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Jones, E. (1943). 'How can Civilization be Saved?'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 24:1-7.

(1943). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 24:1-7

'How can Civilization be Saved?'

Ernest Jones

I shall best be able to approach the problems we have before us to-day if you will allow me to do so by rather a personal route. I would describe myself as a humanist with a primary interest in science and belief in its value to mankind. By science I essentially mean clear thinking, a definition you might not all of you accept. Philosophers and logicians, for instance, might claim a monopoly of clear thinking. Laboratory scientists, on the other hand, might disclaim clear thinking as being the most characteristic part of their work and might assert that it is their principal business to ascertain facts and let the facts speak for themselves rather than thinking too much about them. Facts may, it is true, speak, but they do not always do so clearly and they very often mislead, or rather the minds on which they impinge often see to it that they receive a distorted impression.

I make these preliminary remarks to indicate my mode of approach to the topics under consideration. So definitely implanted in me is this mode of approach that I must confess had I known what the title of the present symposium was going to be, 'How can Civilization be saved?', I should have had no wish to participate in it. This is not said by way of any reproach to your secretary, but only to indicate my point of view. What he had told me was that you were going to have a discussion on international problems and that you would like to hear me say something about the psychological approach to them.

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