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Problems of Humanity - Chapter I - The Psychological Rehabilitation of the Nations
Most men today think in terms of their own nation or group and this is their largest concept; they have progressed beyond the stage of their individual physical and mental well-being and are visioning the possibility of adding their quota of usefulness and of stability to the national whole; they are seeking to be cooperative, to understand and to further the good of the community. This is not rare but is descriptive of many thousands in every nation. This spirit and attitude will some day characterize the attitude of nation to nation. At present this is not so, and a very different psychology rules. Nations seek and demand the best for themselves, no matter what the cost to others; they regard this as a right attitude and as characteristic of good citizenship. Nations are colored by hatreds and prejudices, many of which are as unwarranted today as foul language in a religious meeting. Nations are split and divided within themselves by racial barriers, by party [11] differences and by religious attitudes. These inevitably bring disorder and finally disaster.

An intense spirit of nationalism - assertive and boastful - distinguishes the citizens of most countries, particularly in relation to each other. This breeds dislike, distrust and the disruption of right human relations. All nations are guilty of these qualities and attitudes, expressed according to their individual culture and genius. All nations, as all families, have also in them groups or individuals who are recognized sources of trouble to the well-intentioned remainder. There are nations within the international community which are and have been for a long time disrupting agencies.

The problem of the interplay and interaction of the nations is largely a psychological one. The soul of a nation is potent in its effect. The national thought-form (built up over the centuries by the thinking, the goals and the ambitions of a nation) constitutes its ideal objective and is most effective in conditioning the people. A Pole, a Frenchman, an American, a Hindu, a Britisher or a German are easily recognized, no matter where they may be. This recognition is not based solely upon appearance, intonation or habits but primarily upon the expressed mental attitude, the sense of relativity and a general national assertiveness. These indications express reaction to the particular national thought-form under which the man has been raised. If this reaction makes him a good cooperative citizen within the national boundaries, that is good and to be desired. If it makes him assertive, arrogant, critical of the nationals of other countries and separative in his thinking, he is then contributing to world disunity and, en masse, to international disruption. This menaces the peace of the world. The problem, therefore, becomes one in which all people share. Nations can be (and often are) anti-social [12], and all nations have within them these anti-social elements.

Self-interest distinguishes most men at this time, with attendant weaknesses. Yet, in all countries, there are those who have outgrown these self-centered attitudes and there are many who are more interested in civic and the national good than in themselves. A few, a very few in relation to the mass of men, are internationally minded and preoccupied with the welfare of humanity, as a whole. They eagerly desire recognition of the one world, of the one humanity.

The stage of national selfishness and the fixed determination to preserve national integrity - interpreted often in terms of boundaries and the expansion of trade - must gradually fade out. The nations must pass eventually to a more beneficent realization and come to the point where they regard their national cultures, their national resources and their ability to serve mankind as the contributions which they must make to the good of the whole. Emphasis upon worldly possessions or extensive territory is no sign of maturity; fighting to preserve these or to expand them is a sign of adolescent immaturity. Mankind is now growing up; only now is humanity demonstrating a wider sense of responsibility, of ability to handle its problems or to think in larger terms. The late world war was symptomatic of immaturity, of adolescent thinking, of uncontrolled childish emotions and of a demand - by anti-social nations - for that which does not belong to them. Like children, they cry for "more".

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