Vol. 34 No. 1 1967 - page 58

the cancer of hwnan history; it is the white race and it alone-its
ideologies and inventions-which eradicates autonomous civilizations
wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet,
which now threatens the very existence of life itself. What the Mongol
hordes threaten is far less frightening than the damage that Western
"Faustian" man, with his idealism, his magnificent art, his sense of
intellectual adventure, his world-devouring energies for conquest, has al–
ready done, and further threatens to do.
This is what some of the kids sense, though few of them could put
it in words. Again, I believe them to be right. I'm not arguing that they're
going to prevail, or even that they're likely to change much of anything
in this country. But a few of them may save their own souls. America
a fine country for inflaming people, from Emerson and Thoreau to
Mailer and Burroughs and Leo Szilard and John Cage and Judith and
Julian Beck, with the project of trying to save their own souls. Salvation
becomes almost a mundane, inevitable goal when things are so bad, really
One last comparison, which I hope won't seem farfetched. The Jews
left the ghetto
the early nineteenth century, thus becoming a people
doomed to disappear. But one of the by-products of thir fateful absorp–
tion into the modem world was an incredible burst of creativity in the
arts, science and secular scholarship-the relocation of a powerful but
frustrated spiritual energy. These innovating artists and intellectuals were
not alienated Jews, as is said so often, but people who were alienated
I'm scarcely more hopeful for America than I am for the Jews. This
is a doomed country, it seems to me; I only pray that, when America
founders, it doesn't drag the rest of the planet down, too. But one should
notice that, during its long elephantine agony, America is also producing
its subtlest minority generation of the decent and sensitive, young people
who are alienated
Americans. They are not drawn to the stale truths
of their sad elders (though these are truths). More of their elders should
be listening to them.
1...,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55,56,57 59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,...164
Powered by FlippingBook