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assumes that yours is less, at least in his "line." He does not count on your doing any thinking. He does not do any himself, except for the reflexes of the spinal cord that occur somewhere in the neighborhood of his back collar button, but he believes that he does. He expects to keep his mind (what there is of it) clear, to command the situation, and to throw you into an emotional state of one sort or another, confusion, desire, hypnosis, even anger might be better for him than nothing. He is quite unprepared to have you turn the tables on him and touch one of his emotions.
If you only so much as surprise him, you will find him easy to deal with. He has no hesitation in unmasking his batteries as soon as he has taken his position, and you may sail over and bomb them at will, for he has no defense against air-craft. I have yet to meet a seller with either imagination or humor. That is why any absurd surprise disconcerts him. Deny his premises one by one till he falls triumphantly back on something he is sure you must agree to as axiomatic; deny that too, and he is nonplussed.
"Well, at least, a man must live.'
"Oh, come now; that is the last thing I would agree to."
I cannot account for the fact that this silences him except by the theory that he has not been coached for it.
If you make a seller angry, as a rule he will leave at once, probably because he has been coached to believe it bad business to insult any possible buyer, and he does not know a possible buyer from an impossible one. If after his second or third sentence of patter, you interrupt him by meticulously asking for the name of his product, and elaborately note it with the remark that you were just going to order some of that, but now unfortunately you must put it on your blacklist, because you make it a matter of principle never to buy anything offered you by a salesman, the chances are ten to one that he will go out gasping like a fish. This always works by telephone, and is especially terrifying to politicians—“I make it a rule never to vote for anyone who canvasses by telephone."
Sellers of stocks and bonds, are, so far as my experience goes, more simple than others, for they have but one idea. It is that the desire for money is so strong in our minds that no bait is too gross for us. They bring me the most preposterous stories of how quickly I can get rich by buying their wares, but one and all they
are non-suited by the childishly simple question, “If this thing is so good as you say it is, why do you have to try to peddle it to me to get rid of it?" Incredible as it may seem, I have never had an answer to this question that was anything more than ludicrous in its impotence, such as, "I wanted to let you in on the ground floor." At this I laugh; the seller laughs ruefully, and the case is dismissed. Rather more than others, these salesmen seem to think that unless you can give a valid reason why you should not buy, you must sign the order. If you have time, let them talk, especially when they call you on the long distance telephone at a fabulous sum by the minute. Say nothing; they want you to say nothing at first. At last comes the vital question: "Shall I put you down for a hundred shares?"
"No, thank you."
"Don't you want a nice safe investment that will net you eight per cent?"
"No, thank you."
"Well, what do you want?"
"Nothing at all, thank you."
He expects to have you in a confused hypnotic state, hunting for excuses, offering weakly the first that come into your head, dodging, he heading you off till he has you cowering in a corner signing on the dotted line. If you refuse to move, he cannot chase you, and often it angers him more than open insult.
This is not a system of resistance to salesmanship; it is merely a few bits of experience put forward tentatively, Notes for a Seller Book, as it were. It is a suggestion that a system might be built up which would enable even those who are now most susceptible to the attacks of salesmanship to keep their money until someone offers them an ostensible equivalent for it. Much might be done by the study of existing cases of natural immunity and resistance, and means of cultivating the state of mind in which we may look upon automobiles without envy, read advertisements without desire, gaze into shop windows without lust, and listen to the song of the salesman without feeling any symptom of hypnosis.
R. P. UTTER
NICOLAS ROERICH IN THE HIMALAYAS
Nicolas Roerich belongs to those artists whose growth never stops. For thirty years his canvases have been appearing with never abating energy on the painter's part, gaining wide recognition and universal admiration, but showing no sign of acquiescence, of having arrived. His abundant activity has been a dynamic evolutionary process, with each period marking an advance over the preceding one and constituting a pledge for a never ending chain of surpassing stages in the future. In an early essay on Böcklin, he wrote in his tersely pregnant style: "Every artist must seek out in himself that wherein he is culpable in the eyes of art, that which, unwisely, he has let to block his road toward the splendid 'as it should be done.' At times one can still cast aside the needless; at times it is still not too late to accelerate one's step. One need not fear to admit one's errors." With such a creed the artist cannot rest on his laurels, but is interminably lashed on by his inner urge toward the unattainable ideal of "as it should be done." In the case of Roerich, the evolution has been both horizontal and vertical; his vision both expanded and deepened. His tireless quest has been multiple and variegated, proving equally fruitful in his archeologic researches, such as his canvases from the stone age or pagan Russia, in his legendary and historical lore of Russia, Scandinavia, India, and other countries, in his pictorial recreation of Russia's old architecture, in his broad decorative activity, from murals in palaces and churches to scenery and designs for opera and ballet (in Stravinsky's "Sacre du Printemps" he cooperated in the libretto as well), in his landscapes and seascapes which express the essence of such diverse places as northern Europe, Italy, the coast of Maine, and New Mexico. As professor, school director, organizer of societies and exhibitions, poet and essayist, Roerich sought further expression for his simple and ever maturing faith in the need of beauty in life as a ubiquitous and all pervading factor.
In his effort at uniting the whole world under the banner of this faith, he has become a truly international artist, perhaps the most widely known contemporary painter. In California alone, for example, there are about two scores of his canvases, while New York has a Roerich Museum, containing over four hundred of his works on permanent exhibition. With the New York museum are connected an international art center, "Corona Mundi," a school of the seven arts, and other organizations of kindred spirit.
Slav and viking by his ancestry, Roerich is a "true Russian," in the sense in which Dostoyevsky uses this phrase; namely, in the universality of his mind. In our age of division and disunion, spiritual as well as material, the harmonious realm of Roerich rises as a world apart, new yet hoary, strangely fantastic yet uncannily familiar, as though we knew it in some prenatal existence, or visualized it in a dream. In this world of Roerich differences of time, country, and race appear as variations on one theme, concordant in their divergence, permeated with a mutuality of purpose. A universal symphony is felt through the vast expanse of Roerich's canvases-in his anthropomorphized yet real rocks and clouds; his stone age forefathers who regard nature's miracles with wonderment and awe; his wizards and witches, more friendly than terrifying, who melt so inevitably into the surrounding mounds and boulders and stumps; his genial saints blessing the crops, the cattle, the boats; his mail-coated vikings aboard a formidably rhythmic flock of red-breasted skiffs; his mysterious groves, treasures, messengers, hermits, kings, sages of all ages and climes, doomed cities, crying serpents, flaming angels-legends and mysteries which rather than improbably transcendental seem more real than superficially viewed reality, seem as actual as his own unparalleled sunsets, his tapestry-like Italy, his Finnish lakes and Sante Fé cañons. From times primordial to our day of submarines and radio, Roerich rings a note of cosmic unity and pantheistic concord.
Roerich's indefatigable pilgrimage in quest of harmony and beauty has lately brought him to the top of the world, literally. He has been scaling the peaks of Himalaya, absorbing as yet unseen vistas, communing with heretofore forbidding mysteries.1 With that effortless ease of his which has always enabled him to ignore material and spiritual obstacles, Roerich has entered the
1 Roerich Himalaya. A monograph with 24 color plates, 78 halftones, and notes by Roerich, "Banners of the East." New York, Brentano's. 1926.
most exclusive and esoteric corners of Tibet, heartily welcomed by the common people, by the lamas, by native artists and monks. Roerich disarms intolerance, fear, and suspicion; his personality and work are so innately all human and universal that before them all discrimination of color, race, or creed disperses like mist pierced by the sun. He has been asked in Tibet to attend festivals and ceremonies from which strangers are ordinarily excluded; he has been able to study the native religious art, finding in it many points in common with Russian ikon painting; he has browsed in the libraries of their monasteries, where he has discovered startling documents touching on the reported sojourn of Christ in India. The numerous legends preserved in Buddhist monasteries about Christ are, to Roerich, a further proof of the kinship of man's spirit the world over.
It is worth citing one of the Christ legends, about 1500 years old, which Roerich found in the mountains of Tibet:
Issa secretly left his parents and together with the merchants of Jerusalem turned toward Ind to become perfected in the Divine word. And for the study of the laws of the Great Buddha.
He passed his time in Djagernath, in Rajagriha, in Benares. All loved him because Issa dwelt in peace with Vicias and Sudras, whom he instructed.
But the Brahmins and Kshatriyas told him that Brahma forbade those to approach who were created out of his womb and feet. The Vicias were allowed to listen to the Vedas only on holidays, and the Sudras were not only forbidden to be present at the reading of the Vedas but could not even look at them. Sudras were destined to serve eternally as slaves to the Brahmins and Kshatriyas.
But Issa listened not to the speeches of the Brahmins, but went among the Sudras to preach against the Brahmins and Kshatriyas. He denied with full force the right of man to take upon himself the power to deny to his fellows human dignity. Issa preached that man had filled the temples with his abominations. In order to revere metals and stones, man sacrificed his fellows in whom dwells a spark of the Supreme Spirit. Man demeans those who labor in the sweat of their brow, in order to gain the good will of those sluggards who sit at the lavishly set board. But they who deprive their brothers of the common blessings shall be themselves stripped of them. And Brahmins and Kshatriyas shall become the Sudras of Sudras, with whom the Supreme Spirit shall abide unto eternity.
Vicias and Sudras were struck with astonishment and asked what they could perform. Issa bade them: 'Worship not the idols. Do not consider yourself first. Do not humiliate your neighbor. Help the poor. Sustain the feeble. Do evil to no one. Do not covet that which you do not possess and which is possessed by others.'
The Brahmins and warriors, learning of the words which had been told to the Sudras, decided to kill Issa. But Issa, forewarned by the Sudras, departed from this place by night.