[Editor: This is a chapter from Australianism (1954) by John Fisher.]
Law no. 1: The law of human nature
This law describes a quality of the human personality and the source of happiness.
It seems likely that the human mind must grow continually, to become illimitable in time, space, energy, and matter, through an understanding of their origin, and that such growth is the source of happiness. This means simply that the perfectly happy person has a broad outlook on all things, and that while he strives always to understand life’s secrets, he refuses ever to believe he has mastered them. He thereby retains always the freedom for further mental expansion, which is the vital condition for an unshakeable happiness.
The history of human thought is littered with countless futile excursions into idolatry, which are equivalent to varying degrees of narrowmindedness, or the failure to see the human mind in its eternal context.
Western civilisation is the result of a forwardness of the intellectual minority in understanding the immediate physical environment, to the exclusion of real human nature. It’s God in mechanism, rather than the creator of the constructors of mechanism. Almost all Western people devote their lives to the “means of exchange,” buying and selling, “competition,” publicity, sex-worship, mass production, etc., rather than the enlightened pursuit of an immortal happiness, the cultivation of humanity for humanity’s sake, and the diligent questioning after their Creator’s plan.
Owing to the infancy of the human sciences, it is of immense importance to guard against biassed preconceptions when reshaping society to serve better the needs of human nature.
Any person whatsoever, irrespective of his circumstances or activities, might have abolished the mysterious barrier that obstructs the natural powers of the mind, and only he or God need know of the achievement. It would be wrong to suggest, of course, that a nation of reclining dreamers is necessarily advanced, but a fairly accurate assessment of its intellectual condition can be made by examining the most popularly indulged pastimes. If hordes of its people simultaneously watch the antics of a sack of air, or indulge in repetitive games with money, or any similar mass-activity whose childishness tends to be obscured by its popularity, then it would be safe to assume that their mental abilities scarcely exceeded those of the caveman. A truly civilised population, on the other hand, would indulge mostly in the individual activities which are demanded by people with a developing mind.
The. greatest happiness seems to be bestowed by an unwavering loyalty to eternal values, by a receptive outlook which can take nourishment from any creative activity in the unlimited field of human endeavor. The cultivation of the imagination in creative activity can assist its fulfilment as the creative force of the universe. The majority of “civilised” peoples, however, exercise an even less mastery over their environment than do the beasts of the field, who are spared the self-inflicted ordeals of war and depression.
To-day a great preponderance of the world’s peoples are moulded unawares into a spiritually static environment. The wonderment and spiritual awareness of early childhood, which has been retained to permit a lifelong virility in mankind’s great creators, is ruthlessly suppressed into a mechanical environment where speed, mechanism, and material criteria alone are the measure of initiative and success.
Spiritual hardihood enables many personalities to-day to brightest a soulless, enslaving environment, but the majority sink into a robot existence, often longing for the dawning of happier days.
Throughout all human experience, excessive specialisation has been permitted to shackle the human mind to earthly trinkets. The great contributors to human betterment have been people who, often by chance, have developed more fully their natural mental powers. Though the formative influences of early childhood are recognised to be of an extremely subtle nature, pessimists regard the genius or prodigy as a freak rather than a naturally developing being. A certain amount of specialisation in practical affairs is indispensable, but complete intellectual specialisation is inexcusable.
The great diversity of skills acquired by some folk, and the contributions of mankind’s great benefactors, encourages an open mind on the subject of human ability when it is nurtured in a constructive environment. It is important to maintain a high degree of scepticism with regard to one’s own undeveloped talents and those of one’s fellow men. The desire to understand and master the environment, if inculcated at an early age, sets the human mind expanding on an infinite and satisfying plane, as contrasted to the constricting nature of the pursuit of money upon which capitalism is based.
All purposeful social thinking must be based upon an unrestricted conception of the human personality.
The enjoyment of an increasing mastery over the environment through mental development bestows a pleasure and commands a respect which are sufficient reward in themselves to win the admiration of an intelligent community. The more stimulating environment of a co-operative society constructed to serve the fundamental human need for mental development, instead of degrading monetary pursuits, is alone reason enough for its introduction, though mentally-lazy politicians pursue purely materialistic ideals in their pretensions to advance humanity.
By neglecting to attach human loyalties to the eternal realities underlying existence, Western educators allow rising generations to inherit the various enslaving idolatries of civilisation, particularly the worship of money. Thinking exclusively in terms of symbols as an escape from more precise thought, results in the limitation of human perfectibility to those symbols. In this way the money-mania prolongs a spiritual slavery amongst vast numbers of the world’s peoples. Most children are permitted to limit their personal aspirations to a fulfilment of the flesh which, once reached, leaves a spiritual vacuum that spoils the remainder of their lives. Human aspirations should be carefully moulded in the home during childhood, but the subhuman monetary basis of civilisation desecrates this sacred institution. A consideration of the human personality and life as a unified whole leads to the adoption of a community concept of plenty-for-all in solving social problems.
It will be seen that the human mind is the least understood, most abused, and most powerful force in human affairs.
Capitalist society can last only as long as the ideas upon which it is based last. Its abuse of the instruments of communication, however, has completely dispossessed Western peoples of firmly rooted and humane ideals, thus preparing them for new and deeper beliefs. Any attempt at suppression will be futile for this will merely sharpen the intellectual conflict and hasten the acceptance of new ideas. The world is about to experience a social reformation unparalleled in history.
The excessive preoccupation with secondary goals restricts immortal human aspirations to the desire for material goods which alone can never satisfy the true, non-material needs of the mind. The pursuit of trinkets instead of wisdom has kept vast numbers of the world’s peoples throughout history at about the intellectual level of murdering savages. The word “progress” is popularly used to-day to describe only the addition of novelties to the material environment.
New scientific developments frequently cause vigorous activity amongst the megalomaniac sections of society which crave for money, and the masses wrongly interpret the money-mania as the cause of human progress, rather than human intelligence. The “will to win” is selected for worship when it is sought to ennoble ball games, though the fact that a troupe of performing poodles can be trained to exhibit “will to win” is overlooked. This emphasises the necessity of considering the real nature of man, as a prerequisite to all purposeful thought.
The economic motive has never produced any developments that could not have been produced by intelligent people in possession of the right ideals. The conditioned addiction to money, of ignorant masses, obstructs the tremendous enrichment of their life that would follow the adoption of an enlightened conception of the human personality.
John Fisher, Australianism, self-published: Harcourt Gardens (SA), , pages 3-6
Creator = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God