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VOLUME I, NO. 11 MARCH 17, 1948 THE NEW INTELLIGENCE THE man who knows he has made mistakes, yet cannot see what they are—who is held impotent by circumstances which came into being, apparently, without his will—such a man fills us with pity. The feeling becomes more intimately intense to the degree that we realize that he—that man—is also ourselves. There is enough of Prometheus in most human beings to make them able to bear the pains that have an explanation. Meaning, actually, is more important than pain to human intelligence. If this were not so, no man would endure the pain that is often a part of the process of increasing his intelligence. To a great man, meaning has such transcendent value that pain is largely irrelevant. It seems a truism that no great truth has ever been uncovered without the experience of pain; and, conversely, essential truth always provides some kind of explanation of pain. A theory of life which fails to account for pain is just another academic speculation. That is why, perhaps, the great religions of the world have dealt with the reality of pain in human life; and the reason, also, for the fact that most metaphysical speculations leave the great mass of mankind unmoved. It is certain, at any rate, that theories which have for their object the mere escape from pain hold no value for the modern world. Such theories take sensation as the highest order of reality, whereas, for man, meaning is the essential goal. Quite possibly, the fact that today the pains of mankind are increasingly psychological is itself a result of human failure, over centuries, to search for any real meaning in other sorts of pain, our attention being almost wholly devoted to escaping them. And now we have psychological pain, which we can neither escape nor explain. It is not too much to say that the man who does not feel this psychological pain is not really alive. The things we fear are real enough; but it is not only they, but our apparent inability to exercise over them any control at all, that we find so frightening. All the things we fear are multiplied by an unknown X which represents our ignorance of the moral cause behind our fear. It is the master frustration of our time, this failure of our ability to understand—the parent of .every lesser impotence and the field-marshal of every psychic defeat. Is there anyone who can explain this complex of fear and ignorance in terms that an ordinary man can grasp? This would be the new intelligence that we need, in order to face our private and social tomorrows. Only by explaining to ourselves the pain we suffer can we become a little more like the men we want to be— Promethean spirits without hateful memories or remorseful regrets—and a little less like the captive spirits we feel ourselves to be, today. Every century or so, someone performs a work that both enlarges the common perception of meaning and overcomes, in principle, the basic ignorance of his time. There were Galileo and Newton and Einstein, who rationalized our perceptions of the physical world. The projecting imagination of these men created new horizons of understanding, and gradually, others who came after made a causeway of knowledge to the rim of our physical experience. Great advances in knowledge seem always to be prefigured by the reaches of imaginative genius, and then, after a generation or two, as Buckle pointed out, "there comes a period when these very truths are looked upon as commonplace facts; and a little later, there comes another period in which they are declared to be necessary, and even the dullest intellects wonder how they could ever have been denied." MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 The field investigated by Galileo, Newton and Einstein, however, is to be distinguished from the contemporary problem in that physics is a matter for specialists, whereas frustration is a matter for everyone. The physical laboratory is without, but the psychological laboratory is within. It is a basic part of the general problem that we have no technology, no first principles, for understanding the psychological difficulties of everyman. We shall undoubtedly be shocked and aggrieved, for example, when we realize more thoroughly that the Kingdom of Heaven is unsusceptible to the offerings of dollar diplomacy. The Angel of Peace has not yet been seen at any of our free lunch missions abroad. It does not occur to us that we may have given insufficient attention to the diet of this infrequent visitor. In the past, men have been able to overcome inward frustration by strenuous physical achievement—exploration, colonization, industrialization. Today, there are no major preoccupations available to distract our attention from our fears. This, too, is part of our problem, creating the necessity for a new vocabulary of selfunderstanding. Psychologically speaking, the problem of the self has become the problem of the world, and vice versa. Private moral solutions are no longer pertinent, and past messiahs spoke in a tongue that needs translation. But there have been pioneers of selfunderstanding within the century in which we live. We owe a special debt to such men, for their thinking is unremote and free from the encrustations of tradition. One such man was Tolstoy. Tolstoy is truly a pioneer of the new intelligence we seek because his problem was the same as ours. He felt and saw in the events of his time the implicit logic of the frustration now explicitly confronting us. Being a man of imagination, his psychological anxiety was generated by that logic long before its consequences became manifest some seventy-five years later. And being also a man accustomed to think things out for himself, he overcame his Volume I, No. 11 personal frustration without attempting to adjust the outside world to his private necessity for freedom. Many of Tolstoy's works are worth reading, but most of all, for our purposes, his Confession should be read and studied. First, Tolstoy admitted, but did not accept, his own selfcontempt. He admitted failure, not like Rousseau, for others, but for himself. Second, he found the reasons he needed for continuing to live at all, and the means to live without hating or fearing anyone else. Tolstoy's confession resulted in a grand affirmation of the goodness of life—the goodness, that is, of the life Tolstoy determined to live. His discovery was also that "goodness" is not in life at all,—although he did not exactly say this,—but in his creative act of making it good. For physical nature is morally neutral. It contains only analogues of the moral order. Morality is in man. The result of Tolstoy's inward reflections was rather a mood of the spirit, a frame of mind, than a dogma about the nature of things. But from this frame of mind projects the framework of a world of ideals. Ideals seem to be made of an intellectual substance, but none the less real for human beings. By ideals a man enters into a kind of life which is above his animal existence—the region, let us say, of immortality. It is, for each man, an individual recreation of Plato's world of Ideas. Can we persuade ourselves that the world of ideals is a real world—as real, say, as the world of the laws of motion was in the seventeenth century—and not a mere chimera of visionary enthusiasm? The great Renaissance Man, Pico della Mirandola, was convinced of its reality. He asserted that it is man's nature to create, endlessly, the ideals in and by which he lives—that this is man's essence, his dynamic being, and that no other conception does anything but demean the real in man. As another and in some ways more elaborate instance of the new intelligence, there is the recent volume, Richer by Asia, by Edmond Taylor. MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 3 Taylor has in common with Tolstoy the profound conviction that the place for moral orientation is within one's self. By profession a technician of thought—a correspondent for the American press—Mr. Taylor during the war rose from the status of a technician to that of an architect of thought-systems; he became, that is, a propagandist, a proficient in the art of psychological warfare. By the end of the war he was commanding officer for the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) in the Far Eastern Theater. Inevitably, therefore, his book is subordinately horrifying—a quality of which the author is well aware. But while carrying out his cloak-anddagger duties in the war against the Japanese, Mr. Taylor retained an impersonal sanity which gives his book its unique worth. It has, first, an intellectual honesty which ought not to be considered a "virtue" but rather as the actual medium of the author's expression. He seems incapable of the motive of deceit—a fact worth noting, since it was his technical understanding of the "delusions" of psychological warfare which made him also a past-master at exposing other delusions. He recognizes all the petty imperialisms of civilian life, the aggressions of daily human contact as well as the larger national enterprises. The book is also an account of the evolution of the functional buddhism which Mr. Taylor finally adopted as his personal religion— which he literally invented for himself. He took nothing, borrowed nothing, from any Asiatic religion or philosophy, although Eastern thinking gave him certain essential reference-points for self-discovery. confirmations of the American pragmatic—see-if-it-works—philosophy. For the author ends up with many of the verities one finds in the Sermon on the Mount, but without a single echo of another man's truth. It is all his, and it is good. But more than anything else, Richer by Asia is the vindication of man's faith in reason. Mr. Taylor takes nothing—or almost nothing—for granted. What he gets from life he chops out himself, assimilates himself, and relates to his readers without prejudice or egotism. He is never arrogant in his discoveries, for with each new insight he grows into and becomes more a part of the intelligence, the aspiration and the striving of his fellow men. Richer by Asia merits being called an expression of the new intelligence for the reason that, like Tolstoy's Confession, it finds the ground of reality in man himself. This, however, is not a limiting conception, but an ennobling one, which adds an impersonal dimension to the moral being of humanity and seeks in that dimension for enduring principles of life. In the human intuition of good and evil, in the inward sense of spiritual freedom, and in the rational faculty which unites events with principles and increases the meaning of both, this new intelligence discovers the potential divinity of human beings. It is really no new discovery, but there is a fitness in so naming the intelligence that gives a light appropriate to the darkness of this particular hour of human history. Richer by Asia is a monument to the human mind, at work and at its best. The logic of this new psychological intelligence generates a kind of working morality as an inescapable corollary of its own progressions. Mr. Taylor's moral conclusions, as they emerge, are as self-evident as the Pacific Ocean. Richer by Asia might also be regarded as among the most powerful of Volume I, No. 11 MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 4 Letter from ENGLAND LONDON.—It was Mr. Lewis Mumford who remarked, in the early days of World War II, that the popular mind tends to become inured to human degeneracy, especially under the cult of power. Similarly, human nature, at its present stage of development, is "conditioned" to illusory influences. Among these are the growing desensitization of the moral nature in a world climate of brutal violence and greed, and the facile optimism that believes the existing forms of society are permanent. The histories of all peoples are full of examples. Mr. Mumford himself called attention to the fact that the ancient Romans had illusions about the security of their Empire as late as the fifth century A.D. "when its ruins were falling in clouds of dust and debris at their feet." (Faith for Living, London, 1941.) And recently an English historian, Dr. Arthur Bryant, wrote in the London Times as if to point the lesson in these years of so-called peace: Like other urban societies before us, we are moving from one cataclysm to another, and heading for the extinction of yet another human civilisation. Progress, in the sense that rationalists have used the word in the last century, is a delusion. There is no such thing as progress not based on moral law. For moral law is the principle of life, and to live without it is to sicken and die. We can save our society, if we wish, by rediscovering and practising that law. If we fail to do so, it will not only perish but not be worth the saving. We were not meant to devote our lives to the perpetuation of a lie. Certainly, the pathology and metabolism of human communities, as organized bodies, involve a kind of science unknown to this generation, just as the accepted historical periods, in relation to the earth's obvious duration, afforded no margin for the real study of cyclical evolution. If things were otherwise, both long and short-term views of man's destiny would be possible; races and nations, born one from the other, would be seen to be performing their special role. It is the lack of any true knowledge or investigation of ultimate reality that leads to the illusory belief on the one hand that the millennium is just around the corner and, on the Volume I, No. 11 other, that what we call civilisation is rushing at break-neck speed to a glorious consummation, if only "the other fellows" would behave themselves! "The last hundred years," wrote Sir James Jeans just before his death in 1946, "have seen more change than a thousand years of the Roman Empire, more than a hundred thousand years of the stone age." He wrote, of course, of change resulting from the applications of physical science. "We look on helpless," he added, thus presumably (like so many other famous names in science) disowning his share of intellectual and moral responsibility for the welfare of the world. Is there any hope for a man in this "martyrdom of self-conscious existence"? Will he ever identify himself with collective Humanity in an universal outlook? At least, there is growing realization in some directions that most of our modern problems revolve around the subject of human relations. The sociologist is admitting objective reality to the group. "We know now," writes Mr. Gordon R. Taylor in World Review, "that there is a vital distinction between a mere assembly of people—a crowd or mass—and a group. For one thing, a group tends to reform itself if disturbed. The reason is, a group has an emotional structure." On this basis, the British Institute of Human Relations, in London, has been formed to work in alliance with the Research Centre in Group Dynamics, for the purpose of probing sociological problems in industry, education, and community life. But the significance of structure, the concept of status, and the influence of culture, will escape understanding, unless this modern development in the study of social problems and an integrated mankind is related to a spiritual outlook. As a beginning, we may apply the test suggested in the words of Mr. Lewis Mumford. Is it true of our own community (family, business, city, nation, race) that "It has every sort of possession except selfpossession, and every sort of security except a social order founded on the essential nature of man: above all, his capacity for love and sacrifice"? MANAS Reprint ENGLISH CORRESPONDENT March 17, 1948 5 faith brings the civilization which permits and encourages it to the brink of a bankruptcy in ideals. REVIEW SYMBOLS AND CIVILIZATION THE billboard said the fish would taste better with catsup on it—during Lent, of course. (Lent, it should be explained to our heathen readers, is a Christian period of fasting, from Ash Wednesday to Easter, when, in theory, no meat is eaten.) A gentle, respectful notice of a religious duty coming up, and a nice, red bottle of catsup in the picture, to suggest how you can make the best of it. Another board displayed the melancholy visage of a funeral parlor attendant—a wise and saintly character like somebody out of the cast of Lost Horizon. You, too, can die in the odor of sanctity, it seemed to say. And if someone else should die first, Utter Peace, Inc., stands ready with that "last personal service." The perfect commercial advertisement of Good Taste. They're all masters of suggestion, the ad writers. They know how to touch the chords of civilized, gracious living. (Calvert's will give "clear heads" to "men of distinction"—remember?) Can you think of a human sentiment the billboards haven't deflowered and offered for sale, in connection, of course, with some commodity that has the spirit of Christmas or Motherhood sealed within? A look at modern advertising has point in a serious review department for the reason that writing, today, is very largely a commercial undertaking, and advertising—the "words that sell"—is commercial writing in its most unadulterated form. It takes no great psychological research to discover that the central problem of the advertising copy writer is to find out what people believe in, and then exploit their beliefs to sell his client's products. Fundamentally, all writers use human beliefs, the question being, what do they use them for. Human beliefs are the moral capital of civilization. Education, if genuine, deepens beliefs and transforms them into knowledge by insisting that they be constantly re-examined in the light of experience. In contrast, all writing that is intended to "sell"—either some product, some ideology, or itself, as a form of entertainment—trades on human belief for acquisitive purposes. In time, this exploitation of Volume I, No. 11 It is easy enough to waste or exhaust what may be termed the positive or "creative" beliefs of a society. Take for example the doctrine of self-reliant enterprise, of free opportunity, which characterized the American scene for generations. Today, this phase of the belief in human freedom has been so long and so consistently exploited by commercial greed that it has become synonymous with social irresponsibility for millions of people. It is no longer possible to discuss the qualities of personal responsibility and initiative without becoming involved in the debased vocabulary of reactionary politics. On the other hand, the language of social responsibility, of altruism and human brotherhood, has suffered a similar devaluation. Thousands of serious and unselfish men have been betrayed into supporting what they believed to be fundamental reforms, but which turned out to be movements aimed at totalitarian control over the political and economic mechanisms of society. As a result, many of these men have "changed sides" and become interpreters of the idealist vocabulary of the opposition. Either that, or they have withdrawn into such small citadels of personal security as they are able to erect, becoming cynical toward nearly all human beliefs. In a period like the present, any sort of discussion of human belief grows increasingly difficult. Every slightest reference to a traditional ideal is regarded suspiciously by the endlessly exploited average man, who tends to limit his effective thinking to the things which are immediately before him—his personal needs and pleasures, his family circle and intimate friends. Beyond these things lies the outside world of deceit and pretense with which he will have nothing to do. Neither propagandists nor educators can reach into his world with their "idealistic" proposals. He is no longer an idealistic man. He has become a defensive man. When the creative beliefs of men are exhausted, propagandists begin another cycle of exploitation. This time they use fear. The psychology of fear will penetrate to the defensive man where positive ideals MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 6 can never reach. It is during the cycle of the propaganda of fear that the "fascist" character of the exploitation of symbols becomes manifest. Those who use fear must always employ the führer principle in their appeals, for escape from fear requires some sort of "savior," either man or God. Those who play upon the fears of other men must pretend to be saviors themselves, or representatives of some deity who has the power to save. And such saviors always demand, as the price of freedom from fear, unquestioning obedience and pliant belief. When this price is paid, the cycle of civilization is ended; men are men no longer, but creatures responsive to the manipulation of external symbols. The moral capital of their beliefs is gone entirely. They have sold themselves out. The only force that can oppose this tendency of essential social decay is the moral power of individual integrity and the quality of being a true educator, both of which are present, more or less, in every man. It remains for the individual, as best he can, to close the gap between his beliefs and his knowledge. He can never afford to let his ideals rest in his mind as a set of symbols in which he "believes." The moment an ideal loses its organic connection with life, it is vulnerable to exploitation. This truth is most important of all to the users and readers of words. Words are the practical currency of idealism, but they serve the exploiters of human belief as easily as the slow, painful processes of education. And it is easy, too, for a writer to fall into the habit of using the words of idealism without knowing exactly what they mean, in practice. Whenever this happens, the writer is in danger of slogan-like expression, of dealing with emotional echoes instead of the actual values in human experience. In the last analysis, the writer is a kind of priest with immeasurable moral responsibility. Through his craft, the ideals of men attain the only sort of public existence and objectivity that is possible for them to have. The honor in which the scholar has been held, in some countries and periods of history, represents popular recognition of the ideal function of the writer, the man of learning, in relation to other men. In China, for example, during the war with Volume I, No. 11 Japan, scholars and professors were placed at the head of regiments of Chinese soldiers, in fulfillment of the conviction that the scholar is capable of the greatest responsibilities and has more universal competence than other men. Apparently, there still remains in China the feeling that the man of learning, who deals in the currency of truth, will never let himself use words that are not rooted in deep personal conviction—that the profession of truth is the best evidence of the capacity to practice it in daily life. The heart of a civilization is not in the earth, nor in its monuments, nor even in its prosperity and social well-being. The heart of a civilization is in the living structure of the ideals of the people. A culture which habitually buys and sells its ideals is a culture that has already died, morally speaking. It is a culture made up of peons and despots, of an ignorant, superstitious mob and its clever, contemptuous leaders. There can be no dignity of man in such a state of civilization because there is no real conviction of the dignity of man, for either the leaders or the led. And when this state is reached, a change for the better can come only from individuals in whom the spirit of idealism is still an uncorrupted power. It is a question, not of reform nor of revolution, but of starting, once again, to plant the seeds of civilization—to begin the expression and practice of ideals that grow out of life itself, once we have determined, from reflection and experience, what those ideals are. ______________________________ READING AND WRITING Nicola Chiaromonte, a regular contributor to Politics, writes in Partisan Review for February on "The Jesuit"—a perceptive account of a boyhood friend from whom he drifted away, as this friend, Martelli, became increasingly attracted to Catholicism and finally took the preliminary vows of a Jesuit priest. The article is a study at once psychologically, religiously and politically informing. First of all, his three years of training as a novitiate transformed Martelli from a conventional Italian youth into a kind of spiritual robot—"There was simply nothing spontaneous about him any more; MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 7 behind every one of his acts and gestures there was premeditation." Chiaromonte marvels at the "plastic surgery" which had been applied by Martelli's "spiritual" mentors to his innermost being. Normal communication between the two friends, as of old, was impossible. Returning to Italy in I947, Chiaromonte met Martelli once again, finding him a neo-fascist. They met and talked. Martelli now speaks of Italy's need for "authority," for a "Christian reconquest of society." He regrets the loss of the "harmony" which prevailed in the thirteenth century, under the theocratic rule of the Catholic Church. The same ideas, says Chiaromonte, are being expressed, although more prudently, by the popular Jesuit orator, Father Lombardi, who introduces his radio address with the words: "Jesus is at the microphone. Jesus wants to speak to you. Listen to Jesus." . . . If only they could, but instead they hear of Italy's national shame and Italy's potential glory— of Italy's rebirth, "more beautiful than ever," after, if need be, the spilling of "new blood" to punish those who might try to "prevent Italy's rebirth in Christ.” . . . . A recent U.S. News-World Report contains the depressing statistic that interest charges alone in the 1949 federal budget will amount to nearly as much as the entire federal income in 1939. According to the Government's fiscal program for 1949, beginning next July, federal expenditures will total $39.7 billion. Mars gets the lion's share: War and the effects of war, under Mr. Truman's budget, account for $31,376,000,000 of the spending estimated for fiscal 1949. In other words, five budget items directly related to war—outlays for national defense, aid abroad, veterans, interest and tax refunds—make up 79 per cent of the budget. World Report makes the pertinent comparison and judgment: scale of federal spending. Things that used to be incidental in the budget now dominate Federal spending. . . . Cost of war becomes the real key to high-level postwar spending. . . . Which brings us to an equally pertinent comment from Dr. Charles A. Beard. Addressing the American Political Science Association last December, he said: American political scientists have neglected the study of war because of the moral concept of ourselves as a "peace-loving people." Any professor who challenges the truth of this is likely to be treated as a rude and wanton disturber of a prayer meeting. Political historians, he said—and, he might have added, the man in the street—treat and regard war "as a wicked practice forced upon us, much to our indignation, by aggressive foreigners and then waged by us only for enduring peace, world democracy, and the rights of small nations, including, by all means, colored and other minorities." Americans, he said, need "to get rid of the insidious idea that the United States has been designated by God as a kind of cosmic committee for the Americanization of mankind and the final revision of universal history." (Washington Star, Dec 30.) The two “patterns"—a permanent wareconomy, and the habit of blaming everybody but ourselves for the wars we get into—are logically contradictory, but actually inseparable. It is time we figured out why. For an analysis of the economic trend described by World Report, in its relation to war, As We Go Marching, by John T. Flynn, should be a useful text. This book, and Hanson Baldwin's blueprint of the progressive militarization of America (in Harper's for December), are the most effective antidotes we know for the kind of nationalistic piety described by Dr. Beard. In 1939, these five items totaled only 29 per cent of spending. All other programs account for only 21 per cent of outlays under the new budget. In 1939, programs other than the five listed above represented 71 per cent. This means that war has saddled American taxpayers with a whole new pattern as well as a new Volume I, No. 11 MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 8 COMMENTARY THE REAL BARBARISM HOW, at the same time, one school of historians can deprecate the Middle Ages as a barbarous epoch ruled by theological tyranny, and another group look back upon the same period with admiration for its "universality" and cultural "synthesis" is sometimes puzzling. In the New Statesman and Nation for February 7, Gilbert Murray provides a comparison between the Middle Ages and the earlier Roman civilization which illuminates the problem. The bond of understanding between the present age and ancient Rome, he says, is greater than with the Middle Ages, and explains: may become the barbarism of our own, if we continue to hide the human consequences of our policies behind the rhetoric of "Atlantic Charters" and similar pretentious but unfulfilled declarations on behalf of "democratic" world ideals. We could any of us discuss philosophy or religion or political theory with Cicero without much feeling of a gulf separating us . . . . he is quite ready to discuss the defects of monarchy and republicanism, the disgustingness of gladiatorial shows and the unnaturalness of the institution of slavery. With a medieval bishop, even with Abelard, such talk would be impossible. The two great differences would be, first, the immense hold upon the mind exercised by the traditional Revelation, and next a curious inability to compare words with facts, or even to be sure what the words mean. . . . All men were brothers, but all outside a very small circle were eternally damned. The highest ecclesiastical authority was servus servorum, but ambitious prelates intrigued and fought for that humble place. The spiritual power had the duty of teaching the temporal power obedience to the law of God, and bishops wrote fine treatises for kings who could not read or write; yet in practice "the events of the ninth and tenth centuries showed clearly enough that kings and emperors reformed the Papacy and the Church more frequently than the spiritual power reformed the temporal." Splendid apocalyptic ideals were freely preached by men whose conduct bore no relation to them. The real history of the Middle Ages is neither a depressing account of "facts," nor a deceiving recital of the "ideals" to which men pretended, but a psychological study of a culture that could be so strangely tolerant of a complete separation between moral profession and practice. This was the real barbarism of Medieval civilization, and it Volume I, No. 11 MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 9 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves IT is just possible that the most important things one might write about young children can never be written at all, for the reason that young children cannot themselves write essays, and the most revealing written word is that which adequately expresses a state of mind by the person who is in it. This is meant to be more than a flippancy; it is intended as a reminder that adults remember only with difficulty what childhood is truly like. And real communication, as everyone should know, is a sharing of feelings and orientations of mind rather than an interchange of words. One of the first words which a child comes to recognize is "No!"—yet this is hardly a sign of understanding. Understanding would mean that the child knew why the parent said "no"—what were the reasons and purposes for the exclamation, and felt some measure of agreement. Actually, even with the saying of "no," the negative reaction of the child, the refraining from what he "shouldn't" do, is probably the result of an interpretation of tone and feeling rather than of phrasing. Sometimes the child senses anger behind the word, which makes him fearful, and fear, as we know, leads to constriction of feelings and raises barriers to understanding. But even when, as is usually the case, the child knows that there is a measure of indulgence or tolerance behind the parent's prohibition, there is seldom a communicable feeling of sympathetic understanding. This is not because parents do not want to be understood, but because of their difficulty in abstracting themselves from their own limiting world of "adult" opinions, to become as children themselves for the necessary moment. And nothing less will really suffice. Tolerance is never quite enough if one wishes to promote a growing and complementary relationship—a principle which applies to strife between classes, nations and races as well as to parent and child. The reason for the inadequacy of tolerance is probably quite simple: tolerance, as we commonly Volume I, No. 11 think of it, is essentially negative. When one is convinced that the best he can do is to tolerate, that means he is resigned to an unbridgeable gap between himself and the person tolerated. Further, if the tolerance thus achieved provides a feeling of self-satisfaction, he will probably not see any value in trying to close that gap with greater understanding. The crucial psychological problems for parents or' young children are therefore two: first, how to learn to be a child again oneself, and second, how to help the child first to tolerate and then to understand its parents' modes of action. The young child apparently lives in two worlds. His own world may be described as a magical world wherein the things he is beginning to see, feel, touch and taste—both physically and psychologically—are symbols of the vast possibilities opening before him. The other world is the world of his relationships to adults, to those whose stronger wills prevail in any clash of desires. Therefore, the child is forced by circumstances to come to terms with the world of adult values, but nothing forces the parent in corresponding manner to come to terms with values as conceived by the child. Yet it may be possible for a parent to regain contact with those fluidic feelings and attitudes of early childhood, since once upon a time they were his attitudes and feelings. The only moving impulsion for such an attempt, however, would be the conviction that the child's world is worth living in, at least occasionally, on the theory, as advanced before in this column, that a child's reactions may sometimes give greater clarity of vision than that available to adults. Parents often assume that they "know" what childhood is, yet is this usually the case? Unless an adult has been able to retain the same vividness of impression as the child, the same belief in the miraculous—or rather that everything is a miracle and fully natural at the same time—is it possible to bridge the gap of years between? Parents may easily forget that their present impressions of MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 10 "childhood" are not the original impressions, but those impressions as modified by years of complicating trials and disappointments, years in which decisive judgments have been formed for the selection or rejection of the many experiences of life. But the child, it should be remembered, rejects nothing completely. And perhaps this is the childhood quality most precious—and worth cultivating by adults. Children seem able to make a lot of friends which their parents could never make, for the world of adults is circumscribed by cultural limitations and prejudices of which children know nothing. The child expects more happiness than does the adult, which may be the reason why he finds more. men seem to radiate this quality permanently, and greatness itself may be only the natural ability to carry forward as a part of oneself all the past experiences of value in their pristine form. For the wise, there is said to be no past nor future, but a sort of eternal now. Most of us have vivid memories at times, reminding of lost dreams and idealisms. Do those dreams actually need to die, or may they be a connecting link between children and ourselves? One thing at least is sure. If we can come to share the child's world, he will know it, just as surely as he will know when we have failed, or have not even tried, to understand. It is of record that the poet Shelley once tried to wrest the secret of subtle mysteries from a child he encountered, thinking that he perceived in the child's eyes a deep knowledge of truth, goodness and beauty. He left the encounter none the wiser, save in the conviction that babes are sometimes closer to "the ultimate mysteries" than most grown-up mortals ever get. Perhaps, incidentally, the quality which often endears the poets to men of great learning is that ever-renewing wonderment of life which poets refuse to surrender, along with the majority, in the pursuit of wealth, power and fame. The most scholarly treatises concerned with art appreciation become as lifeless scripts before a work of art itself, for living art of any sort brings back the vividness of childhood. It is commonly recognized that even the colors of the spectrum, as well as sounds, odors and tastes, are measurably brighter in childhood than in maturity. It would do no harm, perhaps, for parents to muse upon the world of childhood, and see whether the simple presence of their child cannot help them to regain "a feeling of vividness" for their own lives. Is not the saddest fact of all the familiar transition from childhood wonderment to belief in and acceptance of dull routine? Adults are not without a certain power to win back the inspirations of youth. The greatest of Volume I, No. 11 MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 11 FRONTIERS Emergent Evolution IT is a matter of some interest that, no sooner had the scientists of the nineteenth century succeeded in tearing down the theological structure of conventional religion, than the scientists of the twentieth century began to construct modified theological systems of their own. This only shows that scientists, like other men, are inveterate moralists, and raises some question about the supposed "purity" of scientific truth. It can be argued, for example, that Thomas H. Huxley, the great champion of Darwinism, was displeased with the religious monopoly in the field of morals, and delivered his famous Romanes Lecture on the subject of "Evolution and Ethics" as the logical fulfillment of his scientific career. In this address he came out for a free-thinking, humanitarian, universalist ethical view that had no discoverable relation to Evolution except in its advocacy that the blind, cosmic forces of evolution must be opposed by man in order to save the arts and civilization. Prof. Huxley, in short, needed a dualistic universe to maintain goodness and virtue in the world. And what, indeed, can we do with the discoveries of science, without goodness and virtue? This insistent question has made amateur theologians of many scientific thinkers. There is the mechanical world of scientific laws, and there is man—or rather, the "man-animal," as Darwin left him—whose interests and aspirations do not seem to be mechanical at all. How can the two be fitted together? The answer given by Prof. Huxley, in effect, was that man is an unnatural intruder into the mechanical world—a sort of rebellious, anthropoid Lucifer who would pursue a special evolution of his own, in opposition to the endless and unintelligent Cosmic Process. Volume I, No. 11 But this of course was only a pleasant heresy, soon to be discarded. Goodness and virtue had to come back into the world, but by more reasonable means—more plausible, at least, than Huxley's way of introducing them. For him, they were simply "there," and the question remained, How did they get to be there? Today, the most popular explanation for the trans-material qualities of human beings is the doctrine of Emergent Evolution, embodying a series of minor scientific miracles instead of leaving them, as Prof. Huxley did, in one great lump of logical impossibility. The problem of the emergent evolutionists was this: How, in a world of merely mechanical forces, shall we account for the presence of mind, and of the ethical sense in man? How could human purpose originate in a natural evolution which science had defined as without any purpose at all? As William McDougall described the situation: Like other conjurors, they [the emergent evolutionists] know that if you are to produce Mind from a hat (or from any other physical arrangement) you must first put it there or have it up your sleeve; or else you must be content to produce a mere semblance of Mind; and then take the necessary precautions. So, as a "necessary precaution," the emergent evolutionists carefully opened the door of cosmic materialism to a narrow crack, letting in, at the incalculably remote Beginning of Things, the momentary influence of a divine plan. Then they shut the door immediately, leaving the subsequent operation of the evolutionary process to the blind forces of physics, chemistry and biology. Mind was there, and yet it was not. It was there for logical, metaphysical purposes, but not there for practical, scientific purposes. And when the selfconscious intelligence of man appeared on the scene—it had simply "emerged." This arrangement left scientists free to pursue their investigations according to the theory of mechanical causation, without having to consider the possibility of any disturbing influence of Mind MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 12 over Matter. The occasional "emergences" of new faculties or powers, in Mr. Lloyd Morgan's theory, are caused by the directive activity of God, which of course cannot be studied and therefore imposes no special obligation on scientific research. This bringing of divine intelligence into the scientific cosmos in order to get rid of philosophical objections to materialism, and then ignoring it forever after in serious inquiry, is the scientific version of going to church on Sunday and being "practical" for the other six days of the week. It is also something more—a kind of scientific insurance policy against theological aggression in the realm of scientific knowledge. admits, in a suggestive phrase, "The happenings of the cosmos contain the potentiality of being understood in the form of moral law." And, reasonably enough, he says that "moral law does not exist until man appears." We should prefer to put it differently, and say that man is the only being capable of comprehending the moral dimension of the natural world—for morals, after all, are a part of Nature—the sphere, the aspect or continuum of Life naturally inhabited by Man. Nothing new, really, has been added to the scientific explanation of the moral sense in man since the popularization of Emergent Evolution. Mr. Julian Huxley, who has recently reprinted his eminent grandfather's Romanes Lecture together with one of his own on the same subject (Touchstone for Ethics, Harper, 1947), seems to think he has accomplished "the reconciliation of T. H. Huxley's antithesis between the ethical and the cosmic process" by attempting to show that the cosmic process "is continued into human affairs." Man, says Julian Huxley, can deduce all moral values from the direction of human evolution and can then "inject his ethics into the heart of evolution." But the present Mr. Huxley makes the primitive forms of moral perception incomprehensibly "emerge" in human infancy as a “proto-ethical mechanism" which, under the influence of parental judgment, gradually matures into an independent factor of moral choice. Not God, but Freud, is the deity who presides over this crucial emergence—but it is a miracle all the same. A last word in favor of Mr. Huxley: after this initial miracle of emergence, he has many good things to say about the dynamic character of morality. There are no infallible rules of right and wrong—each situation calls for its own particular judgment and application of moral principles. He Volume I, No. 11 MANAS Reprint March 17, 1948 ... - [detail] - [similar]
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