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Right. Why didn't we know sooner that this might happen. I am afraid the people of my generation who worked in Burma before this are probably to blame for not knowing. We were ignorant we were ignorant of the modes through which a healthy syncretism might be achieved in the Buddhist mind between detachment from things of the world on the one side and the need for things of the world offered as a compassionate exercise of Muta. On the other. We spoke about sincerity in helping the Burmese people reach new levels of standards of living. We couldn't have spoken wider of the point. I will carry on I really did not compass the operator of words and concepts which would have had a real meaning to Burmese borders. We simply didn't know anything about ourselves and our
values and what we projected of ourselves namely our sincerity was the last thing that needed to be proved and what needed to be made available. We failed to provide. We thought that because we were speaking in English to graduates of Oxford Cambridge Harvard London. There we were speaking to people who had left their values and their cultures behind when they had gone to the United Kingdom or the United States. We treated them as though in fact somebody had research already succeeded in making them open in making them like us. Now I'm saying that in spite of the fact that nobody could fault our intentions. We studied the language. We could speak for me. It's a difficult language. We learned there are institutions we would sit cross-legged on mats all night watching the classical theater the classical opera the marionette shows to absorb some of the values which these people projected through that
some of us marry the women of this country who if I may borrow a well-known phrase from keep our joy forever. Still we didn't realize what we would have to connect in the Grammy's mind with what we were offering in a more tragic case. It might be pointed out that in the years 1953 54 55 and 56 decisions were being made about the future conduct of our relations with Vietnam in Washington by people who themselves today ruefully admit didn't know a word of Vietnamese had never read Vietnamese history. I had no idea of the extent to which Chinese Confucian values had actually come to rule that country for a thousand years. These were people who had not an ounce of
understanding of the habits and the traditions and the values of the Vietnamese people. They had an ounce of knowledge of the symbolic importance of ceremonial and ritual etiquette among people they hadn't an ounce of knowledge about the divisions between the urban mandarins of Vietnam and the dispossessed as those who roam the countryside having the least of their land by French Colonials. Then to clue of the duplicity of the Communists or the French colonials who each got rid of their enemies by denouncing to the other side the enemies of each one by betraying their whereabouts to the French police or to the Gullah Stalinist goon squads respectively. China is an even more tragic case if only because of its enormous magnitude. And I can promise you to China or mainland China of junk I shack and the new mainland China
amounted to on was based on a force but moving and at the time deeply persuasive romanticism. Today. We also have to add to this was romanticism. The ship maps that have become part of the American ethos on the one side we have William Randolph Hearst sprayers the yellow peril and to this has now been added the German got the concept of the Red Menace. So we have a double bogey man in communist China today a bogeyman which we might call the red yellow menace peril. We're deploying today and looking at China now as human resources and intellectual energy unmatched in the history of one nation's examination of another. China watchers in Hong Kong. I mean intelligence apparatus our scholars in the United States and elsewhere know more about the Chinese
than and this can truly be said than the Chinese know about themselves. The tragedy is that these Americans know nothing about America or Americans and they are often analyzing their own satellite. Most of mankind is avery and we seem to admit this belatedly to be sure in assigning growing numbers of scholars to study and teach the languages the cultures the histories and the values of the society. This is all to the good. Ignorance no matter in what degree should become it. But I feel that we ourselves are failing signally and we want to do so as long as we only learn the other man's culture in order to know how to cope with it in order to solve our own magnetic problems. Our chief trouble is that our own ignorance of the true nature of our own motors our society our
own mores our own social and spiritual values blinds us to a real and successful effort to understand others we think ourselves democratic and we are not a democratic nation. We think ourselves generous and we are not a generous nation. We are not a nation of generous people. How many people actually exercise the old works of Korea vs which consisted in helping the poor feeding the hungry comforting the second visiting prisoners. How many of us would not rob. Give our ten bucks to some automated charity and let some kind of thieves in automation take care of our sense of obligation for others rather than have a queasy feeling of helping somebody personally. It is this automation of our sentiments that has made us without
our knowledge almost incapable of communicating successfully with Asians and of obtaining that cooperation. What must we do. First we must place our actions on a rather more selfless basis. And lightened self interest. A term that has come into use in order to obtain support from both the pro Me and energy aid sections of the electorate is a cynical motive. People school in the traditions of midtown or lovingkindness will not delay in coming to the heart of the matter in a very short time and seeing it is a good deal more self interest than there is and Lightman and such a policy. If they make cynical uses of our aid and our military and other assistance it will be who's to be outraged. Secondly we must and this is indispensable. Take a
much more penetrating look at ourselves. I am not a fraud Ian and I'm not suggesting a mass analysis of our culture. But a good bit of intrusive introspection is I believe in order only in the light of what we find out about ourselves. Will the easiest cultures and the knowledge of them make much sense. Let's take the issue of corruption. If we break a loudly against corruption in Vietnam we insist to be offenders be punished stripped of honors despoiled of their possessions exiled or in prison. Their goodness neighbors must be taken away from her. Now the crime a more often than not come from some congressman who has several relatives on the payroll. But the fact is not made easier to accept when you realize that there is a formal injunction on people in the Confucian ethic such as
exists in Vietnam to the effect that they are under the deepest obligation to help out the members of their families who need help. The Vietnamese official therefore who hires dozens of nephews to work for him at least has the advantage of being obliged to do this by a religious system. And I think this is more than the hypothetical American congressman could claim. Now the greater the Vietnamese officials power the deeper his obligation to an ever larger number of relatives and followers. Now this is an important ethical mandate and yet not now. Who is really corrupt. I think self reliance. So nobody is deemed as to be codified in a in an essay by Emerson separate lines of the great American Virtue It's the embodiment of courage of independence of human worth.
Then we are always slightly puzzled right. The Vietnamese fight. Well I want the Indonesians fight all the time so the Filipinos are the Chinese right. Aren't they more independent. Why don't they do something and only when they do do we become a bit mollified. Do we begin here in a grumbling way to accept them. Now we know in Vietnam that the Viet Cong from 1956 on murder the patriarchal headed men of the villages in South Vietnam. They knew what they were doing. By removing the symbol of authority the Vietcong were also removing the motivation of the villagers to do one thing rather than another to fight to resist or to go away. The fact is that the villager in Vietnam does not make up his own mind and decide things for himself. He does not in a word praise or prize self reliance.
Councils of elders headed by the head man who is the man most deeply respected in the pillars are deliberate on all matters affecting the common God of all the villagers and always in the light of this greater good. They decide what is justice in an individual case for an individual petitioner. Now centuries of commune of living of this sort does not make for much spontaneity of judgment decision or resolution or for self reliance. What the American tends to overlook in that is that his tradition of self-reliance is not necessarily a universally praiseworthy thing in a communist society. It is quite on the other hand a deadly price. The American is descended from dissidents and these broke away from one society to make a new one over and again. Americans dissented even when the
dissenters. They broke off splinters struck out to new lands new regions and they marched off with a yoke of oxen a Conestoga wagon a suitcase full of merchandise a pick axe and a sense of liberty. He had a whole continent. He didn't want to spoil the point. Ledbetter no harmony with the goal of his thoughts and actions. The people of Vietnam the people of Bali cannot be expected to act this way in the first place. There is no way to govern so that no departure can really liberate but the contrary. The fact that there are no beams in Bali springs from the attachment of the Balinese to his family and his private temple and attachment so many that exile on a neighboring island only 10 miles away is a matter for the most horrendous nightmares.
That is punishable precisely by this type of accident with the result that one leaves money jewels and watches in a Balinese hotel room with never a thought to their safety. You can always be sure they'll be there when you come back from the beach. Now people are brought up in this tradition will simply not find self-reliance useful. Quite the contrary it will too often bring social reprisals of the most radical sort. Therefore how can we expect a Vietnamese peasant himself to take up a rifle and shoot somebody who's encroaching on his political territory. It's folly to expect this and it's folly for us to judge the Vietnamese peasant as an inferior pieces because of it. The fact is we are being per blind now in general. How do you explain the attitudes of this Vietnamese this Chinese peasant.
The president in China certainly and yet no in-ear of heaven. The gods through signs which the peasant can recognize will indicate which side in any dispute they favor and the pedant must side with the faction so visibly and evidently smiled upon by fate. If the French army is triumphant in Vietnam the Vietnamese peasant will walk with the French colonial soldier from flowers his women delighted to ally himself with them will the heavens bless. After Gianni and to the peasant will see that Hanoi and which the men have become the elector in the Boston sense of the weather and their simple loyalty to their gods. Not necessarily the votes the men will take take that thing now on or the group like yesterday were the enemy. The signs of the gods are strange but they must be observed.
Now when I was growing up in a small New England town the bank if this is possible was at least as holy a place as the church the pastor though honored himself to the stodgy old gentleman who owned the bank and quite a few textile factories besides and probably good chunks of that then very good stock of the New Haven railroad. There was the mystique of money in New England in those days. If you had it it was as a result of your good. Conversely if you were very generous you would get money. You would become rich and honored automatically. This was not necessarily the result of self-reliance because undermining everything was the concept that a Calvinistic God had predetermined your salvation anyway and that your riches your virtue and your self reliance on interchangeable were merely the signs
God given of this fact. The memory of his outlook is not so distant as to make him comprehensible in the north east of the United States or 967 the ear of heaven approach of the Asian as yet we scoff at it. Grumble growl and complain about high taxes. Now what do all these observations lead to. First of all to the need for us to be able to communicate with Asians successfully we are not doing it now. We don't know how to. We use dollars as the French use butter and the Italians tomatoes simply because that's where we have the most up. We think of signs as a good attribute. The bigger the better. When in fact she has size at the sheer size of the American presence in Thailand today makes Don Juan airport in Bangkok look like a large airfield in Texas with a small
delegation a visiting times. We cannot throw our signs around and express expect mere verbal protestations of friendship to carry very much weight and eloquence Soothing words are very consoling to be at underfoot. Secondly we must be able to obtain cooperation from nations important and lasting cooperation. There are a great many of them and relatively few of us. They are gifted intelligent honorable and dignified people with refinements. Even among the humblest of them that we would sometimes be hard fought hard to find even on Park Avenue. But this we cannot do if we do not know why we are seeking their cooperation offering ours nothing so baffling as American aid has ever hit. Why do the Americans do it. In truth even the Americans don't know
so we cannot expect many Asians to have a clear grasp of our intentions especially those most difficult to perceive the good ones in a world which is today not much larger than a golf ball. We had better start learning to share a good many things to learn. A good many things and to face a few unpleasant truths about ourselves. If we don't the cooperation without which human beings may no longer be able to exist will be forever forgotten. We have an opportunity with our mystique of the equality of men if not with our practice and with our traditions of thoughtful philanthropy if not with our love of neighbor to help the world prepare to live in some sort of harmony. The quarters are getting closer. We have the means to make a substantial contribution to mankind. But first we must put ourselves into a
condition to bring this about. We must learn to appreciate the hundreds of millions of Asians their culture and their great arts and their noble heritage. But we must do even more earnestly take a look at ourselves. Do we really believe in the equality of men in helping others. I we really mean some seeking honest self-seeking might be tolerable enough but our enemies may not even be that high. In order to preserve a smug and self-satisfied social order we are trying to make the world over in our own image and the good Brahmans of Boston did the Irish. Then we are practicing up our charity and leading to our own subtle removal from the center of the world of our world. The cabinets and the models. We must remember who have been displaced by Kennedys that they don't have learned from South Boston America and still learn from
major harmony of social orders could still be achieved. But the physician must heal himself. Thank you for the aa. Arise. You heard Lionel Landry director of the Asia Society as he spoke on the topic. Most of mankind. This was another programme in the series. Peace love and creativity the hope of mankind. The speaker on our next program will be Saul K. pad over chairman of the Department of Political and social science at the New School for Social Research. Mr. Pett over subject will be the causes of war. These
programs originate at the Cooper Union in New York City and are recorded by station WNYC. The programs are made available to this station by the national educational radio network.
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Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind
Most of mankind, part two
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 second 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: Landry, Lionel
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-10-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:21:59
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Chicago: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Most of mankind, part two,” 1968-01-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Most of mankind, part two.” 1968-01-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Most of mankind, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from