This I Believe

Stulman, Julius

  • Julius Stulman states his belief in the need for self-evaluation and describes his own practice of speculating on what values the future might require and subsequently living his life towards achieving those goals.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Julius Stulman is president of the Stulman-Emrick Lumber Company of Brooklyn, and also president of the Lumber Exchange Terminal which occupies more than four square blocks along New York's East River front. A native New Yorker, he started as a dock worker, then formed his own lumber business, and has become one of the most successful men in the industry.
He is active in civic affairs, is a trustee and director of several private schools, and of the Foundation for Integrated Education. He is also Vice President of the American Biblical Encyclopedia Society. Here now are the personal beliefs of Julius Stulman.
I believe that the greatest difficulty we have is our inability to properly evaluate ourselves and the things we deal with in our generation. It is because of this inability that we have comported so many errors, built up a veritable mass maze requiring specialists at all points to give us direction. We've become too fragmented in our thinking and diffuse in our direction and seem to be able to make correction solely at crisis points only to establish the basis for a new crisis.
Looking back in the history, even some 200 years, we can quickly recognize that what was considered mostly true then is considered largely false now. How really wise have we become in such a short time? I believe all things are transitory and that most people are only able to judge the events and conditions in their lives, and acknowledge the achievements of their time, relative to their own understanding. I believe that values change with broader horizons through the application of more knowledge and understanding. It seems to me, therefore, that we can go forward more rapidly in solving our own and mankind's problems by grasping the fact that what is essential is to understand the methodology of pattern under which we operate, rather than be trapped in the content.
It is the pattern itself that is of the essence, and that establishes the content. Recognizing this, I devised a method of establishing new patterns for myself and others. I take the "as-if" position: that is, I try to solve my problems "as if" this were the year 2000. I use my imagination and speculate on future developments in the light of that distant time. Then I look back to the erroneous period of 1954 and try to reestablish value, purpose, and direction in the light of this speculation, and uncover values where seemingly none exist. I try to avoid being bound by the acknowledged values established in this, our time. To apply this approach, however, I must not only step out of my own period of time, I must also step outside of myself as a personality.
I often ask myself, "What would you like to become, say in five or ten years from today? What, deep down, do you think you can accomplish?" Then I think of myself in that already accomplished position, and act accordingly. In the same way, I believe, we can find the answers for many of civilization's problems. The wider the reference frame, the more integrated the understanding among men, the more common accepted values and interests become, the less friction we shall have. On the economic level, the wider the distribution, the greater the ability to create new values and new distribution systems, the more quickly will living standards throughout the world be raised. Indeed, it is possible for us to create an ever-expanding world economy.
In establishing the broadest possible reference frame, I believe we encourage interrelationships, not "isolationships". We understand that all fixed positions are contrary to natural law and bear within themselves the seed of their own destruction. I refuse to take a fixed position in my thinking, whether I am concerned with economics, philosophy, or sociology. I believe that the individual can best benefit by his contributions to the whole, recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I believe that an individual's contributions feed back to him the increased benefits that can only come from the greatest possible distribution of man's goods, and a synthesis of man's best thinking, to all mankind.
Those were the personal beliefs of Julius Stulman, of Larchmont, New York, president of the Stulman-Emrick Lumber Company.