9. Alexis Carrel, Man, The Unknown
MUDr. Alexis Carrel in his book Man, The Unknown provides view of negative development of mankind. (Julius Albert, Praha 1939, 2nd edition, original was published for the first time in the USA in 1935 „Man, The Unknown“) Alexis Carrel was born in France in 1872 and died in 1944. The following elements are related to our topic:
The control over the material world that had absorbed the attention and will of man completely, caused almost total devaluation of the world of spiritual life.
The intellectual and ethical values of people responsible for public affairs are deprecating in almost every country. It is the very intellectual and ethical insufficiency of political leaders that put modern nations in danger. People must turn their attention towards themselves and the causes of their moral and intellectual weakness. Indeed, it makes no sense to improve this lifestyle that brings demoralization and loss of the most precious characteristics of outstanding races. It is beyond any doubt that the mechanical, physical and chemical sciences cannot give us the understanding, nobility of mind, health, aplomb, quiet and peace.
What is an idea? Is it related to any known kind of power? Is it perhaps component of our universe, unknown to physicists, yet extremely more important than light? The mind is hidden inside living matter; it is neglected by physiologists and totally unknown to physicists. And still it is the most powerful force in this world.
Moral sense is much more important than intelligence. As soon as it disappears in a nation, the whole of its structure comes crumbling down.
In the modern civilization we rarely meet people, whose behaviour is imbued with moral ideals. Nevertheless such people still exist. We can't overlook them, when we meet them. Moral beauty is an exceptional and very striking feature. Those endowed with this godly gift take a strange and inexplicable power from it. It strengthens intellect. It builds up peace among people. Moral beauty is a basis of civilisation much more solid than science, art and religion.
The prevalence of matter and the dogma of economic success that have become religion are responsible for the destruction of culture, beauty and ethics in the sense of Christian civilization, mother of modern science. Half-wit is becoming more and more widespread day by day, despite the excellent level of education in schools, grammar schools and universities. Both pupils and students form their intellect according to the nonsense provided by public entertainment. Moral sense is almost completely neglected in modern society. We can claim we have suppressed its manifestation. Thieves live happily in luxury, gangsters enjoy protection from politicians, and judges are respected as heroes, admired by children in cinemas, and impersonated in their games. Rich man is always right. He can repudiate his ageing wife, expose his old mother to suffering and poverty, and rob those who entrusted him with their money, not risking to lose the respect of his friends. Homosexuality is blooming. Sexual decency has been thrown overboard. There is no difference between right and wrong, between justice and harm. Criminals move freely among other people, and nobody cares. Spiritual leaders have rationalized religion and destroyed its mystical roots, but they have failed to attract modern man. They preach weakened morality in empty churches. They are content with the role of police, helping to keep the framework of present society. Man is defenceless against such psychological pressure. He is doomed to fall under the influence of social environment.
It is interesting that mental diseases themselves are more varied by number than all the other illnesses together. Mental institutions are overcrowded, and can't admit all the sick that should be interned. Mental diseases are dangerous threat, much more serious than tuberculosis, cancer, kidney and heart disorders, even than typhoid, plague or cholera. We find lots of inferior individuals in our prisons, but we should not forget that the smartest criminals are roaming free. New habits definitely have not contributed to mental health.
If man is to become a better being, he has to recreate himself, which is not possible without pain, as he is the marble and the sculptor at the same time. Man does not realize his decline. Luckily we have witnessed an event not predicted by engineers, economists and politicians. The proud building of American economy and finance has collapsed. Are the causes only economic, or financial as well? Hasn't the modern life reduced the reason and moral capacities of the whole nation? Why do we have to pay several billion dollars every year to fight crime? Why are there so many feeble-minded and mad people in civilized nations? The economic crisis had come right on time, before the inherited qualities were completely destroyed by idleness, corruption and effeminacy of life.
Modern society has not suffocated all the centres of spiritual life yet, of moral courage, brave honesty; the flame is still ablaze, and the evil can be undone. However, the re-making of man necessitates re-creation of modern life; it can't be done without material and spiritual revolution. But do we still have enough power and prudence for such an enormous work? At the first sight it seems we don't. People have become indifferent to everything but money. But we still do have some hope. We can't succeed in re-making ourselves and our environment, until we change our ways of thinking.
The study of moral, aesthetic and religious feelings will prove to be as necessary as mathematics, physics and chemistry. We will ask health officers why they don't try to prevent mental and neurological diseases, why they don't care about the mental health as well. Why do they isolate people with contagious diseases, and not those who spread spiritual and moral disease, too. Why they consider dangerous only those habits that lead to organic illnesses, and not those that lead to corruption, crime and mental diseases. The economists will realize that the people think, feel and suffer, that they need more than just work, food and free time, and that they have certain spiritual needs apart from the physiological ones; and that the causes of economic and financial crisis can be moral and spiritual, too.
We have to free human individual from the state of intellectual, moral and physiological decline, multiplied by the living conditions, wake up the hidden energy, and give him back health, unity and harmony of the whole personality. We have to break the shell, in which society and modern manufacturing methods have enclosed him. But man does not have independence, he is tied to his surroundings. Therefore if we want to create a better man, we have to change the world he lives in. It is within the powers of each individual to change lifestyle, and create an environment at least a bit different from the environment of non-thinking crowd. However, if a man stands alone, he can't defend himself from the effects of material, spiritual and economic environment forever. That is why he has to unite with other individual thinking in similar way, to be able to fight with his surroundings and to win.
Medical science would achieve the biggest victory, if it found resources usable to make both body and spirit naturally immune to diseases, weariness and fear. Artificial health is not enough for human happiness. Some people defy infection and degenerative illnesses, even senility; we should learn their secret. We have to learn about the internal structure of the organism, which is behind this strength. Medical science can't do with mere compensation of organic disorders, it has to prevent them in advance, or really cure those affected. The hope for mankind lies in the prevention of degenerative and mental diseases, not only in treatment of their symptoms. This progress depends on discovering the secrets of body and mind, veiled under chemical structures. Parents have to realize that bringing up a child is not possible without them, and they have to be ready for such an assignment. Woman has to be given back her natural role – not only to give birth, but also to bring up her children.
Perfect and complete development of human personality is the ultimate objective of civilization.
The time has come for us to work on our re-creation. We live in a world that is not for us, in a world that has been born from the errors of our mind, and lack of knowledge of our true nature. It is clear we can't adjust to such a world; that is why we don't have other option than revolt against it. Our note: However, this revolt has to be non-violent, in accordance with the moral standards of natural Law that governs every human power on the Earth. The excerpts above were taken from the brochure of F. Venzara "On positive and negative development of human realm (ISBN - 978-80-86519-24-1)
JUDr. František Venzara
783 13 Štěpánov u Olomouce