January 27, 1934
Just happened to think of some characteristic Berryhill remarks during the discussion at the X-Club apropos of my statement regarding the use of added leisure hours these days. We all interpret life from the point of view of our own lives, more or less. Good old George felt that business activities are normally confined to the serious job of acquiring bread and butter, and that we do not really begin to live, or rather our true self-expression is postponed, until after working hours. This can very well be a truism for those who labor with hum-drum, whose numbers constitute a majority, no doubt. However, I couldn't help countering with the proposition that a man's heart should be in his job. My newly-acquired interests are the outcome of the let-down in the job interest, and to that extent he is right; but I also have no doubt that a resumption of job interest would eclipse the other. I hope it will - although it is questionable whether or not I would be willing to surrender entirely my glimpses of another world; so the depression scores again as a broadening influence, if it doesn't kill.
The inevitable show-down on the continued use of the car occured yesterday, and I bought a new license, under pressure of family necessity. And I join the ranks of the great mass of poor folks, who run the car and clothe themselves with rags. My New Year's determination to balance the budget thus succumbed to a slight degree, and to that extent I am a gambler with the future. Here's hoping Atlantic will save my self-respect.
The red birds are whistling outside, and marvelling that winter gave us the slip - 0.3" of snow so far this eason - and we are long overdue for a grand blizzard. We need a big snow and ice storage to change water power psychology.
At the Annual Meeting of the Church we enjoyed another installment of Bragg's pet theme "Russia". Here is a long-distance transcribing of some scratchy notes:
The Soviet Union is a safer environment than the Chicago slums. Starvation in Russia in recent years is the result of cosmic forces, not the regime. The Far East situation - Japanese military threat - diverted food to feed the army. Inadequate transportation facilities, a hang-over from Tzarism, contributed to food shortages in certain regions.
Permanent problems include sloganized confidence, as opposed to real. Collectivization out of hand: instead of 15% of farms scheduled, including 55% of lands, this year actually 69% of farms and 80% of lands are collectivized. Hence maladjustments due to too-rapid change. Beginning to realize mistakes: under assurance of a portion of property to be retained by individuals, latter killed stock intended for government, and evaded work on lands donated to government. In spite of nourishment in individualism, the socialization of agriculture is practical and there to stay. 1933 crop a bumper.
Russian productibility of farm labor as compared with Iowa - 1:22. One farm organization, however, averages 700,000 acres.
Industry - Russia not machine-conscious. Factory kitchen (some feed 50,000 persons) provide soup made in "swimming pools". They are starting from scratch. Evidence of non-essentials (such as cosmetics) illustrate stability. Witness also Dneiperstroy.
Individuals - Church defeated by indentity with corrupt and cruel political set-up. But old royal palace now children's village for respiratory diseases. Art grotesque. Moving in direction of socialist-realism; earmarked by binding of men to men.
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