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VOLUME II, NO. 13 MARCH 30, 1949 THE OTHER WORLD THE spirit of man," an old scripture says, "has two dwelling places—both this world and the other world." It is a simple declaration, presented without argument, as though nothing were to be gained by the marshalling of evidence and estimating the probability that the statement is true. This is commonly thought to be a weakness of ancient writings, yet there is the distinct possibility that there exists an order of reality which cannot be argued about—which has to do with being rather than becoming. Supposing, then, that there is another world, and that we are of it—or can be of it, as much as we are of this world we know—is there anything that may be said aboutit? First, it ought to be observed that the subject is almost never directly discussed, these days, except by the exponents of dogmatic religious systems. For those who are not "believers," this has given the idea of "spiritual existence" a shady unreality, as though it could be considered in no other way. Scholars, too, have done their share to increase the sense of improbability with regard to a spiritual life by always treating it indirectly, as one of the beliefs of an outmoded past. The typical scholar never affirms anything at all on matters of importance; he only repeats and criticizes the affirmations of other men, limiting his expression of personal convictions to questions of scholarly method. His zeal is all in the direction of finding out what other people meant to say, or what they believed, with little attention to the feeling of truth or conviction at first hand. Here, undoubtedly, is the explanation of why scholarship affects history so little. It deliberately avoids primary meanings and refers to them only indirectly, as though the great questions of life were either already decided or of no importance. If we accept this situation, we are in the position of saying—whether we actually do say it or not—that, in regard to a spiritual or other world, there is only a choice between an inherited and uncriticized set of religious beliefs and no beliefs or convictions at all. And since such a choice has not much in it, one way or the other, to interest intelligent people, being in this position is not found very disturbing and the choice is more or less ignored. The choice, as defined, probably ought to be ignored, but the problem of human conviction which lies behind this choice is quite another question. How can anyone accept the conventional explanation or description of what happens at death, whether that of religion or of science? It should be evident that a sustained sense of meaning for human life must include also a sense of the meaning of death. Death is either a part of life or death is life's opposite, its termination and negation. If it is a part of life, then it is one of life's processes, and to understand death there will be need for a larger conception of life—one that includes the idea of a life after death. Reasoning thus is far from being wishful thinking. There is nothing more real, for man, than the fact that he is a reasoner who looks for meanings. He is other things, too, but without this quality he would be a thing without essence, a body without a soul—as, indeed, some men seem to be when they lose for a time their sense of spiritual dignity. Manifestly, if the quest for meanings is the essence of human life, then death, if it ends this quest, is the literal destruction of human purpose and the frustration of all high ends, so far as the individual is concerned. Where is the man who, when death comes, feels he has no more to do? —to whom all mysteries have been revealed? MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 This sort of question becomes more poignant when directed at the living, who move, if they reflect upon it, through a forest of death. Every man, when he considers seriously the ends for which his life is spent, will find it necessary to take into account, not the possibility, but the inevitability, of death. If he regards the subject of death reluctantly, with mind withdrawn, he will evolve no philosophy worth speaking of, for his surface attitudes will conceal secret fears and his objectives contain subconscious compensations for his dislike of the vague nothingness which seems to lie beyond his present existence. The possessiveness of parents toward their children may express a yearning for a vicarious immortality in the lives of the next generation, and manifestations of fierce family pride are probably traceable to the same origin. The skeptic or materialist, of course, will say that a man can make durable peace with the idea of personal extinction, that there is no necessity to assuage one's inner insecurity with a conviction of life after death. There is undoubtedly some truth in this, but there seems also an unhealthy eagerness in the materialist's desire to frustrate the human longing for immortality. Why should the longing for it be natural, and the realization of it unnatural? The hope for conviction of immortality may present a problem, but there is no reason to urge that it presents an impossibility. It is a fact worth considering that the most original minds of Western civilization have been convinced of the reality of another world—a world in which the ideals of man are rooted. Why should men possessed of unusual imagination and uncramped creativity find their daily thought absorbed in the conviction of immortality, if this idea is only a theological speculation? The sense of another world becomes articulate in great poets—a poet like Wordsworth, for example—but poets are not a special breed. All men have their intimations of immortality; all men, at times, see or feel the light of an inner existence and touch the substance of things unseen. These moments, Volume II, No. 13 unfortunately, seem stillborn for most of us. They come, with a gentle aeolian breath, accomplishing a brief, inner melting of the heart, and then we see above and beyond—but because we have no place to store such fleeting impressions, they pass and we forget them. We are told that the voice of the spirit thunders from pulpits, or that it is the fantasy of a culture bemused by animistic symbols; and, given to believing what we are told, we seldom listen when we are by ourselves. That is why the poets—some poets, at least—have been of the greatest importance to the West, for they were men who listened to their own hearts. We speak of past poets for the reason that modern verse, while articulate enough, seems shy about those things of the spirit which are, because of their peculiar nature, distinct from other things. Modern poets may write of love with understanding and sympathy, but what do they write of death? Their words of death are harsh, hopeless and cruel—like the war which spreads death all about. That is all they know of death. Walter Pater, in his Appreciations, describes a letter by Sir Thomas Browne on the subject of death. Pater, himself a man of imagination, conveys something of Browne's sense of the transfiguration of life in death: He is writing . . . to a friend, upon the occasion of the death of a common friend.... the leading motive of Browne's letter is the deep impression he has received. . . of a sort of physical beauty in the coming of death .... That there had been in this case, a tardiness and reluctancy in the circumstances of dissolution, which had permitted him, in the character of a physician, as it were, to assist at the spiritualizing of the bodily frame by a natural process; a wonderful new type of mortified grace being evolved by the way. The spiritual body had anticipated the formal moment of death; the alert soul, in that tardy decay changing its vestures gradually, as if piece by piece. The infinite future had invaded this life perceptibly to the senses, like the ocean felt far inland by a tidal river. Who is to say these subtleties are unreal? Why not say, instead, with H. T. Buckle, "If MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 3 immortality be untrue, it matters little whether anything else be true or not." Pater, Buckle, Wordsworth, Coleridge and others of like mind belonged to the nineteenth century, living at a time when the bonds of dogma were loosened, but before the desiccating winds of materialism had become a permanent part of the cultural atmosphere. Even Thomas Huxley, whose polemics on behalf of Darwinism in anthropology and on behalf of Mechanism in psychology were major factors in shaping modern skepticism, was himself uncommitted to the materialistic dogma. In one of his essays, he wrote: Looking at the matter from the most rigidly scientific point of view, the assumption that, amidst the myriads of worlds scattered through endless space, there can be no intelligence, as much greater than man's as his is greater than a black beetle's; no being endowed with powers of influencing the course of nature as much greater than his, as his is greater than a snail's, seems to me not merely baseless, but impertinent. In Huxley's case, however, this was a declaration of intellectual honesty rather than an affirmation of philosophic faith. He illustrates here the liberal spirit of his age, not its inner momentum, for a similar statement, today, by a scientist of Huxley's repute, is almost inconceivable. Instead, we find an occasional physicist toying with the God-idea, mostly because of the cultural desperation of the times, or a biologist seeking sanctions for a return to religion. Some sort of belief in "God" is easy enough for a scientist to formulate in terms acceptable to himself, but the God-idea is always a "total" concept, requiring no special changes in the theory of the universe or development of ideas of function. Most God-concepts are attempts of pseudo-integration. They are names given to the sum of human ignorance, as Spinoza suggested long ago. To have genuine meaning, the idea of another world must deal with souls and their individual Volume II, No. 13 and collective destinies. Huxley was a scientist, preoccupied with his own extensive fields of research, and he made no effort to carry transcendental speculations into the sphere of practical application. How different an actual transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, to whom a philosophy of soul was the breath of everyday existence! For Thoreau, the primary realities were moral realities. All nature was for him a moral order, and his judgments were formed from deep reflection upon it. Consider the following: When, in the progress of a life, a man swerves, though only by an angle infinitely small, from his proper and allotted path (and this is never done quite unconsciously even at first; in fact, that was his broad—and scarlet sin, ah, he knew of it more than he can tell), then the drama of his life turns to tragedy, and makes haste to its fifth act. When once we thus fall behind ourselves, there is no accounting for the obstacles which rise up in our path, and no one is so wise as to advise, and no one so powerful as to aid us while we abide on that ground. . . . For such the Decalogue was made, and other far more voluminous and terrible codes. There is more in these few lines, it seems to us, than in whole libraries of cultural anthropology—and it is no supernaturalism, but a measured elucidation of the skeins of moral (and immoral) action in human life, with their social consequences taken into account. This is an individual explanation of what the modem world, with its ponderous political rhetoric, calls "totalitarianism," the black public harvest of private materialism and irresponsibility. It seems that we have lost almost altogether Thoreau's mood of reflective inquiry and his valid sense of the spiritual reality inherent in human life. It follows that we shall have to get it back again, or perish in the attempt. Well over a century ago, Shelley wrote on the creative faculty: We have more moral, political, and historical wisdom than we know how to reduce into practice; we have more scientific and economical knowledge than can be accommodated to the just distribution of the produce which it multiplies. The poetry in these MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 4 systems of thought is concealed by the accumulations of facts and calculating processes. There is no want of knowledge respecting what is wisest and best in morals, government, and political economy, or at least what is wiser and better than what men now practice and endure. But we let I dare not wait upon I woud , like the poor cat in the adage. We want the creative faculty to imagine that which we know; we want the generous impulse to act that which we imagine, we want the poetry of life: our calculations have outrun conception; we have eaten more than we can digest. Here is the diagnosis, from a poet—as sure and as accurate as another diagnosis and prophecy by Heine, also a poet, and still another by Amiel— who all lived a century or more ago. They gealt with the moral factors; they believed in another world, a world of spirit, of immortality, of justice and inexorable law, and what they predicted came to pass. How long must we wait and delay, placing our hope in technicians and diplomats? How long must we deceive ourselves with the cheap sagacity of the marketplace, that poets are fools and dreamers, and philosophers impractical idealists? Must all the world be made a swamp of blood and mutilated flesh before we learn that fervent ideals are necessary to the survival of the human race? Must we first kill all the tenderness, delicacy and decency in ourselves, in order to discover that we cannot live without them? The spirit has no battle cry to which we have learned to hearken. The voice of our other life is a soundless thing, a stirring in the heart, a timbre of the feelings. It is more than truth and beauty; it is the very self within us, the deep hunger of our being, that needs to find words and be heard. Volume II, No. 13 MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 5 Letter from SWITZERLAND GENEVA.—Just now, Switzerland is proceeding cautiously. After the period of prosperity which followed the war, comes the difficult balancing of lean years. Industries are slowing down; the watch industry, especially, is hit by this crisis. The Government, always practical, is trying to secure adequate commercial agreements while it practices the utmost economies, and to increase employment it has launched a great program of national improvements such as the canal which would link, through Lake Geneva, the Rhone and the Rhine. The Government feels somewhat uneasy lest Austria be left to the influences of the USSR. Should the Allies leave Vienna, the Soviet expansion will draw very near Swiss frontiers. Anticipating possible difficulties, the Government is preparing the public in advance by plans of future rationing. Profiting by the lessons learned from the rationing systems of last war, they seek for an improvement, and have already warned the people to stock sugar and oil so that they may have adequate provisions before rationing is imposed. Meanwhile, the market prices, though still high, are made to come down when possible, by judicious control on the part of the Government. And all the time one feels the solicitude of an alert Government and the cooperation between the State and the citizen. bodies during the Christmas holidays. The chalet took fire and all the children save three were choked or burned to death. The whole of Geneva participated in the funeral. The town paid all expenses and lent Victoria Concert Hall for the ceremony. The taximen offered their cars to the bereaved families, the florists sent flowers, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, whose members were away on vacation at the time, reassembled to play during the ceremony. Protestant Pastor and Roman Catholic Archbishop each spoke after his religious ceremony. The words of the Pastor, reported in the Press, were direct from a human father's heart, and must have gone straight to the grief-stricken souls of the parents to soften and appease. All those afflicted felt the sympathy of the entire nation. Such gestures build the future citizen into a more and more responsive and sensitive being, ready to serve the nation's need. Alone in Europe, this small Democracy holds its own through constant efforts. . . . SWITZERLAND CORRESPONDENT As I write, owing to weather conditions, the reserves of water for electricity have become quasi exhausted. The radio informs the citizen of this emergency and asks him to reduce voluntarily his consumption in order to permit industries which are the backbone of the country's prosperity to continue full time. Hours of restraint are suggested, and no complaint is heard. The same feeling of fellowship has caused the town of Geneva to open her heart to the sufferers of that catastrophe which cost the lives of fourteen workmen's children. The children had been sent to Chateau d'Oex to strengthen their Volume II, No. 13 MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 6 REVIEW BARBARISM-PAST AND PRESENT TWO books that have not and will not be widely reviewed in the United States are Advance to Barbarism, by "A jurist" (Thomson and Smith), and The Testament of Christian Civilization, by Joseph McCabe (Watts), both published in London. These volumes will stir no man to great things, nor will they, so far as we can see, increase human understanding in any important respect. And yet, they deserve notice simply for the reason that they are the sort of book which is consistently ignored by the commercial newspaper and periodical press. Both books rudely puncture illusions. Mr. McCabe is notorious for his aggressive attacks on historical and dogmatic Christianity, and he lives up to his reputation in this volume. He ought not, however, to be dismissed as merely a "negative" writer. He is author of a wholly charming biography of Peter Abelard, a book which those who habitually dismiss McCabe as an "atheist" should read in order to form a new estimate of his capacities. Nor can this present volume be lightly thrust aside. It deals with the neglected documents of Christian history—many of them untranslated until now—the point being that a highly selective use has been made of the sourcematerials of Christian history. Mr. McCabe has obviously sought out the seamy side of his subject, although the material he presents makes plain that the seamy side is very nearly the typical side. About a quarter of the book is made up of quoted passages from historians, diarists and correspondence. It starts with the four nonChristian writers who are usually cited as referring to the earliest phase of Christian history— Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius. After a critical discussion of the authenticity of these passages and their significance, the discussion passes to the time of Constantine and after, and the persecution of Christians by Christians as a result of doctrinal quarrels. Of these murderous Volume II, No. 13 fights, Ammianus Marcellinus wrote: "I have never seen wild beasts that were so cruel to each other as these Christians." The remaining pages of The Testament of Christian Civilization are sordid almost beyond belief. Vice, barbarity and utter selfishness seem to have been the settled characteristics of many of the servants of the Church, with the extent and enormity of the offences rising with stations in the hierarchy. It is not Mr. McCabe who words this indictment, but the handful of exceptional priests and laymen who are his authorities. A final section of the book deals with the period from the French Revolution to the present. Here, the criticism assumes a social and political tone, much space being given to the corruption and inefficiency of the Papal States during the nineteenth century. The almost brazen immorality of highly placed cleri cals, however, continued until the beginning of the twentieth century, and there are other indications that the perversions and excesses of men sworn to celibacy still reveal the folly of any system of "asceticism" that is externally enforced by code and regulation. The author of Advance to Barbarism is one of a number of men with legal backgrounds who regard the assumptions of the Nüremberg Trials as a fraud upon the principles of jurisprudence. He points out that while the trials may have been conducted according to strict rules of judicial impartiality, they were nevertheless entirely without jurisdiction for the reason that the presiding judges were representatives of the victor nations. This point is closely argued and the book needs careful reading for the full force of the author's contention to be grasped. But only a passage or two will be sufficient to illustrate the fact of the reversion to barbarism. "Jurist" writes: Apologists for the proceedings at Nilrnberg were reduced to arguing that although the verdict which everyone assumed from the start would be pronounced, might not be legal yet it would be just. This is, of course, the stock defence put forward in cases of lynching. . . . MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 7 With regard to the charges, it is worthy of comment that among them was included a charge of having caused the mass-murder of 11,000 Polish officers in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk—an atrocity which had been investigated by a neutral commission headed by a Swiss professor, Dr. Naville, immediately after the discovery of the bodies, and which had published a unanimous report that these unfortunate Poles had been shot while in Russian custody as prisoners of war. The recent revelations in Time (and in the February Progressive) concerning the methods of American investigators attempting to develop evidence against Germans charged with murdering flyers of the U.S. Air Force only confirm the view that twentieth-century barbarism is not restricted to any nation, but is characteristic of all the great military powers. "Jurist" finds a puzzling contrast between this reversion to the practice of killing captured enemy leaders, customary in past ages, and the notable advances in humanity in other areas of modern society: There is no sign—at present at any rate—of any general reversion to the standards of earlier times. On the contrary, in civil life a greater regard is paid to the treatment of criminals, of the sick, of the poor, of children and of animals than ever before in history. Public opinion is quickly aroused by cruelty. The conditions of child labour in mines and factories as it existed as recently as early Victorian times would not now be tolerated—or, if tolerated, would only be tolerated if the children belonged to a nation which had been on the losing side in a war and must not, as such, be pampered. Combined with an indifference in hostilities to wholesale slaughter, without regard to age or sex, there flourishes an increasing regard for the sanctity of human life—the execution of the most notorious and callous of murderers never fails to start an anxious discussion of the moral justification of capital punishment. . . . it is indisputable that a sudden and profound change has taken place in the conduct of war since the beginning of this century. A change so sudden and profound and manifesting itself so clearly in so many different ways, must surely be the result of Volume II, No. 13 causes which it should be possible by investigation to discover and examine. This book, however, discovers and examines only the many-sided fact of the change, and is far from determining its causes. What may they be? The first step of analysis would seem to involve ready acknowledgement that war is conducted without any focus of personal responsibility. The State makes war in the name of the highest ideals as well as for practical considerations like "survival" and "security." The leaders of the State blame the war on "conditions" and the "enemy." The people obey the State, grumblingly, perhaps, but as a matter of course. The war trials at Nüremberg and in Tokyo were held, primarily, to vindicate the "ideals" of the war and to complete the logic of self-righteousness with which it was conducted. Responsibility, therefore, seems to lie with the intangible elements of a psychological system of values in which everybody—or nearly everybody—participates. The apparent inability of the moral individual to deal with an allpervading psychological system of this sort creates a distaste for facing its general effects, and this results in the half-conscious hypocrisy which makes most people ignore or studiously avoid such books as Advance to Barbarism. But at the same time, it must be admitted that these books contain no clue to what, basically, is wrong with our society. Mr. McCabe's book, which will have few readers outside conventional "rationalist" circles and atheist clubs, illustrates a similar cultural hypocrisy and moral impotence. Given a choice between a novel in the Sabatini tradition, in which Cesare Borgia is made to appear wicked but glamorous, and Mr. McCabe's factual description of the Borgia family's indescribable crimes and degeneration, how many would choose Mr. McCabe for an evening's reading? In other words, the "facts," while important, contain no key to the tragedy of the human drama. Facts are only symptoms, while penetrating diagnosis is our greatest need. MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 8 COMMENTARY IMPARTIAL JUDGE Two months ago, we discussed here a Time report of the execution in Tokyo of seven Japanese military and political leaders as "war criminals." One thing which Time did not mention, and which we now learn, belatedly, from the Jan. 2 issue of Harijan (the weekly founded by Gandhi), is that an Indian was among the judges who determined the fate of the convicted Japanese. The tribunal, it will be remembered, was made up of representatives of the victorious nations. As Harijan tells it: difficulty distinguishing between the military necessity for that kind of destruction from some done by the Germans, assuming the war to be legitimate. It seems to me those subjects invite recriminations that would not be useful in the trial. This passage assumes added significance from the fact, emphasized by "Jurist" in Advance to Barbarism, that it was the British, and not the Germans, who began "the strategic bombing offensive"—on May 11, 1940, as J. M. Spaight, wartime Secretary of the British Air Ministry, points out in his book, Bombing Vindicated. The facts, it seems, are slowly coming out. Though India had been really a party forced into the war she had, by reason of victory, become one of the "victorious nations." The Indian judge differed from his colleagues in his conclusions, and gave a dissenting judgment. He was of the opinion that all the countries on both sides were equally guilty, and if the Japanese leaders were guilty of waging the war, the victorious nations were guilty of the more serious crime of using the extremely condemnable weapon of the atomic bomb. Indeed, the farce of a trial of vanquished leaders was itself an offense against humanity. This is the only instance of genuine impartiality that we have come across in connection with any of the war criminal trials. It seems that a single dissenting opinion is all that can be set against the "advance to barbarism" discussed in this week's Review. As a sidelight on the "justice" of the Nürernberg Trials, the Human Events news supplement for Feb. i6 reprints a passage from justice Robert H. Jackson's just published volume containing the minutes of the negotiations between the members of the Tribunal, preliminary to the trials. During July of I945, the prosecutors were attempting to define "violations" of the rules of war, for the purpose of formulating charges against the German leaders. An interesting decision is described by justice Jackson: . . . we have left out of our draft the destruction of villages and towns, because I have seen the villages and towns of Germany. I think you will have great Volume II, No. 13 MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 9 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves BEFORE we undertake to decide what books may be best calculated to steer our children's thoughtprocesses and emotions in a useful direction, it seems pertinent to ask ourselves how "widely read" we think we presently are, and to consider an extension of our own education through reading. The fact that we may have obtained a college degree has virtually nothing to do with the extent or the quality of our cultural, philosophical and literary background. America is not an illiterate nation, for we have managed to teach almost all our people the rudiments of language. But isn't it true that the majority of us are extremely callow and superficial in literary tastes, and perhaps never read anything for a sufficiently prolonged period to arouse thoughtful evaluation? There are many books every parent should be familiar with, at least by the time his child is three or four years old. The child needs an educated parent, so that each day may be something more than a pleasant personal interchange, and become another occasion for the widening of mental horizons. It may be suggested, also, that it is particularly important for parents to do a fair amount of individual research on all of the highly controversial issues of this historical period, so that they may benefit the child's mental atmosphere by exemplifying a mature and just critical faculty. Such a faculty will be needed to serve as a protection against the wholesale acceptance of false propaganda, both political and cultural. With both of the foregoing generalized thoughts in mind, it is possible to suggest a "list" of books for parents. These will at least illustrate the diversified reading which this Department regards as necesary for the "educated parent." First, we shall mention My America, by Louis Adamic. The unique value of this volume is in its revelation of the interpenetration of racial, cultural, economic, philosophical, political and Volume II, No. 13 educational issues. Louis Adamic was born in a small Balkan country. He came to America with an eager mind and a never-failing optimism, and finally became an almost unique figure as a "reporter" of the total American scene. He early became acquainted with the problems of the labor movement in Los Angeles, his first successful book being Dynamite—a study of the violence used by both sides of the Labor-Capital struggle. He was on terms of personal acquaintance with such widely diverse characters as Arthur Morgan, former head of the TVA and of Antioch College, President Rice of Black Mountain College, another educational pioneer, John L. Lewis of the CIO, numerous of Roosevelt's New Dealers, and Robinson Jeffers, the Carmel poet. But most important, Adamic lived among and talked with the impoverished and the illiterate, with the newlyarrived foreigners and with the despairing victims of the Depression in 1933. He gives us "our country" over a span of years sufficient to indicate something of the trends in formation during the twentieth century. There is no better book for suggesting the interrelatedness of the many facets of our national life. We would next recommend Toward Freedom by Jawaharlal Nehru. This book will take us to a different land, a land with an entirely different cultural background. Yet here we shall discover for ourselves, too, that the struggle for human freedom, dignity and integrity is in all countries the same. As Edmond Taylor is fond of pointing out in his book, Richer by Asia, Westerners habitually think of the Indians as a "backward people," a concept which must be successfully undermined if we are ever to have a workable, political rapport with a large proportion of the world's population. Toward Freedom will dispel permanently the illusion that Asiatics must inevitably be "backward." There is another aspect to the value of Nehru's work which is proof positive that a man may stand for an apparently hopelessly unpopular cause—and win. Nehru's efforts were completely counter to the wishes of the British government; he was sent to prison MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 10 repeatedly, yet he finally emerged as one of the recognized great statesmen of the century. The author's preface to the original edition of Toward Freedom reveals that this book "was written entirely in prison except for the postscript and certain minor changes from June, 1934 to February, 1935." A recent Life magazine accorded a long denied tribute to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, calling him one of the "truly great men of the East." It should not be forgotten that the "democratic" society of England did not prevent Gandhi's peaceable right-hand man from being imprisoned for a total of eleven years while struggling for India's unity and freedom. Here is the type of commentary upon the "backwardness" of Western peoples which we need—the commentary of hidden or long suppressed facts upon matters of great international moment. So Nehru's book has many values, some obvious and some subtle. There is also a peculiar benefit to be derived from viewing Western civilization in contrast to the widely differing standards of Asia. Edmond Taylor's Richer by Asia enables us to regard ourselves objectively: in writing this book he was, so to speak, projecting himself entirely outside the accepted values of Western culture in order to expose characteristic delusions which are seldom recognized for the reason that we are so thoroughly immersed in them. Somewhat after the manner of a modern psychiatrist, Mr. Taylor examines the "psyche" of America and England while engaged in studying the cultural spirit of India. Mr. Taylor was not a man who renounced his country, nor did he renounce any of those things which he regarded as of real value in Western civilization; he does not whitewash or glorify the "mysterious East," but his book does encourage us to take a new look at ourselves, both individually and collectively—something that is always good for any human being, whether man, woman or child. it is worth-while to include Eugene Lyons' Herbert Hoover. This book has received sufficient comment in a recent issue of MANAS (Oct. 13, 1948). For a clearer insight into the wars between the "isms," Inside the Left, by Fenner Brockway may be suggested, even though this book is somewhat difficult to obtain (the office of the International Labor Party in Great Britain can probably supply copies). Brockway is an international socialist with a lifetime record of opposition to the extremes of Communism and Nazism. He journeyed to France in an effort to counteract the threat of the rise of the fascist Franco, and he spent considerable time in Germany with English and German colleagues trying to frustrate Hitler's conquest of the German people. This is an invaluable book on "how it happened," though in respect to Russia and Communism a reading of Inside the Left should be supplemented by Edmund Wilson's To the Finland Station, which is an impartial account of the genesis of the socialist thought. We have dealt here with books conveying important political and social overtones, since our time may be able to lay claim to being the age of greatest political misrepresentation in the history of mankind. Naturally, other books in the philosophical and educational category deserve equal attention. So many of our daily attitudes and opinions are unconsciously based upon political myths that Volume II, No. 13 MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 11 congregate in schools and unconsciously adopt creeds." FRONTIERS The Evolution Controversy IF the development of scientific theory proceeded in a social vacuum, from one discovery of "pure research" to another, there would be no point in studying human opinion along with the history of science. A simple chronicle, showing the "logical" connections between the steps of progress would be sufficient to tell the story. Actually, however, the course of science is plotted by numerous pressures and influences. The needs of commerce, industry and agriculture often determine the directions of research. Religious, intellectual and social prejudices affect the interpretation of findings in laboratory and field; and occasional "accidents"—like that involved in the discovery of X-rays—add a bewilderingly irrational factor to the explanation of scientific progress. Lancelot Hogben has written a book (Science for the Citizen, 1938) on the effect of social and cultural developments upon scientific progress, but the "accidental" type of discoveries have not, so far as we know, ever been compiled; nor has the influence of prejudice and preconception received more than brief attention. On the latter subject, W.H.R. Rivers, the English psychologist and anthropologist, wrote an important essay (in Psychology and Politics, 1923) describing the influence of the Biblical characters, Ham, Shem and Japheth, on two generations of nineteenthcentury ethnology, and a more recent volume, Scientists Are Human, by David Lindsay Watson, exposes the traits of reaction to be found in scientific institutions of the present day. The force of prejudice, however, is not a popular subject for those who write about a profession which has for one of its major principles the freedom from preconception upon which impartial research depends. Only the unusual men in science—men of originality and courage—will be found discussing the biases of the scientific mind, and saying, as Henry Fairfield Osborn, for example, once remarked, that "Biologists, like religionists, Volume II, No. 13 The creeds and prejudices of scientists, of course, are of particular importance only in respect to scientific philosophizing. Prejudice plays little or no part in practical engineering or any branch of technology, but in scientific problems which have an underlying relation to moral attitudes, prejudice—at any rate, private opinion—is often decisive in what a particular investigator will claim that science "teaches" or reveals. To illustrate: some twenty-two years ago, Sir Arthur Keith, then, as now, one of the world's leading anthropologists, addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science on the scientific standing of Darwinism. He told his audience that despite the passage of fifty-six years since publication of Darwin's Descent of Man (1870, "the fundamentals of Darwin's outline of man's history remain unshaken," and he added, "Nay, so strong has his position become that I am convinced that it can never be shaken." At the conclusion of his eloquent address, he gave his answer to "a question of momentous importance to all of us"— What is man's origin? Was Darwin right when he said that man, under the action of biological forces which can be observed and measured, has been raised from a place amongst the anthropoid apes to that which he now occupies? The answer is yes! And in returning this verdict I speak but as foreman of a jury—a jury which has been empanelled from men who have devoted a lifetime to weighing the evidence. To the best of my ability I have avoided, in laying before you the evidence on which our verdict was found, the role of a special pleader, being content to follow Darwin's own example—Let the truth speak for itself. (Science, Sept. 2, 1927.) A fine spirit, surely! But with such certainty as Sir Arthur Keith displays one would think that there could be no dissenting voice at all in scientific circles. Yet a year earlier, in a paper comparing the problem of the origin of species as it appeared to Darwin and as it appears today, Dr. MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 12 Osborn had written: "the problem of the origin of species has entirely changed in the last hundred years.... we now understand the contemporary origin of species after modes and under conditions wholly unknown to Darwin in 1859." Dr. Osborn sums up: We seem to have reached an entirely new era in research on the problem of the origin of species, marked by the decline and death of speculations and theories advanced upon the very limited knowledge of the first half of the nineteenth century. Through zoology and paleontology we have reached a solution of the least difficult half of the problem with which Charles Darwin was confronted: we know the modes by which subspecies and species originate; in fact, there is little more on this point to be known. But this very knowledge renders the problem of causes infinitely more difficult than it appeared to Darwin. (Science, Oct. 8, 1926.) While this view of Darwinism may not be in direct contradiction of Sir Arthur Keith's analysis, the emphasis is entirely different, and in the following year Dr. Osborn went on record (in Science, May 20, 1927) with emphatic disagreement to the ape-origin theory so unequivocally endorsed by the British scientist. The statements of these two eminent specialists amply show how strongly individual opinion enters into the interpretation of this sort of scientific fact. Some years later, Waldemar Kaempffert, writing on this subject in the New York Times (Sept. 3, 1939), reported a distinct change of the scientific mind regarding the relationship between man and the anthropoid apes. Le Gros Clark, for one, another distinguished British anthropologist, had adopted the position that "the resemblance between man and the gorilla or chimpanzee could be regarded as a case of parallelism"—the result of similar but independent development. Dr. D. J. Morton of Yale had presented evidence showing that differences between the feet of apes and humans indicate that "in some ways, man is more primitive than are the anthropoids"—meaning, we suppose, that the human type of foot appeared earlier than the ape's in the evolutionary sequence. Volume II, No. 13 The Times writer, reflecting upon these revised opinions among anthropologists, remarks: The theory that man is descended from an anthropoid ape has been so thoroughly shot to pieces that only the fundamentalists believe that the evolutionists believe in it. Years ago it was decided that man and the anthropoids stemmed from some common, unknown ancestor, so that the gorilla, orang and the chimpanzee are cousins rather than ancestors. Biologists are now convinced that parallelism has played an important part in evolution. This "common unknown ancestor," it should be remarked, is still entirely hypothetical, so far as evidence is concerned. Le Gros Clark, in Early Forerunners of Man, speaks of "a common pithecoid ancestor" from which the Platyrrhine and Catarrhine (short-nosed and curve-nosed) monkeys, the anthropoid apes and Man are claimed to have descended, and he says that the similarities between the two groups of monkeys "are so numerous that we are entitled to postulate a common pithecoid ancestor in the absence of serious-evidence to the contrary." The supposed "parent stem" of apes and man, therefore, has only the status of a "postulate," and the imposing structure of theory erected upon it no more than a hypothetical foundation. As Le Gros Clark says: Although paleontology has furnished a considerable amount of information regarding the later evolutionary radiations of the higher Primates, it has yielded surprisingly little evidence in regard to the actual origin of the pithecoid stock. F. Wood Jones' Hallmarks of Mankind, an anthropological study just published in England, makes outright denial of the familiar Darwinian thesis that man is derived from the apes, maintaining, instead, that man is an extremely ancient type. As one reviewer put it, "He believes that the familiar story of Man's origin as given in Darwin's Descent and Huxley's Man's Place in Nature would be nearer the truth if read backwards!" If anthropological theory continues with these unsettling tendencies we may expect an eventual revival of the laconic opinion of De Quatrefages, MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 13 that the apes were an offspring of man, rather than the other way around; and even, perhaps, renewed interest in the Platonic archetypes of Richard Owen, the great anatomist of Darwin's time and the latter's vigorous opponent. In any event, the contemporary criticism of Darwinism seems correct: that the great Evolutionist taught the modern world a great deal about how the species survive, once they have appeared, but little—very little—about how they actually originated. And this latter criticism, after all, was a major point of the opponents of Darwinism, from Cuvier to Louis Agassiz, whatever other mistakes the Christian school of anthropologists may have made. that these great questions were ever settled at all—by either science or religion. But why have most later biologists been so eager to prove a lineal connection between man and the anthropoid ape? In the case of Thomas Huxley, the principal champion of this thesis during the nineteenth century—and who, incidentally, helped to convince Darwin himself of its truth—it may have been an antagonism to theological casuistry. Such an explanation of man's origin, so far removed from "creation" in the image of God, if widely adopted, was certain to destroy the pjestige of churchly authority, and Prof. Huxley had no reason to be devoted to the clergy. A further answer to this question might be sought in the tendency of epochs, if not of individuals, to want questions settled with flat, yes-or-no answers, without suspended judgments. The ape-origin doctrine was such an answer, and it was made to serve. One may hope that the controversy concerning evolution will be renewed—not over the fact of the evolutionary processes of organic change, of course, but in respect to the origin of form and the nature of intelligence. Contemporary science exhibits sufficient disagreement on the subject to show that no rigid theory or set of theories should claim finality, and it is only the people with opinions formed by hearsay and popular authority who can suppose Volume II, No. 13 MANAS Reprint March 30, 1949 ... - [detail] - [similar]
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