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in of " fishing jows the supremalifornia come
pears in a cloud of its own steam; his I do not know what Heaven is rerickety derrick is a spider web of guy served beyond the Great Divide for ropes and bailing wire. With the first the wildcatter. It must, at best, be a stroke of his bit begins a fight against tame affair, a matter of mere Celestial all the manifold perversities of inani. Harmonies, with no musical splash and mate things: a caving hole, unexpected roar of the oil in the flow tank. water and gas strata, mechanical break- But Jim's Paradise is still far off. downs; and finally, of course, his wire. The very next day, one of the buzzards line snaps at the rope socket and leaves of the law, ever hovering near the new the tools in the hole just a few feet from wildcat well, swoops down with a fake the oil sand. Sixty feet of shale caves in Indian heir, brings suit, and paralyzes on the drilling tools, and in time other Jim's oil sales by garnishment of the tools used to fish for them are also lost pipe-line company. Choosing reluctantin the hole. In the phrase of the oil ly between blackmail and a charge of fields, he has 'everything in the hole manslaughter, Jim borrows enough to but the boiler.' The strain of fishing' settle the claim out of court. Then folis too much for the aged derrick and it lows the supreme disaster. Some field pulls in; his men are unpaid, his credit in Mexico or California comes in with a exhausted. Without a thought of quit- new flood of oil, and the crude market ting, Jim trudges to town and trades breaks. With tanks full and overflowanother forty-acre lease for a second- ing, he cannot sell a drop of his oil. His hand automobile, sells the car for wells would suffer if he closed down, and enough to pay the repairs on the der- yet he has no market for his product. rick and a part payment to his drillers, By selling another interest in the well, and the hole is finally cleaned. Then, by staving off lawsuits and liens, by sellone day there comes a puff of gas at the ing a little oil for fuel, by twist and casing-head, a ‘rainbow' on the bit and turn, Jim survives the long depression, stem; the hole fills up rapidly with oil; and now after five years he has battled 1000 feet, then 1500 feet, then a rich through to ten barrels of 'settled progolden-green fountain — flashing in duction,' a sacred symbol; Jim has atthe sunlight, flowing over the derrick! tained to the dignityofan‘Oil Producer,'
A great day, you say - a rich re- with us an elevation to the ranks of the ward for all his trouble. He has made Elect — a commercial Croix de Guerre. a well of it! A two-hundred or three And remember, you of the Brotherhood hundred barrel well — a little miracle, of the InternalCombustion Engine, that one chance in five! Wealth, flowing from were it not for the Dry Hole Jims, who the stored-up treasure of the Devonian have discovered over fifty per cent of age. 'Clean money,' as Jim says; that the mid-continent pools, you would adds something to the world's store and find a posted price of gasoline at your helps man in his painful upward strug- filling stations that would afford you all gle from chaos to order. Drilling an the vivid sensations of a paralytic shock.
enriches the world and robs no man. all the ponderous interlocking mechaJim's brief hour of prosperity sees no nism of great corporate agencies could one the poorer for it. Who, more than not accomplish the commercial miracle Dry Hole Jim, shall serve to deliver of selling 5300 British Thermal Units mankind from a world that is 'heart- of power for one cent were it not for the less, furtive, narrow, bleak, mournful, individual initiative and enterprise of mean, and inhuman?'
Dry Hole Jim and his fraternity. VOL. 134 — NO.6
It is not for his importance to the We have our faults. We know them. community and economic laws that we We do not have the rich cultural athold Dry Hole Jim in such high esteem mosphere of the Acropolis. But then, in our town. Economic laws we never we banish no Solons. On the contrary think of, except when the big companies we make geologists of them and drill use them as an excuse for cutting the dry holes on their judgment. We lack price they pay us for our oil. Let us say the ideals, the noble behavior, the intelit is rather because we dimly sense the lectual enjoyments of the Italian Renkinship between Jim and certain hardy aissance, yet we do not burn our Saforbears of his who broke the trails into vonarolas. Our Chamber of Commerce western forests; felled their trees; built organizes ‘drives' for them or includes their cabins; defended them at the loop their activities in the budget of our hole; fared then even farther out across ‘Charity Chest.' And, if you think to the mountains with pick and gold-rock- shame and abash us, to humiliate us, er and transit. It is not because of Jim's to puncture our conceit by asking where relation to the mechanism of modern is our 'thrice-hammered hardihood of civilized life that we value him in our Rome,' then with a clear, ringing chorus town, but rather because we reverence we respond, 'We have Dry Hole Jim, the fast vanishing spirit of the pioneer, God bless him! the adventurer, and the explorer.
It would appear, therefore, that we If by some miracle we are, as we are hopelessly resigned to our lot as one claim, preserved from the American that has fallen to us in the Industrial Malady, if there be found in our town Era, or, if you will humor us, in the Oil no symptoms of spiritual malaria, we Age. We are even reconciled to the know that we shall be assaulted with fact that we have moved out 'into the demands for an explanation — a for- void' beyond the rich popular culture mula. We are prepared to furnish it. of violin and clavichord, a culture temIt is because our glass, ours and Jim's, is pered perhaps by rack and thumbscrew. constantly filmed over by the magic of We have even torn ourselves away from that last thrice-blessed sprite of Pan- 'thegayeties of the heart,’dance, ballad, dora's box. We live in an atmosphere of glee, and all those other rare diversions, eternal, unquenchable hope! If there including bear-baiting, the stocks, and be a trace of ingrained pessimism here, the public gibbet, created of our foreit is only that which Mr. James describes fathers as a means of happiness and for as born of long compulsory association the 'wonder and wealth of their souls.' with the optimist. No one can be an With all deference to what has been ‘Oil Producer' who is not possessed of deftly termed the 'æsthetic appeal of such fundamental, fixed, and inborn conservatism,' our town finds in the optimism as will be unshaken and un- hoydenish radicalism of our age an dimmed by the longest succession of abundant life in which we thus wickedly dry holes, or the lowest, most desper- flourish in health of body, mind, and ate of markets for “crude.' This is not spirit. And if such life be not in consothe thin Pollyanna vacuity of spirit nance with the voice of the Almighty that ‘glows with the happiness of mere it is at least in harmony with the being,' but a certain contentment with Psalmist's wholesome spirit of youth:a simple philosophy of everyday life Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in which is based on creative effort in our thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy hours of labor and a cheerful sane preoc right hand there are pleasures for evercupation in our moments of leisure. more.
THE WORLD AND THE BLIND MAN
BY CHARLES MAGEE ADAMS
This whole attitude of mind we call civ. Robinson's The Mind in the Making ilization or culture depends peculiarly will grasp the significance I am giving on a delicate balance between the con- this word) that the psychology of the trasting mental activities, thought and blind is something fundamentally difemotion; and it proves exceedingly dif- ferent from that of the seeing; and secficult to approach any subject touching ond, they believe that the lack of sight blindness without disturbing this bal- is all but compensated for by an added ance, for the reason that emotion has keenness of remaining senses, new always been the preponderant reaction senses, and an increased richness of exto blindness.
perience. These beliefs are not confined People can laugh at what happens to to people easily deluded on usual mata deaf man, discuss the loss of an arm or ters, moreover. They can be found in paralysis with complete calm, yet the the most amazing quarters. In spite moment blindness is mentioned there is of this, the facts (having been blind an instant and involuntary flux of nineteen years I feel fairly familiar emotions, such as pity and sympathy, with the facts) show that the psycholthat distorts the entire perspective. ogy of the blind differs from that of the These emotions, although brought seeing only in that the blind do not see. about by reasons somewhat obscure,are, This is not intended as a paradox or nevertheless, universal, and color every an attempt to turn an epigram. It is a concept of the blind held by the seeing. proposition of basic importance, and the During this discussion it may therefore only starting point from which the subprove necessary to swing to the other ject can be properly approached. The extreme in order to restore the balance. psychology of the blind is neither irrev
There has always been a particularly ocably removed from that of the seeing keen interest in the psychology of blind- nor all but identical with it through ness, even before the general interest in some compensating means. It is simply psychology now so marked. The seeing the full psychology of normality with are constantly asking questions cover- such changes and deficiencies as are ing every phase of it — and quite nor- brought about by the lack of sight. mally. Sight is such a universally used The blind have no power or sense not and useful sense that the loss of it would possessed by the seeing, not even an seem to bring about a psychological con- increased keenness of the remaining dition difficult to conceive. But two senses; merely a subtraction of sight facts pertinent to an analysis of the sub- with a somewhat better utilization and ject are revealed by these questions: development of the four other senses to first, that in general the seeing believe meet conditions. (anyone who has read Dr. James H. A peculiar fact in connection with this last has been responsible for much velopment; the one which proves, ultiof the confusion, apparently. The chief mately, the most useful. The seeing reason the blind display a marked su- call on it for a wide range of uses in nor
senses, particularly hearing and touch, many additional mechanics need be prois that the seeing persist in concen- vided as in the case of touch. But the trating on sight regardless of conditions. blind merely develop the possibilities of If a man is awakened in the night he hearing to their logical limits instead of tries to see what has awakened him, no being endowed with any increased senmatter if the room be inky dark. Sight sitiveness. is always the most important sense and I can best demonstrate this by two the one called on first. So, even when he seeing friends of mine. One, an electriis blindfolded for comparative tests, cal engineer, can pick out and interpret the seeing man finds it extremely diffi- in the hum of a turbogenerator a whole cult to shift the focus of attention from series of sounds of which I am not even sight to these other senses. Paradox- aware; the other, an automotive engiically enough, therefore, the reason a neer, can do the same with the engine of blind man utilizes these senses to a a passing car. They have merely develgreater extent is because he has given oped their hearing to be of particular up this natural attempt to see, which in service to them in their professions, in many cases requires a long time, par the same way in which the blind develop ticularly if sight fails gradually, since it their hearing to be of particular service is for the most part an unconscious proc- to them in meeting the conditions imess linked up with how completely posed by lack of sight. blindness is accepted as a fact.
Sound reflection is a typical example. It must not be forgotten too that Whenever a sound impinges on a flat there are only four remaining senses, vertical surface of any appreciable area for this has some widely ramified conse- it is reflected much the same as lightquences. First, it means that the blind not echoed. An echo is also a reflection, are confronted with a constant twenty but of a pronounced type; but the sort per cent deficiency in received impres- of reflection to which I refer takes sions, the significance of which I hope place at distances shorter than necesto make clear; and secondly, it precipi- sary for an echo, and results in merely tates an entire new sense-coördination. the addition to the original sound of a Normally we do not realize our senses characteristic quality that could probare coördinated until possibly a cold re- ably be classified as an overtone. Poles, minds us how heavily taste depends on trees, walls, buildings, cars, any fairly smell. Taking a sense as important as flat, fairly vertical, good-sized surface, sight out of circuit necessarily forces will produce this effect. The seeing some vastly more far-reaching read- rarely, if ever, are aware of it, of course. justments. But perhaps the best way to They do not need to be. But the blind make this as well as these other basic not only are aware of it but make thorconsiderations clear is to begin with oughly practical use of it for such everyhearing.
day purposes as locating objects, or finding, for example, the gaps in a long
line of parked cars. When a blind man Hearing is the first sense the blind taps his walking-stick on the pavement turn to in the course of reorientation; or shuffles his feet he is more often the one that responds most easily to de- causing sounds which can be reflected
than trying to determine his location fort that is by no means small and by touch.
which makes for a high rate of fatigue. This utilization of one of hearing's This is further aggravated by hearpossibilities generally wasted is alone ing's second limitation. The auditory responsible for the sixth-sense myth, and nerves are considerably smaller than only one of the several ways in which the optical — the fact behind the frethis sense when developed serves the quently encountered statement that
the first place it is a far less selective sense than sight.
Sight impressions are received from cnly one general direction and any ob
special significance. It means that the sense which must handle the great bulk of received impressions can transmit less of them to the brain than the sense
focus so sharply that practically noth- or, in engineering terms, that the inputing else can be seen, merely by the ex- output efficiency of hearing is less than penditure of what is for the most part a that of sight. So the result is that if an muscular effort. But the case of hearing event can be translated equally well is quite different. Sound impressions into terms of sight and sound the blind from every point within audible range will not receive as vivid an impression are received without any considerable of it as the seeing, and also that the variation due to direction, and each is rate of fatigue is increased. heard. The slam of a door, voices in the This has not been generally recogstreet, a train whistle, a motor horn, nized. A seeing person who has been register as vividly and definitely as reading or drawing or doing other work piano music, and the only reason the requiring high visual concentration for music is heard and these other sounds a long time finds not so much his eyes apparently are not is that a more or themselves as his whole optical mechaless unconscious effort of attention has nism is tired; and when a blind man has 'tuned' them out and let through the been listening intently for a long time music.
he experiences much the same sort of I doubt if the seeing grasp what this fatigue. Not that his ears are tired, but means to the blind, because they de his entire auditory mechanism is, even pend on sight as an aid to hearing far more so than the other's optical mechamore heavily than they realize. Lip- nism, because of the lower efficiency and reading, for example, bears much of the the added work thrown on it. Any burden of conversational reception, as familiar sound like the purr of a car's the simple experiment of holding the motor, music, or a voice reading, will lips motionless will prove. But to the produce this result if continued too. blind hearing is like a radio set which long and, if carried further, it will bring permits all stations to be heard simul- on a nervous exhaustion that can be cortaneously and leaves it to the listener to rected only by quiet or sleep. The fact concentrate on the one he wants, which that the seeing have another major means a tremendous demand on atten- sense they can turn to also goes far totion. In the city streets with their roar ward relieving them of this experience. and rattle of traffic, or even at small After a concert, for example, when fasocial gatherings, the 'tuning in' of a tigue might normally appear, they can particular voice and the 'tuning out of shift the bulk of attention to seeing, all other sounds require a constant ef- giving the auditory mechanism an op