art, we might recognize the hall-mark of the soul in the irrepressible tendency of the artist to give his work some kind of symbolic reference. The great work of art employs a particular focus to make a universal statement. The viewer of the work is able to see the artist in the act of generalization, and he is gripped by this perception. In antiquity, this role of the arts was linked with classical religion. The great, traditional scheme of meaning was illustrated and illuminated by the artist. In a monograph on Indian art, W. Norman Brown has said: "Sculpture was not meant to be a reminder of a human being or of an apotheosis of man, but of something abstract, spiritual in its reality beyond apprehension by the senses, an ocular reference to universal knowledge that might somehow become comprehensible to humanity." In behalf of the European tradition, Lafcadio Hearn elaborated the Tolstoyan view: "the highest form of art must necessarily be such art as produces upon the beholder the same moral effect that the passion of love produces in a generous lover. Such art would be a revelation of moral beauty. . . . if a work of art, whether sculpture or painting or poem or drama, does not make us feel kindly, more generous, or morally better than we were before seeing it, then I should say that, no matter how clever, it does not belong to the highest forms of art." That alchemical laboratory within the mind and feelings of the artist is surely the workshop of the soul. The "works" are indeed, as Maslow says, the epiphenomena of the life of the creative individual—one whose soul breaks through and into the acts of daily existence. Yet how little we know of the preliminary transactions of the creative act—the first glimmering perception of the idea, the slow process of its embodiment by the imagination, and then, the agony of rendering it into paint or clay, sound or words! The person is "lost" in the impersonal struggle to articulate, to give the fleeting vision permanent form. Volume XIII, No. 3 Then, to bewilder us further, come those sudden changes in the forms chosen by artists. Speaking of modern art, Ortega y Gasset wrote (in The Dehumanization of Art and Notes on the Novel): "It is not an exaggeration to assert that modern paintings and sculptures betray a real loathing of living forms or forms of living beings." Four hundred or so years ago, during the Renaissance, art honored life: All bodies are welcome, if only life with its dynamic power is felt to throb in them. And from paintings and sculptures organic form flows over into ornament. It is the epoch of the cornucopias whose torrential fecundity threatens to flood all space with round, ripe fruits. Why is it that the round and soft forms of living bodies are repulsive to the present-day artist? Why does he replace them with geometric patterns? If we knew the answer to this question, we should probably know more about the soul than we can presently pretend. Is modern art a flight from or a rejection of life? Or is it a determination to discover a deeper meaning behind natural forms? What is obvious in modern art is a radical break with tradition. In the framework of worldwide confusion and psychological depression, it is easy to speak of modern artists as overtaken by the common malaise, and to charge them with petulance and a rejection of the past that sets them apart from the great painters and craftsmen of the European tradition. But the easy explanations are usually wrong, as well as thoughtless. There is a passage in an essay by Alois Schardt, "The Arts in our Time," in which he discusses the origin of the impulse to break with tradition in Franz Marc, a German Expressionist: In the summer of 1906, as we see from his notebook, he sketched several horses standing on a hill, silhouetted by the sky as background. Looking at the sketch, we would scarcely know why those horses, casually grazing, bending, looking ahead, fascinated the young painter so that it became one of the leading motifs of his entire artistic life. How many artists in the past had the same or a similar view and produced pictures in the way we know them. The modern MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 4 instinct discovered how a certain flow of movement unified the different horses to one whole group—each horse kept its individuality, but their individual forms, at the same time, became elements of a great rhythmical unity. He worked on this motif desperately to make it a realization of an image that lay hidden in his mind. Every summer he went out to paint the horses on a huge canvas; every fall when he came back, he had to confess to himself that the painting did not coincide with what he really wanted and he cut the canvas to pieces. He had found the super-individual rhythm that binds this accidental life of nature together to one and the same spirit, but he expressed this rhythm in a naturalistic, which means accidental way. Color, as the naturalist uses it, is the protective color of nature. His horses, however, did not any longer represent nature's singular individuality, but were symbols of an inter-coherent life. They had to give up everything purely individualistic, above all, their naturalistic coloring. He became aware of this incongruity and in 1910 painted the horses blue. Blue is the psychological expression of longing, faith, universality. All of a sudden, the rhythm of the horses began to sway with the color and the color of the foreground was repeated, amplified by the background. That he gave up all those qualities that had been cultivated for centuries made him a modern painter. The years that followed were a time of enchantment for the artist. He felt as if he had found home, had discovered the precious secret of his soul. He painted those powerful pictures as the "Tower of the Blue Horses," the "Fate of the Animals," deeper and deeper penetrating into that fascinating relationship and exchange between universal life and universal coherence, until he came again to a closed door! He wrote in his notebook, "And I had to realize that even the animal is full of vanity." He, with those words, hit upon something that others had discovered long ago—selfconsciousness of individual form means separation from the whole. It therefore, falls back upon itself and becomes vanity. After a tenacious and desperate struggle, he changed to non-objective art and painted, as a document of the conversion, the only larger abstract painting "Gay Forms" shortly before he went to War, from which he did not return. He was 35 years old when he was killed in the spring of 1916. In one of his last letters he wrote, "I know I have to die, but I know one most reassuring thing: the spirit cannot die." Volume XIII, No. 3 The thing that becomes apparent from this account of Marc's development is the intensity of the artist's resolve to find his own way to meaning—the same sort of meaning that Norman Brown spoke of in connection with Indian art— "an ocular reference to universal knowledge that might somehow become comprehensible to humanity." But, unlike the ancient Indian painter or sculptor, the modern artist is without a classical tradition from which to derive his forms. The modern world has nothing to say of its meaning; it throws the individual back upon himself. The artist has to discover meaning without help from tradition. But even if there were a tradition, the modern artist probably would refuse to use it. He is trying to be a prophet of the age in which each man must learn to make his own tradition, and the insistent intuition of this necessity—in harmony with other developments of the age—may be itself a declaration of the soul. Finally, and doubtless most important of all, is the struggle of a new morality to emerge in the modern world. It would be better to speak of this inward activity without noting any of its particular embodiments, although there are some that might be referred to, for the reason that the soul is essentially an individual expression, and what is attributed to the soul must, in the nature of things, be original, and not a "group" phenomenon. The human longing for justice, the desire to do right, to be fair, to learn the meaning of love in the high sense of human integrity, and to be faithful to it— all these ideas are in the air. The important thing to be noted is that they are in the air as spontaneous expressions. We find them most of all in literature, in the novel and now and then in verse. This is the world without measure which has its dimensions in the human heart. Men do not talk about these things very much, and it would not help matters especially if they did. This is the world whose spaces and heights are determined by flights of imagination. It is the region of reverie, where a man goes to ponder the mysteries of good MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 5 and evil and to marvel at the transcendence of the human spirit. Here thoughts march and turn as by celestial command, and the mind's affirmations make their own strong validity. Here every man is his own cosmologist, his own metaphysician, and in a pure and private sense his own theologian. Here rise the waters of the Pierian spring, at an elevation beyond morality or moralizing, and here grow the visions of all creation, both human and divine. Here, to the Delphic query, comes a more ancient reply, Tatwamasi. It is the place of man's proper being, a bridge between self and Self, the nexus of eternal paradox, uniting the finite and the infinite. This is the sort of discovery that has become accessible to modern man, without intermediary or presumptuous interpreter. It is wrong, of course, to imply that the inward region of being has a "historical" entry, since the great of mankind have always passed freely from that world to this, but ours is an age when the institutional guardians of the portals can no longer interfere. It is a time, therefore, of invitation to knowledge of the soul. Volume XIII, No. 3 MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 6 REVIEW RELIGION, SIN, AND THE ANIMALS JOSEPH WOOD KRUTCH recently confessed himself perplexed by the assurance with which some psychologists and sociologists seem to affirm that all our problems would dissolve if "guilt feelings" could be exorcised. In the current American Scholar (Winter 1959-60), Krutch quotes Brock Chisholm as saying that all "antisocial impulses" are produced by standards of morality: "The only psychological force capable of producing these perversions is morality, the concept of right and wrong." Dr. Chisholm was understandably something of a stormy petrel as director of the World Health Organization some years ago; he became famous for broadsides about the adverse psychological effects of traditional Christianity. And it wasn't always easy to grasp a Chisholm thesis, since he has a habit of making his affirmations in a kind of psychological shorthand, not always troubling to fill in the sequiturs of reasoning. We share Mr. Krutch's doubt that "if no one from infancy on (and especially no one in infancy) were ever made to feel that anything he ever did was 'wrong,' then human beings would be universally, boundlessly, and without exception peaceable and benevolent." But in looking back over one of Dr. Chisholm's statements, it is also possible to see some justice in his argument. In 1946, Dr. Chisholm made an address called "The Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress," published by the William Alanson White Foundation. Seeking the "basic psychological distortion" that is back of the uncontrollable tendency of modern nations to make war, Dr. Chisholm says: It must be a force which discourages the ability to see and acknowledge patent facts, which prevents rational use of intelligence, which teaches or encourages the ability to dissociate and to believe contrary to and in spite of clear evidence, which produces inferiority, guilt and fear, which makes controlling other people's personal behavior Volume XIII, No. 3 emotionally necessary, which encourages prejudice and the inability to see, understand and sympathize with other people's points of view. Is there any force so potent and so persuasive that it can do all these things in all civilizations? There is—just one. The lowest common denominator of all civilizations and the only psychological force capable of producing these perversions is morality, the concept of right and wrong, the poison long ago described and warned against as "the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." In other words, Dr. Chisholm may not be giving evidence that he is opposed to all ethical values, but may instead be emphasizing the dangers of arbitrarily-based moralities which allow us to assign both "sin" and "evil" to others. At this point it seems pertinent to recall the philosophical origins of Christian morality, as reviewed in Henry Adams' Mont-Saint Michel and Chartres. Adams explains the type of reasoning which Dr. Chisholm so vigorously protests: Theist or atheist, monist or anarchist must all admit that society and science are equally interested with theology in deciding whether the universe is one or many, a harmony or a discord. The Church and State asserted that it was a harmony, and that they were its representatives. They say so still. Their claim led to singular but unavoidable conclusions, with which society has struggled for seven hundred years, and is still struggling. Freedom could not exist in nature, or even in God, after the single, unalterable act or will which created. The only possible free will was that of God before the act. . . . Saint Augustine certainly tempted Satan when he fastened the Church to this doctrine that evil is only the privation of good, an amissio boni; and that good alone exists. The point was infinitely troublesome. Good was order, law, unity. Evil was disorder, anarchy, multiplicity. Which was truth? The Church has committed itself to the dogma that order and unity were the ultimate truth, and that the anarchist should be burned. When "God" is "good"—and you are persuaded that you represent both Him and his Goodness—you have acquired a perfect psychological mechanism for the justification of MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 7 every sort of crusade, since nothing can be "right" which fails to fit God's pattern; further, since all creatures have a tendency to deviate, suspicion of wrong-doing becomes a keynote. But behind the theological tendency to suspect man's sinfulness lies a kind of universal disorientation—an alienation from Nature herself. Whatever the failings of followers of Eastern religions, this one is not among them. European Medieval man was allowed to feel no true kinship with the lower orders of life (after all, God put souls only into human forms) and no constructive function was assigned to sensuous experience. The inclination to sin and sensuality was supposed to come precisely from the "natural" world. Each animal was alien to man, and man's animal body forever tended to express itself in ways contrary to God's will. It took the spectacular flare of Darwinism to re-unite man to the lower orders of nature, just as it has taken an epoch of modern psychology to restore the mentally deranged to the human family (evil spirits, it was long thought by the Christians, had captured the soul of a person called insane). The Eastern religions, correctly apprehended, present an entirely different perspective—a viewpoint made remarkably clear in Margaret Yourcenar's article in the December Encounter, "The Legend of Krishna." The writer is concerned with the meaning of the great myths of love and sex which have been perpetuated in India. She shows that the natural pantheism of the East was reinforced by the belief that the sensuous world deserved respect—and all the creatures whose lives were merely sensuous deserved respect also. Miss Yourcenar says: "The peacocks dance for joy. . . . The cows come running, the fresh grass still in their jaws, and the calves come all splattered with their mothers' milk. The beasts weep tears of joy when they hear the flute of the Shepherd. . . ." So runs the story of Krishna in the ancient Bhagavata Purana. . . . And such friendship for beasts has always played a considerable part in this religious idyll: neither human happiness nor divine ecstasy is complete without the Volume XIII, No. 3 contentment of these humbler creatures which man exploits, but which share with him the adventure of existence. In Greek lore, animals were associated with the gods chiefly in matters of love. The unique beauty of this Hindu myth is little understood if one fails to see in it a wholly fraternal sympathy for beings of other species and other domains, a feeling which exists alongside the burning sensuality of the myth, and perhaps just because that sensuality is given almost free rein. Such tenderness possibly comes down from ancient animistic belief, but it has long since been transmuted into a very conscious form of charity and remains one of India's finest gifts to mankind. Christian Europe has hardly known that particular form of sensibility, and then only too briefly, in the course of the Franciscan pastoral, when both bird and wolf were befriended and blessed. The untutored impression of Eastern religion is that the supreme goal is world-denial, rigid asceticism. But in the East, the goal of asceticism exists within a context. Miss Yourcenar describes with great delicacy the nature of the psychological synthesis achieved, a synthesis entirely foreign to Christian monasticism: All the great religions originating in India have recommended the practice of asceticism. The Brahmanist's obsession with Being and the Buddhist's obsession with Non-Being come both to the same result for the Saint in either following, namely, disdain for all that is merely of the moment, for all that suffers change, and for all that comes to an end. The Brahmanic anchorite quits his family and worldly possessions to liberate himself by asceticism, Buddha is portrayed by Gandharian sculptors as leaving his wives in like fashion forever, while they lie sleeping, voluptuously relaxed. But such departure and such asceticism bespeak no penitence and no flight from sin, no more than the Christian's obsession with sin of the flesh corresponds at all closely to the fear of ritual impurity although that obsession is rooted in some such fear. Detachment on the part of the Hindu sage implies neither disgust nor puritanical disapproval, nor conviction about the indignity of sex. In fact, in some Hindu sects, as is also the case in certain heretical groups within Christianity, the sexual act becomes for the mystic just what it always has been for popular Hinduism, one of the symbols and forms of union with Deity. The supreme Atman of the Brahmanist, Absolute Being, comprises within itself all the amorous play of the thousands of beings which make up the multiple MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 8 worlds, similarly, the frenzied embraces of the gods are accepted in Tantric Buddhism as part of the great Cycle of Things. All these topics are clearly related. The "beyond the pale" approach to sinful man or sensuous animal rends nature asunder, makes those conditioned by such an approach insensitive to the myriad forms of self-expression which constitute involvement of consciousness. We don't really know whether Dr. Brock Chisholm has considered all these aspects of the causes behind "prejudice and the inability to see, understand and sympathize with other points of view," but we doubt if he would find fault with the notes here collected. Volume XIII, No. 3 MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 9 COMMENTARY EAST AND WEST THE passing reference in this week's Frontiers to China's gift to the world of "worth-while examples of beauty of physical things" makes an occasion for recalling a passage in Cleve Gray's American Scholar (Autumn, 1959) discussion of modern art. Mr. Gray speaks of the difference between Western and Oriental art: The fact that the breath of spirit and the movement of life must be present in a work of art means that the Far Eastern artist insists on a specific quality of life that makes the subject significant: its life. Indeed, objects that a Westerner calls inanimate, such as rocks, water, trees, have for the Oriental this quality of breath of spirit and life movement. All of disordered existence is pervaded with this vital force, yet it is not an ordering force; the Chinese artist does not search for an underlying structural order in the Western sense, but rather for nature's pervasive vitality. By losing himself in the magnitude of this vital force, the Chinese re-creates through his brush a visual representation of the appearance of this force as it manifests itself in objective reality. Nor is Oriental painting composed in the same manner as Western painting. A non-Western conception of dynamic unity comes into play that is neither abstract expressionist flux nor Western geometric composition. But, above all, the purpose of great Oriental art is to bring about the passage of the human soul from actuality and its disorder to the unity of an all-pervading spirit beyond life. We may, therefore, conclude that the object of all great art, Oriental or Occidental, is to elevate the spirit. Masterpieces of Western art achieve this end by insistence on underlying structure, that is, order. Its source is metaphysical or, as science tells us, the fundamental requisite of life. Either way it is the order of life itself that exalts the Western soul. The painter's job is to find his way of interpreting this positive philosophy in visual terms. Mr. Gray feels that the Western imitators of Chinese art are rather unsuccessful in incorporating the Oriental temper in their work, but the interest of Western artists in the Orient, and even Gray's perceptive account of the quality of Chinese painting, is evidence of the infiltration of Oriental influence. No doubt the use of this Volume XIII, No. 3 inspiration will be "different," but such rediscovery of the genius of the past is also an honoring of the values sought by Eastern artists —an act of restoration to the spirit of man. There is kinship here, also, with the pervasive pantheism of the Eastern attitude toward Nature, referred to in this week's Review. Such discussions may be an essential part in the laying of foundations for a new morality in the West. If, as a result of reflection upon the ancient myths of the East, there can come a reverence for all of life's processes, slowly eliminating the Augustinian and Calvinistic conceptions of "sin," there is hope that the angry materialism and rebellious sensuality of the modernist revolt will also come to an end, providing opportunity for a more intuitive view of man's emotional life. Hate and shame for natural functions are at root responsible for the debasement of natural functions and for hedonistic manias in defense of life conceived of as nothing more than exploitation of the "pleasure-principle." Asceticism, as a calling of some inward monitor, was doomed from the day that it was allowed to become a convention of righteousness instead of the authentic detachment which grows from the demands of another kind of life. The rediscovery of the higher life of the sage will at least be a possibility when the life of nature is no longer branded by the self-abasing theologies of sin and fear. The ease with which the delicate monitions of the spirit are translated into some heavy-handed theological compulsion is sufficient justification for the relative silence of philosophical religion on matters which are immediately vulgarized when they become subjects for logic-chopping and tendentious debate. Symbolism has always been the refuge of religious teachers, from the Puranas to Plato, and thereafter, although the increasing rationality of man in the modern age seems to have reduced its role in the present. MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 10 One thing is certain: the human spirit needs protection against conventionalized interpretations of its freedom as much as against arbitrary doctrines of restraint. One fascinating thing about the present epoch is the way in which all ancient philosophies and credos are undergoing re-examination, with many of their leading ideas being grasped in principle and adapted as expressions of the new spirit of the West. Much more than technology and rapid communications is this broad trend turning the diverse cultures of the earth into "one world." Westerners, we might note, have one advantage in their approach to Oriental philosophies and concepts: Usually, their introduction to these ideas is by means of a book or scripture, divorced from to these ideas is by means of a book or scripture, divorced from the associations of custom and rite accumulated during centuries of religious belief. It is even possible that Westerners may occasionally enjoy a clearer perception of such ideas than do some of their Oriental inheritors. Volume XIII, No. 3 MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 11 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves INDIVIDUAL PROTESTS AGAINST THE MILITARY MOST of us remember the "Oxford Peace Pledge" and the thousands of parading youths of the 30's who joined together in what at first appeared to be effective pacifist determination. But organized group decisions at the pacifist level, as well as elsewhere, seem to dissipate easily. Effective protests against the maintenance of an army, in this day, will obviously come from the cumulative pressure of more and more individual decisions. A report in the San Francisco Examiner (Oct. 20) tells the story of the son of an Air Force colonel, who on that day began a seven-day fast to express his belief that the University of California should respect individual conscience by abolishing compulsory ROTC. Frederick Lawrence Moore, Jr., the 18-year-old freshman whose father is stationed at the Pentagon, parked himself on the steps of Sproul Hall, the administration building on Berkeley campus, equipped only with a neatlylettered sign explaining his protest action, a canteen of water, and a petition. After only a few hours of Moore's vigil, thirty-five students had signed a request that the university reverse its decision on compulsory ROTC. Allan Brick's article "Campus Rebels Find a Cause," in the Nov. 28 Nation, reveals that Moore's somewhat dramatic action is not isolated. Further, before Moore was dislodged more than a thousand students added their names to the petition. We quote from Mr. Brick, who teaches English at Dartmouth College: On October 30, a student-conducted poll at a sister university, the University of California at Los Angeles, revealed a similar tremendous opposition to compulsory ROTC; 70 per cent of 1,189 students polled demanded that it be abolished. (For a general critique of ROTC as presently administered, see "ROTC: Failure of a Mission," by Gene M. Lyons, The Nation, Oct. 24.) Volume XIII, No. 3 Early this month, upperclassmen at Norwich University in Vermont, the country's oldest private military college, protested in various ways against general "militarism" on the campus and against alleged "gagging" of faculty members and censorship of the student newspaper. Although undergraduate organizations devoted to political or social action have never lasted long at Dartmouth, a spontaneous decision there recently resulted in a sign-carrying march in protest against ROTC. Faculty members and ROTC officers attempted to divert this effort, but two dozen "nervous but eager pickets" carried out their intentions and achieved nation-wide publicity. Actually, such spontaneous or semispontaneous forms of "pacifist action" seem to be much harder to combat or argue down than the mass movement of the Oxford Peace Pledge days. Mr. Brick continues: Protests similar to that at Dartmouth are lancing through many of the nation's campuses. There is in no sense a mass movement; the normal student is solidly unconcerned with the awakening few. But campus intellectuals are involved, and natural student activists, desperate in the opinion vacuums of today's campuses, are looking to the anti-war movement as the only thing "going on." Last spring a "Student Peace Center" at the University of Wisconsin completed its year's activities by holding an "Anti-Military Ball" the night after the campus' annual Military Ball. Attended by some two hundred students, the ball was titled "The Street Where You Lived, or Dig You Later, Atom Crater," and included a skit, "To Boom or Not to Boom: Hamlet in the Twentieth Century." Also at Wisconsin, this year saw intense student agitation for the elimination of compulsory ROTC. Students— largely non-pacifists who had had ROTC—testified before both houses of the Wisconsin state legislature, receiving favorable hearings from the Democratdominated Assembly and rude treatment from the Senate. (The latter body probably will stop a bill which, backed by the student senate, would make military training voluntary on the university campus.) Nor is the Wisconsin faculty lethargic. Several faculty members, at present failing in efforts to have the university introduce a regular course of instruction in non-violent approaches to international problems, were planning to offer their own course in non-violence at a student religious center this fall. MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 12 All this, to our way of thinking, is of far more interest than Newsweek's "special education" report called "The Good American Teen-agers," for Mr. Brick's story informs us that a great many American youths are thinking for themselves and are willing to take the consequences of an unconventional point of view. In the Midwest, the Student Peace Union, which includes student pacifist leaders from fourteen campuses, has endeavored to coordinate anti-war activities at Northwestern University. Despite the interference of Evanston police, pacifist speakers have attracted audiences of between fifty and one hundred students. One comment from a non-pacifist who listened to the speeches is significant: "This is a great idea; it's the first exciting thing that's happened on this campus in years. I wonder how long they'll let you get away with it." person who is plagued by the disparity between the responsible rebel his liberal arts and religious training call for and the nonchalant listener which is all society seems to allow. Students are "ready to be challenged," But most of them cannot be challenged while teachers and ministers fail to admit, much less discuss, the ignominy of their nation's role in the nuclear-missiles race, even as they pretend that the treasured precepts of American moralism can relate their students to the modern world. Mr. Brick proposes that anti-military protests are psychologically healthy and should be recognized as such by all devoted students of democracy, regardless of whether they believe present United States military policy should be perpetuated. He concludes: Paradoxically, the very acknowledgement of apathy and irresponsibility as student norms now gives rise to possibilities for individualism and social action in many colleges. For example, the image of Ivy League men as partying conformists actually preys upon the consciences of some Ivy League students, making them watchful for something they might commit themselves to. Such students may become, at least in spirit, beatniks who, with beards, guitars and varying amounts of sincerity, strike postures of revolt. Some go on to find positive affirmations to fill the shells they have adopted; in search of personal careers, they discover the practical and moral reasons for being responsible toward others. Realizing the need for world peace and freedom, and questioning the nation's role in perfecting weapons of mass destruction, they challenge the prescriptions of the church and the military establishment —the bulwarks of conformity in colleges. There is "tension" in the student. See-no-evil, hear-no-evil apathy often covers an inward hidden Volume XIII, No. 3 MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 13 FRONTIERS Human Mutuality and Communism THERE are various specific criticisms of Communism, which the average American quite naturally accepts, but there are so many that he is not able to make any generalization definitive of communism; especially because the criticisms often apply to other systems as well. But there is one important human characteristic which all dictatorship disregards, either willfully or ignorantly. Dictatorship, I understand, according to Marx, is a temporary stage in the inception of the Communist system. That may account for the apparently milder manner of Khrushchev, lately, and the more severe nature of the experiment in China. However, in my opinion, a good look at what has gone on in China demonstrates the importance of the recognition of human mutuality and the improbability that any permanent good to people can come from neglect of this universal fact at a beginning phase, or at any other time for any purpose whatsoever. We must admit that many of the changes attempted by the communists are much needed reforms. For instance, women have endured a position of inferiority from almost the beginning of time. Only recently and in a few advanced countries have they gained any recognition as to the human right and respectability of working at anything but housework and other no-pay work around the home, especially if married; only recently have they been conceded to have any capacity for handling finance and business; not yet are they given, in more than a few countries, or states even of these United States, equality before the law; only very recently have they had any share in government or management anywhere; they have almost no equality in matters of sex outside or inside marriage; but Chinese communists with one mighty sweep have almost touched the pinnacle in these particulars and in others which concern women. Volume XIII, No. 3 As to matters that concern men, also, the worst threat in all the world to men, and thus to women also, is the continuous population increase at a rate at which the increase cannot be cared for, fed or clothed. Here too Chinese communism gives out the only flicker of hope for change anywhere on the horizon. It would seem communist extermination of the formerly sacred and in many ways beautiful family system of China struck at the very root of many injustices of many kinds the world over, time immemorial. Consider the elements in our American system, so long Russia's target, which undoubtedly has tolerated shady financial deals abroad in the selfish interest of money-making: our growth of vested interests in money and intellectualism, so-called; "superior" and "inferior" classes based on kinds of employment and amount of money represented; our failure to find, by not even trying to find, a solution for the situation of the minority group in our South, with guilt in both the North and the South; our overwhelming engagement in money-making with only a gesture here and there—indeed, little time left for other than a gesture—to devote to ideals spelled out for us by our forefathers. These things, we must admit, are bad, and many of us understand that in addition to the wrong done to those directly involved, there is also a more pervasive wrong which extends from America's reputation, which all Americans must share and suffer world-wide consequences, to that of the larger area whose members are directly and indirectly, now almost throughout the world, brought together and must depend upon each the other's reputation for fair practices and truthful speaking. All these conditions, referred to by way of example as plainly needing correction, the Chinese communists, in their effort to reform the world, have tackled and succeeded in improving to a considerable degree. Let us look now at what has happened because of their disregard of the fact of human MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 14 mutuality, viz., that each living person is part of a whole—the whole human race— and cannot be excluded because humankind is the whole (all) of humans. Each individual and each group of individuals, for whatever purpose grouped, anywhere in the world are each and all members of the human race and must be treated as such, not only because they are humans and there is no denying it, but because as humans animated and directed by thinking they must be reckoned with. They are a part of the whole, the whole thinking world. Humankind can eliminate arms and legs, which are physical, but it cannot eliminate thinking, the non-physical, without destroying itself. Nor is there any way to change thinking but by thinking itself. Communists can force Chinese humans to change their customs, their occupations, to leave their homes, abandon their children, desert their parents, but that is not changing their thinking about all these things. Having been subjected to such treatment, China presents a picture quite the contrary: Sickening exhaustion of heretofore sheltered women and professional men unused to hard physical labor, of children too young for tasks forced upon them, teenagers and younger, far from parents and home, bewildered and homesick but forced to plod on at hard work hour after hour, day after day; no privacy anywhere, no chance to think or do anything on one's own, nothing but dictation to go by, eat by, sleep by— in short, disregard of the individual, not only a part of but the most important phenomenon of all mankind. The best of mankind comes not from the government, or the nation, or party, but from the very fact of the individual, the fact that mankind exists only as individuals, who think, each thinking for himself, differing from each other or not. Man's individualism sets up government with its very birth, for each man, having a mind of his own, must find some way to get along with others who have minds of their own also. It is this mutual necessity that dictates rules of conduct, prohibitions or tolerances, and there must be mutual acceptance, that is mutual Volume XIII, No. 3 agreement (an act of thinking), that the rules proposed would be good or they would be "no good." Back of all government or law must exist majority acceptance before it can be enforced effectually, if at all. Communism seems to deny this fact, setting up instead the physical as the supreme good, thus negating the very nature of humankind, the power to think vested in the individual, not in the mass, the group, the species, the whole as a whole. Destroying the individual is to destroy humanity. That is what Communism seems to be trying in China, to bury humanity and on humanity's grave to plant a bureaucracy mushroomed with evils more primitive and poisonous than any that may lie beneath. However, there are more and more individuals in civilized countries today who could not even imagine a moment of satisfaction or peace of mind if they had to remember human suffering and despair they inhumanly had been responsible for and humanly could have spared. It is the only attitude consistent with the nature of the human race, composed as it is of individuals intertwined in a whole, upon which each is dependent and for which each is responsible, obligating each to think of the other as of himself. They are, in a very real sense, one, even as members of a family are, all groups with binding ties whether of love or necessity. This emotion, which only humankind can experience, is bound to increase and bring satisfactions greater even than those which derive from specific reforms achieved, however good or desirable. The communists are no less responsible for and have contributed no more toward a desirable and satisfying character of the world in which we all dwell, than the rest of us. In fact the twentiethcentury entity of civilization registers contributions of others at least as great as theirs. There were cruelties in China we know, but China gave to the world worth-while examples of beauty of physical things and charm of personal graces. Struggling America often tripped over her own ideals, but clumsily though sincerely kept proclaiming freedom and equality for all, often MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 15 trying to make amends for her mistakes to the rest of the world. Who for one moment can believe the world is not better for her having lived in it? The methods the Communists are using are so patently non-human it is hardly probable the reforms attained can have any survival value. It is like expecting the prisoner subjected to whiplash and straitjacket for reform will stay reformed when he is set free. Modern enlightenment is turning from such methods as not only ineffectual but also evil in themselves, spreading pollution and decay in the world of cherished ideals which together we are building, little by little—here a contribution that will stand the test of time, there another destined for discard, each of us offering something, good or bad, knowingly or unknowingly, all of us judging, wisely or unwisely, accepting or rejecting for better or for worse. The great fact is the mutuality of our status; the great task to know the good from the bad, for, good or bad, it is the heritage of all of us and all of us are responsible for it. JUNE MILLER Palo Alto, Calif. Volume XIII, No. 3 MANAS Reprint January 20, 1960 ...
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