per page, with , order by , clip by
Results of 1 - 1 of about 17 for Beston, Henry (0.008 sec.)
beston, (17), henry (674)
#score: 19780
@author: Manas Reprints
@digest: bc42657a1e8d463e8bb147b18a1e1af6
@id: 2141
@mdate: 2004-12-06T17:00:00Z
@size: 84837
@type: application/pdf
author: Manas Reprints
creator: Microsoft Word
producer: Acrobat PDFWriter 3.02 for Windows
#keywords: hopis (54217), hopi (26681), hamlet (23428), walker (16531), shakespeare (15426), collier (12162), november (10405), peaceful (5539), 1950 (5190), indians (4815), indian (4700), government (4579), traditional (4566), policies (4393), reprint (4055), volume (3634), physical (3425), the (3130), force (2866), manas (2509), their (2465), which (2459), themselves (2453), united (2349), have (2321), psychological (2288), thought (2119), without (2113), states (2047), moral (2046), problems (2029), culture (1991)
VOLUME III, NO. 48 NOVEMBER 29, 1950 THE PEACEFUL PEOPLE THE Hopis have a case. They also have problems—problems among themselves, problems in their relations with the United States, which is represented to them by the Indian Bureau—and while these problems are complicated and somewhat embarrassing, both to the Hopis and to the U. S. Government, tending at times to obscure the larger issues involved in their case, that case can nevertheless be made clear and unequivocal. Who, first of all, are the Hopis? They are today some 4,000 American Indians who live amid the arid tablelands of northern Arizona, in some twelve villages, most of which are on the top of small mesas, rising abruptly some 600 feet above the floor of the vast surrounding desert country which is inhabited by the much more numerous Navahos. Unlike the nomadic Navahos, however, the Hopis are town-dwelling Indians, descendants of the great Pueblo builders who spread their culture over a large area of the Southwest in prehistoric times. In 1775, according to one authority, the Hopis numbered 7500 people. Five years later they were reduced by famine to about 800. In 1912 the Hopi population had grown to 2218. In 1920 the Hopis began to increase in number more rapidly—by 12 per cent by 1932, and by 25 per cent from 1933 to 1943. In recent years the Hopis have been increasing three and a half times as fast as the United States population as a whole. Actually, there is more than one case for the Hopis. That is, there is the case as stated by friendly Americans, and there is the case as stated by the Hopis themselves. The "friendly American" case is well put by Laura Thompson (who in private life is the wife of John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1933-45) in her book, written with Alice Joseph, The Hopi Way: The native population increase in the last ten years coincides with the most recent period of change among the Hopi, particularly regarding their relationship to the Government. Before this time the Federal Government had assumed an arbitrary role, the avowed purpose of which was to break up the traditional life of the Hopi and destroy the power of their "priests" and "chiefs," at the same time encouraging the Indians to develop White industries and skills. This attitude was reflected in most Government policies and contacts; as for instance, the persistent attempts on the part of the Federal Government to allot the Hopi lands in severally (the first of which extended from 1892 to 1894 and the second from 1907 to 1910); the rule of compulsory attendance at schools, enforced by troops who compelled the people to give up their children during their formative years; and the encouragement of both Hopi and Navaho to increase their livestock as much as possible, regardless of range capacity. Moreover, when as a result of the growth of their herds the Navaho encroached on Hopi-occupied lands, the Government did nothing to protect the Hopi. These factors helped to create in the minds of the Hopi a lack of confidence and general negative attitude toward the Government and to increase their sense of insecurity. While changes for the better were instituted during the Collier regime, including a liberalization of the school program, with noncompulsory attendance, and official encouragement of Hopi religious ceremonial and the arts and crafts of the tribe, the forces of nature did not cooperate with the Indian Bureau "New Deal." The combined effects of the Navaho "invasion" of Hopi land and the natural processes of erosion have been to reduce the land to a fraction of its former value. Meanwhile, in 1943, the Federal Government felt obliged to enforce its stock reduction program to protect the range, already depleted by erosion, from over-grazing. Thus, after years of teaching the Hopis to be good herdsmen, it became necessary to cut their herds from 20% to 44%,, depending upon the condition MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 of the region. Naturally, the Hopis objected. Today, the Hopis are confined within an area about one fourth the size of the original reservation which they feel was set apart for them by Executive Order in 1882. Sympathetic as Miss Thompson is to the Hopi people, the Hopi statement of their own case strikes another note. The Hopis do not regard themselves simply as a small tribe of Indians, possessed of an interesting and admirable culture, to whom the white Americans ought to show consideration and justice. The members of the tribe who represent the traditional Hopi outlook speak out of regard for what they feel to be something far more important than mere "rights." They are concerned with the fulfillment of the Hopi mission and destiny, the meaning of which has been handed down from generation to generation of the guardians of the Hopi religious philosophy. From time to time, the chiefs and leaders of the traditional Hopis address letters to the President of the United States, setting forth the convictions and claims of these Indians, who speak, not as a small group of dependents of the "Great White Father," but with the voice of an independent people who have lived continuously in their ancestral Hopiland for at least 1200 years. Last year, Chief Dan Kootschongeva of the Sun Clan and other Hopi leaders proudly told the President: We are still a sovereign nation. Our flag still flies throughout our land (our ancient ruins). We have never abandoned our sovereignty to any foreign power or nation. We have been a selfgoverning people long before any white man came to our shores . . . Now we have heard about the Atlantic Treaty. . . . We have no enemy. We will neither show our bows and arrows to anyone at this time. This is our only way to everlasting life and happiness. Our tradition and religious training forbid us to harm, kill and molest anyone. . . .What nation who has taken up arms ever brought peace and happiness to its people ? Volume III, No. 48 They protested also the demand of the Government that Hopi land claims be filed with the U. S. Land Claims office. "We will not file any claims," they said, "because we have never been consulted in regard to setting up these provisions. . . . We have already laid claim to this whole Western hemisphere long before Columbus' great, great grandmother was born. . . . We think that white people should be asking for a permit to build homes on our land." Another letter to the President, mailed last October, became more insistent. Chief Dan, and Andrew Hermequaftewa of the Blue Bird Clan, requested that the drafting of Hopi men into the Army be stopped "because we Hopis have never made any treaty with your government whereby our young Hopi men and women would be subject to conscription laws of the United States." This letter continues: We ask you to release immediately all those who are now in the Armed Forces of the United States. . . . You have decided to lead your people down the new road to war. It is a fearful step you have taken. Now we must part. We, the Hopi leaders, will not go with you. You must go alone. The Hopi must remain within his own homeland. We have no right to be fighting other people in other lands who have caused us no harm. . . . Today our ancient Hopi religion, culture and traditional way of life are seriously threatened by your nation's war efforts Navaho-Hopi Bill, Indian Land Claims, and the Wheeler-Howard Bill, the so-called Indian Self-government Bill. These death-dealing policies have been imposed on us by trickery, fraud, coercion and bribery on the part of the Indian Bureau of the United States, and all those years the Hopi sovereign nation has not been consulted; instead, we have been subjected to countless numbers of humiliations and inhuman treatment by the Indian Bureau and the Government. These immoral acts have been done to us by the Government of the United States because we want to be peaceful, to live as we please, to worship and make our own livelihood the way our great spirit Massau'u has taught us. We also demand a full and complete investigation of the Navaho-Hopi Bill, the so-called MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 3 Hopi Tribal Council, and the Indian Service be made by the President, the Congress, and the good people of the United States. This is a moral obligation to the Red Man upon whose land you have been living. Time is short, and it is our sacred duty as leaders of our people to bring these truths and facts before the world. The Hopis, it should be said, have maintained their tribal culture and the moral attitudes it represents with more success than almost any other Indian group. The Hopis believe that a failure to live up to their traditional ideals, even in thought, "may fatally harm the individual's life and alter the course of the universe." The world of nature, they believe, is dependent upon the moral life of man, and they regard themselves, the Hopis, as endowed with the trust of preserving this cosmic balance. Hopi children, as they grow to maturity, grow also in the conviction of this principle of immanent justice as a law of nature. When a Hopi youth is drafted and made to go to war, the traditional Hopis feel that the very heart of their religious convictions is violated. Several young Hopis spent the last war in federal prisons, because of their scruples against war. And now the drafting has begun again. Here is a handful of human beings who have lived on the mesas of Arizona for a thousand years or more. Other Indians, the Spanish, and finally the Americans, closed around them. Yet despite their peaceful ways, they have survived and kept true to their tribal convictions and customs. The traditional Hopi feels an almost messianic duty to his tribe, to other Indians, and indeed, to the whole human race. He tries to practice the good life—the life of economic self-reliance and selfsufficiency, the life of brotherliness to other men and to all nature. themselves. They regard the Indian Reorganization Act of 1935 as a misguided attempt to substitute a "parliamentary" type of tribal government for their ancestral scheme of interdependent clans and societies, throughout which authority is distributed as a cultural rather than a political force. They claim that the Tribal Council and Hopi "Constitution" were made in Washington, and not by the Hopis, for the Hopis, and that it was adopted by the Tribe when a number of traditional Hopis who opposed the idea had been lured away as "obstructionists" who would "interfere" with this "progressive" step. Finally, they deny the right of the United States to draft their young men. They have before them the statement of President Truman, included in his Message in signing the Navaho-Hopi Bill, in which he said: . . . I also wish to assure the members of theHopi and Navaho Tribes that their religion and social customs will be fully respected in accordance with this Nation's long established laws and traditions. . . . This "assurance" has to date been completely meaningless. The pacifism of the Hopis is an essential part of their religion, yet Hopi youths continue to be drafted. The Hopis have a long record, seldom blemished, of fidelity to their way of life. They want to continue as the Peaceful People. This is the Hopi case. The traditional Hopis regard the recent Navaho-Hopi Act, appropriating some $90,000,000 for benefits to these tribes, as an unwanted and unnecessary imposition upon their independence and dignity. They refuse to have any of this money spent upon them. They are industrious farmers and herdsmen who support Volume III, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 4 Letter from ENGLAND LONDON.—In the Labour movement here (as, indeed, in other political parties) a great deal of introspection is in evidence. The old slogans "nationalization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange," and "workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains," which for so long formed the working basis of socialist thought, have become a little irrelevant in face of the admitted bureaucracy of the nationalized industries, and of the lessons derived from two world wars, where "the workers" of opposing countries were engaged in killing each other or in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. The civilization which was an outcome of the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century arrived by almost undetected stages. Small businesses changed into nation-wide trusts or international cartels, and independent craftsmen into gigantic trade unions and the "closed shop," without any very marked transition. Similarly, although there are still a few undaunted voices mouthing the shibboleths of the conventional democrat, it is generally recognized that we have moved by imperceptible changes into the era of the collective man. On none of these searching problems do recent declarations of our political parties care to dwell. And yet the questions and the answers are fundamental to any alignment of human thought to the needs of the hour. It is not only capitalism (private or State) that is being attacked or defended, or democracy seen to be in decline in face of totalitarianism. Rather are we witnessing the confusion of human minds and will before the uprush of impersonal necessities. to our civilization generally, whether democratic or communist, then we have here a brief description of our "social order." The proletariat (in the Roman conception, a proletarian was one whose only property was his children—proles, offspring!) is an essential mark of such a way of life. "The fundamental feature of capitalism," according to Lipson's Economic History (Vol. II, xxvi), "is the wage-system under which the worker has no right of ownership in the wares which he manufactures: he sells not the fruits of his labour but the labour itself—a distinction of vital economic significance." Just as the economists forgot that the significance was more than an economic one, so have political theorists of all colours sold the human birthright for a mess of pottage by accepting the pattern of unmitigated industrialism as the field for their social experiments. How to overcome the supersession of the individual by the highly organized mass society of the modern world is the essential element in any really constructive thought on the problems of today. It is not a matter for relegation to experts. It can only be solved by each man for himself in the solitude of his own soul. Guidance he may have. Gandhi, for example, has blazed a trail to a new continent of thought. There is hope, too, in the sense that men can at least go forward in this adventure of a transition age with certain assumptions that have been proved as necessary to a social organism based upon duties rather than rights. These are the spiritual equality of all men, the attainment of individuality by the free acceptance of obligations, the social usefulness of all work, and the recognition that social justice is secured only by devotion to the service of all that lives. Here is no jargon of the schools; only the preamble to the undeclared legislation of a new order. Nearly all the evils with which the world is familiar in East and West flow from the worship of this modern deity—man as an economic unit. "Modern capitalism," wrote the late Lord Keynes (John Maynard Keynes), "is absolutely irreligious, without internal union, without much spirit, often, though not always, a mere congeries of possessors and pursued." If capitalism is the name to be given Volume III, No. 48 MANAS Reprint ENGLISH CORRESPONDENT November 29, 1950 5 REVIEW SHAKESPEARE AND HIS SYMBOLS IN a series of critiques on popular culture, it at some time becomes necessary to give thought to the plays of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has had something of universal appeal for centuries, and, in this case, the fact may be used to support a thesis we favor: that men are, more than the modern bias inclines to admit, philosophical by nature. For Shakespeare was a philosopher, and even a mystic— a purveyor and an illuminator of symbols pertaining to man's inner life. Shakespeare has inspired many coteries of special interpretation, but he also inspires to thought many individuals who are temperamentally beyond coteries. There is philosophy in Shakespeare's symbolism, too, which apparently gives the greatest minds their fullest scope, yet which, in some dramatic structures, does not overwhelm the understanding of a child. Professors and the anti-literati alike can be profoundly moved by a Shakespearean play—in fact, be bound together—united in feeling—for once. This, we must agree, is not only a good thing but a great thing, the separation of the Intellectuals from the Non-Intellectuals being very bad for both. Nearly every reflective writer has at some time attempted an analysis of Shakespeare. But this is of much less interest or significance than that many more people who do not write for a living have been awed, and in some manner instructed, by Shakespeare, for a good many centuries. Laurence Olivier's recent filming of Hamlet was well and interestedly attended, and, as if belonging to this latest spur to interest, Marchette Chute's book, Shakespeare of London, subsequently managed to become a Book of the Month selection. Well, we say, he was a "genius." But does this tell us why plays so completely symbolic hang on so well in popularity? All creative geniuses, we must here pause to note, deal in symbolism. Shakespeare's greatness, on this view, lies in the greatness of his symbols, not in any biographer's version of Shakespeare's personality. Volume III, No. 48 The foregoing is lengthy preface for a tribute to a small volume of commentary on the play Hamlet, by Roy Walker (Andrew Dakers, London, 1948). Mr. Walker is not, in the orthodox sense, a Shakespearean scholar. All the better, too, perhaps, when one takes time to add up, in a long column, the "professional Shakespeareans" who hoped to attract notice with one or another new and different theory. The only regrettable thing about Walker's book is that it is presently out of print. Otherwise it offers, in I53 pages, a truly fascinating study of sociology, politics, psychology and religion, interwoven with the sort of interest a dramatic plot engenders. Walker's psychological point of departure is quite unusual for a modern Shakespearean student, for he apparently has never entertained the slightest desire to psychoanalyze his subject, and when it comes to giving some sort of psychiatric attention to the "maladjusted" personality of Hamlet he insists that the Prince of Denmark is entirely sane. Mr. Walker names his essay, The Time is Out of Joint, which is a way of saying that the drama of Prince Hamlet is the story of "moral man and immoral society." In other words, Walker credits Shakespeare with a great affirmative message, in the presentation of which we are led to see the Promethean struggle of every human soul against a corrupting environment. This view, in part, is one already given currency in Professor Wilson Knight's interpretation of Shakespeare's philosophy (The Crown of Life). Knight, too, sees in all of Shakespeare's works an odyssey of the individual human spirit, moving through desperate ordeals, first to despair, then to the arousal of the will, and finally to a serenity earned by the mastery of emotions by the fully "spiritual" man. Walker puts it this way: In Shakespeare's Hamlet we are the spellbound witnesses of the crucifixion of the godlike in man. We are shown the heavy price in suffering man must pay for imagination, a suffering that brings him to sore distraction and the brink of madness. We are shown the world of indulgence, corruption and decay, lost to imagination, warring upon it, and more horribly insane by the very failure to recognize its own madness; a country of the blind in which the one-eyed man is blinded. MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 6 Hamlet is the one-eyed man, his father's son but also his mother's. The influences of two worlds meet in him, making him stranger to each in turn, caught in a spiritual conflict that holds the mirror up to ours, a magic mirror reflecting not our appearance but our nature. That, not the imitation of externals, was and is 'the purpose of playing'. In Hamlet we see, clearly or uncertainly according to our condition, a high resolution of that conflict, and sharing it imaginatively we know for a little while the strange and holy fulfilment of great tragedy. There have been many to see some sort of esoteric meaning in Hamlet, just as there have been those to call the play one of Shakespeare's least successful dramas. Of the "feeling" for the hidden side of Hamlet, Professor A. C. Bradley is typical when he writes: . . . in all that happens or is done we seem to apprehend some vaster power . . . our imagination is haunted by the sense of it. . . . The Ghost affects imagination not simply as the apparition of a dead king who desires the accomplishment of his purposes, but also as the representative of that hidden ultimate power . . . a symbol of the connection of the limited world of ordinary experience with the vaster life of which it is a partial appearance. However, Mr. Walker has outlined a more specific philosophical thesis as the message of Hamlet—that the Prince symbolizes Man of Moral Conscience, first involved in tragedy, then appalled by it, then roused to activity through emotion— which unfortunately often instigates revenge but finally seeing that evil can never be ended by hate or violence. Claudius—or rather he suggests further that Hamlet always had some sense of prescience that his duty was far more than the murder of his uncle. Why is this view, now suggested by Mr. Walker, so unusual in the completeness of its approval of both the author and character of Hamlet? Walker's own suggestion finds support in the psychiatric evaluation of Dr. Karen Horney: The mistake, as I think, is in accepting the Elsinore of Claudius as 'normal' and the plausive manners of the King and Queen as common sense and common kindliness. After the opening scene in which we are shown the Ghost that "bodes some strange eruption to our state," to be allowed by actors and producer to see Hamlet as a maladjusted, obstinate, self-centred individual would be disastrous; it would make the final catastrophe in which all the principal figures of this environment are hurled down into death and ruin unthinkable. We might as well say Dante was maladjusted in Hell. This is the modern bias; what exists in the world must be the measure. Not so in Shakespeare. Hamlet is informed by a transfiguring vision in which "the uses of this world" are unnatural, in which the cycle turns downward to decay and death, and the soul fights for the knowledge of immortality—fights against time. In fundamental pattern a Christian world-view, no doubt. But Hamlet is not a play for Christians only. Perhaps some philosopher among publishers will someday bring Mr. Walker's book forth once again. We can certainly suggest it as a valuable stimulus to group discussion, as well as to fruitful introspection. Thoughtful readers of the last scene between Hamlet and the Ghost will recall that this apparition no longer wears his warrior's armor, nor speaks as if to stir Hamlet from lethargy. The now-aroused Hamlet, influenced partially by emotional hatred, is calmed by his father's spirit, who speaks of the final necessity for forgiveness. In other words, Hamlet is first initiated into the reality of evil; he generates enough energy to do something about the correction of evil in the sphere of his own society, but achieves final "initiation" only when he comprehends that his task is psychological and moral rather than physical. This, suggests Mr. Walker, is the reason for Hamlet's delay in carrying out revenge upon Volume III, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 7 COMMENTARY WHITE MAN'S BURDEN IT will probably be something of a blow to Mr. John Collier that the letter sent to the President by the Hopis describes the policies of the Indian Bureau as "death-dealing" and imposed by "trickery" and "coercion." Mr. Collier, doubtless, will not accept those adjectives as either accurate or just, nor, in a sense, do we. It is a question, of course, of the Indian Bureau wanting to help the Hopis in its way, while the Hopis who wrote that letter want to be left alone to help themselves. made to replace the authority of their clans and religious societies with government by a "Tribal Council," they resist what seems to them the imposition of a transmission belt for white paternalism. In their own terms, the spokesmen for the traditional Hopis have written an astonishingly temperate letter. The one idea that Mr. Collier repeats again and again in The Indians of the Americas is that the integrity of the Indian depends upon the integrity of his tribal life. Mr. Collier seems to have been the first Commissioner of Indian Affairs who fully understood the psychological destructiveness of former Government policies, and who attempted to institute genuine reforms. It is regrettable, perhaps, that the Hopis do not always distinguish between Mr. Collier's hopes and efforts on their behalf, and other Government policies, such as the draft, yet it is we, not they, who have complicated their lives with reservations, land laws and foreign wars, and the job of distinguishing between all these various government policies is hardly "natural" to them. The Hopis, it may be argued, are divided among themselves. But the division, again, is a result of white interference with their lives. Some Hopis favor the Indian Bureau's policies, and they, naturally, are favored by the Indian Bureau. This has divided the Hopis into "friendly" and "hostile" Indians, so-called. But the all-important fact remains, that the drafting of Hopi men does strike at the integrity of their tribal life; it does violate their religious traditions and weaken the moral authority of the tribe. And when the Hopis are asked to file claim on lands which have been theirs for a millennium, it seems to them like being invited to admit that their right of continuous possession is of no importance. When efforts are Volume III, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 8 punish, seem to us to obliterate any possible "physical" right to use force. CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves In MANAS for September 20, "Children . . . and Ourselves" states that under certain conditions "we have some kind of right to strike one of our children, or anyone else." Could you elaborate a little more on those "certain conditions ?" IN the first place, we said, "may have some kind of right. . . ." The intent of the paragraph was to distinguish between various conceivable uses of physical force and "punishment." Our claim, which is repeated in as many ways as we can possibly devise, is that punishment is never educative. That is, the notion that we can determine the conditions under which someone else will learn a needed lesson through pain or suffering seems increasingly naïve as we become more familiar with the verities of psychological knowledge. But it would also be unwise to state that no one ever learns anything from an application of physical force to his person. From striking or receiving a blow he may or may not learn something; from punishment, however—as a motive which accompanies the administration of a blow—nothing will ever be learned . . . except, perhaps, the futility of punishment. In other words, we are trying to set up, among psychological commandments, "Thou shalt not punish," as the first. It is likely that the absolute pacifists will demur when we suggest that "we may have some kind of right to strike." The pacifist may feel that nothing of value can be gained if physical force, even of a restraining variety, is used. Our answer would be that, in a sense, we have a "physical" right to use whatever force or strength we possess. We aren't, however, justified in calling it a moral right unless we think we are accomplishing some constructive object. Punishment fails to qualify as constructive, since it is patently negative. We should add, however, that moral infirmities of motive such as the desire to harm, the desire for revenge, and the desire to Volume III, No. 48 There may be another point to consider. It is not presently in vogue to argue that youngsters need to learn to evaluate physical force, yet this seems a mistake. The parent who tries to follow the rule of using no physical force at any time may actually be failing in a minor educative function. For the child who says, "I won't come into the house," there may come a time when it is to both his and his parents' advantage for him to learn that a large, strong parent can very easily transport him. Summing up, it seems unnecessary to worry very much about whether physical force in itself is either right or wrong, since it is much more important to concentrate upon the motives which inspire the frequent use of force. For instance, unless one believes he has the right to punish, he will probably not find a great many occasions where force seems to him to have to enter the picture. *** Our recent commentaries on problems of sex education brought forth a considerable number of remarks, as might be expected. One respected subscriber writes: In "Children" for July 5, 1950 we find MANAS joining with all those people who regard sex, apart from procreation, as "sin." I couldn't have been more surprised. You don't of course call it "sin," but the meaning is the same. And then, guess what? In practically the same mail we are accused, by another friend of long standing, of encouraging libertinism, sexual license, Freudianism and irresponsibility! Today, almost anything one may say about the Russians, the 38th parallel, Korea, or atom bombs may stimulate reactions of great intensity; these are topics which generate a great deal of heat. But, come war or come peace, it is always this way on any subject connected with sex and education. So we seem destined to be harassed MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 9 from time to time. All we can do is point out our plight, and one way of doing so by analogy is by quoting from Oscar Ameringer's autobiography, If You Don't Weaken. The genial author describes his predicament in editing a Socialist newspaper during World War I, illustrating the doubly discouraging position of the man who declines to line up with either one of two conventionally warring sides: The Leader began to get into hot water. Under the influence of the War, public opinion in the city was crystallizing along nationalist lines. The Poles of South Milwaukee, many of whom we had captured for the Socialist Party, were now fighting the battles of Poland in the twelfth and fourteenth wards of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The large German element of North Milwaukee, under the leadership of Germania, a hundred-per-cent daily published for revenue only, had taken up the cudgels for the Fatherland, while the third- and fourth-generation American sector of the population was fluctuating between nowhere and what-the-hell-now? The Milwaukee Leader, standing between the devil and the deep blue sea, tried its level best to retain the socialist position that this was a capitalist war caused by the commercial and financial rivalry of European hijackers and consequently was of no concern to the good people of Milwaukee and to the country at large. . . . As a result, the local Germans called us proRussian, the Poles called us pro-German, while the old American stock allowed we were just plain liars. The Leader lost prestige, circulation, advertising, and more money than usual. We are not sure that we are wise enough to tell anyone what specific sort of moral conduct will be the greatest stimulus to the human soul. If we argue for any religion at all, it is for the Religion of Nature and, so far as we know, Nature has never devised a category of "sin." We are "rewarded" and "punished," in every department of our lives, by our correct or incorrect evaluations of what constitutes morally balanced action. Turning to our other critic, we can do no better than say the same thing over again. Yes, Homer Lane counselled against endless preaching about the "dangers of sexual involvements." He did not feel that the frighten-them-off technique was good education, and we agree with him. But Lane's ultimate objective was by no means a promiscuous society, nor does anything which either we or Lane have said give the slightest ground for assuming this. As a matter of fact, Lane wanted, and proved that he really did want, what so many claim to extol—a society of sensitive, responsible people, and happy, monogamous homes. Yet Lane felt that to move toward that objective in our sin-complex-ridden society, it was necessary to utilize more enlightened psychological methods. A mind unwarped by fear was, to Lane, the mind most capable of appreciating subtleties of personal responsibility in all matters between the sexes. Now, look, people, nothing we have said in this column has identified sex with sin, nor have we even spoken respectfully of the concept of sin in any of its guises. We have suggested that human actions express the greatest and most satisfactory maturity when each exercise of free choice is accompanied by balanced evaluation of all responsibilities, psychological as well as physical, which go along with them. And it is to stand on very sure ground when we claim, too, that all methods encouraging self-evaluation of responsibility, in relation to close personal association between the sexes, are of educative value. Volume III, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 10 FRONTIERS Men Against Themselves IT becomes increasingly evident that until human beings stop fighting the war against themselves, and begin participating in what might be called the "war without sides," any expectation of a genuine peace for the world is without the slightest foundation. "War without sides" is a name which could be given to all worthy and strenuous enterprises which rest no particular hope for their success upon overpowering military force. They are enterprises to which, in fact, military activities are entirely irrelevant. We do not mean to suggest that they are necessarily "pacifist" enterprises, or even notably sympathetic to pacifist ideals, but simply that the moral energy which presses them onward has both a humanitarian and a nonpolitical origin. The pacifist is one who makes a frontal attack on what he regards as the delusion that any modern war can lead to good, or serve the cause of peace and freedom. He wages a war without sides. But so does the nutritionist who knows that famine and disease haunt the desolation of "righteous" as well as "unrighteous" wars. The nutritionist does not think in terms of the triumph of his political ideology, but in terms of practical human need. And the man who is a student of the problems of soil conservation sees a world made destitute by the earth-gutting operations of cashcrop agriculture. This destitution, if its causes continue, will outlast any military victory. The same thing applies to those who are concerned with the materially intangible essences of community and family life, and with the moral temper of human society. Such men are not ideologists, but believers in the fellowship of mankind. Henry Beston, writing in a recent Human Events, becomes a spokesman for all of those who fight in this war without sides—whose devotion is to man, rather than to any particular race, nation or culture. He speaks of the uneasiness felt by the Volume III, No. 48 many, and expressed by the courageous few, regarding the barbarities of modern aerial warfare. For him, and for those whose feelings he gives voice, it is no longer a matter of who possesses "supreme air power," but a question of what this sort of power does, regardless of who possesses it. He describes a "revulsion from violence" which at present is little more than a whisper of protest. If more men would write of the obscene terrors which now haunt the canopy of heaven, for all those peoples who are at war, or whose lands, as in Korea, are the scene of war, then there would be some hope of the whisper growing into a resonant appeal, finally to become the tumultuous roar of a moral revolution. What is speaking out [he writes] in the present mood of criticism is the human conscience, and one must believe in the existence of such an attribute of the human spirit if one is to have any hope of bettering the human situation. It is conscience which makes man a human being, and shapes human life into a thing aware of moral responsibility and able to recognize an act of guilt. It is not primarily the civilized instincts which have awakened or even the outraged intelligence which asks why a country should be returned to its native possessors ravaged and burnt, its capital in flames, at the close of an effort to restore "the good life." It is something older and more fundamental which has found a voice, an attitude of the human spirit, coupled, one would say after reading the press, with a sense of disgust. Many readers will remember the contempt expressed in the American press for the Italian Count Ciano when, after participating in the bombing of an Ethiopian city, he exposed his warped esthetic sense by describing the explosion of a bomb as like "the opening of a rose." Today, the Ciano attitude toward bombing is almost commonplace. As Mr. Beston says: It might be well if we all took a little thought of the hideous air jargon which is quoted in the press— "We started a perfect peach of a big fire." "Guess nobody'll live there for a long time, we got the last house." It is the talk of a culture which has lost its natural humanity. This is really the thing to think about—the loss of our natural humanity. It is not MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 11 possible to recover a loss of this sort by winning a war. The terrible thing about modern war is the impersonal distance of its tragedies, except when they strike home and then there is the impersonal horror without the distance. Men do not fight and kill other men, in modern wars. They obliterate cities. It is a button-pressing sort of slaughter, and the guilt which overtakes men who participate in this inhuman technology is essentially different from the blood-on-your-hands kind of reaction. Nor should we suppose that only soldiers and their commanders participate: we all participate, for the modern industrial society goes to war as a single, great, mechanized totality. The effect comes as an inner, psychic sickness, a creeping moral paralysis, a feeling of the worthlessness of it all and of condemnation to an intangible and incalculable despair. we are losing because of these delusions is actually priceless. It is, in Mr. Beston's phrase, our "natural humanity." Why do we seek distraction from being alone with ourselves? Why are drinking and gambling and sexual excesses and abnormalities so characteristic of our time? The acts these terms represent are not so unspeakably horrible, but the nervous compulsions which drive an increasing number of people into helpless bondage to these tendencies are horrible because their victims seem so impotent to resist. They do not want to resist, to become "normal" human beings, because the "normal" world has itself become a sickly and tainted affair. We need, perhaps, to find a philosophical equivalent for what the dogmatists have called "sin." For we are afflicted. The compact with "God" may have been a false one, and we may have been right to tear it up. But we violate the compact with Nature, and with Conscience, which is the voice of inner Nature, at our extreme peril. It is time for a great restoration, for a clean, new beginning. It is a time for new statements of what is good, true, and worthy of the devotion of good and true men. The delusions which hide the really good and the really true need to be exposed and destroyed, no matter what the price, for what Volume III, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 12 Has it Occurred to Us? ONE'S grandfather, back in the '90's, was often the center of mysterious raps that reverberated from the furniture around him; strange, wonderful dreams presage to us the arrival of a nearforgotten friend; bits of conversation sometimes seem to have "happened" already in a dream, and startle us when they recur objectively; an old lady, dying, announces the time of her death, a day chosen for its great significance to her—and leaves on the appointed morning, as if by intention; two people, separated in space and independent of each other, have the same idea strike them at the same time; a child, babbling aside for the moment, brings from somewhere inside a few inklings of a former existence, another life in other times; peace comes to a bereaved parent who, weeks after his child's death, keeps watch, for an inexplicable reason, in the child's now empty room. In the experience of every mind, some such odd phenomenon rests—or throbs—while ordinary life pursues its familiar course. Has it occurred to us that perhaps these unique happenings have more significance than events which quite outclass them in mere size? Experiences may be dramatic without being in the least mysterious, but some happenings, apparently trivial, are arresting in their spreading implications. Their "area of displacement" is not large to begin with, but it continues to expand. Dropping like seeds into the person's nature, they have their growth slowly, accruing to themselves the wonderment with which the mind reviews them, and gradually establishing roots for themselves in our very ponderings and baffled thoughts. Over the years, they wax stronger, not alarmingly but gently, until we find that they are a power, and that through them we are becoming aware of still other and stranger phenomena. Possibly, we are never impelled to hunt out an explanation or to ask "advice" about these mysterious events—they seem ours alone and Volume III, No. 48 meant for self-fathoming. But, again, the one instance we have had at first-hand may render us especially observant, and we may discover analogues of our experience in the lives of others, in a book or a fragment of poetry, or in intimations read out of later events. The uniqueness of our experience will remain, even if we should learn that scores of human beings have met similar circumstances, for no one else can unriddle us the real mysteries always, in the last analysis, they are self-discoveries. Without apprehension or fear of loss, we may go in search of meanings and examine the thoughts of other men—insofar as they are available to us--for hints and clues which will point us to new imaginings. In this search we do not necessarily look for authorities. Rather we follow our affinities in the world of ideas, and traipse after any Pied Piper whose music has overtones that appeal to the subtle faculties of our own minds. The mind attaches itself, as certain philosophies of the East have taught for millenniums, to that which is homogeneous to its own nature, so that even the meeting and mingling of minds is actually more a matching than an "exchange" of ideas. Propaganda and proselyting are very real dangers, but only to inactive minds. One who continues to think under all conditions will submit all visiting thoughts to his own judgment—not because his judgment is infallible, but in order that he may develop through use the faculty of discrimination. The eager mind holds each chance encounter with the unknown as a private trust which yet is to be freely proffered to all who discern a value therein. In the region of thought, each man has a kingdom, and his demeanor toward other minds can be that of a friendly sovereign among his peers. A "strange thing," an "odd coincidence"— why leave it at that? What is the mind for, but to scent after the unknown, to fathom the faraway horizons of thought, and to devise the means of spanning the middle distances? What great elements of human life have escaped our attention MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 13 that we can speak of a "strange" thing? Do we mean unnatural—and why should we assume that what is new to us, is new to mankind, to the species of man? Coincidences often fascinate us, but fascination is almost a deterrent to understanding, and may succeed only in numbing our critical faculties. So long as we concentrate on the oddity of a coincidence, we are not prepared to appreciate its natural origin. A more appropriate course would be to conjecture what forces or influences have come together to establish the co-incidence we recognize, and to ask why we should not have noticed the converging of these forces before. It would be contrary to the mind's mode of action to harbor the suspicion that no explanation exists for certain unusual events. We cannot, of course, assert that an explanation does exist, but fortunately for our peaceful pursuit of new ideas, we can act on the faith that the attempt to understand (even should success be forever impossible) is in a sense a joyous adventure and one of the rare pleasures that are unalloyed. It also goes without saying that the eager mind is not easily alarmed by an unfamiliar concept or doctrine. Something in the continued search for a more rounded certainty is a protection against prolonged immersion in ideological bogs, and one soon comes to trust the resiliency of the mind itself as the most potent factor in preserving integrity. The intrusion of unknowns, we may hope, will increase rather than decrease, as time has its way with us. Has it occurred to us that perhaps Life should become more and more mysterious, even while we explain more and more of its phenomena to ourselves? Would we care to conceive of an existence with nothing left to be found out? Volume III, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 29, 1950 ... - [detail] - [similar]
Powered by Hyper Estraier 1.4.13, with 2096 documents and 94562 words.