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Man and the multitude this University of Illinois Centennial symposium presented by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences studies contemporary man poised between past and future and between isolation and community of the world. Guest speakers and panel members comment on the conflicting forces which push men apart from others. And into communion with others. Lectures in this series will be followed by discussions involving speakers visiting professors and University of Illinois faculty members as well as interested students. Our speaker Peter Varick is professor of European and Russian history at Mount Holyoke College. He has also taught at Harvard University. Smith College and the University of Cincinnati. He has an international reputation as a poet and has published several volumes. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for terror and the courtroom in 1909. He has also written a strike through the mask. The
first morning the persimmon tree and the tree which is works in history include Metta politics the roots of the Nazi mind the unadjusted man a new hero for Americans. And conservatism from John Adams to Churchill. Mr. Brick will now speak on the fight for creativity and personality in a machine. Now there's nothing like being up to date in a talk and not giving the same old stuff an I have in front of me a couple of newspaper clippings of Alaska. And maybe I'll read them without comment and then elucidate and breads I'm president of. The student of today. Is inherently suspicious of the integrity of any organized human affidavit is all going to suspicious.
I remember when I was in the Soviet Union my police interest would say a lot time so I organized breakfast. I'm glad American students are suspicious of anything that. Isn't that simple Obviously the problem is one where I'm a technological society where everything. Is ruled by the individual is there for the machine and it's not just any machine and machines in the 19th century but it's now become part of the machine this is the worst betrayal the worst treason of the clerks it isn't doing a chamber of commerce Eagle Scouts and intellectuals are part of a communications literature. It's part of the machine.
When Khrushchev the next day the state radio the state television and the editors of his vest were replaced in the old who controlled the country for the Army and the police. Now we separate things that I think. Why is it not so simple. It is not being for or against technology. If you have to be pushed around. But if you are against technology not in a defensible position because if you are against technology you want millions to start here because. Against mosquitoes are you against roads in the jungles against more efficient crops. Either way I put it this way.
That there are two stereo genes involved in one or two stages or maybe in certain countries harboring in between. And they are. First. And must be saved by technology and those that don't have it and want it it's no use telling the people the technology is a pain in the alienated in America we can't solve it it's no use telling them because they have such a high infant mortality and they're starving. So the first stage of mankind is to be saved by technology and this is the gentleman and it's Axel and I'm not allowed to even want to smash machines and you've got to accept them. But you've got to accept. So that's the first ages that has to be said. We'll be back with the good
and everything. But then there's a second stage technology technology. I would begin to. Think of all the babies whose lives would be road building. But once you get. Traction production three point two then the next stage is to be saved. Technology because our people happy Americans young Russian rebels. The second stage is you have the
delusion you have something called alienation you have students at Berkeley saying as a multi university you can see which is faceless. There's no more dignity of the individual there. Stage 1 is also stage one. Stage 1 stage 2 in wanting to be saved. Technology since the rest of my stage. The reason I mention Stage one is that I want to play into the hands of reaction against any machine. It's to repudiate them that I say there is a time to be saved by technology Africa but not here. In America in every technique kept coming across every every economic system found in an American or Russian
pasta. There's a guerrilla underground movement against the mechanization of man. This whole secession of the use of young people who just say we know all that they're right and this isn't abuse is based on the mechanisation of man they know what the elders are saying doesn't it doesn't come from here it's not real. No no government the world exists anymore there was a time when you could have a larger role in the Middle Ages it was an evil view. Good do you have an intimate personal relationship with him. Is that possible. When I grew is Doppler television. And his speeches are written on the basis of public opinion polls as to which interest group would be offended least. These are human beings every child human being anymore.
Have you not a multiverse of protesters left. Something is wrong. We've gone beyond Marxist and capitalist. Capitalism as Marx thought of socialism as capitalists when you when you don't own hand from beginning what you're doing.
This is the rub. There's no private pain. Because they have everything else everything else is organized and. The honest creative movement against the bureaucrats
and the private public. Technical progress would improve. And the private life is being fought for. Just imagine the creative world the only international left. That's the only thing that's left. Internationally broken up and says I'm tired of save the world for not being much heartfelt response but there is the end of the artist who protests against the busybodies who push around the bureaucrats who don't care about human dignity
but only about forms and current topic. So that is the fly thing for creativity not to bring it home to you to illustrate the difficulty college students face in the fight for privacy. Let me share with you unpublished and it's never been put into print which Robert Frost once told me about his own problems of college. He used to drop over to our house at Mount Holyoke College after giving his his monthly lectures and he told us he was many many years ago into a student fraternity and was told confidentially that only one factor was the exam. The fact that he took long walks in the south. In other words America's greatest poet of the future was caught red handed and gauging in us.
He was caught being an individual with an inner life of his own instead of the public machine life of joining the radio and television radio. He was courting an individual when they asked him what he did while rocking alone in the woods Robert Frost was not so foolish as to admit the truth that he was guilty of writing poetry. Instead he saved the day and won his fraternity acceptance by three. As I tried to say in the opening words of my book the unadjusted man. The fight today is for the private life public abstract. The over adjusted man knows only the public three of the
differing modes of creativity ledges and static. Intellectual have this in common. The individual does with his loneliness in an impersonal machine. The fight is to preserve the concrete the intimate the enough leeway to preserve the non non-news. To preserve the door idling in our lives whether as the creatively alone or simply as the life of the private the unapologetic fire. You know relate to works. Stop to look at a sunset. No way. It minutely in certain crises the fight is not only for the private life but also for the publicly embattled right to have a private life or mechanized societies adjusted but not equally so. Therefore the right to the private life in certain exceptional crises in certain exceptional crises of the private life has the duty
hardly to forego itself and its own partly free society in order abetted to preserve itself against a total tyranny next door. Yes but these are the exceptions never the first things first. Normally the fight is for the private life. The riches of the in a private life are greater than vows of gregarious. And mechanized herds. Do not dismiss these riches of the life as narcissistic selfishness. They benefit not only the dreaming individual box of society. Here's in a dream is the goose the endangered goose that lays society's golden eggs. And science as well as I. Think through with me the implications of the following quatrain from
Mt. Holyoke one time student and perhaps America's greatest poet Emily Dickinson. To make a prairie It takes a clover and one bee and. The reverie I will do. Feel. The day may come even for America when the bee is off you. The day may come when you need a mani. Then those of you who never steeped themselves in the inward facing disciplines namely. The arts and humanities and the religious and sides well learnt the inner riches of those whose reverie has conserved in values. In a mechanized way. Freedom is final advantage over totalitarianism. And the greater
imaginative resourcefulness of the this greater creativity overcomes the advantage in the regimented discipline. At first freedom. Then the current student best serve America's goal of peace and freedom today is it by rushing into the public life of abstract ideologies and sweeping solutions of life is it not by seeking a difficult private inwardness of a sense of concrete experience and the organic. The freeing of the. Creative imagination. Without the creative imagination a quality that grows not by public production figures but by its own laws. Without this creative imagination we will have no more
science and no more of that wisdom which is the prerequisite of solving such problems as peace. Well out in a creative liberty our political and economic liberty is precious as they are not enough. We can talk about freedom prosperity and democracy. With the tongues of us it is merely symbolism merely a Philistine abstraction if we use this wonderful American freedom and prosperity. But only to commit television or go to supermarkets. In contrast with ever more colleges today want to now. Is the applicant a good mix. A public relations grin a chock full of
leadership qualities. To any student reckless enough to ask streamlining advice I can only kind of why not for once. I have to be a bad mix our shockingly devoid of leadership qualities. A paradox to serve society was the end of our social significance predecessors of the 19th society yet we see from their discredited utopias of Stalin and so on. Stalin Hitler was a. We see from their discredited utopias that you harm society by making society your only go. And you help society by partly with drawing from. Your aims to help society are merely destructive magic unless
shaped by that perspective toward society which only an interlude of inward with can supply. Art and Literature provide the perspective gained by ivory tower with awe for more social insight. Then do the fashionable jogging expert social SEO rise as you know the kind of people. Societal dynamics of social change and so on. So the respective of withdrawal offers more insight than the experts social theorizes or even the unthinking activism the unthinking activism I might call the Red Guards cannot sign a burka. Because as a writer said in ancient literature holds a mirror.
It enables us to understand. And this we must do before presuming to understand and society. Every society before understanding himself but for having themselves which since the days of Terence have often true understanding to personal imagination and not just gives in but the imagination. Now. The solution is not some simple minded choice either. Every activist involved in both rowing they must alternate must be there with perspective but you mustn't stay with. I'm not I'm not getting
everything you want from several rides. But don't tell you've had the period it was. Examine your own experience. Create the world around you instead of abstract. And with anybody. I am fed up with this. No man is singing a song of social significance you get mixed up with things I would say it's about time. Yes and I want to be an island and after that if he's not an island he's a big busybody.
So I think the time has come to getting involved. And to point out that those who get involved in society as an insider. This is a society that needs a lot of anti-social people who are outsiders this sounds paradoxical. But you see society cannot survive without justice and truth and. Unwelcome justice unwelcome truth. Unpopular justice that is mobs and tyrants and McCarthyites and demagogues. That applies to the FI's clichés no way you're going to get these things which society needs. Not from the inside out but no man is an island. You'll get
these unwelcome truths from the alienated outsider. Who is an island. Who doesn't. Who gets outside of the picture and therefore can judge being on the outside and judging on the well popular truth I'm sad. The inside is too bound up for perspective therefore the box that you can only help society by being temporary not permanent. I want to put it differently. There are two ways attached horizontally and vertically. I'm arguing against the horizontal attachment to the side of today. Vertical
to the vertical or to the great classics the roots of the. So I'm for the succession of you from society. Not for the sake of some kind of adolescent radicalism down with everything but because of the verdict. From the horizontal and so on. If you are completely vertically and just being conformist and attached to everything of conformity is a mere nonconformity. Nor conformity of conformity to extremes of the
conformist. Conformist because the stereotype ritualistic just as the conformist it's a different set of the stereotype.
Traditional conformity. There's been a great America a few years ago. The key word was to blame everything from the Hall of China. Rock and the fad. Of course because it was on discriminating between solid and phony intellectuals. Now I think the faggotry just love that just because it works. It's what is the reason for the intellect. I would like to submit it is the Pan
American society. And waving the flag and so on. It was a luxury that could no longer be afforded. When the Soviets got their technicians to them ahead of us obviously needed something called. There was a great kind of love that intellect which we have in Southern California John Birchers and local school boards that get. Hard for them but not to the point of hemophilia because this is really not good is not right. Except that
Man and the multitude
Peter Viereck, part one
Producing Organization
University of Illinois
WILL Illinois Public Media
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the first part of a lecture by Peter Viereck, Mount Holyoke College and Pulitzer Prize winner, on "The Fight for Creativity and Personality in a Machine Age."
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A lecture series commemorating the centennial of the University of Illinois.
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Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
Speaker: Viereck, Peter, 1916-2006.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-41-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “Man and the multitude; Peter Viereck, part one,” 1967-11-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 13, 2022,
MLA: “Man and the multitude; Peter Viereck, part one.” 1967-11-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 13, 2022. <>.
APA: Man and the multitude; Peter Viereck, 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