Only our own
self-restraint, in a way, can assure
Johnny and his contemporaries more than a world of ersatz scenery.
A Reuters dispatch of last May suggests how close the world is.
The dispatch tells us that a Paris clinic has found a synthetic
equivalent for a month's rest in the mountains.
short visits to a clinic here will give tired Parisians treatment
by Oxygen equivalent to a month's rest in the mountains, the
newly open Oxygen clinic claims.
treatment in rooms decorated with colors to 'suit the condition
of the patient' costs 15.000 francs ($37) and lasts 25 minutes
for each of the ten visits.
center has red rooms reserved for patients who seek the tonic
of mountain treatments. Green rooms, said a certified official,
suggest the quiet of a rest in the country. And blue rooms provide
the right atmosphere for the highly strung who would like to
take it easy at the beach.
room has artificial windows looking onto giant photographs of
soothing land and seascapes and the temperature is regulated
with the Oxygen to give an impression ranging from balmy days
in sunny meadows to invigorating mountain climes. Patients take
the Oxygen in transparent nylon tents."
I know of
no one who is willing too exchange wildness for a synthetic.
or who would consciously make decisions today that would leave
his children only a scenic nylon tent in a Paris clinic, or the
two-toned, streamlined equivalent we could expect in the domestic
market places. Yet it takes no more than two to three moments
of quiet contemplation to demonstrate how fast we are moving
in this direction.
While I write,
at an elevation of 1,000 feet in the Berkeley Hills, my
eyes are smarting.
We built here for the view of San Francisco Bay and its amazing
setting. But today there is no beautiful view; there is hideous
smog, a sea of it around us. "It can't happen here,"
we were saying just three years ago. Well here it is. And on
the land around us, where just two generations ago a man could
be "born on a farm in the North Berkeley Hills," there
isn't room to plant another iris corm when I separate those that
are now stifled by crowding. For all this our planners talk breezily,
even happily, of an ultimate population of seventeen million
people around the bay. To enjoy the view? To breathe the clean
sea air? To stroll in the park on an Autumn afternoon? What park?
. . .