In 1946, Dr. Chisholm presented
a paper entitled The Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress
at a US conference on mental health. Two years later, his message was published by the (now prestigious)
magazine Psychiatry, and by his Communist friend, Alger Hiss,
the publisher of the socialist magazine, International Conciliation.
the presiding Secretary General at the 1945 founding of
the United Nation, wrote the Preface to Dr. Chisholm's
paper, which now bore the above title. Ponder Dr.
Chisholm's radical views of faith and freedom.
[Skip down to "poisonous
Now that [World War II]
has just finished we must... find and take sure steps to prevent
wars in the future.... (page 4)
Can we identify the reasons why we fight wars...? Many of them
are easy to list--prejudice, isolationism, the ability to
emotionally and uncritically to believe unreasonable things,
excessive desire for material or power, excessive fear of
others... ability to avoid seeing and facing unpleasant facts
and taking appropriate action.... They are all well known and recognized neurotic symptoms. The only normal motive is self
defense [but even it] may involve a neurotic reaction when it
means defending one's own excessive material wealth....
least three requirements are basic to any hope of permanent
...security, elimination of the occasion for valid fear
[refers to global totalitarianism which would eliminate war.
George Orwell's 1984]
....opportunity to live reasonably comfortably for all
the people in the world on economic levels which do not vary
too widely either geographically or by groups within a
population. This is a simple matter of redistribution of
material, of which there is plenty in the world for
of wealth and resources under government control]
...there should be enough people in the world, in all
countries, who... will not show the neurotic necessities
which we and every generation of our ancestors have
[this refers to Christian morality]
All psychiatrists know where these symptoms come from. The
burden of inferiority, guilt, and fear we have all carried lies
at the root of this failure to mature successfully... (6)
...maturity represents the capacity to cooperate: to work
with others, to work in an organization and under authority. The
mature person is flexible, can defer to time, persons,
circumstances. He can show tolerance, he can be patient,
and above all he has the qualities of adaptability and compromise.
Character Training for Global Citizenship]
maturity represents a wholesome amalgamation of two things:
(1) dissatisfaction with the status quo, which calls forth
aggressive, constructive effort, and
concern and devotion....
would appear that this quality of maturity, this growing up
successfully, is what is lacking the human race
generally.... What basic psychological distortions can be found in
every civilization?.... [The] only psychological force capable of producing these
perversions is morality, the concept
right and wrong...
been very slow to rediscover this truth and to recognize the
unnecessary and artificially
imposed inferiority, guilt and fear, commonly known as sin....
which produces so much of the social maladjustment and
unhappiness in the world.
For many generations we have bowed or necks to the
yoke of the conviction of sin.
We have swallowed all manner of
poisonous certainties fed us
by our parents, our Sunday and day school teachers, our
politicians, our priests....
become as gods, knowing good and evil," good and evil, with
which to keep children under control, with which to prevent free
thinking, with which to impose local and familial and national
loyalties and with which to blind children to their glorious
authoritarian dogma, bound by exclusive
stunted by inculcated loyalty, torn by frantic heresy...and
loaded down by the weight of guilt and fear engendered by its
own original promises, the unfortunate human race, deprived ...
of its reasoning power and its natural capacity to enjoy the
satisfaction of its natural urges, struggles along under its
ghastly self-imposed burden. The results, the inevitable
results, are frustration, inferiority, neurosis and inability to
enjoy living, to reason clearly or to make a world fit to live
freedom to observe and to think freely... has been
destroyed or crippled by local certainties... moralities...personal
salvation... frequently masquerading as love...
re-interpretation and eventually eradication of the
concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child
training... these are the belated objectives of practically all
effective psychotherapy. Would they not be legitimate objectives
of original education? Would it not be sensible to stop imposing
our own local prejudices and faiths on children and give them
all sides of every question so that...they may have the ability
to size things up and make their own decisions?
[These suggestions have been] met with an outcry of heretic or
iconoclast such as was raised... those who claimed the world was
round and against the truths of evolution...The pretense is
made... that to do away with right and wrong would produce
uncivilized people, immorality, lawlessness and social chaos.
the race is to be freed from its crippling burden of good and
evil, it must be psychiatrist who take the original
responsibility. ... What the world needs is honest, simple and
clear thinking, talking and writing.... the people who matter
are the teacher, the young mothers and fathers, the
parent-teacher associations, youth groups, service clubs... churches and Sunday schools
-- everyone who can be reached and given
help toward intellectual freedom [from Biblical guidelines]
and honesty for themselves and for the children...
Can such a program of re-education or of a new kind of
education be charted? I would not presume to go so far,
except to suggest that psychology and sociology and simple
psychopathology, the sciences of living, should be made
available to all the people by being taught too all children in
primary an secondary schools, while the study of such thing as
trigonometry, Latin, religions and others of specialist concern
should be left to universities. Only so... can we help our
children carry their responsibilities as world citizens...
When the other [infectious diseases] were attacked at the
preventative level, some martyrs had to be sacrificed to the
cause of humanity, because reactionary forces fought back.
Ignorance, superstition, moral certainties... resisted through
anti-reform organizations, religious and political pressure
groups, even political parities... It is not yet possible to
lay a manslaughter charge against parents who allow their...
unvaccinated child to die of...diphtheria. The
problem is no longer the germ of diphtheria, but rather the
attitudes of parents who are incapable of accepting and using
proven knowledge for the protection of their children.
...it has long been generally accepted that parents have
perfect right to impose any points of view, any lies or fears,
superstitions, prejudices, hates, or faith on their defenseless
children. It is, however, only recently that it has become a
matter of certain knowledge that these things cause neuroses,
behavior disorders, emotional disabilities, and failure to
develop to a state of emotional maturity which fits one to be a
citizen of a democracy....
Surely the training of children in home and schools should be of
at least as great public concern as their vaccination for their
own protection.... Individuals who have emotional disabilities of their own, guilts,
fears, inferiorities, are certain to project their hates on to
others... thus jeopardize seriously the external relations
of those who are associated with them... They are a very real
government of a country cannot organize and impose any social
developments or external relations which are too far ahead of
the state of maturity of its citizens. There would otherwise
result internal conflict and dissension, producing a reactionary
government and a retreat to a less mature stage of social
development. Any such reaction now becomes a dangerous threat to
the whole world.... for the very survival of large parts of the
human race, world understanding, tolerance, and forbearance have
become absolutely essential. We must be prepared to sacrifice
much if we would hope to have an opportunity to go on...
Whatever the cost, we must learn to live in friendliness and
peace with... all the people
mature people can maintain the mature social organization and
stability in which alone lies hope of avoiding world chaos and
There is something to be said for taking charge of our own
destiny, for gently putting aside the mistaken old ways of our
elders if that is possible. If it cannot be done gently, it
may have to be done roughly or even violently--that has
happened before. (18)