..."I don't know how it will be in the years to come. There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know. Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good. It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing are all born in the complication of mass production, mass methon is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking. In our time mass or colletive production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religon, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.
At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one crative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathmatics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the grouup have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.
And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or govnernment which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a patter must try to destroy the free mind, for that is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to presever the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are all lost.
John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952)