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The fact is we can only love what we know personally. In public affairs, in the rebuilding of civilisation, something much less dramatic and emotional is needed, namely, tolerance. This is the sound state of mind which we are looking for.This is the only force which will enable different races and classes and interests to settle down together to the work of reconstruction. If you don't like people, kill them, banish them, segregate them, and then strut up and down proclaiming that you are the salt of the earth.
Arnold Toynbee, should have chosen it to preface his great study of the growth and decay of civilisations.
We shall probably agree on this point; surely the only sound foundation for a civilisation is a sound state of mind.
Which is all very well, but when I hear such talk, and see the architects sharpening their pencils and the contractors getting out their estimates, and the statesmen marking out their spheres of influence, and everyone getting down to the job, as it is called,a very famous text occurs to me: "Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain who build it." Beneath the poetic imagery of these words lies a hard scientific truth, namely, unless you have a sound attitude of mind, a right psychology, you cannot construct or reconstruct anything that will endure.
The text is true, not only for religious people, but for workers whatever their outlook, and it is significant that one of our historians, Dr.
We want to do something about it, and we agree that the basic problem is psychological, that the Lord must build if the work is to stand, that there must be a sound state of mind before diplomacy or economics or trade-conferences can function. Men must love one another, they say; nations must do likewise, and then the series of cataclysms which is threatening to destroy us will be checked. Love is a great force in private life; it is indeed the greatest of all things: but love in public affairs simply does not work.
It has been tried again and again: by the Christian civilisations of the Middle Ages, and also by the French Revolution, a secular movement which reasserted the Brotherhood of Man. The idea that nations should love one another, or that business concerns or marketing boards should love one another, or that a man in Portugal, say, should love a man in Peru of whom he has never heardit is absurd, it is unreal, worse, it is dangerous. It merely means putting up with people, being able to stand things.
In the long run, yes, perhaps: the history of our race justifies that hope.
But civilisation has its mysterious regressions, and it seems to me that we are fated now to be in one of them, and must recognise this and behave accordingly.
For what it will most need is the negative virtues: not being huffy, touchy, irritable, revengeful.
I have no more faith in positive militant ideals; they can so seldom be carried out without thousands of human beings getting maimed or imprisoned.