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War_and_Hallucinations

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Hepburn, of St. Joseph, Missouri, writes: "I was left a widow without money, with a number of debts and with a twelve-year-old daughter to support and educate. My Curtis work has paid the debts, sent my daughter through the high school and the normal school, secured her a position and bought her a piano. I cannot tell you how much your work has helped me during the last nine years." If you want to have an "anchor to windward," if in your spare time you want to earn money that you need and, at the same time, learn a business that will support you, send a line of inquiry. Box 744, Agency Division, THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY PHILADELPHIA, PENNA. WZ.2 ARM MO LILUJCZNOli 110 NO (Continued from Page 23) physically by developing their minds while withholding as much as possible every even opportunity for acting up to what they know and what they long to accomplish. This has resulted in false standards, frail bodies and strange maladies. More and more the woman became something that could not be of use—a miserable maid, an ailing wife, an incompetent mother and an outrageously expensive social luxury. If she was not that she was a mindless drudge. Now all this will, must, be changed for millions of women in the Old. World. The trials of sorrow, poverty and distress, from which there is no longer any protection, will strengthen them in mind and body. They face life objectively in its grimmest aspects. This literal struggle for themselves and their children will change their selfish standards, and their sickly character. They cannot indulge in those puling disorders which are always attendant upon useless existence. Instead of disease they must acquire health. Instead of extravagance thrift must come .and energy must take the place of idleness. In England, which is the very seat of feminine neurasthenia, we hear that many of the general practitioners have lost their lady patients upon whom the prosperity of the medical profession depends everywhere. The nervous British women have real anxieties with which to occupy them- selves. The aching, ingrowing female imagination must go. And, whether she will or no, England must provide ways and means for these women to earn a livelihood or find herself overwhelmed with paupers and pensioners. In France a greater proportion of the women have always been self-sustaining. And they meet with less opposition from the men in their development and advancement. This is the reason we hear less about suffrage agitation there. The women are not in such dire need of suffrage. They live healthier, more active and more effective lives. When All the World's Mad The most significant thing that is going on in England is the effort so many women are making for economic independence, to get business into their own hands and to acquire the self-respect and personal assurance of providing their own opportunities for advancement. It goes without saying that many women are not and never, will be interested in the welfare of their own sex. They have been corrupted in that great virtue, personal independence. They are the women who spend and do nothing in return. But we have this consolation— they must die. The time comes when they perform the only service they ever perform, that of fertilizing the ground with their dust. They are good for nothing else and they are bad for everything else. The women who will actually survive this struggle are they who do not shrink from the burden which it casts upon them. Out of their travail a new-woman informed with a new spirit will be born, who will become a part of the strength, not the weakness, of civilization. From the day I entered the war zone till this one upon which I take my departure from it I have been aware of a certain psychic condition, difficult to describe yet so powerful that no one can escape its influence. It is as if all thought had lost its shape and reason were no longer reasonable, as if all men and all women were somnambulists walking in a black dream. They speak with calmness of things so horrible that one is amazed that they do not shriek and wring their hands. And one is still more amazed at having the power to listen with calmness. We see terrible sights, we hear of them, we think of nothing else, and Yet we do not go mad. For where everybody is mad no one is. Since I have been in this atmosphere fumigated with cannon smoke and death I have been conscious of a complete divorce between mind and imagination. I believe that they are two distinct functions, the one not dependent upon the other, and that imagination is infinitely older than mind. Thus my reason does not ratify what I have seen. It denies these facts. But my imagination, which I have brought up with me from the Dark Ages, does accept them and is stimulated by them until it is difficult to speak the truth or to think the truth, because all governments and allmen here are engaged with guns and swords in promoting the most gigantic lie. They have made a battle line against honor and peace—in the name of honor and peace. One feels as if one were the victim of some terrible hallucination. The sanest, most nearly normal, people I have seen are the soldiers who have met the enemy. They have no illusions. They know what this thing is. They have seen and suffered what cannot be told, so they have acquired silence, a grim repose of mind and spirit. One day I spent the afternoon with the convalescent soldiers in the military hospital at Versailles. Seven hundred wounded men had been brought in that morning. About one hundred of them were convalescents. These were in the park which surrounds this hospital. They wore skyblue flannel trousers and jackets. Civilizations Afire Some of them sat with their legs still in splints and their arms in slings; some of them had lost a leg or an arm. They ranged in age from seventeen to thirtyseven. They were sunning themselves and saying nothing. I had discovered by ex- perience that British soldiers craved bananas more than any other fruit, and that for flowers they preferred red roses. I moved about among them distributing the flowers and fruit in the name of a certain old Confederate veteran at home. They were tremendously entertained at the account I quoted from him of the Battle of Gettysburg, but of their own battles they had nothing to tell. They had no fire-andblood vocabulary. They had accomplished an adjustment, a normal relation to that which is hideously abnormal. They had fought, fallen, survived—and must fight again. That was all there was to it so far as they were concerned. They had turned the world upside down for the rest of us and they were dumb about that. This is one of the most appalling impressions I have received here—that govern- ments can decree demoniacal frenzies upon whole peoples, ordain rage, death, destruction, and that no man can preserve them after that from the horror of facts and the effect which these horrors have upon the mind. I think it was Napoleon who said: "Imagination rules the world." We had a sample in his day of how it ruled the world and now we are getting another. Where imagination rules there will you find men fighting and dying for somebody's dream, and all the other people a prey to fears, the victims of hallucinations, of every untruth and of everything which ought not to be true. Sanity is the sense of proportion corrected and disciplined by the familiar ex- periences of life. It is the power by which we adjust ourselves to conditions according to reason and facts. But when something happens that destroys the familiar, the order of things in which we accomplished this adjustment, it destroys this saving sense of proportion. What was reasonable becomes madness and madness is now reasonable. Old standards of law and of obedience disappear, and in this confusion men call crime law and license takes the place of obedience. This is what has happened in Europe. Civilizations are in a state of conflagration. Whole nations are being swept from the face of the earth. What was is not. Every ideal by which men aspired and lived is changed. Nothing is familiar and no man is sane—because imagination rules. • One proof of all this is the prevalence of hallucinations and the curiously exaggerated use of words. Language is one of the very slow and laborious achievements of civilization. It is designed to convey the commonplace meanings of life. Only poets had the right to take liberties with it, because they dealt in dreams, not realities. And the further advanced a people are the more temperate they are in the use of words. But these people are moving among scenes so appalling that mind is completely divorced from reality, because reality itself surpasses the power even of imagination to conceive. Therefore, language has become like the war currency of a bankrupt nation. It has no value. All the lies that words can frame are floating in this atmosphere. The truth


War_and_Hallucinations
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