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VOLUME X, NO. 23 JUNE 5, 1957 THE LAW OF HUMAN RELATIONS THE article by Victor Gollancz, "The Meaning of Personal Freedom," which appeared in MANAS for April 10, brought a number of appreciative letters. One of these is mildly critical, also giving opportunity for consideration of Mr. Gollancz' "socialist" views. Our correspondent writes: I read the article by Victor Gollancz with vast interest. (As an aside, it always saddens me when the British workers call a big strike, since they have so many more advanced, socially-conscious and honest thinkers to whom they could turn for guidance than are available to labor in any other country, except perhaps Sweden and Norway.) Mr. Gollancz' concern for worth-while issues; his compassion for the unfortunate; his alarm that pity for the destitute should be on the decrease in the twentieth century, and his desire to sacrifice the self for the common welfare—these are admirable things. But despite Mr. Gollancz, and with deep respect for him, there are several contentions in his article that I want to agree with, but cannot. Possibly I do not follow him accurately. For example, after pointing out how freedom is internal, he says: "Like elicits like, and if you assault a person with hatred, that assault . . . invariably pro tanto enslaves the person so assaulted." Does it? Invariably? Again, speaking of the attitude of the British to the Germans, after World War II, he goes on to say: "The hatred, the violence to which these people had been inured has been broken up. Will it last? That depends entirely on our present and future attitude, individually and nationally, spiritually and politically, to the German people." hatred with hatred, and Buddha specifically taught, "Hatred never ceases by hatred in this world; by love alone it ceases. This is an ancient law." But if the one assaulted by hatred is invariably enslaved, then how is the vicious circle to be broken? Only by someone becoming an exception to the rule. This, we are confident, is Mr. Gollancz' point, whatever his words seem to say. It is a rare man, of course, who responds to hatred with love; who is, therefore, invulnerable to the assault, but that such men exist is all the evidence we have to support Mr. Gollancz' proposition that freedom is ultimately internal. There are, however, two justifications for the rhetoric in Mr. Gollancz' claim that the response of hatred to hatred is invariable. First, we are never entitled to expect another man to behave like a Christ to us. So that if we hate, we must expect to be hated in return. Somehow, we shall get the reaction from the outside world. There is certainly no escape from this law. If some wise person bears with us, refusing himself to hate, this may teach us something, but we shall have to pay for our antagonism unless we quickly make amends to balance the ledger. Just conceivably, it depends, also, on the reactions of the German people—on the recipients of the treatment. The second justification for the claim lies in its broad statistical validity. The mass reaction is commonly the instinctive reaction—the reaction in kind. If you abuse a population, or treat it with contempt, you will get a like response, however concealed by self-defensive dissimulation and sycophantic pretense. Mr. Gollancz seems here to be caught in a logical difficulty, as noted by our correspondent, since he has earlier laid down the postulate that the highest personal freedom is internal and has offered Christ and Socrates as examples. Neither of these, we may trust, would have responded to But even here, there are exceptions to be noted. Gandhi persuaded millions of the Indian people not to react with hate to the racial arrogance of the British. By and large, the friendliness of the Indians for the British is one of the wonders of the age, although it goes without MANAS Reprint LEAD ARTICLE 2 saying that the British, by the element of graciousness in their withdrawal, helped the Indians to achieve their present attitude. Even in Africa, today, while manifest hatred for white men is found in Kenya, there is surprisingly little racial animosity in other areas of the dark continent. A review in the Nation (May 11) of Drum, a book about a nationalist monthly of that name published in Johannesburg for Africans, has this passage: The Nationalism is Black, but it is not antiwhite. Many incidents tell of Africans meeting whites on the basis of friendliness and cooperation. The co-working of black and white on the staff of Drum is one instance. But the deep-seated aversion of most whites to contact with Africans is shown by the words of a white policeman when Sampson [author of the book and editor of Drum] is arrested for being in an African location. But what is apparent from the sample of South African prejudice which follows is the pathological nature of this aversion. The white Africans have wounded themselves as deeply— more deeply, really—than they have wounded the black Africans, for the black Africans have already shown that they can recover with greater ease. But what Mr. Gollancz is trying to drive home is his conviction, confirmed by numerous examples within his personal experience, that men respond most easily to the feelings that other men feel toward them. He states it as a principle: Just as, if you assault a man with hatred, you elicit hatred and so enslave him, no less, if you meet a man with love, you elicit love and so free him. These weapons, of hate on the one hand and love on the other, are terribly potent. Assault by hatred can enslave a man who has been the most free, and loving can free a man who has been most enslaved. This is the general rule, and the fact that there may be some men who are insensible to hate, and others who are insensible to love, can hardly affect the force of the rule for all practical purposes. It might be said, as concerns these exceptions, that the one who cannot be touched by hate has become something more than an ordinary man, Volume X, No. 23 while the one who cannot be reached by love is not really human at all. But the love, in the latter case, must be an authentic and wise expression of that feeling, and not a sentimental appeal mixed with condescension and impatience. We now return to our correspondent, who takes issue with Mr. Gollancz on the matter of socialism: He [Mr. Gollancz] says that "other things being equal, a cooperative society is far more likely to produce inner freedom than a competitive one . . . a society characterized by public service . . . than one characterized by the profit motive." Here, it seems to me, is the idealistic socialist speaking. There is so little idealism in the world (comparatively) that to batter down any of it seems to be on the side of the devil. . . . [but] I now feel a good deal like Richard Aldington, when he says, "Even if we set up a socialist state without any graft in it, how do we know that many won't simply torpedo it by not working their share? I'm a pretty lazy devil myself," he admits, "and I'm sure once the danger of economic destitution is removed, there are lots of chaps who will sit on their backsides." How well I know what he means. Like Aldington, I saw the bright idealism of the postWorld-War-I world; and, rightly or wrongly, although I've felt for years that capitalism and stockmarket ownership of the means of production is filthy and enslaving, any system of socialism put into effect to do away with raw capitalist profit will end in even greater slavery. I don't want to see greater slavery inaugurated as a result of mistaken idealism. And you'll forgive me for saying that the "ca' canny" policy in the Scottish shipyards after World War I, the successive disappointments of every attempt to socialize even under graft-free and fair-minded governments, and the vast enslavement brought to the poor Russian people as a result of what the original Communist intellectuals genuinely believed was the only solution; that all these and many more factors have finally led me to believe that free enterprise probably entails less slavery for fewer people than any other immediately foreseeable economic system. On the whole, we share this correspondent's view of capitalism and of socialism of the constrained variety. But what we do not share— and this is probably true of our correspondent, also—is the view that since the socialist MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 3 experiments of our time have been less than successful (and we should say, here, that we have made no careful study of the working of various degrees of socialism already achieved in, say, Sweden, and in some other countries, so that there may be an element of ignorance, if not prejudice, in this judgment), we should relax complacently on our somewhat shoddy capitalist laurels. Our own view is that no economic system, as such, can correct the impoverishment of values, and that it is folly to expect any such result from economic reform. The best minds among our social scientists have been concentrating for generations on the study of projects for economic reform and stabilization, without much tangible result. Marxists, on the other hand, soon split into sects with rival contentions—sects which, when they get power, liquidate one another. It seems fairly obvious to us that the basic problems of mankind are not economic problems, however much the oppressions and injustices of man against man may take economic forms. The reason why MANAS will nevertheless continue to pay respect to socialist thinkers is that, for almost a century, and with only a few exceptions, vital humanitarian thought has emerged in socialist channels. It is not enough to find flaws, even fatal flaws, in socialist logic and the socialist expectations of human nature under a changed environment. It is necessary, also, to equal the compassion of the great socialists and their humanitarian ardor. And it is necessary, again, to comprehend the broad sweep of the radical movement throughout the last half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. Great power for good has been manifested through this movement, even though its energies, finding expression in the Class Struggle, too often turned man against man. The vision of the socialist must never be forgotten, however many delusions we may discover in the means chosen to bring that vision to realization. That is why we find extraordinary inspiration in the French Communities of Work, on the practical Volume X, No. 23 side, and in Erich Fromm's The Sane Society, on the theoretical. Both continue a great tradition. Moreover, it will never do to assert as a kind of socioeconomic dogma that socialism "must" fail. The Welfare State, which is a euphemistic way to describe the modern Nation-State armed and organized for nuclear and total war, has already become something very similar to the Authoritarian State in many respects. People in the smaller countries who are far from being fools seem unable to find a very great difference between the socialist and capitalist powers, so far as the threat to the peace of those smaller countries is concerned. We may say that they overlook vital matters such as freedom of speech, of press, of religion, still possible under democratic capitalism, but dangerous if not altogether impossible in communist-dominated lands. We may say this, although some of the late Mr. McCarthy's victims may feel differently about the matter. But writing by Mr. Gollancz is under discussion, so let us see what, precisely, he said. (He said considerably more about socialism in his original article, which we left out, not only for considerations of space, but also because MANAS is not especially interested in political utterance, as such.) In the MANAS version, Mr. Gollancz wrote: I would say that, other things being equal (again I emphasize this), that society is best in which there is the minimum of restraints on a man's freedom to do what he likes. (An odd statement, you will think, from a socialist: but that is because you fail to understand what socialism essentially means—and so do the majority of socialists.) I said previously that the best society is a cooperative rather than a competitive one: I say now that the best society is the one with the minimum of restraints from without: and both statements are true. The ideal society is the society in which everybody freely cooperates; the ideal society, in other words, is the one ruled, or rather unruled, by a kind of Christian anarchy—the handful at Christ's supper become the whole nation. Mr. Gollancz freely admits that we are not "ready" for this sort of society, but he is certainly MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 4 right in principle, although we wonder why not a Hopi anarchy or a Buddhist anarchy as well as a Christian anarchy? Any cooperation worth having, we may note, is unconstrained, so that, on the basis of Mr. Gollancz' sort of socialism, it will come without campaign, fanfare, or ideology, and probably will not be known as socialism at all. We might note, also, that he says, "other things being equal," by which he means to suggest, "under conditions which are not prejudicial." Our correspondent's point is that the conditions of a workable capitalist economy are not equal to the conditions of a workable cooperative or rather socialist economy, and here, we think, he is quite right. It takes better men to cooperate instead of competing. We should never forget to admit this, when we expatiate on the dreadful fate which overtakes those who embrace socialism. Our point is that socialism is not the goal. Better men are the goal. If we can become better men, then we can have whatever we like in the way of an economic system, mainly because we shall recognize that the system is not very important, and, certainly, neither a barrier nor a portal to the good life. Volume X, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 5 REVIEW DR. ALAN GREGG, AN ENIGMASMASHER CHALLENGES TO CONTEMPORARY MEDICINE by Dr. Alan Gregg, Vice President Emeritus of the Rockefeller Foundation, could have more aptly been titled, "Modern Medicine in search of an Architecture." No one knows better than Dr. Gregg that the present structure of medicine, the magnificent laboratories— often productive beyond belief—and the great halls and libraries of education give off unto passageways adorned with platitudinous directives adjuring both patients and practitioners to move onward to dungeons of conformity or out into the chaos of the open plain. As a research scientist who later became Director f the Division of Medical Sciences (and education) for the Rockefeller Foundation, he has been in a unique position to explore all of the vast ramifications of modern medicine. In a short,120-page book (Columbia University Press, $3.00), Dr. Gregg must seem to leave a great deal to chance. Although he is manifestly a humble man, he knew that few readers could share his frame of reference, and although the word "challenge" is in the title, one gets the feeling that the Doctor's real aim was to arouse curiosity and evoke the sort of thinking that will give substance to the challenges that must be made and, as they say, armed, if the art and science of medicine is to fulfill its destiny. Actually, there is a rare sort of wisdom in what many readers will consider the book's diffuseness and the mingling of conjecture with seemingly unrelated facts and contradictions. Instead of initiating dogmatic thinking, Dr. Gregg has made independent thought almost compulsory. As one of the tens of thousands who came to Dr. Gregg, I, asking that a grant be made for what I considered a medical educational project, encountered precisely the method used in Challentes to Contemporary Medicine. The project I was interested in was that of setting up a school where mental hospital attendants could get training and education in keeping with the advances of psychiatry. As a reformer, I felt that the need for such a school was self-evident. What amazed and dismayed me at the time was that while the Doctor showed a knowledge of the attendant's problems that was greater than my own, or that of my Volume X, No. 23 co-workers, he insisted that we accept a small grant with which to make a more thorough study of the need and practicality of such a school as we proposed. I remember feeling that in spite of the obvious humanitarianism of Dr. Gregg, mental patients would be deprived of decent care while we untangled needless red tape. What we proposed was research in education, in any case, and it would take years for it to reach into all hospitals. I can't speak for others on that project, but I now recognize that I was given a course in reality that too many reformers are denied. As time passed, I saw formerly dedicated candidates for the school—people under twenty-five years of age—lose interest when they learned that the year spent in school would cause them to retire a year later than they had planned; other medical disciplines began to regard trained attendants as a threat to their status rather than as a help to the patients, and I was a pariah rather than a Messiah. In short, Dr. Gregg had known what would happen and that people like myself will only accept experience directly. No one could formalize a request for an education of this sort or even guess the need for it. It takes a very wise man to make such learning available, and Dr. Gregg's wisdom is present in this little book, just as it has been in his long and successful career. While it is quite likely that Dr. Gregg is one of the great anatomists of philanthropy, he utilizes a quotation from Freya Stark's The Southern Gates of Arabia to illustrate a facet of Western philanthropy that is overlooked by all but a few. Miss Stark says: In the West, spasmodically, and with uncertain hands we try to eliminate the causes of sorrow, but it is only recently and since the decline of formal religion. The East still holds religion in its established forms: and encourages philanthropy which deals with effects and not with causes. For as soon as you investigate and try to alter the origin of things you are no longer a philanthropist but a revolutionary, and your disinterested movements are liable to make whole edifices crumble; and mankind is asked from successive pulpits to leave the fundamental things alone. Though Dr. Gregg gracefully avoids taking issue with the social and economic fundamentalists of the pulpits of organized medicine, he most certainly makes it possible for his readers to scent the dogma and find the issues. At the same time he makes it possible for MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 6 the layman to find his own guilt in not having asked more of the Great Medicine that undoubtedly exists and is but poorly and partially used. "How dear is life?" Dr. Gregg asks, and then ventures the suggestion that for most of us it seems to be regarded as of less importance than the car, the TV set, and the many other things we unquestioningly make monthly payments for. He proposes the payment of $100 a year for a medical insurance which, if universal, would provide not only emergency treatment, as is the rule with most policies of the present, but would also make available the preventive medicine that as of now is almost totally restricted to research settings. More than that, medical education, which cannot be separated from good treatment, would be adequately subsidized. In one shrewd summation of the problem of medical education he further points out that if each practicing physician were to "repay" his medical school at the rate of $100 per year for twenty years, he would make up the difference between what he paid for his education and what it actually cost the school to give him that education. Since physicians are the highest paid professional group, they, he points out, could well afford this small return for the great gift that has been given them. The cost of medical education has actually been increased by such health insurance as exists today, since the fees paid set the treatment hospital off from the university hospital. American medical mores also dictate that all but the indigent be allowed a free choice of their physician, even if in so doing the patient may deny himself access to the great research centers where the most carefully controlled treatment is supervised by an outstanding medical faculty. whose personal integrity impresses him; competence to deal with certain diseases and personalities is a matter for the trained physician to decide upon. There must be a two-way choice for both patient and physician to be free. I am tormented [says Dr. Gregg] to watch so slow an emergence, knowing what Great Medicine could do if it were only freed to move and grow . . . No well-trained physician can contemplate the cribbed, cabined, and confined potentialities of medical science without making the choice between protest and cynicism, between action and apathy, as a way to adjust that vision to the wretched realities of today. Nor is the emergence of Great Medicine a mere spectacle to stare at. We have in these times far too many spectator sports, far too many bystanders who claim the word innocent—innocent bystanders— witnessing struggles, conveniently aloof. The doctors themselves, as well as the laymen, have some struggling to do. It seems to me that doctors should spend more time reducing the prevalent ignorance. We should spend more effort adapting ourselves to the certain needs, rather than the floundering demands, of human beings. And laymen should reexamine their conservative, traditional ways of thinking about disease and rid themselves of fatalism. Cabeza De Vaca, a man forced to heal others in order to insure his own survival, is supposed to have said, "In-as-much as we do not use it, the power to heal others recedes from us." This is not merely a power against evil, or a power for good; it is a reverence of life. It isn't by chance that Dr. Gregg feels that medicine must next turn to the field of ecology—the study of the interrelatedness of all things. WALKER WINSLOW Los Angeles, Calif. In an age of specialized medicine, Dr. Gregg points out, the doctor no longer comes to the hospital to see a great variety of patients—the patient comes to the hospital in order to see a great variety of doctors. In the city, the patient has but a free choice of the doctor who will refer him to specialists; in rural areas the patient retains the democratic prerogative of seeing "old Doc Jones." There are those of us who have been fortunate enough to have been chosen as the patients of great physicians and something more than luck was involved. At best the patient can select physicians Volume X, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 7 INCLUDING THE SWAHILI charity and devotion to the oppressed. But now, when Dr. Schweitzer is still alive and wants to be heard, he cannot be heard in the United States. WHILE Dr. Schweitzer's appeal that the testing of nuclear weapons be stopped (see Frontiers) was broadcast in some fifty countries, including Japan, and for Africans was put on the air in Swahili from Nairobi, in Kenya, the people of the United States were given no opportunity to hear the address. It is true, of course, that America has a bigger "stake" in nuclear weapons than all those smaller countries which broadcast the address. America has, or thinks it has, "something to lose" by letting public opinion grow to a point where testing will have to be stopped. COMMENTARY We don't know what happened in Russia, but this neglect by America of the urgent opinions of one of the world's greatest living men emphasizes the need to alter or qualify the closing sentence of this week's lead article. It is said there that the type of economic system a country has is "neither a barrier nor a portal to the good life." Dr. Schweitzer knows something about the good life. It was the widespread sympathy for his idea of "reverence for life," he said, which gave him the confidence to go before what he hoped would be a world public in an attempt to generate public opinion against the further development and testing of nuclear weapons. According to the New York Times report: Dr. Schweitzer asked why the United States, the Soviet Union and Britain did not come to agreement to stop the tests. He believed the reason was that there was no public opinion asking for it. Japan, he added, is the only exception. He accused "official and unofficial sources" of evading the problem when they assured that the increase in radioactivity of the air did not exceed an amount the human body could tolerate without harm. There is little doubt that informed public opinion would operate as Dr. Schweitzer says, and for precisely this reason, Dr. Schweitzer was not heard in the United States. What can you say for a system which silences Dr. Schweitzer? When, probably before very long, Dr. Schweitzer dies, the American broadcasting companies will doubtless devote hours to honoring the great man. We shall hear of his generous heart, his lucid mind, his simple Volume X, No. 23 This is an interesting form of self-justification. "The other people are as bad as we are. They listen to Schweitzer because they can afford to. We can't." That is what is wrong with our system. It is a system which lets us do fine and good things only when we can afford to—which, lately, hasn't been very often. Well, we have free speech in this country. The Government doesn't run the radio broadcasting companies, and surely what Schweitzer had to say was "news." Why didn't they put his address on the air? When a reporter asked one of the broadcasting companies this question, he was told that the address would make "pretty dull reading." The address was doubtless handled by the networks as a news story, and "described" with appropriate brevity, but the impact of what Dr. Schweitzer had to say was of course lost in this treatment. The obvious reason why the broadcasting companies did not broadcast Schweitzer's appeal is that they are in business to make money, not to stir up "trouble" for the State Department and the Atomic Energy Commission. If the American people were the kind of people that would reward the broadcasting companies for giving them Schweitzer instead of something more "entertaining," the people would have listened to Schweitzer. But, unhappily, the American people—or a very large majority of them—have been trained by our "economic MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 8 system" to reverence, not "life," but "profits" and "free enterprise," despite the fact that the average citizen gets an extremely modest share of both, these days. So they don't hear Schweitzer and, quite literally, don't know what they are missing. A system like that is indeed a barrier to the good life. But, in defense of the closing idea of our lead article, we might ask: Is there some other system that would do better? A system, that is, which would encourage the people to listen to things which are regarded by those in power as being "against the national interest"? A system which develops independent channels of communication that have the power to create the sort of public opinion Dr. Schweitzer hopes can stop these ominous experiments? What we are trying to suggest is that systems have power over us only because we have faith in them. We think they have this power. But as Tolstoy said long ago, they don't really have it. They have it only because we, the people, give it to them. Volume X, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 9 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves FOR PACIFIST PONDERING SINCE we have several times spoken of the pacifist perspective as an educative force, it comes to mind that, especially from the standpoint of youth, there are many complex appeals in service in the armed forces. William James made some of these explicit in his "Moral Equivalent of War," showing that man would never be rid of war until he had found means of investing other activities with the same adventurous and challenging atmosphere. A clipping from the New Yor Worldk Telegra m of Jan. 24 supplies an interesting quotation from a twelve-year-old boy's English composition. Here we discover an ingenious— though naïve—wish for rapid evolution toward human brotherhood: If I possessed three wishes I would wish for abolishment of warfare. In doing this I would not only save the lives of innocent men but also in time the use of force would dwindle away and a whole new standard of brotherhood would evolve, in which case oppressed nations could just walk out of the mother country's rule without being afraid of the mother country demolishing their nation forcefully. My second wish would probably be in a completely different category. It would have to do with the search for wisdom. I would wish for a book that would teach us all there is to know. It would be like a pool of inexhaustible knowledge. It would prepare the soul for the desire to help the poor and care for the needy. Through wisdom one can live an independent and good life. The heart would bear only compassion for your fellow man. The knowledge of how to help and the will to emulate God's deeds would make our civilization almost Godlike. My third and last wish would be a wish for the life span of the human and of the beast to double itself. This is a fine expression, very much in the pacifist mood. But the same boy, or a present pacifist, might, under different conditions, Volume X, No. 23 discover the appeal of adventure and danger without which wars would never be carried on, but also without which human life would lose much of its vividness and romance. Quotations from a recent novel by Dan Brennan, The Naked Night , a story of operational flying during wartime, illustrate what William James had in mind: Flying home through the darkness, I experienced again the strong sense of reality and satisfaction which always came to me after completing a raid. It seemed strange, because three years before I had never imagined that the reality of wartime flying would give me a feeling of living a normal life. I had always thought that war was associated solely with horror, but now I did not have any feeling of horror. I felt only the satisfaction of an artificial way of life which I had made my own with strong discipline, a certain self-denial and precision of flying. The wartime flier, or the youth who pilots a jet plane in training today, finds what Brennan calls "rhythm and pattern." Then, too, the man engaged in such a dangerous occupation is forced to come to some sort of terms with the prospect of immediate death—no small accomplishment. Brennan continues. We were all young then, raw performers as compared to the veterans of civilian airline service, but years older in experience from scores of close escapes from sudden death. I remember now how a corner of our minds sneered at peacetime eulogizing of veteran airline pilots. To us they seemed now like inexperienced children. What did they know of the possibilities of sudden death as part of daily routine? Checking my compass, I wondered how many young men would die tonight on their first operation, soft-cheeked, unaware of their mothers' minds holding them through the night in boyish image. I thought of the solid meaning and satisfaction that this game with Death gave to life, how the sense of satisfaction came in matching my skill against Death which had become an embodied person in my mind. It seemed to me that Death and I had a common bond of purpose to our lives, and I thought how we seemed to look at each other across a world without horizons, both of us faintly amused, watchful, waiting patiently for the other to make a wrong move. Unreal, from a million street corners we fliers came, out of a million MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 10 unknown wombs, with a million of memories shaping our lives, representing our time with our halfthought-out ideas, half-felt impressions, all of us born out of an endless typhoon of faces, ordered out to die, for King, Country, Democracy, Fair Play, The Right Side, and we flew on night after night, till Death, the top man, killed us or left us exhausted without meaning to our lives. But between the exhilaration and the exhaustion there is a whole range of emotional values to which all youths are receptive. Mr. Brennan's novel brings this range into focus, while balancing the values and the valuelessness of the only kind of valiant fighting we have yet been able to evolve on an institutional basis. This is the final tragedy: "Why do you go on flying?" "It's better than being dead." "Dead?" "We're all going to be dead the day they call the war off." "Dead?" "All the good pilots die on Armistice Day each year. I used to see them around home, a few who flew in the last war. Fifty and fat now and dying in the body and mind because they know they'll never be alive again as they were during the war. They remember it every Armistice Day. You can see it in their eyes, that kind of futile, beyond-looking quality. I'm more afraid of that than of dying." This seems like a return to the pacifist argument, but what we are really trying to say is something quite different: Simply that we will be rid of wars, perhaps, only when men have learned how to live "to the hilt" in other ways. This kind of living cannot be taught from the pattern of a pacifist program. Here and there we have an Albert Schweitzer, who has achieved such a life, but discovery of its full meaning needs to be made by most individuals for themselves. defeat. Then, when our energies—passional and physical—swell like an incoming tide, we diffuse them in irrational action. We fulfill ourselves so far as expressing one sort of "intensity" is concerned, but this expression can never be regenerative. Like the old soldiers on Armistice Day, we can become burned out, livers of past excitement and adventure. The sort of high striving which promises regeneration of energies involves both a belief in ultimate rationality and in a religion of constancy. It is only the striving which knows no defeat, which modifies but does not compromise an optimistic view of life, which allows one the feeling of "living to the utmost," whether emotional tides ebb or flow. And it is only this sort of striving which can replace, because it is more inspiring, the attractions of war's irrationality. But how may youth be actually helped to experience high striving? The training of the body and of the mind, reaching beyond instruction to that mysterious point when an ideal of selfdiscipline becomes the goal, is the point of beginning, insofar as one can be described in general terms. The Greeks had words for these values, and the Greeks, for a time, lived these values. They fought wars well, but, because of their devotion to rationality and constancy— because their youths were trained to live and to think strenuously—the fighting of a war was only one way of expressing bravery. It is in early youth that we need to acquire a feeling for "living to the utmost," and, lacking personal experience of high striving, it is easy for the young man or woman to fall into the habit of compromising ultimate dreams. A compromise, in psychological terms, is always an admission of Volume X, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 11 FRONTIERS Nuclear Tests—Problems in Philosophy DURING the last presidential campaign, and belatedly, the subject of nuclear explosions for weapons tests became an incidental political issue. The argument of Mr. Stevenson was chiefly that the United States might set the example of being a peaceful force before the world by terminating efforts to develop hydrogen and cobalt bombs—and that this should be done, whether or not other nations were willing or ready to adopt a similar course. Nuclear weapons tests, however—and Mr. Stevenson could hardly have failed to know this— cannot become a true political issue at the present time. The logic of developing atomic weapons is inescapable so long as competition between nations is generally accepted. On April 23, a message from Dr. Albert Schweitzer was read over the Norwegian airways by Unnar Jahn, Chairman of the Norway Nobel Committee. Dr. Schweitzer, as the newspapers have reported it, "urged world opinion to demand the end of nuclear tests," and what Dr. Schweitzer means by world opinion is to be found in the text of his remarks: When public opinion has been created in the countries concerned and among all nations, an opinion informed of the dangers involved in going on with the tests and led by the reason which this information imposes, then the statesmen may reach an agreement to stop the experiments. A public opinion of this kind stands in no need of plebiscites or of forming of committees to express itself. It works through just being there. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has, since its inception, performed a remarkable task of public instruction. In its pages both articles and communications from atomic scientists have made it clear that the physical dangers of nuclear weapons testing must not be minimized. But little of this material has reached the general public. Dr. Schweitzer, an extraordinarily well-informed man on many subjects, feels that the citizenry of every nation must be educated in this regard, and his Nobel message assumes the task of spreading the sort of Volume X, No. 23 information the public finds it hard to come by in the politically supercharged atmosphere of our time. Dr. Schweitzer's message was not broadcast to the United States. All the major networks—including the American Broadcasting Company, Columbia, Mutual, and the National Broadcasting Company— apparently thought the material too hot to handle, perhaps for the reason that official policy in regard to atomic testing and its effect on physical health is that expressed by Secretary of State Dulles, who maintains that continued tests are not "likely to have any appreciable effect upon the health situation." Dr. Schweitzer, however, supplies what he considers to be the blunt facts of the situation: We can state with certainty that the radioactive clouds will constantly be carried by the winds around the globe and that some of the dust, by its own weight, or by being brought down by rain, snow, mist and dew, little by little, will fall down on the hard surface of the earth, into the rivers and into the oceans. The radioactivity in the air, increased through these elements, will not harm us from the outside, not being strong enough to penetrate the skin. But the danger which has to be stressed above all the others is the one which arises from our drinking radioactive water and our eating radioactive food as a consequence of the increased radioactivity in the air. Following the explosions of Bikini and Siberia rain falling over Japan has, from time to time, been so radioactive that the water from it cannot be drunk. And not only there, reports of radioactive rainfall are coming from all parts of the world where analyses have recently been made. In several places, the water has proved to be so radioactive that it was unfit for drinking. Wherever radioactive rain water is found the soil is also radioactive—and in a higher degree. The soil is more radioactive not only by the downpour, but also from radioactive dust falling on it. And with the soil the vegetation will also have become radioactive. The radioactive elements deposited in the soil pass into the plants where they are stored. This is of importance, for as a result of this process it may be the case that we are threatened by a considerable amount of radioactive elements. MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 12 The radioactive elements in grass, when eaten by animals whose meat is used for food, will be absorbed and stored in our bodies. The full effects of the storing of radioactive substances in the human body will not, geneticists tell us, be known for one or two hundred years. We do know, however, that there is danger to the blood, bones and tissue of the human organism. A wellhidden but alarming fact is that organic material absorbs and stores radioactivity on an ascending scale. As Dr. Schweitzer puts it, "what this storing of radioactive material implies is clearly demonstrated by the observations made when, at one occasion, the radioactivity of the Columbia River in North America was analyzed. The radioactivity was caused by the atomic plants at Hanford, which produce atomic energy for industrial purposes, and which empty their waste water into the river. The radioactivity of the river water was insignificant. But the radioactivity of the river plankton was 2,000 times higher, that of the ducks eating the plankton 40,000 times higher, that of the fish 150,000 times higher. In young swallows fed on insects caught by their parents in the river, the radioactivity was 500,000 times higher and in the egg yolks of water birds more than 1,000,000 times higher." Another quotation from the Nobel message: Even if not directly affected by the radioactive material in the air, we are indirectly affected through that which has fallen down. We are absorbing this through radioactive drinking water and through animal and vegetable foodstuffs, to the same extent as radioactive elements are stored in the vegetation of the region in which we live. Unfortunately for us, nature hoards what is falling down from the air. None of the radioactivity of the air, brought into existence by the exploding of atom bombs, is so unimportant that it may not, in the long run, become a danger to us through increasing the amount of radioactivity stored in our bodies. What are the diseases caused by internal radiation? The same diseases that are known to be caused by external radiation. They are mainly serious blood diseases. If the cells in the bone marrow are damaged by radiation they will produce too few or abnormal, degenerating blood corpuscles. Both cases lead to blood diseases Volume X, No. 23 and, most often, to death. These were the diseases that killed the victims of X-rays and radium rays. These are things that need to be known, and it is impossible not to feel grateful to both Dr. Schweitzer and the Nobel Committee for the shortwave broadcasts of the text in English, German, French and Russian. But Schweitzer, as he makes clear, does not speak as an alarmist, nor as one who seeks access to public sentiment: I raise my voice, together with those of others who have lately felt it their duty to act, in speaking and writing, as warners of the danger. My age and the sympathy that I have gained for myself through advocating the idea of reverence for life, permit me to hope that my appeal may contribute to the preparing of the way for the insight so urgently needed. And what is that insight? Not, certainly, merely the knowledge that our descendants may be weakened or maimed by the malignant residues of nuclear testing. The insight really required is a philosophical perspective based upon "reverence for life." As Edmond Taylor put it so percipiently in his Richer by Asia, "the bomb tests such as those conducted at Bikini constitute a basic blasphemy which arose from an idolatrous worship of the techniques of science divorced from any ethical goals." Mr. Taylor continues by remarking that "the man-made cataclysm of Bikini was a black mass of physics as the German experiments were a black mass of medicine; it was a mob-insurrection against the pantheist sense of citizenship in nature." At the time of writing Richer by Asia, Mr. Taylor had absorbed something of the mystic pantheism for which that land is noted, and it seemed to him that the immediate dangers to human life—or even an ultimate threat to future generations—were less important than that we had invented and must bear the brunt of a new kind of crime against nature. The ecologists speak of the "balance of nature" in regard to increasing and decreasing populations of insects, birds and plants, but in filling the air with radioactive materials we bid fair to unbalance all the balances at once. At this point, perhaps, and for a dramatic effect that is not without its value, we may reproduce an MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 13 account of the first atomic explosion as it occurred in New Mexico—taken from J. Alvin Kugelmass' The Atomic Story: the hot desert wind which is a commonplace, but more like a wave of heat emanating from something in the stove scorched beyond recognition. It seemed that just when the sunrise leveled itself across the roundness of the earth and came speeding westerly, there arose still another great blinding flash of light from the very innards of the earth itself—a hellish, ugly, livid light that soared and swept its way and kept growing lights upon its very own lights. Then it turned green and there was a muttering and a grumbling and a fantastic roaring as the neutrons assailed the nuclei and went into chain reaction without end—almost. Then, as though it had been staged by an unseen hand, there came a tremendous blast of sound that rocketed, bounced and finally crumpled. Up, up, up, high above the desert, higher and higher, rising in a fraction of a second to eight thousand feet, illuminating the sky and the earth, went the light. The sky was aflame with light of an orange hue, changing to deep purple and then changing back again to lavender and orange as the sun came into play to create havoc with the color scheme. The sound and the color, the depth and the dimension were like nothing seen in this world—not in earthquakes or in volcanic upheavals, not in typhoons or in fierce and unrelenting storms on the seas. The most succinct remark of any of the observers of the new force in the life of man was made by Dr. George B. Kistiakowsky of Harvard University: "I am sure," he said, "that at the end of the world—in the last millisecond of the earth's existence—the last man will see what we saw." Well, this is in part the technological story of the world, and because every atomic explosion is the culmination of long trends of ideation working themselves down through history, there is little point in recoiling from the foregoing with horror. There is point, however, in endeavoring to find out something about the psychological boundaries of the situation confronting us, and to see if there exists an enlightened philosophical base upon which a new kind of world opinion can be formed. The green changed rapidly to livid hues. Strange shapes made up of smoke and clouds turned the sky into a silhouette out of a chamber of horrors. One man claimed he could see the outline of the Statue of Liberty. Another said he could see the Colossus of Rhodes. Still another said that he saw nothing but the form of a huge, angry fist, shaking away. But all were in agreement that the first shape was that of a Brobdingnagian mushroom . The mushrooming cloud went higher and higher until it reached the amazing level of forty-one thousand feet, some twelve thousand feet higher than the highest mountain on earth. There was a hush, then a kind of vacuum of silence—and then came the roar and uproar and repeated roar of light transforming itself into sound and crashing and cascading against the distant mountains and sending back peals only to bounce back again and send back still other peals which met themselves coming and going. There was a sudden hot blast of wind, a wind with a thick, deep smell of heat to it. It was unlike Volume X, No. 23 MANAS Reprint June 5, 1957 ... - [detail] - [similar]
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