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November 17, 1966 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1966-11-17
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Fellowship of Bleeding Hearts
by Prof. Stephen Tonsor

T HAS BEEN the experience of
a number of observers that in
spite of the inordinate amount of
clamor made by the "New Left" they
are a singularly inarticulate group.
Paul Jacobs' and Saul Landau's
The New Radicals, A Report with
Documents,' does nothing to dis-
abuse the reader of this opinion. It
is a dull, tendencious book written
in the party-Chinese, of this senti-
mental and willful little-league of
bleeding hearts. They are a group
negative to a degree inconceivable
anywhere other than the land of
positive thinking. They are irration-
al to a degree inconceivable any-
where other than a university cam-
pus. They would like to be unbut-
toned and succeed only in being dis-
hevelled. They would like to be his-
toric and succeed only in being
hysterical. Still, let us be charitable
and take them at their unprepos-
sessing best.
It would be an overestimation
of their role to credit them with
exercising a needed critique of Am-
erican society. Indeed, such success
as they have had has been in those
areas where they have been at one
with the American consensus and
their failures of late stem largely
from the fact that; aside from civil
rights, they have found no resound-
ing echo in American public opin-
ion. Still their aspirations and their
fears spring from generous if not
always clearly articulated feelings
and their debate is for the most

action, and finally the violence,
"lovelessness" and frequent cruelty
of our society are all issues which,
trouble the "New Left." That they
are troubled by these issues is the
one sign of their social good sense.
Not all of their enthusiasm give
civilized men such encouragement.
THE FACT IS, however, that the
New Left has established no
monopoly of concern with these is-
sues. The issues are the common
concerns of our whole society and
there is not a forum in America
where they are not debated. The
Liberal establishment for which the
New Left shows such contempt and
the Right, for which the New Left
shows such amused fear, both pre-
occupied themselves with these
larger ethical questions sometime
before the Left shed its ideological
blinders and climbed onto the band-
wagon of morality.
Fears expressed for the dignity
and freedom of Americans comes
with ill-grace from those who so
recently have made common cause
with Castro, with Mao and with the
Viet Cong. No doubt it is due to
what R. H. S. Crossman, a British
Laborite has called the "moral.
asymmetry" of the Left. Still it is
difficult to understand how a group
which makes heroes of Fidel Castro
and Stokeley Carmichael can be ser-
ious in any genuine dialogue con-
cerning humane values and inalien-
able rights.
Jacobs and Landau do a good job

..... ... ..............r ..... ........ ........ > ........................

The vast majority of its mem-
bers will be reabsorbed into
middle class America and will
go to work for the Chicago Tri-
bune and General Motors.

ditions within the United States or
indeed, the non-communist world;
but rather it is a reflection of the
'objective" conditions within the
Communist world. "The voice is Ja-
cobs' voice, but the hands are the
hands of Essau." The rhetoric of
ethical concern and personal au-
thenticity are the latest mask of the
"popular front."
a "popular front" whose pur-
pose is to combat American resis-
tance to Communist aggression and
at the same time give the Marxist
bloc opportunity to recover from
its ideological and economic' disor-
ganization. This is how the "move-
ment" is seen from the- vantage
point of Gus Hall.
It goes without saying that this
certainly is not the objective of ev-
ery member.of the movement. As a
'popular front" organization it
must of necessity be non-ideologi-
cal. The elements which compose it
(the radical intelligencia, Left-lib-
eral students and professors, hobo-
" hemia, the Lumpenproletariate, and
finally, the Marxist ideologues in all
their infinite variety) form a very
unstable amalgam. Their language
cannot for a number of reasons, be
ideological and they find themselv-
es communicating with each other
in a foreign tongue. The lingua
franca of the group combines in
about equal parts, elements from
Marxism, the sex and drug experi-
ence and the existentialist cliches
f authenticity and alienation. It'
is obvious, moreover, from a close
reading of the documents in Jacobs
and Landau that each of these
groups gives the common language
a private meaning. Finally, docu-
ment after document attests to the
fact that the "popular front" amal-
gam is breaking down already and
that the New Left has entered a
period of crisis and disillusionment.
Since ideology is not a suitable
basis for unity in a popular front"
grouping, the New radicals have
sought that unity in sentiment.
Sentimentality, which is a way of
escaping from objective reality
without seriously attempting its
transformation, has become the
characteristic of the movement. It
is the futile gesture, the enraged
withdrawal which proves that the
heart is pure though the hand is
effete, which- characterizes this
sentimentality. And the New Left is
aware that the lack of ideological
coherence vitiates the activities of
the movement. Time after time Ja-
cobs and Landua point up the ne-m
cessity for the development of an
ideology if the movement is to re-

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But a
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vitality. But if sentiment is
red in order to procure an
al ground the movement
compelled to surrender Its
F WHICH is another way
aying that any movement
ntiments and solutions are
ed by the American con-
bound, short of a decisive
sis _which threatens to rup-
Gpletely the social fabric,.
bsorbed Into the consensus-
iplex social fabric of the
tates, which from time to
ears to be, because of Its
plexity, extremely vulner-
one of the most resilient
id economic fabrics in the -
world. Its power of attrac-
d absorption of alienated
ile groups is enormous and
ripetal drag of the estab-
on this generation's radi-
doubtless be greater than
any past radical generation.
set out to do good and end
er, the history of the New
is still in full course. It
ing to look beyond Jacobs
idau to the future of the
nit, When it becomes clear
nembers of the movement
language of sentiment will
ither .as a permanent bond
vide a workable program
:ransformation of the soci-
rhich they find themselves
1 slowly and painfully sort
'es out. The vast majority
rembers -will be reabsorbed
dle class America and will
rk for the Chicago Tribune
reral Motors.
significant number will re-
ideology which made the
~ft" new. They will become
alitarian activists of this
on. They will be the second
f this modern Narod and
r Russian counterparts they
in overt revolutionary ac-
e success which sentiment-
~nied them. In this, as in
other developments in the
the New Radicals, SNCC
ie way. At this point ideol-
not need to reflect in any
way existential reality. It
y serve as a basis for unity

rovocation and vindication 4
n. Ideologically .inspired ac-
ll prove as ineffectual as
spired by sentiment and the
ideologue will find himself
ngly alienated. Ostracized
of their violent and nasty
nism they will sink to a cul-
d social level similar to that
da's Doukhobors.


(from page three)
be "desperately frozen and desperately
closed," irremediably superficial, making
us die and itself doomed todeath. Furth-
ermore, he experienced the occasional
darkness. in prayer and 'weariness of
God' that is inseparable from an earnest
life of faith. Teilhard searched hard,
therefore, to find what issue there might
be (the French 'issue' is a recurrent word
in his .writings) to the elan of humanity,
what opening at the other end of human
progress that would not be inhuman or
subhuman. He sought to discover how the
flower of human achievement might be
PRIOR EVEN to his explicit religious
beliefs, Teilhard believed, in a way
that cannot be merely written off as wish-
projection, that there must be a success-
ful outcome for man's earthly achieve-
I believe this through inference ...
I believe this through personal need
... Most of all perhaps, I believe this
through love, for I love the world
around me too much not to have con-
fidence in it.
In a much disputed essay, "Comme Je
Crois," directed to the non-believer (as
most of his writing was) he made a state-
ment that was later jumped upon by his
severest critics as evidence that he chan-
ged Christianity into "evolutionism of a
naturalist, monist, pantheist type."
If, as a result of some interior rev-
olution, I were successively to lose
my faith in Christ, my faith in a per-
sonal God, my faith in the Spirit, I
think that I would still continue to
believe in the World. The World (the
value, the infallibility, the goodness
of the World): that, in the final anal-
ysis, is the first and the last thing in
which I believe.
Hardy statement to come from a Cath-
olic priest, no doubt, but De Lubac spends
a good half of his book in defending it.
Methodologically, as the starting point
of an Apologia for his belief, it represents
a return to the starting point of a man's
experience, i.e., his simple allegiance to
the world in which he finds his existence
rooted and his instinctive awareness that
there is much more to be found out about
it than at first meets the eye. "Wonder,"
says Aristotle, "is the beginning of philo-
sophy;" and this wonder is produced by
the world around us. This statement of
Teilhard's is a personal testimony, too;-
he recognized that his confidence in the
goodness of created being was so strong
that it could not but imply a theological
THIS CONFIDENCE in created being
- was so innate to Chardin's mind,
Mooney tells us, that "the one fault he
detested was the deliberate acceptance
and delight in disgust with life." It gave
him eyes to see the phenomenon of spirit
within the development of the universe,
and he judged it to be "the cosmic move-
ment par excellence, that on which all
depends and which nothing can explain."
Hence Teilhard's very original phenom-
enology of evolution, which detects a dou-
ble force within all living organisms: not
only what he calls 'tangential energy,'
which "tends to link an element to other

elements on the same level of organiza-
tion," but also 'radial energy,' which
'tends to draw an element forward into
structures of ever greater complexity."
His training in paleontology has allowed
him to observe the general movement of
those forms of life which are imbedded in
successive levels of the earth; and in
searching for its direction he was led to
the 'generalized physics' which he sets
forth in The Phenomenon of Man and
which points to both a 'within' and a
'without' in all developing things.
The 'without' of physical things is their.
measurable, determined, predictable be-
havior. This is no doubt what Freud re-
fers to in his statement that organic in-
stinct (and hence matter in general) is
basically conservative, tends to repeat the
same pattern over and over. Freud con-
tinues: "It follows that the phenomena of
organic development must be attributed
to external disturbing and diverting in-
FROM THE strict scientific viewpoint
of controllable measurement this is
unimpeachable; but Teilhard, philoso-
phizing about what he observes, con-
cludes that the forward movement of the
universe - from inanimate to animate
(Biogenesis), and from animate to reflec-
tive (Noogenesis) - is too irreversible
"He recogniized that his
confidence in the good.
lies of created being was
so strong that it could not
htimply a the ogical
not to be explained in its turn by some
factor 'within' the developing bodies
.themselves. This direction or finality
which he perceives within even the simnp-
lest forms of developing life he connects
with the concept of 'consciousness' or
participated spirit. This is a much broad-
er, more inclusive phenomenon than the
birth of reflection, which occurred at the
moment when an advanced phylum
reached a critical threshold of complexity.
beyond which lay the birth of thought'
The advent of reflection, the moment
of hominization when biological life chan-
ges "from zero to everything" is for Teil-
hard, of course, the most significant mo-
ment to observe in the past. History be-
gan at this point where "the most ad-

vanced part of the

serves, is no longer in a bodily, or-
ganic direction but in that of Noogenesis,
the development of the inner life. Within
the family of man, in face of others, an
individual must become a person. Advance
in evolution must mean "that the quan-
tity and the quality of the personal must
constantly go on increasing." As long as
men were moving out to settle uninhabi-
ted parts of the globe, the energy they
expended was mostly tangential. But the
human monads start to recoil upon them-
selves and interpenetrate as mankind
packs more tightly upon a round sphere
with no more vacant real estate.
This is the stage of socialization,
where the tangential energy of technol-
ogy realizes a mega-synthesis (mega-,
hyper-, super- were favorite prefixes for
Teilhard). Radial energy must corres-
pond by pointing men to an ever fuller
life of the spirit together. The drive of
man in such a condition is "to be united
(that is, to become the other) while re-
maining himself . . . Union differenti-
At this point man has taken over the
direction of the world from the natural
forces at whose mercy he has been, and
can now say: "We are evolution."
Change' is an inadequate word to use
for this process; 'genesis' is better, since
it presupposes a goal. This stage of total-
ization involves a frightful increase of
responsibility. The failure to take one's
part in the staggering enterprise repre-
sented by the 'great society' could lead
to mechanization and standardization of
the worst sort-to 1984.
TERRIBLE hesitancy is induced in
man by not being sure of the out-
come. A depersonalized goal of the Marx-
ist type, which Teilhard ranked with "the
pitiable millenarisms," may well not move
him at all. He wrote:
How are we going to love something
like the world or humanity, realities
that are collective, impersonal, even
monstrous in certain respects?
The converging radii are being drawn
ever closer, says Chardin, either into the
cosmic machinery, into a Second Matter
of compounded determinisms, or to Some-
one, a person who somehow must em-
brace us all, a center of our centers,
Omega Point. Omega is a reality at the
summit of evolution that draws us there,
transcendent yet very much present to
the process from its beginning.
Teilhard was no pantheist, but he re-
j ected that sense of mutual exteriority
between God and the world which has
been the bane of so much orthodox reli-
gious thought. De Lubac characterizes his
position with a phrase from Augustine:
"Deus non creavit et abut" (God did not
create and then go away). Teilhard wrote:
God's creative action is no longer
conceived as abruptly inserting its
work into the midst of pre-existent
beings, but rather as causing to come
to birth in the depths of things the
successive terminations of its activity
. God makes things make them-
FROM OMEGA everything holds to-
gether. From this point alone comes
that force capable of drawing us together
into that universal love (by 'amoriza-
tion'!).in which alone we can survive. Up
to and including Omega, the terminus of
evolution, Teilhard has played the role
of philosopher, inducing patterns from
the past and deducing their future direc-
tion. What is of extreme interest to any
philosopher who will follow him this far is
that his reasoning has led him to a Prime
Mover and goal of evolution who i per-
sonal. This quality is not normally attri-
buted to the 'god of the philosophers,' and
many will still no doubt protest it. But
De Lubac underscores the fact that "for
Teilhard everything rests on the primacy
of the Person; concrete Presence at the
heart of the Universe, dominating it, ani-
mating it, and drawing it to him."

FROM THIS point on, of course, Teil-
hard's Argument is theological. Its
starting point is gospel-history, culmi-
nating in the God-man's resurrection
from the dead on Easter. Teilhard asks

part cast in the rhetoric of ethical
choice rather than the dialectic of
No one today would care, even in
the face of our great success as a
society, to deny that our society is
bedeviled with a host of seemingly
intractable problems none of which
is peripheral and all of which go to
the very heart of the meaning of
the American experience. Civil
rights, human dignity, the problem
of war in contemporary society and
under the conditions imposed by an
advanced technology, the struggle
to extend freedom of thought and
expression and to increase indepen-
dence of action, the growing ,,ense
of alienation and loss of identity
and purpose produced by our highly
urbanized, industrialized and bur-
eaucratized society, the loss of the
sense of democratic participation
produced by manipulating political
* The New Radicals, A Report with
Documents; Knopf. Vintage Books.
New York; 1966.

universe found itself

hard c
size the
of the
into te
the un:
with V
God ti
both it
sians I
and or
and in
He i
the f
all t

. . .


in presenting the prevailing mood
of Weltschmerz with which the New
Left justifies its actions and its
affectations. However, they do not.
outline an adequate history of the
"movement" relative to the histori-
cal development of the parent so-
ciety. I suggest they do not do so
because such a history would reveal
how new the "New Left" is in terms
of its social critique. Indeed, it
seems to me that the overriding
negativism of the "movement" is
the result of the fact that most of
the pragmatic and workable solu-
tions had, previous to its birth, been
preempted by Liberals and Conserv-
Those who conceive of the "New
Left" in terms of orthodox Marxian
ideologymistake its nature and un-
derstand little of its history. For
this reason alone Jacobs and Lan-
dau is an indispensible handbook.
The "New Left" is the reflection,
not of' what Marxians like to des-
cribe as the "objective" social con-

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Col. 3,
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it in
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(from page six)
In doing research that is of relevance in
this country; and
--careful development of the living
conditions and curriculum for maximum
benefit both to the foreign students, and
professors, and to the host University.
Naturally, the present large comple-
ment of foreign students at the Univer-
sity and the accumulated experience of
those who have worked with them (the
English Language Institute here-is a not-
able example) can serve as an excellent
starting point.
The establishment of the prototype of
the international university on this cam-
pus would be a creative and exciting un-
dertaking, one entirely in' keeping with
the rapidly expanding role the University
has played in its surrounding society as

well as its more traditional role as a
center for scholarly study.
AN INTERNATIONAL community fired
by the creative accumulation of ex-
panding, internationally-oriented, intel-
lectual thought coupled to real, practical
action has long been much more of an
imperfectly conceived, platitudinous vis-
ion than a reality.
But American affluence, American jets
and the rapidly expanding horizons of the
American university indicate that the re-
ality is now within reach, that the na-
tional university can be one of the first
major social institutions to truly go in-
ternational (though it had better hurry
If it is not to find itself following paths,
perhaps undesirable ones, staked out by-
international business). It's time for edu-
cation to join the jet set.,

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