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Problems of Humanity - Chapter I - The Psychological Rehabilitation of the Nations
The intense isolationism and the "hands off" policy of certain groups in the United States, the demand for a white Australia or South Africa, the cry of "America for the Americans", or British Imperialism, the shouting of France for recognition, are other instances. They all indicate inability to think in larger terms; they are an [13] expression of world irresponsibility; they indicate also the childishness of the race which fails to grasp the extent of the whole of which each nation is a part. War and the constant demand for territorial boundaries, based on ancient history, the holding on to material, national possessions at the expense of other people will seem some day to a more mature race of men like nursery quarrels over some favorite toy. The challenging cry of "This is mine" will some day no longer be heard. In the meantime, this aggressive, immature spirit culminated in the war of 1914-1945. A thousand years hence, history will regard this as the acme of childish selfishness, started by grasping children who could not be stopped in their aggressive ways because the other nations were still too childish to take strong action when the first indications of the war were seen.

The race faces a new crisis of opportunity wherein new values can be seen as important, wherein the establishing of right human relations will be deemed desirable, not only from the idealistic point of view but also from the purely selfish angle. Some day the principles of cooperation and of sharing will be substituted for those of possessive greed and competition. This is the inevitable next step ahead for humanity - one for which the entire evolutionary process has prepared mankind.

It was selfishness and self-interest which prevented several nations from siding with the Forces of Light; they preserved a selfish neutrality and lengthened the war by years. Is it not possible that when Germany first marched into Poland and when France and Great Britain consequently declared war upon Germany, if the entire civilized world of nations (without exception) had likewise declared war and banded together for the defeat of the aggressor, the war would not have lasted as long as it did? Interior politics, international jealousies, [14] ancient distrusts and hatreds, fear and a refusal to recognize the facts produced disunity. Had all nations seen clearly and renounced their individual selfishness in 1939, the war would have been over much earlier. Had all the nations swung into action when Japan first went into Manchuria or Italy into Ethiopia, the war which has devastated the entire planet would not have been possible. To that extent, there is no nation without blame.

It is needful to make this clear so that there may be straight thinking as we face the world of today and begin to take the steps which will, in due course of time, lead to world security. This period should be faced by every nation with a sense of individual guilt and of innate psychological failure. It is hard to admit that none of the nations (including our own) has clean hands, and that all are guilty of greed and theft, of separativeness, of pride and prejudice, as well as national and racial hatreds. All nations have much interior housecleaning to do and this they must carry forward along with their outer efforts to bring about a better and more habitable world. It must be a world consciousness, motivated by the idea of the general good, one in which higher values than individual and national gain are emphasized and one in which people are trained in right national citizenship upon the one hand and on the other in the responsibility for world citizenship.

Is this too idealistic a picture? The guarantee of its possibility lies in the fact that thousands today are thinking along these idealistic lines; thousands are occupied with planning a better world and thousands are talking about the possibility. All ideas which emanate from the divine in man and nature eventually become ideals (even though somewhat distorted in the process) and these ideals finally become the governing principles [15] of the masses. This is the true sequence of the historical process.

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