Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 3. March 16th, 1950
A Forgotten Fact
A Forgotten Fact
In This finding of a Overlooked Conclusion (see issue no. 1) Jiminy Critic has put such telling shots at the MRA movement that it almost seems to have no leg to stand on. He terms the play lousy, writes off most of the theme with an easy cynicism, but admitting at the same time that there is still some good in it; and finally he sees right through the whole thing and decides that it might be a well disguised hatred. Apart from these few points; I agree substantially with what he says.
Unfortunately I was standing at the back of the hall when seeing the play and pobably missed quite a lot of the detail which was obvious to your critic. Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, the play was well done in both production and acting. There was a noticeable over-characterisation, but this, I feel, helped point the moral. The play seemed to me to be directed to a particular type of audience—after all, the organisers did send invitations to selected people—and the approach and presentation were adapted to suit this audience. This is also a probable reason for the preliminary back-clapping and the too, too rousing choruses, which didn't impress me much either. I agree that the play should stand on its own feet and for its limited purpose, I think it has. Instead of presuming with your critic that the play was intended to "convert" people "on the spot" I think that its intention was primarily to arouse our interest sufficiently actively to cause people to learn more of the movement Those who parted with a few shillings for any of the "How it's done" books on sale at the hall would have considered their money well spent.
Why stop at national boundaries?
Yes, I quite gree with Jiminy Critic on this point which he answers himself. The MRA does move beyond national boundaries as, mentioned in his opening remarks on the success in other countries. The reference to national boundaries in the play itself, I apparently missed, but it is of no importance since it was not the point of the play and the idea is far bigger than nationalism anyway.
If, as Jiminy Critic points out, the sincerity of the followers of the MRA is being used viciously to create a well-disgused hatred, I can only ask, a hatred of what? There to an answer to this, but I don't think it is the one your critic has in mind.
The Four Factors
The mention of co-operation, unity and understanding, etc., I also agree, are "annoyingly nebulous" (on their face value)—"appealing more to a herd instinct than to any moral sense which one might possess," to quota the critic himself. But it goes further than that Jiminy Critic probably has a far greater knowledge of the ideology of the Oxford Group than I (and it is the basis of the MRA movement) in order to be in a position to publish his pejorative comments on the value of their work. May I remind him of the simple personal morality from which spring the "annoyingly nebulous" comments. Absolute Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness, and Love form the basis of the morality advicated by Mrs. The play did not reveal this directly, but the story of it was an attempt to live up to these four principles. They are hard to live up to, there is no doubt about it, and there are many who strive with but small success, but they continue to strive.
These four qualities, together with a simple faith, devoid of dogmatism and creeds, based on individual guidance by the will of God, form the ideology of the MRA movement Do I hear mutterings of "Hooey" and "Boloney" from the materialists? Quite possibly, for I can now give an answer to my question: a haired of what?
It is a hatred of materialism—nothing more or less. Gimme and Get, number one first, is the materialist's way of life. MRA requires a change' of attitude, a replacing of Getting with Giving. Simple, isn't it This change, or conversion—call it what you like—was the whole point of the talk given at the conclusion of the MRA play. I suggest that this is a forgotten fact in Jiminy Critic's discussion, and by its omission, he has reached his "Overlooked Conclusion."
Perhaps I've been morally rearmed—I'm not sure.
[Jiminy Critic has been given leave to reply through No Man's Land next week.—Ed.]