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FROM PROBLEMS TO PRINCIPLES
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VOLUME XX, NO. 50 DECEMBER 13, 1967 FROM PROBLEMS TO PRINCIPLES AMUSING consideration of Parapsychology as a branch of Psychology—a not entirely "wanted" development in the eyes of the cautious members of this profession—is offered by Louisa E. Rhine in the September issue of the Journal of Parapsychology. This paper, titled "Parapsychology Then and Now," begins by noting that the obstacles to acceptance of scientific studies of this sort have not altered a great deal in some eighty years. Dr. Rhine writes: We can turn the pages of history and find men like Sidgewick and Meyers in the last century hoping that another fifty years or so from their day would see a change, at least in the climate of opinion about the field (known at that time, of course, as psychical research). But we now know very well that even though much more time than fifty years has passed, the climate for parapsychology is not entirely different today from what it was in the 1880's. At both periods, there has been an audience interested in the research of the time, but it has been preponderantly a popular one. At both periods, on the other hand, the scientific world has been largely skeptical, uninterested in, ignorant and oblivious of, and unreceptive to the problems involved in parapsychology. There are also differences to be considered, but these are found mainly in the internal history of psychical research. The "popular" interest remains an enduring provocative. "John Doe says he saw a ghost. Richard Roe says there aren't any ghosts and Doe didn't see them. Who is right?" This is one form taken by popular interest. Another, more poignant, asks what happens to loved ones after death. Do they still exist? If so, under what conditions? These questions do not and will not die out, but the scientific approach to them follows a characteristic pattern. It turns particular or "popular" questions into general inquiries. As Dr. Rhine says: What have forty years done to the central problem and the degree to which a solution to it has been secured? While opinions may differ as to the wording, certainly the central problem or question concerns the nature of man, especially with relation to the physical universe. But the emphasis at the two periods is different. In the 1920's the question could well have been phrased, "What is the post-mortem destiny of man?" This, of course, was the survival problem. It was the central one of the twenties, as in the main it had been throughout the previous history of psychical research, at least in the English-speaking world. The question would not be phrased the same today. Rather, it might be, "What is psychological man in a physical universe?" This is a larger question than the earlier one because the final answer will have to show what man is while he is living, and that answer will necessarily encompass the earlier one as well. This means that, along with certain implications for scientific method, generalizing psychic research may reveal its fundamentally philosophical character. It means that if you want to know about death, you must first understand life. We may agree with this entirely, yet we shall also have to recognize that the cobblestone-kicker ("It's real; my toe hurts! " ) becomes impatient at so engrossing a prospect. He wants to communicate with his dead wife. So, for reasons of this sort, Fate has many more readers than the Journal of Parapsychology. All science is confronted by similar problems. Otto Hahn went in search of the secrets of the physical universe. The cobblestone-kickers wanted an atom bomb. The classical biologist seeks to understand in principle the processes of morphogenesis and the mystery of the living cell, but editors who publish for the man in the street know that a great many people want to read about how to control heredity—how, as one man put it, to be able to order from medical science a son ten MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 feet tall. As a result the public acquires much romantic information about DNA and the miracle of self-duplicating molecules. Serious ecologists would like to preserve for the world an atmosphere that will support life, while the AEC wants to test nuclear weapons and hears mainly what it chooses to hear on the subject of fall-out. But the mystery of death and the issue of supernormal powers, being deeply and universally connected with human longing, present special problems. Some of the differences indicated above can be argued out at a professional level, but the nature of man is an intensely personal as well as a theoretical question. In other words, there is just no way to erase the haunting presence of basic human longing from research in these directions. It makes of psychic research practically a sacred enterprise. This brings profound human responsibility to parapsychology— an attitude which has been evident in both the Rhines and their illustrious predecessor, William McDougall. One aspect of this responsibility was well put by Bishop Berkeley: "We should speak with the vulgar but think with the learned." This means, as Ralph Slovenko has explained, that "we should use the kind of language which our listeners can understand, for language is for the purpose of communication." Here, quite obviously, is another of the special problems attached to parapsychology, for which, it must be admitted, its practitioners are often poorly prepared. For how can the watchful reservations of scientific investigation, the tentative hypotheses which lead to the design of experiments, and the carefully hedged statements of the significance of conclusions reached, be translated into language that the vulgar will understand and accept? This is indeed a problem confronting the parapsychologist, although its difficulties are by no means his "fault." The fault, if there be any, lies in the very conception of parapsychological research, which attempts to deal with universal questions within the confines of a scientific Volume XX, No. 50 specialty. Already, many of the technical terms of this "specialty" vibrate with the potentialities of trans-physical if not metaphysical or supernormal meaning. The content of parapsychology often seems, at least in implication, the same as the content of religion. A phase of the history of psychic research unmentioned by Dr. Rhine is that, almost from its very beginnings, people who ostensibly start out as objective scientists have had a tendency to peel off into popular activities. The yearning for knowledge in this area is intense, and such is the prestige of any sort of "science" that the vulnerable "will-to-believe" responds all too readily to "science now tells us" claims. It would be easy to erect a scale of appeals to a popular audience in this field, starting at the top with the austere and wholly responsible work of the Rhines, ranging down through numerous "fringe" levels of science and pretended science to bargainbasement attractions. Then, paradoxically, at the same time, curious researchers are continually sifting popular beliefs of the past, commonly called "superstitions," and finding a ground of authentic cognition beneath the jungle growth of folk embellishment. These, you could say, are merely some of the occupational hazards of a career in parapsychology. But might there be a more ideal milieu for such investigations? Is there a way of avoiding what a Committee Report on education recently described as a "recurring problem of modern society"—the fact that "knowledge is perpetually academicized and made remote from the thing it purports to study"? We must distinguish between the generalizing effect which scientific study imposes on its subject-matter and the obscurantist's learned refuge from any obligation to "speak with the vulgar." The one is a climb to a height, the other a flight, yet superficially they sometimes seem the same. "Academic" jargon becomes absolutely inaccessible to the popular intelligence, whereas the genuinely necessary abstractions of MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 3 philosophy—such as the conversion of the problem of "survival" to the question of the "nature of man"—might still be capable of being rendered into the simpler terms of parable or myth. But to make such renderings, one might say, is hardly the duty of scientists working in research. Precisely; and this is a basic flaw in the entire modern approach to knowledge. Our civilization has worked out no practical means of speaking with the vulgar while thinking with the learned. It is for this reason that the great mass of people is left to the ministrations of professional "vulgarizers" instead of being introduced to the questions of philosophy in terms which allow both simplicity and dignity. How shall we account for this irresponsible and educationally immoral situation? It is a direct consequence, you could say, of the betrayal of the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. The Reformation began as a great and historic movement to return both authority and moral responsibility to "the people." To do this successfully, however, after centuries of priestly exploitation and institutional corruption, required the development of socially organic infrastructures to breed the habits of responsible, independent thinking in the people. The reformers had insufficient grasp of this necessity. They were not really educators, but passionate reformers much preoccupied with their own righteousness and the sins of the opposition. So, in the comparative vacuum of individual responsibility which followed the emancipation from Rome, the leaders fell back on the habits of authoritarianism, lest anarchy prevail. Themselves infected by the ill they rose up to cure, an emasculated, polycentric popery was the best they could provide. And the very weakness caused by the old religious authority was now made the excuse for continuing the authority in another form. This was truly the Original Sin. The caste arrogance of the priestly condition was perpetuated through essentially feudal arrangements which have lasted Volume XX, No. 50 right up to the present. Today's "reforms" in religion exhibit exactly the same condition. They are being pursued by clerics, over the heads of the people, with promising reports periodically issued by a collaborating press. Was there ever more barefaced institutional manipulation in matters supposedly connected with the final destiny of man? The better minds continue to care for our salvation. How was the scientific revolution betrayed? By becoming, almost from its beginning, a demoralized revolution. Leave the pretentious talk of good and evil to the church, its popular champions declared. We, they said, shall be concerned with real things. Not man and his problems, not life and its mysteries, but matter and force, are the things to study. With simple, unambiguous truth about the laws of nature we shall eventually be able to silence all those spurious authorities. So, in the name of mankind and human progress, the human qualities of human beings were deliberately and proudly ignored. This kind of science was plainly a reactionary phenomenon. It was a great disaster of extremism. The historical result has been plainly described by Ortega: All extremism inevitably fails because it consists in excluding, in denying all but a single point of the entire vital reality. But the rest of it, not ceasing to be real merely because we deny it, always comes back and back, and imposes itself on us whether we like it or not. The history of all forms of extremism has about it a monotony which is truly sad, it consists in having to go on making pacts with everything which the particular form of extremism under discussion has pretended to eliminate. The external, institutional aspect of psychic research, as a branch of science, is one of these "pacts." It is, you could say, a form of "boring from within" at the intolerable assumptions of scientific extremism. A wholly legitimate and necessary enterprise. But its practitioners are in the awkward position of having, so to speak, to twist the arm of their father-image in the hard- MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 4 core sciences. It is research which has to make room for itself, since none was provided by initial scientific assumption. So scientific psychic research does its exercises, displays its undeniably impressive findings, and slowly develops grammar and vocabulary for its own transformation into something else something which, at last, will be free of the constraints of the one-sided scientific reaction. At present, however, there is a great lack in its practice—even if an unavoidable lack, in consideration of its origins and history. The lack is a language for speaking to the vulgar. Without such a language in the possession of serious and responsible scholars and scientists, the instruction of the masses goes to the pretenders by default. But how could this situation be possibly remedied? As we saw, the problem is not limited to psychic research but applies in all fields of learning and scientific specialization. Well, anciently there was one way of cutting the Gordian knot. Jesus put it succinctly: "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables." That is all very well, one may say, so long as one indeed knows "the mysteries of the kingdom of God." But how can any practitioner of the sciences put the content of his discipline in parabolic form without a vast presumption? We have no answer to this question, since it represents the fundamental educational problem of our entire age and civilization. We might point out, however, that the Buddha managed to do it with some success. Let us call this problem the gnostic/agnostic dilemma. Are there any ways in which the horns of the dilemma can be dulled? We might admit, for example, that the entire question of what we mean by "knowing" is now in flux. The sharp, objectivizing definitions about knowing which were becoming current when Mr. Huxley coined the term "agnostic" in the nineteenth century are no longer in use. We could relax a little in our certainty about what is "known" and "unknown." Volume XX, No. 50 We could accept from Tolstoy a little modesty to go with our ignorance or "not-knowing." For, as he said, "ignorance always acts the same. When it does not know it says that what it does not know is stupid." In short, we might argue that a proper agnosticism gives no license to complacency. An uncomplacent agnosticism is the polar opposite of the sort of confident denials which stand in the way of developing parables for our age. And it seems evident that we shall have to have our own sort of parables. To think intensively about this need is surely the first step toward creating them. And it must be a collaborative enterprise, involving all devoted members of society. A wide cross-fertilization of mind is needed to evolve this "folk" sort of verity that all men hunger for. The talent exists. As Archibald MacLeish put it, "Hundreds of young writers whose natural inclination is to cheerfulness and wonder emulate the existential philosophers and practice nausea in a mirror, but the nausea is real enough, notwithstanding." They could help. Perhaps all they need is a little stimulation, something to look at besides the reflection of their own despair. Then there are the Humanists, who might also help. Some of them seem uncertain as to what to do with their energies. Perhaps they occupy themselves more than necessary with declaring new "credos." Along with many other groups they announce the importance of reaching "youth." One wonders to what extent the issue of scientific Humanism is a stream of reports on the latest "pact" with emerging realities that scientific extremism failed to eliminate. The problem is to think through to non-manipulative, nonauthoritative "parables" concerning the meaning of human life. And we must all do it for ourselves before we can instruct youth. At present it seems likely that the youth will get there first and do the instructing. Meanwhile another branch of psychology, Psychotherapy, is already in the throes of radical change. Psychotherapy is slowly reorganizing MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 5 itself into something which might be called "existential education." In another twenty-five years or so, the authoritarian pretensions of the psychoanalyst (see Trigant Burrow) and the passivity of the client on the couch will perhaps have been replaced by various learning-and-doing situations, with the arts again contributing the sort of catharsis which, as Rollo May has noted, they once performed for the ancient Greeks. Just possibly, a mythicizing simplicity which does not presume—which is suggestive of and seeks only self-authenticating truth—calls for deeper thought and more real sophistication than modern intellectuality is capable of. Our intellectual habits may have made us suppose that only a reductive simplicity is possible. Or that precise abstraction is a more efficient bearer of truth than the somewhat ambiguous allegory. Praising Kant for greater clarity in expounding the doctrine of Maya than Plato and the Indian philosophers showed, Schopenhauer wrote: Now Kant not only expressed the doctrine in an entirely new and original way, but made of it a proved and incontestable truth through the most calm and dispassionate presentation. Plato and the Indians, on the other hand, had based their contentions merely on a universal perception of the world; they produced them mythically and poetically rather than philosophically and distinctly. Perhaps so. But Plato and the Indians are still read, while Kant is not. At any rate, it is just possible that the truth which cannot be mythicized, allegorized, or parabolized, is simply not true, or not true in any important sense. In any event, the attempt to develop such cultural forms for transmitting our knowledge might become an interesting test of that knowledge. We would surely learn a great deal about what we know, or think we know, from making the effort. of their experimental studies and drawing conclusions wholly consistent with a general educational theory of cultural development and reform. They are finding, Dr. Rhine says, good reason to think that psi capacities (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition) are not the endowment of "gifted" people only, but belong to all. It follows that the question to which both psychology and philosophy should address themselves is not why these faculties occasionally manifest, but why they do not manifest in all men all the time. Writing of present attitudes in parapsychology, Dr. Rhine speaks of the "new potential of mind" which is known to work with "no limit of distance or of time," and comments: Such a mental ability operating without the physical limitations which restrain perception by the senses shows an aspect of man that is different in order from that of the physical universe. . . . The discoveries already made in both ESP and PK all appear to point one way in a general perspective. They all suggest that the reach and ability of the human mind is more delicate, subtle, all-pervading than has been recognized before in any field. These discoveries mean that the mind of man has psychological subtleties which, except for the investigations of parapsychology, would not have been guessed at. This, I think, is the significance of parapsychological research today. . . . The implications of this view are salutary for philosophy and for mankind—for, that is, the basic idea of the self. Meanwhile, since philosophy obtains its assumptions or postulates from psychology, we may report, after Dr. Rhine, that the parapsychologists are accumulating the rich fruit Volume XX, No. 50 MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 6 REVIEW "WHAT AM I?" AT the end of the Lionel Giles rendition of the Tao Te King, there is a fragment, "Lao Tzu on Himself," which begins: Alas! the barrenness of the age has not yet reached its limit. All men are radiant with happiness, as if enjoying a great feast, as if mounted on a tower in spring. I alone am still, and give as yet no sign of joy. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled, forlorn as one who has nowhere to lay his head. Other men have plenty, while I alone seem to have lost all. I am a man foolish in heart, dull and confused. Other men are full of light; I alone seem to be in darkness. . . . All men have their usefulness; I alone am stupid and clownish. Lonely though I am and unlike other men, yet I revere the Foster-Mother Tao. This self-denigration of the sage—partly a form of Socratic irony—is more easily understood in some periods of history than in others. An American born early in this century, reared in the benevolent atmosphere of American optimism, absorbed in the democratic tradition and able to observe its rather remarkable, even if also faulty, operations in his home community, is bound to have his difficulties with Lao Tzu. What he says here may seem almost a posturing pretense. No such modesty or apparent alienation addicts the young American's teachers. Has not his country been an example to all the world? Have not the patriots of the American Revolution been echoed in every land where freedom has been denied? Is there not an eager idealism in a high proportion of Americans? He lives, he feels, in a good community. And he is not—or was not— altogether wrong. He finds it difficult to believe that a time might come when, for an increasing number of people, all that goodness will seem ravished, the idealism spent. It is only after many shocks and disappointments that he is able to accept that society and its institutions are, as Freud came to suspect, filled with the symptoms of an underlying Volume XX, No. 50 ill. Only with reluctance, and by degrees, he passes from smiling with the American folk humorist who declares that the trouble with people is that they know too many things that "ain't so," to the dark apprehension of a public manipulated by semi-cynical propagandists— reaching, finally, saddened agreement with Ortega that wisdom does not even begin for a man until he feels himself totally lost. Think of the transformations that have taken place in the United States, in the brief period from the golden years a little before the first world war to the uneasy and troubled present—a time in which heart-broken citizens have been known to destroy themselves by fire, on the streets, in protest against their country's policies. By such means Lao Tzu may come to be recognized as a philosopher who speaks to our condition. And from the wondering uncertainty he induces, a lonely modesty may overtake those who have important things to say. Instead of seeking scapegoats, and without sure explanations, they start out by asking why, why have things gone so wrong. One book of musings over just such questions—a book which may never have much circulation in the United States because it is published in India (Navajivan Trust, Ahmedabad 14)—is by Richard B. Gregg, author of The Power of Nonviolence. Mr. Gregg's new book, published this year, has the title, What's It All About and What Am I? He starts out with a curious image to represent the general problem: We are told that when the white man's civilization first came into contact with some primitive people, and the primitives saw its tremendous power and abundance of material goods the entire meaning to them of their former myths and way of life crumbled to pieces. They lost heart and soon dwindled to a small, miserable remnant. When this contact occurred in the Melanesian South Sea Islands the inhabitants were terribly upset and, in great anguish and hysteria, they worked out what are called "Cargo Cults," a new imaginative and distorted explanation of why the white man's culture was so much more powerful than theirs and what might be MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 7 their orientation toward it. In the midst of such deep changes, they just had to have some explanation for it all in terms they could understand. Even though our world perhaps does not seem quite so upset as for these primitive people, nevertheless we all ask what is the sense of the world and its events? What does life mean? Do we just live for the sake of living today? All men everywhere and at all times must have meaning in their lives. We have an insistent hunger for meaning. Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the medical school of the University of Vienna and a survivor as prisoner of four Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz, says that the only prisoners who survived those dreadful experiences were those who managed to find some meaning in their existence. Those who did not find such meaning invariably died. To reflect on these ideas about man and his quest for understanding, especially in relation to recent history, is to recognize that the claims to certainty which color the thinking of a given epoch are a broad determinant of the human attitudes which result when these claims are tested in the fire of experience. What we call anomie, alienation, and existential disgust may be quite normal reactions of human intelligence to the final exposure of pretended certainties. Despair, you could say, is simply the reverse face of enthusiastic and confident belief, when that belief can no longer be related to the realities of life. Despair is the fruit of destroyed illusion. There are, then, basic human longings—the search for sense and meaning—which are fundamentally constant in all human beings; but the forms taken by these longings, and the manner in which they are frustrated or betrayed, are not constant at all, but pass through extreme changes reflecting the attitudes generated in people by cultural influence. No doubt there is a cyclic factor affecting human belief, which, within the limits of a homogeneous culture, varies from high hope and positive enthusiasm at the beginning to passivity, depression, and desperate resistance to change during its decline. Thus historical perspective may play an important part in any selfknowledge which is socially informed, since without an awareness of the influence of these Volume XX, No. 50 cyclic changes on what and how he feels, a man may impose the image of his own feelings on the universe, calling the result a true philosophy of meaning and of the laws of existence. This was the discovery that Tolstoy made about his own opinions, in the nineteenth century, which he recorded in his Confession. Once a man comes to the view that he can no longer accept "hearsay" evidence concerning the meaning of life—when he realizes that he is perilously and inexorably alone in the determination of truth—he becomes able, for the first time, to use the vast cultural inheritance of human thought in a new way. It is in this spirit that Richard Gregg surveys the resources of Western civilization in respect to the timeless inquiries, "What is real?" and "Who am I?" He tries to pursue to their origin the assumptions men have made in formulating their answers. For if the assumptions are made unconsciously—without, that is, any inspection of them—there is no way of knowing whether or not they are in accord with life and nature. The mood of Mr. Gregg's inquiry is conveyed by the following: Each one of us sees the universe grouped around himself. Without this concept and feeling of the self, we think life would have no meaning, no anchorage, no center, no sense of security, no purpose or value. Without it, we think, life would be empty, utterly useless. Nevertheless, the self continues to be a fiction. But as long as we are convinced of its reality, we are caught in endless trouble for ourselves and the world. . . . Because it is supremely valued, the self is very swift and cunning and subtle in maintaining its presence and posture of reality, for that is the source of its life. . . . So self-understanding must be undertaken by each person for himself and as a matter of individual, personal, intimate, prolonged thorough, honest experience. No teacher, guide, priest, minister, leader, master or guru can do it for you. . . . Each of us has a mind. But the mind of each of us is hampered by the narrow interests of the self which considers its own maintenance and prestige of supreme, over-riding importance. The self, for its own divisive purposes, misdirects warps, twists and distorts the otherwise clear vision of the mind. . . . I MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 8 think it highly probable that the mind in each of us is a manifestation of universal, eternal mind, though mostly badly hampered by the self. That is one of my assumptions. It cannot be proved or disproved by logic. It is a belief of the distinguished physicist, Erwin Schroedinger, and was a belief of the French philosopher Bergson and a fair number of other careful thinkers. . . . each of us has a right to make his own assumptions, and as a matter of fact, does so. Mr. Gregg's book is thus a Platonic sort of inquiry. It examines the first principles, the assumptions, of being human. It is also a Taoist book, a somewhat shy essay concerning the ageless quest for truth, written by a man because he knows that it must be done, rather than because he feels sure that he knows how to do it. It is for this reason, no doubt, that what he does has a simplicity which should be a true encouragement to others who have similar feelings and wonderings; and also, for this reason, that he does it very well. Volume XX, No. 50 MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 9 COMMENTARY THE STATE HAS CHANGED THERE is a curious kinship between Vinoba on the Gandhian idea of education and Hearn on Tolstoy's view of where moral goodness is to be found (see Frontiers). An Arcadian quality pervades both discussions—a kind of "golden age" vision which is difficult for the Western reader to accept. Just possibly this built-in resistance to moral simplicities is a major obstacle to genuine human progress in the United States. becomes a vast propaganda machine operating against the true interests of the young and of the country. It does not fit youth for any genuine social responsibility; instead, to the extent of its influence, it will turn out large numbers of illprepared conformists on the one hand, and on the other generate uninstructed rebellion or angry despair in those who are really the only potential leaders we have. This analysis is abundantly confirmed by recent events on the educational scene. In the case of Vinoba on education, we might admit the force of his proposals more easily by reflecting on the "tough" side of what he says. His absolute rejection of State authority over any aspect of education is, from our point of view, quite revolutionary. It is an open reversal of the Western idea that public education is the highest service afforded by the State to the people. Historically, through the devoted labors of men like Horace Mann, statesponsored education became an immeasurable benefit to the United States. It brought learning to children from all classes. It put an end to the use of education as the tool of sectarian religion. It provided an institutional home-base to devoted teachers; it gave them independence; they could brave local prejudice as agents of an impersonal authority. Since public education has this long record as a dramatic embodiment of American idealism, only with great difficulty can an American citizen contemplate abandoning it and accepting private responsibility for duties which the state performed so well for so many years. Vinoba obliges us to recognize that the role of the State has changed. It is now the instrument of many less beneficent forces. A recent President who, if not the brainiest man in the world, was a man of integrity, pointed out the threat to the people in the combination of technological power with militarism in politics. And a public educational system which is the creature of the manipulations and indoctrinations of politics Volume XX, No. 50 MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 10 CHILDEN . . . and Ourselves ESSENCE OF BASIC EDUCATION [There is much in Gandhi's conception of education from which the West can learn, given recognition of its value and the ingenuity to apply its principles in an industrial society. We are grateful to Mr. K. S. Acharlu, of Bangalore, India, for permission to reprint, in three parts, his translation and compilation of "the cream of Vinoba's educational thought" embodying the Gandhian view. The Indian publisher of this material, taken from Vinoba Bhave's talks and writings, is Sarvodaya Prachuralaya, Thanjavur, Madras State.] III 11. Text Books Books occupy a secondary place in the new education. State control of text books cuts at the roots of education. A single text book for all standards is uneducation. 12. Vacations and Holidays School vacations cannot be the same all over the country. They should be in tune with the life and activities of the people and national requirements, and environment. Long vacations have no meaning. In ancient tradition holidays were meant to keep the mind detached from routine. Holidays were days of resolve and service. Days of saints and prophets should be observed as days of virtuous resolve and high thinking. 13. Students Training our students in methods of material comfort and ease is not the way to educate them. Self-control, bodily efficiency and early rising have to be cultivated by all students. Students should practice self-control and concentration and control of speech. Concentration on one subject leads to purity of Volume XX, No. 50 mind. No knowledge is possible without concentrated study. The test of the new education is to find out whether boys have developed honesty, fearlessness, impartiality and humility. Education is discipline. The students should develop seriousmindedness. They should be in touch with all affairs of the world and develop an attitude of objectivity. The secret of service is to render it in a limited area with an expansive vision. Students should have a thorough knowledge of democracy based on the will of the people. They should not ally themselves with partypolitics. Military training of youth does not produce healthy, well-balanced personalities. It does not promote responsibility, freedom and selfdetermination. The indiscipline we find among students has to be sublimated through devotion to manual occupations. Travelling on foot from place to place (pada yatra) is an excellent method of education. 14. Punishment and Indiscipline Corporal punishment must not be employed in schools, since it breeds the attitude of fear in children. Patient discussion, affection and love should be employed to counter indiscipline. Education should produce fearless souls. Discipline cannot come out of fear. The training through methods of non-violence should be practiced at home and at school. Failure in ethical conduct on the part of students should be a matter for pity and not for punishment. We must lay the foundations of truthfulness and trust in our schools. 15. Education in the Village All villages must have schools. MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 11 Some schools should be experimental ones, in which the teachers put forth all their thinking and energy in order to test their ideas. The school should not admit students whose parents desire to seek Government jobs. The village schools should be planned and organized by the villages themselves. The teacher should be given land for his personal cultivation, grain and other facilities. Every school should be allotted land for cultivation, out of which a fourth may be for the teacher. The State government may offer physical facilities, etc., to the schools with no strings attached. The State may lay down the conditions that the school should not teach violence and communalism. The village should choose the teacher it needs for the education of its children. The ideal new education school does not need even a single paisa (the smallest Indian coin). The teacher goes to the village with his two hands, a clean mind and a clean heart. The teacher will conduct a one-hour school for the children, and a night school for adults. During the day he will attend to his bread labour. The life, events and experiences of the village will be the medium for educating the children. Complete education, from the lowest to the highest, is possible in the village. For the study of the science of life, of nature for social studies, ethics, philosophy and culture, there is nothing better than the villages. Adult education of the villagers should be effected through village crafts and not through mere literacy. Education for the cities should be complementary to that of the villages. It would be a waste of public funds to start four-year basic schools. Every village should have a full course of education. 16. Religious Education Volume XX, No. 50 Religious education is not a matter of instruction or book learning. Association of good people (sat-sangh) is the most important matter. The teacher should be a person of character. Children should learn the sayings of great saints and prophets. Equal reverence for all religions should be developed. Children should have many opportunities of behaving and acting truthfully. Prayer should be in the mother tongue of the pupil. The meaning of the prayer hymns should be understood by the pupils. 17. Women's Education Women must be educated in the same way as men for education for life and not for mere material comfort. Women's education should consist of selfknowledge, crafts, study of language and literature. At the end of school education they should be attached to elderly, experienced ladies with whom they should cultivate attitudes of social service. 18. Public Schools Public schools are an anachronism in a socialistic democracy. 19. Education and the State Education must be free from State control. The students have to be educated in an atmosphere of freedom from outside interference. Society should have direct control of education, not the State. The wise men of society should have control of education. The people are the highest authority. The State derives its power and authority from the people. Education must therefore be in the hands of the people. If the country is to be saved from Hitlers and Mussolinis, education should be free from State control. MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 12 State control leads to a mechanical standardized pattern of education for the whole country. Education should not be set in a mould. If education is independent and free, there would be a rich variety of curricular programmes. The State should not prescribe text books for compulsory study in schools. This leads to indoctrination. The State may offer general guidance and advice to educational institutions and leave it to them to accept it or not. The state may also suggest text books and curriculum, but should not enforce them. Educational institutions must be free to offer the students the education they think best. Education should be free from State control even as justice is. 20. State and Employment Service under government should not have anything to do with graduation. The various departments of government may conduct their own examinations for choosing candidates on merit. This method will encourage private effort in education, and discourage exodus from the village to the city. Education which adds to the number of the unemployed is demoralizing. The basic schools should take children whose parents do not want their children to seek government jobs. 21. Nai Talim and Gramdan (Basic education and land-gifts, i.e., offering of a village) The Nai Talim experiments may be taken up in Gramdan blocks. Volume XX, No. 50 MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 13 embraces its central thesis entire. Of this historic diatribe against the fashions in art, Hearn wrote: FRONTIERS On Tolstoy THE Western world has produced two very great novelists, both Russians—Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. It would be interesting to compare them, but to be of any value such criticism would have to come after intensive study. However, one difference between them is apparent at once. As a man, Tolstoy has stirred more comment than Dostoevsky. While theologians have been troubled by Dostoevsky's chapter, "The Grand Inquisitor," in The Brothers Karamazov, and have tried to reduce the impact of its verdict on the guilt of organized religion, on the whole one reads Dostoevsky himself, not books or arguments about his work. With Tolstoy the case is somewhat different. Tolstoy's life and opinions are more controversial than his literary work. A certain grandeur attends Tolstoy's struggle to be true to himself, and books which illuminate the moral issues behind this contention are very useful. In particular, we have in mind Isaiah Berlin's The Hedgehog and the Fox (Mentor), almost an epic on the workings of Tolstoy's mind—his attempt to resolve, in his art, the dilemma which haunted him all his life. The effort was to recognize unity in diversity, to find in life and history those all-encompassing principles of synthesis which he felt in his heart to be true, but suffered contradiction by the irrational course of human experience. He was too good a philosopher to give up the quest for meaning, yet too good a scientist to ignore what so often seemed the negation of meaning by the facts of life. Another work of enduring interest about Tolstoy is Lafcadio Hearn's lecture, "Tolstoy's Theory of Art," which was printed in Talks to Writers (Dodd, Mead, 1927) and doubtless elsewhere. Like everyone else who has written about Tolstoy's view of art, Hearn has some fault to find with it, but unlike most other critics, he Volume XX, No. 50 If the wrong things which he [Tolstoy] has said were picked out of his book and printed on a page all by themselves (this has been done by some critics), you would think that Tolstoy had suddenly become insane. But you must not mind these blemishes. Certain giants must never be judged by their errors, but only by their strength, and in spite of all faults the book is a book which will make anybody think in a new and generous way. Moreover, it is utterly sincere and unselfish—the author denouncing even his own work, the wonderful books of his youth, which won for him the very highest place among modern novelists. These, he now tells us, are not works of art. Tolstoy, as many readers will remember, maintained precisely the reverse of the general opinion, which was that only the educated can comprehend high art. This means, as Hearn pointed out, that "art is something with which nine-tenths at least, of the human race, can have nothing to do!" Tolstoy found this wrong and unacceptable. Hearn repeats his argument: Yet what of the alleged inferiority of the masses? Are they really inferior beings, are they unsusceptible to the highest and best emotions? What are these highest and best emotions that artists talk so much about? Are they not loyalty, love, duty, resignation, patience, courage—everything that means the strength of the race and the goodness of it? . . . Tell the truth and acknowledge that the peasant is morally a better man than the average of the noble and wealthy. He is emotionally better in the strength of his character. Where do we find what is human goodness? Where are we to go to look for everyday examples of every virtue? Is it among the wealthy people of cities, or is it among the people of the country, the people who cannot understand art? There is only one answer to this question, and it is the same answer that Ruskin made a long time ago. The poor are as a whole the best people. If you want to look for holiness in the sense of human goodness, you must look for it among the poor. Everything noble in the emotional life is there. The evil devices and follies of a few do not signify; the great mass of the people are good. Point by point, Hearn argues Tolstoy's case (portions of Tolstoy's What Is Art? were reprinted MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 14 as a lead article in MANAS for Oct. 17, 1962); and then, honest man that he is, he concludes: But the reforms advised are at present, of course, impossible. Although I believe Tolstoy is perfectly right, I could not lecture to you—I could not fulfill my duties in this university [of Tokyo]—by strictly observing his principles. Were I to do that, I should be obliged to tell you that hundreds of books famous in English literature are essentially bad books, and that you ought not to read them at all; whereas I am engaged for the purpose of pointing out to you the literary merits of those very books. Rexroth says so many good things well in this review that it should be read in its entirety. He concludes: Finally, those ideas which he came to preach so passionately in the years after War and Peace and which are the emerging intellectual forces behind the novel—and which even his most favorable critics dismissed as the notions of a crank—have turned out to be right. Men must learn to live simply and at peace, or the species will not last. This is obvious to everyone now. Or is it? Hearn and Berlin on Tolstoy deserve to be read carefully. But so does Kenneth Rexroth, who discusses War and Peace in a recent (Nov. 11) Saturday Review. This review-essay may be the best short appreciation of Tolstoy's great novel ever put into print. Rexroth seems to go to the core of Tolstoy's qualities. "War and Peace is," he writes, "above all other things, an immense drama of the power of the human spirit. At every crux in the narrative it is the autonomous will which determines value." Tolstoy has all the skills of the professional writer, and many more. He knows all the tricks, but with him they are not tricks. He is also free of compensating animosities. Rexroth says: The startling thing about Tolstoy is precisely that he was completely unalienated and at the same time disbelieved utterly in all the principles which were the foundations of his society or, rather, of the conflicting societies in which as a nineteenth century Russian he had to live. He did not believe in feudalism, the Czar, or the church. He did not believe in capitalism or in Socialist revolution. Neither did he believe in the special subculture of the international artistic community in revolt against bourgeois culture. The Bohemian "greats" often had certain conventional or reactionary opinions, but— Tolstoy disbelieved in the Social Lie, whatever form it took. He was able to reject in what might be called a nonpathological manner because he had power where Baudelaire had none. The society was his society, and he knew it—from the inside out, from the top down. Volume XX, No. 50 MANAS Reprint December 13, 1967 ...
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