31 We Can't Just Play with Spools
I believe that the greatest frontier of our ignorance lies in the relationship of man to man. I do not discount the marvelous development in the world of thins, nor do I devaluate the contributions of those who made these developments possible.
Yet all these are but means, and unless we can learn to shape and to control them to ends that are constructive for the inhabitants of the earth, material miracles become not only futile but worse; worse, because they provide more means of destruction.
I believe the frontier of human relationship can be extended. It will not be easy to do so. Man must learn more about himself than he already knows.
The human emotions and the meaning of human behavior present difficulties in measurement much greater than those encountered in learning to measure steel or gold.
Perhaps the greatest impediment to the advancement of knowledge about us has been the fact that we have assumed we know. The man who can predict accurately the smell or color of the vapor which arises when two substances are mixed excites his fellow citizens far more than one who tries to predict the result of the slash of two personalities. In the second phenomenon we tend to solve by one of two methods. We dismiss it as unpredictable prior to the slash, or, afterwards, we declare the result to have been inevitable and expected by everyone. In either case we are denying our ignorance.
We shall have over one of the largest obstacles to a solution of man's favorable relationship whit man when we know and acknowledge how little we know about ourselves. The step to follow our admission of ignorance is to seek the knowledge and understanding that we have concluded we do not have.
This will be a long and difficult road, as long perhaps as from learning how to make fire to learning how to fission the atom. Man must turn his eyes and interest inward.
He has already made more gadgets than he understands or knows how to control. He resembles a child after Christmas unable to manage the the strange and complicated machine toys that had challenged the interest of his parents. Our acceptance that we do not know and must seek to learn cannot wait.
We have not the choice of the child. We cannot play with spools and leave the more complicated machines to our parents.