All Commentary
Monday, November 1, 1965

Mans Priceless Heritage

Mrs. Osterhaus, a California housewife, attrib­utes this article to a FEE Seminar she attended recently.

Have you ever stopped to con­sider what a phenomenal gift you have in that remarkably maneu­verable instrument you call your hand? How like us humans to casually take for granted this amazing tool which so faithfully serves us all the days of our lives, for better or for worse as the mind wills it. How fitting that the first thing a baby really notices in the strange new outside world is that fascinating bit of wonder­ment which waves and floats and sometimes jerks in the air above it like some pretty pink-petaled built-in mobile. Yet this same soft tiny hand, so seemingly fragile, shows surprising strength and ten­acity when a giant grown-up finger reaches out to its miniature daintiness!

Think what it must have been like thousands of years ago for the man living like an animal with no clothing, no shelter, no food save that which he could wrest from nature with his only tool—his gnarled, scarred, bare hand. In time his brain, superior to that of other living creatures, began to reason out ways and means for making his lot an easier and more rewarding one. He ingeniously devised ways of augmenting the power and usefulness of his hand by using a stone or a broken branch of a tree, and then by fashioning a crude axe and other rough tools of invaluable worth to his hitherto limited capabilities. The development of man and the emergence from the animal state was painfully slow, with innumer­able setbacks over the ages; but now, millennia later, miracles too vast and complex for any single human being to comprehend even an infinitesimal fraction of their wonders are all around us as com­monplace as the long-ago Stone Age axe.

To what do we really owe all these extraordinary achievements so painstakingly won? Is it per­haps to a master plan of some all-encompassing human authority which has dictated to man what he may or may not do with his natural abilities? Most emphati­cally not! For the most astound­ing forward strides have been made when man’s mind and hand were least fettered, leaving him free to experiment with his own individual ideas and talents. No­where, in the history of the hu­man race, has this progress been so marked as during the compara­tively brief span since the found­ing of our own country under seemingly insurmountable hard­ships and frustrations.

Today, we Americans would do well to take a moment out from our high-pressured existence to really examine our soft and cul­tured hands and to mentally “transport” ourselves back over the centuries and reflect on the accomplishments of these like im­plements of our forebears. In ret­rospect we would see so clearly that individual man can literally be stopped at nothing—even to build­ing “a stairway to the stars”—just so long as he is a free agent left to express with his mind and his obedient hand whatsoever “im­possible” dream may arouse his imagination. The infinite bounty of our God-given natural resources is far beyond our understanding and is the material key, of course, to human progress.

If the hand of each human being were allowed and encouraged to follow the opportunity afforded its own purely individual destiny, and if the mind guiding it were in tune with the omniscient Mind which planned and created the universe, the affairs of our world would be as orderly as the stars in their courses. Each man would by nature develop his own poten­tial to the good of himself and, concordantly, of his fellow men by fitting comfortably and happily into the beautiful, fruitful, and harmonious pattern originally de­signed by the invisible hand of God.

J. Kesner Kahn

The new concept of a Free Society is one where everything is free—except people.