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THE NEW ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
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VOLUME VII, NO. 38 SEPTEMBER 22, 1954 THE NEW ECONOMIC ANALYSIS TWO years ago, the Navajivan Press of Ahmedabad, India, original publishers of the works of Gandhi, issued a small book, "Which Way Lies Hope?", by Richard B. Gregg. The book is a simple comparison of four sociopolitical philosophies—"Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, and Gandhiji's Programme." The publishers asked Gregg to write this book because of a previous, slighter study of similar character. Gregg, it should be noted, is well known in India as the author of The Power of Non-Violence, a full-length examination and advocacy of Gandhi's theory and practice of Satyagraha. However, something further should probably be said about him for the benefit of American readers. Gregg is a Harvard graduate, an attorney and business man who has practiced corporation law and acted as a consultant and advisor in the field of industrial relations. Early in his career, a business trip took him to India. Years later, during a railway strike in Chicago, he came across an article on Gandhi which made such an impression on him that, in 1925, he went to India to study Gandhi's methods at first hand. He stayed there four years, seven months of which were spent with Gandhi at his ashram. One result of these developing interests and experiences was publication of The Power of Non-Violence, a widely influential book. Another result is the present volume, Which Way Lies Hope?, which has probably had wider circulation in India than in America, but which might easily serve as a primer in what we have termed "the new economic analysis." Not that there is anything uniquely "new" or unheard-of in this book. It represents rather a thesis, largely Gandhi's, which now comes to comprehensible maturity. In other words, so far as we can tell, Mr. Gregg has all the big battalions on his side—the big battalions of the future, if not the present. For this work is not a moralistic treatise. It is a philosophical treatise which turns out to be enormously practical, and supported by the best of modern research in many fields. From the viewpoint of the specialist, it has the defect of simplicity, but the average reader will welcome its simplicity, brevity, and clarity. If enough "average readers" will read books of this sort, and gain confidence in their opinions, it might even become possible for the specialists and experts to let go of the old assumptions of political and economic orthodoxy and recognize the practical truths in the Gandhian point of view. Gregg starts out by listing what he regards as India's major problems. We quote them, not because of our interest in India, but because they happen also to be the problems of the rest of the world. Even if some of them are more acute in India than elsewhere, they are still the world's major problems as well: 1. The combination, on the one hand, of soil erosion, destruction of humus, and leaching out of minerals from the soil, and on the other hand, increasing overpopulation. This combination can result only in vaster starvation than has yet been experienced. 2. Violence, including both war and civil strife, physical violence and violence by economic, political or religious oppression. 3. Grossly unequal distribution of power as between classes, castes, groups and individuals, between city and country. 4. Overvaluation of great size in organizations, especially in the realms of politics, finance, industry and commerce. This is sometimes called megalomania. 5. Failure, among leaders especially, to realize that in every realm of activity, the means chosen to reach a given end must, if success is desired, be consistent with the end desired. 6. The idea, among leaders especially, that governments or corporations or other large MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 organizations need not obey moral laws recognized as applicable to an individual. ordered from the publisher, or from an American book store which carries Indian imports.) 7. The loss, among leaders and book-educated people, of faith in the existence and supreme power of spiritual unity. Of the seven dangers or problems confronting India and the world, the most immediately important is hunger, growing out of the exhaustion of land and increasing population. Orthodox economists preach industrialization to a desperately poor agricultural country. Gandhi and Gregg reply "No!" They point out that industrialization—industrialization beyond the natural pace of economic development—will bring disaster. The argument is simple. While more factories would give more people jobs, this would not produce more food. It would create goods which the Indian people have no money to buy. If India seeks foreign instead of domestic markets, she will enter world competition, and at a time when her efficiency is unlikely to equal that of other countries with more experience and greater productive plant. Meanwhile, her agricultural situation is not improved by attracting peasants away from the land and turning them into factory workers—after the example of Western industrial nations. It is possible, of course, to take heart because Mr. Gregg comes out for something like "spiritual unity." What needs to be pointed out, however, is that mention of spiritual unity or any sort of "transcendental values" by no means assures a sound analysis. What is impressive, here, is that spiritual values and the idea of an inner unity appear in this book not merely because he thinks they are good things to talk about, but because his analysis makes them necessary. They have, that is, a scientific, not a moralistic, role in his discussion. We are not going to say very much about Mr. Gregg's comparison of economic systems and theories, nor offer a systematic presentation of Gandhian doctrines. Actually, the book is only briefly concerned with these systems. What Mr. Gregg is really writing about is the fundamental human situation in economic and socio-moral terms. As he shows, Communism retains all the fundamental attributes of Capitalism excepting the emphasis on private property and competition, and these two factors, while ideologically of supreme importance, are actually without much power to alter the fate of the modern industrial economy. What are the other attributes which Capitalism and Communism possess in common? Gregg lists them: . . . (2) increasing technology ant industrialism, (3) ever-increasing division of labor, (4) ever-increasing commerce, (5) urbanization (6) money valuation and control of most things and activities, (7) reliance on the money profit motive as the surest and best stimulus to action, (8) extensive use of organized violence in the form of police, armies, navies, and air forces. There are qualifications, of course, and Mr. Gregg should not be blamed for the fact that we have no space for them. (His book may be Volume VII, No. 38 Well, then, it will be said, why not industrialize farming methods and obtain greater food production? Mr. Gregg replies: There are several objections to that. First, it is uneconomical to use tractors on tiny plots of land. They are so expensive that no peasant or group of peasants could buy one. Chemical fertilizers undoubtedly stimulate the soil, but the stimulus fairly soon decreases; more and more has to be applied each year to get the same result; the soil organisms decrease; plant diseases increase; expenses rise. Steel mold-board plows which turn over the soil expose too much of the soil to the hot tropical sun, thus killing too many of the soil bacteria and other microscopic life on which the life and health of vegetation depend. It is no mere coincidence that soil erosion in America has advanced with the increase in technology in farming. Methods that are continuously effective in temperate climates with moderate precipitation distributed evenly through the year are dangerous if applied to tropical lands with monsoon rainfall. Even European methods applied indiscriminately to American conditions did much injury to the soil. . . . MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 3 The densely populated countries, in order to have enough food to live on, must maintain a village economy, must base their whole economy not on industrialism but on agriculture. . . . Farm tractors may be useful temporarily in a few situations. But not for India as a whole. All agricultural statistics show that hand labor produces more food per acre than does machine cultivation. It is high production per acre that India must have, because that means the greatest possible total. The United States, where much farm machinery and chemical fertilizers are used, does not have high average production of wheat per acre. . . . The United States has high production per farm worker. Its vast total production is due not to high production per acre but to vast acreage. Gregg, of course, like Gandhi, advocates improvement of farm implements, and he has a number of things to recommend. Actually, Gandhi believed in technology, so long as it did not distort the life of the people. The United States does not as yet have anything like India's food and population problem, but soil erosion on the vastest scale in history afflicts all the countries of the world except England and Western Europe (where mild temperatures and moderate rains afford natural conservation). One third of the arable top soil of the United States has already been washed into the sea and erosion in America is continuing at a greater rate than the conservation steps taken to stop it can control. As Gregg says: During floods in the Missouri River basin in July, 1947, it was estimated that more than 115,000,000 tons of rich top soil were carried off by the rain. In the United States as a whole soil erosion is now spoiling 500,000 acres of good land every year. If erosion were to continue at its present rate, by the end of the present century over three quarters of its fertile soil would be lost. The fact is that world food supply is not keeping pace with population growth. Nations which used to export food in large quantities are no longer doing so. They need the food at home and they are not raising enough to export. The United States once exported beef, but now Americans eat beef from the Argentine. The Volume VII, No. 38 decline in American food exports is a long-term trend. At one time, Canada and the United States accounted for about 75 per cent of the total grain shipments of the world, but growing population and land erosion are reversing this trend. Actually, American food exports began to decline in 1900. From 1929 to 1941 the United States bought more food abroad than she sold abroad. The war brought a boom in grain exports, but in 1945 the trend to decrease again set in. Exports of rice to rice-eating peoples are also waning. World rice production in 1948-49 was 2 per cent below the pre-war average, yet the rice exported in that period was less than half the amount shipped before the war. Food, in other words, is being eaten more and more where it is grown or raised. Asia produces about 40 per cent of the total food supply of the world, but exports only 2 per cent. Times have changed. It is no longer easy for an industrial country to get rich on manufactured articles and buy the food needed by her industrial workers. The tremendous growth in the population of the world—68,000 more are born every day, with a current net increase of about 1 per cent a year—plus the mining of the soil by wasteful methods of agriculture have created a problem that cannot be met with money or manufactured goods. Gregg says: For these reasons the past successes of industrialism are not a valid argument for the further industrialization of India. She cannot import endless food from abroad as did Britain and Europe in their heyday. By the export of manufactured goods, India will soon thereby be able to buy very little food from the outside, for that outside exportable food supply is steadily and inevitably shrinking. And the export of hides and bones of her cattle, in payment for outside food, only robs her soil of calcium and phosphorus, and lowers the fertility of her soil and hence her own food production. Export of minerals and fibres would help a little of course. But jute products are the only fibres which would not meet severe competition from outside. The modern industrial society is under examination. For the economic processes of such MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 4 a society, politics or ideology is virtually irrelevant. The water table of a region drained by great pumps for industrial farming will go down under either capitalist or communist auspices. The soil will erode and lose its essential nutrients wherever the methods are of a sort to produce these results. Industrialism is voracious, bringing improvident consumption accompanied by incalculable waste. To take a single instance: Streams are polluted and poisoned by city sewage, by coal mining, oil fields, food processing, paper pulp mills, steel plants, all textile industries and chemical industries. This pollution kills all fish in the streams and makes the water unfit for any domestic or agricultural use. Industrialism brings great concentration of population—in cities which warp and stunt the lives of all but the very rich who live in them—and the rich are usually warped by their riches. The "appetite" of the institutions of a modern city is almost incredible. For example: Only one Sunday edition of the New York Times . . . requires ten acres of big trees to supply the necessary wood pulp for its paper. There are many other newspapers of equal size in the United States and 52 Sundays in every year, to say nothing of the week days and all the other uses of paper. By sheer bigness, we might add, the major economic institutions tend to crowd out all but others equally big. In the case of newspapers, for example, it is well known that powerful publishers acquire paper mills to assure an adequate supply of newsprint. If the smaller papers—the country weeklies and small dailies—can't get paper, they go out of business. Thus, as a by-product of the "efficiency" of bigness, you get something that starts out as economic monopoly and ends as cultural monopoly—of the press. It is only in the past ten or fifteen years that social psychologists have been looking rather closely at the implications of industrialism. The following passage cites a widely recognized and quoted authority: Capitalism [—and Communism, eager to copy Capitalist techniques, is doing, and will do, the Volume VII, No. 38 same—] is consuming coal, petroleum and minerals of all kinds at a prodigious and profligate rate. The U.S. Steel Corporation has nearly exhausted the iron ore of the United States, and is now importing great quantities of iron ore from Newfoundland. Industrialism and urbanization are gravely weakening family life and consequently the basis of morals and the cohesion of society. As Elton Mayo [in The Social Problems of an Industrial Civilization] pointed out, "Our theory of civilization acts on the assumption that if technical and material advancement is maintained, human cooperation will somehow be inevitable." But "collaboration in an industrial society cannot be left to chance." Constant and rapid change in industrial processes has deprived workers of long continuing constant working relationships through which effective communication and collaboration were secured. . . . In an industrial society the social order has ceased to be established, and instead it rests upon a capacity for rapid adaptiveness to change. "Modern civilization for approximately two centuries has done nothing to extend and develop human cooperative capacities, and, indeed, in the sacred name of the sciences of material development has unwittingly done much to discourage teamwork and the development of social skill." Active spontaneous cooperation by all in the work of the world is vital to civilized order and activity. "Social life resembles biological in at least one aspect; when normal process ceases, pathological growth begins." "We are technically competent as no other age in history has been; and we combine this with utter social incompetence." There are about 80 pages in Mr. Gregg's book. In them he draws up his sweeping indictment of the industrial civilization of the West, in an effort to dissuade India from imitating what promises to be the most disastrous failure of history. But the book is not all criticism and analysis. The author's patient reasoning rests in a matrix of constructive suggestion and comment, and the Western reader may take courage from the extensive bibliography at the end, which shows that the best minds of our time are busy working on all these problems. The value of Mr. Gregg's volume lies in its assemblage of facts from diverse sources, and in his fitting them together in simple language for the average reader of India. MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 5 One passage, toward the beginning, seems a happy solution of the problem created by Rousseau's idea of the "general will," which modern critics insist does not and cannot exist, and who charge Rousseau, along with Hegel, of having helped to rationalize the "Organic State" and its totalitarian habits. Gregg writes: It is philosophy which gives to the leaders of men the integrity they need to choose wisely and to give intelligent guidance to their fellows. And it is philosophy which the people need in order to recognize wise decisions and to support the leaders who embody moral strength. Gregg finds the cement of human solidarity in the assumption of a deep unity, sometimes spoken of as "spiritual": It is true that the integrations and relations between men in a group or society are not so close, so thorough, so sensitively poised and so delicate as are the mental, moral and physical elements in an individual human being. Society is not yet a real organism. As an abstract entity, society does not have a conscience. "A corporation does not have a soul." But the immoral acts of a society will ruin its character and eventually destroy it, as surely as if it were a person. Hence, if society is ever to improve, it is all the more important that the leaders, when acting on behalf of their group and of society, should be all the more scrupulous and particular to act sensitively and closely to all moral laws. A conflict in the heart and mind of a leader in regard to loyalties between personal morality and group interests creates in him a schizophrenia that may even in some cases lead to insanity. It is true that in group action there are often complex and conflicting interests. To see one's way clearly is often exceedingly difficult, and mistakes will be made. But spiritual and moral principles have been known a long while and are fairly simple. It is the clutter of compromises and evil inheritances from the past which make the greatest difficulty. If history teaches anything, it is that moral failures by the leaders of groups are a grave danger to society. We assume that underneath all the phenomena and forces of the outer world there is a subtle unity. . . . It is because of this all-embracing unity that we speak of our universe. Along with this goes another assumption as to "the uniformity of natural law." Here is a kind of common sense that recalls Ferrero's attack on the popular delusion that the achievement of justice and peace through the democratic process is "easy." (Quoted in last week's leading article.) The realization of social ideals is terribly difficult, and, looking around at the modern world, it is now possible to appreciate as we never have before the wisdom of such men as Lao-tse, Marcus Aurelius, and a few others who seem to have understood the enormous practical problems of maintaining a social order. Today, we begin to tire of people who rush into print with blueprints for the Good Society. The Good Society, one suspects, cannot be blueprinted at all, or even "planned," except by indirection. Volume VII, No. 38 And if we ponder still further we recognize that we also assume that there is a still deeper unity that bridges and ties together all those forces and phenomena of nature with the intangible, invisible, subtle inner world of ourselves, the world of thoughts, feelings, sentiments, fears, hopes, and aspirations. If there were no such bond between inner and outer, we would be unable to understand anything of the outer world at all. This deepest of all unities and of all assumptions is unprovable, but we rest upon it our lives and actions and beliefs. It has been recognized by thoughtful people of every race and age all through history. . . . It is what we call spirit. The search for understanding and experience of it is what is known as religion or metaphysical tradition. To recognize the existence of assumptions, to accept the assumption which gives the most meaning to life and explains most problems is then thoroughly scientific and modern. Our space is exhausted, without our being able to suggest how effectively Mr. Gregg shows the social importance of this search; how he connects it with the decentralist type of society made up of many small communities, drawing on history to illustrate his argument. It comes to this, that the pioneer thinkers of the modern world are on the verge of recognizing that it is scientific to be philosophical—that the unity we want for our lives can only grow out of a unity of heart and mind in understanding, a unity within ourselves, and with others. This is an old truth, now viably reborn. MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 6 REVIEW ETHICAL DYNAMICS—A NEW-OLD VIEW LAST week's discussion of psychiatric material appearing in a Menninger Clinic publication recalls a recent article of related interest—"Why People Change," by Ian Stevenson, also a psychiatrist. Writing in Harper's for last December, he presents a clear defense of anti-behaviorist philosophy. According to Dr. Stevenson, behavioral growth is not simply a matter of conditioning, as many psychologists have assumed, but involves some very mystical matters indeed—such as the origin of the "tender emotions," and particularly of altruism. Thus Stevenson returns to some of the opinions of the ancient Greeks and Indians for the light they seem able to throw upon the eternal "struggle for self-realization." After discussing "love" and "altruism," and pointing out that neither can actually be explained in terms of biological sublimation, he continues: There is further evidence of a potential for growth within man in the extraordinary psychic function known as conscience. It is well known from the work of Freud, Pavlov, and others, that a large part of conscience is the residue of past experiences with other persons. When we are young our parents and other adults tell us how to behave—they encourage this piece of conduct or proscribe that one. After a time we internalize their guiding voices, and when similar occasions arise, we hear the same principles set forth, but now proceeding from within us and no longer recognizable as other than our own. There is, however, more to conscience than this. For how otherwise could common experience provide so many examples of children whose behavior surpasses in maturity that of their parents? Why should the thief's son become a judge? It does not happen every day, but it does happen. Men who have had little opportunity to associate in childhood with persons of altruistic or even moderately social behavior, may nevertheless be attracted to this when they find it as if drawn by some inner exigency. This important psychological fact has led some modern psychologists, such as Erich Fromm, to postulate a "humanistic conscience" which is common to all men and which, if it is attended to, will guide men toward Volume VII, No. 38 the highest moral behavior. Here only the phrase is new, for we are touching on something which has been spoken of for centuries—as the Holy Ghost of Christianity, or the Atman of Hinduism. All these concepts are not identical, rather they overlap. What they have in common is the idea of a tendency or striving in all humans toward the realization of the highest love. Also pertinent is the fact that the loving, social, and altruistic qualities of man are self-stimulating by their own activity. When once activated, they feed back energy to themselves in an extraordinarily dynamic manner. This self-promotion does not accompany our selfish inclinations. The truth of this assertion may be easily tested by anyone who wishes to do so. Let him try to improve his behavior toward others in some small, but nevertheless specific way—it must be a change of action, not merely of thought—and he will soon find greater pressure within himself toward further change in the same direction. Whether or not the experimenter elects to pursue change further, he will at least prove to himself that conscience is not merely the precipitate left in the mind by past teachers. Rather conscience is a dynamic function which tells us when we are straying from our current values and ideals. If we change these values and ideals, we change the activity of our conscience. But perhaps also our conscience is an expression of the constant pressure within us to change and to improve our values and ideals. Like the jinni of the Arabian Nights, it is only powerful, indeed often only visible, when we let it out of the bottle. The concluding paragraphs of Dr. Stevenson's article open avenues to further psychological discussion: From all these observations, may we not conclude that man is equipped with the tendency toward altruistic behavior and the machinery whereby he may practice it? Men then change because they are impelled to do so for one of two reasons. The occasion for changing may be suffering out of which comes the desire to imitate those who suffer less or not at all. ("The road of excess leads to the place of wisdom," said Blake.) Or the occasion may be simply the evocation of the ideal of altruistic living by contact with one who has already attained it, driven by that continuing urge toward love which is, as I have tried to show, within us all. And here our two reasons for changing come together because, as we MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 7 slowly change, we learn that those who suffer least, are those who love the most. I am well aware that I have reached no startling or even novel conclusion. After all, it was said centuries ago that "perfect love casteth out fear." But we should all seek to understand better whatever is within us striving for expression. And if some observations of modern psychology turn out to agree with anciently held beliefs, we should not shrink from this fact. Rather this concordance should encourage us to search further for those human qualities which enable us to change and which, it seems, compel us to do so. For illustration of what Dr. Stevenson is getting at, we might once again recall the nature of the world's latest "universal citizen," Mohandas K. Gandhi. There can be little doubt that millions who never knew Gandhi sensed something in his attitudes and reactions to experience that stirred development in them of the "natural altruism" of which Dr. Stevenson speaks. Further, although Gandhi encountered a great deal of what others would call suffering, it is apparent that his own love of life and of fellow human souls cancelled out the discomfiture which would have oppressed lesser men during imprisonment. This, we feel, is an important footnote to Stevenson's commentary, for his thesis may be confusing unless we are prepared to redefine suffering. The man who can turn each experience to value, gaining new insight into the vision of others, never stops to ask whether he is suffering or not—and for this reason is not suffering. There is one kind of "suffering," however, that even Gandhi did not avoid—which, in fact, he encouraged—the variety known as "soul searching," involving the sort of fearless introspection only wise men seem able to practice consistently. In respect to this type of inner struggle, the expression "going through hell" is a fairly good one to apply literally. Gandhi, like the wise men of all ages, periodically went through hell but he didn't linger to bemoan the state. Wise men always travel on. Volume VII, No. 38 MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 8 COMMENTARY CONFLICT OF VALUES THE technological skills which, when employed with rapacity, create the broad economic problems detailed by Richard Gregg (see leading article), also play an unexpected part in relation to the modern problem of national security. Time was when a rebellious or recalcitrant minority could be regarded with tolerance. What could a handful of dissidents do, even though verbally threatening revolution? Today, however, with the resources of technology at the disposal of the subversive or disloyal, a single individual, conceivably, might trigger vast destruction. And in view of the potentialities of nuclear weapons, but one successful coup in espionage holds frightening possibilities. Thus national security is a field where dilemmas multiply, with the only solutions offered so far involving closer and closer checks on the political views or loyalties of persons in positions making sabotage a possibility. Naturally enough, the tightening of security measures began in the military area. Then came the checks on all federal employees, both policymaking and civil service. State and city governments followed suit, which brought the loyalty investigations into state universities and public educational systems. By this time, the idea of security was no longer limited to guarding against actual physical sabotage and spying, but included also the vaguer realm of "morale" and "sound" political opinion. Intangible colorings of social philosophy became a factor in estimating the loyalty of individuals. Private enterprise joined in the hunt for the holders of politically dubious opinion, with the result that actors and radio performers who showed symptoms of "radical views" found themselves out of jobs. Since, in relation to national security, no man can be absolutely "trusted"—the hazard to public safety is too great—it follows that increasingly elaborate controls may be expected, and that the Volume VII, No. 38 net of suspicion at the psychological level will be widened to include practically everybody. And since the larger the scope of an investigation, the more arbitrary the yardsticks of loyalty must become, if only for practical, administrative reasons, simple unpredictable intelligence eventually enters the area of suspicion. The man who refuses assent to current dogmas—not because he necessarily disbelieves in their sentiments, but because he finds himself unable to approve conclusions shaped by methods which are external to reason and inward conviction— becomes a man who must be watched. For if he reserves the right of private decision in respect to some things, who can tell what he may choose to believe, and do, in relation to other things—things affecting national security? There is a sense in which Western history may be regarded as resulting from a compromise between two orders of values. First, there is the constellation of values which are held to be impossible to constrain—which grow out of the free thinking and acting of human beings. Closely connected with these are other values which relate to the trust and confidence men may place in one another—the common agreement on moral principles. These values, we have said, cannot be produced by force—indeed, they shrivel when subjected to irrational power—but they may, we have also said, be protected by force. The other set of values cherished by the West revolves around the idea of a guarantee against evil—the evil of which men become capable when they have no respect for the freedom of others. Almost no one save the anarchists have been willing to make an absolute choice between these two sets of values. While, in the abstract, they seem unalterably opposed, in practice men and nations have been able to work out a kind of balance between them. As Admiral Mahan, who gave some thought to this problem, said, the province of force is to provide the time for moral ideas to take root. MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 9 Today, however, the opposition between these sets of values is growing acute. The degree of the power accessible, already to States, and eventually, in all likelihood, to individuals, has caused the values inspired by fear to enlarge the area of their control and to invade, progressively, the regions previously regulated by the other set of values. In short, the circumstances of modern life seem to press upon us an ultimate decision in regard to the philosophy of life we shall embrace. The choice is a fearsome and painful one. Even to contemplate it will tend to place an individual in the suspect position of being "unpredictable," and make of him, according to some definitions, a potentially dangerous character. Perhaps the compromise sort of solution can be continued for a while longer. Among national leaders, Gandhi is the only one who asked his people to make clear decision concerning conflicting values. But whatever we do, we cannot ignore the issue without being slowly drawn to the solution dictated by fear. Volume VII, No. 38 MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 10 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves A QUOTATION here (Aug. 11) from Joseph Barrell's A Philosophical Study of the Human Mind brought the following communication (in which the "thinking" and "feeling" division of human personality is Dr. Barrell's): In your discussion of "thinking" and "feeling" parents, you failed to mention, probably because space was limited, one very important phase of the "feeling" parent's behavior complex: excessive harshness during anger. This, when coupled with excessive certainty about the "feeling" parent's own judgments, is disastrous, particularly when the parent remains angry over considerable periods of time, and most particularly when anger alternates with periods of excessive tenderness. Our correspondent's observation, like Dr. Barrell's own remarks, can certainly be backed up by a good deal of evidence. However, the more specific we become about psychic or mental characteristics, the more we need an extended system of classification—until, if we are discussing individuals as they actually live, we find that no classifications are really adequate. For instance, it is not necessarily true that a "feeling" parent can know nothing of selfdiscipline, and will allow an angry mood to mold his demeanor for a number of hours or days. The conviction that one needs to control feelings of hostility, to look beyond the immediate effect upon one's own intentions of another's thoughts or deeds, seems often to have an instinctive base, and be as inexplicable in scientific terms as "conscience." Many of sincere religious temperament, for instance, have fought their "lower emotions" to a standstill so often that their angers are dissipated by the very convictions they hold; yet such persons may belong more in the "feeling" than in the "thinking" category. (Not all of the religious, of course, can be described in these terms, since conventional religiosity sometimes leads to a mere pretense of calm saintliness.) Volume VII, No. 38 Also, conversely, it often happens that people whose approach to life is mainly intellectual and critical use their mental prowess to evade the task of facing themselves. This is "rationalization" in its familiar meaning, turning petty spite into righteous anger, and personal dislike into a crusade. A man may be intellectually consistent and socially abhorrent at the same time, especially if he has spent large amounts of mental energy in convincing himself that he has no important inner battles to fight. Finally, then, we end up with an even simpler classification than that proposed by Dr. Barrell— that of honesty and dishonesty in regard to our view of the role of emotions and their complications. The child, in our opinion, instinctively respects honesty and directness much more than anything else, so that he may actually have more respect and love for a parent who manifests honest anger than for another who simulates an attitude of sympathy and compassion. Everyone knows of families wherein the children manifest true love and devotion for a parent who often loses his temper with them—even to the point of cuffing or beating. For one thing, since the child himself is familiar with sudden and momentarily uncontrollable urges, he recognizes that the adult so behaving is very much like himself. But here honesty enters again, for the honest parent will admit the unbalance of his own emotions when they have cooled off. He will not, however, gush over with the excessive tenderness and outward show of affection, because he will be feeling his "honest" remorse, less concerned with impressing the child favorably than with pondering upon the need to correct his weakness. On the other hand, periods of "excessive tenderness" are often an alternate in the lives of those "thinking personalities" who decide that they have left an unfavorable impression and consequently set about the task of correcting it. (The underlying mood in such instances may actually be one of annoyance at the child for contributing to a situation wherein they, the MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 11 parents, must make amends in order to preserve their own dignity.) All this is not meant to contradict the general statement made in our correspondent's letter, but merely to suggest that there are layers upon layers of "angers" and "tendernesses." Behind such alternations, as a matter of fact, may be a desire to see justice and kindness prevail, but the matter of honesty comes in when we inquire as to whether the parent wishes to appear just and kind, or whether he is actually inspired by a feeling that his child has suffered unduly. What is really most necessary is the sense of need for a philosophy which explains to children and parents alike why the intellectual and intuitional aspects of man's nature must be brought into harmony. This is the grand synthesis which every human being needs to achieve, and, in striving for it, he discovers that many of his emotions must be combated—at least the ones based upon purely egocentric considerations. For the "feeling" person can grow to see that the flow of tenderness between people who love each other is either destroyed or interrupted by selfishness, and the "thinking" parent similarly must realize that his mind will never function properly so long as its scope is limited by the grip of a purely personal preoccupation. no more than say, a statistical analysis, such as the Gallup Poll, can reveal about the intricacies of individual opinion in any section of the country. Very interesting it is to reflect, also, that people can be "too intellectual" in the following of religious customs, or when relying too heavily upon modern psychological experts. The tyrants of the home in the last century were often unimaginative zealots of the Christian faith who found in church doctrines a convenient rationalization for simplifying human relationships. Pure religion, surely, is a mystical and individual matter, and its essence can never be conveyed by large pronouncements as to conduct or proper belief, so that those most vehement in their assertion of personal religiosity have actually settled for intellectual husks. Finally, human relationships can never be simplified by any ready-made device, either religious or psychological. The one true simplification of human relationships is understanding, and understanding is often prevented by excessive cataloguing and "typing." We appreciate Dr. Barrell's analysis, then, as a temporary working hypothesis, and perhaps Barrell himself would join with us in the hope that readers resist the temptation to catalogue either children or themselves with too great a semblance of finality. Since it is so easy to criticize the "emotional type" as a parent, there is something of an obligation to explore all the possible shortcomings of a too-intellectual approach to human relationships. The obvious comment is that anyone who proceeds mechanically, according to fixed rules or precepts, dulls his sensitivity to human need. For instance, while we may appreciate the useful guides to adolescent behavior provided by Dr. Gesell, there are probably a number of parents who are discouraged from using their own intuition in placing too heavy a reliance on the views of this competent authority. Dr. Gesell proves that children are apt to be similar at various stages of development, but he proves no more than this— Volume VII, No. 38 MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 12 FRONTIERS Problems of Censorship THERE is not, perhaps, much point in discussing the issue of censorship as it exists today. Little can be said, except that nearly all the forms of censorship which have been proposed are bad, or threaten to work out badly if applied. In the case of comic books, for example, it has been pointed out that to empower municipal bodies with the right to bar from newsstands the more odious of these sensational pamphlets could easily amount to licensing the members of a city council to work off all their literary and sectarian prejudices, and possibly political enmities as well. Where do you stop censorship, once it has begun? Who is to decide what is an "evil" influence? The difficulties suggested by these questions are obvious. What we should like to do, instead of arguing the matter, is to consider the forms of censorship which philosophers, as distinguished from politicians and dogooders, have proposed. It was Plato who first advocated censorship in behalf of the welfare of the community. He would have the works of the poets reviewed for the quality of their influence on the young. A more recent advocacy, one which speaks more clearly to our condition, is that of Simone Weil in The Need for Roots. In her "Republic"—for this book is really a modern "Utopia"—she suggests both absolute freedom of expression and particular social controls. The absolute freedom would apply to purely speculative works, whereas the controls would come into play in the areas of publication which have an immediate effect on public opinion. This is Simone Weil's reasoning: Writers have an outrageous habit of playing a double game. Never so much as in our age have they claimed the role of directors of conscience and exercised it. Actually, during the years immediately preceding the war, no one challenged their right to it except the savants. The position formerly occupied by priests in the moral life of the country was held by physicists and novelists, which is sufficient to gauge the value of our progress. But if somebody called upon writers to render an account of the orientation set by their influence, they barricaded themselves indignantly behind the sacred privilege of art for art's sake. Volume VII, No. 38 One of the chief troubles with a society which relies upon "laws" to preserve morality is that this reliance results in the widespread impression that there need be no restraint in activities not specifically covered by law. Simone Weil, however, would extend the area of law to govern the quality of literary influence: If a writer, thanks to the complete freedom of expression accorded to pure intelligence, publishes written matter that goes contrary to the moral principles recognized by law, and if later on he becomes a notorious focus of influence, it is simple enough to ask him if he is prepared to state publicly that his writings do not express his personal attitude. If he is not prepared to do so, it is simple enough to punish him. If he lies, it is simple enough to discredit him. Moreover, it ought to be recognized that the moment a writer fills a role among the influences directing public opinion, he cannot claim to exercise unlimited freedom. Here again, a juridical definition is impossible; but the facts are not really difficult to discern. There is no reason why the sovereignty of the law should be limited to the field of what can be expressed in legal formulas, since that sovereignty is exercised as well by judgments in equity. What we are trying to suggest is that those with the temerity to advocate any kind of censorship have an inherent obligation to go the whole way—to outline a complete "philosophy" of censorship. Plato and Simone Weil have done this, and it turns out, in the case of Simone Weil, at least, that what is proposed would be extremely distasteful to most of the modern would-be regulators of public morals. Miss Weil writes, for example: Generally speaking, all problems to do with freedom of expression are clarified if it is posited that this freedom is a need of the intelligence, and that intelligence resides solely in the human being, individually considered. There is no such thing as a collective exercise of the intelligence. It follows that no group can legitimately claim freedom of expression, because no group has the slightest need for it. In fact the opposite applies. Protection of freedom of thought requires that no group should be permitted by law to express an opinion. For when a group starts having opinions, it inevitably tends to impose them on its members. Sooner or later, these individuals find themselves debarred, with a greater or lesser degree of severity, and on a number of MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 13 problems of greater or lesser importance, from expressing opinions opposed to the group, unless they care to leave it. But a break with any group to which one belongs always involves suffering—at any rate of a sentimental kind. And just as danger, exposure to suffering are healthy and necessary elements in the sphere of action so are they unhealthy influences in the exercise of the intelligence. Gospel singer on television. He sang a "sacred" song—"Have you talked with the Man upstairs? . . . he will see you through"; then, with equal proficiency and sincerity he sang a current popular love song. I felt there was something profoundly obscene in the mimicing of adult desires by that epicene homunculus in bow tie and long pants. (How we debase our children!) By this time, Miss Weil will have lost completely most of the conventional advocates of censorship. For with occasional exceptions, these advocates are embattled representatives of group opinion. The body entrusted with censoring motion pictures, for instance, is in constant consultation with religious groups in order to determine what is corporately offensive to the "morals" of a particular group, and what is not. Groups usually regard themselves as the guardians of morality and present codified opinions on good and evil for the guidance of motion picture producers, dramatists, and publishers. But Miss Weil would not recognize such "authorities" at all. The song "Have you talked with the Man upstairs?" seems likely to reach the Hit Parade. Last week on a network program I heard it sung by a group called the Bobcats. The TV camera gave a close-up of one of the singers: He sang with halfclosed eyes, slack lips and snapping fingers just the way he would sing some ditty telling of his concupiscence. Only a puerile mind would conceive such a song; only a degenerate taste would present it as I saw it presented. When we no longer have a sense of what is fitting; when values are subverted, do we not have decadence? Is her view unreasonable? Why not insist that anyone who asks for the more than royal power of editing the ideas of other people present his own thought-out ideas and criticisms, instead of the sloganlike demands of a sect or pressure group? There is considerable poetic justice in the proposal. If it be asked, "Well, who are Miss Weil's authorities?," we can only reply that this is her problem, not ours, for we do not advocate censorship. All that is suggested, here, is that if you do want to advocate censorship, you have the obligation of doing a great deal of serious thinking, after the manner of Plato and Simone Weil. But if proper authorities could be found, and if a democratic community would give them power, and if, in such circumstances, there would—which we doubt—still be need for censorship, we have some examples of contemporary expression to offer as possible candidates for firm suppression. They come to us in a letter from a reader who finds the latest trend in hymn-singing difficult to bear. He writes: The music of these songs is often as jazzy and jumpy as any "popular" song, and the sentiments expressed by the lyrics strike a dull level of pious bathos. I have heard students from a denominational school pass my house at night singing, "I am betting all I have on Jesus." I have seen a twelve-year-old Volume VII, No. 38 Surely, the "poets" Plato thought it proper to banish from his "ideal" community were not as bad as this! There is little indication that the legislators and executives charged with care of the general welfare of American life will concern themselves with this sort of degradation of religion. Official interest in religion, these days, is taking quite another form. According to the Christian Century for Sept. 1, representatives of two Congressional investigating committees were on hand at the recent Evanston assembly of the World Council of Churches to watch for evidence of "subversive" tendencies! The FBI was also on hand for the same reason. A CC editorial writer comments: An illuminating sidelight on this attempt to see that Evanston does not deviate from the proMcCarthy-American line is the statement that "the House committee will rely mainly on reports from what one member described as 'right-thinking ministers' who will be present at the assembly as observers." Whether "right-thinking" here connotes right-thinking a la Spiritual Mobilization or rightthinking à la Carl McIntire, we are not sure. Perhaps both. But what a business for committees of the United States Congress to be in—spying on a world assembly of churches of Christ! Censorship, quite plainly, is a very complicated subject! MANAS Reprint September 22, 1954 ...
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