Today marks the beginning of The Christian Science Monitor's 75th anniversary year. Instead of one day of fanfare on the actual anniversary date next November, we expect to make regular quiet additions to the coverage we give you each day. As the year rolls on, we will be introducing new columns on invention and innovation, law, church and state, and career ideas. In addition, we plan to provide you some substantial anniversary extras.
We know from letters that a considerable number of you have been subscribers for 50 years or more. Others of you are sitting down to your first issue today. If longtime readers will be indulgent for a moment, we would like to describe for newcomers what it is we try to do in each edition:
It's a busy world. Modern civilization is awash in news. We are in danger of becoming citizens who ''know everything but nothing else'' - as the French say of their high school graduates.
The Monitor tries to supply that something else to the news.
What we seek to give you each day is the writing of authoritiesm in all fields who select for you what is important to know and understand out of all that morass of news. We aim for results that will be usefulm to each of you - useful for your daily home and family life as well as for your work place and career; useful, too, as a kind of continuing lifetime education.
We also ask writers to undertake what we call ''problem-solving journalism.'' This means taking good reporting to its logical conclusion. If a reporter digs into a problem facing society - whether it's as epic and worrisome as nuclear proliferation or as homely as unused school buildings - he or she is asked to go a step further and find the individuals in laboratories, universities, or governments who are devoting their careers to solving the problem.
The Monitor refuses to see man as a victim of his environment. We believe that men and women have the mental and spiritual resources to gain dominion over what are portrayed as threats from economic forces, resource shortages, criminal or selfish human nature, and a physically hazardous universe. This outlook does not mean manipulating the news to suit a viewpoint. It means seeing the news - and history - in a broader context.
In short, we don't believe it is accurate journalism to shower readers with a daily worry-list. The long flow of history records mankind's failures when societies have been fearful, greedy, complacent, or materialistically indulgent. We need to report those dangers. But history also shows overwhelming evidence of mankind's creativity, inventiveness, and ability to progress through intelligence and what can only be decribed by that old-fashioned word ''lovingkindness.'' We need even more to report this news.
Some very fundamental influences are often underplayed in orthodox news coverage:
* Education - the very bedrock of mankind's progress - the ability to pass on both knowledge and values.
* The role of individual freedom in impelling progress.
* The impact of thought on history - the power of ideas that underlie the actions we perceive as overt news.
* The spiritual factors that underlie both thought and action.
Those spiritual factors - the most difficult to define in common parlance - make the difference between a world leader quietly inspired to be of use to civilization and a mere demagogue. Spiritual factors differentiate between profit that results from a truly useful business enterprise and profit that is an end in itself whether society is benefited or not.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, gave it a simple but profound mandate: ''To injure no man, but to bless all mankind.'' In this remarkable age where man has broken free of the Earth and looked back at our blue marble from space, it is easy to see ''all mankind'' and our need for such blessing clearly. The Christian Science Monitor, like the religion whose name it bears, sees man endowed by his Creator with the intelligence to overcome evil and limitation.
In looking back over this paper's first 75 years, we on the staff have been interested to perceive the power of ideas as the world changed more rapidly than in any similar period in history. In that split second of the millennia we have literally gone from the horse-drawn carriage to rockets exploring the solar system; from heavy manufacturing powered by coal and water to a high-tech computer-robot age; from history compartmented by nation-state and tribe to the beginnings of universal history; from nuclear, genetic, and chemical engineering in their primitive stages to extraordinary sophistication at manipulating matter.
Beginning in June and ending with our anniversary week in November, we will be surveying these idea-driven changes in a major series. That series will appear on the first Monday of each month. It will look at the major events and ideas that have shaped our times since 1908 and examine where they are taking us in the future.
Above all, we would like to make the Monitor more useful to each of you. We note with interest that makers of personal computers have responded to something very basic in realizing that their machines - designed for some of the best educated people in the world - have to be ''user friendly.'' Computers laden with trade jargon don't sell well to busy users, however intelligent.
We want the product we assemble for you each day to be similarly ''user friendly.'' So please don't hesitate to write and tell us any ideas you have for making the Monitor more so. You'll contribute a lot to the next 75 years if you do.