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CHOOSE YOUR WILDERNESS
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VOLUME XII, NO. 5 FEBRUARY 4, 1959 CHOOSE YOUR WILDERNESS FOR the past eight months I've been living in an uninhabited canyon in a remote range of desert mountains. Food and water were brought to me three or four times a month. I rarely saw anyone, and I was totally without the benefits, or hazards, of accepted means of communication such as the daily paper, the radio and television. Since mass means of communication also mean coercion and entertainment, I had to do without these perquisites to modern living. Aside from the bare necessities of life I wasn't a consumer and there was no one around to shame me or scare me into consuming more than my simple needs required. My domestic economy was stable. Such foreign policy as I developed and enacted was applied to the reptile and animal nations. I avoided the reptiles but honored their right to their rocky domain. The only thing that could be counted as a hostile act toward the reptiles was my establishment of more or less snake-proof watering places for the bird and small animal nations. Easy drinking for the birds and small animals meant more difficult hunting for the reptiles. If there was any inequality in this, I convinced myself that the reptiles deserved it and that in some way my own safety was involved. My greatest difficulty with what I liked to call my enlightened foreign policy was the only havenots of the animal world, the four dogs I inherited with the mining camp in which I lived. Their traditional dependence on man called for a paternalistic sort of relationship and in return for this they agreed to act as my satellites to warn me of the approach of any potential hostiles—bird, reptile, animal or human. They would also protect me within limits, and had a loyalty that could be corrupted only by larger and better rations of food than I could provide. The dogs flattered me by their admiration for my way of life and where convenient and possible copied it. Thinking to please me, they were guilty of the only brinksmanship that was practiced in the canyon. There was little doubt that they regarded the communal watering places I provided for the birds and animals as being a sort of creeping socialism. With bared teeth and barking threats of mayhem and worse they would break this up and undoubtedly drove many birds and animals into the snake areas. Had I broken the dogs of this I am sure they would have considered themselves no longer expected to warn me of mountain lions or dangerous-looking strangers. Their security measures, they would have told me, had to consist of barking at every foreign element; the innocent would disperse and run into hiding while the guilty were apt to maintain that they had as much right in the canyon as the dogs and thus deserved biting. I cite my experience with the non-human inhabitants of the canyon only as an example of the things a man of the world carries with him when he goes into seclusion. In time my misguided sense of order dissolved into the anarchism that was natural to the canyon. Even the dogs, aliens like myself, accepted this and found fewer threats in the night. It didn't take very long to adjust to and accept the simple reality of the desert. What I intended to concern myself with when I started this is the difficulty in finding the reality of civilization after one has been away for a while. When I went to the desert there was a recession that had caused the president to order the nation to juice up the economy by doing some extra buying. "Buy anything," he said. "You auto buy now," became the slogan of the month. It seemed that people no longer had to buy new cars for transportation or just to keep in style; they were in effect told that they had to buy them in order to MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 eat. Our economy would perish if the automotive industry didn't flourish. where Ike does his personable but indifferent driving. In the Far East, the State Department was doing its ideological best to preserve free enterprise in oil-rich countries. It appeared that the examples of free enterprise, as demonstrated by our foremost exponents, the oil companies, hadn't favorably impressed the natives. The Soviets had arisen to the occasion and, as always, an exchange of H-bombs was threatened. They had just finished testing their latest batch; we were getting ready to test ours. A small-scale satellite competition between the Soviets and the U.S. was distracting attention from the fallout of the bombs. When I returned to the city I expected that with my mind purged of what Dr. Peale calls "negative thinking," my view of the human situation would have improved. When the majority of the people had either voted against what the present administration represented, or for more liberal representatives, the conformity I'd thought was prevalent was apparently more seeming than real. In voting down the various "Right to Work" bills, I felt sure that the public was in effect voting against the dangerously centralized industries that sponsored them rather than giving the unions a vote of confidence. Somehow I expected the people to take confidence from the election and regain the spirit of protest that was once this nation's greatest asset. Although these were obviously perilous times, it appeared that our nation had reached a state of apathetic conformism where protest of any kind was considered, if not a crime, an excess. The unemployed went through debasing bureaucratic rituals in order to get checks that would not buy adequate food and shelter. The State Department freely offered up our lives in an attempt to enforce policies that rarely needed enforcing. Again there was little protest. We'd lost some of our faith in ourselves, too; the Russians, whom we had always considered to be our inferiors, were defeating us in precisely the thing that gave us world dominance—technology. What we had left to pride ourselves on was a freedom we wouldn't use and a standard of living that was more threatened from within than from without. In the midst of this sanctified confusion we had a president who charmingly and in seriousness proclaimed himself to be a "middle of the roader." Apparently no one was bothered by the fact that the middle of the road is notoriously dangerous, or at best occupied only by road hogs. When such a position seems sane to the majority of people, I begin to know what Wright Mills means by "crackpot realism." And so I went to the desert to specialize in my own confusion and to get off the highway Volume XII, No. 5 In the first days I was back I read avidly, trying to make up for what I had missed and if possible to enter into the thinking that evolved from events which I should be able to see clearly because of my detachment. A cosmic weightlifting contest was taking place between Russia and ourselves and it had apparently become a favorite spectator sport of other nations. Momentarily we were ahead with a four-ton satellite that sent greetings back to the earth. Then the Russians came up with a 250-ton (at take off) monster that orbits around the sun. There was a new and undoubted champion in the held of technology. If we looked pitiful in the space contest, we were somewhat more than pitiful in the international arena. Backing Chiang Kai-shek against the Communist Government of the Chinese mainland was an attempt to turn back history that could very well have cost most of us our lives. And yet, because Dulles' policy was anti-communistic, there was no very great protest. Ironically, at the same time we had to loan Chiang money to retire the old soldiers from an army that can no longer recruit youth. MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 3 It is in such a thing as the State Department's and Administration's backing of Nationalist Formosa that our democracy fails. We are a cowed people who have mistakenly elected men who are equally cowed. Although McCarthy as a figure was thoroughly discredited, the fear he spawned is still active and present, even though as an archaic survival. If you ask people openly and in public if they are for the recognition of Red China, the chances are great that fear will make them vehemently against such a thing. Unfortunately, our leaders are always in a public place and are susceptible to the same fears. But let war impend because we back a discredited but publicly acceptable regime and let people make their decision in the secrecy of the polls, and I think that the vote will be for peace. A great humanitarian said, "The power to heal recedes from us as it is not used." That statement could be aptly paraphrased, "The power of freedom recedes from us as it is not used." It seems to me that the power of the free has receded to a dangerously low level. Out of a fear that most of us aren't really aware of in a conscious sense, caught up by catchwords and phrases, we often rally around the very things that could destroy us, and uncritically accept the very things we are fighting. The phrase, "creeping socialism," is used to condemn anything that might benefit the ordinary man—better schools, reasonably priced medical care, publicly owned utilities, curbs on inflation, adequate pensions, and what have you. "Creeping Socialism" threatens "Free Enterprise," we are told, and anyone who isn't uncritically and wholeheartedly for free enterprise as we now endure it is at the very least a Pinko. The automotive industry is our outstanding example of free enterprise. It is dominated by the big three in manufacturing and they in turn are dominated by the big one, General Motors, which sets prices. There is, in effect, an automotive trust such as we would have under socialism. The style and size of the car we may buy is determined for Volume XII, No. 5 us by a board of directors that differs not greatly from a board of commissars. Through a captive TV, press and radio they tell us what we have to have in the way of transportation. More than that, the trust has reached a place of such power that it can threaten us with a recession if we do not buy. The consumer can't even strike. Has any socialistic trust ever had more power? In yesterday's paper there was another example of free enterprise in action. A woman columnist who believed that women should have the right to buy what they wanted, has been attempting to organize a "We Won't Buy Freakish Styles" Club. Apparently, she was having some success, for here is a letter from a merchant: "What are you trying to do? Ruin the ladies dress business? Your WWFS club encourages women to stop buying and that is very bad for the nation's business. I own a dress shop and have to sell what the manufacturers give me. They have to manufacture what the designers give them. Women are very susceptible to suggestion and when millions of women get together and quit buying a major depression could result. Please consider this and put a stop to this club." Americans used to have a silly old idea that they had the right to choose what they would buy and the astute manufacturer profited by pleasing them. Another item in yesterday's paper made me wonder if Americans have even the choice between peace and living constantly on the brink of war. A big business executive warned the nation, and particularly Los Angeles, not to be taken in by the seemingly peaceful visit of Russian Deputy Premier Mikoyan and summed up by saying: . . . the Russians are trying to convince this country that a $45,000,000,000 defense budget is unnecessary. Can you imagine what would happen in California if there was a 25 per cent cutback in defense spending? Apparently we are committed to war by industrial necessity and will be subject to economic reprisals if we don't insist on living dangerously. In short, we are threatened with a MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 4 depression if we don't conform to a policy that works directly against our interests. When Russia equals our automotive production, which it surely will, I can imagine a commissar of sales saying to a customer, "Comrade, you do have a choice— either a new Pobeda hardtop or Siberia." Or another saying, "Comrade citizen, if we don't continue to arm ourselves against the capitalistic swine, grass will grow in all the streets beyond the Urals." Somehow centralization, whether socialistic or capitalistic, has given me a nightmare. I see men in that far backward time when they roved the forests in droves, fearing all other droves as well as the wolves and tigers. When they lie down to sleep at night, they lie in a circle around the strong and the crafty, thus forming a barricade to protect the truly centralized leadership. If the wolves devoured an outer layer or two, well and good. An amorphous mass was protecting an amorphous idea of leadership. If you lay as close to the leader as you could you might evade the fangs or the clubs of the enemy. Undoubtedly there were grunts and gurgles that meant the equivalent of our "Free Enterprise" or the Soviets', "Our glorious people's Socialism." interests. There is hope, but first there must be an awakening. I know that coming back from the desert and reading the news made something of a patriot out of me. Suddenly I resented the existence of an entrenched minority who were in effect telling me, "Either do this, or else." I believe in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," not in, "torpor, forced consumption, and the pursuit of destruction." WALKER WINSLOW Los Angeles As of now, America's fear of austerity is holding us captive. Freedom cannot be reestablished without some sacrifice. A depression is certainly better than the extinction our war industries may lead us into. We can break up the great central monopolies that appear to have become stronger than our government if we insist that free enterprise is something to be shared by the many instead of the few. Free enterprise and freedom of choice have been taken from the mass by men who are cynical about our ability to choose for ourselves and who threaten us in the same way that a dictator might. Our government has become peripheral to the central force that dominates all of our lives. In spite of this, and by traditional political methods, we can prepare, choose and elect candidates who will serve our Volume XII, No. 5 MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 5 REVIEW KOESTLER ON KEPLER ENCOUNTER for December includes one of the most interesting pieces of writing Arthur Koestler has produced. In this study of the life and thought of Johannes Kepler, titled "The Psychology of Discovery," Koestler demonstrates how important the role of mystical conviction has been in the formulation of new scientific perspectives. Kepler, Koestler shows, was drawn by an unerring instinct back to the Pythagorean view of mysticism in science, taking his inspiration from Plato and Pythagoras rather than from his predecessors in mathematics and astronomy. As Koestler puts it: "In the labyrinth of Kepler's mind, the thread of Ariadne was his Pythagorean mysticism, his religious-scientific quest for a harmonious universe governed by perfect crystal shapes or perfect chords. It was this thread that led him, through abrupt turns and dizzy gyrations, in and out of culs-de-sac, to the first exact laws of nature, to the mathematisation of science. He said his prayers in the language of mathematics, and distilled his mystic faith into a mathematician's Song of Songs." The following passages derive from Koestler's reflections upon Kepler's Mysterium Cosmographicum: To the Pythagoreans and Plato, the animating force of the deity radiated from the centre of the world outward, until Aristotle banished the First Mover to the periphery of the universe. In the Copernican system, the sun again occupied the centre, but God remained outside, and the sun had neither divine attributes, nor any physical influence on the motions of the planets. In Kepler's universe, all mystic attributes and physical powers are centralised in the sun; the First Mover is returned to the focal position where he belongs. The visible universe is the symbol and "signature" of the Holy Trinity: the sun represents the Father, the sphere of the fixed stars the Son, the invisible forces which, emanating from the Father, act through interstellar space, represent the Holy Ghost: "The sun in the middle of the moving stars, himself at rest and yet the source of motion, carries Volume XII, No. 5 the image of God the Father and Creator. . . . He distributes his motive force through a medium which contains the moving bodies even as the Father creates through the Holy Ghost." If Kepler's evolution had stopped here, he would have remained a crank. But I have already pointed out the contrast between the a priori deductions in the first part of the book and the modern scientific approach of the second. This co-existence of the mystical and the empirical, of wild flights of thought and dogged, painstaking research, remained the main characteristic of Kepler from his early youth to his old age. Other men living on the watershed displayed the same dualism, but in Kepler it was more pointed and paradoxical, carried to extremes verging on insanity. It accounts for the incredible mixture in his works of recklessness and pedantic caution, his naïveté and philosophical depth. It emboldened him to ask questions which nobody had dared to ask without trembling at their audacity, or blushing at their apparent foolishness. Some of them appear to the modern mind as meaningless. The others led to the reconciliation of earth-physics with sky-geometry, and were the beginning of modern cosmology. That some of his own answers were wrong, does not matter. As in the case of the Ionian philosophers of the heroic age, the philosophers of the Renaissance were perhaps more remarkable for the revolutionary nature of the questions they asked than for the answers they proposed. Paracelsus and Bruno, Gilbert and Tycho, Kepler and Galileo formulated some answers which are still valid, but first and foremost they were giant question-masters. Post factum, however, it is always difficult to appreciate the originality and imagination it required to ask. The points which Koestler illuminates so well are also the theme of a remarkable book by E. A. Burtt, entitled the Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science. Dr. Burtt suggests that the active imagination of the ancients, moving along deductive rather than inductive paths, often attained a more comprehensive view of the structure of the universe than the detailed experimental efforts of later times. Further, every man, Burtt shows, is a metaphysician of sorts, and it is precisely when he realizes that the creative imagination should be encouraged to wander on the farthest horizons that his capacity for even physical discovery is greatest. The man who MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 6 denies the value of metaphysics is, as Bradley once remarked, "simply a brother metaphysician with a rival set of principles"—in this case, negative judgments pertaining to the scope of the spiritual and ethical. In Kepler, we see something more going on than a gradual breaking away from "superstitions": Demosthenes, and sadistic parents ought to be at a premium. Perhaps Mercury in conjunction with Mars, taken with a few cosmic grains of salt, is as good an explanation as any other. Inside these minds, we find no abrupt break with the past, but a gradual transformation of the symbols of their cosmic experience—from anima motrix into vis motrix, moving spirit into moving force, mythological imagery into mathematical hieroglyphics—a transformation which never was, and, one hopes, never will be entirely completed. Science and religion were never really at war for Kepler. He sensed that he must extract the essential meanings from both and bring them together. And when he began to dream of such a synthesis, he was able to bring all his latent powers into focus in creative endeavor. On this point Koestler has some thoughts which the "scientific" modern would doubtless benefit from pondering: For, he implies, without the elusive elements of mysticism, without a sense of awe combined with a sense of possible initiation into the deepest mysteries of life, many creative forces lie dormant. Nor can we explain a Kepler adequately by any of the means of analysis developed in the psychological sciences, for always there is that in the man of genius which is beyond the reach of any analytical scalpel. Through metaphysical synthesis as well as experimental work, writes Koestler, we discover that Johannes, "the restless student who had never been able to finish what he began, had changed into a scholar with a prodigious capacity for work, for physical and mental endurance, and a fanatical patience unequalled in the annals of science." Koestler concluded: In the Freudian universe, Kepler's youth is the story of a successful cure of neurosis by sublimation, in Adler's of a successfully compensated inferiority complex, in Marx's, History's response to the need of improved navigational tables in the geneticist's, of a freak combination of genes. But if that were the whole story, every stammerer would grow into a Volume XII, No. 5 MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 7 COMMENTARY READING NOTES USUALLY, passages reprinted in these pages from the current offerings of paperbacks contain some selfjustifying moral or a critical insight which the author has made blossom in his yarn. Now we have an exception—a paragraph borrowed entirely for its own sake from Josephine Tey's The Man in the Queue (Dell's Mystery Library). Here is description which ranks with the best: A pleasant country, England, at ten of a bright morning. Even the awful little suburban villas had lost that air of aggressiveness born of their inferiority complex, and were shining self-forgetful and demure in the clear light. Their narrow, inhospitable doors were no longer ugly in the atrociousness of cheap paint and appliqué mouldings; they were entrances of jade and carnelian and lapis lazuli and onyx into particular separate heavens. Their gardens, with their pert, ill-dressed rows of tulips and meagre seed-sown grass, were lively as the hanging gardens of Babylon had been. Here and there a line of gay, motley child's clothes danced and ballooned with the breeze in a necklace of coloured laughter. And farther on, when the last vestiges of the town fell away, the wide acres of the grass country smiled broadly in the sunlight like an old hunting print. All England was lovely this morning. . . . Even Nottingham canals had a Venetian touch of blue today, and their grimy, imprisoning walls were rosy as Petra. . . . Then, later, an account of a solicitor's offices: In a little side street, near the castle—the kind of a street that has never seen a tramcar and where one's footsteps echo until one involuntarily looks behind— were situated the small and gloomy offices of Yeudall, Lister & Yeudall. Three hundred years old they were, and the waiting room was panelled in oak that extinguished the last valiant ray of light as it fought its way past the old greenish glass of the windowpane. The light died on the window-sill as the last survivor of a charge dies on the enemy parapet, murdered but glorious. It must be a great satisfaction to be able to write like that. *** Ever since a MANAS writer rediscovered William James and quoted valuable paragraphs from his Will to Volume XII, No. 5 Believe and other essays, we haven't been able to get him out of our head. It may be admitted that James is unforgettable because he was such a good writer, but another reason, surely, is that he was such an independent thinker. At any rate, if you recall, James proposed that what a man thinks himself capable of is an important factor in determining what he is capable of. Now this, it seems to us, is about the most important element in man's nature to distinguish him from brute creation. For it is certain that human greatness, whatever else it may involve, can never dispense with a high confidence in the human capacity to know, to do, to understand. Since reading about James, we keep finding interesting parallels to his thought. For example, in the first article in a new magazine, Contact, subtitled "The San Francisco Journal of New Writing, Art, and Ideas" (issued in Sausalito by Angel Island Publications, Inc.), an article by S. I. Hayakawa seems entirely based on a social application of the principle affirmed by James. The article is called "How to be Sane Though Negro." Hayakawa adopts the view that any member of a minority group ought to learn to understand the problems of other minority groups. What we might term the "James Principle," he calls "The SelfFulfilling Prophecy." He proposes that what Negroes expect in the way of treatment from white people is bound to affect what happens to them. He writes: A self-fulfilling prophecy is one that fulfills itself as the result of the behavior of the person who makes the prophecy and believes it. Suppose we hear a rumor that the bank in which we have all our money is about to fail. Suppose that we all believe the rumor and act upon it, so that we all rush to the bank to get our money out. This is exactly what causes bank failures. Or, take another example: here let us say is a young man just out of jail who is looking for a job: Let us suppose that no one in town will give him a job because of his past record. In other words, those who refuse to employ him are making a prediction that since the young man has erred in the past, he will err again. Ultimately the young man, unable to get a job anywhere, returns to crime; when he is caught again, people are likely to say, "See? What did I tell you? A criminal is always a criminal." But the doubt remains, was it not the unanimous prediction that he would return to crime that caused him to return to crime? . . . MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 8 I am not saying that such prophecies always fulfill themselves, because that would be a manifest absurdity. But what I am saying is that your own beliefs about the outcome of any social situation of which you are a part is a factor in the outcome. You have heard the white people who say, "If Negroes move into our community, there is bound to be trouble." You know that, although such people believe they are stating an impersonal fact, there is an enormous personal element in such statements; in other words, you sense that they themselves are, subtly, going to help make that trouble. But the mechanism of the self-fulfilling prophecy works the other way, too. If a Negro goes into mixed company with the prediction inside him, "People are going to be unpleasant to me because of my race," they may very well be unpleasant to him. Later, he will say, "I told you so," and regard himself complacently as a realist who was able accurately to predict the situation. This article is not in the least sentimental or Pollyannaish. It neither neglects nor minimizes the psychological opacity of the Little Rocks and Montgomerys, nor does it belittle legislative efforts toward racial justice. Hayakawa's point is that within the frame of legislative reform and Fair Employment Practice laws the Negro can himself contribute to making equal opportunity a reality. "The basic question facing a young man or woman today in the choice of a career is not, 'Is this career open to Negroes?'—a question which reflects the very essence of 'Jim Crow of the Mind.' It is rather, 'Is this career one that I care about enough to try for?' " The heart of Mr. Hayakawa's discussion is this: The secret of acting naturally, and therefore of how to be sane though Negro, is to forget as far as possible that one is Negro. If you are a biochemist and expect to be treated as just another biochemist, the self-fulfilling prophecy will operate and people will in all likelihood treat you as just another biochemist. If you are a parent and expect to be treated as just another parent at a PTA meeting, people will in all likelihood treat you as just another parent, learning meanwhile that the problems of Negro parents are no different from those of white parents. But if you are a biochemist or a parent and expect to be treated as a Negro, people are going to treat you as a Negro—whatever that means to them. Volume XII, No. 5 Of the ignorant whites whose behavior in a racially mixed society is clumsy or ineptly condescending, he writes: Why not give them C-minus for effort and forget it?. . . If you expect too much of them—if you expect all white people to be intelligent and sensible on the subject of Negroes—you will be running into daily disappointments. If, however, your expectations are realistic—in other words, if you expect four out of five white persons to be pretty ignorant on the subject—then you will be delighted when the score for a given day turns out to be only three out of five. The really impressive thing about this article is that it shows that the way to solve the Negro problem, so far as the Negroes are concerned, is the same as the way any problem involving human relations must be solved. The advice Mr. Hayakawa offers applies with equal force to the problem of anyone who is trying to add a factor of intelligence to human relations. The teacher who is hoping to lift the cultural level of his class room has to be satisfied—and delighted—with very little response, and he learns to nurture that little as carefully as he can. He doesn't hate the wicked world for its unresponsiveness. Where would that get him, in his educational work? As Hayakawa puts it: "If whites are to learn how to get over their prevailing obsession with skin color, they must learn how from Negroes who are themselves unobsessed—with their own skin color or anyone else's. In this insane situation of race relations, Negroes must act as the white man's psychotherapist." Contact is published quarterly. Subscription is $5; single copies, $1.50. The address is 749-51 Bridgeway, Sausalito, Calif. It prints articles, fiction, poetry, drama, correspondence, and the first issue has a graphic section of excellent Van Gogh reproductions in black and white. According to the editors: ''Contact, we say, is edited for the Uncommon Man—a catchy term meant to define the man (and woman, too) who has taste and a sense of humor, who is concerned with the fate of Man, who has the courage—or simply the desire—to close his eyes to any idea that no longer illuminates reality and open them on one that does." It is not, they say, "a San Francisco magazine except that it is published here." MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 9 profundity and the directness of James Madison's classic statement: CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves MORE ON RELIGION IN THE SCHOOLS A NUMBER of MANAS readers, apparently, have been attempting to demonstrate that opposition to sectarian influence in the public schools is not opposition to the spiritual content of any creed. Correspondence on this subject continues. True religion—religion which Erich Fromm has called "Humanitarian," as opposed to "Authoritarian"—should draw men of differing backgrounds and opinions closer together in sight of a common ethical goal. Such a religion, in short, uses the language of brotherhood rather than the language of partisanship, and it should be plain that this is the language which the citizens of a democracy need to speak eloquently. For the most part, however, it has not been the representatives of religions who have perceived this need, and despite state and federal court decisions prohibiting sectarian instruction in the schools, conventional religionists continually attempt to circumvent the "no religion in the schools" rulings by pressuring for "moral" instruction via the authority of the Bible. Though the Unitarians have shown that it is possible to find inspiration in both the Old and New Testaments without claiming these books to be the only sources of spiritual instruction, they are often suspect as Christians precisely because they hold this non-sectarian viewpoint. And since the McCollum case, which occupied public attention from 1945 to 1948, and which was settled by the Supreme Court in a ruling against released time programs for sectarian training in the public schools, the courts of the land have shown the most commendable "religious" spirit. It is the courts, and not the illogically partisan Christians, who have looked to the authority of conscience rather than to the authority of theology. In so doing, an increasing number of jurists have been able to appreciate both the Volume XII, No. 5 It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects? Among MANAS readers who have endeavored to persuade school authorities that prayers and Bible-reading in the school room foster partisanship rather than religion is one parent who has secured some interesting correspondence from the Attorney General's office of the State of California. As Attorney General, Governor Brown felt that every effort should be made on the part of his office to improve public understanding of the issues involved. Upon request the State Attorney General will send copies of various letters addressed to this question to amplify the circular prepared in 1955 for the State Board of Education, which opposed the practice of teaching daily prayers. One of these letters contains a summary by Earl Warren, onetime Attorney General, of various articles of the State Constitution which rule against the use of the Bible as a source of religious instruction. Replying to Reverend R. P. Shuler of the Trinity Methodist Church in Los Angeles, Mr. Warren provides this background for his disapproval of Bible reading: Section 4 of Article I of the Constitution provides that: "The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be guaranteed in this state; . . ." Section 8 of Article IX of the Constitution provides, in part, as follows: "nor shall any sectarian or denominational doctrine be taught, or instruction MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 10 thereon be permitted, directly or indirectly, in any of the common schools of this state." of Constitutional amendment wiping out the existing sections herein quoted would accomplish the purpose. Section 30 of Article IV of the Constitution provides as follows: "Neither the legislature, nor any county, city and county, township, school district, or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation, or pay from any public fund whatever, or grant anything to or in aid of any religious sect, church, creed, or sectarian purpose, . . . nor shall any grant or donation of personal property or real estate ever be made by the state, or any city, city and county, town or other municipal corporation, for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose, whatever; . . ." Governor Brown is a Christian whose particular affiliation is well-known in political circles, but he demonstrates the same conscientiousness as those jurists who have striven to protect children in the public schools from the deleterious effects of partisan viewpoints. In a concluding paragraph of his summarizing letter Brown writes: "More important than my personal views is my responsibility as Attorney General in the issuance of legal opinions to base those opinions on legal principles. It is my conclusion that the United States Supreme Court would invalidate Bible reading in the public schools if such a case were presented to that court. As Attorney General my issued legal opinions must reflect that conclusion." Section 3.53 of the California School Code provides that: "No bulletin, circular or other publication of any character whose purpose is to spread propaganda . . . or to be used as the basis of study or recitation or to supplement the regular school studies shall be distributed or suffered to be distributed or shown to the pupils of any public school, on the school premises during school hours or within one hour before the time of opening or within one hour after the time of closing such school, . . . nor shall any instruction be given through lectures or other means, unless the material contained in the bulletin circular or publication, . . . has been approved by the state board of education, or by the county board of education, or by the governing board of the school district in which the school is situated. . . ." Warren summarized in this polite but firm manner: These sections indicate the sweeping provisions of the California Constitution and statutes, which the people of the State and the legislature thereof considered necessary in order to guarantee that there should be no possible encroachment upon the principle of complete divorcement of state and church. The only conclusion that can be drawn from them is that both the letter and spirit of these statutes prohibit any procedure which either directly or indirectly would inject religious instruction into the public school system. I appreciate the sincerity of purpose and the highly commendable motives of those who desire to make religion more accessible to the youth of our state, but I am sure you will agree with me that under these statutes only one conclusion can be reached. In answer to your inquiry as to what can be done to remedy the situation, I would say that nothing short Volume XII, No. 5 All in all, it appears that a conscientious man has little difficulty in rising above partisanship in his regard for the religious—or non-religious— conscience of others. Brown writes: I believe that all Californians can recognize that a teacher with a particular faith, or a teacher who is an agnostic or atheist, might be subject to putting his or her personal interpretation on Biblical quotations and subvert the religious beliefs taught to our youngsters in their own homes and churches. The home is the foundation of our society and parents could rightly object to any special or specious interpretation placed on Biblical content which would disturb their family harmony. The children of agnostics and atheists love their parents and might easily become confused and doubtful of their parents if they were given an interpretation in direct opposition to those principles they were taught on an ethical basis in their own homes. It could be possible that those who do not believe in the New Testament, but believe solely in the Old Testament, the Gospel of Buddha, the teachings of Mohammed or Confucius might reasonably object to a stressing of a specialized creed to the detriment of their own beliefs. MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 11 sculptor and designer of this region, to help. He responded with the following communication: FRONTIERS A Visual Novel WHEN he was big enough to kill a rabbit, Lowell Naeve found out that he was big enough to become a pacifist. He probably didn't think of it that way, but looking at the dead rabbit, he decided he could never kill a human being. A few years later, this resolve led Naeve on a long trek through nine prisons, in which he served a total of four and a half years. It was his fortune—some would say misfortune—to be a conscientious objector on "merely" humanitarian grounds, which was not enough to satisfy the requirements of the Selective Service system. For this offense—for his failure to qualify as a "religious" objector— Naeve went twice to prison for twice refusing to do military service in the armed forces of the United States. (Review in MANAS for Jan. 14 told something of Naeve's life in prison, as reported by Jim Peck in We Who Would Not Kill.) In 1950 Libertarian Press published Naeve's first book, A Field of Broken Stones, a personal report of his encounter with the prison authorities. Together with Prison Etiquette, a collection of prison reminiscences by several conscientious objectors, this book won a long review in the New Yorker by Edmund Wilson. We now have for review another volume by Naeve, Phantasies of a Prisoner (published at $5 by Alan Swallow, of Denver, Colorado). This book is possibly a more representative expression of Lowell Naeve; at any rate, it exercises a more lasting fascination upon this reviewer. It is a book of pen and ink drawings filled with the sombre melancholy and gently anguished imaginings of a man confined. The book is large—8" x 11", well printed, with 71 illustrations. There is brief text to help the reader grasp the continuity of the story—which Naeve calls a "visual novel." As for "reviewing" this book, it seems presumptuous to go beyond the simple statement that we like it. The reader, however, is entitled to something more, so we asked David Green, a Volume XII, No. 5 Jim Mangan and I once tried to define the difference between the graphic designer and the illustrator. We came up with this: The illustrator, given a chunk of space, rushes to fill it with lines. The designer carves out his hunk of space, much as does the sculptor, and the empty spaces left are as essential to the image as are the lines and solids that occupy the remaining space. Lowell Naeve in his designs for The Phantasies of a Prisoner, falls into the designer classification, if we accept the above definition. Where the illustrator would delineate a scene or situation, Naeve plunges you directly into a mood or an experience by his use of visual symbols. There is no need here for the translator—the illustrator—to explain the situation. The situation is there, in the lineal arrangement of space—an immediate experience. Paul Klee, more than anyone else, investigated this form of visual experience. His experiments with arrangements of lines, tones and solids in space were designed to create a visual experience, not to represent one. Today, the word "graphic," in connection with this type of design, best distinguishes it from the regular form of illustration. The "visual novel," as the author calls his work, is, of course, not new. The Belgian artist Masereel pioneered this form with his stark black and white woodcuts. Later Lynd Ward followed with Mad Man's Drum and other works, using the finer detailed technique of the wood engraving. Ward's efforts, however, were in the conventional illustrator's mode of telling a story with purely representational images. Naeve is the true graphic designer-poet, whereas Ward is the representational illustrator plus storytelling prose. In the chapter, "November," No. 40, in "Release," No. 57, and in "Oblivion," No. 66, Naeve is, I think, at his best, and these examples are most illustrative of the work of the graphic designer. Lowell Naeve is currently travelling around the country, putting on art shows in colleges, museums, and art centers. He demonstrates and shows a film on print-making. The film is available for rental from Contemporary Films of New York. MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 12 * * * The Age of McCarthy is over, most Americans will agree, even though pessimistic types warn us that McCarthyism, as a kind of social infection, lingers on. We have read a lot about McCarthy, including the Progressive's extensive study of his operations, but not until we digested Richard Rovere's "The Last Days of Joe McCarthy" in the December 1958 Encounter have we felt able to understand what made the late Senator tick. This is an article which should be put in every high school curriculum in the United States, and possibly the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland, as well, and widely printed for the general edification and relief of all who have been afflicted by the man, and for those, too, who have been tempted by him. Again the idea of a pamphlet comes up, since quoting this article can only dwarf its excellence. We shall now proceed to dwarf its excellence. Mr. Rovere writes: There was an audacity about him [McCarthy], a sweep to his imagination that was quite simply beyond the comprehension of those with whom he had to deal. He cloaked himself in sovereignty— diplomatic, political, moral. He was not bound by the Constitution, the party system, or any version of the categorical imperative. In May 1953, he advised the world of the fact that he had negotiated an agreement with the Greek maritime interests that would result in denying to Communist China goods delivered in Greek bottoms. And though he exaggerated wildly in his descriptions of what had occurred, the fact remained that he had constituted himself an agency for the conduct of foreign relations. When it suited his purposes, which was most of the time, he was an open seditionist. In 1952, 1953, and 1954, he organised among government workers a Loyal American Underground. This was an insurrectionist cabal that reported directly to McCarthy and his lieutenants and gave him their primary loyalty. He operated far outside the framework of American political morality. This is not to say that he was immoral or amoral rather than moral; it is rather to say that he ignored the conventions of American politics. Cheating of one sort or another is, of course, tolerated in politics. But there are limits of tolerance, and it was one of McCarthy's distinctions one of the marks, if you will, of his greatness—that Volume XII, No. 5 he simply did not consider the No Trespassing signs were for him. It is, for example, within limits to misrepresent a fact; but the convention holds that there must be a fact that is misrepresented. For McCarthy this silly rule had no meaning. "McCarthy," says Mr. Rovere, "simulated belief for the true believers." He used any issue that was handy to his purposes. "He was a political speculator, a wildcatter who drilled Communism and saw it come up a gusher." Rovere thinks we were lucky that McCarthy didn't believe in much of anything. "Cynicism," he concludes, "is never admirable, but it is better for the world when a man as gifted as McCarthy is contemptuous of morality than when he is aflame over a vicious and destructive one." On McCarthy's famous "sincerity," Rovere has this paragraph: The night McCarthy died, a friend of his, one with nothing but contempt for the role McCarthy had played, returned home late in the evening to find his wife, who had also found it possible to be fond of McCarthy, sitting by the radio and weeping—not in pure grief, as it turned out, but in frustration. She had, she explained, listened to all the comments that had been made about McCarthy's death. "Everyone has said the same thing," she said through her tears, "and they have all been wrong, wrong, wrong! They have told exactly the opposite of the truth. They all hated him, but they had to find a saving grace for their obituaries, so what have they given him?— sincerity. Each one had said, 'At least he was sincere—he believed in what he was doing,' when that was the one god-damn thing you couldn't say of him." She went on in lachrymose eloquence. "He was a stinker, he was never sincere, he'd never thought of believing in what he was doing. There wasn't much good you could say of him, except that he was generous to his friends and a few of us couldn't help liking him. No one has said that, and no one will. Only this junk about his being 'sincere'." It may not make much sense to urge readers to get the last December Encounter, since it is published in England, but people who live in large cities may be able to find a copy in the better book stores or at the big news-stands. Actually, this issue is worth sending to England for—to Secker & Warburg, 7 John St., Bloomsbury, W.C. 1, who MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 13 publish the magazine for the Congress for Cultural Freedom. * * * The recent visit to this country by Anastas I. Mikoyan, Deputy Premier of the USSR, could perhaps have been best reported on by the late Senator Joe McCarthy. "Fellow Americans," one can hear him say, "I have before me a list of men in trusted positions who have broken bread with an enemy agent who has infiltrated our midst in the full light of day, sowing the seeds of subversion and treason." The venom-rich tone of his oratory would run the whole scale of triumphant contempt. If the list had been prepared for him by underlings, it is likely he would not have glanced at it until the time came to read out the particulars of the indictment. "On January 10, 1959," the late senator would have boomed out in tone dripping of sarcasm—"On January 10, 1959 in the most exclusive club in the city of Detroit the sinister red agent, Mikoyan, exchanged toasts with the following disloyal pink Americans . . ." At this point the Senator would have seen the names and begun to wonder if his last bottle of bourbon hadn't betrayed him. The pinks, he would have discovered, were the great names of American industry—the chairman of the board and the presidents of the great automotive trinity. It would have been interesting to have seen how the ebullient Senator handled this. Perhaps, relying on ambiguity in depth, he would have cried out sarcastically, "Executives of America unite—you have nothing to lose but your capital gains." America's largest monetary chain store, and in attendance to these were the chief executives of a dozen of the state's great industries. The Soviet Deputy Premier hurriedly visited several points of interest in the Los Angeles area, among them the State University and a Hollywood film studio. When Mikoyan left the UCLA campus, he was seen to shake his head wonderingly. "They didn't ask if I was a Communist," he said to a companion. Although the ardent welcome of Mikoyan by the power elite of America does offer material for malicious fantasy it can also be said to contain good omen. If there can be a meeting of minds among the actual leaders of the world's two most materialistic powers, surely the common folk of both nations can openly hold for a mutual aspiration such as peace. The list of citizens of Los Angeles who dined with the Soviet sub-potentate would have seemed almost surrealistic, had the McCarthy formula of guilt by association been applied. Among them would have been the Chancellor of UCLA, a school once famous for its loyalty oath; Norman Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, the Pravda of conservative Republicanism; motion picture tycoons, noted for their blacklists; the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of America, Volume XII, No. 5 MANAS Reprint February 4, 1959 ...
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