Page 12, 21st May 1937

21st May 1937
Page 12
Page 12, 21st May 1937 — PHYSICAL TRAINING IN THE TOTALITARIAN STATE Over-much Materialism

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People: Pasteur, Renouf
Locations: London


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By PROFESSOR RENOUF [in the first part of an article on the totalitarian state, Professor Renouf discussed last, week the German' idea of science. The writer amplifies below his criticism ,that Germany 'lays too much importance on the development of the material body and mind.] The far-reaching effect of the totalitarian control of science is further emphasised by two other articles in Nature.

In a discussion of Physical Training and national well-being-which also shows up some of the deficiencies of other systems-the author says: " The need for biological adaptation itt industrial civilisation is urgent if man is to regain the mastery of the machine and reap the advantages in the way of an ampler life which that mastery would offer to all. The retreat to the primitive inherent in certain morterta dictatorships makes the problem the more urgent. Civilisation, cannot be run by barbarians and the threat of the totalitarian State to human motive power, its discouragement of co-operative and creative thought and the disinterested research on which technical achievement as well as spiritual progress rest. The life of all civilised nations depends on the measures we are willing to take against the processes which are destroying health,

"That the . present proposals in Great Britain should be submitted by the Minister of Education rather than by the Minister of Health is indeed a hopeful sign. .

"It indicates that the Government recognises not merely the value of physical fitness.itself but also the intrinsic relations of mind and body.

"Physical and mental well-being is primarily a duty the individual owes to himself, and not to the State.

He best serves the State by realising the best in himself in a happy balance of mind in which duty is also happiness. liberty makes its own discipline, and life becomes an active pleasure instead of a passive existence.

"This question of physical training and national health commands the attention of scientific workers for many reasons, above all from the point of view of stimu

Ins to intelligence and character, which is inherent in a well-conducted scheme."

No Room for the Spirit While agreeing with the author we cannot help wondering exactly what he means by "ampler life" and "spiritual progress"; neither 'eau we see bow a scheme sponsored by a Minister of Education who provides us with the means to train our bodies and our minds, but does not give us the means of even discovering that we are composed of immortal spirit too, can possibly enable us to realise the best in ourselves, as so admirably defined by the author.

International Science The remaining article to he noticed deals briefly with the International Council of Scientific Workers, which recently met in London, whose main object is the furtherain3e of science as a means of social Letterinent and international understanding and co-operation---in fact to prove the correctness of the," man , whose inyincible belief is that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will unite, not to destroy, but to build, and that the future will belong to those who will have done most for suffering humanity." (Pasteur in his reply at the celebration of his seventieth birthday). It is significant that this International Council has not felt able to invite the cooperation of the dictator-run countriesRussia, Germany and Italy. Let us again quote Pasteur :

" If science has no country, the scientist should have one, and ascribe to it the influence which his works may have in this world ...Two contrary laws seem to be wrestling with each other nowadays; the one, a law of blood and of death, ever imaging new means of destruction and forcing nations to be constantly ready for the battlefield-the other, a law of peace, work and health. ever evolving new means of delivering man from the scourges which beset him.

"The one seeks violent conquests, the other the relief of humanity. The latter places one human life above any victory; while the former would sacrifice hundreds and thousands of lives to the ambitions of one."

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