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Do you want to get away from it all. I want to answer to such a question may determine whether we are people who are puppets in. This series people or puppets is produced by the Union Theological Seminary. In cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters under a grant from the educational television and radio center on today's program entitled Do you want to get away from it all. You will hear the views and voices of author Edwin fuller psychoanalyst early Loomis junior anthropologist Solon Kimball and theologian Paul share. These are the men who have analyzed some of the concepts created by our modern mass media and compare them with our traditional moral religious values. Here is the commentator for people or puppets.
The president of the Union Theological Seminary in New York Dr. Henry Pitney even deduced the problems of routine and boredom escape and responsibility were focused in the marry him with advice column published in The New York Journal American warship Kember twenty one thousand fifty seven. We have chosen to analyze this column not only because it is so typical but also because it is concerned with some of the most difficult and pressing problems of our time and culture. Why living in a tiny cage has run away in public question. I've been married almost four years and very happily until recently. A couple of years after marriage I worked to help my husband through college and I enjoyed the work and I missed it when I left. Jack graduated two summers ago and now we have a lovely little son.
We love each other very much but something's missing I feel. We used to do lots of things together fishing hunting and the life. Now I can't go we we haven't the money and can't leave the baby and our parents are near enough to babysit gratis. I don't care for Al's work I do it to the best of my ability. There's a lot of work keeping the house and taking care of a baby. I don't mind but I feel like an unpaid maid. My husband has very little to say to me and I like to paint and be in community playgroups he thinks it's silly. I can't make him understand that I have to be a person in my own right now. I have a chance to take my son on a visit to my parents and I'm afraid if I go that I won't come back to being up playing dull Drudge such as I feel I am now.
I love my husband very much as I've said but I'm afraid of what may happen to my marriage if things continue this way. Maybe you can help me if be there. Wife living in a tiny cage has run away and. Their FP. The problem seems to be that you don't find fulfillment in being a wife and mother. You want to be a person in your own right not committed to such self surrender. In other words you prefer On second thought after some experience to stay immature single and involved to any significant extent in the lives of other people. The drudgery aspect the monotonous grind and cetera are simply the cost that one pay for the real prizes. Which to those who have an affinity or a preparedness for it is heart to heart. Companionship with beloved individuals. You Very Much love Jack you say. That is your being hungers for
nearest to him. But as for living the life that such near n'est implies you reject it because it isn't like courtship. It is work and your shrinking back from the reality of double harness shows that you have not yet made the transition from girlfriend to help mate. It isn't the set up it's you that fall short. As matters stand I can only advise you to get first hand psychological help in groping your way to whole hearted acceptance of the blessings opportunities and tasks that are yours. MH. Is the problem as serious as FP states it is the solution as simple as MH advisors. Are we all involved in FPI these problems. What makes people feel close and dedicated. How do our religious institutions relate to
this problem of escape. On the one hand and responsibility on the other. These are the questions our producer Philip gallop asked our guests to face today. We have as though asked for their comments on the specific example you have just heard. Dr Parashar or was pastor of The Holy Trinity Church in New York City for 25 years. He is now Brown professor of homiletic at the Union Theological Seminary. Well certainly after peace problem is serious enough. And I'm going to go on to say it. I'm afraid if I had had images letter in answer. I would simply have said stuffed shirt male or female and thrown it into the waste basket. This does not mean that there wasn't good stuff in the stuffed shirt. I think there was but there was a kind of intolerable superiority and same thought about it. It was the husband was it not who should have had his eyes open. Had he
married and I jumped on a person. If you have to turn the same knot on an assembly line so constantly that you are in danger of changing places with it you need an escape. And it's grand in such an instance to talk about taking a different attitude toward it and keeping your eye on the far horizons. But just to try it sometime in a coal mine or behind a counter in front of a ledger full of figures or at the kitchen sink. It's possible certainly it's possible so to grow in stature that such advice becomes meaningful but you don't grow by being told to grow. Meanwhile I would say by all odds if you can do arrange to get away sometimes within reason and maybe those two words within reason are really the catch. The escape that
helps you to do your job and find some measure of fulfillment in it is the kind of escape I'm talking about. Sublimates sure. But I like the advertisement which says she has a right to eat out once a week. Dangerous as it is to put this to you I'm going to put it. There are jobs that need changing. Possibly even some marriages. A life should not be stifled. I wonder if you could put it this way. There is a scheme in trying to live my life sacramentally for the contribution which I can make to all of life. And in the creative personal relationships that can be around the core of what seems to be sheer downright drudgery. Ultimately you see it's a matter. Of the orientation of the self.
And that is quite impossible. Outside the circle of accepted responsibility you spoke of the mine you spoke of the drudgery that could occur and housework and repetitious assembly line jobs. Are you saying that perhaps we don't fully appreciate how difficult ordinary life is at one of the reasons. That we think we have as many problems as we do that we assume that life is easy and you've just pointed out things which I'm sure everybody has experienced in one way or another. Just marriages difficult raising children as extra seating difficult maintaining a job is very difficult. I wonder how many people realize this or they always feel of their own fault. No it's set out in life with a kind of desire for self-satisfaction gratification of all sorts of living as you doing when you come up against the fact that lots of it is just simply
routine and that routine will seem to you would odd times is absolutely meaningless. And I think us said routine because when I use the word difficult there's nothing probably as difficult as living will it leave us exactly the same thing over and over and over again. It's a bit deadening now unless one can somehow transcend the frustrations of that sort of existence. And there's a lot of it when one's lot in life is one's place in life is almost intolerable. How then does one transcend it. That's the point. And it does seem to me that of course I'm taking for granted here what we would call. The religious attitude toward life which means that I see in life not simply a chance to gratify myself and to
achieve the ends that I set myself but I see it. Sacramentally I use that word. That is to say as an opportunity for making a contribution that is constructive that is creative that is meaningful to existence within. The limits of the task set me. Let's take that man who turns the same knot eight hours a day. It's quite unrealistic it seems to me simply to talk about how he must think of the car of which this is the part and what pleasure the car gives some family out on the road. But that's futile and it's utterly meaningless it seems to me not realistic. What he's got to understand is first of all that his self is related to the infinite in this universe and it's related to other
people primarily and not just to things other men standing at the same assembly line with him. These are human beings. Has he any care for them. Can he share with them anything that is enriching to his own life and are there as you say. Can he find for himself meaning in the larger view of what he's after in his place in the vast structure of our life together. Is it possible for him by the exercise of his imagination to see beyond the limits of his narrow frame of reference that a very important question for some man it doesn't seem to be possible. But for a man who is what you and I perhaps would call a deeply religious man. I think it's always possible he doesn't have the feeling simply of being caught. Someone once put it if he's caught he's caught like a stick of dynamite between two blocks of granite.
And there is something creative that can be done about it. And it's the discovery of it which is partly the romance of existence. I don't want to color it or romanticize it or anything else because I have found a sympathy with people whose Das gone like mine is a routine and apparently meaningless performance of certain details. Dr. Fenton Campbell is a social anthropology. Family head of the department of sociology and anthropology at the University of Alabama. Dr. Campbell is now a professor of education at the Teachers College of Columbia University. I think again that part of the basic tendency to withdraw may come from. The fact that one does not feel committed to something that's important.
And in the specific. Young woman to which you were referring. You will recall that she held an ambivalent feeling toward the routine demands that were made upon her by virtue of her motherhood. And the kind of identification which she would have liked to make. With the World Community Action end of career. The ambivalence in her was one in which she no longer saw. Any significant purpose in the routine. But she did see some purpose however empty it might be in reality in that which to which she was not did not have ready access. And I think this represents a shift in the nature of the American family system because certainly the kind of routine drudgery that
characterized the women on the frontier and in the rural areas of America and even in the small towns and cities of America. Was carried on with a sense of purpose and destiny. The sense of destiny was one that one that the individual was performing something for the family. And that the family in itself. Was of significance and that something that would be done here would make a contribution not alone to yourself but to your children. And to the larger society of which you were part. In this sense and if this analysis is correct then the problem that we are approaching here is the problem of what are the purposes in this society.
And if these purposes are. Are known and deeply felt. Then obviously the individual does not have a pathological. Sense of attempting to escape. Of course in the example you gave though in the early frontier family it was large by this size a very simple point I'm making but it at least according to the example in the earlier portion of the program is she just has this one child it seems like kind of a lonely life. Is this simple fact of isolation are people more isolated today and therefore isn't the problem and the need for escape greater. I think there is no doubt. But that we are in a strange paradox. People living closer to each other physically. But are farther apart from each other in a social and spiritual sense. We have to examine this problem in
terms of what are the circumstances under which people feel close to each other. So that I suspect. That the feeling of boredom of the lack of importance of one's own activity where this occurs. Arises out of any understanding of the relation of one's own life and one's own activity to a larger purpose to a larger whole. As well as if a year and the inability of the person to take part with others in problems of a commie type. Edmund Fuller at the Kent school in Connecticut. His analyses appear regularly in the Saturday Review. The American Scholar The New York Times Magazine and other publications. Are the most recent book Man in the modern fiction the attempt
to evade the dilemmas and challenges. Any kind of life situation is certainly a sort of a scape or a sort of flight and is to be set apart entirely from the category of the necessary relief that we all have to have from the. Relentless continuity of an enterprise or of an effort. The fact is that the more creative the mind is the more essential it is that it have an opportunity to renew itself. But the other aspect of the attempt to get away from a situation to get away from the dilemma to look in the other direction to withdraw from responsibility. Can we take the comments that you just made and apply them to the example that we had in the earlier portion of the program. It is very possible for a person in the position of this hypothetical housewife to make a broad and unrelated leap. In
feeling that she has to break the routines of commonplace life. She goes to the extreme of wondering whether she has to break the ties of her marriage to in order to do it. This is the old proverbial business of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It it comes back to what I think is sound psychology. If she is feeling pressure and frustration as she should have begun to voice and express and rebel against this before it build up to such a head of steam that might blow the entire union apart. The entire relationship and marriage are part I but I find it a little hard to be minute response into that. May I suggest something else that I'd like to put in here on this matter of escape or something came almost immediately into my mind coming back again to the religious question. Many people regard religion as a kind of escape. But the most profound insights on
religion have been just the opposite and have seen men trying to escape from the terrible burdens and responsibilities that religion correctly understood in relationship to God GREAT be understood puts on a human being. Look at such a thing as Francis Thompson's The Hound of Heaven which chronicles the idea of a man trying to escape from the pursuit of God. There is a vast tradition of literature of this kind. Look at the Negro spiritual and no hiding place down there. I went to the rock for the hide my face the rock cried out No hiding place there's no hiding place down there which is again a probably a kind of variant on perhaps it's the hundred thirty ninth song. I'm not quite sure of the number but the song which says in part if I make my bed in hell. Lo they are there. Now what the reason I brought this up is that the escape from God. Is this cape from responsibility. If as in some of our previous conversations I had to find a steadfast morality a steadfast set of
values that resists Marl expediency that resists the idea of getting away with something if you can. All this is based on the belief of a relationship to God so that to escape responsibility is to fly from the face of God and to fly from the face of God is to fly from responsibility in a deeply felt sense of a man's religious life. Now I did not create this dilemma for him is that it is the giving ness of life. One is confronted with this dilemma and must meet it on one's own terms according to one's own temperament and courage so to speak I think. You know the old joke in your New York joke about the man reading the newspaper upside down on the subway and somebody came and tapped him on the shoulder and said you know you're reading this newspaper upside down and the man looked up and said You think it's easy. Well if somebody came to me from another planet and tapped me on the shoulder and said you're a human being aren't you. I could imagine saying to him you think it's easy it isn't. It comes back in many ways to
the title of one of Professor telex books the courage to be. It isn't easy to be a human being to be alive. But it's interesting. Dr. Earle Jr. if I could have a look at the Division of Child Psychiatry at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City and professor and director of the program of psychiatry and religion at the Union Theological Seminary I'm sure people have always been bored and I'm sure some people are more bored than others and I'm sure that this advice will work with some people. Some people respond to the cold turkey straight from the shoulder scolding technique well you should be thankful for the blessings you have. Go back to your to your husband and work hard and you'll discover there's more pleasure there than you have been realizing other boredom is due to real illness and boredom may be a symptom of something wrong underneath it doesn't show. If we're talking about normal people though
I think that boredom ought to respond to change or it doesn't respond to change I'd be concerned about the person. Do you ever want to get away from it all. If so how. Again my sailboat and sail next. I want to get a what what comes to your mind when I say get away from it all. I suppose the combination of external demands on one's time and energies and emotions and the resonance within that that makes one want to hop to it and respond to them. I think many of us are so busily attuned to people's needs that we will just get worn out sometimes and I think sometimes we are over responding when we get tired. Technically I think we tend to find it easier just to give in and do it people wanting to really examine whether this is all a fillip calling a useful
and real need of their own or whether it's just our need to be needed and I need to to comply. In particular this is true of people in the service professions ministers doctors social workers teachers and other What do you think that as a psychiatrist that's a good thing for people to perhaps want to get away from it all and actually make some effort that they aren't. What a responsibility or escaping from life when there really was a time a time we got to do this from time to time we owe it to ourselves and others. Well the next there's a kind of impossible question but I'll ask it anyway as either Any ways of knowing whether or not you're legitimately getting away from it all letting off steam legitimately daydreaming or avoiding responsibility and actually escaping from life. If you come back from it refreshed and better strengthened and a better time to deal with the reality test I think it's quite clear that it has a legit legitimate advantage if it tends to
remove you more and more from contact with other people and from your work and play and love. I think it is a sign of it's pathological quality. And now for a commentary on today's program. Here is the Roosevelt professor of systematic theology and the president of Union Theological Seminary Dr. Henry Pitney Vindhya isn't the main problem with which this discussion attempts to deal is broader and the desire to escape from the vivid illustration is a young wife with a husband and child who is overpowered by the routine of her life. I'd like to stress the reality of her problem. I know any number of young wives and mothers who are struggling with just that problem. I have letters in almost the same words as if bees complain. And they are among the finest young women of my acquaintance. Some of them are deeply
religious and their husbands also. The whole discussion and especially Mr. Kimball's analogy to the front tier woman of an earlier generation seems to me to miss the heart of f.. PS problem she had had a busy and interesting and satisfying life both before her marriage and while she worked to put her husband through college. The burden of the modern young housewife and mother arises because she has lost enrichment which her life formerly had. President Mackintosh of Barnard College wonder stands this problem as few do through her let me advises them to take a part time job and hire a babysitter for that part time. There is a practical solution worth considering. Dr sure is right. The heart of the problem is the up to sickness of her husband. Not this series is concerned with the mass media. What if any
bearing Have they upon the problem of boredom and escape. Well they offer a resource which the women on the front tier in the farm never had. If the radio and television were providing the kind of programmes at which they are capable they might go a long way to help fill the emptiness in many lives especially a young woman like me. But in the end of the day we come back to the need for inner resources such resources as a reading as well as religion should supply that. On the one hand and on the other hand the nature of a true marriage. Religion is no automatic door for the problem of boredom or any other of life's harassments. But granted a true marriage understood as a sacrament. And most of the factors which created this problem case
the callousness of the husband the resource lessness of his wife. The superficiality of their relationship should be capable of resolution in an understanding and mutually supporting comradeship with God's help. That was Dr. Henry Pitney even dews and the president of the Union Theological Seminary and the commentator for this series people or puppets. This concludes people. Written moderated and directed by Philip Gallo of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Already secular producer for the seminary was Professor John W. Buckley. Music by Alfred Brooks. Your announcer Dean Lyman home grist this series is made possible by a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center for distribution by the National
Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end of a radio network.
People or puppets?
Do you want to get away from it all
Producing Organization
Union Theological Seminary (New York, N.Y.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Do you want to get away from it all? Analysis of our adjustment to routine, boredom and escape.
Series Description
Discussions of values and ethics, modern versus traditional. Faculty from Union Theological Seminary, authors Kenneth Burke and Geoffrey Wagner, critics Edmund Fuller and Martin Dworkin, Dr. Solon Kimball and broadcaster Edward Stanley are featured.
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Composer: Brooks, Alfred
Guest: Fuller, Edmund, 1914-2001
Guest: Loomis, Earl A., Jr.
Guest: Kimball, Solon Toothaker
Host: Van Dusen, Henry P. (Henry Pitney), 1897-1975
Producing Organization: Union Theological Seminary (New York, N.Y.)
Writer: Gelb, Philip
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-7-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:00?
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MLA: “People or puppets?; Do you want to get away from it all.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 24, 2024. <>.
APA: People or puppets?; Do you want to get away from it all. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from