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The Captive. 2. About Proust: Proust was born in Auteuil (the southern sector of Paris's then-rustic 16th ar- rondissement) at the home of his great-uncle, two. The Captive Mind (Polish: Zniewolony umysł) is a work of nonfiction by Polish writer, academic and Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz, published in the English translation originally by Secker and Warburg. The work was written in Polish soon after the author received political. (c) - page 1 of 8 - Get Instant Access to PDF File: 85f4a The Captive By Marcel Proust EBOOK EPUB KINDLE PDF.

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Mystery shrouds the political moves determined on high in the distant Center, Moscow. People speak about prominent figures in hushed voices. In the vast expanses of Euro-Asia, whole nations can van ish without leaving a trace. Armies number into the millions. Terror becomes socially useful and effec tive. Philosophers rule the state--o bviously not phi losophers in the traditional sense of the word, but dialecticians.

The conviction grows that the whole world will be conquered. Great hordes of followers appear on all the continents.

Lies are concocted 16 from seeds o f truth. The philosophically uneducated bourgeois enemy is despised for his inherited inabil ity to think. Classes condemned by the laws of his tory perish because their minds are paralyzed. The boundaries of the Empire move steadily and system atically westward.

Unparalleled sums of money are spent on scientific research. One prepares to rule all the people of the earth. Is all this too little? Surely this is enough to fascinate the intellectual.

As he beholds these things, historical fatalism takes root in him. In a rare moment of sincerity he may con fess cynically, "I bet on this horse.

He's good. He'll carry me far. He becomes such a nervous wreck that he may actually fall ill. He knows it means a definitive parting with his former self, his former ties and hab its. If he is a writer, he cannot hold a pencil in his hand. The whole world seems dark and hopeless. Un til now, he paid a minimal tribute: in his articles and novels, he described the evils of capitalist society. But after all, it isn't difficult to criticize capitalism, and it can be done honestly.

The charlatans of the stock exchange, feudal barons, self-deluding artists, and the instigators of nationalistic wars are figures who lend themselves readily to his pen. But now he must begin to approve.

In official terminology this is known as a transition from the stage of critical realism to that of socialist realism. It occurred in the newly established people's democracies about the year 1 The operation he must perform on him self is one that some of his friends have already un dergone, more or less painfully. They shake their heads sympathetically, knowing the process and its outcome.

He sits at home all day with his head in his hands. No matter what his convictions, every man in the countries of which I speak is a part of an ancient civilization. His parents were attached to religion, or at least regarded it with respect. In school, much attention was devoted to his religious upbringing. Some emotional traces of this early training necessar ily remain. In any case, he believes that injury to one's fellow-man, lies, murder, and the encourage ment of hatred are evil, even if they serve to accom plish sublime ends.

Obviously, too, he studied the history of his country. He read its former poets and philosophers with pleasure and pride. He was proud of its century-long battle to defend its frontiers and of its struggle for independence in the dark peri ods of foreign occupation.

Consciously or uncon sciously, he feels a certain loyalty to his forefathers because of the history of toil and sacrifice on their part. Moreover, from earliest childhood, he has been taught that his country belongs to a civilization that has been derived from Rome rather than Byzantium.

Now, knowing that he must enter a gate through which he can never return, he feels he is doing some thing W1 ong. He explains to himself that he must destroy this irrational and childish feeling.

He can become free only by weeding out the roots of what is irretrievably past. Still the battle continues. A cruel battle-a battle between an angel and a demon. True, but which is the angel and which the demon? One has a bright face he has known since his child h ood th i s must be the angel. No, for this face bears - hideous scars. It is the face of the old order, of stu pid college fraternities, of the senile imbecility of politicians, of the decrepitude of vVestern Europe.

This is death and decadence. The other face is strong and self-contained, the face of a tomorrow that beck ons. That is doubtful. There is a great deal of talk about patriotism, about fine, progressive, national traditions, about veneration of the past.

But no one is so naive as to 18 take such talk seriously. The reconstruction o f a few historical monuments, or a re-editing of the works of former writers cannot change certain revealing and important facts.

Each people's democracy be comes a province of the Empire, ruled by edicts from the Center. It retains some autonomy, but to an ever diminishing degree. Perhaps the era of independent states is over, perhaps they are no more than museum pieces. Yet it is saddening to say good-bye to one's dreams of a federation of equal nations, of a United States of Europe in which differing languages and differing cultures would have equal status.

It isn't pleasant to surrender to the hegemony of a nation which is still wild and primitive, and to concede the absolute superiority of its customs and institutions, science and technology, literature and art. Must one sacrifice so much in the name of the unity of man kind? The nations of Western Europe will pass through this phase of integration later, and perhaps more gently.

It is possible that they will be more suc cessful in preserving their native language and cul ture. By that time, however, all of Eastern Europe will be using the one universal tongue, Russian. And the principle of a "culture that is national in form, socialist in content" will be consummated in a culture of monolithic uniformity.

Everything will be shaped by the Center, though individual countries will re tain a few local ornaments in the way of folklore. The Universal City will be realized when a son of the Kirghiz steppes waters his horses in the Loire, and a Sicilian peasant plants cotton in Turkmen val leys. Small wonder the writer smiles at propaganda that cries for a freeing of colonies from the grasp of imperialistic powers. Oh, how cunning dialectics can be, and how artfully it can accomplish its ends, de gree by degree!

All this is bitter. But what about the harbinger of the Springtime of Nations, and Karl Marx, and the visions of the brotherhood of mankind? And what about this Master? A great Polish poet, describing his j ourney to the East-where he went in as a political prisoner of the Tsar-compared the soul of the Russian nation to a chrysalis. He wondered anxiously what would emerge when the sun of freedom shone: "Then will a shining butterfly take flight, or a moth, a sombre creature of the night?

The writer, in his fury and frustration, turns his thought to Western Communists. What fools they are. He can forgive their oratory if it is necessary as propaganda. But they believe most of what they pro claim about the sacred Center, and that is unforgiv able.

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Nothing can compare to the contempt he feels for these sentimental fools. Nevertheless, despite his resistance and despair, the crisis approaches. It can come in the middle of the night, at his breakfast table, or on the street. It comes with a metallic click as of engaged gears. But there is no other way. That much is clear. There is no other salvation on the face of the earth.

This rev elation lasts a second ; but from that second on, the patient begins to recover. For the first time in a long while, he eats with relish, his movements take on vigor, his color returns.

He sits down and writes a "positive" article, marveling at the ease with which he writes it. In the last analysis, there was no reason for raising such a fuss. Everything is in order. He is past the "crisis. The aftereffects manifest themselves in a particular kind of extinguishment that is often perceptible in the twist of his lips. His face expresses the peaceful sad ness of one who has tasted the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, of one who knows he lies and who feels compassion for those who have been spared full knowledge.

He has al- 20 ready gone through what still awaits so many others. In 1 , an eminent Soviet journalist came to Poland. He was an elderly gentleman, who looked like a middle-class lawyer. That he was an extremely clever and rather unscrupulous person was evidenced by the tenacity with which he had maintained his position-and by his advanced years.

After his re turn to Warsaw from a tour of several provincial Polish towns, he laughingly recounted an incident that had occurred in Silesia. Someone had spread the report that a delegation of foreigners from the West had arrived.

The journalist whose round belly and honest expression were inducive to such effusive manifestations of confidence was seized and em braced on the street by a man crying: "The English have come. This recurrence of sterile hopes amused him and he was flattered to be the representative of a country ruled according to infallible predictions; for nation after nation had indeed become part of its Empire, according to schedule.

I am not sure that there wasn't in his smile something of the compas sionate superiority that a housewife feels for a mouse caught in her trap. The "post-crisis" writer may well expect one day to be sent on a similar journalistic mission to some newly acquired Western country.

Such a pro s p e c t is not altogether distasteful. To observe people who know nothing, who still have everything to learn, must undoubtedly afford moments of unadulterated sweetness. The master knows that the trap in which the mouse has been caught is not an entirely agree able place to live in. For the moment, however, the citizens of these newly converted countries will un derstand little of their new situation.

They will be exhilarated at first by the flutter of national banners, the blare of marching bands, and the proclamations of long-awaited reforms.

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Only he, the observer, will The Pill of Murti-Bing 21 see into the future like a god, and know it to be hard, necessarily hard, for such are the laws of His tory. In the epilogue of Witkiewicz's novel, his he roes, who have gone over to the service of Murti Bing, become schizophrenics. The events of today bear out his vision, even in this respect. One can sur vive the "crisis" and function perfectly, writing or painting as one must, but the old moral and aesthetic standards continue to exist on some deep inner plane.

Out of this arises a split within the individual that makes for many difficulties in his daily life. It facili tates the task of ferreting out heretical thoughts and inclinations; for thanks to it, the Murti-Bingist can feel himself into his opponent with great acuteness.

The new phase and the old phase exist simultane ously in him, and together they render him an exper enced psychologist, a keeper of his brother's conscience.

One can expect that the new generation, raised from the start in the new society will be free of this split. But that cannot be brought about quickly. One would have to eradicate the Church completely, which is a difficult matter and one that demands pa tience and tact.

And even if one could eliminate this reverenced mainstay of irrational impulses, national literatures would remain to exert their malignant in fluence. For example, the works of the greatest Polish poets are marked by a dislike of Russia, and the dose of Catholic philosophy one finds in them is alarming.

Yet the state must publish certain of these poets and must teach them in its schools for they are the clas sics, the creators of the literary language, and are considered the forerunners of the Revolution. To place them on the index would be to think non dialectically and to fall into the sin of "leftism. Probably, therefore, the schizophrenic as a type will not dis appear in the near future.

Someone might contend that Murti-Bing is a medicine that is incompatible with human nature. That is not a very strong argument. The Aztecs' cus tom of offering human sacrifices to their gods, or the mortification of the flesh practiced by the early Christian hermits scarcely seem praiseworthy.

The worship of gold has become a motive power second to none in its brutality. Seen from this perspective, Murti-Bing does not violate the nature of human kind. Whether a man who has taken the Murti-Bing cure attains internal peace , and harmony is another question. He attains a relative degree of harmony, just enough to render him active. It is preferable to the torment of pointless rebellion and groundless hope.

The peasants, who are incorrigible in their petty bourgeois attachments, assert that "a change must come, because this can't go on. A tour ist, as an anecdote tells us, wanted to go up into the mountains, but it had been raining for a week. He met a mountaineer walking by a stream, and asked him if it would continue to pour. The mountaineer looked at the rising waters and voiced the opinion that it would not.

When asked on what basis he had made his prediction, he said, "Because the stream would overflow. The "new" is striving to overcome the "old," but the "old" can not be eliminated all at once. The one thing that seems to deny the perfection ot Murti-Bing is the apathy that is born in people, and that lives on in spite of their feverish activity. It is hard to define, and at times one might suppose it to be a mere optical illusion.

After all, people bestir themselves, work, go to the theater, applaud The Pill of Murti-Bing 23 speakers, take excursions, fall in love, and have chil dren. Yet there is something impalpable and unpleas ant in the human climate of such cities as Warsaw or Prague. The collective atmosphere, resulting from an exchange and a re-combination of individual fluids, is bad. It is an aura of strength and unhap piness, of internal paralysis and external mobility.

Whatever we may call it, this much is certain : if Hell should guarantee its lodgers magnificent quarters, beautiful clothes, the tastiest food, and all possible amusements, but condemn them to breathe in this aura forever, that would be punishment enough. No propaganda, either pro or con, can capture so elusive and little-known a phenomenon. It escapes all calculations.

It cannot exist on paper. Admitting, in whispered conversation, that something of the sort does exist, one must seek a rational explanation for it. Undoubtedly the "old," fearful and oppressed, is taking its vengeance by spilling forth its inky fluid like a wounded octopus. But surely the socialist or ganism, in its growth toward a future of guaranteed prosperity, is already strong enough to counteract this poison; or perhaps it is too early for that.

When the younger generation, free from the malevolent influence of the "old," arises, everything will change. Only, whoever has observed the younger generation in the Center is reluctant to cast such a horoscope.

Then we must postpone our hopes to the remote fu ture, to a time when the Center and every dependent state will supply its citizens with refrigerators and automobiles, with white bread and a handsome ration of butter. Maybe then, at last, they will be satisfied. Do we have to use non Euclidian geometry on material as classic, as adapt able, and as plastic as a human being? Won't the ordi nary variety satisfy him? What the devil does a man need? In the voice of the man who posed the ques tion, there was despair, as well as the hope that I would contradict him.

This question reveals the atti tude of the average person in the people's democ racies toward the West: it is despair mixed with a residue of hope. During the last few years, the West has given these people a number of reasons to despair politi cally.

In the case of the intellectual, other, more complicated reasons come into play. That war was much more devastat ing there than in the countries of Western Europe.

It destroyed not only their economies, but also a great many values which had seemed till then un shakable. Man tends to regard the order he lives in as natural.

The houses he passes on his way to work seem more like rocks rising out of the earth than like products of human hands. Cassie makes some really senseless decisions. Like when she goes to the churchyard in the middle of the night. Even though just a few hours earlier they saw a furtive and possibly dangerous ghost prowling around. I relished in this book flaws. I love it more because of its defects.

The key character of this book, Cassie, did a complete turnaround regarding her attitude. In the last book she was immature and thankful for the kindness people showed her, and shy. And for no reason, too. This recurrence of sterile hopes amused him and he was flattered to be the representative of a country ruled according to infallible predictions; for nation after nation had indeed become part of its Empire, according to schedule.

I am not sure that there wasn't in his smile something of the compas sionate superiority that a housewife feels for a mouse caught in her trap. The "post-crisis" writer may well expect one day to be sent on a similar journalistic mission to some newly acquired Western country. Such a pro s p e c t is not altogether distasteful. To observe people who know nothing, who still have everything to learn, must undoubtedly afford moments of unadulterated sweetness.

The master knows that the trap in which the mouse has been caught is not an entirely agree able place to live in. For the moment, however, the citizens of these newly converted countries will un derstand little of their new situation. They will be exhilarated at first by the flutter of national banners, the blare of marching bands, and the proclamations of long-awaited reforms. In the epilogue of Witkiewicz's novel, his he roes, who have gone over to the service of Murti Bing, become schizophrenics.

The events of today bear out his vision, even in this respect. One can sur vive the "crisis" and function perfectly, writing or painting as one must, but the old moral and aesthetic standards continue to exist on some deep inner plane. Out of this arises a split within the individual that makes for many difficulties in his daily life. It facili tates the task of ferreting out heretical thoughts and inclinations; for thanks to it, the Murti-Bingist can feel himself into his opponent with great acuteness.

The new phase and the old phase exist simultane ously in him, and together they render him an exper enced psychologist, a keeper of his brother's conscience. One can expect that the new generation, raised from the start in the new society will be free of this split.

But that cannot be brought about quickly. One would have to eradicate the Church completely, which is a difficult matter and one that demands pa tience and tact. And even if one could eliminate this reverenced mainstay of irrational impulses, national literatures would remain to exert their malignant in fluence.

For example, the works of the greatest Polish poets are marked by a dislike of Russia, and the dose of Catholic philosophy one finds in them is alarming. Yet the state must publish certain of these poets and must teach them in its schools for they are the clas sics, the creators of the literary language, and are considered the forerunners of the Revolution. To place them on the index would be to think non dialectically and to fall into the sin of "leftism. Probably, therefore, the schizophrenic as a type will not dis appear in the near future.

Someone might contend that Murti-Bing is a medicine that is incompatible with human nature. That is not a very strong argument. The Aztecs' cus tom of offering human sacrifices to their gods, or the mortification of the flesh practiced by the early Christian hermits scarcely seem praiseworthy. The worship of gold has become a motive power second to none in its brutality. Seen from this perspective, Murti-Bing does not violate the nature of human kind. Whether a man who has taken the Murti-Bing cure attains internal peace , and harmony is another question.

He attains a relative degree of harmony, just enough to render him active. It is preferable to the torment of pointless rebellion and groundless hope. The peasants, who are incorrigible in their petty bourgeois attachments, assert that "a change must come, because this can't go on. A tour ist, as an anecdote tells us, wanted to go up into the mountains, but it had been raining for a week. He met a mountaineer walking by a stream, and asked him if it would continue to pour.

The mountaineer looked at the rising waters and voiced the opinion that it would not. When asked on what basis he had made his prediction, he said, "Because the stream would overflow. The "new" is striving to overcome the "old," but the "old" can not be eliminated all at once. The one thing that seems to deny the perfection ot Murti-Bing is the apathy that is born in people, and that lives on in spite of their feverish activity.

It is hard to define, and at times one might suppose it to be a mere optical illusion. Yet there is something impalpable and unpleas ant in the human climate of such cities as Warsaw or Prague. The collective atmosphere, resulting from an exchange and a re-combination of individual fluids, is bad. It is an aura of strength and unhap piness, of internal paralysis and external mobility. Whatever we may call it, this much is certain: No propaganda, either pro or con, can capture so elusive and little-known a phenomenon.

It escapes all calculations. It cannot exist on paper. Admitting, in whispered conversation, that something of the sort does exist, one must seek a rational explanation for it. Undoubtedly the "old," fearful and oppressed, is taking its vengeance by spilling forth its inky fluid like a wounded octopus.

But surely the socialist or ganism, in its growth toward a future of guaranteed prosperity, is already strong enough to counteract this poison; or perhaps it is too early for that. When the younger generation, free from the malevolent influence of the "old," arises, everything will change. Only, whoever has observed the younger generation in the Center is reluctant to cast such a horoscope. Then we must postpone our hopes to the remote fu ture, to a time when the Center and every dependent state will supply its citizens with refrigerators and automobiles, with white bread and a handsome ration of butter.

Maybe then, at last, they will be satisfied. Do we have to use non Euclidian geometry on material as classic, as adapt able, and as plastic as a human being? Won't the ordi nary variety satisfy him? What the devil does a man need? Chapter Two Looki ng to the West. In the voice of the man who posed the ques tion, there was despair, as well as the hope that I would contradict him. This question reveals the atti tude of the average person in the people's democ racies toward the West: During the last few years, the West has given these people a number of reasons to despair politi cally.

In the case of the intellectual, other, more complicated reasons come into play. That war was much more devastat ing there than in the countries of Western Europe. It destroyed not only their economies, but also a great many values which had seemed till then un shakable. Man tends to regard the order he lives in as natural. The houses he passes on his way to work seem more like rocks rising out of the earth than like products of human hands. He considers the work he does in his office or factory as essential to the har monious functioning of the world.

The clothes he wears are exactly what they should be, and he laughs at the idea that he might equally well be wearing a Roman toga or medieval armor. He cannot believe that one day a rider may appear on a street he knows well, where cats sleep and chil dren play, and start catching passers-by with his lasso.

He is accustomed to satisfying those of his physio logical needs which are considered private as dis creetly as possible, without realizing that such a pattern of behavior is not common to all human so cieties.

In a word, he behaves a little like Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush, bustling about in a shack poised precariously on the edge of a cliff. His first stroll along a street littered with glass from bomb-shattered windows shakes his faith in the "naturalness" of his world.

The wind scatters papers from hastily evacuated offices, papers labeled "Con fidential" or "Top Secret" that evoke visions of safes, keys, conferences, couriers, and secretaries. Now the wind blows them through the street for anyone to read ; yet no one does, for each man is more urgently concerned with finding a loaf of bread.

Strangely enough, the world goes on even though the offices and secret files have lost all meaning. Farther down the street, he stops before a house split in half by a bomb, the privacy of people's homes-the family smells, the warmth of the beehive life, the furniture preserving the memory of loves and hatreds-cut open to public view. The house itself, no longer a rock, but a scaffolding of plaster, concrete, and brick; and on the third floor, a solitary white bath tub, rain ri nse d of all recollection of those who once -.

Its formerly influential and respected owners, now destitute, walk the fields in search of stray potatoes. Thus overnight money loses its value and becomes a meaningless mass of printed paper.

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His walk takes him past a little boy poking a stick into a heap of smoking ruins and whistling a song about the great leader who will preserve the nation against all enemies. The song remains, but the leader of yesterday is already part of an extinct past.

He finds he acquires new habits quickly. Once, had he stumbled upon a corpse on the street, he would have called the police. A crowd would have gathered, and much talk and comment would have ensued. Now he knows he must avoid the dark body lying in the gutter, and refrain from asking unnec essary questions.

The man who fired the gun must have had his reasons; he might well have been exe cuting an Underground sentence. Nor is the average European accustomed to thinking of his native city as divided into segregated living areas, but a single decree can force him to this new pattern of life and thought. Quarter A may sud denly be designated for one race; B, for a second; C, for a third.

As the resettlement deadline ap proaches, the streets become filled with long lines of wagons, carts, wheelbarrows, and people carrying bundles, beds, chests, cauldrons, and bird cages. When all the moves are effected, 2 , people may find themselves in a building that once housed Then high walls are erected around quarter C, and daily a given lot of men, women, and children are loaded into wagons that take them off to specially constructed factories where they are scientifically slaughtered and their bodies burned.

And even the rider with the lasso appears, in the form of a military van waiting at the corner o f a street. A man passing that corner meets a leveled rifle, raises his hands, is pushed into the van, and from that moment is lost to his family and friends. He may be sent to a concentration camp, or he may face a: Perhaps one might escape such a fate by remaining at home. But the father of a family must go out in order to provide bread and: Since these conditions last for years, everyone gradually comes to look upon the city as a jungle, and upon the fate of twentieth-century man as identical with that of a cave man living in the midst of powerful monsters.

It was once thought obvious that a man bears the same name and surname throughout his entire life; now it proves wiser for many reasons to change them and to memorize a new and fabricated biogra phy. As a result, the records of the civilian state be come completely confused. Everyone ceases to care about formalities, so that marriage, for example, comes to mean little more than living together.

Respectable citizens used to regard banditry as a crime. Today, bank robbers are heroes because the money they steal is destined for the Underground. Usually they are young boys, mothers' boys, but their appearance is deceiving. The killing of a man pre sents no great moral problem to them. The nearness of death destroys shame. Men and women change as soon as they know that the date of their execution has been fixed by a fat little man with shiny boots and a riding crop. They copulate in pub lic, on the small bit of ground surrounded by barbed wire-their last home on earth.

Boys and girls in their teens, about to go off to the barricades to fight against tanks with pistols and bottles of gasoline. Which world is "natural"? That which existed before, or the world of war?

Both are natural, if both are within the realm of one's experience. All the con cepts men live b y are a product of the historic for mation in which they find themselves. Fluidity and constant change are the characteristics of phenom ena. The man of the East cannot take Americans seriously because they have never undergone the experiences that teach men how relative their judg ments and thinking habits are.

Their resultant lack of imagination is appalling. Because they were born and raised in a given social order and in a given sys tem of values, they believe that any other order must be "unnatural," and that it cannot last because it is incompatible with human nature.

But even they may one day know fire, hunger, and the sword. In all probability this is what will occur; for it is hard to believe that when one half of the world is living through terrible disasters, the other half can continue a nineteenth-century mode of life, learning about the distress of its distant fellow-men only from movies and newspapers.

Recent examples teach us that this cannot be. An inhabitant of Warsaw or Budapest once looked at newsreels of bombed Spain or burning Shanghai, but in the end he learned how these and many other catastrophes appear in actuality. He read gloomy tales of the NKVD until one day he found he himself had to deal with it. If something exists in one place, it will exist everywhere.

This is the con clusion he draws from his observations, and so he has no particular faith in the m o me n ta ry prosperity of America. He suspects that the years in Europe pre-figure what will occur elsewhere. A hard school, where ignorance was punished not by bad marks but by death, has taught him to think socio logically and historically. But it has not freed him from irrational feelings.

He is apt to believe in theo ries that foresee violent changes in the countries of the West, for he finds it unjust that they should es cape the hardships he had to undergo. The illusory "natural" order of the Western countries is doomed, according to dialectical materialism in the Stalinist version , to crash as a result o f a crisis.

Wherever there is a crisis, the ruling classes take refuge in Fascism as a safeguard against the rev olution of the proletariat. Fascism means war, gas chambers, and crematoria. True, the crisis in America predicted for the moment of demobilization did not occur; true, England in troduced social security and socialized medicine to a hitherto unknown degree; and it is true, as well, that anti-Communist hysteria in the United States, what ever else may have inspired it, was largely motivated by fear of an armed and hostile power.

Still these are merely modifications of a formula that is being proved in other respects. If the world is divided be tween Fascism and Communism, obviously Fascism must lose since it is the last, desperate refuge of the bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie rules through dema goguery, which in practice means that prominent positions are filled by irresponsible people who com mit follies in moments of decision. Just such follies were Hitler's ruthless policy toward the Eastern peo ples, or Mussolini's involvement of Italy in the war.

A man need not be a Stalinist to reason thus. On the contrary, knowing how doubtful are any benefits from the system evolved in the Center, he would be overj oyed to see a gigantic meteor wipe that cause of his misery off the face of the earth. He is, how ever, only a man. He weighs his chances and con cludes it is unwise to align himself with the side that has been damned by the Being which has taken the place of God in this century, i.

The propa ganda to which he is subj ected tries by every means to prove that Nazism and Americanism are identical in that they are products of the same economic con ditions. Even if he stands on a higher rung of the hier archy and so has access to information about the West, he is still unable to weigh the relative strength and weakness of that half of the world. The optical instrument he sees through is so constructed that it encompasses only pre-determined fields of vision.

Looking through it, he beholds only what he ex pected to see. For example, accustomed to living in a society in which law exists exclusively as a Party tool, and in which the sole criterion of human action is its effectiveness, he finds it hard to imagine a sys tem in which every citizen feels himself bound by the sanctions of the law.

These sanctions may have been introduced in order to protect the interests of privileged groups, but they remain even after the interests change ; and it is not easy to supplant old laws with new. Every citizen is entangled in a network of statutes whose origin lies in some remote past. As a result, the mechanism of collective life is so unwieldy that anyone who tries to be truly active struggles helplessly to free himself of its restrictions.

The inhabitant of Central or Eastern Europe is incapable of understanding delays, absurd decisions, political campaigns, mutual recriminations, public opinion polls, and demagoguery, which he considers to be characteristic of the West. But at the same time, these encumbrances assure the private citizen a cer tain security.

To seize a man on the street and deport him to a concentration camp is obviously an excel lent means of dealing with an individual who dis pleases the administration; but such means are diffi cult to establish in countries where the only criminal is the man who has committed an act clearly defined as punishable in a specific paragraph of the law.

What the man of 1the East calls the "lifeless formalism of the bour geoisie" does, on the other hand, afford some guar antee that the father of a family will return home for supper instead of taking a trip to a region where polar bears thrive but human beings do not.

Nor is it easy in legally minded countries to adopt the use of scientific torture under which every man confesses with equal fervor whether he be in nocent or guilty. Propaganda tries to convince the citizens of the people's democracies that law in the West is no more than a fiction subservient to the in terests of the ruling classes.

Perhaps it is a fiction, but it is not too subservient to the wishes of the rulers. If they want to condemn a man, they must sweat to prove him guilty in fact; his defense lawyers hide be hind all the technicalities of the law; the case drags on through various appeals, etc. Obviously, crimes are committed under its cover, but so far Western law serves to bind the hands of the rulers as well as of the ruled which, depending on one's beliefs, may be a source of either strength or weakness.

Americans, aware of the nature of their law, compare democracy to an awkward raft on which everyone paddles in a different direction. There is much hubbub and mutual abuse, and it is difficult to get everyone to pull together.

In comparison with such a raft, the trireme of the totalitarian state, speed ing ahead with outspread oars, appears indomitable. But on occasion, the totalitarian ship crashes on rocks an awkward raft can sail over. New developments in the West are not easily ascertained in the people's democracies. In certain Western countries, above all in the United States, something has occurred which is without analogy in the preceding centuries: It is true that what these masses rej oice in is frequently tawdry and superficial, and that they download it with hard labor.

Yet a girl working in a factory, who downloads cheap mass-production models of a dress worn by a movie star, rides in an old but nevertheless private automobile, looks at cowboy films, and has a refrigerator at home, lives on a cer tain level of civilization that she has in common with others. Whereas a woman on a collective farm near Leningrad cannot foresee the day when even her great-granddaughter will live on a level that ap proaches such an average. What he refers to as the "stupidity" of the American masses, who are satisfied by the purely ma terial advantages of this new civilization, is excep tionally irritating to the Eastern intellectual.

Raised in a country where there was a definite distinction between the "intelligentsia" and the "people," he looks, above all, for ideas created by the "intelligent sia," the traditional fermenting element in revolution ary changes. When he meets with a society in which the "intelligentsia," as it was known in Central. The ideas he finds are clearly obsolete and far out distanced by economic and technical developments.

The purely pragmatic and empirical resolution of problems and the inability to swallow even a small dose of abstraction whereas the German bour geoisie, for example, had this ability in abundance introduce unknowns into his calculations.

If one re gards these characteristics as signs of "backwardness" in comparison with Europe, then one must acknowl edge that the "stupidity" which produced a technol ogy immeasurably superior to that of Europe is not entirely a source of weakness. The effort Japan made to overtake the West ended unsuccessfully; and Japan was beaten by the peace-minded and internally disunited United States of Roosevelt's day.

Russia, copying Western models of automobiles, airplanes, jet engines, tele vision sets, atom bombs and submarines, and such things as radar and penicillin, has now entered the race. The youngest generation in Eastern Europe, raised in the worship of Russia, is beginning to be lieve that she is taking the foremost place in the realm of science and technology.

The older people consider such a belief absurd; but, given her un tapped natural resources, a planned economy and the subsequent ability to allocate unlimited sums of money to scientific research and experimentation, they feel she may be well on the way toward suprem acy.

This supposition seems to be refuted by the purely practical aims of contemporary Russian sci ence for, as we know, the greatest discoveries are perfected in the course of long, disinterested work on the part of many scientists and often bear no im mediate concrete results.

It seems to be refuted, as well, by the insistence with which propaganda attrib utes most discoveries to the Russians even while they copy American construction, from bridges to mo tors, in the minutest detail. Such propaganda, pushed often to the point of the ridiculous, does not indicate a high degree of self-confidence. And such occur rences as the sale of Swedish machinery to the people's democracies under the stamp of Russian manufacture disproves its boastful claims.

Nonethe less, this propaganda effort to destroy the Russian inferiority complex and to raise "technological mo rale" is proof of the importance the Center places upon this scientific race. Who knows to what results such a concentration of will may lead? Perhaps all that Russia needs is time.

Let us admit-and the Eastern or Central Euro pean will do so-that at this moment the superiority of the West in potential production, technology, and replacement of human hands by machines which means the gradual effacing of the distinction between physical and mental work is unquestionable.

But, the Eastern intellectual asks, what goes on in the heads of the Western masses? Aren't their souls asleep, and when the awakening comes, won't it take the form of Stalinism? Isn't Christianity dying out in the West, and aren't its people bereft of all faith?

Isn't there a void in their heads? Don't they fill that void with chauvinism, detective stories, and artisti cally worthless movies? Well then, what can the West offer us? Freedom from something is a great deal, yet not enough. It is much less than freedom for something. While such questions are posed, actually they can be countered with others. American Communists mostly the intellectually minded sons of middle-class or lower middle-class families complain about the spiritual poverty of the masses.

They do not realize, however, that the Imperium they pine for is a com bination of material poverty and lack of technology, plus Stalinism. Nm do they realize how fascinating it might be to try to imagine a combination of pros perity and technology, plus Stalinism. The new man of the Imperium is being remolded under the slogan of the struggle against poverty which is simultane ously induced and conquered , and the advancement of technology which is simultaneously demolished and rebuilt. If these two powerful motives were absent, what would happen?

One suspects that the wheels of that gigantic machine would then turn in a vacuum. The stage of fully realized Communism is the "holy of holies. One dare not di rect one's eyes toward it. Yet if one dared to visualize that Paradise, he would find it not unlike the United States in periods of full employment.

But their spiritual development would meet an in superable obstacle in a doctrine which considers its aim to be the liberation of man from material cares toward something which it, itself, defines as sheer nonsense.

These are utopian considerations which Western Communists may avoid, but their Eastern brothers do not. I remember one who said, "I do not want to live to see Communism realized, it will probably be so boring. More than the West imagines, the intellectuals ot the East look to the West for something.

Nor do they seek it in Western propaganda. The something they look for is a great new writer, a new social phi losophy, an artistic movement, a scientific discovery, new principles of painting or music. They rarely find this something. The people of the East have already become accustomed to thinking of art and society on an organizational and mass scale.

The only forms ot culture in the West which attain such a scale are movies, best sellers, and illustrated magazines. No thinking person in the West takes most of these means of mass recreation seriously; whereas, in the East, where everything has a mass character, they take on the dignity of being the sole representatives of the "decadent culture of the West.

The real cultural life of the West is very differ ent. But even there the Eastern intellectual stumbles upon treacherous appearances, for he finds both imi tation and innovation, decadence and vigor, adver tised mediocrity and imperfectly recognized great ness.

The social and intellectual currents, which he knows from his pre-war trips to the vVest, continue to exist and arouse his impatience as products of a stage he has left behind. Still these are the aspects that attract his attention, and not the new creative forces sending up shoots amid a forest of dead trees. The gravest reproach leveled against Western culture is that it is exclusive and inaccessible to the masses.

This reproach is largely valid. Poetry, paint ing, and even music, shutting themselves up in ivory towers, become susceptible to numerous stylistic maladies. At the same time, however, their link with the everyday life of the people is considerably stronger than it seems to be at first glance. For ex ample, avant-garde painting which is so "difficult" and "obscure" reaches a tremendous number of peo ple through its influence on advertising, dress design, stage sets, interior decoration, and most important of all, perhaps, on the shape of universally used ma chines.

In comparison with this, the "Soviet Empire" style, which is based on the painting on huge can vases of groups of dignitaries standing about in vari ous positions and poses, is completely severed from everyday life. By destroying all experimentation in art, the Center confined its applied art if one can speak of its existence at all to a clumsy imitation of Western applied art which, however, is constantly renewed under the influence of experimental easel painting.

When the cult of ugliness reigns in painting or sculpture and any daring passes as formalism, then applied art, cut off from its roots, is bound to prove sterile. Looking to the lF est The multi-colored setting of Western life is sub j ect to the law of osmosis. The average citizen of the West has no idea that a painter in a garret, a little known musician, or a writer of "unintelligible" verse is a magician who shapes all those things in life which he prizes.

Government officials give little thought to such matters for they consider them a waste of time. Since it is not a planned economy, the Western state cannot come to the aid of people working in the vari ous arts. They go on, each pursuing his own chimera, sometimes dying of hunger; while nearby, wealthy men, not knowing what to do with their money, spend it on the latest whims of their benighted souls.

This order of things revolts a person from the East. In his country, anyone who displays any talent is used. In the West, the same man would have very little chance of success. Western economy squanders talent to an incredible degree; and the few who do succeed owe their success as often to pure luck as to native ability. In the countries of the New Faith, the counterpart to this waste lies in the fact that the ca pacity to follow the political line is a selective cri terion by which the most mediocre often attain the greatest renown.

Nevertheless, the artist or scholar in the East earns his living more easily than his col league in the West. Even though the pressure of the Method is burdensome, its material compensations are not to be scorned.

Many musicians, painters, and writers who had the opportunity to flee to the West did not do so because they felt it was better to compose, paint, or write somehow or other, rather than to teach or work in a factory, with no time or energy left in which to perfect their true craft. Many of those who were abroad returned to their own countries chiefly for this reason. Fear of the indifference with which the eco nomic system of the West treats its artists and scholars i s widespread among Eastern intellectuals.

An intelligent devil understands their mutual interests and lets them live by a pen, a chisel, or a brush, caring for his clients and making his demands. A good-hearted idiot does not understand these interests, gives nothing and asks nothing-which in practice amounts to polite cruelty. To the people of the East it is axiomatic that the basic means of production should belong to the State, that they should be regulated according to a planned economy, and that their proceeds should be used for hygienic, cultural, scientific, and artistic ends.

It is naive to seek partisans of capitalism in their midst. The something these people look for in the West is certainly not warmed-over watchwords of the French Revolution or the American War of Independence. They laugh at the argument that fac tories and mines should belong to private individuals. Their search for something springs from a more or less clear understanding of the fact that the New Faith is incapable of satisfying the spiritual needs of mankind, for its efforts in that direction have with inexorable regularity turned into caricature.

If they were forced to formulate what they seek, they would undoubtedly reply that they want a system with a socialist economy, but one in which man need not struggle desperately in the snake-like embrace of the Method. So they seek some sign indicating that real cultural values can arise outside the scope of the Method.

But they must be lasting values, geared to the future, and therefore not products of obsolete concepts. Anything less would serve merely to con firm the Method. The people in the countries of the New Faith know that only in the West can there ap pear works that will bear the seeds of hope for the future. Perhaps discoveries no less important than those of Marx or Darwin have already been perfected in the workrooms of isolated philosophers.

But how does one find them? Looking to tbe West The Eastern intellectual is a severe cnttc of everything that penetrates to him from the West.

He has been deceived so often that he does not want cheap consolation which will eventually prove all the more depressing. The War left him suspicious and highly skilled in unmasking sham and pretense. He has rejected a great many books that he liked be fore the War, as well as a great many trends in paint ing or music, because they have not stood the test of experience. The work of human thought should withstand the test of brutal, naked reality. If it can not, it is worthless.

Probably only those things are worth while which can preserve their validity in the eyes of a man threatened with instant death. A man is lying under machine-gun fire on a street in an embattled city.

He looks at the pave ment and sees a very amusing sight: The bullets hitting against their edges displace and tilt them. Such moments in the consciousness of a man judge all poets and philosophers.

Let us suppose, too, that a certain poet was the hero of the literary cafes, and wherever he went was regarded with curi osity and awe. Yet his poems, recalled in such a mo ment, suddenly seem diseased and highbrow. The vision of the cobblestones is unquestionably real, and poetry based on an equally naked experience could survive triumphantly that judgment day of man's illusions. In the intellectuals who lived through the atrocities of war in Eastern Europe there took place what one might call the elimination of emo tional luxuries.

Psychoanalytic novels incite them to laughter. They consider the literature of erotic com plications, still popular in the West, as trash. Imita tion abstract painting bores them. They are hungry -but they want bread, not hors d'oeuvres. Dialectical materialism awakens a response in them because it is earthy. If only they could find it! It is significant that everything in the West that is strong enough for their taste turns on questions of social structure and mass belief. Such books are frequently Stalinist, but even more often anti-Stalinist.

A great many of them have read Koestler's Darkness at Noon. A few have become acquainted with Orwell's 1 ; because it is both difficult to obtain and dan gerous to possess, it is known only to certain mem bers of the Inner Party. Orwell fascinates them through his insight into details they know well, and through his use of Swiftian satire. Such a form of writing is forbidden by the New Faith because al legory, by nature manifold in meaning, would tres pass beyond the prescriptions of socialist realism and the demands of the censor.

Even those who know Orwell only by hearsay are amazed that a writer who never lived in Russia should have so keen a perception into its life. The fact that there are writers in the West who understand the functioning of the unusually constructed machine ot which they themselves are a part astounds them and argues against the "stupidity" of the West.

Usually, what is strong in the West is purely negative. Its criticism of the New Faith is often ac curate, but despite this, it points no way out, and introduces nothing to replace the Method. One can, it is true, say that it introduces a living man un ashamed of his thoughts and capable of moving with out the stilts'l supplied by citations from the authori ties.

The Captive Mind.pdf -

To the Eastern intellectual, this is insufficient. One does not defeat a Messiah with common-sense arguments. The Christian religion which is restricted or even exterminated in the countries of the New Faith always evokes a considerable albeit unhealthy amount of interest.

Do Western Christians take the necessary advantage of their freedom? Religion has be come something in the nature of a vestigial custom, instances of which one finds in the folklore of various nations. Perhaps some pressure is needed if Chris tianity is to be reborn. The religious fervor of the Christians in the people's democracies would seem to indicate as much.

One merely wonders if theirs isn't the piety of a mouse caught in a trap, and if it hasn't come just a bit too late. The official order is to evince the greatest horror of the West. Everything is evil there: If you hear the name of a Western writer, painter, or composer, you must scoff sarcastically, for to fight against "cosmopolitanism" is one of the basic duties of a citizen.

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