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From the Great Hall of the Cooper Union in New York City. National Educational radio presents the Cooper Union forum series on peace love and creativity the hope of mankind. Here now is the chairman of the Cooper Union forum Dr. Johnson a fair child. Well. You. Know where we are. Like most of us Landry director Mr. Landry has appeared here in the Cooper Union before but I am still going to mention the very background and countries of the world who happens to come
from Rob Harbor Brown University. Do you know a great deal of his life in the Foreign Service. Then many years of Burma Indonesia has covered all of the countries of Asia have probably been over more over Burma than Burma Road and so forth. Most people now are privileged to be alive and I don't see it as a background of the problem of the United States in particular has worked in the fore. Service educational institution of Georgetown and sort of the right background and very delighted result in you Mr. Lionel Landry director of the Rangers society. Mr. Levy.
Thank you Mr Fetzer. From Asia which has been the area where Mr. Fairchild has particularly accenting let me walk to his workplace which of and for a moment the scene of a small hotel dining room. The characters are too well to do American lady tourists sitting at one table and the form I had master of the beaver country days ago near Boston who is incidentally the author of a story he was reading one of the Geneva newspapers that the two ladies were chattering until one of them said all right do you know what drives the other one said Oh up close of oil. Nonsense said the first American matron. Let's get that man over there closer. These European men never do anything. Their women are much too good for them. She said I'll get him to close the
door and then she raised her voice and shouted unmistakably at this man. And what might be called Frank she said Horace. And as the gallant headmaster from Boston got up to close the door he overheard her saying we've got to teach these people a thing or two don't we. He enjoyed a secret trial however because on his way back he instead of going back to his table in his newspaper which was a French newspaper obviously he sidled up to these two ladies with what he considered to be a devil a sort of look and said I speak english little bead and walked out. Now I'm out of the way. Another hotel the Strand Hotel in Rangoon times nine hundred fifty three. Americans against great odds at the height of what was then a very bitter cold war
with the Soviet Union were working very hard with very few resources to win something of a political friendship with the Union of Burma. I had a small and very talented staff who were very much interested obviously in accomplishing their mission in making friends for you know the United States in a country which had had no relations with Americans before it had been a British colony. We were visited I recall online extremely imperious Washington hostess who came armed with letters from John to dollars and she expected every one from the ambassador on down to jump at her bidding and we get this of course made us feel that Catherine the Great might have been a very kind person. My deputy and I went to pick her up at the Strand to take her out to the airport it was a Saturday evening when Rangoon was usually swinging and we found her in gate in a very deep and loud and bitter quarrel with the
room clerk of the hotel. It turned out that her allergy proof pillows life hadn't been returned from the laundry. When I heard the tenor of the argument and when I recalled with Brad that there was a barrel pointed ceiling over the lobby of the Strand which made an echo. Of every piece of conversation in this particular area I went up to him and said. We'll send you your allergy proof pillows level in New Delhi. We are going to be next. And she said no no that's not the point. We've got to teach these people a thing or two haven't we. Well naturally one Kramer's particularly realizing that the lobby of the Strand was crowded with precisely the kinds of people that my deputy my staff and I had been trying very hard to persuade that Americans were not really monsters. I'm not a very quick witted person but my deputy was and to the extent of that situation
could be say he saved by going up to the room and saying in a sort of stage whisper that she couldn't hear. Having gone off to count her luggage do you know who that woman is. And when the clerk said angrily No my deputy's side she is the sister of the Soviet ambassador. Now the point of all of these tales is to illustrate the overwhelming sense of urgency that Americans have to teach. We are in fact a nation of teachers. The words how to have replaced In God We Trust as a national motto we have supreme confidence in our knowledge and know what we do with your work and help thanking us for all I've been up presented by our pupils may be involuntary captive but students they are and the darker the students can know who we are we feel.
And quite naturally the more gratitude we expect for our noblesse. After handling reports a particularly compelling instance of this attitude in describing the cultural shock that was visited upon the worthy citizens of the city of Boston and in 1903 whenever their city became a mecca for refugees from the great famines in Ireland. The Irish to begin with were poor. In a society where wealth and status were a sign of a predestined election and salvation this was a rather unsettling thing. The Imus were known to be fond of the roster too. They gamble and they drank. And what's worse they sometimes drank on Sunday. Clearly something had to be done. Barton's Grauman's reacted in a way which has since become characteristic of
Americans whenever they are confronted with the same situation. They built hospitals and schools for the with people and they gave them jobs and they set up scholarships at Boston Latin and even at Harvard. But they also went forth. Blue laws and they force the Sabbath to be observed the moment it was not necessarily compassion is my point. The motive was as handlin says to make them like us. And today we still do the same thing now. Most of mankind today is Asian. We have the world's most powerful nation but the Asians form the world's most populous group and day by day they are becoming more selfish. We like the old Brahmins are in control but they are fast becoming so numerous and the fact of their existence is so upsetting that we react
automatically and set out to take them over to make them like us. The Agency for International Development aid as it's called in Washington recently sent out questionnaires to its staff and yet now asking about the state of playgrounds in Saigon and the level of their maintenance by the government of South Vietnam. Our assistance for some of the imperiled universities of South Vietnam now meant lose considerable money for the development of courses in home economics in the context of a very serious war. Our indifference to the use of these playgrounds as a possible organization points for the Vietcong Youth Brigade for that matter. What is it you or of even from government use you. Seems to
me to be queen at the very very back. It seems to me the political reality would make playgrounds terribly important. Under wartime conditions political sites organisation and not merely as the reason for asking questions about the levels of the magnets from public money in Vietnam. And as far as the home economics is concerned I wonder how soon apple pie and hamburgers will become staples in Saigon as a result of our particular efforts to save the universities of Southeast Asia and Vietnam in this particular instance. There are to be sure some very valuable projects which we are trying to make successful in Vietnam to win the other war that is to say in which our administration is trying to encourage a basic social revolution for the betterment of Vietnamese life in general. But the
fact that such matters as levels of maintenance of playgrounds and home economics are considered so important does lead to the awkward feeling that we're more interested in teaching them to be like us than in helping them to reach goals which are desirable in the light of their own aims and honorable institutions. Tradition values and happiness most of mankind as I say is Asian. Our academic scholars are trying hard in today's Africa international understanding systematically to analyze the societies of Asia. More often than not however as Americans we find ourselves analyzing our own shadow. We project our own values our own systems our own kinds of goals into Asian minds our own mistakes as well. I naturally can come away only
baffled by all this. Spirit is really what we are doing is endowing more chairs at Harvard and setting up more scholarships at Boston Latin. This was true not only for Vietnam of course but for Indonesia for a living for all of Asia and we are heartbroken as a nation when we find so little gratitude we fire back with hurt feelings without hardly consoling feeling that virtue is its own reward. Nations it is sad. Use my will in their cooking. What they have most of that is the Franks use butter. The Italians use tomatoes and the British used water. The same could be said I think of our foreign policy in our foreign policy. We use money which is what we have most of and we have maybe a deal of it. Winston Churchill once said that America is truly the most generous nation on earth.
Yet we saw them enough here ourselves extolled in this manner and we have to come to the suspicion that if Churchill understood this it's probably only because he was happened that I can himself. Most others however don't measure generosity in terms of amounts. The human intent the style of the jester and his truly compassionate motivation are the standards by which an act of generosity is jobs at least in Asia and very possibly in all other parts of the world as well. Generosity motivated by efforts to reduce our own apprehensions of our own fears is quickly seen through and though it's accepted with polite formalities and. They quickly turn to go in the sole of the receiving donor and recipient. Ultimately in the words of an International
Monetary Fund official donor and recipient become victims of bilateral fatigue. Now nations like people resent being made over you know Boston Irish today feel particularly indebted to the families of Boston of the 1860s and you nations in Asia today feel particularly indebted to the United States. The people of the Philippines who have received what we consider a large class for over 60 years will soon turn on their generous American migrants and in an excess perhaps of Nash. All pride and nationalist sentiment will turn on us because I think it's predictable largely because of the style of our approach to the Philippines. Americans as a result will over act and be for another 10 years. I think we can predict a very acute political and diplomatic break or it's not a
break. Very serious tensions between ourselves and the Philippines. But after years of receiving American aid military and economic decided herself not to continue receiving aid from us she found that what we were giving generously with the one hand with our policy in hand in foreign relations we were also interfering with her own domestic affairs in such a way that she could no longer stand honorably to receive our money. President Sukarno just came right out and said To hell with you all right. Literally these were his exact words not usually associated with those of a responsible head of state. By this time however he had received 600 million dollars worth. Our present ambassador in Indonesia seems to want to put our relations on a different basis and a new regime in Indonesia may allow this to happen. But the fact remains that for many years our style of giving in Indonesia was so bad that it practically
negates the psychological benefits of pragmatic pragmatists might have expected from such a large and generous donation. Thailand which is very vital right now to the national interest of the United States has also been the recipient of a very sizable military and economic as assessed as it goes into a flow of 50 million dollars a year yet to give it. We are in fact destroying Thailand's big city cultural patterns and inviting conservative counter action. At the very top of Thailand social structure neighboring Cambodia under Prince Sihanouk also receive much military and economic aid from us. Yet today Cambodia remains isolated from the United States and our two countries have no diplomatic relations. Well Asia is fortunately relatively enlightened of British colonial practices and the industriousness of
many of her people have led to a comparative prosperity which indicates to American policymakers at least that Malaysia doesn't really need any foreign assistance on any particular scale. This may prove to be Malaysia's salvation. What's wrong with our team in Asia. What's wrong with foreign policy there. Why doesn't our generosity yield results. And there you have the question. Why doesn't our generosity result. The answer is very simple because in expecting results we prove that our generosity is not generosity. This might well be a theme from every Berne's Games People Play. And I resentment could probably be called a game like. After all I've done for you. It's a game that's been played by American
missionaries in the past and which is now being played unfortunately by American policy makers as well. We are in fact not being generous. We are trying to make a point and I was over in two Brahmans again not for their welfare so much as for our own survival. Asians are not who they know. Boston was not a large city in the 1860s and the world is not a large planet today. Foreign countries have become just so many more metropolitan neighborhoods. Only a subway ride away. We must put a new infrastructure under our relations with these countries in Asia in particular. Ah point of departure must be the Asian human me in the setting of his traditional culture his age old patterns of interpersonal relations an obligation his social and moral values his needs and expectations as to be found in a
family in which he dwells. Of which he had. Or again in a very painful conflicts which surround him. Between the impact of the new twentieth century technology on the one hand or on the other. His desire to hang on to the values which have made his society a viable human unit in the past. Let's take a look a closer look at a case history of. Burma has what is undoubtedly Asia's most really deeply Buddhist culture. Burma and the Burmese have deeply instilled in that notions of the Vanities the things of the world of the folly of accumulating possessions of the doom that awaits anyone who is attached to status symbols or material possessions fleshly joys and bodily comforts. Such a
society accumulates No well obviously in the capitalistic sense of the word. It does not invest any capital it does not pay insurance premiums it does not buy automobiles and it does not set up a lavish home. Education is respected but not as a means of making money or making yourself a pile later on. Education has its purpose in this Buddhist society. The ennobling of the human mind the freeing of the human person from the Vanities the illusions and the shadow which beset acquisitive man. Education is what will help a man change his karma his fate his destiny. So as to enable him and successive generations to become first among an abbot a Buddha and finally to enter into nirvana.
Buddhist compassion is universally taught and it's quite often practiced which is quite surprising for most religious as it's a compassion toward all living things. Despite the fact that there are many crimes of violence among the Burmese and Burmese males are quite addicted to homicide. Their crimes are not premeditated however and if the crimes of violence. Nobody could accuse them of being crimes of viciousness. In order to make points to change this comma the Buddhist does away with everything he offers. Or if he accumulates money it is to build up a goat up a goat which has been called a finger pointing into the sky to remind the passer by that he must perform deeds which will release him from his earthly train and which will remind all passers by of their obligations in order to
gain their own salvation. They have to practice the pagodas constantly remind them of the virtues preached in the trip again. They don't only build the gully in front of your house you will put out an earthenware jar full of cool water on a sort of small shelf covered with facts so that the weary passer by can slake his thirst take a cooling drink in the hot tropical sun. You will build a bridge across a small stream and this bridge will keep the traveller from getting his feet wet. You gain merit by doing that. Also when you have performed one of these good deeds you go to the pagoda platform a go to has no inside is not a temple where you worship. It's a solid structure which is a memorial more than anything else. You go to the pagoda platform and they're picking up an antler horn which is
on a stand you strike the great bronze bell and as you strike the bell you say may hear this bell. Sure in America which I have just accumulated by my good deed this loving kindness is called and is the basis of the civilizations of the Buddhist countries of Asia. Now what happens when the 20th century with its desire for schools steel mills dams electrical plants comes into a country which practices and yet time but does not accumulate money set up and capitalize large insurance companies or keep banks going. This is not to say it's an unsophisticated culture. The Burmese who learns English is at home on Park Avenue in Mayfair in Paris. This
is not a primitive society. It's an extremely sophisticated society. But what happens when technology comes at you. You soon find at the beginning that machines from a political system hums and economic system comes but then suddenly in 1960 61 62 everything comes to a halt. Prices are inflated. Money is in short demand in short supply. You find that Mills don't run factories don't run exports unavailable everything that can go wrong with a modern society goes wrong. What's happened. A noted economist named Louis Wilensky in a study of Burma's economic development in the last decade came to the conclusion that when technology and traditional cultures are in conflict in the first instance it is the technology that must you. But he said that in 1962 after the collapse of the economy the
political systems after a new military regime at banished or imprison anyone who would think independently after the economy became a completely and rigidly state economy. To the extent which horrified even the Chinese and the Russian observers who were seeing this neo-Marxist experiment. To the extent that the political system was abruptly changed the constitution was abrogated. The civil court of the several The Supreme Court was abolished the civil service was abolished. None of the political institutions which had been built up in the years since independence in 1948 remained.
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Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind
Most of mankind, part one
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the first part of a lecture by Lionel Landry, director, The Asia Society.
Series Description
This series presents lectures from the 1968 Cooper Union Forum. This forum's theme is Peace, Love, Creativity: The Hope of Mankind.
Media type
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Speaker: Fairchild, Johnson E.
Speaker: Landry, Lionel
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-10-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:26:50
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Chicago: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Most of mankind, part one,” 1968-01-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
MLA: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Most of mankind, part one.” 1968-01-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <>.
APA: Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Most of mankind, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from