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VIOLENCE, VIOLATION, NON-VIOLENCE
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VOLUME XXXIX, NO. 43 OCTOBER 22, 1986 VIOLENCE, VIOLATION, NON-VIOLENCE NON-VIOLENCE has come to have meaning chiefly through the non-violent action of Mohandas Gandhi in freeing India from foreign rule. For Gandhi, the term had a much broader meaning than its use in politics. It was a primary element in human relationships. In its need for shorthand, the world took non-violence as a symbol for Gandhi and his work. Although a more fitting symbol would be hard to find, it is usually thought of only with regard to the political side of his life. Inherent in the word violence is violation: the invasion of someone's (or something's) aura, space, territory. We tend to think of violence as a physical attack but this is only a small part of the meaning of violence. Viewed from this perspective, there is only one crime: disrespect, violation. All wrong stems from this. When we act without regard for the spirit or nature of anything, we violate it. To the extent that we become sensitive to that nature or spirit, violence will tend to disappear. I would like to become kinder and gentler to the spirit of all things. Our most important duty is to seek to know—to understand. Only with knowledge can we do right. Good intentions are necessary, but without knowledge they founder on ignorance. Prejudice, one of the ugliest, most hateful and violent of conditions, based on insecurity and ignorance, causes much of the misery in the world. When happy and secure emotionally we have no need to put others down. Prejudice is a poison that injures both the giver and the receiver. Knowledge, combined with emotional security, helps to destroy prejudice—it cannot withstand the combined onslaught of both light and health. It is urgent that we discover ways of life that are not bought at the expense of another—ways that do not diminish another. We need to find a positive way out of the insecurity that makes us feel so small and afraid that we have to degrade others to raise our self-esteem. Freedom and knowledge are inextricably woven together. Freedom has been described as ending where a neighbor's nose begins. Unlimited freedom does not exist outside of the imagination and it takes knowledge to know the boundaries: i.e., where my neighbor's nose does in fact begin—being much longer if I am running a paper mill than if I am planting a garden. Through relations with our fellows, we find freedom limited in certain directions (bells cannot be rung at midnight with impunity) and yet greatly expanded in others (freedom to read is enhanced by someone having written a book). Freedom without responsibility is license. In this society at this time there is great confusion in this concept and it is of utmost importance that the difference be clearly seen. We have people feeling they can do what they like with their "own" land, not realizing that it may be injuring someone else in another place and time. Cutting trees to clear mountain land may cause flooding of a neighbor down stream and cause "my" soil to be washed away, destroying another generation's birthright. We should be free to nurture and care for but not to destroy. Gandhi said, "If we are to be non-violent, we must not wish for anything on this earth which the meanest and lowest of human beings cannot have." His position was that, if those of us that are wealthy with things and knowledge and freedom will choose to live as simply as the poorest, there will be no despised lower class and the condition of the whole society will improve. He had the genius of being able to see clearly through the jumble of social conditions to the central issue. MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 Down through the years there has been much resentment and ridicule of people seeking to live a good life. We have been deterred from aiming as high as we might with our lives from fear of the jeering from the gallery with calls of "Utopian," "Purist," "Perfectionist," "Idealist." Often all that is needed is a kind word or a friendly hand on the shoulder to keep the seeker on the quest. Andre Gide commented, "The fear of ridicule drives us to the worst kinds of cowardice. How many young men, greatly aspiring, have had their aspirations pricked like bubbles by the single word 'Utopia,' and by the fear of passing for visionaries in the eyes of sensible people. As if every great progress of mankind was not due to some part of Utopia." Our only goal is perfection. We seek nothing less. And though it is forever out of reach, the attempt to reach it is of the utmost importance. How we define perfection will affect how we grow and develop and how we affect those around us. Personally, perfection lies in the developing of a nurturing attitude—in being to another as sunlight and air, as soil and water to a flower—making no demands, urging no direction, asking no return, asking only to be of service, to help loveliness to flourish, with confidence in the developing beauty that is the basic nature of the organism. Yet we need to face this prejudice against utopian thinking and seek to live honestly, without harming others—non-violently—if the society we seek is ever to be more than a dream. It begins within each of us. The Buddha said that the road from darkness into light is long, but of utmost importance are those first small steps along the path. Each of us must take those first small steps if we are to do our best to create a happy society. We are all aware of the arguments against alcohol, drugs and tobacco in their relation to health. It is not the danger to one's hide or an inherent evil in the use of these things that I would speak to here, but to the fact that we, as a Volume XXXIX, No. 43 culture, are living like spoiled brats— unconcerned with those around us. The evil is the stealing we do by having too much while others have not enough. Gandhi said, "When others do not have the essentials of life, we commit a crime against them by using luxuries." Excellent crop land is used for growing tobacco and the cane and grains used to make alcohol. As long as there is a shortage of food for people to eat it is short-sighted, callous and criminal to use land for luxury crops. When all have enough food to quell their hunger, the use of tobacco, liquor, coffee and other drugs may be a private concern, but until then their use is an affront to humanity. Luxuries, in themselves, are an especially seductive drug—they are habit-forming and socially dangerous, going unrecognized and unsuspected. Karl Marx called religion the opiate of the masses. We are now living in a time when opiates have become the religion of the masses—the opiates of TV, of newsprint, of film, of nationalism, of technology, of luxury. If we are to root out violence and exploitation in the world around us, we must seek out those symbols in language and daily life that reinforce them, and find alternatives. If we believe that the art of a culture reflects the nature of that culture, then it behooves us to examine the art, music, and architecture that were produced by totalitarian, paternal, tyrannical and democratic societies and compare them. When we admire a full-rigged ship, are we aware of the tyrannical society that existed aboard? Would a Gothic cathedral be produced by an emotionally secure democratic society? Or is the fear of hell necessary to make it possible? If "civilization" with all its violence caused this art to be produced, it becomes important to examine our "civilization" and see if some of its roots also have the disease and need treatment. In seeking to build a better world we need to be alert that our energies may be being drained off into side issues that miss the main MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 3 problems facing society. It is such a seductive thing—so much easier—to have an antagonist. We need to find ways to fight the issues themselves and not other people. By fighting someone we actually create another problem— one of hatred and anger—exchanging one prejudice for another. These are poisons that maim and kill just as much as guns and clubs and often create problems deeper and harder to solve than the issue at hand. The equal rights that some groups are seeking may not be worth much when attained. What is the value of having equal rights to mediocrity? We need a uniting of forces. It will take the energy of concerned people everywhere. Without this pulling together we may end up with no society at all. The forces of money and power, of prejudice and violence are happy to see our energies fragmented. We need a superior world concept to be equal in. Let us seek to grow beyond provincialism and partisanship and work together, joining with people of like mind and ideals—rather than like sex, age, religion, color or nationality—to design a new society. We teach children to grow to be killers— through the media, through "histories," through "toys," through military training. We feed them this steady (heady) diet of violence in their most formative years and expect them to grow into gentle, sensitive, loving adults—it cannot be done. The violence of the Vietnam war and in urban rioting is minor compared to the violence that goes on every day in the lives of small children. We destroy creativity, spontaneity and confidence; we stifle curiosity, sensitivity and a sense of wonder; we kill love. From this daily stifling, warping, and crippling of the child's potential, develops the insecure, afraid, unhappy, and hate-ridden society that makes prejudice, crime and war not only possible but the norm. Consciously working to design a better society and encouraging creativity to flower has a companion value, for if "increase in creativity Volume XXXIX, No. 43 is sublimation of aggression," helping people to express their creativity reduces their need for aggression. More ways are needed for larger numbers of people to have their concerns heard. Smaller social and political groupings help to make this more possible as well as smaller classes in our schools. An example of a negative social institution is the debate. To debate is to try to win, to defeat the opponent. By definition it cannot be a no-loser activity. Many believe that such competition aids in ferreting out truth and knowledge. I disagree, believing it causes us to dig in our heels rather than open our minds. The contestants seek to shore up and defend their position be it right or wrong. On the other hand, a panel discussion is a productive method for seeking knowledge, allowing us to gracefully admit when we are wrong without loss of face and to learn from others. Of all the beautiful inventions of mankind, language is perhaps the foremost, a fitting symbol of the folk genius of our ancient ancestors—the finest gem in the crown of our cultural inheritance. We should treat it gently, tenderly, with love and affection, with respect and admiration like an elderly friend. We live in a time when language is greatly abused and casually treated, perhaps to our peril. Language is not a plaything but a primary element in our lives, central to our being and well-being. To the extent that we use it casually, disrespectfully, and meanly, there is danger that it may backfire and do us harm. Imagine language being to us as water is to a fish—an all surrounding, all but invisible environment—taken for granted—mostly unnoticed—but crucial, delicate, easily damaged and polluted unless given care. Language may be as vital an element in our lives as air and water—if so, we pollute it at our peril. I am troubled by the current growth in the use of obscenities (words that debase life), troubled that sex and elimination have been MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 4 selected for expletives expressing anger and derision. To the extent that we misuse life functions in act, and in word or in attitude, there will be a price to pay. In addition to debasing human life, we also degrade other forms of life. We call people beast, pig, rat, dog, bitch with the intention of putting them down. But how about the innocent animals? Are we so unhappy, so sick, so insecure, that we need to gain a feeling of superiority by putting other animals down? We violate the spirit of these creatures and of all life when we use them carelessly to describe qualities we dislike in each other. I suspect that each time we violate the spirit of something else, we violate our own. The statement that we are our friends has double meaning. The first refers to the fact that we are all part of the same social body, the second to the more restricted sense in which we are our friends. This individual self—which is us—is made up of increments from many sources, one of which is the support, encouragement and thoughts that our friends give. These elements are a vital part of what we are. Who cannot remember a time when the encouragement of a friend changed his life by giving him the courage to continue? At that moment he became part of us. In a larger sense, we look at all of the inputs that we have received through the thoughts of others that we have read or heard or seen expressed, the examination of which has brought new understanding. We are apt to take sole credit for such ideas—but are they ever wholly ours? Are we not the bud on the tree again?—the momentary blossoming of all the effort that has gone into the roots and the bark, the sap and the leaves? The analogy leads a step further to our belongingness, to our dependency on, the water, the air, the sunlight, and the nutrients we need to think, to grow, to act. In this sense there is a body beyond the social body that is also an intimate part of us—it is the world and universe around us. When someone plows a hill and lets the top soil wash away, part of me is scarred and broken as well. Often visual pollution (commercial, TV, billboards) is considered "a mere waste of time," nothing more, overlooking the deeper costs of impressions permanently registered in the brain. At best this is but clutter that we must sort through, clutter that clogs and confuses our mental attic. At worst it is a dangerous poison in the formation of false images of life. We are fed a continuous stream of false and irrelevant information by commercial interests aiming to sell their products, by news analysts who would have us believe that the titilating tidbits they serve us are the normal state of affairs, by filmmakers who are searching for ever more bizarre material in attempts to peddle. If I feel this concerned, why am I not a vegetarian? Somehow I have never been able to take the anthropocentric position of putting animal life on a higher plane than plant life by the eating of plants and the refusing to eat animals. From there it is easy to put man down (or is it to set man up?) as the highest of the animals. This seems a dangerous step. We are different from the other animals—and from plants and rocks and water. All are different in very special and beautiful ways—but we are not any better than they—only different—beautifully different. It is hard to choose to destroy anything, be it plant or animal, living, but life demands it. We (plants and animals) are all interdependent; we take and When we misuse language, we violate it. To the extent that we depreciate life or sex in our speech, to that extent we lessen the wonder and beauty they can hold for us. Even though a holder of the highest office in the land used the term "asshole" to denigrate others, need we stoop to the level of the presidents? The use of a part of the body as a term to degrade another is offensive, showing immaturity and lack of sensitivity to the beauty of the body. No part of the body is ugly—it is the misuse of life that is ugly. We need a reverence for language as well as for life. Volume XXXIX, No. 43 MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 5 we give back. The least we can do is not to wantonly destroy anything—to use as little as need be—to cultivate a reverence for all things and to ask that our remains be gratefully returned to the cycle. Many friends are vegetarians, and I am fond of vegetarian food, but I cannot be one, nor defend it philosophically. I do not see plants as inferior forms of life which are therefore destined to be eaten. Both plants and animals are wonderful forms of life. Each should be lived with, understood and respected. When they are used for food, clothing or shelter it should be done with a feeling of gratitude. Wanton destruction is violence; so, too, to a lesser degree, is the impersonal slaughter of plants and animals for market. There is a vast difference in the taking of life for one's own use and in doing it in a large, impersonal and commercial way. By our specialization in farming, ranching and lumbering we destine some people to spend their whole lives raising potatoes, cutting pulp wood, killing chickens. If we eat meat, how much fairer it would be, if we did our own slaughtering. There are people who spend their whole lives killing cattle. We support a violent way of life when we buy products that require this kind of life for anyone. When we do our own share of raising and killing our own food, we gain doubly. Our lives are richer by a closer, more intimate relationship to our food, and we help make such a varied life more possible for others. If we kill our own chickens, there will be no need for people spending their lives in a slaughter house. skill. Erich Fromm spoke of our need for "care, respect and responsibility," love, for our fellows. I want to learn to extend that sense of care, respect and responsibility to all things as well as to fellow humans—and not only to a deer and a birch tree but to a stone, a stream and the sky. Peter Freuchen tells of an Eskimo sitting on his Grandmother's grave trying to absorb some of her wisdom. What a beautiful idea! Not that much is going to seep up through the ground, but what a fine setting for the absorption of the essence of Grandmother's spirit. WILLIAM COPERTHWAITE Down through the ages has come the plea for a reverence for life. This greatly needed and seldom heeded admonition was given added respect by the voice of Albert Schweitzer. I want us to go another few steps along that pathway—to seek to develop a reverence for all things as well as for life—for the land and the water and air, for a tool and a house and a bowl that has been made with care and patience and Volume XXXIX, No. 43 MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 6 large-scale industry involving the herding of people in sprawling industrial cities. Technology is firmly under control, with machines, insofar as they exist, serving men rather than men serving machines. REVIEW GANDHI'S SUCCESSORS ONE of the uses of Geoffrey Ostergaard's new book, Nonviolent Revolution in India, is that it may drive the reader to wonder about the meaning of the word "revolution" and why it has come to be a term or concept central in modern intellectual considerations. Historically, it goes back to Giovanni Battista Vico, who early in the eighteenth century maintained that the social world is the work of men, and that having made that world, men are able to change it. Nonviolent revolution was the means, Gandhi believed, by which men could improve their condition. Having experienced at first hand the ugliness of that condition, first in South Africa and then in India, Gandhi set down in Hind Swaraj his basic conceptions of what men must do to make their lives what they ought to be. This was Gandhi's vision of the future of India, toward which he labored throughout his life. While he was in a sense optimistic, he was also realistic. Here are some quotations which show his view of the labors lying ahead, taken from The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi compiled by R. K. Prabhu and U. R. Rao (Najajivan Publishing House, 1967): Writing more than ten years ago in Freedom, the British anarchist journal (June 7 and 11, 1975), Ostergaard described Gandhi's idea of the goal toward which he struggled, political freedom from British rule being only the first step. The heart of Gandhi's "revolutionary" undertaking was what he called the "Constructive Programme" for the Indian people, of which Ostergaard said: Gandhi's Constructive Programme takes on its true meaning when it is seen as a practical idealist's attempt to move toward his ideal society. . . . Since the state represents violence.in its ultimate, organized form, it is a stateless or anarchist society, in which all political and legal authority has been abrogated, relations between people being governed only by moral authority. Structurally, this society is highly decentralized. Considered as a polity, it is, in Dasgupta's phrase, "a great society of small communities," each community being autonomous and self-governing but linked with others in a nonhierarchic network. The economy is consistent with the polity, each community being self-sufficient in respect of its basic material needs for food, clothing and housing. The main industry is agriculture, and other industries and crafts are organized on a cooperative and small-scale basis. There is no Volume XXXIX, No. 43 MANAS Reprint The real India lies in the 700,000 villages. If Indian civilization is to make its full contribution to the building up of a stable world order, it is this vast mass of humanity that has . . . to be made to live again. (Harijan.) We have to tackle the triple malady which holds our villages fast in its grip: (1) want of corporate sanitation; (2) deficient diet; (3) inertia. . . . They [villagers] are not interested in their own welfare. They don't appreciate modern sanitary methods. They don't want to exert themselves beyond scratching their farms or doing such labour as they are used to. These difficulties are real and serious. But they must not baffle us. We must have an unquenchable faith in our mission. We must be patient with the people. We are ourselves novices in village work. We have to deal with a chronic disease. Patience and perseverance, if we have them, overcome mountains of difficulties. We are like nurses who may not leave their patients because they are reported to have an incurable disease. The villagers should develop such a high degree of skill that articles prepared by them should command a ready market outside. When our villages are fully developed, there will be no dearth in them of men with a high degree of skill and artistic talent. There will be village poets, village artists, village architects, linguists and research workers. In short, there will be nothing in life worth having which will not be had in the villages. Today the villages are dung heaps. Tomorrow they will be like tiny gardens of Eden where dwell highly intelligent folk whom no one can deceive or exploit. The reconstruction of the villages should not be organized on a temporary but permanent basis. (Harijan.) October 22, 1986 7 workers in the newly-formed Union and State governments, so that political power could be used to help establish a nonviolent social order. Gandhi opposed the suggestion on the ground that the moment nonviolence assumed political power it contradicted itself and became contaminated. "Politics have today," he said, "become corrupt. Anybody who goes into them is contaminated. Let us keep out of them altogether. Our influence will grow thereby." . . . More significantly, in a document written on the day preceding his assassination (on Jan. 30, 1948), he proposed that Congress should disband as a political party and flower again in the form of a Lok Sevak Sangh or Association for the Service of the People. "Congress in its present shape and form, i.e. as propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine," he wrote, "has outlived its use. India has still to attain social, moral and economic independence in terms of its seven hundred thousand villages as distinct from its cities and towns." This was Gandhi's major project in behalf of his native land. All else was subservient to this end. The civil disobedience he and his followers practiced against the British was to free the Indian people in order to accomplish the social reforms he had in mind, beginning with the regeneration of the villages, where eighty per cent of the Indian people lived. Gandhi wrote in 1931 (as quoted by Ostergaard): My work of social reform was in no way less than or subordinate to political work. The fact is that when I saw that to a certain extent my social work would be impossible without the help of political work, I took to the latter and only to the extent that it helped the former. Ostergaard adds: A few years later, he is reported as telling his followers: "If you can make a success of the constructive programs you will win Swaraj [selfrule] for India without civil disobedience." And in 1940, in a significant confession that he had not achieved a correct balance between the two sides, he admitted: "In placing civil disobedience before constructive work I was wrong. . . . I feared that I should estrange co-worker and so carried on with imperfect Ahimsa." The author goes on: From the perspective of Gandhi and his closest followers, political independence was merely "the first step" toward the attainment of real independence. The withdrawal of the British Raj, since it involved a basic change of regime, could be considered a nonviolent revolution—even if it had been accompanied by appalling and bloody communal conflicts which prompted Gandhi to reflect earnestly on the character of his countrymen and on the nature of the nonviolence they had displayed (in his view, that of "the weak" rather than of "the brave" or "the strong"). But it had been no more than a political revolution, and an incomplete one at that, since political power had still not been transferred to the masses. And of course, it had in no sense been a social revolution. From this perspective, some constructive workers soon after independence [in 1947], expressed their concern at the way the Congress appeared to be ignoring the Constructive Programme. They suggested, therefore, that an organization should be formed which would seek to place constructive Volume XXXIX, No. 43 Ostergaard's book is a history of Gandhi's successors and their struggle to realize his aims after his death. Nehru, while he admired and loved Gandhi, "sought to develop India as a modern, industrial nation-state," which was, one could say, very nearly the opposite of Gandhi's objective. Vinoba Bhave was a Maharashtra Brahmin who was drawn to Gandhi, and Gandhi chose him to perform individual Satyagraha in 1940. He was a meditative man who took the brahmacharya vow at the age of ten. He gained fame from stirring a landlord in a village in Andra Pradesh to give 100 acres for distribution by Vinoba to the landless Harijans—an act which began the Bhoodan movement of gifts of land, to which Vinoba devoted his energies for years. It was at first quite successful, but weakened after a while, especially when it became possible to pledge the land but not actually relinquish control of it. The movement also developed other aspects, including Gramdan or gift of land to the village, and gifts of money. A third man who grew in stature to a national figure was Jayaprakash Narayan, who was educated in the United States. From being a Gandhian in his youth he became a Marxist as a result of his studies or contacts here, and he MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 8 returned to India where, in 1934, he helped to form the Congress Socialist Party, and, being disenchanted with Stalinism, became a democratic socialist. During the war he took part in underground resistance, including sabotage, and by 1946 was a national hero. A few years later, the work of Vinoba made such an impression on him that he adopted the Gandhian view and described his change of mind and heart in From Socialism to Sarvodaya. In 1954 he declared that he was going to devote his life to the cause of Bhoodan and appealed to others to do likewise. As a leader he soon became second only to Vinoba. He was, as Ostergaard says, committed to "the total reconstruction of Indian society and, eventually of the whole world along the lines previously indicated by Gandhi." Vinoba and JP worked for ever come about rapidly? Is it a task of centuries rather than decades? They worked, it seems, for a radical change in human nature, and what Gandhi said of the villages, quoted earlier, surely applies to such a task. Nonviolent Revolution in India was published by the Gandhi Peace Foundation and is distributed by Housemans of London. The price is $30.00 plus a $3.00 shipping charge. Ostergaard's book, then, is a detailed account of the efforts of Vinoba and JP (Jayaprakash Narayan) to work toward this dream, according to their lights, which eventually began to diverge. What had these Indian leaders in common? Certainly all three men, Nehru, Vinoba, and JP, had complete integrity, whatever their differences. The two pacifists worked unceasingly as they saw best for the realization of .Gandhi's vision. What went wrong? The book may or may not reveal this. Perhaps they should have focussed all their efforts on constructive work in the villages, letting politics go now that the British had gone home. That, apparently, is what Gandhi would have done, had he lived. Vinoba seemed reluctant to oppose the Indian state and maintained good relations with Indira Gandhi. JP wanted political transformation, having as a youth been bitten by the bug of "revolution," and struggled to be consistent in his own way with Gandhian principles. Large questions emerge from considering the import of the 400 pages Mr. Ostergaard devotes to his history. Does the transformation Volume XXXIX, No. 43 MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 9 problems, Should we pass a law or install a constructive program? COMMENTARY ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS THE two questions raised by Abraham Maslow (in "Children," see page 8) have crucial bearing on the work of all reformers. They apply directly to the meaning behind Gandhi's statement quoted by Ostergaard on page 3: "If you can make a success of the constructive programs you will win Swaraj for India without civil disobedience." Gandhi's hope for the regeneration of India through the transformation of the villages—which he knew would be a very long process—grew out of his personal awareness of the futility of political reform without far-reaching changes in the everyday lives of the people. The Constructive Program was meant to bring these changes about. This, of course, leads to other questions, such as, What sort of constructive program will actually work? It is now commonly admitted that the public schools are pretty much a failure, so that evidently we don't know much about constructive programs. Tolstoy and Gandhi both worked out such programs, but are we willing to go to school to them? One wonders about this. What were Maslow's questions? He said in his Journal: How good a society does human nature permit? . . . How good a human nature does (any) society permit? The trouble is, if you try to change human nature by coercion, you get a society which is so tyrannical that a revolution is required to reestablish human freedom; but then, if you try to establish a "perfect" or almost perfect society by legislation, the result is the same, although obtained by a somewhat different means. There are two kinds of laws, then, the ones that simply regulate good behavior so that we don't (without intending to) get in each other's way—which may sometimes be a bother but are plainly necessary—and the ones which seek to prevent and punish criminal acts. The practical result of this comparison is that we adopt Thoreau's rule: That government is best which governs least. But meanwhile a great many people want to "fix" things, so we keep on passing laws. So Maslow's questions must be continually repeated. And we need to ask, whenever there is personal behavior which leads to social Volume XXXIX, No. 43 MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 10 directions; nor does it try to get anyplace. Like running a streetcar line, just keep it running, with as little trouble as possible, solving problems only as they come up. It is not really the "art of the possible," but rather the art of the actual, or of getting along. It makes a difference between at least two senses of "reform." Vectorial reform (or ideal reform, aspiring reform planful reform) has goals & end-conceptions in mind & tries to move toward them. Call it "growth-reform" as a parallel to personal growth. It is moral, ethical, moving toward the Being-realm and B-values. But amoral reform of "actual politics" can actually contradict aspiring reform. If it tries only to reduce trouble (akin to need-reduction anxiety reduction, tensionreduction="trouble reduction"?) to restore a homeostatic equilibrium, it may reduce trouble for now at the cost of harming the B-realm, e.g., a softer camp, the "good guy" front man in commercial TV. The old revolutionary principle: What's really awful, let it look totally awful. Don't try to improve it a little; better try to destroy it altogether. So the word "reform" has different layers of meaning probably a different meaning for level-2 Bpolitics as well, where it would be transfinite & metagrumbling, i.e., improving the already perfect. Probably other words here have levels of meaning, e.g., politics, politician, statesman, power, balance of power, peace, violence, & war. . . . Point out that this leads to all the old philosophical questions, e.g., the right of rebellion (against real tyranny or gangsterism), but also is quite definitely limited & not infinite=how do you know when which is which? I'd say that because this problem is existential, insoluble, &, with time & honest differences of opinion, characterological, etc., that no single person can assume he is certainly correct, & that his conscience must not be taken as the ultimate law for others. CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves THE THINKING OF A. H. MASLOW A. H. MASLOW, who died in 1970, was one of the great psychologists of our time, the man who did more than anyone else to turn psychology around, from being a study of pathology to being a study of personal and mental health. In addition, he was a remarkable teacher and a great educator. He started keeping a journal in 1959, eleven years before his death, because he found his notes and memos to himself becoming too voluminous and he wanted to get this day-to-day thinking on paper in more orderly form. Because the entries in the journal are written in the language of his psychology, developed over years, an understanding of The Journals of A. H. Maslow, published by Brooks/Coles, in Monterey, Calif., in 1979, depends to a large extent on familiarity with his books. But since he has been widely read, it seemed a good idea to take from the Journals some passages that may be valuable to persons engaged in education. He was, after all, an educator more than anything else. He thought of himself in this way. Teaching was his calling. Here, for example, is what he wrote about politics early in 1969—a point of view it would be good to convey to young people close to adulthood and soon to cope with the world of political affairs: (1) The politics of getting along in the actual world of today, including the insanities, fears, prejudice, etc.—Gallup poll politics, of what you could actually do or have to do, what you can get votes for and what you cannot get votes for. A computer could do this, in principle. What do people want—as they are actually, superficially, behaviorally constituted & as they are, have actual political or economic power? Justice, truth, principle, etc., has little to do with this. . . . Actual politics (concrete-politics?) tends to be amoral, simply accepting what is the case without trying to change it, just improving from day to day, getting along, reactive-only, in the sense of fully responding to whatever power groups exist & making a resultant between them. It is scalar rather than vectorial, not really having any goals or Volume XXXIX, No. 43 One has here the explanation of why a man like Maslow never wrote much about political issues, never involved himself in political quarrels, yet remained all his life an astute observer. He goes on: MANAS Reprint Nor should any man consider that he has a right to overrule the majority opinion. He does have the right to stand by his conscience and take the consequences. The only ultimate solution here—for a society, & I believe also for an October 22, 1986 11 individual—is true democratic respect for the voice of the people, the majority—true compassion for others. The only thing he can insist on is that he be respected, even though jailed or swept out of the way. That is, the majority can insist on its wishes & yet respect the dignity of the autonomous one who is affirming his own conscience while bowing his head to the majority's right to insist on its way and jail him. To fight the majority is to disrespect them, & to be certain he is right, not only for himself but also for all others, is nonsense, even if he is more right than the majority. (Then his recourse is argument, education, etc.) Passive or active illegal resistance is not the same as goodhumored acceptance of majority will. This simultaneously shows self-respect & democratic respect for others. Better substitute for "theory of human evil," the subclassifications theory of human stupidity, sickness, immaturity, laziness, suspicion, etc., to take away emphasis on "malice aforethought" (which is an uncommon cause of bad behavior). Also stress more that the "theory of evil" implies disappointment & disillusionment with Utopian-social plans which are totally unrealistic. Stress the limitations of any society to solve all human problems, even any pair of people. Ask: "How good a society does human nature permit?" & "How good a human nature does (any) society permit?"—& in both cases, it definitely cannot be perfect. Must not look to social dreams to solve all intra-psychic problems, must seek for sources within of cheerfulness, good-humored acceptance, zest, courage, strength. This inner strength is necessary even in the most perfect society we can now imagine. "Notwithstanding (any) society's shortcomings, each person can in principle find inner peace & outward strength and serenity." Utopian social perfectionism is an enemy of Eupsychianism. So also is personal or psychic perfectionism. Maslow used his journals to formulate interesting arguments, sometimes with himself. I must dissent from Brant & the pure libertarians & strict constitutionalists about, e.g., the 5th Amendment. The writers of the Constitution could not foresee the Mafia, the Jeffersonian assumption doesn't take enough account of evil and pathology & anti-any-society, or U.S. self-hatred, or of the number of Quislings or secret fifth-columnists clearly planning to destroy a virtuous society in favor of a tyranny, people who openly plot and league to take away my life, property, etc. There was no organized crime in Madison's day. No one has the right to ask that the U.S. castrate itself. But changing the Constitution can be done legally, democratically, & constitutionally. It should not be frozen into a new sacred Bible or Talmud. To the extent that it protects the Mafia, a cancer within its own body, to that extent the Constitution is a danger to the U.S. & to democracy. I think it quite possible to be libertarian & yet adapt to new situations, which were unforeseeable. The test is, I suppose, ultimately the self-actualization of each & every individual. All of this is recognized in the Constitution by accepting different rules in time of war. Well, it is war with the Mafia, & it was with the Communists in the thirties (even though not today, & I wouldn't bother them on the grounds that they are not a danger; if they became a danger, then I would re-regard them as at war with the U.S.). He also plans his future writings in the journals: Volume XXXIX, No. 43 We might turn to Maslow's book, Eupsychian Management (Richard Irwin, 1965), itself set down as a kind of journal, for an explanation of why he preferred this word to "Utopian." He said in the Preface: Since we know more about the heights to which human nature can attain, we can now extrapolate to the "higher" forms of inter-personal and social organization which this taller human nature makes possible in principle. . . . I prefer the word "eupsychian as implying only real possibility and improvability rather than certainty, prophecy, inevitability, necessary progress, perfectability, or confident predictions of the future. I am quite aware of the possibility that all mankind may be wiped out. But it is also possible that it won't be wiped out. Thinking about the future and even trying to bring it about is, therefore, still a good idea. In an age of rapid automation, it is even a necessary task. But the word, Eupsychia, can also be taken in other ways. It can mean moving toward psychological health" or "healthward. All reading in Maslow involves the reader in this spirit. MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 12 400 million to a billion—are positively underfed. At the other end of the scale, a few hundred million contrive to be rather grotesquely overfed, and die prematurely from "diseases of affluence," ranging from diabetes to coronary heart disease to a variety of cancers that are considered to be diet-related. In theory, there should be a fairly broad band in the middle—at least 50 per cent of the world's population—who are neither undernourished nor overfed. In practice, however, the ones who are properly fed have a strong tendency either to slip downwards, into malnourishment, or to race headlong into the disease of affluence. FRONTIERS The Causes of Worldwide Hunger RECENT MANAS articles have given fairly close attention to some of the more frightening aspects of the contemporary scene, all due to human action over the years, but now reaching proportions that can no longer be ignored. The trees in Europe's great forests are now dying out as the result of air pollution of various kinds. The specific causes are not well understood but it is generally agreed that the sickness and death of the trees are due to human action. Then there is the human disaster that follows in the wake of the enormous dams now being constructed in many parts of the world, displacing millions of people from their homes and altering the ecology of entire regions, to the extreme disadvantage of local inhabitants. What to do with the enormous wastes of toxic chemicals produced by our technology—including the wastes which threaten communities with excessive radiation from the useless by-products of nuclear energy—is being explored. But if it is easy in theory to feed people well, why do we make such a poor job of it? The reasons, in detail, are many and complex, of course. But we can make one simple, overwhelming, and stunning observation. It is that there is no agriculture on Earth that is expressly designed to feed people. After pointing out that the knowledge of how to feed people properly exists, but is not applied, Tudge says: Now, a series of articles on hunger and malnutrition around the world, in Resurgence for May/June, shows that all this human suffering is due, not to a lack of food, but to excessive production of food of the wrong kind, because agriculture has been turned into a profit-making business in the service of the affluent instead of food for the hungry, who are increasingly going without. "The power of money," Colin Tudge says in an article titled "Feeding People Should Be Easy," seems to make feeding the hungry people of the world an impossible dream. He begins by declaring that— For every man, woman and child on Earth there is about a third of a hectare of arable land, mainly devoted to the kind of crops that humans need; and there's another three hectares of permanent pasture for every person now on Earth, producing a wide variety of meats. Yet, as all the world knows, somewhere between a tenth and a fifth of the world's people— Volume XXXIX, No. 43 MANAS Reprint However, there are two very powerful reasons why the "rational" and traditional styles of agriculture, based on high intakes of cereals and on modest intakes of meat—intake geared to what is easiest to grow—give way so easily to the more concentrated western style. For one thing, the western approach generates more wealth (value added, less labor) and it concentrates that wealth in fewer hands (landowner plus laborers, rather than peasant farmers). We live in a world where enterprises that generate and concentrate wealth inevitably come to dominate those that do not. Secondly, the western-style diet, based on western-style agriculture, is designed to be seductive, because seductive food sells in greater amounts. Meat is nice: human beings like it. The more that's produced, the more people will eat. Fat slips down easily, especially in combination with carbohydrate. Let the meat be fatty then, and let the oilseed plantations spread. And it does not take much to convert a traditional, nutritionally desirable, low-fat high-fibre diet into a modern, western, high-fat one. Add a spoonful of oil to a bowl of rice and you have doubled the calories, and turned a very low fat meal into one in which 50 per cent of the calories are from fat. If people are already eating the kind of diet that is theoretically ideal then the addition of yet more fat is deeply pernicious, both economically and nutritionally. October 22, 1986 13 Another article in the May/June Resurgence, "Bulldozing the Poor" by Anil Agarwal, director of the Center for Science and the Environment in New Delhi, is both long and powerful. It begins: The food needs of the Western world have played havoc with the lands of the Third World. Despite the worldwide process of decolonization, there is today many times more land being used in the developing world to meet the food needs of the western countries than in the 1940s, before the process of decolonization began. More than a quarter of all Central American forests have been destroyed since 1960 for cattle ranching; 85 to 95 per cent of the beef produced as a result has gone to the US, while domestic consumption of beef in Central America has fallen dramatically. In the US this beef has been mainly used to make tinned and pet food and cheap hamburgers because the Central American beef is half the price of the grass-fed beef produced in the US. The price of the Central American beef does not represent its correct ecological cost. Cattle ranching has proved to be the worst form of land use for the fragile soils on which these tropical moist forests existed. Within 5 to 7 years their productivity dropped dramatically and cattle ranchers have had to move on. Agarwal holds the changes in agriculture in the Sahel, to serve the European markets, partly responsible for the hunger in those countries of Africa. "Nobody blamed the French or the Sahelian elite which worked hand in glove with the French." He turns to India, his own country: The Indian paper industry has ruthlessly destroyed the forests of India. Paper companies in Karnataka, having destroyed all the bamboo forests, are now getting their raw materials from the last major forested frontier in India: the Northeast. Agarwal presents six pages of material of this sort, of which we have quoted only a fraction. By such means, we are becoming informed of the real causes of the hunger and want around the world. And there are several more such articles in the May/June issue of Resurgence, all rich in information. Subscription in the US is either $20 or $14, depending on your income. Apply in the US to Rodale Press, 33 East Minor St., Emmaus, Pa. 18049. Volume XXXIX, No. 43 MANAS Reprint October 22, 1986 ...
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