Member of the Alexander Order
The human being, like each type of plant and animal, represents an idea of creation.
The new thing about the human being was that he consciously invented tools which were not already a part of his world. In the beginning he protected himself from the cold with animal furs; later he used clothes, tents, houses, fire, etc. Animals had to eat whatever they found. On the other hand, the human being developed agriculture, began to tame and breed animals and cultivate plants for his own purposes. We can most succinctly summarize what man has brought into the world in the following words: Plants and animals adapt themselves to their environment; man adapts his environment to himself.
However, a different type of environment also in many cases requires a different type of people! In order to operate a computer one requires an entirely different kind of intelligence than is required for following the trail of a wild animal through the jungle. One should always remember that culture is for the people and not vice versa; therefore, one should guide the development of culture in such a way that as many people as possible can enjoy an education which is in accordance with their talents and desires, and so that each individual can become a useful member of human society precisely because of his particular abilities. Even the most primitive savages should not be wiped out, as in Brazil, but rather supplied with room to live where they can do so in accordance with their natures, if for no other reason than to give us the opportunity to study humans in their original state, for we must not lose touch with Nature.
But this must not go so far that cultured people suffer at the expense of the uncultured. We simply must disaccustom ourselves to many things which were innate to the Stone Age mentality and even gave primitive peoples pleasure. War, for instance!
War is by no means the romantic idyll anymore that it was proclaimed to be in such war songs as:
"Lightning spears, jubilant cheers,
Men with glittering steel at their side,
Women standing by with pride,
The enemy will bleed, but our courage will seethe
as the drums announce our victorious deed, etc."
No, war is a total catastrophe, even if it should not lead to the annihilation of all humanity, but even that prospect is no longer an impossibility.
Earlier, when the other threats to mankind such as epidemics, natural catastrophes, etc. did not suffice to keep the numbers in the tribe to a size which the land could feed, then they would attack a neighboring tribe. The fight was a matter of honor for each individual, and it was the strongest, most intelligent, and most cunning men who survived; they succeeded in killing their enemies and taking their women. In this way the race evolved, just as animals do in the struggle for survival. When the hordes then banded together into tribes and even into nations, the struggle itself was still warranted until well into the Middle Ages. The tribe had the best prospects of winning a battle
a) if it was large (i.e., if it was not divided into small, quarrelsome groups)
b) if its youth thought in terms of comradeship and were willing to take risks and make sacrifices for their fellows;
c) if there was a feeling of unity and enthusiasm for a cause;
d) if the community was capable of instilling enthusiasm in its members with music, stories of heroism, and honors, and if the people had a taste for such things;
e) if the people were not languishing in the good life, but rather considered it an honor to have healthy, thoroughly conditioned bodies and, therefore, held moderation, exercise, and soldiers in high esteem;
f) if the community had intelligent and experienced leaders to whom it was self-evident that the people were of primary importance and that it was a ruler's duty to serve his people to the best of his ability;
g) if the people honored their leaders and obeyed them implicitly.
Today, too, such communities could accomplish great things which would benefit the civilized world and promote culture. Therefore, it is no wonder that also intellectually and morally prominent people, even philosophers of the caliber of a Nietzsche, advocated war.
No! Anyone who really loves his people will not wish them to suffer injury, pain, hunger, poverty, or want; on the contrary, he will want their happiness! Therefore, he will sue for peace and understanding not just in his own country, but throughout the world, and he will fight against liars and agitators.
Eternal peace--a utopia! However, it sometimes helps to remind thinkers who are altogether too "realistic" that occasionally it is good to study one's course on a map before beginning a journey.
An excerpt from the book Primer For Those Who Would Govern by Prof. Hermann Oberth. Price $ 20 plus $ 4 shipping. West-Art, 10545 Main Street, Clarence, New York 14031 (USA).
© PROMETHEUS 143/2009
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin - News, Politics, Art and Science. Nr. 143, May 2009