22 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 15

I should imagine that if Mass Observation were still functioning

Mr. Tom Harrisson and Mr. Madge would find that this phrase was almost universal. It is mainly inspired by a natural desire to serve to the best of one's capacity. People are not asking themselves " What is the best job I can get? " They are asking themselves " What sort of job could I do best? " But behind it there is a real psychologi- cal need. The problems with which we are confronted are so sinister that even the bravest mind quails from contem- plation, and seeks instinctively to escape from long sessions of dark and lonely thought into some form of disciplined activity. When elderly people sigh aloud and exclaim " How I wish that I were twenty," they are expressing a wholly sincere longing to be able to surrender their minds, their thoughts, their bodies, into the hands of someone else. Re- sponsibility, these days, is an agony of soul, greater even than having to stand and wait. * * * *