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How Shall We Build the New…

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How Shall We Build the New World ? The following paper was read by Mr. Jas. Griffiths, Pentwyn Road Bettws, at the weekly meeting of the Christian Temple Young People's Mutual Improvement Society. Once to every man and nation Comes the moment to decide In the strife between Truth and falsehood, For the good or evil side. And the chance goes by for ever 'T wixt the darkness and the light." We are living in a crucial time, in one of those epoch-making moments when we have to decide whether we go forward to the light of a new day and a new world, or whether we shall go backward to the darkness of the Old world. We have just emerged from the horrible nightmare that has cursed our world for four years, and our danger at this moment is that, carried away by the feeling of relief that has possessed us, we shall become in- different to what happens in these momentous days. The old world has been shattered to bits on the.. battlefields of Europe, and we have now tfie opportunity of moulding the world nearer to our heart s desire. And the measure of our opportunity is also the measure of our responsibility. The old world was what we made it, and the new world will be what we desire it to be. If there is one thought and feeling predominant at the present time, it is the thought that the old world was a failure. We had been living in an illusion of security. We had all believed that we were marching on in an orderly way to a better world. And all the time, below the surface of things, there had been at work all those forces of Hate and Avarice and Greed that culminated in the war we have just passed through. And we suddenly awoke to the realisation that all was not well-that our security was false, and our dream of that orderly progress an illusion. And thoughtful men and women are everywhere, in all lands, saying that never again must this happen. Never again must our world be cursed with the horror of war; never again must our young manhood be bled white; never again must we be lulled to sleep in that false security. We stand at the parting of the ways, and we have to decide between Truth and falsehood. And this decision that we have now to make is not a new one. It is one that has confronted man at every turn in his long march from the dim beginnings of time to the present day. The struggle be- tween Truth and falsehood, between, Progress and Reaction, has always been going on, and there have come moments like the present, 'twixt the darkness jnd the light, when the decision had to be made. From Amoeba to man the struggle has gone on. On the one hand, there has been some power at work seeking to make life perfect; there is some principle of beauty and perfection in the Universe towards which all Creation is reach- ing out and seeking to attain. Evolution tells us the story of this principle at work, always creating new and higher ofrms through which to express itself and attain some Ideal. The poet has described it to us as A Fire mist and a planet, A Crystal and a cell, A Jelly Fish and a saurian. And caves where cavemen dwell. Then a sense of law and beauty, And a face turned from the clod Some call it Evolution, And others call it God." All progress is a turning of our faces from the Clod and a setting of our faces to the sun of Perfect Law and Beauty. This force, making for the Ideal, has had to overcome the other forces in the Universe-the forces of False- hood and Reaction that have always been working to prevent Progress; always trying to block the Path of Life in its forward march. The Sociologist has described those forces as the Dynamic and the Static. The Static are those forces that seek to crystallise into per- manent form the institutions and culture of the age. The Dynamic forces are those which, being an expression of the principle of Growth and Beauty, are continually war- ring against those fixed forms, and seeking to attain to higher ones. Let us observe briefly these forces at work in the social history of mankind. One of the first social organisations of man that we have record of is that of the Clan. It was a very simple organisation, indeed, based upon blood relationship. They lived their simple life-the men and boys hunting for the food, the women and girls preparing the meals. They held everything in common, and within the Clan there was no high or low, no master or servant; all contributed their share to the life of the little society. It contained just a few families living to- gether in some corner of the world, happily oblivious of the larger world outside. Their physical universe was bounded by the-to them—insurmountable barriers of mountain and river. Their social horizon was no larger than that of their own little clan. It was the world of Humanity in its childhood. How well I remember, as children in Bettws, we used to think this little Valley was all the world. With what curious and longing eyes we used to look up at the Bettws Mountain, and imagined in our innocence. that the Heavens touch the top of the mountain, and that we had only to climb up and we would reach those Blue Hills far away, as Stephens the poet has called them. Then, as we grew older and stronger, came that wonderful day when we would- climb up the mountain, only to find we were no nearer those Biue Hills, but that over yonder another mountain loomed again, and far away was the sea. It was very much the same in these little Clans, until some day, perhaps driven by necessity to look for a larger comer, they would roam over their mountains and come into contact with another Clan, driven forth by the same all-compelling force. And each Clan, in its simple ignorance, would imagine that the other had come forth to steal its little world, and there ensued a bitter straggle; until some day, weary of the struggle, some of the younger and more adventurous spirits of the Clans would go out and meet each other. They would become acquainted; from ac- quaintance would develop understanding, and from understanding would arise harmony. And then from these same younger ones would come the suggestion that the two Clans should join forces. And the older ones would shake their heads and be all for sticking to their own little Clan in their own little world. And then would develop that struggle-pre- cursor of all the struggles of the ages—be- tween the Static forces expressed through the older ones, who sought to maintain the narrow uiuty of the Clan, and the Dynamic forces expressed through the younger and more vital ones in each Clan. seeking for tJ¡.e wider 4k unity and the larger horizon. And finally i would come the conquest of the Dynamic forces, and the two little Clans would even- tually disappear, merged in the larger life of the Tribe. The same story would be lived over and over again-the same forces would be at work-and ultimately there would come the historic stage of the Nation. Each Nation I in time would by a long process, which we need not elaborate here, grow into an Empire, and the struggle would grow in intensity. Each Empire would think the other one was out to steal its world, and would set to it in earnest to maintain its unity; and to idealise that unity within each Empire, the idea would be fostered that its people were the best people in the world, that its political institutions were the most perfect, and were destined not only to last for all time and eternity, but ultimately to absorb all other Empires and Nations into its own life. To maintain that unity and to preserve it, each Empire and Nation would arm to the teeth against each other, and we witness that ter- rible underworld struggle for supremacy that found its consequence in the European W" r. And from the blood-soaked battlefields would arise a dream of a new world. At last we reach a new epoch in the long and pamfu; ascent of man-the attainment of world con- sciousness. Seers and prophets, all through the ages, have dreamed of the day when Man and man, the wide world o'er, shall brothers be for all that." They have been like voices crying in the wilderness of Pre- judice and Hate, but to-day we are witness- ing the beginning of that time that shall end in the realisation of their dreams. No one talks or writes to-day of a new Wales or a new England or a new Empire all are think- ing of a new World. We have begun to realise that we cannot have a new Wales in an old World. If we would have a new England, we must have a new World. We have achieved an International outlook. And the basic principle underlying this world con- sciousness and inspiring this International out- look is the recognition of the solidarity of mankind-the Brotherhood of Man. If we would build a new World, we must build it upon the foundation of this principle—that mankind is One. This principle is an ex- pression of the philosophy that views all forms of life as one in origin and essence. All Life is of one common origin; it is the expression of the Universal Life Force or God. And all men are part of this whole- the things that divide them are transient and accidental; they are united by the deep bonds of Life itself. All through the long trail of Man, men have tried to build their Societies upon the accidentals that separate them; but it has all been in vain-aye, more, it has ever resulted in tragedy. If we in this twentieth century want the world we build to be per- manent, and to provide safe shelter for humanity to grow into an ever more beautiful bloom, we must build upon this one founda- tion-the Unity of Life. And involved and implied in this principle of Life as being one in Origin and Purpose is another principle that Life is one in Quality; that underneath all the surface differences of race and creed, colour and culture, all men are equal. Unless we' "clearly recognise—unless we build our world upon this fact, we shall have built it on sand and it will not stand the test of the storms of Time. If we violate this great prin- ciple, humanity will yet languish and perish upon the seas of Hatred. As Edward Carpenter so profoundly says in his inspired work, Towards Democracy":— You cannot violate the law of Equality for long. Whatever you appropriate to yourself now from others, by that you will be the poorer in the end." What you now give, the same will surely I come back to you." If you think yourself superior to the rest, in that instant you have proclaimed your own inferiority. And he that will be servant of all, helper of most, by that very fact becomes their lord and master." Seek not your own life-for that is death; but seek how you can best and most joyfully give your own life away-and every morning, for ever, fresh life shall come to you from over the hills." The claims of others as good as yours, their excellence in their own line equal to your best in yours, their life as near and dear to you as your own can be." So letting go all the chains which bound you, having learned the necessary lesson of your own Identity, to pass out-free to flow down-to swim down in the sea of Equality- and the life which is Eternal." Building, then, our world upon the foun- dation of these twin principles of the Solidarity of Mankind and the Equality of Life, what kind of superstructure shall we erect? (I) International Relationships.-What kind of international organisation does this prin- ciple imply? What kind of International Relationship does it involve? We cannot have our new world divided into warring groups; we cannot have alliances and counter- alliances—each group arming against the other-lying about the other-fostering hatred of the other—one suspicious of every move of the other. We must have one International organisation; we must have a Community of Nations, enrolled in a League of Nations. We must, as Nations, realise that we canno! live one without the other; that one is essen- tial to the life of the other. Whatever one does, vitally affects the others. One nation cannot do evil without harm to the others; one nation cannot possess a good thing with- out sharing it with all the others. In our League of Nations, each nation must be on an equal footing. We must have a frank recog- nition of our Equality. The nations must co- operate within the League; each one must enter not only prepared, but eager to help the other-all contributing their share to the common life of the world. And we cannot have this League unless each nation is pre- pared to abandon some of the things they have hitherto treasured. There must come, by agreement, universal disarmament. Co- operation between the nations is impossible of realisation while they arm one against the other. If any nation or group of nations has the power to compel the others by force of arms, we cannot have a Community of Nations no more than we can have a Com- munity of men and women in which each member has the right to impose his will on others by force. We must have Universal Disarmament, however ideal it may seem, however impossible it may appear. Unless we have it, there can be no New World. There must also follow the abolition of Tariffs and all Trade Barriers. All nations must be allowed to trade on an equal footing. Each nation must have the right to self- determination—on lines compatible with the development of all the others. Then we shall have a real League of Nations, in har- mony with the fundamental principle of our I New W odd-a world set free to a higher life. (2) Social Relationships.—Again, what kind of organisation does this principle predi- cate within each nation—what kind of Social Relationship must be established? You can- not have a Community of Nations unless each nation is a community. You cannot expect the nations to co-operate one with the other, if within each nation the people compete one with the other. So in our New World we must have a new Social Order. We must sweep away that system in which a handful of men own and control all the means of fife. You cannot, in your New World, have the spectacle of, on the one hand, millions of the people in poverty and want, and on the other, a handful of people s-ffiandering the wealth the people create by their sweat and agony, in the shamefaced way we read of it being squandered in hypocritical Victory Dinners in I London hotels—to mention only one glaring instance of what is almost a daily occurrence in the life of the Rich. You cannot have a New World while the old relationship of employer and employed, master and servant, prevails, while Labour is mocked, Its just reward is stolen; On its bent back Sits Idleness enthroned. No, if we desire a New World, we must have a just social order. The present system of Exploitation and Profit must be abolished, and we must build a better and nobler, one. We must establish a Co-operative Commcn- wealth, in which all the people will give to Society their best in handwork, in brainwork, and in which Society will give to all men and. women the best Life can offer. We must have a Community of Brothers-all keeping each other in the tasks of Life, freed from all oppression, working in common for the good of all, and enjoying in common the good things that they create. I shall not cease from mental strife, Nor shall my sword rust in my hand, Till I have built Jerusalem In England's green and pleasant land." If we would have a New World, we must build a new Jerusalem, here and now, else all our dreams shall be in vain. (3) Its Call to the Individual.-We can have neither of these things-we cannot have a League of Nations nor a Co-operative Commonwealth, we cannot have a New World—unless first of all we have a change in our individual lives. All these new changes are a call to the individual to a higher and a better life. Are we not all of us conscious that we fall ever so short of our ideal? Are we all of us sure that we live such lives as make a New World possible? Do we deserve a better world? Now, the call comes to each one of us. We must rid our lives of all anti-social elements. We must not be so ready to take advantage of our brothers' weakness; we must not be so anxious to get on at the expense of others; we must not appropriate to ourselves any- thing that we are not willing to share with others. The new Era, our dream of a New World, calls us all to a life of serious pur- pose-a life in which we shall all rise above the petty hates and jealousies of life, and generously co-operate to make life easier and better for those who come after us. As I have said before, the New World will be what we desire it to be, and each man and woman of us will try to make of his or her life, however difficult, what we desire the world to be. Let us all go to the task with willing hearts and ready hands, anxious to co- operate with all who want a better life and a New World. (4) Forces making for the New World.- Finally, a word or two about the forces that are, in my opinion, making for the New World. (a) Science can play a very important part in the building of the New World, once it is freed from its destructive tasks. Think of the wonderful developments of modern Science. The laying of cables under the seas; the discovery of wireless telegraphy; the miracl e of the airship; the wonderful im- provement in the means of transport; all these are forces bringing the far ends of the earth together, enabling the peoples of the world to come into closer and ever closer touch with each other. Science provides the materia! requisite for bringing the ends of the world together, and once it is informed and inspired by the new spirit, there is no limit to the good it can achieve. (b) Literature and Philosophy.-One of the most significant features ptegnant with hope for a New World is the development of an International literature that breathes the spirit of this new outlook. In all lands there are wise men, who are creating a literature that embodies the new philosophy-Tolstoy and Gorky in Russia, Romain Rolland and Bergson in France, Materlinck in Belgium, Walt Whitman and Edwin Markham in America, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and a host of others in this country. The work of all these men gives expression to the new spirit that is seeking to unite the world. And if there was one litterateur who in his personality and literature embraced this true cosmic culture, it was the late Jack London. He created characters that are living expres- sions of the vital cosmic forces, and he has played no mean part in the evolution of world consciousness. Allied with literature in this great task is music—the language of the human heart ar.d osul. Music is truly inter- national its appeal is world wide, and it is destined to be one of the greatest factors in the liberation of man. (c.) 7 he Labour Moveinent.- To me, the greatest and most vitally living force making for the better world is the Labour Movement. It is, in its very essence and purpose, inter- national. The Labour Movement, even when working, as it necessarily does at present, in th'" realm of material things, is an agent con- sciously co-operating with the principle of growth in the Universe, and assisting to find higher and fuller expression. It is the workers who have suffered most from the evils of the old regime, and to-day they are becoming increasingly conscious of their common oppres- sion and their common need. They are join- ing hands across the frontiers and across the seas, resolved to win the world for the workers. They are uniting under the crimson banner of a world-embracing philosophy, I which knows no creed or colour, and which offers new life to humanity. The Labour Movement may appear to some of you to be really a selfish movement of those who have not to gain from those who have. But we who are in the movement, who try to serve it, know better. Beneath all the agitations of the day for improved conditions is a heart that beats sound and true. It is more than a movement for bread-it is a manifestation of the Life Force at work in its great task of making life more perfect. We pin our faith in it. Whatever its failings and shortcomings —and they are many-it is yet the most hope- ful sign in our Day, breathing the hope f better things to come. (d) Religion.-Alt these forces that I have enumerated, if they are to help us in our task of building a New World, must be imbued with a religious spirit. And this is the task of the Churches; this is the noble part reli- gion has to fulfil in our onward march. Reli- gion has to regain that universal note that it has lost. Christ came to earth, not to save Welshmen or Englishmen only, but to save all men of all lands. He came to establish His Kingdom not in the Allied nations solely, but on earth. He came that men of all coiours and climes might have life, and have it more abundantly. The Church must regain the missionary spirit, not only to save heathen people, but to abolish the heathen conditions in which Christian people are forced to live. The Christian life is one of sacrifice in order that others may live, and the Church must be ready to live, and give its life, so that men may have the more abundant life of its Founder. If it will but do that, it will imbue all these other forces with the spirit that makes men whole and makes the world 'he noble place of our dreams. Listen to thp words of one of the most profound thinkers of the time on the function of the. Life of the Spirit. These are the words of Bertrand Russell:- The Life of the Spirit demands readiness for renunciation when the occasion arises, but is in its essence as positive and as capable of enriching individual existence as mind and instinct are. It brings with it the joy of vision, of the mystery and profundity of the world, of the contemplation of life. and, 'above all, the joy of Universal Love. It liberates those who have it from the prison house of passion and mundane cares. It gives freedom and breadth and beauty to men's thoughts and feelings, and to all their rela- tions with others. It restores harmony be. tween mind and instinct, and leads the separated unit back into his place in the life of mankind. It is only through spirit that happiness and peace can return." Those are noble words, and if the Church once again becomes the repository of that spirit, it will take its rightful place as the guiding spirit of social progress. Our task is to make the world safe for Democracy and Democracy safe for the world. The Labour Movement is fast making the world unsafe for Autocracy. Whether it will equally make the world safe for Democracy depends largely on whether the Church will imbue the rising Democracy with the spirit that will make the world safe in its hands. It is a task that calls for our enthusiasm and energy. The moment has come for each individual to decide for Truth or Falsehood—for the glorious sunshine of a New World or the darkness of an Old World. The call comes to each one of us and bids us: Come, workers! Poets, artists, dreamers, more and more, Let us shake wide our wings and soar; Let us not fear to answer the high call That trumpets to us all. Amid the douht and chaos of to-day, The hate, the lust, the rage, Let us declare for nobler things— The coming of that age When man shall find his wings. I Above the shrouding darkness and the din, Let us not fear to sound the silver horn I That ushers the new morn- Come, Comrades, let us win!

Random Recollections of Llandovery.


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-___-__--ILloffion o Lanfihangel.





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