20 DECEMBER 1946, Page 15


SIR,—May I endorse Mr. Kenneth Lindsay's excellent article on UNESCO in your issue of December 13th? As an observer from International Student Service on the periphery of the recent Paris Conference of UNESCO, I share some of his fears, which have also been echoed by Francois Mauriac in an article in the French Press. In one telling sentence, Mauriac fastens on the weakness of the UNESCO planners: "Cori clistingue les hommes de science: la foi, la foi qui transporte les montagnes—(et un jour prochain les fera peut-&re sauter en les desintigrant)." Surely two world wars within twenty-five years must have shaken our complacent b+ef in the possibility of a brother- hood of man that is not derived from the fatherhood of God? Mr. Lindsay is right to direct our attention to Comenius, who based the unity of knowledge and the unity of mankind on a metaphysical premise.

Schools and universities possess a tradition elder than UNESCO older than those nation States, whose unruly contumacy U.N.O. strives to quell. It is a tradition rooted in the conception of a world fraternity of scholars, transcending racial and political frontiers. It is the essence of all true learning and teaching to be occupied incessantly with one supreme problem—the nature and destiny of man—and UNESCO must accept the burden of this traditional challenge in the twentieth century or perish.

Today, most educational institutions, while tacitly rejecting orthodox Communist or Christian doctrines, are trying to build on the shifting lands of a kind of evolutionary humanism. Recent history suggests that such a foundation is inadequate. For the process of education is that of the growth of an organism, and to take on any significance whatever it must be assumed to be growing to some end. Now, whether or not the end of man is to know God and to enjoy Him forever, it is certainly not the end of man merely to acquire knowledge for the sake of knowledge or to abolish illiteracy in order that more people can read more words. Teachers and taught must seek the way of wisdom rather than knowledge, and they can only do so when their metaphysics are sound. UNESCO makes metaphysical nonsense, and that is the reason of its potentiality for evil, when all men of good will must desire for it nothing but good.— Yours truly, jamrs L. HENDERSON. "Lakewood," Sandon, Btmtingford, Herts.