Essay The Challenge of our Time
Ans. The Challenge of our Time by E.M. Forster, Brought up as a victorian Liberal, Forster finds the challenge of our time in the threats to individual rights and liberties. Political and religious liberties gained during the last three hundred years and more are endangered of being destroyed by the new philosophy of state intervention.
Forster agrees that this intervention is justified to a certain extent. It is not possible to allow capitalism to flourish without seeking to check its tendency to make profits by cruel exploitation of the poor and the underprivileged. Economic and social planning is inevitable in the circumstances.
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The Challenge of Our Time Essay
But the question is where the line is to be drawn. Victorians did not face any challenge so formidable as that of the twentieth century. They had an unthinking faith in eternal progress. Forster.was given a human education. It made him abhor cruelty and tyranny anywhere in the world.
It is true that the British empire exploited backward countries in Africa and Asia and that the British ruling class exploited the laborers and the peasants. But all this exploitation was kept discreetly in the background.
The liberal Victorian gentlemen would have been horrified if they had been told that they made their money through cruelty and tyranny. In the twentieth century, the world is faced with two revolts that of the imperial possessions against British Rule and that of the poor against the rich.
Central ideas The Challenge of our Time
As a result of this, the state has found it nećessary to intervene to safeguard the economically weak against industrialists. It has also been found necessary to abandon the imperial possession one after another.
Writing in 1946 before the liquidation of the British empire began, Forster refers only to the problem of state intervention in economics and social organization. The old doctrine of laissez-faire in economics has had to be given up.
But state intervention raises new problems. It is difficult to stop it at the point where the needs of the body end and those of the spirit begin.
Europe has known for centuries the teaching of Jesus that men should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s But when the realm of Caesar intrudes into that of God, What is to be done Forester Cites the instance of planning for world distribution of food.
This necessarily involves family planning and attempts to enforce or propagate birth control. This must be acknowledged as interference with personal relations and family life. Examples like this involve a conflict of loyalties to different principles.
The challenge of our time by E.M. Forster
The choice is put before one of favoring individual freedom or state regulation in the interest of economic justice. A concrete case has come to Forster’s notice of this moral dilemma of our time, seeking to build a satellite town of sixty thousand, the British government has compulsorily acquired fertile farming lands in a lovely district in England.
The owners of the land have been holding them for generations and to them farming is a way of life. They are now being forcibly dispossessed to their lands, and the compensation was given, whether adequate or not will console them for being compelled to change their way of life.
So, it is a sad age for a writer who cares for individual freedom as well as economic justice. The only thing that can be said about him is that he ought to be true to his artistić conscience. Only thus can man progress in spirit as well as in intellect.
The privileged position of the scientist must be realized as abnormal and Unnatural. He should be allowed to deal only with the needs of the body. The mind and the spirit must be allowed to obey their laws without state interference.
Forster, thus stresses the value of freedom of thought and speech is an age tending to totalitarian control of all the details of one’s life. In his view, the challenge of our time can be met only by sticking to spiritual freedom.
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