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The next. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks again. They are documented. Every member would change during the next few. Thanks. National Education radio presents a series of programs expressing a variety of opinions on the future of the democratic environment. These views were given at the 50th year conference of the American Institute of planners held in Washington in October of last year. In attendance was any our public affairs director Bill Greenwood. This is the fifth in our 13 week discussion of America's needs during the
next half century. This week we focus on the subject of a future filled with change presentations will include the needs of technology population concentrations and the expectations of American youth to speak on those subjects are author Max Lerner socio economist Robert Thiel bald physicist Herman Kahn philosopher Emmanuel ji Meschini and an exclusive interview with sociologist Carl Gunnar Mirrorball. I'll have more detailed information on all these experts in a moment. Now a word about our first distinguished speaker he is Max Lerner author teacher journalist. He is professor of American civilization and world politics at Brandeis University. Mr. Lerner has traveled as a journalist and scholar to almost every part of the world is well-known newspaper column appears three
times a week in The New York Post. It is widely syndicated He is author of dozens of books including America as a civilization. Michael Lerner is thus uniquely qualified to discuss America's needs during the next 50 years. After listening to Mr. Ose me and Mr. Wright media predecessors. And particularly the complimentary remarks they made about tired old men. I am not insensitive to a mathematical calculation that I made while they were talking and that is that I am at least double the age of either of them. My only comment would be 100 marks Baber were made when he found himself in political discussions with his students in my march Germany. And when Dave called there you
sound him. His only comment was that what counted was not chronological age what counted was. The will to make an exacting analysis with an unyielding critical intelligence. I would add to that that what really counts is how deeply experience has bitten into you and what you make of that experience. And I have been. I've been most interested in listening to my predecessors show deferred to the kind of experience they have had into what they make of it. If you'll allow me I'm going to make a few comments about several of them and in the process I want to make a statement of my own of my own approach to the theme of this conference I want to start with Mr. Ogilvy. It was a very moving and impassioned
talk. I think he left a scar on his soul. What interested me particularly was the last part of it on the romanticism on the romantic. Very clearly we all feel an empathy with the statement of romanticism whether it be the romanticism of someone in love or the romanticism of someone who has a passionate feeling about social change. But I think one should say that there is a double aspect to experience. One has to do with the fact of power. The fact of the need to live together in a society with everything involved in all the integuments of the relationship. It was William James who said that the crucial difference between people was not between rich and poor are Republicans and Democrats are liberals and conservatives
or Christians and Jews are Catholics and Protestants that the crucial difference will between the tender minded and the tough minded. And what he meant by the tough minded was the willingness to face the reality principle wherever you might find it and not to recall from the reality principle. And so I say that part of the reality principle is the fact of power and the idea of power. And I can imagine no society including a society that Mr Ogilvy might help shape which would exclude the fact of power in the idea of power. Obviously there are societies the transfer of power from one group to another and obviously there are societies which decentralized power rather than centralized it. But the fact of power in the idea of power is there and when you have it you have an establishment and when you have it you have a power structure. Now the second thing is that in addition to the idea of power there is the power of the idea. And that is just important in facing the reality principle as the idea of power. And this is one reason why this conference
obviously is called on the people it has called on especially the young people because it is they who are renewing our sense of the power of the idea that you are questioning whether or not our ideas are today adequate for the purposes that we have in mind in our society. Now if you do this I have perfectly willing to accept those who care deeply and passionately about the power of the idea and if they will care about it romantically except I must add as a student of the history of ideas and that if you trace says a number of scholars have done. The idea of political romanticism all the way from Rousseau in modern European Western history trace it down finally to the Nazis. And you do trace it down finally to hero Shimon the use of the bomb and it would seem that is basically the idea of romanticism means the unlimited and unqualified submission to the overarching importance of some idea. May I say the Nazis too had it
just as our political romantics the Jeffersonian has had it. You see it is quite possible if you submit yourself completely without limits to some overarching idea it is quite possible as Hannah Arendt has pointed out that you wind up where the Nazis ended up. You end up by saying that any means is usable in reaching that idea and for that reason what I found most comforting in what Mr Ogleby said or his very perceptive words about the relationship of means to end. But I think that always needs to be added that there is not only the ethos of the purpose of the objective there is also the ethos of the means and it is the ethos of the means which today may be perhaps even more important than the ethos of the purpose in our society because the description that Mr. Ogilvy gave us. Our world and the description that Mr Khan gave us of our history wanted a historical overview of the other did a kind of spatial contemporary overview indicates that there are ample
instances of man's inhumanity to man. And given the kind of instinctual drives that do operate in our in our psyches in our own countries given those instinctual drives we need to care very deeply about the way in which those instinctual drives are released. We need to care very deeply about the extent to which we do build some kind of restraints for the means that are you. In this sense what ultimately matters very much whether you're talking about technology you're talking about power or anything else what matters very much is the question of ethos which in this conference we've been talking about under the category of values and I'd like to make a few statements of my own position on this. We've been talking of course about change and interesting think about the changes in America is that they have been largely on planned revolutionary changes that have been taking place in our contemporary America have even often been perceived. Certainly they have not been controlled and we
confront them no more and more accelerated pace. We confront them at this pace and what is our task. I would say our task is to ride the whirlwind and command the storm comes from the eighteenth century which has been prayers this evening comes from Madison but it still applies it applies more than ever to ride the whirlwind and command the storm but how but how. Oh let me make a series a proposition one that there is no built in ethos in a technology. And to be sure Mr Mr Khan did give certain areas certain areas of what problem areas in technology which are more dangerous and more vulnerable than others. Seven problem areas but even about those I would say that there is no built in ethos in the technology itself. The ethos must always be imposed by us in the process of controlling it. The best instance I know is that of Norbert Wiener
whose book cybernetics represented the beginning of a good deal of our modern technology and we know we're very conscious of the kind of consequences that would flow from cyber cybernetics and the computer of which he was perhaps the father or certainly the stepfather. But he regarded as more important book that he wrote more important than cybernetics to be a book that he called the human use of human beings. Just been published in paperback. Because what he tried to say in that book is that given the consequences of cybernetics the crucial thing is how we use technology for human being which means what kind of ethos what kind of values we impose upon it which means it is true as I say that certain technologies carry a special vulnerability with them. Bugging for example nuclear weapons for example data banks perhaps I'm not sure what I've said still goes. Secondly as I've listened I've sort of vacillated between those speakers who had optimism and those who did
not. And I remembered the experience I've had on a number of occasions when I talk to college groups and others they say are you an optimist or a pessimist learner. As you look at the future and I say what do you think this is the stock market. You think we're talking about the gyrations of stocks on the market it is not in our stars it is in ourselves that we shape our future. I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist I am a possibilities. I believe it will be possible to contain some of the consequences of technology and human psychology of the human instinctual drives. I do not but think it is guaranteed. I think it would be possible to resolve a number of these problems it is not guaranteed. Certainly there is ample reason for a rather dark look at the future. Remember the fire next time Jimmy Baldwin's The Fire Next Time. We've heard a good deal about how that fire might burst out maybe it is the fire from without the war or the bomb or the fire
from within either inner city riots or the dehumanizing of Man by technology. If we're talking about the fire from within perhaps it's better to say instead of the fire within perhaps the ice within because we're talking of human emotions that are congenial to trade I see a hundred. I recall Robert Frost poem some say the world will end in fire some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice I think I know enough with hate to know that for destruction ice is also great and will suffice. And as I look at the world around me I see both the both the fire and the ice. I think there are very few optimists that are heard anymore except perhaps in the existential sense that we go and on the assumption that the years ahead are not going to wipe us out. But when we articulated there are very few that are optimists. When I say my own
stance is that of a possible lists I think that we can make the kind of decisions if we keep our options open which will enable us to make some claim to survival. Third that the claims of the future by young people are crucial and here I must say I identify very strongly with the feeling that both Mr Ogleby and Mr. Brown gave us. I recall a statement by a friend of mine Carol asking one of the intellectual leaders of the Labor Party since died. He said when the leaders of the people asked their followers to die for a dream those followers have a right to know in whose behalf the dream of being. He was of course talking primarily of the disinherited he was talking primarily of the poor. He was talking primarily of the ethnic minority groups. Perhaps if you were saying it now if he were living now he would also talk of the young and they are asking this question in whose behalf is the dream being dreamt and I think it's a very valid question to be at
in every society at the very core of the society there is a dream in the sense of a social myth. I use a known surreal sense not necessarily false and not necessarily true but something which whether false or true does actually movement to actions and passions social Mitton that sense a dream in that sense and there has been a dream at the heart of the American experience and there's no question but that that dream has been eroded to a very considerable extent and the question is how do you renew it. And at this point I'm must make my fourth statement and that is you do not new renew it by becoming true believers whether you become true believers in the New Left power or true believers in black power or true believers in what Governor Reagan's idea that we must use our total technology in the Vietnam war not excluding nuclear weapons or true believers and whatever else it might be. You do not resolve this by becoming true believers who believe that they have a pipeline to God Ortiz jury.
Of course you need commitment and the whole problem of growing up the whole problem of education whether in the family or the schools or the universities. The whole problem is how to find the line between commitment on the one hand and a true believer destructive fanaticism on the other. And don't let's kid ourselves in thinking that we can resolve the problem by catchwords we cannot know that we can resolve the problem by organizations itself we cannot. And if I have any kind of criticism Mr. Oak is being I must say it isn't much. It is that there is so much emphasis on a particular age group on a particular political movement rather than an emphasis on points of view to be taken toward the society whether by younger old whether by left or moderates whether by Republicans or Democrats whatever it may be. Here again I must say one other thing I don't care about the power structure in the establishment as such but I care very much about our society. I don't mean our society nevertheless but a society. What
I'm really trying to say is that the social fabric is a very delicate thing that it can very easily be broken if you don't believe it. Think back to what happened to Germany the greatest educational system in European history the greatest science the greatest technology the greatest religionist and all the rest. Poetry and the remand movement missed girl goes beyond the very heart of the romantic movement in 18th and 19th century European intellectual and literary history the romantic movement and look what happened to them and what happened to them was exactly because they cared so desperately much about creeds and dogmas like the idea of racism or like the transfer of power from a decadent Weimar Republic to something that would be young and energetic young and energetic. And they did not care about the human connection the link that ties man to man and I do care about fundamental change and I would like to see governmental power decentralized
and I would even call myself an anarchist in the sense that I believe that the crucial fundamental problem of change may well be the creation of autonomous groups toward which power will be able to devolve a genuine devolution of power from centralized watch centralized economic bodies political bodies educational bodies and all the rest. I believe one of our problems is gigantic because I'm one of our problems is over centralization of power. But I would say that we should be terribly careful not to resolve those problems by destroying the fabric of the society itself and the connection of man to man. Now let me illustrate what I mean. It took me about 10 years to write a book called America's a civilization I finished about 10 years ago. I was really writing it in the 1950s when I was writing my section on ethnic minorities in America. The whole pluralistic assemblage of ethnic groups one of the things I said was why there was conflict between them. It could be said of the American
experience as probably of no other experience in history that all these incompatible groups had many so far to live together without killing each other. If I were revising that today I couldn't use that statement because we have been killing each other on the streets black and white for no earthly purpose that can be called a purpose. That would square with any kind of ethos. We have been killing each other because the instinctual drives both in black and white very great. And because each of them evokes a kind of polarizing from the other and the enemy is polarizing in this sense. This is one of the things that I mean when I say that we better tread very very carefully because the floor below and the walls around us and the ceiling above us they are all made of the kind of freedoms and the kind of human connection for which we have striven over the centuries not just in
America but in the whole of human history we have striven to tame the deep destructive instinctual drives don't let's release them not simply because of some kind of true believer fanaticism. Problem is not black power anymore the problem is white power problem a shared power for all of us. And in that sense I go very much with the idea of a participatory democracy. The problem is not black anger or white anger the problem is human anger. And here too it is something that ministers all of us. And if I make may make one final comment on this and to comment on Mr. Ogleby paper I hope you won't mind. While he was reading in this really quite elevated way with with every addition and very moving way I couldn't help thinking of a recent conference that was held in Chicago. It was a conference for a new politics and there was a group there that represented the New Left I don't know how well but it did represent the New Left. And there was a group representing black
power and the majority group representing the white New Left passed a resolution saying that it would accept anything that the Black Caucus would propose to them because it cared so deeply about having some kind of popular base of Negro power in whatever coming elections there would be this whole thing gave me a sense of an Orwellian nightmare. I say this not because Mr Opus B shares this I don't know like I'm sure he doesn't nor is responsible for it. Oh Mr. Brown I'm sure I say it simply because these are the things that are the actuality rather than the things we talk about in our elevated way. And we have to deal with the actualities too. And finally. If it is which Mr. Khan mention which must be mention another the whole youth movement. I think I would draw a sharper distinction than Mr. Ogilvy and Mr. Khan between two elements of the youth movement. One is the activist and the
other the non activist Mr. Ogilvy seems to put them together. To me they seem to be very different. One represents an intense desire for participation in the whole political process an effort to effect a transfer of power and effort to shape society in institutional terms closer to our heart's desire. The other represents a withdrawal not only. Value structure but from active participation entirely a preoccupation with the drug culture a preoccupation with the erotic culture and a good deal more. In this sense I would say that there are two movements in America today. I would myself say if I may say so that the New Left does not represent as much innovation as the hippie movement that the activist movement is much more traditional part of the past with relatively little that is actually new if you look at the history of the past whereas the hippie movement or the pro bowl movement if you wish and in Holland does represent new elements and new elements seem to me to be a genuine challenge to the total value structure
of our society and indeed of the West. In that sense I take it very seriously. I am not terribly impressed by the way one tenth of the iceberg that sticks out above the surface which so many of the television people in the newspaper people and so on are impressed with with the curious clothes and all the rest. Curious way is the flowers the beads and so on but I am impressed with the knowing that is underneath the nine tenths of the iceberg which is underneath. And I think this does effect a very large portion of American youth and I know it among my own students and I know that as I've travelled among on university campuses for a good while and for me the crucial thing about this is the rejection of what the acquisitive the power element. Security the whole race for money of the rat race the rejection of all of these and the rejection also of the idea that respectability is what counts and the rejection also by the way of the notion of achievement and project. This is a
very fundamental challenge and the emphasis is what on love. And while I don't take that and with entire What with 100 percent seriousness I think there's enough seriousness in that for me to say that one of the things that has been happening in America both among young and middle aged and perhaps elderly in recent years it seems to me to represent an element of real possibility in the future is a genuine breakthrough in terms of the whole erotic experience in terms of codes of courtship in terms of codes of love making sexual relations and so on in terms of erotic literature in terms of the way in which young people and older people as well look at the question of human relations not in power terms but in love terms and why do I regard that as somewhat hopeful. Because I go back to one of the things Freud said when he said that ultimately the human destiny will be determined by the struggle between what between Eros and cannot DOS. Between love and death between whatever there is in us which is expressive in
emotional terms in creative emotional terms and whatever there is in us which is tight which is really oriented toward death. And if I may end on this note and not deliberately on an optimistic note I don't mean to but because this I this is one element I see around me which gives me a feeling of real possibility ahead. The stress today in the entire movement of young people and older ones as well is emotional expressiveness. And when you have emotional expressiveness I think that the dangers of the break out of the instinctual destructive drives is much less wars and oppressions and dictatorships have not come in societies that were emotionally expressive. They come in societies that were quite locked in and expressive in societies which in one way or another were Puritan societies where you can get this kind of emotional expressiveness you may be able to be of use your intelligence national intelligence collective intelligence collective will say the ethos of
objectives in the ethos of methods you know in a much more expressive way as I've traveled around the country recently I find people asking me a question more and more. They say Mr. Lerner up in space up there in space do you think there's intelligent life up there in space. Do you think we'll ever be able to communicate with intelligent life in space. And I say that's a question of great importance but I have another question of a higher order of importance much more important to me not is there intelligent life up there in space. But is there intelligent life down here on Earth. That was author teacher Max Lerner. As we present the comments of many distinguished observers scholars and leaders their comments all intended to provide an intellectual discourse on America's needs for planning to meet the challenges of the next half century. I'm prime consideration in future planning is the field of sociology and economics. Our next guests will
address himself to those subjects. He is Dr. Robert Theo Balt born and raised in India educated at Cambridge University as well as Harvard University. His works have been widely read and widely studied. He shares that knowledge with us now. Here is Dr. Robert Theo bald. The first and it seems to me the simplistic view that you have had was given to you by Hermann Khan. Thank you. The wound gets bigger and bigger. And bigger and bigger. If I had ten minutes I could go up. This is nonsensical. It contradicts everything we know about anthropology psychology sociology and any other social science discipline cultures made by their
environments. And to conclude that you can continue to change the environment for another 50 years at the pace that he suggests without fundamental change in the culture is as I said nonsensical. Just consider for one moment seriously that figure of the increase in computer power which if I remember right was either 1 billion or 1 trillion. The next you haven't had too much of but which is very much inherent in the overall pattern is a statement that because of Mr. Carleton's status and because it represents the establishment stance nothing is going to be done.
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The next fifty years
A Future Filled With Change, pt. II
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For series info, see Item 3455. This prog.: A Future Filled With Change, part II. Max Lerner, Robert Theobald.
Social Issues
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