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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 3, No. 4. 1940

No Man's Land

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No Man's Land

No Man's Land Masthead

Dear Salient,

It is time some fresher expressed appreciation of Mr. Meek's article, For Freshers Only. Mr. Ewen's "dancing star" illustrates exactly the long influence of one-sided propaganda which Mr. Meek deplores. "The pernicious ravings of the capitalist press" and one might add, of the B. B. C., have so biassed his judgment that he maligns one of another view as a 'poseur', and thus shirks the responsibility of seriously considering his philosophy.

It is for us, freshers, not to nurse wrath at our injured pride, but to endeavour not to be like the average fresher described - not to think in erroneous terms, but to overhaul thoroughly the foundations of our beliefs, and to consider for a moment the possibility that opinions other than our own may be right. Many of us realise already that we must subject our fundamental ideas to an acid test before we can think intelligently. By so doing we do not necessarily arrive at any one particular, conclusion rather than another; we may confirm our faith in our previous beliefs, but either way, we cease to repeat parrot-wise the second-hand wisdom of other minds.

Mr. Meek's first six fallacies have been readily acknowledged as fallacious; the seventh has aroused controversy. Mr. Woodward points out that the existence of the soul is an open question. That is just why Mr. Meek is right in claiming that it is a fallacy to accept it as a preved fact.

In conclusion, I trust that if some freshers are students and not still schoolboys, Mr. meek's "exquisite little verbal bombs" may perform another function than to "waste paper". If they prompt some students to think originally they will have done a noble task, for only through doubt and criticism lies the path to truth.

Geo. W. Turner.

Dear Salient,

Evolution and R-evolution.

The article in last Salient on Social Democracy or Lenin and Lenart is "Much Ado About Nothing", but for its references to evolution and revolution and these words: "Let us be realists. Let us not shrink from the inevitable struggle".

Any sound social system mast be both evolutionary and revolutionary, the latter being a development of the former. The intrinsic idea underlying evolution is not so much that which evolves as evolition, pertaining to the will. The beginning and end of evolution in science is wrapped up with infinite assumptions "Ever learning, yet never attaining to the Truth". Evolution is comparable to the effect produced by the Earth on its own atoms, by the rotation on its own axis. The whole outlook in life is limited by the immediate surroundings or environment. There is no proper sense of direction. The individual becomes self centred in himself, in his possessions and his pride. The same principle applies to all earth dwellers. The only light they know is the nearest light which revolves round themselves, such as the reflected light of the Moon which, gives them moonshine and a distorted vision. The corrective is the complementary revolution of the Earth, with its human spores, around the greater light, the Sun which is the cause of its being. Man must adjust himself and his need's to the pattern of the Earth in the solar system, which is evolutionary in its daily necessities but revolutionary in its onward march. The Spirit of Truth from the Sun can lift man out of his unhappy environment by the power of the will.

T. F. Simpson

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Dear Salient;

I fear that Mr. Even has hit upon the truth when he calls himself "just another half-baked intellectual snob." It is regretable, for his letter is one of the most refreshingly rude efforts that has ever appeared in Salient. That it was in all probability warranted under the circumstances does not alter the fact that one of his seeming intelligence has committed a blunder more particularly peculiar to freshers. His letter is clever, but seems to suffer from the same essential pride as the letter of which he complains. Admittedly most writing is more or less a protusion of the writer's ego for his own satisfaction, but there are some writers who have reached that stage of commonsense where they have the decency to conceal it. I would suggest that this be one of the first lessons which Mr. Ewen might learn at a University, and it is applicable, not only, though it would seem primarily, to Mr. Ewen and his fellow freshers.

Salient gets many letters and articles that are a little too undisguisedly mountains of intellectual pride, and it seems not out of order to draw attention to the fact. I think I am perhaps correct in suggesting that in the end Salient does not exist purely to satisfy the ego's of its writers, but also has the somewhat minor purpose of interesting its readers. This is not meant to be cynical or ironical. From one then of Mr. Ewen's evident ability a little humility would be very welcome. Mr. Ewen and his contemporaries who appeared the week before, seem to this uncritical eye to be the "goods", but if only they would stop using such big words we poor slightly-elders night understand them.

N. R. Taylor

Dear Salient,

Not being a great "common-room philosopher", I sometimes sit and listen. Omitting the brawl concerned with the performance of "Mitti" in the last race, most discussions usually contain the elements of new thought directed against conservatism.

For this reason; I have tried to analyse conservatism. My analysis falls into four categories and since I am concerned with a psychological state, it is permissable for me to represent each category by a different person:—
1.The first person is one who suffers from a lack of I. Q. With such a person the need for a sense of mental security is vital. Any change unless very gradual is liable to upset that security. Observation has shown that such a person shrinks from any responsibility.
2.The second person is conservative because, of his conservative environment. A youth whose father is a banker has a certain primitive passive sympathy with "the old Dad". Such a state is suitable for an Evangelical Church but in a University it is rather deplorable.
3.The third I style as a "newspaper and pub counter intellectual". He is usually an extravert who amplifies common opinions with the use of analogies (a dangerous form of reason) He is usually of average I. Q. and is found everywhere. With sufficient schooling and personality he finds his way into the clergy, the Chamber of Commerce and Parliament.
4.The fourth person is a rare bird - the intellectual conservative. Although I don't agree with his views I must respect them as they are a product of rational thinking and not of notion.

Next time that you take the conservative attitude in any page break argument, survey yourself and find the fundamental reason.

Ken Johnstone.