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ON SELF-EVOLVERS
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VOLUME XXXIV, NO. 23 JUNE 10, 1981 ON SELF-EVOLVERS DO we want the young to be brighter and wiser than we are? If so, do we know what should be done—not to bring this about, which is far too much to expect, but to make it at least possible? The first question has the start of an answer in an article on "Youth" by Kenneth Keniston in the American Scholar for the Autumn of 1970. He has defined youth as the psychological stage of growing up, during which the individual has not yet decided how he will relate to his society. Will he be a rebel, or will he try to "fit in"? The struggle of the young to make this decision, Keniston says, "is watched with ambivalent fascination by adults, the positions of youth become part of the cultural stock in trade." Our question, however, has to do with the fears and hopes of the parental generation. On this, Keniston says: To most Americans, the chief anxieties raised by youth are over social stability and historical continuity. . . . Such men and women accept with little question the existing moral codes of the community, just as they endorse their culture's traditional view of the world. It is arguable that both cultural continuity and social stability have traditionally rested on the moral and epistemological conventionality of most men and women, and on the secure transmission of these conventional views to the next generation. Then he asks: What would happen if millions of young men and women developed to the point that they "made up their own minds" about most value, ideological, social and philosophical questions, often rejecting the conventional and traditional answers? Would they not threaten the stability of their societies? While Dr. Keniston asked this question during the heyday of the "Hippie" and New Left generation, or a little past its peak, the inquiry still has validity, and may have more as time goes on. His comment can be taken as a counsel to the parental generation, as well as pointed criticism: Today it seems clear that most youths are considered nuisances or worse by the established order, to which they have not finally pledged their allegiance. Indeed, many of the major stresses in contemporary American society spring from or are aggravated by those in this stage of life. One aspect of the deep polarization in our society may be characterized as a struggle between conventionals and post-conventionals, between those who have not had a youth and those who have. The answer of the majority of the public seems clear: we already have too many "youths" in our society, youth as a developmental stage should be stamped out. That was the majority outlook, as Keniston saw it, a decade ago. Today the polarization is less evidently between generations. The movement for ecological awareness and sensibility, which endorses economic and political decentralization, has absorbed the energies of most of the intelligent youth, while parents are becoming far less certain than they used to be concerning what ought to be done. Yet Keniston's comment and recommendation, the one ironic, the other realistic, have not lost their pertinence. He offers an alternative to attempting to "stamp out" youth as a developmental process: A more moderate answer to the questions I am raising is also possible. We might recognize the importance of having . . . an occasional Socrates, Christ, Luther or Gandhi to provide society with new ideas and moral inspiration . . . but nonetheless establish a firm top limit on the proportion of postconventional youth-scarred adults our society could tolerate. If social stability requires human inertia— that is, unreflective acceptance of most social, cultural and political norms—perhaps we should discourage "youth as a stage of life" in any but a select minority. In other words, make sure that ardent innovators are few in number and keep them on a fairly short leash. But Keniston goes on to argue that there is now not much use in trying to MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 preserve "cultural continuity"—it has already broken down. "Today," he says, "it is simply impossible to return to a bygone age when massive inertia guaranteed social stability (if there really was such an age). The cake of custom crumbled long ago. The only hope is to live without it." His concluding paragraph is this: It may be true that all past societies have been built upon the unquestioning inertia of the vast majority of their citizens. And this inertia may have provided the psychological ballast that prevented most revolutions from doing more than reinstating the ancien regime in new guise. But it does not follow that this need always continue to be true. If new developmental stages are emerging that lead growing minorities to more autonomous positions visa-vis their societies, the result need not be anarchy or social chaos. The result might instead be the possibility of new forms of social organization based less upon unreflective acceptance of the status quo than upon thoughtful and self-conscious loyalty and cooperation. But whether or not these new forms can emerge depends not only upon the psychological factors I have discussed here, but even more upon political, social, economic and international conditions. So, for a start, let us say that at least some of the older generation would agree with what Keniston says here—the ones who do want the young to turn into people brighter and wiser than we are. Is a contribution to this goal feasible? The answer is anybody's guess. We know without being told that courses in "values" are probably a waste of time. What are the "environmental" conditions favorable to the formation of a Socrates, a Christ, a Luther or a Gandhi? We have no idea. About all you can say about these individuals is that the circumstances of their lives defined what they set out to do—they determined to change them. How do you change circumstances? In the case of these four, it was always by affecting or changing the interests and goals of the people. How do you change people? But you can't change people and it isn't your business to. The most you can do is display alternatives of thought Volume XXXIV, No. 23 and action, setting an example by choosing the ones you think are the best available, and making what explanations you can. Meanwhile, it must be admitted that Socrates, Christ, Luther, and Gandhi were moral geniuses, and one of the defining characteristics of genius is that its genesis is unknown. Well, if we can't produce geniuses of the sort we need, we can at least study what they did and said. This was the foundation of the educational theory and program of A. H. Maslow, who first made a curriculum for himself, and then for others, out of the lives of the very best people he knew or could read about. If we don't know how to produce geniuses, we can at least open ourselves to the atmosphere of greatness. This was Carlyle's idea (in Heroes and Hero Worship) and it served his own development well. High cultures seldom continue without heroic examples for the young. We have the needed material in biography, and Maslow set out to ground psychological and educational science on this idea. In one of his papers he tells how he happened to begin his study of self-actualization. He had two teachers he "could not be content simply to adore, but sought to understand." Why, he asked himself, were these two "so different from the runof-the-mill people in the world"? To add to scientific knowledge you have to generalize, so Maslow sought a generalizing account of the excellences he discovered in these two. But just two people hardly make a representative sample, so he gathered more material and studied others who seemed to qualify, and continued doing this, making reports along the way, for the rest of his life. This sort of research, Maslow often pointed out, gives you a fresh and encouraging view of mankind. There are, he knew, a vast number of mediocre people, and a few really bad ones, but if you are interested in human improvement—in what might be, in contrast with what is—then you need to consider the healthiest people you can find, healthiest in mind and humanness. MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 3 This is a way of developing what we spoke of as the atmosphere of excellence, of greatness. It doesn't make you blind to the less desirable qualities of human beings, but it establishes standards for thinking about human possibility. Two years before he died, Maslow explained (in The Farther Reaches of Human Nature): It has been my experience through a long line of exploratory investigations going back to the thirties that the healthiest people (or the most creative, or the strongest, or the wisest, or the saintliest) can be used as biological assays, or perhaps I could say, as advanced scouts, or more sensitive perceivers, to tell us less sensitive ones what it is we value. . . . I have found that if I select psychologically healthy humans, what they like is what human beings will come to like. Aristotle is pertinent here: "What the superior man thinks is good, that is what is really good." For instance, it is empirically characteristic of self-actualizing people that they have far less doubt about right and wrong than average people do. They do not get confused just because 95 per cent of the population disagrees with them. And I may mention that in the group I studied they tended to agree about what was right and wrong, as if they were perceiving something real and extra-human rather than comparing tastes that might be relative to the individual person. In a word, I have used them as value assayers or perhaps I should better say that I have learned from them what ultimate values probably are. Or to say it in another way, I have learned that what great human beings value are what I will eventually agree with, what I will come to value and I will come to see as worthy of, as valuable in some extra-personal sense, and what "data" will eventually support. We are now, Maslow declared, "responsible for our own evolution. We have become selfevolvers." And he added: "Evolution means selecting and therefore choosing and deciding, and this means valuing." This is the place to recall what Robert M. Hutchins said on this subject (in The Conflict in Education, 1953): If we are going to talk about improving men and societies, we have to believe that there is some difference between good and bad. This difference must not be, as the positivists think it is, merely Volume XXXIV, No. 23 conventional. We cannot tell this difference by any examination of the effectiveness of a given program as the pragmatists propose; the time required to estimate these effects is usually too long and the complexity of society is always too great for us to say that consequences of a given program are altogether clear. We cannot discover the difference between good and bad by going to the laboratory, for men and societies are not laboratory animals. If we believe there is no truth, there is no knowledge, and there are no values except those which are validated by laboratory experiment, we cannot talk about the improvement of men and societies, for we can have no standard of judging anything that takes place among men or in societies. The comparative mystery of where people get their sense of right and wrong, of good and bad, is somewhat dispelled by a study of biography. And here, if we talk about schooling, a great deal depends on the teacher. The best teachers are often non-academics, but an ordinary teacher with good sense is able to direct attention to writers who shine in their use of biographical material. One of these is Edmund Wilson, whose Eight Essays (Anchor, 1954) on political and literary figures in European and American life would constitute a liberal education, if read carefully. Some of the contents are reviews, as in the case of "The Pre-Presidential T.R.," which examines The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt (the first two volumes). It is estimated that Roosevelt wrote about a hundred thousand letters during his life, and the tenth of that number to appear in this series gave ample basis for the study of the formation of his character. At eighteen Roosevelt wrote from Harvard to his father, "I do not think there is a fellow in College who has a family that love him as much as you all do me, and I am sure that there is no one who has a Father who is also his best and most intimate friend, as you are mine." This was the year 1876, a long time ago, and it may be difficult to imagine a present-day son expressing himself in this open-hearted way. To his mother, after his father's death, he wrote: "I have just been looking over a letter of my dear Father's in which he wrote 'Take care of your morals first, your health next, MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 4 and finally your studies.' I do not think I ever could do anything wrong while I have his letters." Musing, Wilson says: The slogans of the later Roosevelt—the big stick and the strenuous life, malefactors of great wealth, race suicide and all the rest of it—were to become such journalistic clichés, as the caricaturists' teeth and glasses were to make a cliche of T.R. himself, that it may come as a surprise to find that Roosevelt first met his age as a serious and thoughtful young man who formulated and was ready to fight for a personal philosophy of life. How this age presented itself to him, what he had to contend against, he has stated in his Autobiography: "In the reaction after the colossal struggle of the Civil War our strongest and most capable men had thrown their whole energy into business, into money-making, and above all the exploitation and exhaustion at the most rapid rate possible, of our natural resources—mines, forests, soil, and rivers. These men were not weak men, but they permitted themselves to grow shortsighted and selfish; and while many of them down at the bottom possessed the fundamental virtues, including the fighting virtues, others were purely of the glorified huckster or glorified pawnbroker type—which then developed to the exclusion of everything else makes about as poor a national type as the world has seen. Well, we don't think so highly of Teddy Roosevelt, these days, but reading Edmund Wilson on his letters makes you realize that there were other themes in his life and other principles behind his behavior than Manifest Destiny. He was a man who tried throughout his life to practice what he believed. Wilson's insight helps the reader to develop an instinct for justice in forming opinions about such men. We are talking about "values," and Roosevelt strongly believed in his, however much of a vain demagogue he became during his later years. Wilson writes about him as an educator, and you are made to feel the obligations of a serious reader by his careful selection of traits and tendencies to illustrate in his discussion. There is something of the formation of values going on in this process. Publication in 1953 of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (edited by Roy P. Basler) is hailed by Wilson as a work making it possible "to Volume XXXIV, No. 23 study Lincoln at first hand—his ideas and dealings with the world." The penetration of the reviewer's mind is evident throughout this essay. "I want," he said, "to bring out the strength of his moral and intellectual qualities." He does this mostly by quotation. Here is an impression of Lincoln taken from the letters of the Marquis de Chambrun: "Mr. Lincoln," he says, "stopped to admire an exceptionally tall and beautiful tree growing by the roadside and applied himself to defining its particular beauties: powerful trunk, vigorous and harmoniously proportioned branches, which reminded him of the great oaks and beeches under whose shade his youth had been passed. Each different type he compared in technical detail, to the one before us. His dissertation certainly showed no poetic desire to idealize nature; but if not that of an artist, it denoted extraordinary observation, mastery of descriptive language and absolute precision of mind. . . . No one who heard him express personal ideas, as though thinking aloud, upon some great topic or incidental question, could fail to admire his accuracy of judgment and rectitude of mind. I have heard him give opinions on statesmen and argue political problems with astounding precision. I have heard him describe a beautiful woman and discuss the particular aspects of her appearance, differentiating what is lovely from what might be open to criticism, with the sagacity of an artist. In discussing literature, his judgment showed a delicacy and sureness of taste which would do justice to a celebrated critic." This was the recollection of a French visitor during the war years. Of even greater interest is the speech that Lincoln made when he was twenty-nine years old before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Ill., in 1838. His title was "The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions." Wilson summarizes and quotes: At the time of the American Revolution, he says of its heroes and leaders, "all that sought celebrity and fame and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. . . . They succeeded. The experiment is successful, and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so. . . . This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 5 among us. And when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion as others have done so before them." You may think that the young Lincoln is about to exhort his auditors to follow the example of their fathers, not to rest upon the performance of the past but to go on to new labors of patriotism, but the speech takes another turn. "The question, then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions unexplored." A quarter of a century later, before an audience Cooper Union in 1862, he ended a famous address saying: If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws and constitutions against it are themselves wrong and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality—its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension—its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Lincoln, Wilson says, carried a moral conviction "unique in American politics." Wilson's essay is mainly devoted to showing how Lincoln felt and told the difference between good and bad and right and wrong. For the reader, this is the atmosphere that remains. Volume XXXIV, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 6 REVIEW QUEST FOR IDEAL BALANCE RECONCILIATION of opposites is the subjectmatter of Maps of the Mind (Macmillan, 1981, $14.95), by Charles Hampden-Turner. It is an endeavor to show, with the aid of graphics and diagrams, the essential contents of varying conceptions of what the mind is or how it works. The author expects a great deal of his readers, since he uses a kind of abstracting shorthand to present salient ideas, then relating them to the visual symbols of his maps, of which there are fifty-two. He wants, you could say, to help the reader to construct the foundation for a moral psychology of his own. Happily, he begins many of his texts (which go with the maps) with a story or a joke, relieving somewhat the labor of following him thereafter. Hampden-Turner must have done an enormous amount of reading to write this book, and it seems evident that his whole heart was in the job—a labor of love. To summarize justly the work of so many eminent thinkers seems an almost impossible task, but of course he hasn't summarized them so much as selected their leading ideas—and those which in some sense can be "mapped." The book seems meant to be a new sort of encyclopedia, containing what the author regards as the relevant psychology of our time. He ends his introduction: With the exception of the anti-imagists (behaviourists) who exclude themselves, the contents are limited by my own strained comprehension and the gaps in my knowledge and also by my search for an overall coherence which has deterred me from making a mere collection of separate pieces. I confess to finding academic arbiters of who is "in" and "out" repellent, and, in a field as embryonic as psychology, both pretentious and blinkered. I have made a start in the process of putting bits and pieces of Humpty-Dumpty together again because it needs to be done and too few are even trying. Most people will agree that this is particularly inviting, even if the book's contents appear formidable. Well, they are. Yet in addition to the Volume XXXIV, No. 23 anecdotes and jokes there is value in the thematic repetition of Greek myths and dramas, providing the reader with a helpful if quickie classical education. These are times in which we need those wonderful abstractions of the human situation—rich, full abstractions, in contrast with the bare and reductive ones of mathematics—and to find an eclectic psychological theorist using them in this way is something of a delight. Where shall we start? It seems well to say, first, that the synthesis of the dualities of life— which Hampden-Turner is after—requires us to recognize that no single proposition, truth, or contention can exist without its opposite, and that the truth of its opposite must illuminate the truth of what is declared. The two opposing truths generate and participate in each other. This is the condition of human life, of thinking, and of the ideal balance that seems so difficult to attain. So we begin with Martin Buber, the Hasidic philosopher who left Austria in 1938 to go to Palestine. In accepting, in 1953, at the age of seventy-five, the Goethe Prize, he said: "According to the logical conception of truth, only one of two contraries can be true, but in the reality of life as one lives it, they are inseparable. . . . The unity of contraries is the mystery at the innermost core of dialogue." Hampden-Turner says: Buber stresses the importance of recognizing the uniqueness of the other person, for in this uniqueness we glimpse God in man. . . . "In spite of all similarities every living situation has, like a new-born child, a new face, that has never been before and will never come again. It demands of you a reaction which cannot be prepared beforehand, It demands nothing of what is past. It demands presence, responsibility . . . you . . ." The purpose of dialogue is both to question and to reconcile—freedom and hate, decision and surrender, the abstract and the concrete, universalism and particularism, risk and security, distance and relation, similarity and uniqueness, the mysterious and the mundane, obedience and originality, ought and is, God and man. . . . MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 7 The creative energies of human dialogue must perpetually wrestle with the contradictions of our existence, rather than avoiding them from motives of scientific or religious purity. "Good and evil, despair and hope, the power of destruction and the power of rebirth dwell side by side." We need a divine force that "penetrates the demonic in life," not one that "hovers above it." We cannot pretend, like weekend mystics, to achieve the unity of all by sacrificing the full seriousness of the everyday, and so "flee from alone to the 'alone'." The origin of guilt is the failure to respond, to fail to become the person that one is called to become, . . . For the most part, Western psychology—with a few exceptions—has been preoccupied with the mental states, excluding the moral conditions. Maslow and May have begun to correct this omission, and now Hampden-Turner joins them in this task. His first "map" brings us his definition of Psychology—"We get the word psychology from psyche and logos. Psyche means neither brains nor ego, but soul; psychology is thus the logic of the soul and it is this original vision of mind that this book pursues"—and immediately following the author repeats the story of Eros and Psyche. After some discussion of the meanings this tale may have, he says: Indeed it is as universal pattern, not as encapsulated object that we must understand the Greek concept of psyche. Perhaps the legend of Orpheus conveys it best and the Orphics played an important part in the development of sacred verse and music culminating in the harmonia of democratic theory and Greek tragedy. Orpheus played so sweetly on his lyre that the creatures, the rivers, even the rocks vibrated in natural sympathy with his strings. When his bride Eurydice was killed by a snake he descended into the Underworld with his lyre, singing so beautiful a song that Cerberus was tamed, Ixion's wheel halted, Sisyphus rested, even the Furies wept and Pluto dropped tears of iron. For another facet of Hampden-Turner's approach, we give his analysis of the Marxist Dialectic: I maintain that there are two distinct kinds of dialectic in the writings of Marx and Engels, a benign synthesized variety of micro-dialectics, mixed in with Volume XXXIV, No. 23 a dangerously oscillating variety of macro-dialectics, ever liable to run away. In the first they are seeking a synthesis of opposites in which the integrity of both values are respected, so that abstract ideals are vindicated by grounding them in concrete experience, freedom discovers the networks of necessity, selfexpression is united with social utility, wealth is seen as a capacity to give not just receive, creation is joined to the creator, and the individual finds a connection to his species and all species in a vision of social ecology. In the second, contradictions are stated as if a "good" end were about to smash a "bad" end; opposite ends of the same continuum are in a win-lose, zerosum contest and mind is at war with itself. The rhetoric is that alienation, domination, licence and selfishness will be righteously crushed by brotherhood, equality, historical necessity and socialism. The fallacy is that such negative evaluations as "alienation" and "domination" are distorted forms of dissent and authority, which become vices by being split-off. You cannot therefore smash the vices without also killing the virtues. If the problem is disconnection, then the very act of smashing disconnects! What Socrates died for was the whole dialectical continuum of dissent and authority. Similarly, you cannot smash selfishness without killing independence which is "selfconcerned-with-others." You cannot smash licence and leave responsible freedoms unimpaired. The problem with macrodialectics is that the swings from one extreme to another may take a generation or more. Necessity is for now, while freedom will allegedly arrive later. The dictatorship of the proletariat and centralized bureaucracy is now, while the classless society and withering away of the state come later. The whole subtlety of a dialectical ecology of mind is debased by the indefinite postponement of one end of the dialectic. If psychosocial development is a process of learning, what will twenty years of "crushing reaction" teach you—to live as brothers! . . . What this means is that the concrete manifestation of brotherhood must, at higher levels of abstraction, be "brother" also to its negation (or complement) which is individuality. The failure to see this will split the dialectical continuum and turn "brotherhood" into the bludgeon of individuals, hence the "contradictions" of communism. We cannot resist, here, recalling some recent observations by Francisco Varela—who is given a MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 8 page in Hampden-Turner's book—on the Chilean Civil War, which led to the downfall and death of Allende. There seems a sense in which Varela exactly illustrates the theme of the book. He says: As far as I am concerned, that civil war was caused by a wrong epistemology. It cost my friends their lives, their torture, and the same for 80,000 or so people unknown to me. So it is not an abstract proposition for me when I say that we must incorporate in the enactment, in the projecting of our world views, at the same time the sense in which that projection is only one perspective, that it is a relative frame that it must contain a way to undo itself. . . . Sure I have to take this side, and that is cool, but how do I really embody in that action that I acknowledge the importance of the other side and the essential brotherhood between those two positions? How can I go to Pinochet and say, "Hello, my brother"? I don't know. I don't think I am that enlightened at all. I wouldn't be able to do that, but in some sense I realize that is a great limitation. That should be in some sense possible. This is the attitude, emerging again and again in Hampden-Turner's elucidations, which holds the key to the socio-philosophical future. Volume XXXIV, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 9 COMMENTARY C.O.'S IN ISRAEL AND GREECE THE young Israeli soldier, Gadi Algazy, who refuses to serve in territories occupied by his country's army, was sentenced to a year in prison last January. Algazy was one of the "Group of 27" Irsaeli high school students who in 1979 informed the Israeli Minister of Defence of their rejection of such service. Algazy is one of four who have been arrested and given prison sentences for "refusing orders." These young men are known as "Occupation Objectors," since they are not opposed to military training but to service in occupied territory. They say that if they must choose between being "a jailer of the Palestinian people in occupied territories or to be a prisoner in an Israeli jail, . . . we prefer to be prisoners." In their 1979 statement the objectors said that they hoped their refusal would "contribute to bringing about peace between the Jewish people in Israel and the Palestinian Arab people." WRI lawyer, Hein van Wijk. Nounis had been condemned to four years in prison and the loss of his civic rights for five years. It is hoped that this decision by the military Appeal Court in Athens will have a favorable effect on the cases of fortyfour other Greek C.O.'s, many of whom face sentences of four years in prison. (Further information about these cases may also be obtained from the WRI at the address given above.) The War Resisters' International Newsletter for March reports: Letters of protest are requested by the WRI Israeli Section, the International Committee for Palestinian Rights, and Gadi's parents, who are running a campaign for his release and have issued a petition on behalf of their son. (Copies and background papers may be obtained from the WR1, 55 Dawes Street, London SE17, U.K., for 20p.). . . . The case has gained publicity and even sympathy in many Israeli quarters; there have been major wars in "the land of milk and honey" since 1948, and many border, town, and village combats in between. The malignant growth of violence and killing is "destroying the very soul of the people," . . . in the words of Gadi's mother, "when I see what soldiers are ordered to do in occupied territories I prefer to know that my son is arrested than being outside risking the corruption of his self." Meanwhile, another report in the WRI Newsletter says that a Greek conscientious objector, Christos Nounis, a Jehovah's Witness, has been released from prison and allowed to return home, largely through the efforts of the Volume XXXIV, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 10 self-confidence—and to have that confidence requires a value structure. CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves A VISION MORE REAL THE criticism of modern education—especially "higher" education—goes on and on. The February issue of the bulletin of the Thomas Jefferson Research Center (Pasadena, Calif.) reprints from U.S. News and World Report an interview with Steven Muller, president of Johns Hopkins University, in which this educator focuses on what seems to him and many others the chief shortcoming: The biggest failing in higher education today is that we fall short in exposing students to values. We don't really provide a value framework to young people who more and more are searching for it. This situation has come about because the modern university is rooted in the scientific method, having essentially turned its back on religion. I'm not hostile to the scientific method—it is a marvelous means of inquiry, and it has been highly productive— but it really doesn't provide a value system. It has taken a long time for that to become apparent because our traditional value system survived intact for a long time. Since World War II, however, we've seen the greatest disintegration of the social consensus and the most accelerated pace and degree of change in human history. As a result, all our institutions have lost a coherent set of values—including universities. Now there is what educators call a "felt need" for coherence. The trouble is we don't know where to get it. After some illustration of the practical confusion which results, Mr. Muller continues: The failure to rally round a set of values means that universities are turning out potentially highly skilled barbarians: People who are very expert in the laboratory or at the computer or in surgery or in the law courts but who have no real understanding of their own society. We are not turning out very selfconfident people, and in a democracy that is a potentially catastrophic problem because our society depends on people who are not passive but active, who are prepared to make choices and take responsibility. That requires individuals who have Volume XXXIV, No. 23 In supplying it, this educator suggests, the schools are no help at all. This may be inevitable. Schools are institutions, and therefore the place to look if you are in search of the dull averages, the uninspired conformities, of human behavior. To find sources of value, it is almost certainly necessary to locate the distinguished individuals who had trouble getting along in school, who rebelled for good reason against conventional ways of thinking, and who eventually set going new currents of thought in the society of their time. Institutions never keep pace with change. They are therefore incompetent either to comprehend or to deal with the needs that change precipitates. What little sense of value that remains to us— except for inherent qualities which vary widely from human to human—we have inherited, not from institutions, which water them down, but from the breakers of institutions. Jesus was from the start in trouble with the institutions of his time, and before him the Buddha. Plato's Apology is an account of Socrates' defense against Athenian institutions—not much of a defense because he gave them the back of his hand. We may acknowledge all this, but as "we," we can't do much about it. The awakening of ourselves and others is not a corporate enterprise. This may be the primary fact about values—that they can't be institutionalized. The life-breath of values wastes away in institutions. This is the meaning of the Renaissance and the Reformation, however brief the tenure of their acts of liberation in the hearts of individuals. What Mr. Muller seems really to be saying is that we have set up bureaucratic barriers to the revival of values, and we don't know how to take them down because our fragmented society is held together by bureaucratic controls and we can't imagine ourselves doing without them. Our "progress" has us locked in position. MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 11 To get release from the bonds of bureaucracy may be a prerequisite for reviving values in terms of the whole of society, which is what this college president is talking about. By contrast, influential values come from the heretics, dissenters, and moral mavericks. The doors of institutions are closed to them. Paracelsus, Bruno, Galileo, Luther, and other architects of civilized life were all treated like enemies in their own time—also Thomas Paine. Looking for historical examples, Mr. Muller turns to a man who felt obliged to outlaw himself from even that latitudinarian institution, the Unitarian Church. I don't know of a period when society has been as short of what used to be called philosophical analysis as we seem to be now, especially analysis that has wide impact. In the 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson had a tremendous impact on the intellectual world of his time even if he wasn't read in every farmhouse or by every trade unionist. Walt Whitman, in his way, also had such impact. But who has a comparable role today? You can find references to John Dewey and Alfred North Whitehead, but among contemporary thinkers whom would you classify as a philosopher of this society? I don't think we have anybody. We may have a few, but as a rule they don't think much of institutions and have either avoided or left them and don't spend much time in them. There is Lewis Mumford, for one, Arthur Morgan for another, and Wendell Berry for a third. While Mumford appealed partly to a specialized audience, his ideas have been an inspiration to generations of professional designers and architects. Morgan was a great engineer, but from his youth he philosophized about the problem of the formation of human character. His influence touched countless students—he revived Antioch College in 1921 and taught them and his colleagues what a college is really for: to serve the human community. Berry is a poet farmer, once a teacher and now a user of language as it should be used. You need to get around the country, talk to groups of young people to learn how many have been fired up by this man. The values are Volume XXXIV, No. 23 implicit—he doesn't use the word much, which is somewhat of a blessing. Then, until very recently, there was E. F. Schumacher. No one has been more effective in explaining the appropriate circumstances for a value-guided life. And what could be more important to our society than recognition of this? The common embodiment and authentic expression of values requires appropriate circumstances. Of course, moral geniuses show up in all circumstances, but heroes are required for doing this. The qualities of such men emerge in spite of the institutions which surround them, and they hone themselves on the inevitable conflicts. How do you spread—make popular—such ideas? Mr. Muller has in mind some courses at Johns Hopkins which he thinks may help, but his best point seems this one: My shrewd guess, however, is that at most institutions the value focus will end up coming much later in a student's career. This will occur because increasing numbers of undergraduates are trying very hard to qualify for the job market in the most specialized way as quickly as possible. . . . Higher education has done itself and the society a tremendous dis-service by selling itself in terms of economic return. This is leading to a highly specialized and fragmented undergraduate education. We would be better off if all students had an interruption between high school and college and worked for a couple of years. There's nothing like working to find out why you might want to go to college. This sounds like a plug for what Paul Goodman called "incidental education," and Werner Jaeger paideia—education by the community. Goodman pointed out that the Greeks didn't try to teach philosophy to adolescents, knowing that one needs to be at least twenty-five or thirty, with some experience under his belt, in order to deal with abstract ideas. Plato began moral education with music and geometry, as Herbert Reed shows in The Redemption of the Robot. A feeling for harmony in sound and form, MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 12 he believed, would become the basis for an ethical life. Meanwhile, the people who want to see a renaissance of "values" might find it useful to consult the thinking of a few who plainly have them. We have in mind a passage from William O. Douglas's The Court Years: Only when you have worked alone—when you have felt around you a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and in despair have trusted to your own unshaken will—then only will you have achieved. Thus only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that, a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten, men who never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought—the subtle rapture of a postponed power, which the world knows not because it has no external trappings, but which to his prophetic vision is more real than that which commands an army. Volume XXXIV, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 13 have you decided to travel all this distance to spend three weeks in south China?" FRONTIERS Visits to the Far East LAST December people from the New Alchemy Institute (Cape Cod), the Farallones Institute (Berkeley), Rain (the Oregon-based monthly), and some other groups lived for a time (which is better than "touring") in a single county, Taishan (Guandong Province), in southern China, not far from Macao. Rain for March provides reports by the travelers. In one of these, John Ferrell of the Rain staff relates: We are visiting a commune farm near Taishan City which has some of the best examples of smallscale industry we have seen so far. . . . Our visit to the farm is clearly a major event for the peasants, and, as is usual in travels around Taishan we are treated very graciously. We learn that in addition to raising fish and a variety of livestock, the 270 people at the farm also operate a sugar refinery, milk dairy, and bean curd factory. The dairy consists of a small milk vat, a boiler, and racks of bottles. It is necessary for us to scale down our memories of dairies as huge factories to realize that this is indeed all there is: two workers boiling, bottling, and capping in one bedroom-sized space. The bean curd factory and sugar refinery are somewhat larger with perhaps ten workers each. Here again, equipment is basic, consisting of little more than heating vats supplied with steam from the farm's central boiler. As is the case at many other facilities around Taishan, the farm is processing local products for local people. Since the 1950s, construction of a vast array of dams, dykes and irrigation canals has turned a formerly drought- and famine-ridden country into a self-sufficient bread basket. Small-to-medium-scale industry has expanded in volume of production by more than 42 times, and much of what is produced is consumed within a radius of fifty miles. It's an impressive transformation by any standard, and the well-fed people we are meeting (some of whom remember the famine of 1943 in which 150,000 county residents died) are clearly proud of their agriculture and industry. Still, you detect a sense among these people of living in a rather backward section of a backward country, and an inability to comprehend how much we, who have come from the country they refer to as "the Golden Mountain," are admiring what we see. "So tell me," blurts out one of our China Travel Service guides one evening, "why Volume XXXIV, No. 23 John Ferrell couldn't really explain. "How," he asks, "can we, as appropriate technologists, transcend our stereotypes as Americans and communicate our vision of a different sort of ideal future—one which does not include skyscrapers and supermarkets among its symbols?" I have brought along a supply of Rain brochures which include a reduced-size version of one of Diane Schatz's marvelous "ecotopia" posters. I hand out the brochures to my students [that evening he was tutoring an English class at the Taishan Normal School] and they are instantly enchanted (as people always are) with the details of the poster. I begin to answer their barrage of questions and to explain, in the simplest English I can muster, how the drawings of bicycle trucks, community gardens, solar food driers, cottage industries, and recycling projects represent someone's vision of an ideal American community of the future. The more I try to explain, the more tongue-tied I become, and it finally dawns on me that what I am saying makes no sense to my listeners at all. Much of what they are seeing in the poster they have seen every day of their lives. I am showing them a picture of Taishan. A man from the Farallones Institute, Christopher Szecsey, had a somewhat similar experience. After intensive inspection of a Chinese village of 82 families—where bananas and sugarcane are raised, silk is produced by silkworms, power to generate electricity obtained from biogas made from pig manure and other waste, and fish are grown for food—he said: "In a Chinese village we experienced the practical and meaningful application of [the Farallones] philosophy and recognized that the appropriateness of any technology is dependent on its having evolved from within the community, thus making it a vehicle for truly self-reliant development." However, to keep balance for the reader— who might be led to think that China has become an ecological "paradise enow"—Rain supplies material from Orville Schell's latest book on China, of which the reviewer says: MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 14 He paints an unforgettable picture of the Peace Café in Peking, where bored Chinese young people in bell-bottomed pants eat hot dogs and ice cream and dream of a more exciting life in the West. He tells of his conversation with Ling Mulan, a college student in her late twenties, bitter over having been sent to Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution to "help the peasants," and now skeptical of the superiority of socialism to capitalism when "the West is so advanced while we are still so backward." . . . Schell believes that a great deal of energy was sapped in maintaining the pose of revolutionary purity. . . . He sees value in China's new attitudes and its openness to the outside world, but he also sees considerable danger. The headlong plunge into modernization, Western style, reminds him of Mao's warnings that technology must develop on home soil in order to take proper root. It also leads him to reflect on the 1867 prophecy of Wo Ren, Chinese Imperial Grand Secretary: "after several years, Western learning will end in nothing less than driving the multitude of Chinese people into allegiance with the barbarians." A Rain news-note recommends to Western readers the Beijing Review, a weekly in English covering events in China. It is $13.50 a year, published at Guoji Shudian, P.O. Box 399, Beijing, People's Republic of China. While lots of Americans are now visiting China, practically nobody goes to North Korea, so that the recent American Friends Service Committee report on a visit there by three American Quakers provides welcome reading. Although their tour was "guided," as they were well aware, they learned things to be found out in no other way. For example, the almost immeasurable "personality worship" of the President, Kim I1 Sung, was much less oppressive for visitors than it is for those who read an English translation of North Korean newspapers. The people, it seems, have reason to think highly of the man, who really believes in "non-alignment." The people, the report says, "generally appeared to us in good health, hardworking and proud of their society." They pay less than one percent of their income for rent and utilities. (A Le Monde writer says three per cent.) Volume XXXIV, No. 23 The Quaker writers remark: North Korea's philosophy, juché, roughly defined as self-reliance, is often dismissed in the west as mere rhetoric, but we saw that it permeated the society and is of great interest to many developing countries. For example, on our plane from Beijing to Pyongyang there was a delegation from Zimbabwe, headed by the Minister of Information, who was visiting to study North Korea's system of rural mass communication. North Korea has developed a more self-reliant economy than most countries. Its emphasis on basic self-sufficiency has led to a nonaligned foreign policy that means it is much less influenced by the Soviet Union and China than is generally recognized in the United States. . . . North Koreans are proud of building a relatively self-reliant economy. They do not want to become dependent on other countries. Ninety-five per cent of North Korea's energy supply is met by its own coal and hydroelectric resources; given the world energy crisis, the country is in a very favorable position. Lest someone suppose that the Koreans are not completely "civilized," it is well to remember that they were the first to print from movable type—centuries before Gutenberg—and have an impressive classical literature. Why are there two Koreas—north and south? The Quakers keep track of such things. Lewis Hoskins, then executive secretary of the AFSC, explained years ago (New York Times, July 31, 1950): Just before the surrender of Japan, in the summer of 1945, several one-star generals hurried into an office in the Pentagon with a statement: "We have got to divide Korea. Where can we divide it?" The colonel with Far Eastern experience protested: "But you can't separate Korea. Korea is an economic and social unit. There is no place to divide it." The General insisted, "We have got to divide Korea and it has to be done by 4 o'clock." So, by 4 o'clock the division was made at the Thirty-Eighth Parallel. MANAS Reprint June 10, 1981 ...
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