per page, with , order by , clip by
Results of 0 - 1 of about 0 (0.001 sec.)
A LANGUAGE OF SYNTHESIS
@author: Manas Reprints
@digest: ada090233282da5b1ade6c65cfd33ac9
@id: 2988
@mdate: 2004-12-06T17:00:00Z
@size: 58961
@type: application/pdf
author: Manas Reprints
creator: Microsoft Word
producer: Acrobat PDFWriter 3.02 for Windows
#keywords: benedetti (57833), pluralism (48779), initiation (12617), september (9721), mythology (9482), creativity (7921), individuality (7580), america (5673), 1964 (5374), spiritual (5319), community (4209), reprint (4055), individual (3940), revolution (3641), volume (3634), language (3457), environment (3158), the (3147), society (3071), philosophy (3037), something (2963), political (2740), social (2709), manas (2509), that (2429), experience (2326), become (2266), and (2201), meaning (2134), there (2101), because (2084), which (2049)
VOLUME XVII, NO. 36 SEPTEMBER 2, 1964 A LANGUAGE OF SYNTHESIS THE indices of human maturity are increasingly defined by psychologists as having complementary orientations—one category representing the capacity of the individual for "autonomy," as a kind of spiritual self-reliance, and the other expressed as empathy for what others are thinking, feeling, and attempting. It follows that to be truly "free," the individual must also be aware of the fact of interdependence, coming to feel "responsible" not only to "self," but also to the processes of life in which our fellows are engaged. For the mature man, the processes of growth vary very little from culture to culture, or nation to nation; whatever the external differences, growth towards a more universal understanding will, on this view, eventually become an internal imperative. This is a way of saying that every man is capable of more philosophy than he can presently define intellectually. Somewhere within his being is the prescience to believe in an illimitable future of opportunity. He may seek to fulfill opportunity through an attempt at Utopia here and now—or he may build toward a community of thought or a community of people. His growth in individuality may at first be sought in isolation on the mountain top, or contrariwise, within the complications of tightly-knit community; the basic requirement is that the activity some call "philosophy" shall be involved in the emergence of the individual. The external signs of progressive awakening may be entirely different, yet the psychological accomplishment be about the same. Both the sage and the warrior can become "autonomous," even if this stage is realized only after the external signs of sageness or soldiering have been transcended. Yet the achievement of autonomy or "selfactualization" is hardly to be regarded as a final attainment, the gaining of heaven or nirvana. The secret of life, by the way of any of its diverse paths, is revealed in the endless cycles of opportunity for self-transformation. In other words, autonomy is simply a name for the result of a particularly significant kind of initiation—one which begins a new cycle of creativity within the individual. In the conclusion of his Occidental Mythology, Joseph Campbell indicates that the connection between myth and wisdom is in a transfer of emphasis—a movement of awareness from the form of myth or belief to its viable psychological meaning: The fourth function of mythology is to initiate the individual into the order of realities of his own psyche, guiding him toward his own spiritual enrichment and realization. Humanistic individualism has released powers of creativity that have brought about in a mere two centuries changes in the weal and woe of man such as no two millenniums before had ever worked. The result being that where the old patterns of morality are retained they no longer match the actualities even of the local, let alone the world, scene. The adventure of the Grail—the quest within for those creative values by which the Waste Land is redeemed—has become today for each the unavoidable task; for, as there is no more any fixed horizon there is no more any fixed center, any Mecca, Rome, or Jerusalem. Our circle today is that announced, c. 1450, by Nicolaus Cusanus (1401-1464): whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere; the circle of infinite radius, which is also a straight line. A rarefied mythological language is certainly acquiring effective usage among psychologists today—a language always known to poets and artists. One might argue that a natural mysticism and mythology are essential to any living approach to either religion, psychology, philosophy, or community. To see man as never fixed but always moving, whether the spiral is temporarily up or down, is to adopt a liberating view that has applications in every direction. The reader of Henry Murray's Explorations in Personality MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 (Science Edition, 1962)—a Harvard study in "personology"—is struck by the fact that this same meticulously methodical psychologist writes in another language as well: a fascinating correlation of the ages and stages of men with the symbolic deities of Hindu mythology appears in his "Vicissitudes of Creativity" (printed in Creativity and Its Cultivation, ed., Harold H. Anderson, Harper, 1959). Discussing "the imagery of the mythology of freedom," Dr. Murray writes of "spiritual adolescence": all levels; an embracement and reunion of the opposites, man and nature, male and female, conscious and unconscious, superego and id, reason and passion, rational and irrational, science and art, enjoyable means and enjoyable ends, upper class and lower class, West and East. Instead of thesis and antithesis, we may achieve synthesis at the center; creation for creation—let us say, creativism—rather than creation for a giant suicidal murder. It is in view of this barely possible ideal that I have subtitled this essay: the fortunate change of creativity. The subject of "Creativity" is indeed a touchstone. Ira Progoff's The Symbolic and the Real (Julian Press, 1964) concludes its opening chapter with a paragraph which intimates the message of the myths—that initiation may put a climactic end to confusion and despair: Under the best conditions in the phase of spiritual childhood—as in the Western thirteenth century, let us say—there is relative homogeneity, unity, order, conservation, and homeostasis on the ideational, cultural level: Vishnu is predominant. But in the phase of spiritual adolescence—reaching its first peak, say, at the time of the French Revolution— everything is different; authority is denied, decomposed, reduced; there may be deicide and regicide, justified by the glorification of uncorrupted human nature, human reason, and the vex populi, the fraternal peer group; or there may be greater insistence on freedom of personal thought, speech, and decision, the idealization of individuality, resulting in ever-greater heterogeneity, division, disunity, disorder. The time comes when "the center cannot hold, things fall apart": Siva is predominant. This is the era of egocentrism, competitions of egocentrism, nihilism, and teen-age terrorism, largely due to the fact that the spiritually adolescent parents have not given their offspring the needed experience and steady discipline of the phase of spiritual childhood at its best. In short, adolescents are not prepared for the responsibilities of individuality and temperate rebellion and in a state of chaos become susceptible to the dictatorial leadership and machinations of a Moloch, who brings them back as physiological adults to a secularized phase of spiritual childhood under the cloud of an inflexible and infallible doctrine. And we may go back from psychology to myth again, following Campbell's account of an ancient Asian perspective: Today, however, there are evidences, here and there, that people are approaching, with more knowledge and more insight than has been heretofore available, the phase of spiritual manhood and womanhood, the era of Brahma, with its mythology of creativity, fundamentally derived from that period of life when a man and woman participate in the formation of a dyad, of a home, of offspring, and of a new family culture. This spiritual phase, this symbolism, might be exemplified, it seems to me, on The daily round of the sun, the waning and waxing moon, the cycle of the year, and the rhythm of organic birth, death, and new birth, represent a miracle of continuous arising that is fundamental to the nature of the universe. We all know the archaic myth of the four ages of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, where the world is shown declining, growing ever worse. It will disintegrate presently in chaos, only to burst forth again, fresh as a flower, to recommence spontaneously the inevitable course. There never was Volume XVII, No. 36 We have the task of developing an atmosphere for creativity in our modern culture on two levels. Firstly, on the social level, we require an attitude that affirms the importance of the inward life and sees it as a legitimate and valuable concern, especially for persons engaged in the tough-minded pursuits of industry and science that characterize our world. Secondly, on the personal level, we need to provide situations, information, and a program of practice that will enable a significant number of individuals to reach through to the dimension of depth in human existence, to encounter the reality of inward truth, to recognize its power and meaning, and to validate this larger knowledge as a fact of personal experience. As a basic first step, if we can learn to feel at home, to wander about, to explore, and to discover in the dark and mysterious atmosphere of the depths of the psyche, we shall have access to the psychological resources that we need in order to turn the anxieties of our time into a major opportunity. MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 3 a time when time was not. Nor will there be a time when this kaleidoscopic play of eternity in time will have ceased. (Oriental Mythology, p. 3.) But individuality cannot be attained without the progressive penetration of many masks of self; individuality "emerges," not, we may take it, unless tremendous effort is expended, nor are there any systems which guarantee individuation. The requirements may indeed be called "rites of passage," but they elude description, except to say that various penetrations of depth in "soul" experience must take place. In the year 1870, William James discovered what for him was the single great fact of a man's internal psychic of medicine, his premonitory formulations of an experimental psychology, and his own infirmities, might have led to cynicism or despair. But, according to Gardner Murphy (Preface to William James on Psychical Research), in that crucial year James came to believe that a sense of destiny must be born from an act of the will; that, in Murphy's words, "genuine freedom, is available to the individual who strikes out on a new path for himself; he can creatively remake his personal life, including his health as well as his intellectual and spiritual goals." On April 30, 1870, James himself wrote: My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will. At any rate, I will assume for the present—until next year—that it is no illusion. I will go a step further with my will, not only act with it, but believe as well, believe in my individual reality and creative power. My belief, to be sure, can't be optimistic—but I will posit life (the real, the good) in the selfgoverning resistance of the ego to the world. Life shall be built in doing and suffering and creating. These affirmations seem a sure clue to the unfettered quality of James's later writings, for here was a man who actively overcame personal inadequacies. In our time, this expression of "perennial" philosophy is well stated by Herbert Fingarette in The Self in Transformation: At first one lives with one vision for years before there is readiness for another. After the accumulation of experience and of acquaintance with more than one of these ways of seeing, the movement from one Volume XVII, No. 36 organizing view to another can come more rapidly. This shifting of visions is not then any the less a matter of genuine and deep commitment. It is not a sampling or tasting, not an eclecticism. For one calls upon a vision with a life, one's own, behind it. One earns a vision by living it, not merely thinking about it. Eventually, however, when several such lives have been lived, one can shift from life to life more often and more easily, from vision to vision more freely. A recent Bollingen Foundation volume exhibits a similar partiality for the metaphor of the labyrinth and the conception of "cycles of initiation" as the means by which individuality is reached in any era—The Wisdom of the Serpent: The Myths of Death, Rebirth, and Resurrection, by Joseph L. Henderson and Maud Oakes (Braziller, 1963). This book deals also with present-day experience of "death and rebirth" as initiation; the authors show the intimate relationship between the trials and subsequent initiation of the classical hero and those of the contemporary individual whose descent into an apparently hopeless labyrinth of the psyche may be followed by a new discovery of the self: The archetype of death and rebirth has become in our time a kind of touchstone for the understanding of certain important psychological experiences of which I should like to present a brief example. In my psychiatric practice I have frequently noticed that when people have what is called euphemistically "a breakdown," this term is a mild reference to what feels to the patient like a death. Still more euphemistically we say such a person is "sick." None of our terms goes the whole way as they would if they did justice to the condition from which such people suffer. I was once forced to hospitalize a patient, not because she was insane but because of an unalterable conviction that she was going to die. In trying to understand what she meant by death I gradually found that death meant to her fear of losing her mind. During hospitalization, Dr. Henderson relates, this patient "experienced for many weeks all the horror of Shiva-the-destroyer or confrontation with the Queen of the Dead without any mitigation except during occasional periods of sedation." Finally that particular ordeal ended— the "dangerous mood" was over. The illusory MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 4 search for "homeostasis" gave way to acceptance of the saving truth of continual confrontation and transformation of the personality. Dr. Henderson continues: I asked what had happened to the mood of death in which I had last seen her, and she replied this had passed when one day she could let herself die, figuratively speaking. It had been a kind of letting go, a diving into the depths until she hit the bottom, and then she said she had been able to come up again and after that she could come back to life. She felt like a different person, one who has been not just renewed but changed in the process, and because this change was so new she felt the need of holding onto it with great care lest it get away from her. At the conclusion of the chapter on "Initiation as an Education," Dr. Henderson elaborates on the two chief phases of the process, variously dramatized by the mythological hero: The experience of the labyrinth, whether as a pictorial design, a dance, a garden path, or a system of corridors in a temple, always has the same psychological effect. It temporarily disturbs rational conscious orientation to the point that, like the Malekulan "dead man" at the sight of Le-Hev-Hev, the initiate is "confused" and symbolically "loses his way." Yet in this descent to chaos the inner mind is opened to the awareness of a new cosmic dimension of a transcendent nature. And so it is that the spiritual need of modern man reiterates the original initiation pattern: "separation" is followed by "transition" which is followed by "incorporation." This is experienced no longer in the outer ceremonial of past times but inwardly as a meaningful procession of images: from descent to a death as sacrifice, there is passage to a sacred marriage rite, thence to a symbol of new birth from this union and an ascent and re-emergence into a light of that consciousness which has the power to redeem and reunite those elements of ego or self which were originally unconscious. One way to describe the autonomous man, the true individual, would be to say that he is one who finds in every environment scope for his activities. He does not adjust to an environment, but adjusts to the realities of environment—two entirely different things. It may be, also, that no one feels his strength as a human being until he Volume XVII, No. 36 senses himself to be a part of the ecology of the cosmos—a view suggested, less than adequately, by religious systems. If he is a participant in all of life's processes, if he has universal empathy, no situation arouses in him such trepidation that he is unable to act. In such a community as that of the Hopi Indians there is a tremendous concentration upon that portion of man's strength—his individuality, if you will—which derives from his constructive participation in meaningful activity of the whole. He does not lose his individuality in the group, but, as the Hopis see it, gains individuality—that is, strength—a sense of meaning and purpose and, above all, a continuity in his life and efforts. "Continuity" is crucial, because, for the individual who is in rebellion against society, his strength and his greatness must be measured by the principles he illuminates. Not only the isolated acts of rebellion, but also the thought of becoming a transforming agent brings dignity and lasting significance to the man who is at odds with society. In our relationship to groups, institutions, nations, and cultures, the implication is plain— that it is always by change and transformation, never by fixation, that one may labor for an environment in which individuality or creativity is thoroughly appreciated. In conventional terms, the great weakness of the Right and the great weakness of the Left both lie in dependence upon an indoctrinating or coercive power. A passage in Alfred Reynold's Pilate's Question relates the individual to the community in a manner which has central importance: All progressive elements have hearts and intelligence. Their intelligence confused, their hearts misused, they will, ten years hence, become disillusioned cynics, bitter and inactive. The channels into which their activity is directed, are bound to choke their fervour and drive. The problem is how to restore to individuals a sense of being involved in a new community of common purpose. Political parties, churches and social movements have failed those who are "involved" in the struggle for human values. There is only one road left, the road of education—understood MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 5 as the help given to our fellows to develop their own truths, their own potentialities and to work out their own "redemption." At the beginning of this road is self-education—the ridding of our own minds of all "systems of thought," thought-habits, groupallegiances and prejudices. It entails freeing ourselves of the desire to find scapegoats (the Capitalists, Socialists, Christians, atheists, Nazis, Jews, Fascists Whites, Germans, Russians, Americans, etc.). It entails the knowledge of our responsibility for all things done and left undone in the world. It requires a renunciation of power or violence as a means to any desirable end, and the refusal to conform with the ideal and convention of our environment, if these are contrary to our own truth. It demands from us that we face truth however unpromising and unpleasant it may be, and that we reject the security and sanctuary offered by institutions and organizations. The only community of which we are part is the unorganized community of those who are Utopia; not of, yet not separate from, the people around us who hope for Utopia. It may be that we are witnessing the gradual emergence of a new vocabulary of ideas about man—a language neither religious nor political, no more psychology than it is philosophy. Every language, actually, is either an invention or an emergence. Most theologies, as we know them, are invention, and so are those philosophies which depend upon specific terms for categories of value. But when a language of the self or "soul" comes into being, not as the result of invention, but because it flows from some growing sensitization, and when it arises from profound pondering, it tells a universal story. At the outset of the Gospel according to St. John, there may be not only a clue to the symbolic meaning behind much of the story of Genesis. When John begins by saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"—this is also the story of the germinal function of ideation. For man to "emerge," whether individually or in a society, a thinking ahead for the next step in his evolutionary adventure must first come into being. It may arise gradually, from many sources, and finally become a synthesizing language which touches religion, Volume XVII, No. 36 has implications for politics, and which contains implicitly a philosophy of education. It might be said that before a man can begin to grow beyond the point of his present limitations, he must become aware of those limitations; he has to know what has kept him from becoming something more than he has been. The language of man "emergent" suggests enlightenment of the sort that helps the individual make his will felt—first within himself, and then as a dynamic which can alter, in progressive degree, the conditions which surround him. He must break with some accepted modes of thinking; he will of necessity tremble in the balance as he goes beyond the confines of his "tribe"; but eventually he begins a genuine Odyssey. All around such men, of course, are others in whom the capacity to become what David Riesman calls "autonomous is only latent. But no one can tell who will become a hero, nor precisely when, nor how. The great affirmation is that this step can be taken by all, as we know it has been taken by the few. Is it true, more and more, "things happen to people"? Yes and no. The Nemesis of the present lies in its nameless complexities, and a person may be manipulated by societal and political forces, back and forth in a technological maze, from birth to death. Yet our helplessness is really rooted in the same inertia that was personified by those victimized ancients who had not become heroes, who had yet to discover how to reverse the field of fate. The apparent powerlessness of man vis-àvis machinery or war is not a novel powerlessness. The dilemmas are more universal, of course, and accompanied by an infinitude of quandaries. But conditions do not define the essential man: this is the meaning of universal legends, of great scriptures, of truly educative communities, and of "high philosophy." MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 6 fellows, he allows Joe a sort of verbal equality, possibly because Benedetti will converse on no other basis: REVIEW A FINE "WAR" NOVEL THE "hell which was Korea" is an appropriate setting for combat stories in the second half of the twentieth century. In the first place, neither the scenery nor the action can be glamorized unless one does it from the air and comes up with something like The Bridges at Toko-Ri. In the second place, all modern conflict, even guerrilla action, involves a great deal of ideological confusion. In Korea the defection of so many American prisoners was evidence of something more than the practically religious fanaticism of the Chinese communists as indoctrinators; it also showed that young Americans are not educated to understand why they are supposed to have something better than an ideology. Young stood up, his hands on his hips, and looked down at the man lying at his feet. "You're empty and hollow, Benedetti. You have no gods, no faith, not even a country. You flounder helplessly, bemoaning the fate of man. But when they call you off to war—you go." In Charles Howe's Valley of Fire (Dell, 1964), the most appealing character is the son of an old-country Italian socialist. Joe Benedetti is brought up in the socialist and IWW tradition. Wanting more "action," he becomes a Communist in the 1930's, but breaks with the Party after one year, and finally, as a World War II veteran in a prisoner-of-war camp in Korea, he is the only man who knows enough to counter the Chinese indoctrinators. In Joe Benedetti, Mr. Howe gives us a man who has been through war, has been through communism, has been through a version of the status struggle in the United States, and who emerges from all this with his own kind of insight. An active pacifist, Joe refuses to carry a gun and serves as a volunteer in the medical corps. He does not hate the Communists, whether they are of the rare American variety, or Russian, or Chinese. Benedetti shook his head doggedly. "Young. Ahhh, Young! In the beginning, you might have had something. All of us had something in the beginning. The War of the Revolution in America—hell, they had a Bill of Rights and a Constitution that was as radical as anything Marx or Lenin ever could have dreamed up. They had Tom Paine and Common Sense and—" One excellent passage of dialogue in Valley of Fire involves the Chinese commandant of the camp and Benedetti—who has been kept for months in solitary in an attempt to break his spirit. Young, the Chinese, has had an American university education and cannot resist the opportunity to debate with Benedetti. Unlike his There is probably too much discussion in this book for the reader who wants action on every page, but the discussion is excellent. Take, for instance, Benedetti's retort to Young's claim that the "dictatorship of the proletariat" is a "necessary step": Volume XVII, No. 36 Benedetti stood up. "Leave them alone, Young. Get off their backs! Let them find their own way to wherever it is they want to go." "They have been doing that ever since there were men," Young said. "In China they came into this century as backward as they had ever been. Chiang lost them because he had nothing for them, nothing save militarism, exploitation, wars! We're giving them something they can believe in, something they can work for. We're giving them their freedom!" "The seeds of destruction in the American Revolution were capitalism," Young said. WAIT A GODDAM MINUTE! Everything has the seeds of destruction in it; we're born with the thing that'll kill us; it's living inside our own bodies. It's the same way with politics! Christianity's a dead issue! Capitalism's dying! Communism will, too, eventually. Why? Because times change and the constitution-writers die or they get purged, and then the bureaucrats take over. And why does all this happen? Because until people can learn how to govern themselves, until people learn to respect themselves as much as their commissars or their senators, it's got to happen!" MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 7 "And thirty-five years later you've still got it. And will have it, or something like it. Look, in the beginning America had something going. But what happens when they meet a new ideology? Smith Acts, loyalty oaths, anything to get rid of the opposition. That's how goddam much faith the leaders have in their people, Young! It's always been that way; the best societies are liberal when they can afford to be, but the minute a new idea comes along, they tighten the screws! Sometimes they say they're protecting the people from communism; Hitler used that stall. Sometimes it's protection from Fascism or the foreign invaders." Valley of Fire is divided into two sections: the first, titled "The Arena," involving actual fighting; the second, called "The Spoliarium." As a text introducing "The Spoliarium," Mr. Howe quotes something said by Dwight D. Eisenhower when he was President of the United States, after a long informal talk with Marshal Zhukov of Russia. Apart from revealing General Eisenhower's basic honesty, this is also a clear evidence of a lack of a sense of destiny among Americans. On July 17, 1957, Eisenhower wrote: . . . I was very hard put to it when he [Marshal Zhukov] insisted that their system appealed to the idealistic and we completely to the materialistic, and I had a very tough time trying to defend our position because he said: "You tell a person he can do as he pleases, he can act as he pleases, he can do anything. Everything that is selfish in man you appeal to in him, and we Russians tell him he must sacrifice to the state. We have a very hard program to sell." . . . I am merely saying that against that kind of belief you run against arguments that almost leave you breathless, you don't know how to meet them. As the Communist commandant insists with true conviction: "Your people are disenchanted with materialism. They yearn for a real belief, something they can hold on to, something they can feel." What Mr. Howe is trying to suggest is that the only way to gain ascendancy over communism is to have a deeper purpose than the communist purpose, a concern for man which is not only economic, and a sense of history which can understand without condemning any belief. Volume XVII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 8 COMMENTARY CONCERNING THE TRIPLE REVOLUTION WE have another letter from Ralph Borsodi in which the questions raised may touch on problems that concern other readers. He writes: Dear MANAS: I am increasingly troubled by the fact that you are accepting the premises of socialists (for instance, the Triple Revolutionists), even when you question their conclusions. You seem to ignore the fact that there is a radical antithetical approach to the problem of the state. This approach included that of Paine and Jefferson, Thoreau and Emerson, Josiah Warren and Benjamin Tucker, and in our own day, that of Gandhi. There is no validity to the premises of the Triple Revolutionists. Automation will not abolish the need for labor, any more than mass-production, the division of labor and the use of power abolished it. You ought to read my Distribution Age. As mechanization has increased, labor has been shifted, and has had to be shifted, from production to distribution. At the time of the Civil War there were virtually no traveling salesmen in the United States. Now those engaged in distribution constitute the largest part of those engaged in working. As I put it, distribution costs have an inverse relationship to production costs. That is the reason that mechanization has not even today, or perhaps some time ago, abolished the need for labor. Additionally, don't ignore the facts about unemployment. Of the five per cent unemployed at present, four per cent are re-employed within 15 weeks; only one per cent constitutes the hard core of unemployed. And these are for the most part those who cannot or do not want to work. Consult any social worker, who is willing to tell you the truth about this. RALPH BORSODI Exeter, N. H. Matters of both fact and value are involved here. There are differences of opinion, of course, concerning how much unemployment is to be expected as a result of the automation of modern industry. But it is difficult to ignore the analyses of people like Robert Theobald, Ralph Helstein, and Secretary of Labor Wirtz, on the ground that Volume XVII, No. 36 the workers replaced by machines will be able to find jobs in the scheme of distribution instead of in production. As the Triple Revolution statement points out, "Job creation in the private sector has now almost entirely ceased except in services; of the four million three hundred thousand jobs created in this period (1957-1962), only about two hundred thousand were provided by private industry through its own efforts." And while it may be admitted that welfarism often has the effect of unfitting people for work, the reduction of available jobs is a primary cause of demoralization: . . . the number of people who have voluntarily removed themselves from the labor force is not constant but increases continually. These people have decided to stop looking for employment and seem to accept the fact that they will never hold jobs again. . . . Teenagers, especially "drop-outs" and Negroes, are coming to realize that there is no place for them in the labor force, but at the same time they are given no realistic alternative. As for the "radical antithetical approach to the problem of the state" proposed by Mr. Borsodi, we are moved to melancholy recollection of Dwight Macdonald's reaction, in the June 1961 Encounter, to Raymond Williams' The Long Revolution. Reviewing this book, Macdonald said: I agree wholeheartedly, and perhaps softheadedly with his [Williams'] political values, which are those of Guild Socialism, an admirable and obsolete British doctrine which resembled the anarchism of Kropotkin, a vision of a communal style of life in which groups of producers—Soviets, really, before Lenin and Stalin got to work—freely cooperate without any coercive central authority. Thus both classless collectivism and individual freedom would be achieved. It is a noble and imaginative concept, more likely to produce a decent society than the Marxian formula of using State power as the instrument of social change, a formula as dangerous as it has been successful, leading to the horrors of totalitarianism or the sapless compromise of the Weimar Republic and the British Labour Party. The difference is that Mr. Williams thinks this vision is the logical result of the democratization and industrialization of the last two centuries, and that it MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 9 can be realized without catastrophe or revolution if the majority has the will and consciousness, . . . while I see Marxian Statism as the programme which best meets the needs of mass industry. To deflect the course of history toward the Guild-Socialist-anarchist vision will require a severe break with the kind of society we now have, that is, will require catastrophe and revolution, in that order. . . . The point is not that Mr. Williams and Mr. Borsodi have identical or even similar views, but that the existing industrial society, centrally controlled and armed for nuclear war, shows practically no inclination to move in the direction of the ideas advocated by "Paine and Jefferson, Thoreau and Emerson, Josiah Warren and Benjamin Tucker, and . . . Gandhi." This would mean an end to centralized authority, displacement of the military power-elite, and a revolutionary change in individual and social ends and ideals, and Macdonald is probably right in saying that a "catastrophe" will have to come first. Meanwhile, the Triple Revolutionists are gaining attention for both practical and moral issues that may soon reach the proportion of desperate emergency. Moreover, the advocates of the Triple Revolution are not partisan ideologists, but practical idealists. They are pluralists rather than doctrinaire socialists—pluralists in the sense of Arthur Morgan's account of the political diversity of the American economy and social institutions (quoted in this week's Frontiers). Gandhi, in keeping with Mr. Borsodi's identification of him, said he was "no socialist," yet he also knew that if the responsibilities of the social community were not fulfilled on a voluntary basis, the state would have to take up the slack. This is not the only solution, and certainly not the best one, but it is the one American society seems to be choosing, by default. There is at least the possibility that if the analyses of the advocates of the Triple Revolution gain attention, the impact of the "catastrophe" may be reduced, and the meeting of the economic problems of the future may be attended by a measure of foresight and social intelligence. Volume XVII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 10 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves ANARCHISM AND EDUCATION PAUL GOODMAN'S The Community of Scholars continues to be useful as a basis for discussion of education in radical circles. For here is an indication that the contemporary philosophical anarchist, far from being an isolationist, is intensely concerned with the creation of effective "intentional" communities of learning. Of course, Goodman is against the bureaucratic superstructure which determines policy in so many educational institutions, but this is because it destroys the sense of community among both scholars and students. Replying to a criticism of his book by Michael Walzer in the winter issue of Dissent, Goodman writes: I am astounded when Mike speaks of society's "subtle pressures"' on the schools. Subtle! 15 billions of government money last year for Research and Development (75 per cent channeled through the corporations, two billions directly through the universities), plus three or four billions by the corporations themselves, plus the NDEA money for dormitories and special equipment, and the student loans, etc., etc. It is impossible to look frankly at the present educational system, from top to bottom, and not say that we are making a monolith to process apprentices, at the public expense and parents' expense for college tuition, for a very few corporations, the armed forces, and the educational establishment itself. Those who are weeded out, or drop out, are coped with as "dynamite" or "unemployable." In these circumstances, are the administrators "caretakers"? They have taken over and have become the university communities. And by keeping the teachers and students out of contact, they coordinate them too. The English monthly, Anarchist, for March transcribes an edited tape of one of Goodman's talks at Carleton College, in which he defines his "anarchism": Q. Somewhere you have described yourself as an anarchist. What do you mean by that? Volume XVII, No. 36 A. I'm for diminishing the exercise of coercive authority as much as possible. I don't think there's any anarchist thought at present which is interested in a total revolution of society or has any picture of a total society. The aim in general is to turn involuntary organizations into voluntary organizations, to turn as much as possible the preorganized into the spontaneously organized. To remove as far as possible the principle of fear as a strong force in human relations so that other feelings will emerge, such as anger, love, excitement, interest. Q. I don't understand what you would do, if, for instance on a small community level the majority of the members decide to do this or that, and an individual or a few individuals are outvoted. A. In principle in a good society things would not be put to a vote. If there was disagreement nothing would be done. The matter would not be tabled forever, because people would keep attempting to understand the other's point of view, for the motives of all would be trusted. But frequently things can be decided fairly easily. Suppose you go out with a few friends and one says let's go to this movie and another says let's go to a different movie. How is it decided? Q. You vote. A. Oh, you do not. What happens is that somebody really cares and really wants to go to a particular movie, and the others don't really care that much and say OK. Isn't that what would happen in a society where people trust one another? Behind such statements lies a basic affirmation in respect to the nature of man; however uninformed or oppressed by a "system," innately possessed of profound ideals and "high hopes." It is the utopian potential of the individual, in other words, that is the greatest stimulus to growth. Further, the capacity for independent philosophizing and the longing to build a community are not the qualities of two different types of man, but rather complementary facts of the creative power within each individual. If the social structure does not allow a sort of natural-selection process when groups of people come to decision-making, the organic intelligence of the entire group is fixated. And this is what happens, certainly, when the departmental affairs of a university are regulated by political MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 11 considerations related to maintaining favor in a central administration or a board of trustees, etc. Goodman's point is that every group, however temporary, is a community, and that autonomous groups are the natural environment for the autonomous or self-actualizing man. If a group is subordinated to an authoritarian power structure, its leaders will become politicians, whereas the wiser men who are natura1 leaders can pursue their function only when issues relating to power and politics are made entirely incidental. When one makes his relationship to a communal environment intentional, various creative forces are liberated from within. He begins to see that it is possible, as Emerson says, to initiate things. Man is no longer the victim of any particular environment, although he may be an intended victim. We are reminded here of a passage in Dwight Macdonald's The Root Is Man which has similar bearing on the problem of education. Macdonald is also something of an anarchist, but his interest in the community as the means of education plays a large part in this book. The need, for Macdonald, is for the establishment of psychological communities: The purpose of such groups would be twofold. Within itself, the group would exist so that its members could come to know each other as fully as possible as human beings (the difficulty of such knowledge of others in modern society is a chief source of evil), to exchange ideas and discuss as fully as possible what is "on their minds" (not only the atomic bomb but also the perils of child-rearing), and in general to learn the difficult art of living with other people. The group's purpose toward the outside world would be to take certain actions together (as, against Jim Crow in this country, or to further pacifism), to support individuals whether members of the group or not who stand up for the common ideals, and to preach those ideals—or, if you prefer, make propaganda—by word and by deed, in the varied everyday contacts of the group members with their fellow-men (as trade union meetings, parent-teacher associations, committees for "worthy causes," cocktail parties, etc.) The first step towards a new concept of political action (and political morality) is for each person to decide what he thinks is right, what satisfies him, what he wants. And then to examine with scientific method the environment to figure out how to get it— or, if he can't get it, to see how much he can get without compromising his personal values. Selfishness must be restored to respectability in our scheme of political values. Volume XVII, No. 36 MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 12 FRONTIERS Monism, Dualism, Pluralism A LETTER concerning the choice of words in social and cultural criticism should be of general interest to readers: MANAS: I, along with my closest friend, have read again and again the material by W. H. Ferry and Robert M. Hutchins in MANAS of July 1. We are wholly in accord with Ferry's and Hutchins' thinking. But we find ourselves puzzled by their use of the word pluralism. What they mean, we think, is atomization and atomism. And not pluralism. Pluralism means the existence of diversities, existing in their own right and interacting or not interacting in the "one world" which exists by reason of its diversities. Such is the pluralism of William James, etc., and of the ecologists, and of the sociology which identifies ethnic divergencies and finds them good. Pluralism is the extreme opposite of atomism and the atomization through automation, mass-medium pressures, and the Cold War. It is concerning atomization which Ferry and Hutchins write so significantly. JOHN COLLIER, SR. Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico This is a suggestive comment, showing that people use words according to the feeling-tone which in their experience usage has attached to the terms in question. Obviously, usage varies with fields of inquiry. Mr. Collier offers a brief for the "good" feeling-tone of Pluralism as applied to sociocultural forms. Fortunately, responsible writers make the meanings of such terms clear from the context. Mr. Collier suffered no misunderstanding of what Mr. Ferry meant by pluralism, although he prefers another term—atomization. Ultimately, Pluralism is a philosophical—an ontological—category. It is a member of the series—Monism, Dualism, Pluralism. These words have to do with starting-points in accounts of Reality, and there has been much metaphysical controversy among the Monists, the Dualists, and the Pluralists over which category is prior, and which are "derived." At risk of over-simplification, we shall attempt a review of the meanings of these terms. Volume XVII, No. 36 Monism applies to theories which propose that all the elements of experience represent facets of a single reality. Scientific or "Materialistic" monists, for example, commonly believe that the ultimate ground of "explanation" lies in Matter. The mind naturally seeks unity and men feel intuitive justification in claiming that "one thing" will explain everything else, but the price of simplicity in explanation is often too high. There are of course spiritual monists, also, who argue that matter is only a kind of "shadow" of spiritual reality. But it is pretty hard to find meaning in moral experience without some kind of duality. If you acknowledge that the "moral struggle" is real, you become a Dualist. Then, there are all those people out there, which Humanist intuition and ethics insist are "ends in themselves." Seeing value in all individuals makes you a Pluralist. So, we should argue, when you think about the common, absolute Ground, you tend to adopt the Monist position. But when you turn to subjectobject relationships, problems of good and evil, and formulations of the One and the Many, Man-andNature, and the human choice between Right and Wrong, you can hardly avoid being a Dualist, unless you are willing to submit moral diversity to monolithic reductionism. And Pluralism comes from acknowledging the importance, the real existence, of Individuality. It seems that to choose any one of these three positions to the exclusion of the other two results in dilemmas and impasses. For example, pluralism in the philosophy of science leads to the final barrens of logical positivism. Every value judgment made by the logical positivist is suspect, even to himself— most of all to himself. On the other hand, to be a materialistic monist is to deny the reality of moral experience. It is also to commit the fallacy of asserting that beings in whom mind has no independent reality can none the less make explanations of both themselves and the world. And to be a spiritual monist and nothing more is to be a hurry-back-to-original-Chaos sort of Quietist—a man who denies meaning to the world of diversity. MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 13 Political monism is authoritarian and totalitarian. Political pluralism, unassisted by some qualifying monist ethic embodied in a relational conception of order, is the society of the jungle. It seems that any intelligible use of any of these terms must have a background growing out of implicitly recognized or overtly admitted meanings of the other two. A good society, we might argue, must be pluralistic, since neglect of the varying ends of individuals erases their humanity by denying them the right and necessity of private discoveries of meaning. But pluralism in a bad sense would be pluralism that fails to make clear the fact that individual development has no moral meaning unless it relates to and serves the common good. and a little group of men who are its trustees choose their own successors. Yes, we have long-time, selfperpetuating autocracies in the management of many of our endowed colleges and universities. Yet I find liberals from all over the United States coming to places like this to study. You will find as great regard for academic freedom here in this autocratic institution as in the supposedly more democratic state university. America is not afraid of autocracy so long as autocracy has a social purpose. Years ago, in a conversation with H. G. Wells, Arthur Morgan endeavored to illustrate one good kind of pluralism—in this case, political pluralism— as it has emerged in the United States. Wells had asserted that America must decide between individualism and socialism. Morgan replied (as he reports in The Long Road): "America has recognized that, in certain places, autocracy has seemed to have a higher degree of effectiveness than have democratic methods. We have been ready to let many forms of social organization live and thrive among us. We have judged them by their service to our society, and not by any abstract theory of social organization. . . . In my opinion America has a philosophy of government—a philosophy which is skeptical of abstract theory, and of abstract reasoning, a preference for trying out our life in various ways, and for guiding our policy by the results. This philosophy represents a certain modesty and humility in the American mind. We do not presume to answer the riddle 6f the social universe all at once. We are willing to feel our way tentatively in the faint morning twilight of human society, and to decide our course a few steps at a time. This is the American philosophy of government, which has stubbornly resisted efforts to overthrow it, whether those efforts come from the extreme left, from communists who would destroy it for a certain kind of regimentation, or from the extreme right, as represented by certain businessmen's associations or by certain fascist newspapers." "I hope that America is not going to make that decision. America likes to use different kinds of social organization. America likes communism. In many respects we serve everybody regardless of his resources. Our fire departments are communistic. We serve everyone alike from public funds. Our public school system is communistic. There also we not only serve the public from public funds, regardless of relative financial contributions, but we compel children to take the schooling offered. Our highways are largely communistic. Probably half of all state and local taxes in America are levied for communistic purposes. "We have state socialism in our country. Look at all the great municipal water supplies where government is in business. Our great irrigation systems are socialistic. America is not afraid of communism and America is not afraid of socialism, except as some people hold them up as terrible menaces. America also believes in democracy; we elect officers to represent us in government. "On the other hand America is not afraid of other forms of social organization; America is not afraid of autocracy, of aristocracy. You have here a great university (the University of Chicago). Unless it is governed differently from most other great endowed universities, it is autocratically managed, Volume XVII, No. 36 "America is not afraid of despotism. One of the most absolute of industrial despotisms has been the Ford automobile industry, controlled by two men; and yet America has not frowned upon that great organization. To the extent that social-mindedness and sound economics have been evident America has been rather proud of it. This is a defense of political pluralism, but note that it is justified by the subservience of all these forms to a social ideal. The pluralistic Many have value by reason of their observed relation to the monistic social One. Mr. Ferry's point was obviously concerned with the neglect by pluralistic educational theory of its proper One—which is the whole human being. MANAS Reprint September 2, 1964 ...
http://manasjournal.mrwconnected.info/pdf_library/VolumeXVII_1964/XVII-36.pdf - [detail] - [similar]
PREV NEXT
Powered by Hyper Estraier 1.4.13, with 2096 documents and 94562 words.