21 OCTOBER 1972, Page 25

From Mrs Nield-Smith

Sir: One aspect of the question of whether Britain should accede to the Treaty of Rome (which, incidentally, I have read in English translation), and whether the British people should be genuinely consulted, is the matter of the size of the new state which some evidently hope will emerge in the "new Europe." This, and the related matter of pollution, has received very little attention, but may be of the utmost importance. There is an optimum size for units of human administration and the trend towards the formation of rigid institutions of ever-increasing size tends to create inhuman monsters — bureaucratic juggernauts before which people become things,' as happened in Nazi Germany. Democracy cannot function in too large a state; it is essentially a small-scale system of government. We already have three ' super-powers ' in the world: Russia, China and the US. The first two of these can hardly pretend to be democratic and the US has problems almost impossible of solution by democratic means. Even in Britain, people in Scotland, Wales and Ulster feel alienated because decisions affecting their daily lives are taken in London. The students who rioted in Berkeley, California, some years ago did so because the university was so large and impersonal that they fell they were merely being processed like so much raw material — as the Jews indeed were in Germany.

Dr Donald Schon in his recent

series of Reith Lectures on Change in Industrial Society pointed out that administrative organisations that became too large tended to disintegrate and power from the centre had to move to the periphery. This is a biological

phenomonon in that any organism that grows too far beyond its optimum size tends to collapse. In the case of the Soviet Union and China, the centre has to maintain its authority by tyranny. In the case of the former British Empire the structure was loose enough and humane enough to be allowed • to disintegrate peacefully with mutual blessings between the centre and the outposts. When it comes to the European Economic Community, however, only lip service is paid to genuine democracy and it is proposed that we should dismantle our relatively small, domestic scale system, which works fairly well, in order to integrate our lives with a large, non-democratic unit with its spiritual capital in Rome (not the most free of religious capitals) and dedicated to accelerating economic growth and super-power status.

The very process of the enlargement of the EEC could hasten its disintegration and we could be faced with the alternatives of chaos or dictatorial government.

A. majority of people in this country are opposed to entry into the EEC and view the possibility with shame over our treatment of the Commonwealth and our EFTA partners and baffled dismay at the way in which it is being engineered. Their opposition was con temptuously dismissed by Lord

Gladwyn in a letter to the Times a few days ago as "visceral thinking

in pubs." In 1939 the ordinary Briton's "visceral thinking" led him to support the decision to oppose Nazi Germany — to resist evil even if he did not understand the economics or the politics.

Such "visceral thinking" may indeed be of the utmost significance. Every species that survives has to be able to modify its behaviour if that behaviour threatens to destroy its environment or its food supply. It is Said that the cost of entry into the EEC will be paid for out of economic growth and that our standard of living will rise accordingly and so we shall all be happy. Surely we now need to find our way towards economic equilibrium or we shall destroy ourselves? Since 30 per cent of the world's non-renewable resources goes every year to the US to maintain its standard of living, it follows that all four super-powers (if we include the EEC) cannot live in this way, to say nothing of the less developed countries on whom we depend and who are not yet totally infected with growth-mania. If we are to have a more

compassionate distribution of resources in the world as a whole (and surely this has to come somehow) then the over-developed parts of the world will have eventually to accept a reduced standard of living on the material level. No politician dare say this of course, but as more and more people are finding, an ever increasing supply of consumer goods has little to do with the quality of life. In my own occupation as a teacher of Yoga I meet very many people who have everything they want, materially speaking, but who are turning to disciplines such as Yoga for peace of mind, and to find a right relationship with their fellows, their environment and with the Divine. In his book, East and West; Some Reflections, Professor Radhakrishnan has written, "True wealth is of being, not of having " (my italics), This is surely the only kind of wealth we can all afford on this overcrowded planet, and the "visceral thinking" of the ordinary man may be symptomatic of a new awakening. Greed and selfishness, exploitation of everything we touch, these have led us to the edge of an abyss: perhaps the Drdinary man senses this, for as St John tells us, the True Light lighteth every man that cometh into the world "; perhaps the instinct for survival of the species Homo sapiens is at work, not so much in his intellect, although that has its place, but on a much deeper level — in his conscience. This is what we have to live by now, if we are to live at all. Penelope Nield-Smith 21 Inglethorpe Street, Fulham, London SW6