27 | MP introduction

in all its forms, by whomever or for whatever end it may be

My attitude to propaganda is based partly on facts, and partly
on a philosophy of life which it would be out of place to dis-
cuss here.[31] For scientific purposes, in any case, one philosophy
or hypothesis, is as good as another, as long as it does not ob-
scure the facts. And it seems probable that one can understand
the inner workings of propaganda better when one sees all propa-
gandist activities impartially on the same plane, than when
one is hampered by partiality for one of the creeds which are
promoted by propaganda.

Friends who have read this book in manuscript have told me
that it made depressing reading. This cannot be helped when we
study man in his state of degeneration, and depression. Insofar as
they are susceptible to propaganda, men, in my opinion, are defi-
cient in that habit of brotherhood which alone can confer dignity
upon them, as well as happiness. One is more likely to derive
'uplift', and 'optimistic views', from an examination of the liver
of a jellyfish than from a study of propaganda.

Even though we may come to the conclusion that mass propaganda
degrades all those who participate in it, we need not therefore
abandon all hope of improving social conditions by collective
efforts. The questions is, however, whether we should choose
'social cells' as the instruments of social change, or the vast
conglomerations of our big towns. I believe that reformers are
more likely to reach their aims by patiently building up 'social
cells', or genuine communities, than by adding to the flood of
mass propaganda. But be that as it may.