Monday, September 22, 2014

065. Rule Of The Road And Liberty. A G Gardiner Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

065.

Rule Of The Road And Liberty. A G Gardiner Essay. Reintroduced 
By P S Remesh Chandran
  
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books Online, Trivandrum

By PSRemeshChandra, 21st Sep 2014. Short URL http://nut.bz/ock_qzm3/ Posted in Wikinut Writing;Essays



Once there was a time in England when a trio of writers created very interesting articles on the daily life of people and amused the English-reading world. Whatever was happening around them in people’s lives became the subject of their stories and essays. E.V.Lucas, A.G.Gardiner and Robert Lynd were the trio. They penned down so many articles before they left the world, and we now have hundreds of beautiful such passages to read and read again and learn what we are, and how we behave.


Liberty is not personal affair but accommodation of the interests of others. Personal liberty has to be sacrificed for the security and safety of the society.



A G Gardiner Photo. By Unknown 



It is a pleasure to observe good rules. The British writer A.G.Gardiner wrote an interesting article on The Rule Of The Road, in which he presented his observations and thoughts on what Liberty in reality is, and explained and defined the distinction between individual liberty and social liberty. And he also explained when one should be sacrificed for the other. This essay was part of his book Leaves in the Wind, a brilliant and illustrative lecture on Liberty. Liberty is not a personal affair but the accommodation and tolerance of the interests of others. Personal liberty has to be sacrificed for the security and safety of society. Gardiner’s essays are natural, easy and light. His essays remind us of laughter, sunshine, peace and other such pleasant things. A.G.Gardiner, E.V.Lucas and Robert Lynd led the revival in English essays. Alpha of the Plough was the pen name Gardiner used often.


A traffic policeman is not a nuisance but promise of liberty, safety and security on the road. 



A G Gardiner, The Editor. By Unknown 



Had there been no rules on the road, everyone would have walked and driven as he wished and no one would have reached anywhere. Streets then could never have been crossed at all. Accidents and deaths would have become frequent and common and every journey would have been to the other world. It is social order that makes liberty possible, a reality. Order on the road reflects the liberty in individual lives. When we ride on the road, most people consider traffic policemen as an annoyance, checking their freedom to move. A traffic policeman is not a nuisance but promise of liberty, safety and security on the road. 



The expertise in driving is not in speeding up but in applying brakes in time. 


If No Others, Then No Roads. By Sarah777 



The pleasure and freedom of driving is not in obstructing others’ right to drive. The expertise in driving is proven not in speeding up but in applying brakes in time. We cannot drive the roads as if we own them. When somebody in uniform asks us to stop, it is the assurance that we can drive on safely again. In many countries, people rarely dim their headlights at night for drivers coming from the opposite direction to see the road clearly, and that is what causes most night time accidents. Certainly we are not entitled to such liberties on the road. We cannot apply Newton’s laws of motion on the road which states that an object in motion will continue in its motion perpetually, unless and until acted upon by an equal and opposite external force. We do have to stop at signals, slow near hospitals and schools and turn one hundred and eighty degrees back at U-Turns. 


In Russia, after revolution, an old lady with a basket on her head walked through the middle of the road without minding the oncoming traffic, yelling that she has got freedom and liberty!



Announce Our Coming Like Gentlemen. By Mariordo 



People sometimes will get liberty-drunk and forget rules. In Russia, after the revolution, an old lady with a basket on her head walked through the middle of the road without minding the oncoming traffic, yelling that she has got freedom and liberty! Even though it was a brief respite for her like letting-out her breath after holding it for a long time, letting out steam after generations of suppression by the Tsars, such individual liberty should be restricted indeed, for the safety of the society, at least on the road. Too much individual freedom will lead to social anarchy. It is interesting to note here that Jean Paul Sartre, the ultimate apostle of individual freedom, in France did exactly the same thing in crowded Paris city streets. He won’t wait for motor vehicles to pass when he crossed a street; the motor vehicles on either side had wait for him to cross! What can the famous and efficient French police do to such an eminent and world famous personage? The usually efficient Sûreté Nationale complained, and finally President Charles De Gaul ordered French National Police not to arrest Sartre for violating road rules. 


We have seen motorists using aggressive horns: cannot he announce his coming like a gentleman?



Liberty Or Sound Pollution? By ADBalasubramaniyan 



One certainly has the liberty to behave and conduct himself as he likes, in matters that do not affect anyone else. ‘We do not need anyone’s permission to be a Catholic or a Protestant, or to marry a dark lady or a fair lady.’ In all these things, and in a thousand other things, we can do what we like. We have a whole kingdom in which we can rule alone. But one certainly has not the liberty to play a piano, trumpet or gramophone anywhere or at any time of the day, disturbing others. Others also have their liberty to sleep in peace. We have seen motorists using aggressive horns: Cannot he announce his coming like a gentleman? The German state Prussia freely bullied and attacked its neighbours, and collapsed in the Second World War, to the world’s satisfaction. The drivers of such vehicles appear to Gardiner like the spirit of militant Prussia reborn, which is an ugly spectacle in a civilized world. Therefore it is necessary for us to preserve both our individual liberty and social liberty.


Other people’s rights are continually denied in buses, trains and queues, by people who have no social sense.



Queues Reflect Discipline And Breeding. By ŠJů 



The school, club and social lives of a person and the games he plays, train him in good social conduct. They put him in the broad current of the world’s life and enable him to consider the rights of others as well. Gardiner observes that women are far behind in this aspect of social conduct, as they are only beginning to enjoy actual social life. It is not the man but the well-dressed woman who breaks the queue. Another scene of offending the social liberty of others is seen in trains. If you are reading a very interesting book for pleasure, nothing happening around will affect you. ‘You can enjoy such adventure stories as Treasure Island even in the midst of an earthquake.’ But to read a book of facts and figures in a crowded train in the middle of loud talk is an impossible thing to do. On one such occasion he was compelled to close his book as many others have to do in trains. One person in the train continued to talk to his friend in a loud noise on a wide variety of subjects as if he was a very learned man. He left the carriage convinced that everyone had a very illuminating journey with him and would carry away to their homes a pleasing impression of his encyclopedic range of knowledge. The defect of this man was he had no social sense. 


What will happen if all are interested in breaking queue and none are in keeping queue?



First Come First Board. By Leonard V Carlson



Queuing up is a common sight today which we can see in bus stands, bus stops, post offices, railway stations, post offices, hospitals, cinema theatres and there are bread lines, pizza lines and relief lines too. What will happen if all are interested in breaking queue and none are in keeping queue? Even in disciplined and organized countries and societies also we can see an odd man or woman out in such queues. While travelling in buses, in modern day age, someone next to your seat will speak continuously onto his mobile phone, not to any single friend but to a number of his friends, one after the other, relaying where he has reached, at each stop. You will be forced to snatch the phone and throw it out through the window, whatever be the consequences resulting from the act.


One does not have the liberty to send his son to Mr. Fagin’s Academy in London and bring him up as a pick pocket. There is society to be considered.



Either Queues Or Chaos. By Petr Vilgus 



Brow-beating, side-stepping, pestering and disturbing others are taken as personal liberties by many. Personal liberties should be harmoniously fused with social liberties. That is the success of social sense. One cannot say that his child shall have no education, that he will be brought up as a savage or that he will be sent to Mr. Fagin’s Academy of Pick Pockets in London for professional training. Then society will interfere. One of course cannot have the liberty to become a nuisance to his neighbours and make his child grow up as a burden and a threat to the commonwealth. One can easily be judged to be civilized or uncivilized from his little acts of social behaviour. Little acts of good social conduct make up the great sum of life and sweeten the journey onwards. The extent to which one can indulge in the pleasures of his personal liberties is, they shall not disturb the liberty of others.


People have not really understood the meaning of his pen name Alpha of the Plough; it has connotation of the ABCD of the Farmer besides the brightest star in the cluster.



Commuters Keep Their Own Worlds. By David Shankbone



A.G.Gardiner’s most famous books are Prophets, Priests And Kings, Pillars Of Society, The War Lords, Pebbles On The Shore, Windfalls, Leaves In The Wind, The Anglo-American Future and What I Saw In Germany, in chronological order of first appearance. He used the pen name Alpha of the Plough for most of his writings- books, essays and editorial articles. Most people associate this name with Alpha, the brightest star in the Plough cluster in space, thinking that he assumed himself the qualification of ‘the brightest star in the cluster’, given the choice. But we also know that his England was a farmers’ England and Alpha in Greek also meant the first letter, making us believe that he assumed the pen name Alpha of the Plough to qualify himself as the ‘ABCD of the Farmers’ which is more meaningful and apt, considering what he stood for and whom he supported in his writings.


From the boy journalist from the wood-worker’s family, to the spit-fire editor of Daily News and The Star!



Decently Engaged. By Travis Ruse



Gardiner had humble beginnings in his life, born in a wood-worker’s family and boyhood experiences in journalism and magazine production at the Chelmsford Chronicle, Bournemouth Directory, Northern Daily Telegraph and Blackburn Weekly Telegraph, before he became the famous editor of Daily News who relentlessly fought against social evils and multiplied its circulation five times within seven years. Not that he continued in this paper. When David Lloyd George, the barrister who became the Prime Minister of England after World War First, partitioned Ireland and introduced state financial help to the poor and the sick by heavy taxation of the rich, there were disagreements between editors and owners and Gardiner silently moved on to The Star. We lost Alfred George Gardiner who delighted us through simple, truthful and amusing essays in 1946, at the age of 81.


(Prepared as a lecture delivered to literature students in 1995. Slight modifications made since then)

___________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
___________________________
 

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Tags


A G Gardiner, Alpha Of The Plough, Appreciations, British Writers, English Essayists, English Language And Literature, Freedom, Individual Liberty, Leaves In The Wind, Liberty, On The Rule Of The Road, P S Remesh Chandran, 

Re-Introductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Social Liberty

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PSRemeshChandra



Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of 'Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book'. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala.


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Saturday, September 20, 2014

064. The Bradford School Master. J B Priestley Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

064.

The Bradford School Master. J B Priestley Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

By PSRemeshChandra, 20th Sep 2014. Short URL http://nut.bz/3pgg-gzj/ Posted in Wikinut Writing Essays


The industrial town of Bradford in England had its famous school master in the person of Mr. Jonathan Priestley, whose son John Boynton Priestley later became one of the most famous literary figures in the world, remembered for his scholarly essays, novels, plays, travel books and speeches. 35 years after his father’s passing away, he remembers his father in a radio talk, as a respected village character, teacher, educationalist, socialist and humanist. 

When we reminisce our old school days, we unknowingly become little faces sitting there, listening to our teachers.


Priestley At Work 1940 By Daily Herald Archives

Reminiscing about our teachers who taught us in our school is a pleasant experience to us all. When we remember them, we unknowingly become our former selves of school children again. The school buildings, the compound and the playground, the class, our beloved teachers standing there teaching us in class, and we, the unruly gang, facing them with our tiny little faces and listening to every word of theirs as if they are pronounced by God, all rushes towards us from past years. Wherever we are and whatever we have become after years, this nostalgic feeling is universal, reminding us that it is a sweet once-in-a lifetime dream. 

Education is the golden gateway to the enchanted countries in our own mind.


From The Days Of Innocence By ManoRanjana DeSilva

Jonathan Priestley took delight in instructing people even while travelling in railway carriages. Teaching meant to him the cultural development of a man. Education is the key to understanding life. It saves people from ignorance, prejudice and narrow-mindedness. He considered education as a golden gateway to the enchanted countries in one’s own mind. As Plato pointed out, education is not for benefit, but for delight of the soul. We have heard about the incident in Plato’s Academy when a student, after spending long years in the Academy asked his master: ‘Sir, does all this studying come to any benefit?’ Plato went inside, returned with a gold coin and gave it to the student. And said: ‘Now you have your benefit; never say that your education did not benefit you, and never again make your appearance in this compound. Education is not for benefit but for delight of the soul.’ Education is a glorious end in itself. It works miracles by removing ignorance, stupidity and greed from the mind. Jonathan was an inner-directed, brave and independent ideal socialist who did not like blood-shed. Petty tyrants could not compel him to do something he loathed to do as an ordinary citizen or as a Teachers’ Union leader. He hated others being poor but did not want himself to become a rich man. He had more of Morris and Gandhi in him than some rudimentary Marx. 

The father considered Sunday a day to be spent on debates, and reading at home. The son considered it a day devoted to all kinds of outdoor enjoyments, far away from home.


Going To School By Gadjo Boy

One needn’t think that the father and son did not disagree. In two things they sharply disagreed and fiercely fought each other. Jonathan too much cared, and was anxious about, how their neighbours would think about them. He cared for the public profile of a man, which according to him, had to be cultivated from childhood. Therefore he severely restricted the lives of his children. Where in this world will not children be embarrassed and irritated? The holiday on Sunday was another matter for perpetual disagreement. The teacher thought it a day to be spent on debates and reading at home, and the son took it a day to be devoted to all kinds of outdoor enjoyments, far away from home. World’s literature is full of conservative parents’ views on how a Sunday should be spent and how a family should go to church. Conservative families spent the day in pious involvements and went to church en mass, in their finest Sunday clothes, in a parade, one after the other. In old times, church-going was the only occasion for the gentry for social intercourse. Church-going even emerged as a prominent theme in paintings and literary works. How a family looked on the road when they went to church was a measure of their character, conduct and integrity at home and in society. In every country, in every age, church-going was religious for parents and tedious and un-religious for youngsters and teenagers, except for whom romances budded and bloomed on the way to and back from church. Probably, the case of young J.B.Priestley also might not have been different, for he also had a sweetheart in his village whom he married and who when died of disease, he remarried.

Due to quarrels, hatred and jealousy between nations, our rockets may reach nowhere near another planet ever.


My Country School And Dear Teacher By WinslowHomer

Twenty years before this radio talk, on one occasion of describing the mental strength and wisdom of his father, J.B.Priestley had remarked that ‘if he were to pick up a team for going to and colonizing another planet, he would certainly have chosen his father’s kind of people first.’ Technology had slipped and faltered to the darker side since then and scientific developments man achieved had come to the stage of possibly endangering man and his planet. Due to quarrels, hatred and jealousy between nations and peoples, our rockets may not reach anywhere near another planet. Therefore, colonizing another planet is not even a remote possibility but saving this planet from self-destruction by man’s wayward technology is an urgent need. So, closing this radio talk, J.B.Priestley modifies his 20 years-old remark about his father, commenting that ‘the presence of so many people like Jonathan Priestley in this world alone may save the planet from self-destruction.’ So, now, his father’s mission would be not to go and colonize another planet for man, but to stay in this planet itself to save it from man. He wishes there were more men like his father qualified to colonize and civilize this planet of ours.

The man with a miracle pen, tirelessly working behind his type writers, producing marvels for the world!


My Brother's School And Teacher By Thomas Brooks

After reading an interesting and inspiring article written by J.B.Priestley, if we leave without knowing anything about this man with a miracle pen who tirelessly worked behind his type writers creating marvels for the world to read as essays, speeches, reviews, novels, plays, and biographies, making magnificent books on travels throughout England, France, Russia and America, and humbly declining a Knighthood and a Peerage but accepting the Queen of England’s an Order of Merit with no political commitments, it would be gross injustice to him and to English literature. 

This writer considered speaking about war experiences as taboo, and even destroyed writings from that period.


Back To Home From Schools By Albert Anker

After school, J.B.Priestley worked in a wool selling company for earning money to buy books and spent time as an unpaid writer working for Bradford Pioneer, a local magazine. His writing career started in 1912. In 1914, when the First World War began, he volunteered for the army and spent five years in England and France. He was wounded in 1916 by mortar fire. He feared he would die in the trenches and to ensure survival of at least a few of his writings in case he died, he wrote and sent a few poems and letters during this time. He did not like to talk or write about those years generally and wrote about them only once in a book titled Margin Released. He even destroyed much of his writings pertaining to the war time. After war he left Bradford. War Office helped him with a university grant and he joined Trinity Hall in Cambridge. After graduation, he married his lover from Bradford village and settled in London. Non-fiction works like essays, reviews and biographies and fiction works like novels poured out of his pen these days. Novels The Good Companion and Angel Pavement belong to this period. Then he lost his beloved wife and his father, and something changed in him to incline towards the theatre. In the 1930s, the world found him as a fully-fledged dramatist, immersed deeply in writing and producing plays for the theatre. 

The finest radio broadcaster of the 20th century! Jealousy caused cancellation of Priestley’s popular talks on the BBC.


Going to Church On Sunday By Wilhelm Koller

When the Second World War began in 1939, we see Priestly as a radio broadcaster, broadcasting war news with his famous comments regularly from England to America and other countries. In 1945, when the war ended, two unexpected things happened: he contested in the general election as an independent candidate, and failed; his writings against development and deployment of nuclear weapons resulted in the forming of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and he became a famous travelling speaker on nuclear disarmament. In the British Broadcasting Corporation, J.B.Preistley’s talks became such popular that they became the second best, the first best being those of Sir. Winston Churchill, the then British Prime Minister. Finally Churchill’s cabinet interfered and cancelled Priestley’s talks in BBC altogether, alleging that they were pro-left and socialist. We know, communism and socialism were much-feared things in England and in America but this did not prevent Winston Churchill of England or Theodore Roosevelt of America from signing pacts with Joseph Stalin of Russia to defeat Adolph Hitler of Germany. They did not feel guilt in joining hands with communists, to prevent England and America from going red, at the expense of countries in Europe being divided and shared by reds as part of post-war arrangements, but they took J.B.Priestley talking socialism in BBC very seriously. The reason- jealousy! 

The literary productions of John Boynton Priestley, stretching five decades.


Going To Church Or Where? By Franz Schams

Quite a number of quotations in the English language belong to J.B.Priestley, for example, ‘Plants restore the air that animals injure.’ He also was a lover of music and a supporter and promoter of the famous London Philharmonic Orchestra in its bad post-war times. The total number of books he authored is not less than sixty. In the midst of a very busy writing career, he also represented England in UNESCO. His novels include Adam in Moonshine, The Good Companions, Angel Pavement, Let the People Sing, Three Men in New Suits, The Magicians, Saturn Over The Water and Lost Empires. The famous plays are Dangerous Corner, I Have Been Here Before, They Came To A City and An Inspector Calls. His literary criticisms include The English Comic Characters and Literature And Western Man. English Journey, The Arts Under Socialism and The Edwardians are political and social writings. He has also written essays and autobiographical collections such as Midnight On The Desert, Journey Down A Rainbow and Margin Released. All these titles are arranged here in their chronological order of appearance. J.B.Priestley said farewell to this world on August 14th of 1984. 


(Prepared as a lecture delivered to literature students in May 1990. Slight modifications made since then)

____________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
____________________________


Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Also visit Bloom Books Channel In You Tube

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Appreciations, British Writers, English Essayists, English Language And Literature, English Radio Talks, J B Priestley, Jonathan Priestley, P S Remesh Chandran, Re Introductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies, The Bradford School Master

Meet the author
PSRemeshChandra


Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of 'Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book'. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala.

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063. Tolerance. E M Forster Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

063.

Tolerance. E M Forster Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran
  
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

By PSRemeshChandra, 19th Sep 2014. Short URL http://nut.bz/3_3i8k-v/ Posted in Wikinut Writing Essays 




E.M.Forster was a celebrated British literary figure who knew deep about the philosophy of the East. He made three visits to India and became familiar with the Hindu, Muslim and Anglo-Indian visions in India. His famous novel A Passage To India was made into a movie by David Lean. In a radio broadcast, he argues in favour of tolerance. His plea for tolerance is to be heeded by all countries; especially since in all continents have problems of cessation and separatism.


A sound state of mind is the only sound foundation to base a stable and lasting civilization.



Tolerance is a dull virtue. It just means, putting up with people. Forster laments that no one has ever written an Ode To Tolerance or raised a statue to her. It is the quality which is most needed in a world constantly threatened with wars. It is the only force which enables different classes and races of people to settle down together as in India. Tolerance is the sound state of mind to base a civilization upon. A sound state of mind is the only sound foundation to base a stable and lasting civilization. In Forster's opinion, God alone has a sound state of mind to base a lasting civilization. ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.' 


We say love is what is needed, and then sit back, and the world goes on as before without change. 



Tolerance is not just love. Spiritual qualities like love fails when put into practical uses such as solving the world's problems. Love is a failure in public affairs. 'Love is what is needed' we say, and then we sit back, and the world goes on as before. We do nothing to change either the world or our attitude towards the world. When love fails, people will begin to exterminate those whom they do not like, to prevent the disaster from which tolerance need be practised. We know, the Irish and the Scots were not loved much by the Englanders and the South Irish parted from United Kingdom. The Scots in their referendum chose to remain in that union, by a very narrow margin and we do not know what they will choose in future. We know Canada has problems with Quebec, Spain with Catalonia, Belgium with Flanders, and China with so many conquered states like Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and not-yet-conquered nations like Japan and Philippines, with far-reaching-plans with even the distant South Sudan in Africa. Without love for the other peoples contained in their hold and for ethnic minorities living in their provinces, where will these countries go in this world of instant communications and online referendums? 


Tolerance is to be practiced in the queue, in the street, in the railway, in the office, at the factory, at the telephone. 



Tolerance has to be practiced by peoples, classes, communities and also nations. It has to be practiced in almost all spheres of human activity- in the queue, in the street, in the railway, in the office, at the factory, at the telephone. Tolerance is not weakness or surrender. It is the strong tolerating the weak. It is a temporary arrangement till the world is put in perfect order. According to Forster, tolerance is just a makeshift, suitable for an overcrowded and overheated planet. The world is shockingly full of people who are equally responsible for the colour questions and racial prejudices still prevailing in our globe, still prevailing in even advanced countries such as England, E.M.Forster’s home land. These inferior qualities cloud the future of even the advanced civilizations. Rather than finding fault with others, it is better we turn to ourselves for betterment. It is very easy to find fanaticism in others, but difficult to spot it in our selves. Till The National Home is completed and Love enters it, Tolerance need be retained as a stop-gap arrangement.


All philosophers, prophets and saints from the East have been preaching tolerance through ages. Theirs is a long line.



Forster is not alone in advocating for this virtue of tolerance. All philosophers, prophets and saints from the East have been preaching tolerance through ages. From Gauthama Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi- theirs is a long line. In the West also, Saint Paul, the Apostle, Dante, the Italian poet, Erasmus, the Dutch scholar, Montaigne, the first French essayist, were all preaching tolerance in Europe. In England, there were John Locke, the philosopher and Sydney Smith, the priest. And there was also Forster's friend, the famous Lowes Dickinson. In Germany it was Goethe. We may sum up the names of these supreme lovers of mankind in a small poetical refrain which nobody wrote yet:


Buddhan, Gandhi, St.Paul, Dante,
Erasmus, Montaigne, John Locke,
Sydney Smith and Low`es Dickinson
And the poet Goethe.



(Prepared as a lecture delivered to literature students in May 1992. Slight modifications made since then)




Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Also visit Bloom Books Channel In You Tube



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Appreciations, Articles, British Philosophers, British Writers, E M Forster, E M Forster Essays, English Literature, Essays, Essays On Education, Essays On Tolerance, P S Remesh Chandran, Reintroductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books Trivandrum, Stories, Tolerance



Meet the author
PSRemeshChandra



Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of 'Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book'. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley In Kerala.

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062. Functions Of A Teacher. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

062.

Functions Of A Teacher. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum 


By PSRemeshChandra, 18th Sep 2014. Short URL http://nut.bz/ildb6h-d/ Posted in Wikinut Writing Essays


 

Storm and rain and hail and heat and sun shine are not dreadful things to plants. They are the turbulence which causes them to germinate, grow, flower, seed, fruit, wither away and again germinate and flower from seeds. Mankind also is in inimical storm and rain and hail, but civilization and culture won’t die away. The turbulence of our times is harmful to the fine flowers of our culture, but the agents of civilization- teachers- will see to it that they are protected in times of crises. 

Teachers are agents of civilization working in this world, making people bold, courageous and learnèd in whatever has gone and whatever may come.


Bertrand Russell Teaching in UCLA 1939 By Unknown 

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Roads To Freedom, Principia Mathematica, Marriage And Morals and The Conquest Of Happiness are the most famous of his books. Principia Mathematica deals with beauty of mathematics and the others are fine philosophical works. The Functions Of A Teacher is an essay written by him, describing the role of teachers as agents of civilization working in this world, making people bold, courageous and learnèd in whatever has gone and whatever may come. The views expressed by Bertrand Russell in this essay are relevant and current more than ever in the present day world. These views are not something originated from the speculating mind of just a philosophic writer but the seasoned and well-defined opinions of a brilliant teacher with long experience in the field. He also taught in UCLA, the University of California and Los Angeles.
 






Infiltration of politics into classroom and trade unionism into teachers’ room has wrecked the atmosphere in schools and colleges.

Never Tell Them Lies. By Громыко Григорий Олегович


Infiltration of politics into classroom and trade unionism into teachers’ room has been disturbing the peace, quietness and efficiency in schools and colleges for long. One cannot certainly hold the conviction that politics and the social, economic and political happenings in a country have to be kept out of the minds of budding citizens, but they never shall be allowed free reign to the extent of consuming academic life. In matters such as this, it is good for the world to once again listen to what eminent educational philosophers like Bertrand Russell had to say. His famous article on the functions of a teacher as an agent of civilization in a highly organized society is therefore reintroduced here. 

This turbulent disorder and confusion of our times do not reflect or represent our fine achievements of culture in the past.


Speak Only Truth To Generations. By Discott

The teacher is an agent of civilization. He is functioning in a society which has become organized more than ever. The turbulent disorder and confusion we see in our times is inimical, enemy-like, to the fine flowers of our culture humanity has produced in the past centuries and may curtail the appearance of those that are going to bloom in future. This turbulent disorder and confusion of our times do not reflect or represent our fine achievements in the past and are opposing and unfriendly to them. There indeed are many obstacles in the teachers’ path. But, Russell hopes, through the dedicated and committed functioning of the world teachers community, the present resistances may be made to vanish and a new civilization made to dawn. 

The teacher may, and must, present before his pupils this vast panorama and vision of the cosmic world, so that they too may be able to see this flight of space through time.



Call Everything In Its Right Name. By Victor Alexandrov 


The teacher is an agent of civilization as well as being its custodian and guardian. It is the function of the teacher to civilize his generation. Civilization is the enlargement of virtues and spiritual qualities through the development of emotions and knowledge. Knowledge and emotions are the chief constituents of a civilization. Knowledge should be wide, deep and perfect. By having a wider view of the world, the teacher should be able to observe man as a tiny being, leading a short life, in a small planet that flitteth through the infinity of space. A wider view of the world enables the teacher to conceive well the ‘geological epochs and astronomical abysses of the world and the universe.’ He gains an insight into the far past, the present and the distant future, and would find that human glories are but momentary. He would be the only person in our society to see the momentousness of human glories and say so to the loud-braying politicians and economists. When reading these lines, we will wonder how come a mathematician of our times wrote such lines, but we must reassure ourselves that it was the cleanliness and purity of mathematics that made him see the plain truth and pronounce it. The teacher uses this newly-acquired heavy knowledge and vision of the world and the universe to help mankind to see things clearly and foresee its future, instead of using it to crush mankind with its heaviness. The teacher may, and must, present before his pupils this vast panorama and vision of the cosmic world so that they too may be able to see this flight of space through time, an idea endeared to many philosophers and teachers from time immemorial. 

It is in the fire of emotions that knowledge is purged and purified into civilization. Without the fire of emotions to burn the human soul in, knowledge is but in vain.



Infiltration Of Politics Into Class Rooms. By Joxemai

Emotions are generally the least considered as constituents of civilization. There is no use of a head without possessing a good heart. It is in the fire of emotions that knowledge is purged and purified into civilization. It is like iron is tempered in fire into steel to remove its brittleness to make many useful weapons, and gold is purified in fire to make many beautiful ornaments. Without the fire of emotions to burn the human soul in, knowledge is but in vain. Civilization draws strength from the very best of human emotions. Inspired by emotions, great lovers of mankind, supreme intellects and creators of beauty have interpreted life and fought evil. 

We have seen great political and military blades wielded in the Second World War which split into two or more fragments Germany, Korea, India and a multitude of other ancient nations.




Clash Of Police And Students In Campus. By Sidheeq

Tolerance also is a constituent of civilization. Narrow nationalist feelings and collective hysteria hamper and pull back the advancement of civilizations and the evolvement of a healthy culture. Nations politically split and divided by barbed-wire-borders hold back people’s zeal to unite and exchange feelings as before. We have seen great political and military blades wielded in the Second World War which split into two or more fragments Germany, Korea, India and a multitude of other ancient nations. Apart from momentary political retaliation and satiation of revenge, it satisfied and suited none other than aspirants of authority. Instead of one, two prime ministers and presidents could reign and two cabinets could eat into national treasuries. And of course there could be installed two Parliaments, Senates, Bundestags, Reichstags, Knessets- fulfillment of dreams for many half-evolved brains! 

One either side of those barriers, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives, looking at each other and cursing those who ruled countries, waited fifty years to speak to each other. 




Once In A Campus In 1962. By Jerry Huff, UPI



When political figure heads of the Second World War, in their limited mental acuity, could find no other magnificent political solutions, they divided and separated people and erected barriers, subjecting the people of those lands to unending terror for more than fifty years. One either side of those barriers, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives, looking at each other, pining in their hearts and cursing those who ruled those countries, waited fifty years to speak to each other. Where was world’s conscience then? The people of these countries gained nothing by way of material prosperity, spiritual enlightenment or cultural uplift by this division, separation, fragmentation. Trains from Lahore to Calcutta bled all the way with bogies full of bodies of assassinated Hindu refugees with those trains side-marked ‘Jinna’s Presentation To The New India’. Exactly similar train gifts were sent to Lahore from Amritsar and Calcutta, bearing ‘Gifts To The New Pakistan’. Gandhi wept and prayed and wished to die, but who will listen? The scenes were more or less the same everywhere. Buddha’s Korea and India and Goethe’s Germany never wished to divide and separate their peoples. It was modern day politicians’ lust for power and thirst for new kind of colonies that divided people. When Berlin Wall was dismantled and fell, the world learnt the lesson: never trust their national political leaders again. Once, national leaders proclaimed loudly that these walls and barriers were safety and security. Today, everyone in this world knows that these barriers across peoples were the greatest betrayal and shame in the Twentieth Century. Those national leaders were consciously cultivating hatred and intolerance among their people, and drawing and re-drawing maps and creating new countries to continue in power, disregarding the sufferings of millions of people. 

A teacher’s face, feelings and opinions would print their permanent marks on the little minds seated before him. Therefore his face should be pleasant, his feelings pure and his opinions pious.




Will Flowers Of Humanity Wither Or Flower? By Masae 




Teachers under dictatorships and despotic administrations are not permitted to teach what they know is true. These governments need just propagandists to inculcate their official dogmas among people, clothed as education. Like Topiarian Artists in gardens who create fancy shapes out of shrubs and twigs and tendrils, such teachers are forced to think that the growth of their pupils can be trimmed and twisted to make any shape out of them, to suit the dictator or despot. Such a teacher hinders the natural growth of his pupils and kills their natural vigour. Narrow nationalist feelings and collective hysteria should be de-schooled. Ignorant intolerance is an antithesis to civilization. Tolerance is to be taught if democracy is to survive. The students of civics in America are not taught the truth about the real state of affairs in their country. So they have to seek truth from outside the classrooms, which they indeed do. Had their teachers been intellectually free, they would have arrived at the truth earlier, with less labour. Like the medical man, a teacher should have the right to decide what to administer to the generation, what to teach. A father won’t hide the truth from his children. In a similar way, the teacher also should be affectionate and caring enough to his pupils to tell them the truth about things. His face, feelings and opinions would print their permanent marks on the little minds seated before him. Therefore his face should be pleasant, his feelings pure, and his opinions pious. It is like sun shine falling on rosy petals, making them radiant and active. He should teach them to be satisfied and self-reliant always, and to not rob others of their happiness. 

Examinations are a total waste of time due to the unnecessary burden of which teachers and students become overworked, exhausted and imprisoned in class rooms, deprived of sunshine and air.




Class Rooms In War Torn Countries. By Living In Kuito 




Teachers cannot do the best they are capable of doing, due to many reasons. Examinations are a total waste of time, and energy. Due to the unnecessary burden of examinations, teachers and students become overworked, exhausted and imprisoned in their class rooms, deprived of sunshine and air. Thus, they lose what is original in them. Without the original in die and caste and mould, we will get only the duplicate and fake for nation building. Moreover, many educational authorities do not know anything about the problems of education. Education Ministers are appointed based on political and communal considerations and Education Secretaries are posted when they could not be given other lucrative positions they asked for; not based on pedagogical achievements and experience. As the famous philosopher, teacher and former President of India, Dr. Radhakrishnan, stated in one of his books, Towards A New World, ‘we are faced with the paradoxical fact that educators have become one of the obstacles to education.’ 

Intelligent Germans desired truce and saving lives in the WW II, but that mad man Hitler’s blind war machine ordered execution of all officers who stood for truce, and many more millions died.



We Rule Massai Schools Here. By Noel Feans



Organized party spirit also poses many dangers to teaching. It leads men astray. It also fills the minds of generations of people with dogmas and blind belief in the infallibility of their leaders, replacing reason and logic gradually. When these leaders lead people to wars and destruction, the people won’t be able to prevent them from happening, anymore. We know how intelligent Germans, both civilian and serving soldiers, desired truce and saving lives in the Second World War, but that mad man Hitler’s blind war machine ordered execution of all officers who stood for truce, and caused the death of many more millions of people unnecessarily by preventing truce, where it was plain that they were not going to win. It is from the congested minds of politicians that wars germinate. Excessive party work leaves teachers with no time for learning and teaching. Moreover, it aims at teaching dogmas. Therefore, the teacher should free himself and his pupils from organized party spirit. In whichever countries students who ought to have been in class rooms are but heavily depended upon to carry on the day-to-day party work of organizations, where they are burning books instead of learning them, it is an indication of grown up party leaders and party workers in that country leading an abominably selfish and lazy life, devoted entirely to corruption and carnal pleasures. 

It was those idle people, who in their time, became the very pillars of civilization and culture, and guarded them from going into smithereens. 


 
Every Bird Flown Away. From Senegal. By Tagon



As an individual in society, a teacher must be guided by his inner impulses. A teacher who is a slave to external agencies is indeed a shame not only to his pupils but to his country as well. His genius should be turned to making his people truthful and fearless. His opinions should be bold. Lord Halifax once commented that ‘a man who calls everything in its right name will never cross the street, without being knocked down as a common enemy.’ But a teacher shall not fail in naming people and things in the right way, for if he fails in it, there will be no one else except perhaps writers there to do that job as effectively as him. It is not good to teach his pupils to admire a rogue by concealing his roguery. He should introduce to his pupils a rogue as a rogue exactly, however great that person may be in history books. We know how the people of the world, especially those who suffered in the Second World War, viewed Adolph Hitler as real mad dog, in spite of quite a large number of Germans worshipping him as god and saviour. Opinions of teachers should be tolerated by the state and society for the sake of our civilization. H.G.Wells rightly observed that ‘a society will not enter upon the process of civilization until it is able to afford a minority who does no work but just sit, eat and think.’ Therefore the idle lot pictured by society and state as obstacles to civilization shall not be deemed to be so. It was those idle people, who in their time, became the very pillars of civilization and culture, and guarded them from going into smithereens. Russell hopes that perhaps we may have to wait a little for the dawn of a new civilization.



(Prepared as a lecture delivered to literature students in May 1992. Slight modifications made since then)

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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PSRemeshChandra



Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of 'Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book'. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala.

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Comments


Phyl Campbell
19th Sep 2014  

You used great images to break up this very long piece. I like Bertrand Russell's writing, usually.



PSRemeshChandra
19th Sep 2014  


I like too Bertrand Russell's writings. He was very sincere and complete in bringing out the hurdles teachers face in the modern world in doing their job and completing their mission. The only other persons who handled this subject equally seriously were Richard Livingston and Dr. S.Radhakrishnan. I will try to reintroduce their articles too. Thank you Phyl Campbell for reading. Had Bertrand Russell lived, he too would have wanted apt pictures to be included in his article, to illustrate and hint what is actually on his mind. But he went away from us when technology such as we possess was not available. Had it been, he also would have done the same thing. When I reintroduce articles and search and select pictures, I keep this angle in mind- what would they themselves had chosen from the available ones. What a person puts down in an article is the least he can and has to say; the rest rests with pictures. There certainly are more illustrative and apt pictures but they are beyond by humble resources, in time and money.