VACATION with a PURPOSE A family camp to examine the causes of war and the requisites of peace. Inspiration, education and recreation at modest cost. Programs for all age levels. June 25 July 1, 1961 GHOST RANCH New Mexico wwwwwvvvvvvvy For more information write to: AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE 705 N. Lamar, Austin 8, Tex. -nv a er .47.’114400001.1,1111Port0Prormill 191,11.1r Snovi’s Two Cultures `AND HISTORY IS MERCILESS TO FAILURE’ THE TWO CULTURES AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION, by C. P. Snow, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1960, 58 pp., $1.75. AUSTIN At a time in Texas when the civic forums and the communications media, fed by all the organized movements of the far right, continually redound with nervous horror as regards the internal “communist menace,” Mr. Snow’s essay immediately impressed one with its very British clarity and sanity of analysis. Although a reasonably informed person can dismiss as paranoid gymnastics the activities of those Texans who find a Red behind every bush, although he can with considerably greater difficulty convince himself to have faith in a world that insists we arm for peace, and although he can refuse to believe in the inevitability of total atomic war or at least refuse to live his .life as though it might end tomorrow, it is not so easy to dismiss the problems Mr. Snow anatomizes. It is almost impossible to comprehend the annihiliation of one’s culture or of one’s self. It is easier to understand a general gradual decline. This is Mr. Snow’s topic; he illuminates a situation that could conceivably be remedied if intellectuals were sufficiently aware of it and convinced of its crucial character in the world today. MR. SNOW’S “two cultures” indicate a radical split in the intellectual life of the Western world between scientists on the one hand, and on the other, those whose interests lie in the “humanities.” He warns that the almost total lack of understanding between the two groups can ye 22..:titi to our culture. By training Snow is a scientist, and by vocation, a writer. For at least 30 years he has lived in both worlds: “I felt I was moving among two groupscomparable in intelligence, identical in race, not grossly different in social origin, earning about the same incomes, who had almost ceased to communicate at all, who in intellectual, moral, and psychological climate had so little in common that instead of going from Burlington House or South Kinsington to Chelsea, one might have crossed an ocean.” Even on the level of emotion, the two groups can’t find much common ground. The tone of the non-scientists is restricted and constrained, “the subdued voice of their culture.” That of the scientists is aggressive, confident that “This is the heroic age of science! This is the Elizabethan age.” While the scientists are considered by their intellectual opposites as shallowly optimistic and unaware of man’s tragic condition, they see the literary intellectuals as lacking in foresight, unconcerned with their brother men, restrictive in outlook. Snow sees as the basis of the literati’s exasperation with the shallow optimism of modern science a confusion “between the individual experience and the social experience . . . Most of the scientists I have known well have felt . . . that the individual condition of each of us is tragic. Each of us is alone : sometimes we escape from solitariness, through love or affection or perhaps creative moments, but those triumphs of life are pools of light we make for ourselves while the edge of the road is black . . . But nearly Would see no reason why, just because the individual condition is tragic, so must the social condition be.” They feel that each man is obligated to struggle against those things in one’s condition which are absolutely determined by an implacable fate. “They are inclined to be impatient to see if something can be done: and inclined to think that it can be done, until it’s proved otherwise.” Such an attitude on the part of scientists has prompted them to look with disdain on, what seem to them the anti-social attitudes of such literary greats as Yeats, Pound, and Wyndham Lewis. And Snow agrees that the political irresponsibility of such men, no matter how personally admirable they may have been, might possibly have contributed to the oncoming of totalitarianism. AFTER extensive interviewing of English scientists, Snow feels that most of them look askance at books, considering Dickens, for instance, as “an extraordinarily esoteric, a tangled and dubiously rewarding writer . . .as the typespecimen of literary incomprehensibility.” But the culture of which scientists are a part is intensive, rigorous, active, at a high conceptual level. The art term to which it is most responsive is music. The literature of the traditional culture simply doesn’t seem to them relevant to their interests, and at this point Snow considers them dead wrong. Jim Tucker Insurance Agency Auto Home . . . Business 6511 South Park Blvd. HoUston, Texas Phone MI 4-1641 MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 But self-impoverishment of this sort is certainly to be found among non-scientists as well. “They still like to pretend that the traditional culture is the whole of ‘culture,’ as though the natural order didn’t exist . . . As though the scientific edifice of the physical world was not, in its intellectual depth, complexity, and articulation, the most beautiful and wonderful collective work of the mind of man.” Thus the chances for creative conflict, for mutual stimulation between the two cultures, is today almost nonexistent, more so even than it was 30 years -ago; mutual resentment grows. Such a tragic intellectual separation can be fatal to our Western culture “if we’re to perform our practical tasks in the world,” he writes. “If we forget the scientific culture, then the rest of the Western intellectualS have never tried, wanted, or been able to understand the industrial revolution, much less accept it.” The agricultural and the industrial-scientific revolutions brought about the only qualitative changes in social living that men have ever known, he says. The traditional culture merely looked askance at the industrial process \(which was made n9 attempt whatsoever to train its young men to deal with or shape the current of industrialization. “The academics had nothing to do with the industrial revolution; as Corrie, the old Master of Jesus, said about trains running into Cambridge on Sunday, ‘It is equally displeasing to God and to myself’.” Whatever constructive thinking along these lines in the Nineteenth Century was left to “cranks and clever workmen.” It is quite easy, upon recalling the literary figures of the last centurythe Thoreaus, the Wordsworths, the Ruskinsto see the validity of his condemnation. Reporters Say Walker Soon Will Quit. Army WASHINGTON Columnists Robert Allen and Paul Scott predicted this week that Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker, who was relieved of his command in Gerniany after being charged with trying to indoctrinate his troops in John Birch philosophy, will soon retire. Walker originally was scheduled to take over the Army’s 8th Corps at Austin. Allen and Scott say President Kennedy has now issued orders not to give Walker another command. The Texas Senate recently passed a resolution commending Walker, a native Texan. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 June 10, 1961 “It is hard to think of a writer of high class who really stretched his imaginative sympathy, who could see at once the hideous back-streets, the smoking chimneys, the internal priceand also the prospects of life that were opening out for the poor, the intimations, up to now unknown except to the lucky, which were just coming within reach of the remaining 99 percent of his brother men.” TURNING to an ana;ysis of eduI cational Systems, Snow notes that the Russians are training about fifty percent more engineers than the rest of the world put together. In the education of both scientists and engineers, England is “training at a professional level per head of the population one Englishman to every one and a half Americans to every two and a half Russians.” Snow believes that the Russians have made the most accurate appraisal of today’s situation and “have a deeper insight into the scientific revolution than we have, or than the Americans have.” An engineer in a Russian novel seems as acceptable as a psychiatrist in an American one. He observes in Russian novels a passionate belief in education. Russia’s estimates of the necessary manpower to triumph over the West in the scientific revolution include as many highest-level scientists as the country can produce; a much larger stratum of high level professionals who will do supporting research, “the high class design and development;” a third stratum with a less demanding education to do secondary technical jobs or to take a major responsibility, “particularly in the human jobs;” and, lastly, politicians, administra tors, “an entire community, who know enough science to have a sense of what the scientists are talking about.” But the main issue in the modern scientific revolution, he feels, is the widening gap between the industrialized countries and the under-developed ones. Life which, “for the overwhelming majority of mankind has always been nasty, brutish and short” is still so in the poor countries. This disparity has been fully recognized by the poor countries, which means that it can’t last long. “The West has got to help in this transforma-. tion. The trouble is, the West with its divided culture finds ‘ it hard to grasp just how big, and above all just how fast, the transformation must be.” Living in a relatively prosperous American state so thoroughly dominated by business and natural resources interests, one hastens to add that perhaps the basic shortcoming of a democracy is its reluctance to recognize such a crisis and to mobilize fully for it. The Asians and Africans have noticed the great success that the Russians, and now the Chinese, have had in rapidly industrializing their countries. The Russians, “with something of an industrial base,” have accomplished it in about forty years; the Chinese may take slightly more than half that long. In the face of great effort and suffering “they’ve proved that common men can show astonishing fortitude In, chasing jam tomorrow. Jam today, and men aren’t at their most exciting: jam tomorrow, and one often sees them at their noblest.” “It is technically possible,” Snow writes, “to carry out the scientific revolution in India, Africa, South-east Asia, Latin America, the Middle East within fifty years . . . This is the one way out through the three menaces which stand in our wayH-bomb war, over-population, the gap between the rich and the poor. This is one of the situations where the worst crime is innocence.” The gap will be removed, but the question is how, and by whom. A prime necessity is capital, which must come from outside; the two possible sources are Russia and the West, “which means mainly the U. S.” The other crucial requirement is men. “That is, trained scientists and engineers adaptable enough to devote themselves to a foreign country’s industrialization for at least ten years out of their lives.” In this area, Russia has a clear edge. Such men would need not only scientific competence, but humanistic, non-paternalistic, understanding. They would need to feel deeply the equality of man. The third, and parallel requirement is a complete educational program for the underdeveloped countries. “THAT IS THE SIZE of the probL I blem. An immense capital outlay, an immense investment in men, loth scientists and linguists, most of whom the West does not yet possess. With rewards negligible in the short term, apart from doing the job: and the long term most uncertain.” Snow, whose novels reveal a study of the things that motivate men, of the different kinds of power men compel themselves to exercise, has to admit that he doesn’t know if such a mammoth need can be satisfied in the democratic Western world; he can’t see “the political techniques through which the good human capabilities of the West can get into action.” But he does s87 that artists are mistaken in thinking that “when we have said something about the egotisms, the weaknesses, the vanities, the power-seeking of men, that we have said everything.” All he can see for himself to do is to “nag away.” Because “if we don’t do it, the communist countries will in time.” This will be both a political and moral failure on our part; “and history is merciless to failure.” C. B. M. Kountze News Editor Reports on Beating AUSTIN The Observer’s attention was caught some time back by a story in Archer Fullingim’s Kountze News reporting that Negro men attending a celebration had been injured by whites swinging chains. One of the Negroes, it was reported, almost lost an eye. Having seen nothing further on the matter, the Observer wrote Fullingim asking him what happened. We have received from the editor of the Kountze News this reply: “When the case was investigated by the grand jury, most of the
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