Ten Values-Secrets for Building Institutional and Global Harmony
By Robert L. Humphrey
ITEM # 2. - The Process for Activating Moral Values
With the increasingly obvious need to teach morality, the known state of the arts is being reported in many new books, articles and the popular press. Those reports reveal that the historic method is primarily through stories told or morality illustrated constantly in the family and community during children's up-bringing.
Besides the constructive warnings in those reports to re-strengthen the family, there is also a message of near hopelessness. That negative message admits that "the strong family and local community are now probably, for too many children, dead or dying." Too long, we are now realizing, too late, that we placed economics ahead of sociology -- a mistake that our founding fathers, strongly, warned us against.
Hence, finding easier answers during the Cold War to both of those factors, (1) the context -- a morality-teaching substitute for the family, and (2) the process -- a substitute for many years of constant moral stories -- made the long Cold War partly worthwhile. Those two easier or streamlined substitutes that we found are these:
1. The context for teaching morality was not necessarily the family. Some of the old-time Orphans' Homes provided it, too. The actual teaching context is any situation that provides us the deep (emotional) conviction that a "change" to "being good" is better than not changing. It can happen fast.
In the human families, prior to modern wealth (in children's hands giving them independence from listening to their parents), that knowledge among children of the need to "change and be good" came from the negative threats of the hickory-stick up through the positive rewards from the parents. In the Cold War, for our overseas Americans, that willingness to admit the need for change came from the dangers of being killed or of losing the Cold War -- very strong (emotional) persuasion.
2. Given that Cold War's substitute persuasive context of possibly losing to communism and being killed, we stumbled onto the fact that the only process element needed, at least temporarily, was only the one story with strong emotional impact. That, alone, can start the moral redirection of an audience -- similar to a religious "happening." That one hunting story carried the necessary emotional impact -- when told to an audience deeply involved in the conflict over "disrespect."
That one story, alone, was not only enough, more moralizing could start to kill the effect as "preaching." We said nothing more about morality until an event made it seem appropriate to the students. (You do not have to keep dropping atomic bombs to make the point; one will suffice. The respect for human equality, if activated, is like that.)
After using the Turkish Hunting story for more than five years, my eyes were finally opened to that simple "moral-impact" factor -- as the teaching process -- from one casual comment by a friend. He was a naval officer, one Joe Purcel, who was working in the outer office for Admiral Zumwalt in Vietnam. Until that time, we thought we were limited for effectiveness to that one story. Commander Purcel said, simply, "I know of another true story that also teaches that strong, basic respect-for-life and that also carries that same strong "emotional impact" as the Turkish story.
Despite the simplicity of that quick-shot "emotional impact" principle, it was a shocking revelation to me at the time. How important is it?
By giving us the use of another story that teaches respect for life even more strongly -- that is, with even more emotional impact FROM MORE SELF-GIVING -- it saved the program for us in the two people-winning Vietnam programs and possibly also the vital program in Okinawa. Without that second story, our partial expulsion from Okinawa of last year looked like it was coming twenty-five years ago. I was asked to rush a team of trainers in there from Thailand to head off such a threatened expulsion. If it had happened, the ramifications in all of East Asia and southeast Asia would probably have changed modern world history significantly, especially in Korea.
Before the naval officer's comment, I had always sensed, but only vaguely, that the Turkish story worked, in part, because it "teaches to the emotions." But when I once casually mentioned that suspicion in official circles, the threat of my expulsion from the overseas Cold-War scene was even stronger than it had been for alleging that human equality is an objective life-protecting value.
"Because," I was warned that, "teaching to the emotions finally admits that these magic-like results are from some kind of brainwashing."
It was thirty more years before Dr. Daniel Goleman discovered the existence of the Emotional Intelligence. In those post-McCarthy days, a mere allegation of brainwashing, officially filed, would have been devastating. Consequently, I went even more deeply into a mode of confidentially along with what I called a "healthy paranoia" using careful oral presentations only.
The military personnel were never a problem on this score. They had been schooled on the real nature of brainwashing. It is totally different, including physical torture and prohibitions against contradictions.
Nonetheless, that Damocles sword of alleged brainwashing always troubled me for another subtle reason: The strength of our initial successes in a community depended, to a degree, on the size of the audiences addressed. The respect-for-life presentations were unfailing (not one failure in fifteen years) in front of thousand-person audiences. However, we found that they were in danger of being less persuasive with small, 20 person, audiences where the well-educated "hippie" draftee could stop rational discussion by shouting a continuous filibuster for his philosophy of relativism. And even more so, we learned not to gamble with one-man audiences of any kind.
Conversely, for all other mental-like education, we found that the small class with a role-model teacher is of primary, to decisive, importance.
Why the difference for good moral/emotional education?
As Professor Daniel Bell revealed in his "best seller," The Closing of the American Mind, few of us highly educated Americans have the confidence to judge something new -- from an "outsider" -- that contradicts the well-established book-knowledge. So I learned to brief no leader on the new substantive content except as a member of a large audience. On one of my rare trips back to Washington, I got charged with the official necessity to brief a top leader of the U.S. Information Agency. I was advised (possibly falsely) that he was a strong "relativist." I agreed to present the briefing if it could be scheduled for the entire USIA in Washington including all of the lowly staff members rather than the top officers only.
It was arranged and it was "a walk in the park."
How can this "large-audience syndrome" be explained as the best setting for the superior emotional education?
Not being a psychologist, I can't say. But it was always explained to me by those common folk in the audiences, themselves, who always poured down front after the presentations. They always said the same thing, "These are eternal truths that we have always known but had just not put into words."
Hence, I could see that the spiritual-like atmosphere of strongly perceived eternal truths (of life and equality) in a large crowd was always -- and I mean always -- so overwhelming that even many of the previously closed minds were either opened or shaken by that atmosphere. That particular experience "inside the Washington Beltway" without the assistance of the overseas Cold-War fears, solidified my confidence in the new materials. I became positive that we could win the Cold War if only we could continue to work with the troops as ideological grassroots warriors. And we did.
Speaking of those troops, "that secret weapon" that I called on, those troops , as a world- changing moral force is now being totally wasted under their ridiculous designation in Bosnia as "mean dogs." So denigrated and untrained mentally, morally, artistically, and even physically for grassroots relations, small wonder they cannot be trusted even with our own women.
An Awareness of Death and "the Large Audience Syndrome"
Another fascination question about "the large audience syndrome" that I have never before discussed in print was this: Among the few great natural psychologists in the world whom I have met were mainly the military's relatively uneducated, but top, non-commissioned officers: white, brown, and black. They led well in combat -- moved the young troops and took the land -- but not flamboyantly; usually not even picturesquely. The young college-educated lieutenants, on both Iwo Jima and in Vietnam, led with equal bravery, but much more picturesquely. They died earlier, and usually, it seemed, "in admirable leadership efforts," trying to inspire the younger troops.
Closely related, several general officers who supported these basic-values programs, for their surprising effectiveness, were not especially responsive to the life-values stories when hearing them alone. Among many wealthy, high-ranking Americans in the leading classes, it is still the same, today. Yet, for common-folk Americans, they are "of course-type truth."
Why the different responses based on economic status or social class?
A few of the older, top-ranking non-commissioned officers have given me the same explanation. It goes like this: Upper-class people who have lived their entire lives in security, actually do not understand the basic life-and-death values that control life and the greatest happiness. Until too late, when shot and dying (and one asks you to go back and apologize to someone), they do not realize that their strongest conscious values were a mistake. They tend to place success above time with their families.
That brings us, now, to the most unwanted secret in a softening culture: the relationship between moral strength and physical force.
ITEM # 3. - Physical Reinforcement for Morality
In one of our early large programs where we began to see Cold-War ideological victory would be ours, we were stunned suddenly with a reversal showing-up in routine attitude sampling. Possibly as high as a third of our program participants, previously re-educated morally, were starting to backslide. The old ugly American comments were creeping back into their observations.
Another extensive round of attitude-studies among the troops high-lighted the chilling problem. A certain small percentage of the troops -- not identified by name -- who had been hard-core bigots -- had come out of their previous, squelched silence and were quote, "fighting back against the new pansy-asses and gook-lovers" -- as they called the newly attractive Americans. Their fighting back included not only strong denunciations in the bars, clubs and barracks, but also an occasional beating of a newly enlightened American who had spoke-up in favor of good relations.
Partly from a small WWII experience with Marines in Hawaii, I decided on a desperate experiment. I rescheduled the orientation classes but in smaller twenty-man groups and taught every man the straight-punch hitting skills of the boxer/puncher. This is a very simplified fighting exercise that I call STRIKE that involves strict rules, and close supervision against "cheep shot” hard punching. Only the relaxed, straight-punching skill was taught. Speed of delivery and recovery is the goal. It is a professional ability because it is so difficult to "muscle-learn" versus the natural pulling back, or tightening up, and swinging method for any kind of hitting while under the traumatic stress of fighting.
In our softening culture, most modern military men are not really taught to fight unarmed -- that is, not while they are under stress if at all. They have no idea about the unarmed fighting fundamentals that were known by almost every man just sixty years ago (and on back to the beginning of time). An angry, unarmed, physical fight will totally exhaust even a good athlete in less than thirty seconds if he is not a practiced fighter. Hence, and here is the point, a considerably weaker person who is well practiced in STRIKE need not be intimidated by anyone who is not a fairly well-trained fighter. And those are rare.
Since everyone should know the most elementary life-defense skill in order to feel the freedom to speak-up against "wrongs," I'll mention the key factors in STRIKE training.
The training. (1) Don't dance around. This is not boxing. (2) learn to hit straight out with automatic return from a "hands-up-and-open" position guarding the neck and chin, (3) use light gloved-hand sparring across a rope (for psychological conditioning to resist the otherwise inevitable panic from being hit in the face or even of possibly being hit and beaten-up), (4) learn to conserve energy by staying relaxed, not trying to win, but just trying to "outlast" your partner while mostly counter-punching occasionally, in the sparring exercises, (Then, for the opposite, in a real defensive fight, you will have the skill and courage to be in close, or move immediately in close, and get in your one big hit. (5) realize that an opponent, in a real fight, who is impressed by your effective punching will tackle you to fight on the ground almost at once. If that happens, understand that your hitting impressed him. So, usually, you can surrender to him, knowing that he will not try to intimidate you again. (6) However, if things go really sour and your opponent gets mean in the ground-fighting (or you are in a horrifying defense against murder or rape) you must have ready the secret fight-stoppers that are so mean and so effective that they are almost unthinkable even among professional fighters. That gives you the advantage of surprise.
The "unarmed fight-stoppers" from the American riverboat days are not allowed even in the so- called no-holds-barred "ultimate fighting." We never write them down and never say them above a whisper even in teaching our loved-ones. One of them explains why you start practicing STRIKE with your hands cupped and open with your fingers-nails unnoticeable ready. A viscous opponent, intent on doing you deadly bodily harm, will not see what you are going to do until too late (and then not see well at all). The other "fight-stopper" has four letters, starting with "b" and appropriately rhymes with fight. It is a "finalizer." In 1937, as an teenage vagabond, I was told by a Missouri river "deep-water" worker that it is far better than a knife because it is so surprising, so sickly painful, so bloody if not deadly on the face or neck, and you never drop your weapon.
Back to that moral/physical STRIKE-training in the Middle East. It salvaged that giant Cold- War program, immediately, and the grassroots friendship of the people in that country. And I never heard about one serious fight. The bullies learned in those practice sessions that they could not whip many of those so-called candy asses once the latter learned the hitting skills. And of course the previous candy assesses learned that lesson even better.
To teach moral behavior, I needed that moral/physical component in four military programs out of seven and in every program with civilian dropouts in the U.S. and Canada. But understand that this was not our physical aspect of a total program. For that, we use heart and lung conditioning and lifting. This is different; it is the moral/physical component. Its only goal, well-taught, is the confidence to speak-up for what is right. Without that physical confidence, most of the speaking- up against wrongs, especially in the young adult world, stops. It is not all that easy, or safe, even just to say no.
Physical Beings First. Unfortunately, we human beings are possibly, first, physical beings. You will recall that even Christ was not above making a vital religious point with a heavy, braided blacksnake whip at least once.
Can this necessary physical/moral support for moral education be taught in our schools -- that is, just the straight, relaxed hitting defense without the fight-stoppers?
The truth is that in my U.S. military programs, after return from overseas, I found that this moral/physical factor frightened even the Marine Corps' top command. And I was not smart enough to cope with that surprising softening of the old hard-Corps that, naively, I had thought would last forever. So as not to mislead them, I resigned from the two million dollar race-relations contract that had been obtained as a follow-on to the unique successes in combat where one problem was inter-racial murder. I resigned as a matter of conscience over my inability to continue that indispensable moral/physical factor. Using the ideological factor, only, in a worldwide tour and address to all Marines, we had substantially stopped the extreme riots. It was clear that if we could set the example in the Corps of a full solution to the deep black/white racial division, we could soon re-strengthen all of America forever. Yet, I knew that if we proceeded with the "half- step" program just for the contract, it would eventually backslide into failure and betray the program and nation forever.
Almost all of the countless enlisted Marines whom I worked with agreed and almost all the enlisted men in the entire Marine Corps soon started calling the watered-down program, without the hitting skills, "a pussy program." Ask them; they are still around -- Marines, now 45 to 65 years old. So, to protect the program's reputation while keeping it alive (knowing that today would come), I finally withdrew from it completely and took a college teaching position where most of the students in my classes were military officers.
After that, I put the program back into the Corps, several times for single-bases, individual units, or school classes. This included one for the current commandant, General C. Krulak (as I did for his father, Victor, in Vietnam). As always, it was so successful that he recommended it, back to headquarters, for wider consideration. In fairness to the Corps, and to the program, so that you do not think either of those let us down, there was a different reason why it did not go into the Corps as young Krulak and I had planned for years. I can tell this fact because the reason is already known inside the Corps, and is probably politically favorable for the Commandant.
Soon after the Commandant's request, on paper, for the values program, a values-factor that I had not researched was added. It was to lead the battle against admitting gays into the military. I had to decline on these probably unusual grounds: Although my family is a Marine family, most of us have gone in mainly for the wars, rather than as careers. So, our casualty rates were high, with one of my brothers killed in Vietnam, and another, a Silver Star winner, "shot up" on Iwo. Hence, here is my hang-up. I do not believe in excusing any competent men from their patriotic duties when it comes time to do the dying.
That is just another way of saying that I was never smart enough to manage the State-side politics for a complete introduction of the Cold-War program in the USMC. I only gave up recently after Dr. Goleman's discoveries let me "tell all" perhaps for use elsewhere by the U.S.
Back to the strictly physical/moral consideration, occasionally, on a couple of Marine bases, and even at Quantico, the new successful "experiment" got into the hands of some "blood-pinning" sadist types (the phony toughs) and was used to hurt people rather than to build their confidence.
Those are your political-problems for putting STRIKE into a school situation. Like practice with any deadly weapon, the STRIKE requires constant, close supervision -- so that it is not too hard and not too soft. There is a vital center ground for such life-protective training. Of course, any physical program is now hard to sell in our physically softening, new wide-bottomed America.
The truth is this: Despite the past inability in the military to cope with this highly responsible moral/physical fight-training, the reason is not that they could not. Once they really take something on, my experience is that they have super-competence because they always test things in practice rather than simply teaching theory.
So here is the problem in the terms of a changing world that has not yet dawned on military leadership. Historically, they have always been in the business of training mere soldier "boys" mainly through methods of intimidation -- boot-camp hazing and fear of orders. Now that the global need is to train each fighting-person as a responsible adult, like a Kansas town marshal, able to stand alone as a peacemaker, it is totally new and frightening. They still cannot accept the fact that to stay in a leadership position, America must have a military force of peacemakers. The military is still afraid of the word. Peacemakers require moral/physical training. They need to be enlightened adults trained to rise above the historic primitive barriers of race, class, and ethnic group. They must be men who can be trusted with vulnerable women. That is new.
Yet, they need to be able to fight up-close, unarmed, or with a side-arm far better than ever before; so well, in fact, that no type of physical confrontation puts one of them into stress. At least ten percent of the Marines that I saw on Iwo Jima were like that and they were not even so trained. So it can be accomplished with high-type recruitment for warrior/knights. Sergeant York and Audie Murphy were like that. Had either one been at Tailhook, it could not have happened; and yet, they were not that big. It is a matter of attitude; not physical invincibility.
Can this need for a new breed soldier-man, or yes, soldier-woman, be faced and filled?
Females and Fighting. In answer, we would not even try to educate young teenage dropouts, morally, without this physical feature. It not only provides the confidence fast that is needed to "be moral," it provides the confidence needed by the teenage boys and girls in the gangs to "turn in" their deadly weapons as they did to us through five years of experimentation. Can this type fighting really be taught to women.
One of the biggest embarrassments I ever had to deal with was the Marine female in a non- commissioned officers' seminar, at San Diego, who could take some of the men with STRIKE. It would not have been so bad had she not been so feminine. One of our beautiful San Diego girls in the class of dropouts quickly fought-off a rapist in a store near our school. Another told me (?) she had stopped the incest (by a step father) at home.
Going Through Fear. Unarmed fighting and close-in fighting confidence as part of the new morality training is the issue. For some reason, of all the fighting techniques, only the fast-hitting skill provides that confidence rapidly to the masses as is needed for meaningful moral training. That is strange. I mentioned the fact once while lecturing at West Point back in the early 1980s. Afterwards, the Academy's Athlete Director, Dr. Anderson, told me that he had conducted a study on the "self-esteem" derived from every sport played at West Point. That is a bundle -- including football and key martial arts. Only boxing raised self-esteem up to a new level of statistical significance in their one-semester programs. Even more amazing, gymnastics was second.
His perceived reason was what we had also found: "Fire in the face," sustained, up close, as only in boxing (or STRIKE) introduces one to terrible fear at first, but then, when carefully coached, takes one "through that fear." Tumbling head over heals in the air above that iron bar or that wooden horse, of course, includes that same element of going through (getting successfully through) fear. The other combat sports don't produce that result quickly because of two factors compared to boxing or STRIKE exercises: the combat distance is slightly different (safer) and not so constant. So the going through fear element is not strong enough. One of the world's leading Ninjutsu/Taijusu masters, the American, Jack Hoban, has added STRIKE, and our "defend others," Dual Life-Value to his great programs. Ninjutsu, being the martial art of previous Japanese revolutionaries, is not fixed in its forms as most martial arts are; so it can make adjustments more easily.
Current Movements toward Public Institutionalization of the Program in America
We have tested this entire program once with an evening course here at the University of Tennessee. The students gave it rave notices, especially the female students.
What my corporation is doing now is using the program in a gradual, low-key national/moral rejuvenation effort working with a network of martial-arts groups, negotiating with a nation-wide police-training program, and designing a computerized program for a college of the air. It will soon be on the Web. We find that it is easier to interest the physically oriented students in the moral education than it is to interest academic scholars in the physical/moral training. The reason for the latter is understandable. The alleged misuse of academia for financial-oriented athletics is widely considered to be a major evil of modern education. That fact confuses things.
Two Concluding Points
You may know of the admirable nation-wide effort in moral education called "Character Counts." It is reported to be popular with grammar-school children, nationwide. The news papers report that Jr. high and high school children consider it "wimpy." That tends to happen when one tries to teach the moral values, by name, standing alone as in college ethics courses. In stronger negative terms, I found that it was always the same in the military schools and academies. Here is the reason: The current, obviously failed state of the arts for teaching values, is to select a few of the key values from the historic list of moral values such as honor, courage, self-discipline, etc. as so called "core values." Yet, everyone knows there is honor among thieves, the Nazis had courage and self-discipline. There is only one basic, objective secular -- natural -- value, just as in religion, there is only one -- your deity. Even "love" is only instrumental. In secular values, it is the dual life-value.
To practice STRIKE, even in a college-ethics course, as I have taught it in human relations, all you need to do is this: For a constructive, mid-class stand-up break to give the brain some fresh air, introduce a three-minute exercise of those straight-out hitting skills (with music if you like). The strength and muscle memory will build up gradually. Let your body turn a little (follow-through) with each strike and make the "out-STRIKE and FAST RECOVERY motion almost the same continuous strike (for good continuous face-cover and to avoid having your arm being grabbed). Allow a fraction of an instant for the solid relaxed landing. You will know you have really got the maximum speed of delivery when you can grab a fly on the wing now and then. Tell your students that if they hit a heavy bag for STRIKE-practice, at home, not to try to hit deeply into it. Just explode your fist about a half inch into it. Seek the relaxed, good smacking landing like a baseball in a catchers mitt. Then exercise a smooth, quick but synchronized retraction of your hand and weight, or stay planted as your other hand goes out. AND DON'T EVER BOX FOR FUN IF IT MEANS GETTING HIT HARD OR HITTING SOMEONE ELSE HARD ON THE HEAD (THE BRAIN-HOUSING GROUP) NOT IN THE BODY EITHER. YOU CAN CAUSE AND RECEIVE TERRIBLE PROBLEMS FOR LATER..)
The Top Secret: Humankind's Basic Secular Value
What is the nature of that basic life-value that demands respect for its equality in order to feel healthy and avoid (a) the sickness of inferiority feelings, or (b) the sick-meanness of superiority -- both causes of violence?
ITEM # 4. - Humankind's One
Basic Objective Value
During the night-and-day genocidal struggle by the Marines for Iwo Jima, one basic value in human nature was gradually burned into my unbelieving brain to the exclusion of all else. Impending death, up-close, strips away all the other values that are often cited too casually as "more important than life, itself."
However, during that sobering values-clarification when many men began to say, "life is all that counts," one horrible choice was constantly in the face of all who had not "stressed out"; many had. That remaining constant choice was between (1) saving your own life, and (2) probably dying to save another or others. (You should know that Iwo Jima was one of the few up-close, night-&- day month-long, sustained, genocidal battles of modern American history, so it was truly unusual for teaching these most basic, comparative values-lessons.)
Seeing that choice made daily, calmly, almost routinely, to risk and give one's life to save another or the others made it seem surprisingly clear that we humans are not first and foremost self-oriented-creatures. (That actual supreme test of basic values made it seem that we are, in nature, not lower than the strongly species-preserving animals in that regard.) In that life-or-death field-laboratory that strips things bare, the drive appears to be even stronger and more subtle than you can imagine. Young leaders learned that it was risky to learn the names of replacements. If you did, you could not bear the remorse of their soon and certain death (from their obvious incompetence). And you could not trust yourself not to overdo the effort to save their incompetent lives as you would a brother even though they were not contributing to the fight.
Judging from those indelible combat-experiences where the only issue was whose life and whose death, that life-value is apparently a carefully balanced dual, self-and-species, life-value, not one simply of self-preservation. The edge seems somehow to go to species-preserving. When that rare but terrible time came, and it kept coming and coming and coming, that one man in a group could step forward to save another, or the group, it happened. One of the better men almost always stepped forward.
Does this mean that all human beings by nature will do that, or is it just the few heroic or "best men" or "best women" or "best children" who have been specially conditioned, who will rise to such noble action? At first, it seemed like the latter. But that appearance soon got corrected.
The subtle truth is in the details. It became increasingly clear that it means that most of us will tend to do so under the right circumstances: That is,
1. all of the average men would do so when the circumstances were appropriate,
2. if they still had their wits about them (were in mental self-control) and
3. felt they possessed the competence, possibly, to succeed.
Those three conditions all involve subtle factors that have made this species-preserving value almost impossible to read. That is why it has never been clearly understood. There have been very few Iwo Jima's in all of history.
The Appropriate Circumstances. Consider first, the meaning of the term, "the appropriate circumstances." That horrible situation arose when some lives could be saved, but by only one person at a time volunteering to die for them. That is, it allowed for only one person (appropriately) to take the self-sacrificing action -- such as sneaking out to flank a sniper. Consequently, it usually looked, at first, like only one among many was willing.
The Confidence Factor. At that time, if there was hope of success, despite likely death, the most able man -- the one with the most confidence from probable top-competence in the group -- would tend to step forward almost as routinely as if he were simple taking his turn to go get the coffee. That led to that deception that it was no big deal in his mind.
But here is the subtlety in that situation: If that first man failed, then the next best, and right on down through those, if any, who thought they might have the competence. At times, you had to stop that possible suicidal progression more so than persuade it. The competence factor was decisive and hard to understand because so few had it trained into them from the mere long- distance military target-shooting and marching that does not concentrate at all of teaching fighting men to fight on the ground, up close.
Here was, to me, a stunning example: On the second or third day while I was still back on the landing-beach, a hysterical commotion exploded about fifty yards away. Some clean-up Marines had unearthed a Japanese sniper. I started up out of my deep foxhole to go check. Lt. Bill Johnson, a Texan from Wimberly, already out, said, "I'll go" as he walked past me. He quieted it down and soon returned assuring me that it was nothing. However, I learned that it was a near atrocity, some boys started to cut the ears off the helpless prisoner. My own sergeant told me that Lt. Johnson gave the proper orders, and then boldly turned his back on the little group of half- crazed men knowing it would all be corrected according to his orders.
Here is the punch line, illustrating how his high competence interpreted that scene for Johnson. Fifty years later I talked with him. HE DID NOT EVEN REMEMBER THE INCIDENT.
That is what, eventually, I realized that I was seeing. Great heroics out of high competence in the few among very poorly trained men for real gun-fighting. Suddenly, I began to resent all of that time comparatively wasted, marching around.
The Mental Self-Control Factor. The need "to have one's wits about one" in order to act also conceals the fact that we all more or less seem to have the natural species-preserving inclination. The drowning man, if he cannot swim, has no choice. He, usually, will panic. He can save neither himself nor another.
In heavy combat, more men stress-out, partially, than the military documents even hint, thereby becoming unable to protect themselves (as in can't swim). In fact, this includes most of the men to a degree in the hot gun-fights, according to what I saw. When they stress-out, they don't decide to protect themselves first, rather than the others. They just become defenseless for themselves or for anyone. Suddenly they are just there, nothing more, nothing less. It was in this situation that the natural priority of species-preservation over self was taught to me most vividly.
The Overwhelming Strength of the Species-Preservation Drive. Two young "replacement Marines" had started to stress-out and were not watching out-front or shooting. This was at night when infiltraters were occasionally trying to crawl in on us from out of caves and tunnels near by (seeking food and water).
That next morning, I was raging at them, threatening a court-martial, et cetera, if they did not start shooting to at least protect their own lives. They ignored my voice.
Another young Texan, one Clyde Jackson, from near Houston, called softly to me: "You are telling them the wrong thing, Lieutenant. Tell them if they don't start shooting, they will let us others get killed."
It worked. It actually pulled them out of their on-coming stress (shell-shock) where the appeal to save their own lives had not.
After Jackson pointed this out to me, I then started using it successfully in other cases.
When men do possess both their wits and the competency to cope with a death-threatening emergency at hand, then, that so-called "species-preserving tendency" works, apparently, like a NATURAL DUTY. It seemed clearly to be our strongest of all drives (meaning above self- preservation).
Expanding the Species-Preserving Drive
Here is the giant point for conflict-resolution in the Cold War and for us now in Los Angeles, East St. Louis, and in the world: It is so strong that it can be expanded not just beyond our loved- ones to other races. To the befuddlement of many, it can be expanded even to the owls and porpoise, no less. It is that strong ONCE WE LEARN HOW TO STIMULATE IT PROPERLY.
Later, in the Cold War, in working with the common folk, the only general criticism that I ever encountered from them regarding this strong species-preserving theory (or truism?) was in Thailand. Some Buddhist youth told me that I was probably interpreting it too narrowly; that it is probably an "all-life" preserving inclination in the first place, not just a natural feeling for the human species. That view troubles me because each species in the food chain seems to live off of another, including us. But I'll listen.
That Species-Preserving Moral Value and Its Formula for Life
The lesson that I learned on Iwo Jima is that human nature's formula for life in human relations is not the survival of the fittest. It is almost exactly the opposite and is of a highly moral/spiritual nature. It is the sacrifice of the fittest to protect others -- the family and other in-group-members, that is, functionally, the species.
Of equal importance, once this principle is activated, it becomes self-motivating.
Why would that be?
In explanation, remember, even long-distant runners get "hooked" on that self-torturing, but pleasing, physical exercise. Similarly, in healthy human beings, moral development, once felt, is captivating because it is so satisfying. We all know about that joy of giving (at least once a year).
It seems that the greatest joy of all, once discovered, amounting to a spiritual feeling of nobility, comes from risking that greatest gift of all, one's life to save another. That definitely was what I saw happening. I did not just see it once. I kept seeing it, and seeing it , and seeing it. That constancy is what was convincing.
This unusual giving was "all around us." I first saw it illustrated by one Sergeant Taylor, later killed and decorated. One of our tanks (because of a stressed-out driver) was firing into our own Marines over on one flank. Taylor ran out to the tank and tried to yell instructions to the driver through the phone on the back.
This did not work and another hill-shaking cannon-round from the tank tore over into our Marine positions. Taylor slammed the phone down on the back of the tank and, then, slowly, as if on a stroll in the garden, walked out to the tank's front. This was despite the horror of raging combat. Unhurried, he raised his hands and arms up in the air and proceeded to give the tank- driver hand and arm signals to get him straightened out. He was as nonchalant as if the tank were a beer truck back home in some parking lot.
That done, and finding himself still alive, then, he came fire-balling back into the shell-hole beside me.
It was my suspicion that the Japanese riflemen in the caves must have been so amazed at what they were seeing that they decided to let him off rather than kill him. The Japanese appreciated that kind of out-of-this-world fearlessness.
Here is the point of that account. As a new lieutenant at the time on a front-line observation tour of my own, looking for a kid brother reported killed, I identified myself to him. Then I cautioned him, in an official tone, that he could reasonably be a little more protective of his own life. As he rose to leave, he responded respectfully: "No, Lt., that is not the way we keep score out here."
I did not completely understand. I began to see the point later when Jackson taught me his giant "save-us others," lesson, and then again when I saw one young Jack McCorkle smile just after he had saved a pinned down group by taking-out a cave with a bazooka but knowing he would be shot at once by snipers.
It went on like that. But to understand what you were seeing, you did have to see it again and again before finally, you could understand what Taylor had meant. We human beings keep score in life by a formula that puts species-preservation first. But being a game of moral feelings, not intellect, it cannot be understood intellectually without better emotional measuring methods.
Concluding point: That dual life-value is the theoretical foundation beneath this new science of moral education. You can rely on it at least in general, even if not specifically; so it is still a science. It has worked under all sorts of conditions while being implemented in the Cold War, in part, by countless assistants all across the Middle East and Asia. And I am sure we can now make it work in peace-time if the threats of division and national decline are such that we can see and admit they are there.
Does this mean that we have scientific proof of the existence of the species-preserving drive, itself, in us human beings?
Scientific proof needs to be replicated. I do not recommend more Iwo Jima experiments. Best to view it, specifically, as a theory until their are somewhat easier testing situations.
The type scientific proof that we need now, I presume, is from electronic brain research that shows the presence of this self-giving, species-protecting emotion. As the possible primary source of morality, it merits primary attention. The neural scientists must figure out how to probe for it in the brain and exactly where to look. Since the drive apparently exists in most animals including even in the insects and reptiles (protecting eggs), I suppose that suggests that it will be found in the so-called lower parts rather than in any part that is exclusively human or even mammalian as has seen suggested.
My suggestion that this program provides a science of moral education means this: Using the method outlined here, one can predictably change negative attitudes to positive in cross-group relations and thereby stop conflicts such as those in the Middle East and Bosnia as well as in race- relations globally. Such accomplishments, using this method, can be replicated by others. That makes it a science, and probably our most important one.
That brings us to the key matter of how we applied the method in detail. Whether the species- preserving tendency is in the genes or exclusively the result of conditioning, it still works just the same for measurable conflict-resolution. That is good enough science for this moment in history.
That Species-Preservation Value in the Cold War
The expanded species-preserving value, that we introduced into the Cold War, saved lives. By the "expanded species-preservation value" I mean this:
1. In the Cold-War programs, usually considerably less was on the line than immediate life- giving to save lives. So those less-demanding situations did not automatically trigger our self- giving, other-supporting emotions. The slow, long-range death-threats from poverty and sanitation faced by the foreigners triggered more negative than sympathetic emotions from our Americans, just as the ghetto people seem to now.
2. However, we were still able to stimulate that felt duty on that less demanding scene through stories illustrating nobility in combat as well as through those stories, above, illustrating the closely related respect for the equal life-value.
3. This rekindling of those noble inclinations had to be accomplished in and among our ugly Americans after they had been numbed by the soft, complaining, wealthy, materialistic post-WWII American society. It was similar to people being pulled back from "going to pot" by some experience such as getting into a good exercise program. Moral stimulation works pretty much the same but more so because it works through that stronger emotion -- the species-preservation inclination.
4. The decisive pay-off was that we were able to inspire men to show respect to previously denigrated people. That was the decisive Cold-War accomplishment because that was what all of the people in the Third World wanted most from us according to their own testimony.
And that is the general social atmosphere needed to help stop growing world terrorism. I had to seek out and try to reform a few of the worst individual ugly Americans all through the Cold War.
They are the so-called "crazies." But they also expressed strong, sincere, but mistaken convictions that "everyone" approved of their loud, vocal hatred of the foreign people. Whenever I could convince a group of their friends to admit to them that they were wrong about that, they would tend to cry. The few I saw were quite young and fit a pattern.
Healthy Secular Spirituality versus the Self-Cults
The pacifying species-preserving drive, being possibly the strongest tendency in human nature when activated, can more than off-set the modern obsession with SELF. The latter fad was coming into the Cold-War out of the so-called "ethical relativism" from back home. It came shouting and screaming into the Cold War in the persons of recently graduated college-educated draftees. We managed it easily with the power of the group. Two of the sharpest of those brainy young men whom I encountered were strong left-wingers (card-carrying Communists, they said). But we converted them (into human-equality defenders versus the ridiculous advocacy of Communist economic equality).
How to Activate the Dual Life-Value Most Easily
Species-preservation (especially for loved-ones) is accepted by the masses as the basic role, or natural function, of that self-giving inclination in us individuals. It was the strength of its motivating power that constitutes its life-controlling significance. That is, it seems to be the source of our maximum happiness through moral satisfaction and feelings of nobility if we rise to that lifestyle. The most respected elders in the Bolivian, Mexican, Turkish, Korean, and Thai villages told me that it also provides, besides happiness in life, a deep serenity as death approaches -- that is, a serenity for having served the children.
However, that species-preserving drive, when activated, seems to be so natural, so deep in our human nature, like breathing, that it is obviously hard to understand when less is at stake than the lives of our loved-ones or in-groups.
Remember, learning how to activate it when the mere improvement of cross-group attitudes were at stake is what gave us the first decisive breakthrough in the Cold War (in Turkey). Also, remember, we activated it through the Hunting story that emphasized the peasants' demand for respect for their lives and the lives of their children.
Seeing this species-serving drive in action for these smaller stakes than actual life-saving, clarified for us the nature of the long lost Natural Law that scholars have always sensed exists, but could not see its working details.
The Dual Life-Value's Supporting Natural Law
What has been obscure in the Natural Law is the penalty for disobedience that seems necessary to justify its identification as a Law. Where is that penalty? Well, first, those men (boys) on Iwo Jima whom we kept from stressing out thanked me for not sending them "back" to the medics. (It made me feel guilty because I would have done so had we had a few more men.) However, one of them told me later that he would rather have been killed than sent back. There is that side, the penalty from human nature's internal natural law for not being able to serve. It also explains the demoralization of the jobless and many welfare recipients.
The Natural Law's Rewards. However, I saw that this natural law works probably more off of a natural reward system than it does off of penalties. The better men: Taylor, McCorkle, Mercer, Jackson, Johnson, and several others whose names I never heard were functioning in an almost work-a-day status of calm, thoughtful, but moral, giant-like serenity. It was as if their own lives were not in jeopardy. They seemed to rise above that fact in their business-like protection of the others. They strongly reminded me of Dad's behavior back home when he was protecting us kids from traffic on a busy street -- in between us and the cars. I, myself, began to sense this feeling of nobility a little after I began to learn that I could actually lead in a way that saved lives. You get so involved in that rewarding achievement, that you actually stop thinking about yourself.
It did not feel like bravery at all. You were just extremely busy doing something of totally spiritual/like importance.
It occurred to me and shocked me that it made the Golden Rule look like a formula for shirkers.
This "other-life" protecting attitude, out beyond the call of duty, was not something that you expected from others in return. It was more like the opposite -- something you did out of the knowledge that you were suddenly granted the satisfying status of that so-called unnoticed moral giant, walking the earth for a moment.
When I shouted at my men not to shoot a prisoner who was trying to surrender, I yelled, "Don't shoot! Who can talk him in?"
It was my best shooter, the Texan, Jackson, who quickly took over. This put him out at the front end of a deadly dangerous area. With such men, it was like they were closely connected to the rest, but as on the high end of a teeter totter. They had to take that exposed position to allow the others better safety down at the low end.
When McCorkle went up over a stone wall with a large, clumsy bazooka and out into full exposure (to his certain death) to get the sniper who was picking us off, he actually motioned with his hand for us to get further down instead of gawking. When Jackson raised himself half way up to "talk-in" that prisoner, he exposed himself to more sniper-fire. Yet, he, too, glanced back with that same protective attitude that said "Get down, you guys." Taylor had done it when he left the shell-hole knowing that his sudden exposure might draw fire on me and another Marine in that cover.
That was the beauty of that experience on Iwo, the Marine's worst-ever battle. The awe- inspiring heroics were so forthcoming from each of the men who were both highly competent shooters and in full command of their mental faculties that I could see these details that are not apparent even in most warfare. I did not see it in Vietnam where death did not hover in both the easy vision of day-light as well as the shadows of darkness.
Those actions of such men in combat have always been recognized, officially, as "above and beyond the call of duty." They are that for certain. But what I saw was clearly something other than that. Something different. They were a part of what looked like an apparently NATURALLY FELT DUTY in those who had the competence (knowledge and ability) to die, personally, with life-saving consequences, for the group.
Possible Leadership for Social Re-strengthening
It was as a result of these experiences that I first saw it was probably possible to train most young military men up to a status of warrior/knights, far above the status of the so-called "grunts," "shit-birds," and other denigrating names often used in reference to our enlisted men. Even after they started going into shell-shock, I could actually "pull them out" by quick re-training right there in combat. I used three things: (1) The species- (other-life-) protecting appeal, (2) slap-fighting with them (gradually letting them win), and (3) having them shoot their weapons into the air or out into the ocean.
Competence and life-protecting morality are the two most decisive factors. Now, you see why I pushed the Marine Corps for the STRIKE (the light boxing sparring) to help accustom young Marines, through much exposure to in-your-face violence. It does not have to be heavy, and it must be safe or it cannot last. But to be effective, it must be in the face, I found, and they must get through it laughing from their success.
Many Marine confidants have asked why I have been so fanatical about this lesson to the point of sacrificing significant contracts with the military. The answer that has been too embarrassing to admit is this. There are few if any general officers alive who lived through the likes of Iwo Jima for long weeks. Of the dozen or so front-line rifle-platoons that I visited on Iwo as early as on the fourth day, all the lieutenants had already been hit. I did not see one left. Even most of the top non-coms were gone in those rifle platoons. So, how could our military-training institutions even know about this? I learned it because I was not a trained officer in traditional military leadership. (I was on the boxing teams while other prospective officers were training.)
So, in combat, once I got there, in the absence of other officers, up front, I watched what the common-folk, natural fighters were doing -- the experienced hunters -- and watched and watched. Their unofficial (Audie Murphy) type leadership was not the same as the little official leadership- training I had had. It was individual leadership without seeming to include signals that men followed. It was more like with a line of wild-bore hunters, where everyone had to be quiet. It, too, took the land, but there was no arm-waving. Casualties were fewer. They had to be on Iwo; we were out of fighters. One day, there was no "jump off" at all; I thought maybe we had lost.
Training for a Higher Plateau of Civilization. Is it clear that I am not talking only about, or even primarily about, military training here? I am talking about our modern need to build, or rebuild, a strong moral nation as grassroots individual leaders by example but en masse for a peaceful world. The quality of our military personnel is just a necessary part of that total picture. We cannot have a tough military without a tough civilian society. There is already talk of mercenaries for our military. In fact, right now, it is mainly poor boys recruited more to get something for themselves materially, than it is to become protector/defenders, or even fighting-men.
My early hot-war lessons led to the realization, later, that our Cold-War "ugly" Americans could be trained out of their culture-shock (not as bad as shell-shock) through activation of the species-preserving Dual Life-Value plus some physical-courage training. With that, I strongly suspected that they would be ready to protect, rather than demean, the helpless overseas peoples and respect their women. And once I was taught how to teach it, it worked.
Something similar will now work on the home-front where the modern chaotic changes are causing dangerous distrust, disrespect or "dissing" all around for each other in the various racial, gender, and economic groups.
Is this a little revolutionary? Of course, but so what? Almost every man and his sister is now saying that the problems, too, are revolutionary. So why not the solutions?
ITEM #4, Section b. The Dual Life-Value, Continued. The Nature of Marines or the Nature of Human Beings?
Here is another story, or real-life values-account of the type you must use to activate the secular (earthly) moral-values. Intellectual discussions and explanations will not do it. Alone, they can make things worse by giving con-men and hypocrites their necessary verbal tools for deception.
Robert Heinlein, the great science fiction writer, in a graduation address to a class at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy, told this true story from his childhood: One day while strolling through the great park in Kansas City, he and his mother saw a young woman get her foot caught in the tracks at a railroad crossing. The husband desperately tried to free her as a train came charging down on them from around a curve and far to fast to stop before the crossing.
As Heilein and his mother watched that terrifying tragedy, a hobo suddenly appeared "walking the tracks." He joined the husband's futile effort to pull the woman free. But tug and twist as they did, they could not get her out.
The train killed them all three.
Heinlein observed in his description of the vagabond's effort that he did not so much as look up to consider his own escape. Clearly, it was his intention, either to save the woman or to die trying.
Heinlein concluded his account of the nameless hobo's action with this comment: "This is the way a man dies," but he then added, "and this is the way a man lives."
In our Cold-War programs, both overseas and here in America, we always asked our audiences: What did Heinlein mean, This is the way a man lives? He died!
The audiences could seldom fully explain their acknowledged appreciation of Heinlein's words. But they always knew that it was not a slip of the tongue. They always realized that the idea had a solid meaning for all of our lives. Full discussions usually spelled-out the conclusion that it is probably the happiest formula for our lives if we live a generous, noble life (for benefit of the human species) rather than to lead a selfish one even though, in some cases, possibly a longer one.
Not Just Marines. Perhaps you can see why you will need this Heinlein story in addition to the stories from combat. A few persons may suspect that Marines are trained to act heroically thereby explaining the accounts from Iwo Jima. That nameless hobo upsets that fallacy.
For your additional knowledge, you might need this item, too. In all of my combined years in the Marines or in training Marines, I never heard anyone encourage heroics above and beyond the call of duty. But I did hear decorated officers advise against it: (1) against the excited heroics that are likely to get you killed without benefit to the others, and (2) against going over grenades to save others. Why not?
Because of the way grenades explode up and out into a shower. The advice was to set the example of diving flat onto the ground, under the shower, and not over the grenade. I never worked with grenades, so I don't know about this for certain.
The Basic Point of Human Nobility. The species-preserving drive (at least for loved-ones) is, in the first place, probably either "wired-in" or almost automatically "conditioned in" to a degree in us humans. So (1), being that strong, it can be activated further out to all humanity. And (2), this can be done justifiably for people to try experimentally to see if they want to activate it further for their own happier lives that it always seems to provide.
The Competing Philosophy of Selfishness
The most angry challenge to this Dual Life-Value that I encountered during the Cold War was from a military officer who said he was also a psychologist and follower of Ayne Rand. He insisted in front of a key audience that all heroics in combat or anywhere are all culturally conditioned behavior with no possible natural roots. He yelled, "Such self-giving actions could not possibly be natural against that well-known first law of nature, self-preservation. They are only culturally conditioned in!"
He made this unusual attack on one of my orientations at a highly sensitive time. I was re- educating some men to improve their behavior toward the Okinawans at a time when threatening violence was at our gates.
Fortunately, I was ready (next entry). You, also, need to be, even though you are not teaching instinctive human nature other than as one possibility.
ITEM #4, Section c. The Dual Life-Value -- Continued. The Nature of Humankind or the Nature of All Life?
In his book, African Genesis, Robert Ardrey tells a life-and-death story of some baboons and an old leopard. Baby baboons seem to be the favorite food of the big cats. So, when a troop of baboons is foraging, they stay in a military formation with the biggest males out front where they can quickly gang-up on and try to drive off any hungry leopard that they chance to encounter.
In Ardrey's true account, one of the big cats had surprised a troop of baboons just as it was breaking up its formation to make camp for the night. The huge predator calmly surveyed the terrain, picked his evening meal, probably a baby-baboon, and gathered himself for his explosive attack. He arrogantly ignored two old male baboons cautiously edging along an overhanging cliff just above him. Two baboons are far too few to cope with the powerful slashing fang-and-claws of the big spotted professional baboon-killer.
Nonetheless, that evening, the two males dropped on the leopard in a suicidal attack. One bit at his spine while the other tore at his throat while hanging to his neck from below. He instantly killed them both. He disemboweled, with his hind claws, the one at his throat; while simultaneously turning his head and biting to death the one on his back.
But as Ardrey reported, it was too late. The dying disemboweled baboon on the leopard's neck had hung on just long enough and had bitten through to the juggler vein. And as Ardrey said, somewhat in triumph for all the underdogs of the world, a society of animals settled down safely to sleep that night.
After reading that story to the audience that listened with pin-dropping silence, I looked at the Captain who was standing near the back of the room and asked, Captain, can you explain how those two old male baboons got so well culturally conditioned?
The crowd exploded in laughter. They turned to look at the red-faced captain. Some even stood up to get a good look. He turned around and left.