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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:00:02
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i. Rise and Fall of a German Reich

Occasionally some outstanding mind in peculiarly stimulating circumstances would cause a minor revolution in some branch of culture, the consequences of which might afford to less original workers decades of minuter exploration. But in the main, since social circumstances remained stable, culture became more and more traditional.

Imperial tyranny had never impinged on the peoples of America, Australia, and New Zealand with quite the same searching brutality as on the rest of the world. And so, confident in their own spirit of responsible individualism, they did not easily recognize the urgency of bringing the private enterprise of individuals, social classes and nations under the control of a common world authority.

Trouble arose over the disposal of American tidal power. The World Federal Government declared that all the great resources of production must henceforth be controlled exclusively by the World Government, which alone could organize them effectively for the immense task of raising the standard of life of all peoples to the level needed for full psychological development. The American capitalists replied that, having constructed their great tidal system by their own enterprise, having watched it for so long being exploited and misused by the late imperial government of the world, they intended to retain control of it themselves. They agreed, of course, that the system ought to be used strictly for the benefit of the human race as a whole. They had no intention of using it to benefit America exclusively, still less to strengthen their own capitalist class. ‘But since we,’ they said, ‘by fostering private enterprise in our country, have become the world’s greatest inventors and organizers, we claim the right, nay the duty, of managing our own unique generating system and disposing of its power as seems fit to us for the full economic development of the world. Who else could do it? Not the Tibetan revolutionary leaders. Splendid as their record is, their experience of economic organization is far too restricted. Not the Indians, for they are neither organizers nor engineers. Not the Chinese, for they are for the present too soaked in the tradition of their recent imperialism. It is the Americans alone who must take charge in the field of organization, leaving to the Tibetans the great task of educational and spiritual leadership.’ In reply it was urgently pointed out that no one people and no one class should be assigned leadership in any sphere. Those individuals who were capable of leadership would rise to positions of responsibility in whatever fields were suited to them. Privilege and vested interest must never more be allowed to appear on the earth. Moreover the American social system, though it had usefully built up American prosperity behind the backs of the alien tyrants, was quite unsuited to the new world-order, in which there must be fully co-ordinated planning of the world as a whole.

When the peoples of the earth first heard all this they were indeed incredulous. But little by little the new knowledge invaded their peace. There was endless discussion between the romantic scientists, the classical humanists, and the forwards. It was not claimed by the forwards that if their advice were not taken the universe would be annihilated certainly and soon. Possibly it would last for thousands of millions of years. Possibly, if the human race were to choose to remain in its present course of social and cultural advancement, it would be able to prosper for a very long age. But at any time it might be annihilated, and the whole cosmos with it. And, anyhow, it would always be haunted by the knowledge that its supreme test had been refused. In such a condition there could be no health.

iv. Preparation for a Great Task

I did, nevertheless, receive certain general impressions of the course of history and of a few outstanding events. After the settlement of the great dispute mankind recovered its fundamental unity of purpose. The villages carried on their busy and varied lives and their worldwide intercourse. The scientists continued their patient explorations and inventions. The classicists pursued the development of human culture into endless exfoliation. The forwards persisted in their spiritual exploration. As the general level of thought and feeling was raised, new spheres of experience were constantly explored. Generation succeeded generation with ever increasing capacity and opportunity. But also each generation came more surely into the knowledge that all this continuous Utopianism was in fact but a preparation for a great ordeal, and that before the race was ready to face that ordeal the very foundations of existence might crumble. The stars might suddenly be swept away like dust. Man’s dear and beautiful home might be shattered, and man himself annihilated.


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