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THINGS SAID AND DONE
@author: Manas Reprints
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VOLUME XIII, NO. 36 SEPTEMBER 7, 1960 THINGS SAID AND DONE THE point is soon reached when reporting current anticipations of world-wide death, ruin, and despair from nuclear war produces an emotional anti-climax. There is a limit to the power of words to affect the imagination. Fortunately, hardly a week goes by when there is not some fresh mind, stricken by suddenly realized horror of what the human race seems to be preparing for itself, which makes itself heard in the stark language of independent discovery. Then words gain a renewal of power. But the general human capacity for disregard of the dark prophecies of others seems also to increase. It is common to speak of these days as representing a great military and international crisis in the affairs of men. The crisis no doubt exists, but there is good reason to think that it is more of a psychological crisis—and no doubt a moral crisis—than a military crisis. There is ground for arguing that if rapidly gathering technological forces of destruction ever do combine in the uncontrollable explosion of planetary nuclear war, the nations of the world will long before have accomplished their own moral death by refusing to change their course toward mutual destruction and by their indifference to the very issue of mutual destruction. We seem to live in two worlds. One is the world of agonized recognition of the terrible things men have done to one another, and are preparing to do in the future. This is the world of outraged conscience, of the torn but unfrightened heart of the human spirit. It is a world green with soft, young tendrils of reconciliation and peace. It is a world instinct with life and a new consciousness of the brotherhood of man, immeasurably rich in the seed of a primal love, but needing the winds of free communication to carry the living germs of this spirit throughout the earth, and requiring spaces of open soil where they may light and fructify. These are days, one might say, when men of good will are busy clearing the ground and even making themselves into sacrifices to manure the soil for a harvest of peace for future generations. The other world is the world of the past. This is the world which has the power which most men understand. It is a world haunted by another kind of desperation. The men who live mostly in this world and who maintain its reality have become desperate because, however much they might want to move out and into the new world, they do not know how. They are desperate, also, because the resources of destruction in their hands have been raised to an almost infinite power. If they are to remain sane while living in the old world, they must convince themselves—or, if not themselves, the great mass of people who give them loyal support—that this almost infinite power can be controlled and turned to use for rational ends. No doubt they suspect the truth of their own claims about this power. No doubt they suffer long moments of suspicion that the power cannot be controlled. But the compulsion to put up a brave front and to act as though they know what they are doing is reinforced by fearful imaginings of the chaos that would take over, were they to seem to lose their grip on the affairs of state. While these two worlds exist only because of radical differences in the thought and behavior of men, it is important to realize that both worlds exist for all men, and that the choice of the world they decide to inhabit is a difficult one, affected by a multitude of motives and feelings, the strongest of which may be obscure or only half-understood. This complexity of motives adds the disorder of moral confusion to an already extreme political confusion. There is but one intelligent conclusion to be drawn from a situation of this sort—that the MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 only absolutely wrong decision that a man can make is to do what he decides to do in a spirit of self-righteousness. For it is self-righteousness above all which divides the world into a collection of rival armed camps, each one bristling with an animosity which alternates with loud claims of wanting "peace," but never at the cost of behaving peacefully. Here is a paradox: To be right is to avoid claiming to be right, and not to feel particularly "right." The paradox can no doubt be resolved, but it will call for authentic wisdom on the part of human beings. But what justification have we, someone may say, for making up a neat division of human attitudes into "two worlds," one determined to have peace, the other systematically getting ready for the last, big, man-made cataclysm? How could the problem be that simple? And what reason is there to think that a human society could ever achieve the utopian goals of the pacifists? The division, we must admit, is not neat, but it exists. And it is becoming more apparent every day. Take for example some of the things said and done during the past few weeks. Among things said is the August 3 Christian Century editorial headed, "Fifteen Years in Hell is Enough," which comes out for unilateral nuclear disarmament. The writer calls upon the religious leadership of the Western world "to remove the religious sanction for the use of nuclear arms which is implied so long as religious people maintain silence about their use." The argument is both practical and moral. Since the Christian Century is the most influential organ of independent Protestant opinion in the United States, this editorial is bound to have a decisive effect upon both the clergy and the laity. Pointing out that religious leaders have been unready and inadequate in the face of the issues created by nuclear weapons, the editorial states: Commissions of churchmen which have studied the matter say nuclear war may be condoned by the Christian if its cause is just, if the gains to be attained Volume XIII, No. 36 are greater than the losses which appear likely, if restraint is practiced in actions which endanger noncombatants, particularly women and children. Since nuclear weapons are particularly powerful, the commissions say they should be used with greater reluctance and more regret than other weapons. This position is weak and deceptive. It fails to take sufficient account of the realities of the new human situation. The ancient theory of the just war breaks down when victory is impossible, when the weapons are so undiscriminating as to destroy both sides. What objective justifies the extermination of a whole nation or of the human race to attain it? How is it possible to practice restraint or selectivity with a weapon which wipes out cities with one blow and which creates fallout destroying all life within hundreds of miles? What is right about preparing for a nuclear war which could poison the atmosphere and make the earth uninhabitable? . . . The removal of threat from our side by unilateral disarmament would very likely result in the lessening of the threat from the communist side. We should continue to try to get an agreement to permit inspection, but we should not wait for that to declare our intention to turn over our nuclear armaments to the United Nations if that body would accept them, or to abandon them if it would not. Fifteen years of suspension (since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima) over the fires of nuclear hell is long enough. It is time for a change. Let us say straight out that we are not going to destroy our enemies and menace our friends by nuclear war. Let us demonstrate our good faith by getting rid of the means for these purposes. . . . This is a good issue of the Christian Century to read carefully. Norman K. Gottwald of Andover Newton Theological School contributes to it an article, "Nuclear Realism or Nuclear Pacifism?", in which he asks: . . . if all-out destruction as a threat has been the cornerstone of Western defense policies, will the West possess sufficient moral restraint to withhold the use of nuclear weapons under provocation? The common sense of his answer can hardly be evaded: Much as such questions overawe the mind, they can hardly be avoided by the realist since they reach to the core of his Christian belief and touch the very substance of the justice for which he is contending. MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 3 Does not reliance on weapons of extermination tend to erode the moral and spiritual realities which the weapons professedly defend? Is there no relation between the lost sense of individual significance in so many realms of our society and the means we have resorted to in defense of that society? When we accept as necessary the contemplation of radiological murder—of millions of Russians and millions of Americans—can any one doubt that our society is brutalized thereby? If a Christian believes that political and social orders are possible only through threatening an act which dissolves all recognizable human order, what is left of his belief in God the Creator? The nuclear warrior for Christ must also answer to the following argument: When cornered, the Christian nuclear realist is likely to appeal to the "sacrifice" of the West as a kind of "whole burnt offering" in the interests of truth and freedom. It takes the slightest familiarity with the New Testament to know that Jesus Christ would have been unable to see any connection whatever between his view of "sacrifice" and a war fought with nuclear arms. It is understandable that men should argue that we cannot give up the arms race for fear of the Russians. That is a human response with which we all have sympathy. It is incredible, however, that a Christian should proceed to argue that our willingness to fight the Russians is an instance of sacrifice and a form of love, that we are in fact doing them and God a great favor by immolating them if such should prove necessary. Once we accept such views it becomes impossible to judge the nazi Christians or, for that matter, any Christians who have allowed the national entity to define the content of truth. To call nuclear war Christian sacrifice is to reject all that Jesus stood for; it is merely to transfer orthodox Christian terminology to the cult of the deified state. It is interesting to see how thoughtful men of every walk of life focus on the same essential issues. On this question of national "sacrifice" in behalf of traditional ideals, Max Born, a founder of modern physics, has something to say in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for June. He points out that, with nuclear war in prospect, national sacrifice means national suicide, adding, "if the word 'national suicide' means anything at all, it means that the few people who compose the Volume XIII, No. 36 government of a country could be justified in acting in such a way as to kill everybody else." Professor Born refers to an article (in the New Statesman) by the British physicist, Patrick Blackett, of whom he says: He [Prof. Blackett] takes a particularly firm stand against the proclaimed strategy of Western defense plans to answer with nuclear weapons any Soviet attack, even if it were launched with conventional weapons. He says: "Within a few decades most political, military, religious, and moral leaders of the West came to accept as justifiable a military doctrine, which previously they would have denounced as wicked, nauseatingly immoral, and inconceivable as a policy for the West." He then says that in the event of the implementation of this policy, we no longer need talk about the six million victims of Hitler's gas chambers, and that the civilized West would sink below the moral level of Genghis Khan. Max Born looks at the idea of a " just war": The concept of a just war leads to a maze of confusion and contradictions. . . . I wish only to state what my position is and to speak of the present situation which is dominated by the means of mass destruction, the ABC weapons (atomic, biological, chemical). Mankind has been surprised by this technological development; his moral progress has not kept up with it and is today at an all-time low level. The Viennese author Gunther Anders has described it thus: Wir können mehr herstellen, als wir uns vorstellen können (we can produce more than we conceive). The effects produced with the help of our contraptions (for example, the killings of millions of people with one hydrogen bomb) are so great, that we are no longer in a position to comprehend them. The links between intent, deed, and effect are broken. These words describe the manner of a pushbutton war in excellent fashion. One can express the same thing more harshly: modern means of mass destruction no longer deserve the name of weapons. They tend to regard men as vermin. On this lookout rest today's armament and strategic planning. I cannot think of anything more immoral or detestable. Also in this issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (June), the distinguished MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 4 biologist, Bentley Glass, of Johns Hopkins, concludes a "guest editorial" on biological and chemical warfare: In the end, only the absolute prevention of war will preserve human life and civilization in the face of these as well as nuclear weapons. No ban of a single type of weapon, no agreement that leaves the general threat of war in existence, can protect mankind sufficiently. We therefore must look forward to a day when national aims will be generally recognized as secondary to the preservation of peace, and when there will be international power to preserve the peace. Earlier in this discussion we said we would review things said and done concerning this issue during the past few weeks. Much space has been given to things said because they seem so well said. The things done are becoming almost too numerous to review. There are demonstrations against war and nuclear and bacterial preparation for war going on in many parts of the world. These demonstrations are beginning to get respectful attention from even the conventional press. The August Redbook, for example, has a friendly, full-length article on Marjorie Swann, the Pennsylvania mother of four children who last year "trespassed" on the grounds of a missile base near Omaha, Neb., in protest against this use of American land and resources. She was sent to prison for six months. The article is the story of what she did, why she did it, and what she thought, experienced, and felt that she might be accomplishing. It is also a "human interest" story, and a good one, but one that adds dignity to the category, in consideration of the kind of human interest which engrosses Marjorie Swann. The title, "You Are a Bad Mother," is a quotation from the judge who sentenced her. The reader is not likely to agree with him. In Frederick, Maryland, a Vigil has been maintained since July 1, 1959 before the gates of Fort Detrick, germ warfare research center. Those who carry on this work have said: The Vigil has aroused thousands of citizens to the moral issues involved in the work at Fort Detrick. . . . Bacteria viruses and toxins are being produced at Volume XIII, No. 36 Fort Detrick. They can provide neither deterrence nor adequate defense. Deep in their hearts most Americans know this. By the Vigil at Fort Detrick, an appeal to stop preparations for germ warfare, we have tried to express this truth. By standing at the entrance to Fort Detrick we have pleaded with our neighbors to abandon the illusion of security by armament. Headquarters of the Vigil, which welcomes support, is at 324 West Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland. Throughout the past summer American pacifists have conducted various activities—peace walks, vigils, leaflet distribution, public meetings—in New London and Groton, Conn., at or near the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, which makes the nuclear Polaris submarine, said to be "the most important weapon in U.S. military strategic planning for the next decade." Polaris is entirely for retaliation— no good for anything else, according to a naval authority. It can carry a more-than-megaton Hbomb warhead which can obliterate an entire city. The Navy plans a fleet of at least fifty of such craft, capable of attacking fire power six times greater than the attack which the Rand Corporation has estimated would kill 160 million Americans in 36 hours. Polaris Action is sponsored by the Committe for Nonviolent Action, with headquarters at 158 Grand Avenue, Room 10, New York 13, N.Y. Similar protests are going on in England. The Aldermaston March held last April found ten thousand participants, and other demonstrations, sometimes including civil disobedience, are being made at various military sites. There will be a three-week march in September from Edinburgh to London, organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, with "campaigning all the way." Latest incident of this general character was the demonstration last month (August 9) at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore, California. This was Dr. Edward Teller's laboratory where the H-bomb was born. It is now MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 5 under the direction of Dr. Harold Brown. Some twenty-five independent pacifists ("independent" in the sense that they combined for this project under no particular name or association) began a vigil outside the gates of the Laboratory on August 5. The vigil on August 8 continued all night to the morning of the 9th, when, at 7:45 a.m., as employees of the Laboratory were arriving for the day's work, four men went up to the gate and asked to be admitted. They were asked if they had written permission. They answered that they had requested permission but had not obtained it. They were refused entrance and guards lined up across the road leading into the fenced and restricted area of the Laboratory grounds. The four men were Samuel Tyson, Harold Stallings, Jerry Wheeler, and Roy Kepler. Kepler acted as spokesman. He explained that he and his companions wanted to talk to the people working in the Radiation Laboratory about the things they were making or developing, and how they were to be used. Kepler stepped beyond the line of guards and was followed by the others. The four men were immediately arrested and taken to the security offices for questioning. There, after being asked if they had read the signs posting the grounds, which prohibited admission to all but authorized personnel, the four men were photographed, searched, handcuffed, and taken into custody by a United States Marshal. The questioning was to establish that the four had knowingly broken the law. Jerry Wheeler stood mute, but the other three said that while they had read the signs, they felt it necessary to try to enter the grounds of the Laboratory to question the employees about making weapons for mass destruction. The entire procedure of the arrest was quite efficient, extra guards being on hand for the event, since the four men had previously notified the Laboratory of what they would attempt to do on that morning. After the questioning they were taken to the Santa Rita Rehabilitation Center—a division of the Alameda County Jail. There they were brought before a U.S. Commissioner and booked Volume XIII, No. 36 on the charge of knowingly trespassing upon restricted Federal property and obstructing the work going on in the Laboratory. The four men refused bail and legal counsel and were held until Friday, August 12, when they were arraigned before the Commissioner. Kepler, Tyson, and Stallings pleaded guilty and agreed to immediate trial by the Commissioner. Wheeler remained mute, which was taken as a plea of not guilty, and he was bound over for trial in the Federal district court in San Francisco. The trial of the other three was brief. The prosecuting attorney went to some length to explain that the men had acted on moral grounds, without any sort of criminal intent, and asked for leniency. The Commissioner put them on probation for a year (without attempting to exact promises of "good behavior"), and released Wheeler on his own recognizances. There was considerable evidence of a general understanding of what the demonstration meant and of the motives which inspired the four "trespassers." After the trial, the district attorney remarked that awkward situations arise when moral issues are confused with legal issues. He asked one of the men whether they could not find a way to keep their protests from involving illegal acts. For reply, it was suggested that a similar situation might be thought to exist when Hitler's government ordered all Jews to wear yellow armbands. How could a non-Jew vigorously protest this law, which did not affect him directly, except by some act of civil disobedience? The federal attorney apparently saw the point. There was good coverage of the protest in the newspapers, on television and the radio. All reports were reasonably accurate, save for the San Francisco Examiner, whose early Tuesday morning headlines (Aug. 9) declared that the Livermore Radiation Laboratory was being taken over by Communists and that Federal troops had been called into action. The newspaper later retracted this statement, after a government spokesman said that any such report was without foundation. In this instance, there was no excuse for inaccuracy of any sort, since a member of the MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 6 group had given an Examiner reporter a complete account of what was to happen, the week before. So these are a few of the things being done by persons who are trying to inhabit the world of awakened moral responsibility and peace. The things being done have an elemental consistency with the things being said—said, today, in the Christian Century ("Fifteen Years in Hell is Enough"), in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ("modern means of mass destruction no longer deserve the name of weapons. They tend to regard men as vermin"), and in many other ways. It is true, as the federal attorney said of the Livermore demonstration, that the mixing up of moral with legal issues creates awkward situations. But perhaps a country so haunted by moral contradictions as the United States can afford a few awkward situations, as the cost of originating forms of valid protest in which more and more citizens can join to make their sense of drastic moral emergency more widely felt. We should eventually get around to recognizing that a system of law which requires the members of the political community to plan the destruction of other men, and possibly themselves, "as vermin," has become an outmoded system for human beings to live under. Volume XIII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 7 REVIEW "THE CAPTIVE MIND" IT is a little late, now, to review Czeslaw Milosz' The Captive Mind, a book which first appeared in 1953, and came out as a Vintage paperback in 1955. But since MANAS has been quoting him lately, it seemed a good idea to read this volume which brought Milosz to the attention of Western thinkers. Milosz is a Polish poet who lived through the Nazi occupation of his country and for a time worked for the Warsaw government established by the Communists after the liberation. He spent some time at the Polish embassy in Washington, and later was First Secretary of Cultural Affairs in the Polish embassy in Paris. In 1951 he broke with Warsaw and remained in Paris to write. The Captive Mind may be read as a psychological sequel to an earlier volume (not by Milosz), The Dark Side of the Moon (Scribners, 1947), which tells the story of the million Poles— men, women, and children—who were dragged off to Soviet concentration camps after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of 1939. The agony suffered by these people can hardly be conveyed by words. The book is a collection of reports, made up mostly of first-hand accounts by people who were torn from their homes in the region of Poland that the pact gave to Russia. Many of them of course died. Of the camps in which they were placed, one of the survivors wrote: Nobody who has not studied the records of life in these hells can come within miles of understanding to what abysses of moral stupor and animal need a human being can be reduced, and must be reduced, by all this. This is something entirely different from hardship or exposure over a limited period and due to accident or the urgency of military or other service, conditions which so frequently call out the best human qualities of fortitude and power of survival. This is a state to which the helpless individual has been condemned by his fellow-creatures and out of which there is no issue, a state containing no hope, and in which the rigour is always increasing and will never be relaxed. Every influence to which the Volume XIII, No. 36 individual is submitted is deliberately aimed at his overthrow as an individual and at his permanent subjection. Everything which is capable of sustaining individual and human dignity is remorselessly ground out of existence. All privacy, all decency, all gentleness and all mutual confidence are deliberately liquidated, and for ever. . . . The most fearful iniquity of the system, as it is actually carried out, is not even the amount of suffering it inflicts. It is the corruption, the progressive and irreparable corruption of everybody within its spread. The impact of The Dark Side of the Moon is like the blow of a blunt instrument. Czeslaw Milosz has another purpose. He writes gently, almost like a physician, to explain to the reader how it happens—how it can happen—that apparently intelligent and well-intentioned men will turn their minds to justification of the methods of the makers of the "new society." Fear is their indispensable tool. Milosz writes: Fear is well known as a cement of societies. In a liberal-capitalist economy fear of lack of money, fear of losing one's job, fear of slipping down one rung on the social ladder all spurred the individual to greater effort. In a capitalist city with a population of one hundred thousand people, some ten thousand, let us say, may have been haunted by fear of unemployment. Such fear appeared to them to be a personal situation, tragic in view of the indifference and callousness of their environment. But if all one hundred thousand live in daily fear, they give off a collective aura that hangs over the city like a heavy cloud. Gold alienates man from himself; naked fear, which has replaced capital, alienates him even more efficiently. To transcend this fear new means must be devised: one must breed a new man, one for whom work will be a joy and a pride, instead of the curse of Adam. A gigantic literature is directed toward this end. Books, films, and radio all have as their themes this transformation, and the instilling of hatred against the enemy who would want to prevent it. To the extent that man, terrified as he is, learns to fulfill his obligations to society of his own will and with joy, the dosage of fear is to be reduced. And eventually, a free man will be born. Whether he can be born while such methods are applied is a question of faith. . . . It is to this faith that the intellectuals of a satellite country are invited. And for the reluctant MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 8 ones, there is always the fear. Once a writer comes over, he can say to himself: pain of the Polish people and his understanding of the tragedy of the "captive mind." No atrocities are being committed. One murders only those who must be murdered, tortures only those who must be made to confess, deports only those who must be deported. If deportees die off quickly, that is the fault of the climate, hard work, insufficient rations, and nothing can be done about those inconveniences at the present stage. . . . Everything will change when the standard of living improves. Then, the prisoners, too, will be better off. Speaking of the process of Communist reconstruction, an official said to Milosz, "I have already seen it in Russia. The stages are measured out in advance, and they succeed each other with mathematical precision. The only interest lies in watching the reactions of the human material." Milosz comments: Human material seems to have one major defect: it does not like to be considered merely as human material. It finds it hard to endure the feeling that it must resign itself to passive acceptance of changes introduced from above. What is the writer's role in all this? Milosz tells us in his Preface. It is to practice "Socialist Realism," which has the following definition: "Socialist Realism" is much more than a matter of taste, of preference for one style of painting or music rather than another. It is concerned with the beliefs which lie at the foundation of human existence. In the field of literature it forbids what has in every age been the writer's essential task—to look at the world from his own independent viewpoint, to tell the truth as he sees it, and so to keep watch and ward in the interest of society as a whole. It preaches a proper attitude of doubt in regard to a merely formal system of ethics but itself makes all judgment of values dependent upon the interest of the dictatorship. Human sufferings are drowned in the trumpet-blare. . .. Polish Communism has relaxed its grip somewhat upon the Polish people since Milosz wrote. What is of interest, here, is not so much the indictment of things done in the past, but the study of how men's minds may work, given enough pressure and provocation. Best of all, of course, is Milosz' own patient discussion of the Volume XIII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 9 world—the consequence of regarding money-making as a sacred ideal. COMMENTARY THE CYCLE OF ALIENATION THE stark indictment of communist regimes which appears in this week's Review makes a good occasion for printing portions of a letter from a German correspondent who is acquainted with conditions in some of the Iron Curtain countries. He says in part: In "The Causes of Alienation," you speak of people who have no interest in their jobs, except as the means to live and support their families, saying that for many, life seems to be meaningless. All this is certainly true, not only in the U.S.A. but also in certain other countries, of which perhaps West Germany is the nearest to America in this respect. But it is not true for the world at large. There are other countries where life is far from meaningless, and where the people, even those doing no more than manual labor in the factories, are far from alienated from their jobs. I mean first, nations in Africa and Asia which have shaken off the yoke of colonialism, such as Ghana, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, and others of which we hear little. People in these lands are now feeling as if life is just now beginning to be meaningful. The same is the case for many living behind the so-called "Iron Curtain"—including the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, North Korea, China, Czecho-Slovakia, and elsewhere. I am convinced that the vast majority of these people are satisfied with the regime they are living under, although they may grumble a bit about their government the same as we do. This writer continues, citing specific instances of people working together with enthusiasm to improve their lot. He tells how the East Germans built their own iron works, of the nomads of inner Asia who now live under transformed conditions of modern agriculture and industrial installations, with schools for their children to go to. He adds that "free elections" and the "free press" of which the West makes so great a point could have little meaning for illiterate people who lived in poverty and indescribable filth. He ends with this comment: I think that alienation and a feeling of meaninglessness are sorrows of the rich part of the Volume XIII, No. 36 Freedom is of course a wonderful thing and I am sincerely convinced that there is more freedom in the West than in the Communist countries (although we ought not to forget that the inhabitants of Porto Rico are hardly "free," while the Negroes of Mississippi can take little advantage of the famous "free elections" of the United States). Is there the possibility that freedom goes with alienation from one's job, while lack of political freedom goes with the idea, even if illusory, that one is working for one's own sake? I wonder if people should be blamed for choosing the latter combination? We must remember that every year young people are growing up and participating in public life in the Communist countries. It seems that the hope that this system will break down has less and less justification. Large issues are contained in this letter. It is certainly the case that the issue of civil liberties usually means little to hungry people. Nor would we think of reproaching for their politics those who, for the first time in their lives, have gained tolerable economic conditions under the communists. We would suggest, rather, that the "alienation" will eventually overtake any people who pin their hopes for a good life on the promise of better material conditions. There is no alienation while you are working hard to get the conditions. Americans busy in the gigantic struggle of the industrial revolution were not "alienated." It is after you achieve the "affluent society" that you discover its shortcomings. It is then that the alienation comes. The people of whom our correspondent writes are in another cycle, and for them the bitter fruits of a purely material prosperity remain unknown. From this point of view, the real test of the Communist system will come when men want to speak of their failure to attain the quality of life they longed for, but are prevented from saying what they think by the bureaucracy. It is for this reason that the freedom cherished by the West— even in its weakened and curtailed form—is so precious. Freedom in the arts and literature means MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 10 freedom to express dissatisfaction with the prevailing system of ideas and culture. In the West, the artist need not lie, although he may have to go on short rations in order to tell the truth. Freedom is hardly of great importance in manufacturing and technological advance, so why should people profoundly involved in these stages of material progress miss it very much? These are questions of basic motivation and self-realization and should not be confused with the much more superficial questions of ideological conflict. Many Westerners, no doubt, fear the "competition" of the rival ideology of the East for the wrong reasons. But there can hardly be a justification for the Police State and political censorship. These are the features of the communist system condemned by liberal Westerners, and not the concept of shared ownership and common responsibility for progress. The worst thing that the Communists have done is persuade many, many people in the West that social ownership of the means of production requires an iron-handed dictatorship and the loss of both political and intellectual freedom. Volume XIII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 11 "We think it's a crime for children to be made to think that being different is something to be ashamed of," says Dr. Nathan Kravetz, camp director. Dr. Kravetz is principal of a Los Angeles elementary school. CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves "FRIENDSHIP DAY CAMP" BY courtesy of a recently-completed Master's thesis—containing incidentally some good material on educational psychology—we learned of the existence in Los Angeles of an inter-racial, intercultural, summer youth-program known as the Friendship Day Camp. Founded since 1953, this organization is unique in that it is not sponsored by any "parent" institution, but grew out of the efforts of teachers and social workers who saw a great opportunity for youth in a deliberately-planned inter-cultural and inter-racial effort. Counselors, who receive approximately half of their regular pay as teachers, are carefully selected and helped to obtain the sort of preparation necessary. Effort is made to provide a sympathetic background in Japanese, Mexican and Jewish cultures, and representatives of these groups have contributed to this cosmopolitan teacher training. In an article for the Christian Science Monitor Kimmis Hendrick summarizes the philosophy of Friendship Day Camp: It is camp policy to keep the camp community really representative of all Los Angeles' racial, religious, and cultural groups. This applies to the counselors as well as the children. Most of the youngsters find it perfectly natural to think of each other, not as members of different races, but as boys and girls. But the makings of antagonism are there also. The fact that people can be different, can treasure their differences even, and yet be friends seems to be something that must be learned. How are constructive inter-racial and intercultural attitudes developed? By helping each child to appreciate the unique values of cultural traditions other than his own, and by helping him to deepen his respect for the traditions of his own "ethnic" or "racial" group. To continue with Mr. Hendrick's report (titled "A Camp With a Difference"): Volume XIII, No. 36 So far as anyone knows, the camp's approach to the interracial question is unique—and revolutionary. For many years leaders in Los Angeles' minority groups tended to argue that because all people deserve equal rights under the law, all people are actually the same and should be poured into the mold of a uniform society. But they began to see that this attitude didn't lead to a sturdy Americanism. Today, Dr. Kravetz notes, minority leaders realize that only as people cherish their heritage can they feel the pride and security which make them contributors to a dynamic society. Instruction is not by verbal insistence or lecturing, but simply a matter of participation. The Department of Parks of Los Angeles has provided the use of its finest locality, in Griffith Park and immediate vicinity, with opportunity for horseback riding, boating, fishing, hikes and bicycle trips along interesting trails, etc. No more than ten children are allowed in any given group, so that during most of the daily activities the appearance of a large organization is avoided. Yet at least once a day all campers gather together to listen to and participate in the singing of songs from many lands. Ezra Weintraub, administrative officer of the camp, explains this portion of the program in his Master's Thesis: At the end of the day, one-half hour is reserved for the closing assembly. Each group takes at least one turn to perform skits, songs or dances for the other groups. This is an excellent opportunity to bring meaning to the philosophy of cultural pluralism; for example, one counselor told his group the origin of an Israeli folk dance—the children then had a wonderful time performing this dance for the rest of the camp. Songs of the different cultures are learned by the campers during the assembly. The singing helps to create a group and camp spirit and promotes a real feeling for the various cultures. The guest artists, who are inspired by the enthusiasm of the boys and girls, also engender this feeling. We intend to visit Friendship Day Camp, and will possibly send our own children next year. MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 12 Those who have observed the workings of this "camp with a difference" are impressed by the sort of camp morale that seems to develop. In the late Fall, for example, both the young campers and their parents have wished to have group and camp reunions, and parents have also responded to the unique values gained from inter-racial emphasis by assisting their children to continue friendships begun at camp. Mr. Hendrick gives an insight into a sort of instruction which is, in our opinion, probably of more value than things learned in public school: Once when the children were listening to some Japanese folk songs, a little Japanese-American poked his Mexican-American friend gently in the ribs and whispered with great feeling, "That's Japanese." He'd gotten the point. them from me. I speak English only as an untaught alien can speak it. But my children know all the slang phrases. They speak differently, they act differently, and when they come to visit me they come alone. They do not explain why they do not bring their friends, but I instinctively sense the reason. They should not fear. I would not cause them any embarrassment. But they too look upon their old father as an inferior, an alien, a bo-hunk. So my only consolation is my memory. And strange as it may seem to you, my experiences in America are not the ones that crowd my thoughts. No, it is the memory of my childhood days, spent in far away Lithuania. I remember the folklore and the great green forests. Most of the parents who send their children to the camp—they come from a 40-square-mile radius Monday through Friday—have it too, Dr. Kravetz says. They want their children to appreciate and experience the rich variety in America's racial and cultural diversity. Often, in their home neighborhoods, there is little opportunity to see it. The organizers of Friendship Day Camp are dedicated men and women who also enjoy their work. They encourage inquiry and are presently responding to letters from many places, hoping that similar ventures may come into being all over the United States and elsewhere. The general philosophy of "cultural pluralism" finds an excellent statement in Louis Adamic's My America, published in 1938—a book which we regard as a genuine New World classic. A section entitled "From My Diary" highlights a need Adamic sensed so keenly—for appreciating one's own ethnic background merged with a desire to learn from and appreciate those of others. Americans, he believed, are constructively "the same" only when the sameness reflects this viewpoint. Adamic reproduces some touching paragraphs from a letter by a Lithuanian immigrant: My children have grown up. They are educated, and the education given them by America has taken Volume XIII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 13 FRONTIERS Notes on Censorship THE practice of "censorship," involving library selections, motion pictures or book distribution, clearly reveals that in both England and America there are sharply divergent approaches to politics, religion and education. While the material which various organizations and boards seek to suppress usually appears in written form, the issue is never concerned with literary merit. Dan Lacy, writing in the Christian Century for May 4 on "Obscenity and Censorship," sums up from a liberal point of view: Methods of employing compulsion illegally or extra-legally are not only offensive in principle to our sense of the indispensable role of the due process of law in protecting all our liberties; they quickly run beyond the suppression of obscenity to the censorship of writings of serious purpose. When not held in check by the necessity of proving a case before a disinterested court, the solicitude of those who would protect our morals extends itself insensibly to our minds as well. Doctrinal and political views begin to shape moral judgments and to be reflected in censorship lists. The "obscenity' of a banned book like Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit or a film like Pinky seems to consist of nothing more than opposition to racial injustice. The Legion of Decency warns against a film like Bette Davis' Storm Center because its heroine is a librarian who refuses to remove a communist book from the shelves. Films like The Miracle or Martin Luther are banned or attacked for reasons that seem purely doctrinal. The lists of "objectionable" books used principally as instruments of pressure in the United States at one time or another have contained in addition to a vast deal of trash, the works of such writers as Hemingway, Steinbeck, O'Hara and Faulkner, inexpensive editions of important works on psychoanalysis, and several of the novels that have won the National Book Award. In the New Republic for May 16, Raymond Stringer, a librarian, adds observations based on his own experience to a review of a Fund for the Republic release (1959), Book Selection and Censorship: Librarians, as a group, are more than usually liberal in their general outlook. But they tend to be Volume XIII, No. 36 timid. By refraining from the purchase of books which might offend some groups, they in effect place such groups above criticism and hence beyond democratic control. Precisely which group is above criticism in a library or branch of a library may depend on the religious or racial composition of the community in which the institution is located. Thus, within one municipal library system, Branch A, located in a predominantly Catholic area, may not purchase Alvah Sulloway's Birth Control and the Catholic Church. On the other hand, Branch B, which did buy the Sulloway book and is located in a primarily Negro neighborhood, "just happened" not to have bought Franklin Frazier's Black Bourgeoisie, or "happened" to have found itself with only enough money to buy one copy. Finally, Branch C, located in an upper middle class "restricted" Protestant section of the city might have bought both of the abovementioned books (which can be used by antiCatholics or anti-Negroes to support their prejudices, just as any book can be so used by unprincipled individuals who put their mind to it), but carefully avoided buying a novel on racial intermarriage such as Fred Dodsworth's The Strange One. Mr. Stringer and Mr. Lacy are making the same all-important point—that whenever a publisher, librarian, or motion picture exhibitor allows a powerful local group to dictate propriety respecting literature or movies, they are frustrating, rather than abetting, true democratic control. The problem is much the same in England, with liberals unanimously opposed to censorship of any type. Derek Hill, in discussing "The Habit of Censorship" in the July issue of Encounter, reviews the long and confusing history of the British Board of Film Censors, demonstrating that any sort of official interference with films on the basis of censorship proceeds in utter inconsistency. As a result, Mr. Hill argues for the total abolition of film restriction, on the following well-reasoned basis: In any country where a free Press is cherished, there is and always has been a case for the complete abolition of film censorship. Indeed, this has been recognised in Britain by the fact that news-reels have always been deliberately excluded from the Board's restrictions on the grounds that the freedom of the Press is an established concept. In the Sunday Pictorial a few weeks ago a full-page picture MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 14 appeared of a girl in a Bikini with a knife stuck in her throat and blood pouring down her body. A lighthearted caption explained it was "all a fake." If we object to this kind of thing in a family newspaper, the remedy is simple enough. We are all our own censors, and are as free to avoid a cinema whose programmes we have found distasteful as we are to refuse buying a newspaper whose policy we consider offensive. What would happen to the considerations with which the Board is concerned if it were abolished? Authority, I submit, should not need the kind of protection censorship affords it. An outcry would be raised if, say, the Daily Worker were suppressed. Why, then, is the suppression of Communist films so quietly accepted? A similar argument is applicable to the protection of religious sensibilities. Violence is sometimes dramatically justifiable; but even when it is not, it has never been shown that its influence is more insidious than, say, the glorification of war or the relentless emphasis on material values which together occupy such a huge proportion of the cinema's time without incurring the censor's displeasure. We return to Mr. Lacy for an excellent discussion of the censor's chief argument—that young people are corrupted by literature which brings them precocious knowledge of sex. Mr. Lacy affirms that it would be most difficult to find a single responsible expert "who sees any significant relation at all between the greater frankness of contemporary general literature and juvenile delinquency or misbehavior." He continues: rather than created by the media of communication. Society had become quite tolerant of mild profanity in general conversation long before the first "Damn!" appeared on television, and the rather marked changes in sexual mores after World War I and again during and after World War II considerably antedated the franker treatment of sex in print. Whatever fundamental moral problem there may be probably exists within the standards of society itself; literature merely reflects the problem. It would indeed be a bold man who would undertake to say with assurance that the net effect of our greater frankness is bad. During the latter 19th and early 20th centuries when prudery in literature and in the polite conventions of society was most complete, it masked purulent abscesses of sexual exploitation far worse than anything we know today. At the time when Dreiser's Sister Carrie was banned and Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession could not be performed, annually the lives of tens of thousands of girls were being sacrificed to large-scale, organized, officially tolerated prostitution on the most extensive scale in history. There is no way to measure the mountains of human misery created by society's long stifling of discussion of venereal diseases and birth control, or even to guess at the family and personal tragedies resulting from sexual ignorance. If a greater freedom has given to some an opening for the exploitation of salaciousness, it has also allowed a candid and healing light to be played on dark sores in our society. As a matter of fact, most juvenile delinquents exhibit serious reading disabilities, averaging three years or more behind what is normal for their agelevel. It is unusual to find in serious trouble with the authorities a youth whose capacity for sustained reading is adequate for an adult novel. Whatever creates juvenile delinquency, it is not the reading of works of John O'Hara or D. H. Lawrence or Vladimir Nabokov or, for that matter, Grace Metalious. In fact, it is the inability to do sustained reading, frustrating the youth at school and cutting off a major avenue of escape from the limits of what is usually a mean and sordid environment, that tends to breed rebellious delinquency. With respect to the moral standards of society generally, it seems clear that they are reflected in, Volume XIII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 7, 1960 ...
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