Puslapio vaizdai

anything. Much that passed as renewed spirituality during the war was but the natural reaction of men in the presence of danger and under the lash of fear, an unconscious attempt to use God as a gas-mask. The test of warinduced devotion comes not during the war, but after the war.

It was not surprising that during the war our more conventionally minded religious leadership should have predicted with confidence that a renewal of civilization would follow the war. History, in a way, was on their side. Great wars and other catastrophes have frequently been followed by revivals of religion in the mystical sense. It has become a maxim that periods of disaster precipitate religious revivals, just as in primitive times famine, plague, or earthquake drove men into their temples to plead with their gods for a tempering of their plight. But modern men are likely to regard such disaster-induced revivals as expressions of panic rather than of piety.

Such crowd-phenomena are, however, deep-set in human nature. They should be approached with a full measure of sympathetic insight, not with cynicism. When tragedy has stalked across the soul of a people, it is not surprising that tried souls and tired minds should seek a refuge in a mystic other-worldliness that will lift them for a time above the perplexing circumstances of their day. It is not strange that an over-strained people should turn from challenging social duties to the sedative of mystic emotion. And this is exactly what men do in war-time.

The spiritual pretensions of war-time and the predictions of good to follow are easy targets for the ironist of postwar days, but it behooves us to step

gently here, for it is hollowness rather than hypocrisy with which we are dealing. Only the pert paragrapher will, at this late date, poke fun at the inflated hopes regarding the spiritual effect of the war on Western civilization. The responsible student of affairs will content himself with a reluctant admission that the war set us back instead of ahead spiritually, that the war left behind a generation of damaged souls instead of the generation of regenerated spirits it promised. This is not, let me make clear, a fling at the returned soldier, for the spiritual havoc of the war is far more in evidence in the non-combatants who stayed at home than in the men who bore the brunt of battle. It is the stay-athomes who are to-day bringing the firing-squad mind to bear upon the problems of peace. It was Barrie, I think, who suggested that hell hath no fury like a non-combatant. My only point here is that war, however justified it may seem at the moment, is a spiritual liability, not an asset, to a civilization. War unfits men for the procedures of peace, whether in domestic or in foreign policy, and out of war can come no valid contributions to a literature of hope. The literature of hope that I have in mind now has, then, no relation to the promises of spiritual renewal that was bandied about with so much fervor during the


Second, many Americans have seen grounds of hope for our war-blighted civilization in the new mysticism that has swept the world in the wake of the war. I cannot believe, however, that the present popularity of mediums and the current hammerings at the gates of the other world have any basic spiritual significance for the immediate future

of Western civilization. Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and their associates bring us what they regard as indisputable contact with the other world. Our printing-presses are pouring out a stream of spiritualistic literature. Never has there been so wide interest in spiritualism. All this is, I think, only natural after a war that has left empty chairs in millions of homes, but I doubt that it bears any vital relation to the spiritual renewal of civilization with which we are here concerned.

I am not attempting to pass dogmatic judgment upon spiritualism per se. In this, as in all matters still under investigation, between dogmatic credulity, on the one hand, and cock-sure disbelief, on the other, there is a middle ground of suspended judgment upon which, it seems to me, all honest minds will stand. It is, I think, the obligation of intelligence to suspend judgment upon the activities of any man who is trying to push a bit further the frontiers of the unknown, even if his actions may seem to us, at the moment, futile and foolish. I am saying only that, as far as my own study has taken me, I do not think that our literature of hope is being enriched by contributions from the spiritualists.

Third, many Americans just now believe that the renewal of civilization depends upon a return to an age of faith. On close examination, it is seen that those who are to-day talking most about a return to an age of faith mean a return to a blind credulity that will fly in the face of modern thought. And by modern thought I do not mean every gay and irresponsible idea that may be advanced by a 1925-model mind; I mean rather the major conclusions that the race has reached after

careful and conscientious research into the machinery and motives of human life on this planet.

Certainly no contribution to a valid literature of hope can come from the apostles of a return to a blind credulity that ignores the discoveries of the modern mind as it has clutched avidly at the garment of God, pleading and plodding for a deeper insight into the meaning of life. And yet there are many who fear that we are on the eve of just such a return to blind credulity. They offer as grounds for their fear Mr. Bryan's sustained and sporadically successful campaign against the honest findings of biology-as if it mattered spiritually whether man was created in a few quick minutes or in many millions of slow years—and the widespread revival of doctrinalism that insists that men must think their way into their living instead of living their way into their thinking.

I do not share the fear of those who think we are witnessing, or are likely to witness, any such wholesale backsliding of the modern intelligence. The reasons that lie back of the current anti-scientific crusade, which is being dramatized as I write in a Tennessee court room, and the revival of dogmatic doctrinalism in many of our churches seem to me to be reasons that are inherent in our age.

An age of enlightenment always brings, sooner or later, a flare-up of the old dogmatisms. Professor Harald Höffding of the University of Copenhagen gives a lucid explanation of this phenomenon in his "Leading Thoughts of the Nineteenth Century," when he says that "the general characteristics of a specific century do not apply equally to all strata of society, let alone to all individuals. In every age

there are great numbers of people who are very little affected by what, from a historical standpoint, gives their time its peculiar character. During the century of 'enlightenment' many cherished quietly their old beliefs; but when the new thought became too obtrusive, they resolutely opposed it. . . . Even in circles where 'enlightenment' was the animating force, a certain weariness would intrude at times-a yearning for different mental food and other ideals. Wherever education and knowledge were more than a passing vogue, men were expected to strain every mental nerve, to think intensely upon every subject. Gradually this brought a desire for relaxation, for rest in the simple and the commonplace, for resigning oneself to formulas that did not need to be reëxamined anew every time they were used."

This, it seems to me, is an accurate picture of what is happening in the United States just now. Thousands who are not alarmed by deviations from orthodoxy in religion, in politics, or in economics are plain tired, and are nestling in the comforting arms of normalcy. The more belligerent warriors against political, economic, and religious modernism are men who have been cherishing quietly their old beliefs until recently, but who, seeing that many of the newer conceptions were about to take the field, have come into the open for a valiant last stand. I conceive the anti-modern movement of our time to be, therefore, not the advance of a conquering host, but the fitful writhing of an old order on its death-bed. Clearly, then, I do not believe that the anti-modernists have any contribution to make to our literature of hope. Although, honesty compels us to admit, many scientists have

helped bring the present anti-science movement down upon their heads by the way in which, outside their laboratories, they have indulged in sterile dogmatisms, unsupported by their own researches, which, for the man in the street, have robbed life of its meaning.

It is far from my intention to suggest by all this that the churches will play no part in the needed renewal of our civilization. I mean only that, for the time being, many of our churches are being regrettably rent by doctrinal debates that are paralyzing their power as spiritual factors in our common life. There has never been a time when men were as spiritually hungry as they are to-day. This is not an irreligious age. Only the superficial observer will pass such judgment upon it. Men are hungry for spiritual leadership. Men are interested as never before in the mystery and the mastery of life. They want light on the mystery of life and leadership in the mastery of life. And they do not know where to turn for this light and for this leadership. They turn to the scientists, and find that many of them have been so busy with their analyses that they have lost the sense of synthesis; that life, to them, is a series of proved, but unrelated, facts. They turn to the churches, and they find many of them rent with a bitter theological warfare. They find that, in many instances, the praying-ground has been turned into a prize-ring, and that, to paraphrase one of Mr. Bryan's widely quoted phrases, many ministers would travel at least as far to save a syllogism as to save a soul. Warfare, even in defense of a righteous cause, is a spiritually destructive process; and this applies to theological as well as to military warfare. The man in the street does not

indulge in nice discriminations. He does not realize that the majority of ministers and laymen are not interested in this ill-advised and ill-mannered boxing-bout of the dogmatists, but are devoting their insight and energy to just the things in which he is interested -the mystery and the mastery of life. Unfortunately, the man in the street is likely to form his opinion of the churches more from their theological disputes than from their spiritual ministries. In a day of resurgent doctrinalism, the religious pugilist claims more attention than the religious prophet. But under this carnival of theological pugilism there is a vast and virile religious realism that will, in time, make a fundamental contribution to our literature of hope a contribution that may, indeed, bind all the other contributions together into a spiritual unity. I do not want to be understood as suggesting that either religion or science should dispense with doctrine; both must, from time to time, garner their findings in statements upon which humanity can act. I suggest only that the present battle is an indecent scuffle over an issue that has no spiritual significance either for our citizens or for our civilization, and that it will not, in my judgment, contribute anything to our literature of hope.

Fourth, I should like to make clear that a realistic literature of hope has no connection with the exploded myth of automatic progress. Any hope that can be entertained by honest minds must be contingent upon humanity's having the wit, the will, and the technic for using the forces of health that may be at hand. The modern mind cannot resign itself to any fatalism, either a fatalism of hope or a fatalism of despair. We are, for good or for ill,

the architects of our own future. We are not doomed to war or famine or pestilence. If these come, it will be because we let our knowledge rot in our laboratories and in our brains. And no beneficent power will carry us baby-like into peace, health, prosperity, and happiness. These await our intelligent use of the knowledge that is ours. The blind believer in progress has no contribution to make to our literature of hope.

I make no apology for having consumed virtually all of the space that is at my disposal for this paper in saying what the literature of hope is not, and reserving only a few brief paragraphs for a description and analysis of the literature of hope. The present status of the literature of hope makes this the only truthful treatment. The only realistic literature of hope that we have is as yet an almost hopelessly incoördinated mass of raw materials. We may call it a "literature" of hope only by courtesy. It would, for instance, be an easy matter to compile a list of titles for a "five-foot shelf" of the literature of despair, because the literature of despair has been written down in terms of clear-cut generalizations and confident prophecies, the authors of which have consciously set themselves to the task of predicting the future of Western civilization. The literature of despair is essentially a literature of prophecy based upon an analysis of what is happening and what is likely to happen to our civilization because we have run into certain biological, psychological, economic, political, administrative, and moral blind alleys. The literature of hope is not a literature of prophecy at all. It is simply the as yet incoördinated collection of all the new ideas, new ideal

isms, and new spiritual values that have been thrown up as by-products of the sciences, philosophies, and practical adventures of the modern mind, which, if we had the wit and will and technic to use wisely in the rearing of our families, the administering of our schools, and the running of our governments, industries, and professions, might close the door to a new dark ages and open the door to a new renaissance. Thus we see that our real literature of hope has not been written by optimistic prophets; it has been written by men who may not have been at all concerned with speculations about the future of civilization, but by men who are animated primarily by the itch to know.

Modern biology has thrown up a few ideas that represent biology's net contribution to the social and spiritual future of civilization, a few ideas that we have not yet taken seriously either in our social policies or in our personal lives. What are these ideas? I shall not, as a layman, presume to say. That question must be answered by some man in whom a knowledge of biology and a flair for social leadership meet and merge. Modern psychology has likewise made its contribution to the social and spiritual future of civilization. So has economics. So has sociology. So has the science of administration. So have the men who have given their lives to the study of ethics. So have all the sciences and philosophies. So have all the practical adventures in politics, in industry, and in the professions. If we could ferret out these creative and germinal ideas and list them, we would have an inventory of the raw materials of renaissance.

are to-day buried under the jargon of technical scholarship. Many of them are still under the exclusive patronage of cloistered intellectuals. They are insulated from fruitful contact with our common life. And just as long as we allow these tonic ideas and energizing ideals and creative spiritual values to lie unused in the corners of obscure laboratories, in the far-from-the-world philosopher's closets, and in the brains of more or less inarticulate scholars, our common life will be captured by catchwords, ruled by snap judgments, and rifled by special interests.

There is going on to-day throughout the civilized world a high-tensioned conflict between what H. G. Wells has described as "very powerful social and political traditions" and "a spreading tide of new knowledge and an unprecedented onrush of new inventions that are entirely incompatible with these social and political traditions that still dominate men's minds."

It is in this "spreading tide of new knowledge" and in this "unprecedented onrush of new inventions" that we must look for our literature of valid hope. We can get along without smiling prophets of a golden age to come if we can only find the men and women who will uncover and thrust into the stream of popular thought these new ideas, these new idealisms, and these new spiritual values upon the use or disuse of which the future of Western civilization depends. Their use will spell renaissance. Failure to use them will spell dark ages.

The determination and formulation of this literature of hope is a primary task for the leadership of the next half-century. I shall undertake to state next month some of the problems Unfortunately, many of these ideas that leadership is likely to face.

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