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The Externalization of the Hierarchy - Section III - Forces behind the Evolutionary Process
The average man looks on at all of this and is frequently overwhelmed by the magnitude of the unfolding task, by the diversity of opinions expressed, by the many suggestions, plans and schemes for world betterment, and by a sense of his own utter unimportance and futility in the face of this gigantic human undertaking. He asks himself many questions. Of what use am I? What can I do? How can my little voice be heard, and of what use is it when heard? What [379] part can I play in the vast arena of world affairs? How can I prove myself useful and constructive? How can I offset my ignorance of history, of society, of political and economic conditions in my own country, not to speak of other lands? Humanity is so immense, its numbers so vast and its races so many that he feels himself a helpless, insignificant unit. He has no academic or general training which would enable him really to grasp the problems or contribute to their solution. What, therefore, can the man in the street, the business man in his office, the woman in her home, and the average citizen everywhere contribute at this time and in the future to the helping of the world? It is for this type of person I write.

I would start by reminding the general public of one important fact. This is that focused, determined, enlightened public opinion is the most potent force in the world. It has no equal but has been little used. The gullibility of the average citizen, his willingness to accept what is told him if it is said loudly enough and with sufficient plausible force, is well known. The well-turned phrases of the trained politician, intent on his selfish purposes, the arguments of the silver-tongued demagogue as he exploits some pet theory at the expense of the public, and the rantings of the man with a cause, a theory or an axe to grind, all find an easy audience. Mass psychology and mob determinations have been exploited down the ages, for the unthinking and the emotional are easily swayed in any direction, and hitherto this has been turned to their own advantage by those who do not have the best interests of humanity at heart. It has been used for selfish and evil ends far more often than for good. Of this tendency the negative and helpless attitude of the German people under the Nazi rulers is the outstanding example.

But this negative receptivity (which does not deserve the name of public opinion) can be as easily turned to good ends as bad, and to constructive measures as to destructive. A little planned direction and a wisely outlined program with this in view can and will bring about [380] the needed change and make a sound and intelligent public opinion one of the major factors in world reconstruction. One of the most interesting features of this war period has been the direct contact which has been set up by some of the world leaders with the man in the street and the woman in the home, as witness the talks given by Roosevelt and Churchill. Those given by the Axis leaders are in a totally different category, for they have been directed to the male youth of their countries and to the man in uniform. Only the lesser leaders in Germany, for instance, talk to the people in their homes, and then only to give them orders, to foster hate and to misrepresent the truth. In all these cases, however, the value of mass opinion is recognized and the need to sway the mass mind, either bending it to the will of some leader, such as Hitler, or educating it in those principles which are of benefit to the whole.

The second point which needs to be grasped by the average citizen is that the mass is made up of individuals; that each of us, as an individual, is a definite and integral part of the whole. This is a basic and important fact and has a bearing on our subject. The first step in the rebuilding process which lies ahead of us is to reach the individual, show him his importance, indicate to him his very real sphere of influence, and then set him to work in that sphere and with what he has. In this way, his normal and natural sense of futility will disappear, and he will gradually realize that he is needed and can do much. Having grasped this for himself, he can then try to bring the same constructive attitude to those around him, and they will then do likewise.

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