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Problems of Humanity - Chapter I - The Psychological Rehabilitation of the Nations

A clamor is arising from France that her ancient glory be recognized, that her ancient task of representing the major, civilizing influence in old Europe be remembered, and that France be safeguarded and protected. She demands that nothing be done without consulting her. Yet for decades, France has given to the world a picture of great disunity and of political corruption and graft; she has always evidenced a deep love and desire for material gratification, priding herself on her realism, but not on any spiritual idealism, and substituting the brilliance of the intellect and keen scientific perception for the subjective realities. Has France learned from her collapse in the summer of 1940 that the values of the spirit must take the place of those which have hitherto motivated her? Does she realize that she has to regain the respect of the world - a respect which she lost when she surrendered and sought collaboration, [17] thus proving herself innately weaker than those much smaller nations which fought until forced to accept defeat? Can France emerge from this time of trial, purified and able to demonstrate a new capacity to think in terms of unselfish international relations and not solely in terms of the material civilization which she demonstrated so wonderfully for so many centuries? She can and eventually she will. Her brilliant intellect (when turned to the study of the things of the spirit) can outstrip the researchings of lesser minds; that clear perception and ability to convey thoughts in concise and crystal clear terms will be utilized to bring home to many the eternal verities. When France finds her spiritual soul and not just her intellectual soul, she will prove to be the medium through which will come revelation as to the nature of the soul of man. France has in the past revealed the nature of the human soul in its stage of intensest individualism and selfishness. Through fire and pain, France will later demonstrate the qualities of the spirit of man. The accent upon the material values and the intense emphasis upon the importance of France to the world, instead of the importance of the international attitude to France in terms of unselfish human relations, summarizes the psychological problem with which France is at this time faced and which certain of her finest thinkers realize. Can France learn to think in terms of and for those who lie beyond her boundaries, or will she continue to think in terms of France? These are the questions she must answer.

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