Imagine the two of us then standing in contemplation before the
hideous grandeur of one of those steel mills which dot the milway line.
I can almost hear him thinking
'So it was for this that you deprived us of our birthright, took away our slaves.
burned our homes, massacred our women and children, poisoned. our souls,
broke every treaty which you made with us and left us to die in
the swamps and jungles of the Everglades!"
Do you think it would be easy to get him to change places with
one of our steady workers?
What sort of persuasion would you use?
'What now could you promise him that would be truly seductive?
A used car that he could drive to work in?
A slap-board shack that he could, if he were ignorant enough, call a home?
for his children which would lift them out of vice, ignorance and
superstition but still keep them in slavery?
A clean, healthy life
in the midst of poverty, crime, filth, disease and fear?
barely keep your head above water and often not?
cinema, newspaper, pulp magazine, fountain pen, wrist watch,
vacuum cleaner or other gadgets ad infinitum?
Are these the baubles
that make life worthwhile? Are these what make us happy, carefree,
generous-hearted, sympathetic, kindly, peaceful and godly?
Are we now prosperous and secure, as so many stupidly dream of
Are any of us, even the richest and most powerful, certain
that an adverse wind will not sweep away our possessions, our
authority, the fear or the respect in which we are held?
This frenzied activity which has us all, rich and poor, weak and
powerful, in its grip-where is it leading us'!' There are two things
in life which it seems to me all men want and very few ever get
(because both of them belong to the domain of the spiritual) and
they are health and freedom. The druggist, the doctor, the surgeon
are all powerless. to give health; money, power, security, authority
do not give freedom. Education can never provide wisdom, nor
churches religion, nor wealth happiness, nor security peace.
What is the meaning of our activity then? To what end?
We are not only as ignorant, as superstitious, as vicious in our
conduct as the "ignorant, bloodthirsty savages" whom we dispossessed
and annihilated upon arriving here-we are worse than
they by far. \Ve have degenerated; we have degraded the life which
we sought to establish on this continent.
In the towns and cities you find the typical
His expression is mild, bland, pseudo-serious
and definitely fatuous. He is usually neatly dressed in a cheap
ready-made suit, his shoes shined, a fountain pen and pencil in
his breast pocket, a brief case under his arm-and of course he
wears glasses, the model changing with the changing styles. He
looks as though he were turned out by a university with the aid
of a chain store cloak and suit house. One looks like the other,
just as the automobiles, the radios and the telephones do. This is
the type between 25 and 40. After that age we get another typethe
middle-aged man who is already fitted with a set of false teeth,
who puffs and pants, who insists on wearing a belt though he
should be wearing a truss. He is a man who eats and drinks too
much, smokes too much, sits too much, talks too much and is
always on the edge of a break-down.