Page 128 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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122
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
where he served as assistant to George Santayana.9 The term
signifies the “endeavor toward friendship by people who are
different from each other but who, as different, hold themselves
equal to each other.” “Equal” is not synonymous with “similar” or
“identical.” Rather, “equal” also is intended by “cultural
pluralism” to mean “parity of the unequal, equality o f the unlike
. . . . It postulates that individuality is indefeasible, that differ­
ences are primary, and that consequently human beings have an
indefeasible right to their differences and should not be
penalized for their differences, however they may be constituted,
whatever they may consist in: color, faith, sex, occupation, posses­
sions, or what have you.” It does not say to the other fellow, “Be
my brother — or else!” It says:
Be my friend.
I am different from you. You are different
from me. The basis of our communion is our difference. Let
us exchange the fruits of our differences so that each may
enrich the other with what the other is not or has not in
himself. In what else are we important to one another, what
else can we pool and share if not our differences?10
The reality, in fact, of both pluralism and particularism argues
“that difference is no mere appearance,
but the
valid, vital force in
human communication and human creation.”11
FAITH IN AMERICA
Perhaps most frequently and enthusiastically Kallen identified
his faith with “the American Idea,” a phrase spoken first, as far as
he knew, by Theodore Parker in an anti-slavery address in Boston
in 1850.12 Two examples must suffice.
When in 1954 Kallen gave in Chicago an address on “The
Liberation of the Adult,” he formulated his belief in prose which
reads like a
piyyut,
a religious poem recited in the synagogue on
holidays:
9 Kallen, “Alain Locke and Cultural Pluralism,”
The Journal of Philosophy,
54
(February 28, 1957), p. 119.
10
Ibid.,
pp. 120 f.
11
Ibid.,
p. 123.
12 Kallen,
Cultural Pluralism,
p. 61 ;
Philosophical Issues in Adult Education
(Springfield, 111., 1962), pp. 51, 55.