“The Parade” is a modernist dirge of a book that still packs an emotional wallop, telling the story of mankind’s recurring and deadly war fever. Einstein wrote Si a fan letter after seeing the drawings in 1951, saying, “Our time needs you and your work!” It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is still true today, so Si and I collaborated on an expanded “director’s cut” version of “The Parade,” remastered from the original art and published, this month, as a long accordion-fold book.
“I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time.
It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil… This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.”