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THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE
@author: Manas Reprints
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@mdate: 2004-12-06T17:00:00Z
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author: Manas Reprints
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VOLUME XIV, NO. 8 FEBRUARY 22, 1961 THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE IF you were to collect all the dispassionate and wellconsidered studies of what is wrong with the modern world and set them down together, and then collect everything you could find concerning the capacities of human beings to deal with what is wrong, you would end up with one big pile of closely argued material and one little pile of anxious exhortations and nervously constructed hopes. The analysts of trouble, you could say, seem to have all the facts, and the synthesizers all the values, so that it is extremely difficult to place the two piles of material in anything like rational relation. Usually, the people who try to work out solutions show a tendency to hand-pick both their facts and their values. This is supposed to be unscientific and reprehensible, but, when you think about it, what else can they do? The store of facts is endless, the relevance of values universal. The art of putting the two together seems much more important than some technical way of adding the facts or measuring the values. Where, finally, do considerations of this sort lead? They lead to reflection on what it takes to lift an entire civilization above itself—on what is required for people to make a conscious break with the past, and hew out of the recalcitrant materials of their old habits and familiar objectives a course of existence which embodies the new ideals. We have very little knowledge of this sort of historical change. We know something of the transformation of individuals. We can read about men and women who, from apparently conventional backgrounds, rise up to become leaders, innovators, and pioneers. The lives of men like Lincoln, Gandhi, Schweitzer, and a few others are available to us in books. Careers involving dramatic changes or differentiations in individual behavior are at least conceivable to us, however obscure may be their ultimate explanation. But what about large groups of human beings? Do they ever change? Questions like this one involve historical mysteries. What were the "causes" of the genius set free in Periclean Athens? What started off the Pilgrim Fathers on the long journey which ended at Plymouth Rock? Why did these men, and not some others, become the Pilgrim Fathers? What strange combination of geography, climate, frontier conditions, British blindness, and extraordinary individuals in the colonies made possible the flowering of the far-reaching ideas conceived by the Founding Fathers of the United States? Is it possible to generalize at all in connection with such questions? Well, we can surely say one thing: that large numbers of men can be moved to a radical change in their lives by common participation in either a great vision or a great illusion. This much, at least, seems certain. And we can add that even a great vision may have elements of illusion in it, due to misunderstanding of its implications; or that the illusion may itself acquire a controlling power over human decision by reason of its similitude to vision. What we are trying to suggest is that the psychodynamics of change do not require a clear understanding by all of what is vision and what is illusion. The element of illusion, when exposed, may weaken human efforts to sustain the new conditions brought by the change, but so long as the vision remains as a moving experience, it functions to heighten the capacities of human beings. The environment may of course either collaborate with or oppose the inspiration of the vision, depending upon its character and level of operations. The moral and political inspiration of the Founding Fathers was not unique to the American colonists. Writers in England saw and felt the same great historical possibilities, but they could hardly work to make them into the same sort of realities in England. The North American Continent was itself a crucial, if passive, factor in the vision of the men who shaped the destiny of the new nation. The land and its resources gave scope to the American Dream. So, in contemplating the possibilities of MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 radical change in the patterns of men's lives, the entire scene must be taken into consideration. The ideal or vision shared by many men is commonly embodied in economic and political projects, as distinguished from the unalloyed counsels of high religion. There is therefore the question: To what extent are the practical affairs of men a governing factor in any workable project of change? The important question today, however, might have another form. It could be: To what extent are the essential problems of our age "practical" problems? Very nearly everything depends upon the way in which this question is answered, since if we regard our problems as essentially practical, we are likely to seek our solutions from the technologists and engineers; but if we think that our difficulties are mainly of another sort—if we think, that is, they turn on moral and psychological issues—then the technical people cannot help us, and if we listen to them we shall only find ourselves increasingly confused. This is not to suggest that the technologists would have no role in a period of radical moral change. They have an obviously important role—the role of the designers of mechanisms to make the vision work; but they as well as the rest of us need to realize that the conceiving of the vision is not a technical but a human project. We are now ready to declare the view—hardly a novel one—that the desperate situation of the modern world is essentially a moral rather than a practical emergency, and that what is needed is a moral vision and a moral light on the enclosing circumstances of the times. We say this for the reason that there are no serious technical problems which could not soon be dissolved if men would approach them with complete good will. Vision dwarfs technical problems. Human beings cheerfully endure all sorts of privations in the pursuit of high aims. The satisfaction of material needs is plainly necessary, but consider the difference between the attitude of a crew of men who go on short rations in order to sail a raft across the Pacific, and that of a group who cannot find employment or are locked out of the Volume XIV, No. 8 factory where they have been working. In the first instance, there is no question of blame. If we could eliminate the idea of blame in the relation of man with his problems, war and countless other abuses would immediately become things of the past. But even if we leave out of account this capacity of human beings to suffer austerities without complaint, there is still no reason to claim that the problems of the modern world are basically technical. Food supply is of course a technical problem, but if the men who have a thorough grasp of its issues could be turned loose to work on it, without interference, we suspect that they could devise a practical program which would eliminate all involuntary hunger in the world within, say, twentyfive years. A race which can climb Mount Everest, send rockets to the moon, communicate around the earth in a few seconds, turn desert areas into teeming cities and transport incredible tonnages by air and sea and land—such a race can feed the hungry. A nation like the United States which wastes food enough to feed two or three small countries could easily devote some of its titanic energies to the practical problems of the underdeveloped peoples, and we have sociologists and social psychologists in droves to see that such help is given intelligently. The advanced industrial nations of Europe could all do the same. Someone may say that there are semantic difficulties in this analysis; that the misunderstandings which divide one nation from another, which create suspicions and enmities leading to military rivalries, are in a very real sense "technical" problems of communication. We can agree to this if it be admitted that what is nevertheless lacking is the will to understand, and this, we submit, is a moral problem. One of the customary processes of the modern world, which has been going on ever since the scientific revolution, is the reformulation of moral issues as technical issues. It is true enough that a cross child may become cheerful and do better work in school if someone makes sure that the child has a good breakfast. We have sense enough to see that; but are we ready to admit that the malnutrition of an entire generation of German children may have had MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 3 something to do with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Revolution? Are we willing to study the history of Communism and to work back through the social conditions of past centuries until we have a similar grasp of the processes which played a part in alienating so large a proportion of the world's population from assumptions which we say we "believe" in, but which others may say only that we are still rich enough to afford? Are we ready to risk getting into the painful self-examination to which this line of argument leads? What becomes plain from only a few exercises of this sort is that it is the easiest thing in the world to get lost in a morass of indecision. Whatever is proposed, there are always dozens of reasons for opposing it. The real issue, it seems clear, is still the one proposed at the beginning: that the ills and conflicts of the modern world are much greater and more far-reaching than our evident capacities to deal with them, and that it has become necessary to draw back from the wholly inadequate tools we have at hand, in order to obtain a fresh view. The critics of the age have been doing exactly this for almost a generation. We are told that the modern world has lost its sense of values, that its symbols of the good life have been debased, that materialism has overtaken the peoples of both the East and the West, that the once honored goal of "prosperity," as soon as achieved, loses its savor and is replaced by the avid hunt for sensation in a desperate attempt to deaden the feelings of inadequacy and failure. We are told that we do not know how to love; that in an anxiety-ridden society, the normal man is a misfit; that the image of the self is becoming a reprint of the mass-man, and that the ends of the machines and the gadgets have been allowed to design the pattern of our lives. We are told these things effectively, accurately, and endlessly. But these charges, which can hardly be denied, do not add to our strength. All they do is add a twist of sophisticated self-justification to the intellectually skillful who are able to play hypocritical parts in the enormous self-deception that all would be right with our world, if the Russians (and the Chinese) would only go away. In such a society, intelligence is shut Volume XIV, No. 8 out from honor, until there is no one left but the innocent and semi-innocent victims, the outcasts, the cynics, and the prostitutes. The immediate consequence of this development is weakness—not physical weakness, although that may come later, but moral weakness and weakness of mind. Then men begin to long for the sturdy bigotry of previous epochs. They don't like the bigotry, but they can't do without the strength that conviction—even blind, partisan conviction—is able to display. There is only one salvation for a civilization suffering from despondency and degeneration of this sort: the salvation which comes from a new vision of man and his destiny. Now we come to a major difficulty, the need for giving some thought to the sort of vision that might accomplish what we want. This is a difficulty for the reason that visions are hard enough to come by, without having to filter them through the agnostic frame of reference we have inherited from the nineteenth century. For it seems evident that the only vision which can be of help to mankind in the twentieth century is a fresh vision of man himself, and since the shivering, miserable sinner of our religious past was replaced by nothing better than a physiologically declining primate, there is very little material in existing Western tradition of which to fabricate a vision. The intellectual development of the West has completely ruled out a return to any of the familiar forms of religious myth. The Conquest-of-Natureby-Free-Men myth, characteristic of the American past, has been thoroughly used up by men of American science, technology, and industry, and turned against itself in thermo-nuclear devices for immeasurable destruction. The Collectivist myth of the Classless Society, which operated to produce enthusiasm for change over a period of a century, is also just about worked out. It may still have appeal for those who lack any observation or experience of its juggernaut operations, but for men who, could they find a new vision and some great project to work on, would hold the initiative for the future, Collectivism is as useless a conception as Acquisitive Individualism. There are no doubt values to be salvaged from all these exhausted and MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 4 failing versions of the meaning of life, but no one of them contains the vital elements of a vision for the future. You could say that, through these several forms of past undertaking, human beings have solved in principle all the problems presented by their environment—the natural environment, that is—and are now confronted by the only remaining problem: the frightening and unmanageable circumstances of the human environment, which they have made for themselves. We return, therefore, to the contention that the issue of the present is moral, and that the vision which is to lift man out of himself, or out of his present ways, will have to be concerned with man's own nature and being, considered as a master rather than a product of his environment. The visions and ideas of destiny connected with the physical environment provided forms of discipline which channeled human energies and maintained norms of identity and achievement. Remember the adjectives: Industrious, thrifty, hardworking, sober, substantial, reliable, successful? They don't mean much, today. They're all right as adjectives, but a modern man, labelled by any one of them, is likely to feel a little sheepish. Is that all they can say about me? he will probably comment. Those adjectives all indicate a triumphant relationship with things. Today, a man prefers adjectives which relate him to an ideal of self—he likes to feel he is "creative," or "mature." The important project is now the question of identity— the kind of people we are, or are in the process of becoming. The natural and economic environment can no longer contribute a "form" to man's being. the pacifists and civilly disobedient objectors to war are demonstrating again and again the human capacity to say no to the mindless drive toward mutual destruction of the great nations. What remains to be achieved is a conception of human life which can fill all the vessels left empty by this strenuous rejection. What remains to be gained is a vision of the human spirit in positive terms—of the man who rightfully rejects all these major and minor poisons of the past, because he is what he is. The human mind, we may some day come to believe, is made of the substance of eternity. The old myths, the almost forgotten myths of antiquity, were stories we can no longer believe, as stories, but we may still discover in these ancient intuitions the thread of an undying vision. It is not that anyone will be able to dress up long lost allegories in the garb of a plausible contemporary metaphysic, but rather that, in these days of crumbling institutional forms and beliefs, and in the agony of a desperation which finds no peace or promise of peace in the world we know, we may begin to hear our own voices as almost the cry of disembodied intelligence, demanding its spiritual rights. And then, perhaps, we shall begin to make a new sort of alliance with the world, on terms which acknowledge and declare, first of all, the humanity of the human race. We need a vision which shapes the being and identity of man from the inner qualities of man himself. You could say that the psychotherapists have helped man to emancipate self from "things," that the artists of our time, although in a confused way, are doing all they can to emancipate him from familiar appearances of "reality," and that the technologists have already liberated him from all material bondages except those which are self-created. The Existentialists have broken the intellectual spell of the great Ideologies, and various cultural rebels from the Beat Generation to the serious poets, essayists, and moralists have heaped contempt on the tried but not true goals of acquisition and satiety. Meanwhile, Volume XIV, No. 8 MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 5 REVIEW THE RELUCTANT THEORISTS A PARARAPH from a review in the New Republic (Jan. 2) illustrates the heavy hand of scientific tradition as well as the problems of the practitioner of science who chooses to work outside well-established fields. The book under examination is H. G. Heine's The Vital Sense, concerned with a possible explanation of extra sensory perception. Not particularly impressed by this volume, the reviewer, Christopher Jencks, begins his discussion: Someday perhaps the history of science will be embellished with an intriguing chapter on parapsychology—the study of clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, and psychokinesis—and under a title like "Parapsychology and the Experimental Method," the author will describe twentieth-century efforts to make psychic phenomena part of the scientific canon by meticulously following the rules of scientific method laid down by contemporary philosophers. After summarizing the overwhelming evidence against classical mechanistic theories of perception which these experiments quickly generated, the chapter will no doubt go on to emphasize the parapsychologists' failure to formulate new hypotheses to explain their own findings, and will note this failure as the primary reason for the passionate obstinacy with which conventional psychologists damned psychic research as blasphemously "unscientific." Mr. Jencks may not be much of a prophet in anticipating what future historians will think important to say about twentieth-century psychic research, but he is accurate enough in reporting that present-day workers in this field do keep fairly quiet about the theoretical interpretation of the facts they report, and accurate, too, in saying that this failure of ESP researchers to theorize has brought them much condemnation from the conventional psychologists. Yet actually, the contest between the parapsychologists and their "materialistic" opponents is a metaphysical contest about the nature of the universe, much more than it is an argument about facts, scientific method, and the Volume XIV, No. 8 presence or absence of hypotheses to explain psychical phenomena. And for the deniers of the reality of extra sensory perception, the value at stake is the precious right of the scientific investigator to study nature and report his observations, without any intervention by some capricious supernatural agent. Years ago, in the American Scholar (Winter, 1938-39), Dr. Joseph Jastrow used the words of an unnamed colleague to show that the opposition to ESP arose "out of a profound philosophical conviction." The argument was this: ESP is so contrary to the general scientific world picture that to accept the former would compel the abandonment of the latter. I am unwilling to give up the body of scientific knowledge so painfully acquired in the Western world during the last 300 years, on the basis of a few anecdotes and a few badly reported experiments. The conventional psychologists, in short, want to negotiate with the Unknown from a position of strength, and to allow ESP a place in the scientific scheme of things would turn all the mechanistic absolutes into the most uncertain of relativities. From this "philosophical" objection, Dr. Jastrow passed to another sort of criticism: The day is past when a power, agency, "faculty"—or whatever it is supposed to be in the psychic realm—so subversive as ESP can be posited, and its issues and implications developed, without giving an intelligible if speculative account of its operation. No such account is offered. It is this complaint that Mr. Jencks repeats in his New Republic article, as the primary fault found by conventional psychologists with ESP research. But if one reads the parapsychologists at all, he soon begins to realize that they very carefully don't "speculate" about processes which, as Dr. Jastrow and others point out, involve revolutionary possibilities for the entirety of science. And it was not Dr. Rhine of Duke University, but Isaac Newton, who first declared, Hypotheses non fingo (I do not make hypotheses). The researchers in ESP are careful to present only the smallest of metaphysical targets to shoot at, and this annoys their critics. Instead, the ESPers MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 6 keep on assembling more and more facts, until, as Mr. Jencks notes, they have accumulated "overwhelming evidence against classical mechanistic theories of perception." There may be an enormous "underground" of speculative wondering on the part of the professional people who work in this field, but they quite properly keep their speculations to themselves. What they do say, on occasion, is that eventually the work they are doing may prove to have momentous consequences for philosophy and religion. This seems a reasonable possibility. They are not yet ready, however, to spell out those consequences. One can hardly blame them for this, considering both the astonishing character and the obscurity of the material they are studying. The fact, however, is that most programs of psychic research have originated from the hunger for light on transcendental questions. Years ago, in 1923, Dr. William McDougall, who was at that time professor of psychology at Harvard University, wrote: Unless psychical research can discover facts incompatible with materialism, materialism will continue to spread. No other power can stop it; revealed religion and metaphysical philosophy are equally helpless before the advancing tide. And if that tide continues to rise and advance as it is doing now, all signs point to the view that it will be a destroying tide, that it will sweep away all the hardwon gains of humanity, all the moral traditions built up by the efforts of countless generations for the increase of truth, justice and charity. So Dr. McDougall, fully as distinguished a spokesman for psychology as Dr. Jastrow, had also "a profound philosophical conviction" behind his interest in psychic research, which led him, in the 1930's, to go to Duke University and there begin the work which Dr. Rhine has carried on so well since Dr. McDougall's death. In 1937, a year before he died, Dr. McDougall asked the readers of the first issue of the Journal of Parapsychology a series of questions which again revealed his philosophic concern: Volume XIV, No. 8 What are the relations of mind and matter? Are mental processes always and everywhere intimately and utterly dependent upon material or physical organizations? Do the volitions, the strivings, the desires, the joys and sorrows, the judgments and beliefs of men make any difference to the historical course of the events of our world, as the mass of men at all times have believed? Or does the truth lie with those few philosophers and scientists who, with or without some more or less plausible theory in support of their view, confidently reject well-nigh universal beliefs, telling us that the physical is coextensive with the mental and that the powers and potentialities of the mind may be defined by the laws of the physical sciences? To some extent, of course, the opponents of ESP research may reflect only a personal stake in their specialty, which would probably diminish in importance were the study of non-physical modes of perception to dominate modern psychology. But the more fundamental resolve on the part of these critics is surely a desire to preserve the integrity of scientific research. It is here, however, that they may find themselves less than impartial, since Dr. Rhine and others have been working in parapsychology long enough to show that this is precisely their interest, also. They have attempted, with some success, to take psychic research out of the hands of the mediums and crystal-gazers and to determine, if possible, whether or not there are laws under which these strange and wonderful happenings occur. Psychic research of this sort will be well on its way when it is recognized, at last, that stubborn opposition to such scientific work is much more likely to be responsible for a revival of superstition than the honest efforts of trained investigators who seek, not evidence of "miracles," but the foundation of a natural order for transcendental, or at least superphysical, reality. MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 7 COMMENTARY 1776—THEN AND NOW THERE is always the question, when the birthday of a national hero comes around, of how to relate the humanity of the man we honor to the present scene. That, at any rate, is what one ought to try to do, if calling attention to a man like, say, George Washington is to be more than a ritualistic gesture. We think of Washington as a leader of the highest integrity and military capacity. To what, one wonders, would such a man devote his abilities, today? Not many, perhaps, will agree with us, but we find it practically impossible to imagine such a man messing with military activities at all. In his time, fighting and winning the war for American Independence seemed to him the only thing to do. The issues were clearly drawn and put into the words of the Declaration of Independence by such men as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. But today, the issues are by no means clear, although the times are evil enough, and the emergencies we suffer from desperate. Yet they are not military emergencies. No one in his right mind believes that a victory won with modern arms will do any important service for the human race. More than likely, a victory on the scale that the competing armaments of the existing powers require, would destroy the human race, or a very large part of it. We live in an age of blurred images—a blurred image of man, a blurred image of human good, and blurred ideas of excellence and attainment in human life. Paine, we think, would busy himself with such concerns, since they were also a primary concern of his in 1776. It is this blurring of images and confusion of objectives that is aborting the future of our civilization. All the other evils and weaknesses of the age come from this one, this dreadful impoverishment in clear ideas about ourselves, what we want, and who we are. The most important work for men of today is work which contributes to clarity on these questions. This is where we need the help—not in wars and politics, which are now no more than old games that only the old men and some of the barbarous young still take seriously. If we could find out something about ourselves, we might be able to dispense with our wars and make some sense out of our politics. The Founding Fathers, we think, were they among us today, would manage to work on these questions because their sagacity would oblige them to work in fields that hold some promise of bearing fruit. It follows that a great man, born into the world of today, would not enter the military service. He would find something better, something more to the point, to do. He would, we think, try to find out what is wrong with the affairs of his country, and of the world, and work toward remedying that. To be candid, we don't know what George Washington would do today. Or Thomas Jefferson. Or James Madison. They might, however, interest themselves in the same sort of project that we think Tom Paine would undertake. Volume XIV, No. 8 MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 8 time he wishes, as well as to attend an informal dance next Saturday at our home. CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves MORE OF CARL EWALD [Here is another extract from Carl Ewald's hitherto untranslated book, My Big Girl. This is the second of a series of extracts put into English from the original Danish by Beth Bolling, of Philadelphia. The first appeared in "Children" for Nov. 30, 1960. A number of MANAS readers seem to want as much of Ewald as they can get. Through courtesy of Mrs. Bolling and by permission of the author's son in Denmark, we shall be able to continue for some time with the first English printing of portions of My Big Girl.] IT wasn't pure nonsense that my big girl had on her mind the evening she waited for me in my study. Even if I didn't really listen then, I soon found out. She had a suitor. She had danced a few times with this young man at a schoolmate's house. He had paid her his respects, and all the girl friends are no less envious than their mothers, for he is a good match and a handsome chap. And he dances divinely. Now he has asked for permission to visit her in her home. She understands, of course, what this means, and is flattered and excited. Not only is he "first" in the crowd, but there is something in his correct behaviour which attracts her. None of the girl friends is engaged, either. He arrives. First he talks alone with Papa and openly confesses his intention—which is to win the heart and hand of our big girl. He has education and position. He has spoken to his parents. There is something in my face that makes him uneasy. But he quickly regains his composure and says that perhaps I am wondering about the way he is proceeding. He wants very much to convince us, as well as the girl, of his full integrity. This is a serious matter, and the times are so loose. . . . "Dreadful," I say. After a short courting in the living room his highness withdraws with an invitation to visit us any Volume XIV, No. 8 My big girl looks questioningly at me. I call in the maid. "Mary," I say, "the gentleman who was just here is a suitor. We are always at home to him, weekday and holiday, day and night." Mary giggles and leaves. "He has proposed to me," I say. "I have asked for time. There is an aunt in Middletown whom he has not yet asked." "Oh, Dad. . . ." She grumps a little, but soon we are friends again. We get out her guitar and we sing lots of wonderful songs about knights in armor who run away with their lady loves on beautiful, wild, white horses. . . straight against the wishes of the parents— even right out of convents. "These are really very naughty songs," I say. "Isn't there a single one who rides off first to the aunt in Middletown?" "Oh, Dad. . . ." In the evening our mother and I sit in the living room and talk it over. "You should be a little careful," she says. "That's what I am," I answer. "Most of the women worth anything will get two husbands. I shall do my utmost to see to it that she will start with number two." "He would be a good harbor for her," she says. I swing her around on the floor, which always has been a good argument and is easier now than in our youth. "Old Lady," I say, when she is all out of breath—"one has no business being in a harbor before one has been at sea. And isn't the sea wonderful! And aren't you a wonderful harbor?" __________ The suitor's complete and utter perfection becomes more and more evident. He confides in me that of course he has been about town a bit, although not so much as to expose his future wife to any danger. He speaks often and obligingly about marriage, about literature, morality, art—when the MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 9 ladies are present as well as to me alone. There is no contradiction between what he says to them and what he says to me. But there is one difference which is significant. He evidently regards the ladies as something apart—good enough to marry, but in no way worthy of obtaining the Holy Grail of the masculine world. When he has thus expounded on something or other and shown that he is on the right side of things, he rubs his bearded chin with an air of deepened self-satisfaction. "There is something funny about a beard," I say to my big girl one day when he is not present. "If a man has a beard, either one doesn't notice it at all, or one doesn't see anything else!" She agrees with me . . . and gets red in the face. It is quite easy to see that she isn't completely under his spell. She wonders about the regularity of his visits and the formality. When they are alone, she doesn't know what to say to him. But they are rarely alone. For it seems to serve his purposes better to have one of her guardians present. Obviously he is somewhat aware of her feeling that something is missing. In the innocence of her youth she doesn't know what it is, and he knows he can't give it to her. Nonetheless, he is dangerous, and if he should propose today, her answer would be yes. It isn't just the mounting envy and teasing of her girl friends. He is not dumb. He weaves a web of attentiveness around her. And somehow—in the end—and in an exceedingly modest fashion—he himself comes out standing on a higher plane than all other males. Even his immaculateness, which bores her, is to his advantage. And she is too young to sense the cruelty underneath his elegance. "He is absolutely disgusting," I say to our mother. "There is just no doubt that he will rob her of all the joy and happiness of life." "We must suffer through with him," she answers. One day I stake my life on my just cause. We take an academic walk—she, he, and I. He has said something beautiful and matter-ofcourse. . . . I think it is something about the Volume XIV, No. 8 difficulty of doing good. He has expounded on it and gotten agreement from her, and now he is rubbing his beard. Then I bang my cane into the sidewalk, step up and look challengingly at him "My good man," I say. "Honestly, this is not very amusing to me. Is this what you call wooing a girl? Look around. My Lord! The sun is shining; even the dirty little sparrow over there is chirping about love; and look at the old mailman—how he looks at the girls." The suitor gives me an uncertain glance and tries to smile at my disconcerting joke. But I bang my cane once more and still harder into the pavement. "I want to tell you something: Take her into the woods. Spoon with her under the tall beechnut trees. Treat her to a good dinner at Ocean View Restaurant. Tell her that you are dying with passion. Come home on the last train—or miss it. Over there is the station—the next train leaves at 3:35." I turn on my heel and walk away. I hope my back looks angry and resolute. But my heart quivers in fear for the fat of my big girl. An eternity passes. Will he really. . . ? Then somebody comes running after me. She sticks her arm through mine. Her eyes are a bit wet, but there is a smile in them. And we march joyfully home to our mother with our victory. Exactly a month later the mailman brings us an announcement of our suitor's engagement to be married. We have a festive dinner on that day and I toast my big girl in champagne. I hope the newly engaged couple had half as joyful a time on that day as we did. The suitor is gone. But he has been there—and not in vain. My big girl has stood on the threshold of the temple of life; and she has seen how easy it is to slip into the service of the wrong god. She doesn't talk about it—but she has grown. Her thoughts have grown bigger. Her longing is budding. It is wondrous and beautiful to see how her dreams and her words are carried alternately by the child and the woman in her. MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 10 FRONTIERS Notes on "Foreign Affairs`' The assumption that American aid will enable us to purchase political support for whatever position we choose to take in the United Nations is equally cynical and equally in error. . . Whether we like it or understand it, a clear majority of the non-Communist people of the world are unprepared to accept the American way of life as their model. . . . To call upon the non-Communistic two thirds of mankind to join us in a crusade for the "American Way of Life" is therefore self-defeating and futile. —CHESTER BOWLES REGARDLESS Of political affiliations or lack of them, it should be difficult for MANAS readers to disapprove the now-confirmed appointment of Chester Bowles as Undersecretary of State. For his is a "voice of America" which India and the non-Communist Near East and Asia like to hear—and a voice that Communist Asia has some hope of understanding. A review of the Bowles book, The Coming Political Breakthrough, by Anthony Hartley in the London Spectator for Sept. 16, explains part of Mr. Bowles' outlook: The policy to pursue towards a power such as India can only be one of friendly help: there can be no demand for imitation or gratitude. If there is, that policy will fail. The dilemma facing the West in Asia and Africa is that owing to our past record (and, though Americans do not think of themselves as "colonialists," the fact that the flag has not followed trade in, say, Latin America, makes little difference to the view taken of the US by a Latin American nationalist) we are faced with the necessity of giving economic aid to underdeveloped countries without much possibility of gratitude in return. As for political advantage, all that can be expected is an increase in stability for the areas concerned, through which revolutionary situations benefiting their indigenous Communist parties can be prevented. Russia, on the other hand, may expect tangible returns from the present of Soviet experts and the managing of an aid programme to a country with which it has not had close relations before. Up till Volume XIV, No. 8 now the Communist bloc has had local prejudices in its favour, though in South-East Asia anyway this situation may not survive the toughly aggressive policy carried on by Communist China—one reason for Mr. Khrushchev's annoyance with Peking; and much smaller aid from them produces much greater political gains. This is frustrating for the West, and might easily tempt us to throw in our hands. It is the merit of Mr. Bowles's book that he sees quite clearly that even in these conditions aid should not be diminished but increased; and that in no circumstances should it be considered as a bribe given with a lively expectation of benefits to come. A report from Paris by Jean Daniel in the New Republic (Dec. 26, 1960) discusses European optimism concerning American foreign policy. Mr. Bowles, for instance, speaks a global language which is more than mere verbiage, and his appointment by President Kennedy could mean the beginning of more fruitful international communication. Mr. Daniel writes: What is expected from John F. Kennedy abroad? Above all, it is hoped that he will show that he understands the complete and radical transformation in the evolution of our world and that he will systematically reverse current trends in America. Does American public opinion realize that for millions of the people being "protected" by the West, fear of Communism is far less acute than fear of misery? The average American seems not to understand why so many Europeans and Africans and Asiatics and Latin Americans do not wish to take advantage of the opportunity afforded them of being helped by the US to resist Soviet-Chinese pressures. And yet the answer is simple: most of these people have never seen the Soviet-Chinese dictatorship in action, whereas they witness day in and day out the effects of a certain kind of American aid. I believe it to be the duty of the friends of Kennedy, of Dean Rusk, of Chester Bowles and Adlai Stevenson, to get this out in the open, starting right now, before January 20—to cry aloud that the US is on a precipice, and that if it goes over the edge it may drag a great part of the world with it. Mr. Daniel is just home from a trip to Africa and Europe, where he found that hope for a less self-satisfied United States foreign policy is voiced MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 11 with an "almost desperate intensity" in many quarters. After giving his own criticisms of American nationalism, Mr. Daniel comments on his experience abroad: To my great surprise, the viewpoint which I have tried to summarize was expressed, generally speaking, by observers who up to just a few years ago had been loyally pro-American and who today are still fundamentally hostile to Communism. Quite spontaneously and with surprising unanimity these men and women have arrived at the same conclusions as those in the book of C. Wright Mills, Listen Yankee. When I passed on to them the observations of Wright Mills on Cuba and South America, and when I told them that Listen Yankee had sold as high as about 200,000 copies, they were somewhat reassured: If the "Kennedy elite corps" is beginning to understand what is really going on in Cuba, then perhaps the US is on the way to a realistic policy with regard to China and defense bases. Then too, in Europe, we have that oh-sofamiliar problem which serves as a touchstone for judgments of American policies, even though it is a problem never, or almost never, brought up in the US. I refer to Spain. Everyone knows that in 1945 Franco was saved by the British and the Americans, and that thereafter Spain became virtually an economic colony of the United States, nourished by it more or less in the same fashion as is Saudi Arabia. But less well known is the fact that about two-thirds of American capital aid to Spain is at present kept in Swiss banks, because the interest groups and the Spanish trusts to whom this aid was granted preferred to tuck their capital away in a safe place rather than invest it in their wretched country. The day that Franco falls, if the US has not in the meanwhile radically altered its policy, it will be difficult indeed to save the Spanish people from Communism and to convince them that the West has its welfare at heart. In Greece, in Turkey, and in Iran the same scandals are being repeated. Is public opinion in America informed about this? In the final analysis, however, better international relations and the hope for permanent peace depend upon a growth of understanding which no administration can accomplish by political means. And whether or not such understanding was properly implemented during the Eisenhower administration, it was by no means foreign to President Eisenhower himself. Since Volume XIV, No. 8 MANAS is a "non-political" journal of opinion, there is hardly likely to be a more appropriate occasion than this discussion for quoting from a speech which Mr. Eisenhower intended to deliver on a proposed Russian visit. The U-2 incident led to cancellation of the President's plans, a circumstance which both Russia and America should regret, for here the President of the United States was speaking a language of which America could well be proud: Suspicion and rancor and fear, voiced often in the harshest words of threat, too often mark the relations of peoples once tightly joined in a common cause and by a common victory. All of us are at fault that there have been such tragic crimes against friendship. But our fault will be the most tragic of all crimes if we shrug our shoulders and say, "This sort of thing has always happened"; if we fail, you and I, all of us, to act positively and vigorously that suspicion and rancor and fear be banished. When I was a boy, we put blinders on horses so they would not shy in fright of a scarecrow, a shadow, a rabbit. But today we human beings deliberately put blinders on ourselves, not to avoid the sight of frightful things, but to ignore a central fact of human existence. I mean that mankind too often blinds itself to the common lot, to the common purposes, to the common aspirations of humanity everywhere. I mean that all of us too much live in ignorance of our neighbors; or, when we take off our blinders, view them through the contortionist spectacles of propaganda. And we will continue that way—forever fearful, forever suspicious—until we convince ourselves that the only way to peace is through the mutually open society. Then, at long last, seeing our human neighbors as they really are, we shall come to realize that we need no more fear them than the horse the rabbit. So I come to this home of heroes with a feeling of inescapable duty upon me to understand better your achievements, your concerns, your beliefs, and your hopes—the great and good you share with all your country. To reach such understanding is a compelling duty on all Americans on myself and on my MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 12 181,000,000 fellow citizens. To ignore it is as senseless as to read only the odd-numbered pages in a book. And what applies to Americans should apply to Russians, too. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. . . . Today, I ask you and all Russia to look across eight thousand miles of land and water to my homeland. As you look, I ask that you forget for the moment this or that incident whose nearness in time magnifies and distorts its significance. I ask you instead to remember more than seventeen long decades of friendly, cooperative, profitable relations between our two peoples. . . . world divided into coexisting camps locked in a struggle for supremacy. We hope for and work for a single world community which recognizes and respects a code of international law governing the relations between diverse peoples. . . . The foregoing is a portion of the speech printed in the Saturday Review for Jan. 21, under the title, "A President's Address That Was Never Delivered." As I attempt the discharge of these two duties: to convince you of America's decent purposes; to learn and better understand your way, I have in my mind the words of a distinguished Russian who counseled the American people in an address delivered in Chicago more than sixty years ago. He was Prince Serge Wolkonsky (Sergici Milhailovich Volonskii). Permit me to read a paragraph from his talk: "When you want to learn what a nation is, what a nation is capable of, when you want to know her ideas, her aspirations her character, when you want to know a nation's soul—do not study her from the reports of the daily papers or the cheap pamphlets which are written for one occasion and the fame of which lasts but a month or two. Learn a nation from the precious contributions she has given to the eternal treasures of humanity; learn her from what she did for universal science, universal art; learn to know the nation from her beacons, from those men she is proud of, and first of all—let politics alone. . . ." Our belief in your right to your form of government, and in the similar right of the American people and every other people, stems from our conviction that each individual has the right to choose his own destiny in freedom. This is the essence of our American heritage. . . . The system which provides us with the best opportunity to work toward the realization of our ideals may not suit you. That is for you to decide. Yours does not suit us. We do not believe that our system any more than yours is the inevitable solution for the other peoples of the world. They must, as we are doing, seek their own way, taking what they wish from the experience of others. . . . We work for a world in which this diverse development will be guaranteed. We do not seek a Volume XIV, No. 8 MANAS Reprint February 22, 1961 ...
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