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SEVERAL KINDS OF SENSE
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VOLUME XXXV, NO. 52 DECEMBER 29, 1982 SEVERAL KINDS OF SENSE LOST somewhere in the sparsely indexed files of material used in MANAS in past years is a list of eminent and accomplished citizens of the country who, it is revealed at the end by the compiler, all came from broken homes. According to familiar theory, these people, when children, were all slated for disaster, but somehow or other they were able to take charge of their lives and make inner decisions prevail over the outer and prejudicial environment. The reason for recalling this item is a letter from a reader, received some months ago, commenting on a review of Lawrence Kohlberg's The Philosophy of Moral Development (MANAS, March 3 of this year). Dr. Kohlberg declares that moral development in humans does take place, and that it may be contributed to by teachers who ask questions, suggest options, but do not give "answers." Our correspondent said: It seems to me that you, and Plato, and Dr. Kohlberg have forgotten something basic: that it's the very early years in which the dies are cast. Some psychologists say that by the age of three (others say five or six), all the damage (or good) has been done, and all later years only slightly modify these ingrained traits. My maternal grandmother used to say, "As the twig is bent. . . ." It is true enough, as our reader says, that psychologists— especially those schooled in the theories of Pavlov and Watson—have maintained that "conditioning" is the controlling factor in the shaping of personality, and many have asserted that the experience of the early years is crucially determining. While psychiatrists are usually Freudian in their theories of human nature, psychologists tend to follow the lead of Watson and Skinner, holding that conditioning shapes behavior under the latter's "law of effect." Speaking of these two outlooks in Persuasion and Healing (1974), Jerome Frank says that "they supply a scientifically respectable rationale for contemporary methods of psychotherapy." Frank then adds: Dr. Contemporary Western psychotherapies include a third set of approaches which question the validity of scientific concepts and methods and instead appeal to direct experience. While psychoanalytic and behavioral therapies were devised by clinicians and experimentalists, existential therapies are based on the doctrines of European philosophers. Granting that a person's behavior and subjective life are in part determined by the interplay of present and past environmental influences with his genetically determined structure, they stress that his spiritual dimension gives him freedom of choice. Anxiety and despair are inevitable responses to the "existential predicament," but a person has the capacity to find a purpose in life even in the midst of catastrophe. Man fashions his world as well as being shaped by it. A notably "pure" statement of this view of the human situation was provided in quotation from Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences (MANAS, Oct. 20), where this writer affirmed "the assumption that the world is intelligible and that man is free and that these consequences we are now expiating are the product not of biological or other necessity but of unintelligent choice." So far as "authorities" are concerned, the question becomes: In whom will you put your faith? The Behaviorist psychologists or the philosophers, starting with Plato and ending with yourself? The individual human must be included with the existentialist thinkers for the reason that each one of us lives his or her life in the belief that the will is free. Who would really accept the claim that because of the first three or four or five years of existence, one cannot make any important change in one's character or the direction of one's life? Those who make this claim, psychologists or not, do so about "other people," seldom themselves. MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 Yet they have evidence for their view. People do seem largely shaped by their environments. Both the statistics compiled by social science and the charts of advertising agencies confirm this opinion. Conditioning is a fact of life. Actually, we have come to expect people to behave and even to think according to the influences with which they are surrounded, and have pejorative terms to apply to those who don't. Individuals who refuse to conform are called "deviant," and the ones who hold differing opinions are named "heretics" by the orthodox of their time. Later they may be hailed as innovators and even heroic reformers, but only after new conventions have been established on the foundation of what they did. If, then, one has a collectivist (managerial) view of human beings, one is likely to accept the statistics of the sociologist for the laws of human nature or development (if there can be any, in these terms). In Soviet Russia, for at least two past generations, the man who questioned the decision and policy of Party rule—or worse, the ideological basis of that rule—was branded a counter-revolutionary, a "wrecker," and summarily shot, or sent to Siberia or one of its numerous equivalents. Here, during the days of Senator McCarthy's psychological tyranny, it was not that bad to be a deviant. One lost only one's job, friends, reputation, and material security. This seems sufficient explanation of the unpopularity of those who try to teach virtue— which means, among other things, arriving at opinions independent of the crowd. From Socrates to Bronson Alcott, to Francisco Ferrer, such educators have had a hard time. Fear of independent minds— twigs which attempt to unbend themselves—recently led the people of a Texas town to instruct their school teachers to discourage class discussion. As a result of parental or pastoral anxiety, "teachers no longer ask students their opinions because to do so, they have been told, is to deny absolute right and wrong." In some communities there are efforts to do away with open classrooms and creative Volume XXXV, No. 52 writing, on the ground that these "unstructured" approaches "break down standards of right and wrong and thus promote rebellion, sexual promiscuity and crime." Obviously, conformity is in no need of explanation. It exists everywhere and is the major problem of a would-be free society. The question, rather, is why, in some families the children are not all like peas in a pod; and why, in some epochs of history—say, Periclean Athens, de Medician Florence, and Elizabethan England—there were extraordinary flowerings of independent philosophers, artists, and poets. Why, in short, did Abe Lincoln come out of the wilderness, and what obliged Arthur Morgan to leave St. Cloud, Minnesota, to become the country's best flood control engineer and also a great educator? What stamps the seedling plant with such capacity and determination for independent patterning of life? Does anyone seriously suppose that the qualities of character and greatness are somehow locked in the units of genetic heritage, and sometimes made to come out by a series of happy environmental accidents? Interestingly, a leading biologist like Julian Huxley had no difficulty in proposing some sort of "spiritual development" for the species to account for the human excellence so far achieved. In Evolution in Action (Harper, 1953) he declared: Once life had become organized in human form it was impelled forward, not merely by the blind forces of natural selection but by the mental and spiritual forces as well. In the light of evolutionary biology man can now see himself as the sole agent of further evolutionary advance on this planet, and one of the few possible instruments of progress m the universe at large. . . . He need no longer regard himself as insignificant in relation to the cosmos. He is intensely significant. In his person, he has acquired meaning, for he is constantly creating new meanings. Human society generates new mental and spiritual agencies, and sets them to work in the cosmic process: it controls matter by means of mind. This is encouraging, and somewhat inspiring, but Prof. Huxley does not touch upon the MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 3 question of who, in human society, "is constantly creating new meanings." Where are the "spiritual forces" active? Surely, not in everybody. And why in some and not others? Even Plato answers the question only imaginatively—in, that is, a myth. In the Phaedrus he gives the human soul the role of charioteer, carried along by two horses, one obedient and tractable, the other wild and unruly. When both steeds answer promptly to the rein, the soul grows wings and is borne aloft for life among the gods. And so, birth after birth, the evolution of the soul proceeds. Recounting its journeyings, Plato not only gives an account of human destiny, but allegorizes human differences. He says: Hear now the ordinance of Necessity. Whatever soul has followed in the train of a god, and discerned something of truth, shall be kept from sorrow until a new revolution shall begin, and if she can do this always, she shall remain always free from hurt. But when she is not able so to follow and sees none of it, but meeting with some mischance comes to be burdened with a load of forgetfulness and wrongdoing and because of that burden sheds her wings and falls to earth, then thus runs the law. In her first birth she shall not be planted in any brute beast, but the soul that hath seen the most of being shall enter into the human babe that shall grow into a seeker after wisdom or beauty, a follower of the Muses and a lover; the next, having seen less, shall dwell in a king that abides by law, or a warrior and ruler; the third in a statesman, a man of business, or a trader; the fourth in an athlete, or physical trainer, or physician; the fifth shall have the life of a prophet or a Mystery priest; to the sixth that of a poet or other imitative artist shall be fittingly given; the seventh shall live in an artisan or farmer; the eighth in a Sophist or demagogue; the ninth in a tyrant. Now in all these incarnations he who lives righteously has a better lot for his portion, and he who lives unrighteously a worse. . . . only the soul that has beheld truth may enter into this our human form—seeing that man must needs understand the language of forms, passing from a plurality of perceptions to a unity gathered together by reasoning—and such understanding is a recollection of those things which our souls beheld aforetime as they journeyed with their god, looking down upon the things which now we suppose to be, and gazing up to that which truly is. Volume XXXV, No. 52 Therefore it is meet and right that the soul of the philosopher alone should recover her wings, for she, so far as may be, is ever near in memory to those things a god's nearness whereunto makes him truly god. Wherefore if a man makes right use of such means of remembrance, and ever approaches to the full vision of the perfect mysteries, he and he alone becomes truly perfect. Standing aside from the busy doings of mankind, and drawing nigh to the divine, he is rebuked by the multitude as being out of his wits, for they know not that he is possessed by a deity. Thus, according to Plato, the man of lofty mind and independent vision is a better rememberer of the former knowledge of "perfect mysteries," and while the symbolism of the myth may tell us little of ways and means, it gives us something to think about and work with. Modern writers, responding to intuitions of a Platonic sort, may prefer algebraic to mythic symbolism. Pondering the genius of great cultures in the past, Philip Ainsworth Means (in Ancient Civilizations of the Andes) felt obliged to assume, in addition to heredity and environment, a "something" he called the "x factor" in human beings, an "unknown quantity, apparently psychological in kind." Of it he said: If x be not the most conspicuous factor in the matter it is certainly the most important, the most fate-laden. When through a tardily completed understanding of the significance of life, we achieve mastery over x, then, and not until then shall we cease to be a race of biped ants and, consummating our age-old desire, join the immortal gods. The main trouble with mythic explanations is that the reader often will feel that he need not take them seriously just as he is likely to regard Prof. Means's "immortal gods" as no more than a rhetorical flourish (which, indeed, it may be). Even so sagacious a thinker as Hannah Arendt decided that Plato invented his myths of life after death only in order to establish a sound basis for political authority. As she put it (in Between Past and Future, 1961): Plato solved his dilemma through rather lengthy tales about a hereafter with rewards and punishments, which he hoped would be believed literally by the many and whose usage he therefore recommended to MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 4 the attention of the few at the close of most of his political dialogues. In view of the enormous influence these tales have exerted upon the images of hell in religious thought, it is of some importance to note that they were originally designed for purely political purposes. In Plato they are simply an ingenious device to enforce obedience upon those who are not subject to the compelling power of reason, without actually using external violence. Northrop Frye, however, seems closer to Plato's intention in saying that his Republic was itself a myth, drawing an analogy between the disciplined state and the disciplined mind. For Plato, "the wise man's mind is a ruthless dictatorship of reason over appetite, achieved by control of the will." When we translate this into its social equivalents of a philosopher-king ruling workers by storm-troopers (not "guardians," as in Jowett, but "guards"), we get the most frightful tyranny. But the real Utopia is an individual goal, of which the disciplined society is an allegory. The reason for the allegory is that the Utopian ideal points beyond the individual to a condition in which, as in Kant's kingdom of ends, society and the individual are no longer in conflict, but have become aspects of the same human body. (Higher Education: Demand and Response, edited by W. R. Niblett, Tavistock, 1969.) History of Philosophy (Macmillan, 1936), "this power of self-motion constitutes indeed the definition of a soul, and Plato uses it as the basis of one of the several arguments by which he undertakes to prove the soul's immortality." Why, then, is it not more widely recognized that Plato taught reincarnation? And why did he mythicize and allegorize what he believed to be the truth? Well, there are great and transcendental ideas which can be turned into dogmas when literally conveyed. A wise teacher naturally suggests these ideas in a form least subject to distortion, and the myth, which is not to be taken literally, serves in this way. Plato is careful to have Socrates say, in the Phaedo: "Of course, no reasonable man ought to insist that the facts are exactly as I have described them. But that either this or something very like it is a true account of our souls and their future habitations—since we have clear evidence that the soul is immortal— this, I think, is both a reasonable contention and a belief worth risking, for the risk is a noble one." "And if," as Socrates said in the Meno, "the truth about reality is always in our soul, the soul must be immortal, and one must take courage and try to discover— that is, to recollect—what one doesn't happen to know, or, more correctly, remember, at the moment." The natural conclusion would be that those who are qualified to be Guardians or Teachers in the ideal society, which is "laid up in heaven," are those who have become skilled in remembering. Man incarnated (according to Plato) is made of soul and body (with doubtless further subdivisions), indicating a compound of the selfmoving and the externally moved. The externally moved may be termed "matter," which weights down the soul and leads to contradictory behavior, helping to explain why only some or just a few persons are able to free themselves from the habits, customs, prejudices, and ignorance of their time. As J. A. Stewart says in The Myths of Plato (London: MacMillan, 1905), giving an account of the reincarnation myth in the tenth book of the Republic: This, then, is Plato's explanation of exceptional humans, and at the same time Means's x. The soul, he says, is immortal, and in the course of its wanderings is reborn on earth again and again. But what is the soul? According to the Timaeas, the soul is a self-moving unit. Alone among the objects (shouldn't it be subjects?) of experience, the soul not only moves, but is selfmoved. As Arthur Rogers puts it in A Student's Plato lays stress, as he does elsewhere, on the unbroken continuity of the responsible Self evolving its own character in a series of life-changes. It is the choice made before the throne of Ananke (Necessity) which dominates the behaviour of the Soul in the bodily life on which it is about to enter; but the choice made before the throne of Ananke depended itself on a disposition formed in a previous life; the man who chooses the life of a tyrant, and rues his choice as soon as he has made it, but too late, has been virtuous in a previous life, [but] his virtue has been merely Volume XXXV, No. 52 MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 5 "customary," without foundation upon consciously realized principle. . . . To be free is to be a continuously existing, self-affirming, environmentchoosing personality, manifesting itself in . . . its own natural environment which is the counterpart of its own character. Here we have at least a metaphysical explanation of the good or bad tendencies which are so clearly established early in life. These tendencies seem to justify a determinism of human character, yet it is a determination originating in the previous decisions of the self-making soul. Stewart goes on: It is, in other words, the freedom of the "noumenal," as distinguished from the "phenomenal" Self, which Plato presents as the "prenatal choice of a Life"—mythically; which is, indeed, the only way in which such a transcendental idea can be legitimately presented. . . . Great decisions have to be made in life, which, once made, are irrevocable, and dominate the man's whole career and conduct afterwards. The chief use of education is to prepare a man for these crises in his life, so that he may decide rightly. This, or something like it, is also the theory of education developed by Lawrence Kohlberg. It makes, we think several kinds of sense. Volume XXXV, No. 52 MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 6 REVIEW SCOTT BUCHANAN HAVING just read through to the last page some essays by Scott Buchanan, gathered by a group of friends and admirers in the volume, So Reason Can Rule (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1982, $12.95), we stand or sit in awe and edification at the author's precise and illuminating use of words. His subjects are law and politics, which he first ideally conceives, and then examines as they are practiced in human societies. His work is educational in various ways, but most of all for the reader as a citizen of the United States. He is a writer who lifts as well as reforms. But also, having read him, the reader will possess a greater understanding of what is meant by "the human condition." The Federalist Papers would be good preparation for Scott Buchanan. Who was he? He was, as the jacket flap says, ''the principal architect of the 'Great Books' curriculum at St. John's College, Annapolis, where he and Stringfellow Barr came in 1937 to revive, reform, and make justly famous the kind of education that went on there thereafter." Buchanan said at that time: "It is the purpose of the new program at St. John's College to recover the great liberal tradition of Europe and America, which for a period of two thousand years has kept watch over and guided all other Occidental traditions. . . . The tangible and eminently available embodiments and tools of this great tradition are the classics and the liberal arts." What did he do? He gave new life to the positive and ennobling conceptions that were behind and all through the founding of the American Republic, recalling the student (and now the reader) from the tired and disenchanted attitude most of us have toward the present-day United States— recalling us to a consideration of the obligations of humans and citizens. We are not people on whom someone or something has laid obligations. The Volume XXXV, No. 52 obligations are our original nature, part of our uncarved block. The way Scott Buchanan thinks about this exercises extraordinary persuasion, first to understand, then to practice, the responsibilities of citizenship. He shows what one can learn from our common experience during the past two hundred years. Mostly he sets problems, and he does this so well that his settings approach solutions; while he is well aware how difficult actual solutions will prove, he agrees with William of Orange that it is not necessary to hope in order to undertake. This book is full of succinct and clarifying definitions—the definitions which are starting-points for serious thinking: Montesquieu said that freedom, political freedom, is the assurance that you can do what you ought to do, and that you will not be forced to do what you ought not to do. To us in the twentieth century this assurance connotes economic power, and it seems to be the condition that underlies all our other powers of freedom. As Charles Beard has said, the Constitution and particularly the Bill of Rights need economic rewriting. . . . he probably meant indirectly legislative action to control large concentrations of money and credit and the redistribution of wealth. Autonomy and selfgovernment for the corporations that manage and control wealth would seem to be implied, on the principle that, although unjust power corrupts, just or legitimate power ennobles; and justice is ensured in our society by the continuous and all-pervasive practices of republican principles. But all devices of this kind seem weak before the massive power of money and technology that is now identified with the processes of free speech and assembly. Mass communication has become more and more massive, and less and less communicative, partly because public communications now have to pass through the physical facilities of giant, unwieldy bodies politic, incorporated newspaper chains and broadcasting systems, whose public functions are not yet sufficiently distinguished from their private business interests. As we understand and practice freedom of the press, it should not be supported or controlled by either the private corporation for profit or the public corporation of government, but these are the only two organizations that have the economic power to operate the means. This would seem to be the critical problem in the general field of economic underwriting for the Constitution. . . . MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 7 Many of the new questions concern the kind of human beings that are being formed by the corporations they belong to. These are difficult questions to answer, but they should be asked, and they can be answered if they are kept in order. This essay leads to one of these new questions: how do the political habits formed by members of corporations fit with the habits that republican forms of government have developed in their citizens heretofore? The answers to this question are not definite or final; such as they are, they can best be summarized by a sharp observer of a few years ago, Mark Twain: "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have these unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either." It may be that the corporation is the school of political prudence in which we learn not to practice what the political republic has always preached. Yet these socio-economic forms that we have evolved are there, and Buchanan looks at them from another point of view. He says: Business being what it is, the highest imperative of the firm is to use its manpower efficiently; that is, to manage so that each member can put his full efforts to the use of the company. The ends-inthemselves in these communities are understood in law and in practice to be the stockholders, all the others consent to put themselves to the service or use of these kings. But even at the origin of these communities there is token recognition of each man as an end-inhimself. When an employee takes a job, he is understood to have made a free contract, to have freely consented to the service for which he is hired, and in consideration of this he is given a salary or a wage. Even in a slave system the master recognizes his obligation to feed and clothe his servants. All these devices—wages, food, and clothing—can be understood as forms of coercion, but the residue of consent can never be quite eradicated; respect for consent, no matter how small or deceptive, is nevertheless respect for man as an end-in-himself. for all sorts of prudential and secondary reasons, but, whatever these may be, there still remains the inescapable respect for the person as an end-inhimself and the recognition that means and ends in the corporation must operate reciprocally. Thus, the categorical imperative regulates the corporation, and there is a rising demand throughout the world that human beings shall be associated in such kingdoms of ends. The wide gap between the demand and the realization in the world as well as in the microcosm of the corporation measures the wide gap between the utopian ideal and the actual associations under its regulation. This is a characteristic passage in Buchanan's book. He is a realist who looks at social processes in the light of the ideal. Criticism which runs riot, leaving standards to the reader's imagination, provides no ground for movement toward the good. Buchanan never does this. Reading him, you want to talk to him, listen to him, take part in a vision that is not only his but belongs to the world's "saving remnant." We might add that the material in this book is mostly papers prepared and presented at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, where Scott Buchanan spent his last years. One thing Robert Hutchins did with that Center was make it both haven and platform for such minds. Those who now and then attended its sessions might hear or meet a frail old Alexander Meiklejohn, an aging Stringfellow Barr, and Mr. Buchanan. The country has a great debt to Mr. Hutchins for this service—for being the kind of man he was. So Reason Can Rule brings this lesson home. Latterly, the corporation has been acquiring a conscience, it is said, and the sign of this is that it makes concessions to demands or anticipates them by offering to serve employees by supplying the means to a decent life, giving longer contracts for jobs, installing safety devices on the job and medical care for employees and their families, and establishing insurance and pensions. These services are offered Volume XXXV, No. 52 MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 8 themselves, so that we have no references on who and what we are except in ourselves. COMMENTARY A RARE HISTORICAL EVENT THE question raised in this week's lead article— In whom or what will you place your faith?—is one that calls for intensive end-of-the-year reflection. We are now in the midst of confusions more far-reaching than those of ordinary personal life. The uncertainties of what to do and how to do it are familiar and dealt with from day to day. You inform yourself and make a decision. If it turns out to be wrong, you choose more carefully the next time. To whom, then, shall we look, not for "certainty," but for help in dealing with existential uncertainty? Only, the answer must be, to those able to stand alone in the face of existential loneliness, able to find support in humility, caution in independence, a hidden order in the forces of omnipresent alienation. But the question inquired into in the lead article is of another order. It relates to the very meaning of life, and we are coming to the realization that there is no one to whom we can apply for certainty in this area. This, indeed, may be the "meaning" of the twentieth century—a time during which, as we approach its end, we are being turned loose in a world which has lost its authorities. There is a wonder, even a glory, in the situation, but it is deeply frightening for those who feel lost without instruction from others. Confidence in the teachings of inherited religion is gone, save for those who mindlessly insist upon formulas whose original meaning has been forgotten for centuries. Meanwhile the scientists—humans more courageous in their best representatives—are themselves withdrawing the assumptions on which they have been working since the time of Galileo. Science, they tell us, can no longer be used as a substitute for religion. Scientific truth— whatever it is—they say, is a product of consciousness, not the sum of "empirical" observations of objects and motions which are reliable because "real." The mind, not nature, is the definer of reality. Knowing the world requires us first to know ourselves. In short, we have the distinction of living at the dawn of a new world—historically a very rare event. We could say that the tools of scientific "reductionism" have at last been turned against Volume XXXV, No. 52 MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 9 CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves VARIOUS "MAYBES" [Speaking, years ago, of a certain kind of student, Dorothy Samuels wrote: "They are, in short, philosophic in an age which seems to offer no forum for discussion of principles and values and verities. . . . They would be Emersons and Thoreaus in a day when journals and podiums seem open only to statisticians and reporters." Below are the recollections of a present-day writer who was that sort of student showing the use one can make of the facilities for self-education provided by men like Andrew Carnegie.] I WAS a student for three years at his temple to science and industry, Carnegie Institute of Technology; and for two more years, I lived in a rooming house directly across the street from, and in the daily shadow of, the library and museum he gave to the people of Pittsburgh. On a cold day in winter, I could eliminate two blocks of outside walking between that rooming house and the University of Pittsburgh by going into the library entrance, slipping through a small opening between the hall from the library to the dinosaur room, a small opening that led into a large room housing fragments and pieces from the Classical world, down past the full-scale reproduction of the magnificent Nike of Samothrace, right along another hall that led past the room of Renaissance statues, and finally out the door at the other end of the big building, where they housed the North American treasures. I loved that library and museum, hideous as it was, black with the accumulated grit of Andrew Carnegie's foul industrial air and monstrous with the architectural notion that hulk and bulk lent respectability and authority to a structure. From its stacks I got Steppenwolf, whose Harry Haller most movingly articulated the alienation I felt in Andrew Carnegie's world. Whenever I went to the card catalogues in the record division, I made a habit of asking for one of the records to either side of the one I wanted. Thus, looking for Volume XXXV, No. 52 Carmen, I found Carl Ord's Carmina Burana, that pagan chant of irreverent disreregard for the kind of over-serious propriety Pittsburgh preached. I found Brahms' Second Symphony. Beethoven's Third there, my personal and enduring refuges for joy, irrational optimism, and pure raw feeling. But because I owed all this, to a degree, to Andrew Carnegie, I took the time to look into him and his life to a degree. I read a biography, a couple of essays about him, and a collection of his speeches. I found that it had been easier to hate the old robber-baron when I could bring only ignorance and liberal dogma to the issue. I discovered that there was no way to shake the almost mythical stature of the man; the record verified the legend: he was the poor son of a poor immigrant, he did start at the meanest and lowest jobs, he did work his way to the top, and rather quickly—it's all true, the whole damn mythology that has been used to beat kids about the ears for the last three generations. Whatever his sins, hypocrisy and crookedness were not among them. Reading his speeches, I had to concede a fascination, even something of a liking for the old pirate and his ideals. Here's something he said, addressing the steelworkers who had come to the opening of his library to the people of Braddock, Pennsylvania: Many men are to be met with in this life who would have been great and successful had the world rated them at the value which they placed on themselves. This class are the victims of an hallucination. Nobody in the world desires to keep down ability. Everybody in the world has an outstretched hand for it . . . These books on the shelves will tell you the story of the rise of many men from our own ranks. It is not the educated, or socalled classically educated man, it is not the aristocracy, it is not the monarchs, that have ruled the destinies of the world, either in camp, council, laboratory or workshop. The great inventions, the improvements, the discoveries in science, the great works in literature have sprung from the ranks of the poor. You can scarcely name a great invention, or a great discovery, you can scarcely name a great picture, or a great statue, a great song or a great story, MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 10 nor anything great that has not been the product of men who started like yourselves to earn an honest living by honest work. That was in 1889; five years later he sicked the Pinkertons on (probably) some of the same steelworkers just down the river at Homestead. But I see no essential contradiction between what he said and what he did. He gave back to the world as good as he'd received—jobs, opportunities; and in his order of things, whether they were good jobs or bad lobs was not up to him but up to the individuals who held them; you aren't given opportunities in this world, you seek them out and seize them; return to the master ten for one, and you'll become master. He was not conning those workers when he talked about "men from our own ranks," for he'd started at the same bottom they were on. He believed what he said; he believed in what he did; at the very least he was sincere. And—especially in a waffling world like our own, where we speak of the problem of "conveying the image of sincerity" as if it were just another shampoo by Dreck to sell —obvious, honest sincerity is not a quality to be minimized. But there was one rather strange and interesting item in the papers Carnegie left when he died—no clay feet, but evidence of an obscure inner struggle. It was a memo that he wrote to himself in a hotel room in 1868, when he was only thirty-three: Thirty-three and an income of $50,000 per annum! By this time two years I can arrange all my business as to secure at $50,000 per annum. Beyond this never earn—make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes. Cast aside business forever, except for others. Settle in Oxford and get a thorough education, making the acquaintance of literary men—this will take three years active work—pay special attention to speaking in public. Settle then in London and purchase controlling interest in some newspaper or live review and give the general management of it attention, taking a part in public matters, especially those connected with education and improvement of the poorer classes. Volume XXXV, No. 52 Man must have an idol—the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry—no idol more debasing than the worship of money. Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately; therefore should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character. To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my thoughts wholly upon the ways to make more money in the shortest time, must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery. I will resign business at thirtyfive, but during the ensuing two years I wish to spend the afternoons in receiving instruction and reading systematically . . . We can, I suppose, dismiss this as nothing more than a passing fancy. Maybe he'd forgotten about the idea by the time he was thirty-five—or by the day after he'd written it. Maybe he kept it in the back of his mind as "something I'd like to do when I have the time." Maybe every year he thought about it as a possibility for next year, after this and that and another thing are finally resolved regarding the business. . . . But history, unconcerned with "maybes," records the fact that instead of two years he stayed with business another thirty, with results indicating that he spent a great deal of time in "thoughts wholly upon the ways to make more money in the shortest time"— results that were, in the balance, demeaning and degrading to his reputation beyond his worst fears. He accumulated a third of a billion dollars, far more than he needed; and accepting the condition that he couldn't take it with him, he spent the last years of his life figuring out how to give it away. He built more than 2800 libraries in America. He endowed Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Institution in Washington, for the furtherment of science and industry. He set up the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace with ten million dollars. Another ten million for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Everything he couldn't give away himself went into the Carnegie Corporation where, for all I know or care, a board of trustees is still trying to give it all away as fast as it grows. MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 11 But in spite of all that, if you ask the steelworker-on-the-street today in Pittsburgh what the name "Andrew Carnegie" evokes, nine out of ten will say, first, "Homestead, Pinkertons, capitalistic greed greed greed" . . . and second, "If I'd had a tenth, a hundredth of what he stole from us, I'd be out of this place so fast you wouldn't hear me leaving till I was gone." And, so saying, our interviewees would get into their oversize, meaningless cars with their ton-and-a-half of sonof-Carnegie Steel, go home to sit in front of their meaningless televisions, drinking Iron City Beer and, absently, vaguely upset but with a directionless anger, crush one by one the steel cans and drop them into the no-deposit, no-return plastic wastebasket. I spent part of the winter after my discharge from the Army back in Pittsburgh. Looking for work. I finally found a job driving a taxi in Carnegie's great city. "Iron City" says it. The people of Pittsburgh are as good as the people of any industrial city, which is to say they are usually making a human effort to maintain the show of good faith requisite for an inhumanly clockish and interdependent superstructure, and often enough making a superhuman effort to maintain a sense of humor and survival— optimism in a relentless environment of neutral indifference. I got lost a lot in my taxi and made any number of people late for work and appointments in the wilderness of cattywompus intersections and one-way-wrong-way streets that are typical of the unplanned industrial city on the European model. Some people reacted by feeling sorry for themselves, some by feeling sorry for me, and some by feeling sorry for us all. I transported people who had lived in the city all their lives but were still lost there themselves; I would have to call the dispatcher to get instructions for taking a little old lady from the downtown area to the suburb where she'd lived for thirty years. Mostly, the people were fine, even great, considering the circumstances; but we all moved in a milieu of iron. The battered cab Volume XXXV, No. 52 was a cell of iron flowing in an arterial circulation of other cells of iron, the suspension and steering shot from negotiating the iron rails of the trolleys; on every side rose the naked iron of new buildings; bland glass concealed the iron of others; iron manholes clanged and iron wires hummed; the winter air itself was the wet-cold of iron, especially at six in the morning when I went on shift in a cold dark pre-dawn that felt and tasted like iron; ambulances wailed like strung steel, as I carried blood to the hospitals from the blood bank for people caught between iron and iron; the sky, even when the sun shone, was tinged with a gray taint in the blue: even the sky looked like iron. At night driving along the parkway or coming down the Boulevard of the Allies you could see the flamings-up from the great furnaces for making the iron across the river, reflected in the river, but it was not a warming sight—impressive, yes, but not warming; it wasn't fire you wanted to gather around, crowd around at night like those earlier shadows of ourselves, in the caves in the valley of the Dordogne, talking, sewing, chipping, talking, carving, tooling up, talking, and talking. Beyond the fire, the winter and the wolf. They needed men like Andrew Carnegie then. . . . No. Come to think of it—they were men like Andrew Carnegie then. But what do we need now? MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 12 FRONTIERS Some Supposings RECEIVING in a single mail three items having to do with war and its prevention, we thought they might well go together in a single Frontiers. First, then, in issue No. 42 (for October) of the Personal Journal of Marjorie & Charles Colvin (of 222 Sierra Road, Ojai, Calif. 93023), there are six small pages on what would (might) happen if there were no Department of Defense. The writers list all the good things we could do with the money in, say, 1983, when the expenditure of DOD will be $240 billion. Federal deficits would of course stop, and in a mere twenty-two years the Federal debt of about $1,100 billion could be paid off at $50 billion a year. The interest on the debt, now about $120 billion a year, would decrease each year and become zero at the end of the 22nd year. That is information for the practical-minded. For the rest, the Colvins recall what President Eisenhower said in 1953: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, and those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. These may be well-rounded phrases, but they are precisely true. Second of the three items is a book, The Day After Midnight: The Effects of Nuclear War, edited by Michael Riordan and published (at $7.95, paper) by Cheshire Books (514 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, Calif. 94301), being largely the digestion of a report, "The Effects of Nuclear War," issued by the Office of Technology Assessment in 1979. The book begins with an imaginative account of the effects of a nuclear bombing (in 1984) on the United States—an attack in which "more than 4,000 megatons destroyed military and industrial targets . . . killing close to 100 million people." The point, however, Volume XXXV, No. 52 is the effects on a single small city, Charlottesville, Virginia, which was not hit. The people there nonetheless had multiple problems of so farreaching and apparently permanent a nature that, while still alive (most of them), they were no more than conscious witnesses of "the death rattle of a declining civilization." There is, it became plain, no immunity in a nuclear war, no kind of good luck in store for anyone. In sequence, the book deals with possible nuclear wars, the effects of nuclear weapons, civil defense measures, case studies of three hypothetical attacks and counterforce attacks in a war between the U.S. and the Soviets; finally there is a discussion of long-term effects. Following is a generalizing passage in the case studies section: The effects of a large Soviet attack against the United States are devastating. The most immediate effects are the loss of millions of human lives, accompanied by similar incomprehensible levels of injuries, and the physical destruction of a high percentage of U.S. economic and industrial capacity. . .. A DOD 1977 study estimated that 155 to 165 million Americans would be killed by this attack if no civil defense measures were taken and all weapons were ground burst. In 1978, the DCPA [Defense Civil Preparedness Agency] looked at a similar attack where only half the weapons were ground burst; this assumption reduced the fatality estimate to 122 million. ACDA's [Arms Control and Disarmament Agency's] analysis of a similar case estimated that 105 to 131 million would die. . . . In summary, U.S. fatality estimates range from a high of 155 to 165 million to a low of 20 to 55 million. None of the analyses attempted to estimate injuries with the same precision used in estimating fatalities. However, DCPA did provide injury estimates ranging from 12 to 33 million, depending on circumstances. And remember that all of these fatality figures are for the first 30 days following the attack; they do not account for subsequent deaths among the injured or from economic disruption and deprivation. The third item came from a reader—a copy of the first few pages of a book, The Inevitable MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 13 Revolution, by Leo Tolstoy, written in the last year of his life (1909-1910), but not translated until this version by Ronald Sampson, who contributes the Introduction. Why has Tolstoy's denunciation of violence been so neglected? Mr. Sampson answers: It is because Tolstoy radically challenges the basic assumptions on which our entire culture rests, and exposes as no other writer does our equivocations and evasions in the presence of a remorseless logic. The very way in which Tolstoy is ignored and suppressed is itself an exposure and indictment of our failure to practice our much vaunted liberalism in upholding open debate and freedom of thought. It is true that Tolstoy's pacifism has made a very wide Impression on the thinking public, but this is generally dismissed as cranky sentimentalism or at best impractical idealism. Moreover, pacifists themselves have as a rule been genuinely appalled when they finally realized that Tolstoy really did mean what he said and meant business when he said that all violence, absolutely all force was wrong. This turns the conventional discussion of our ever growing problems upside down. For all humanitarians have tended to say: war, racial discrimination, oppression of workers, of women, of children, of beasts, are great evils, therefore we must organize to get the power to remedy these evils. To which Tolstoy replies: power, whether it be democratic, parliamentary or autocratic is power only if it is capable in the last resort of being enforced by violence. . . . The true belief is that we are never justified in resorting to violence. Of course, this belief arouses in us strong fears. So, says Tolstoy, instead of putting all our energies into devising new policies, new political parties, new legislation, . . . let us direct our energies into overcoming our fears. . . . No wonder he was ignored. And yet . . . Volume XXXV, No. 52 MANAS Rep[rint December 29, 1982 ...
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