By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Human Traits and their Social Significance
Author: Edman, Irwin
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Human Traits and their Social Significance" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.











This book was written, originally and primarily, for use in
a course entitled "Introduction to Contemporary Civilization,"
required of all Freshmen in Columbia College. It is
an attempt to give a bird's-eye view of the processes of human
nature, from man's simple inborn impulses and needs to the
most complete fulfillment of these in the deliberate activities
of religion, art, science, and morals. It is hoped that the
book may give to the student and general reader a knowledge
of the fundamentals of human nature and a sense of the possibilities
and limits these give to human enterprise.

Part I consists of an analysis of the types of behavior, a
survey of individual traits and their significance in social
life, a brief consideration of the nature and development of
the self, individual differences, language and communication,
racial and cultural continuity. Those fruits of psychological
inquiry have been stressed which bear most strikingly on the
relations of men in our present-day social and economic
organization. In consequence, there has been a deliberate
exclusion of purely technical or controversial material, however
interesting. The psychological analysis is in general based
upon the results of the objective inquiries into human behavior
which have been so fruitfully conducted in the last twenty-five
years by Thorndike and Woodworth. To the work of
the first-mentioned, the author is particularly indebted.

Part II is a brief analysis, chiefly psychological in character,
of the four great activities of the human mind and imagination--religion,
art, science, and morals. These are discussed as
normal though complex activities developed, through the
process of reflection, in the fulfillment of man's inborn
impulses and needs. Thus descriptively to treat these spiritual
enterprises implies on the part of the author a naturalistic
viewpoint whose main outlines have been fixed for this generation
by James, Santayana, and Dewey. To the last-named
the writer wishes to express the very special obligation
that a pupil owes to a great teacher.

The book as a whole, so far as can be judged from the experience
the author and others have had in using it during
the past year as a text at Columbia, should fit well into any
general course in social psychology. It has been increasingly
realized that the student's understanding of contemporary
problems of government and industry is immensely clarified
by a knowledge of the human factors which they involve.
This volume supplies a brief account of the essential facts of
human behavior with especial emphasis on their social
consequences. Part I may be independently used, as it has been
with success, in a general course in social psychology. Part II,
the "Career of Reason," presents material which many
instructors find it highly desirable to use in introductory
philosophy courses, but for which no elementary texts are
available. The usual textbooks deal with the more metaphysical
problems to the exclusion of religion, art, morals, and science,
humanly the most interesting and significant of philosophical
problems. Where, as in many colleges, the introductory
philosophy course is preceded by a course in psychology, the
arrangement of the volume should prove particularly well

The illustrative material has been drawn, possibly to an
unusual extent, from literature. The latter seems to give the
student in the vivid reality of specific situations facts which
the psychologist is condemned, from the necessities of scientific
method, to discuss in the abstract.

The book follows more or less closely that part of the syllabus
for the course in Contemporary Civilization, which is
called "The World of Human Nature," which section of the
outline was chiefly the joint product of collaboration by
Professor John J. Coss and the author. To the former the author
wishes to express his large indebtedness. Also to Miss Edith
G. Taber, for her careful and valuable editing of the manuscript
in preparation for the printer, he desires to convey his
deep appreciation.

I. E.

_Columbia University, June_ 1920.







The human animal--The number and variety of man's instincts--Learning
in animals and men--The prolonged
period of infancy--Consciousness of self and reaction to
ideas--Human beings alone possess language--Man the
only maker and user of tools.



Instinctive behavior--The necessity for the control of
instinct--Habitual behavior--The mechanism of habit--The
acquisition of new modes of response--Trial and error
and deliberate learning--Some conditions of habit-formation--Drill
_versus_ attentive repetition in learning--Learning
affected by age, fatigue, and health--Habit as a time-saver--Habit
as a stabilizer of action--Disserviceable habits
in the individual--Social inertia--The importance of the
learning habit--The specificity of habits--The conscious
transference of habits--Emotion.



Instinct and habit _versus_ reflection--The origin and nature of
reflection--Illustration of the reflective process--Reflection
as the modifier of instinct--Reflective behavior modifies
habit--The limits of reflection as a modifier of instinct and
habit--How instincts and habits impair the processes of
reflection--The value of reflection for life--The social
importance of reflective behavior--Reflection removed from
immediate application: science--The practical aspect of
science--The creation of beautiful objects and the expression
of ideas and feelings in beautiful form.



Food, shelter, and sex--Physical activity--Mental
activity--Quiescence: fatigue--Nervous and mental fatigue.



Man as a social being--Gregariousness--Gregariousness
important for social solidarity--Gregariousness may hinder the
solidarity of large groups--Gregariousness in belief--Gregariousness
in habits of action--The effect of gregariousness
on innovation--Sympathy (a specialization of gregariousness)--Praise
and blame--Praise and blame modify habit--Desire
for praise may lead to the profession rather than
the practice of virtue--The social effectiveness of praise and
blame--Social estimates and standards of conduct--Importance
of relating praise and blame to socially important
conduct--Education as the agency of social control--Social
activity and the social motive.



The interpenetration of human traits--The fighting instinct--Pugnacity
a menace when uncontrolled--Pugnacity as a
beneficent social force--The "submissive instinct"--Men
display qualities of leadership--Man pities and protects weak
and suffering things--Fear--Love and hate--Love--Hate.



Privacy and solitude--Satisfaction in personal possession: the
acquisitive instinct--Individuality in opinion and belief--The
social importance of individuality in opinion.



Origin and development of a sense of personal selfhood--The
social self--Character and will--The enhancement of the
self--Egoism _versus_ altruism--Self-satisfaction and
dissatisfaction--The contrast between the self and others--Types
of self--Self-display or boldness--Self-sufficient modesty--The
positive and flexible self--Dogmatism and self-assertion--Enthusiasm--The
negative self--Eccentrics--The
active and the contemplative--Emotions aroused in the
maintenance of the self--The individuality of groups.



The meaning of individual differences--Causes of individual
differences--The influence of sex--The influence of race--The
influence of immediate ancestry or family--The influence
of the environment--Individual differences--Democracy
and education.



Language as a social habit--Language and mental life--The
instability of language--Changes in meaning--Uniformities
in language--Standardization of language--Counter-tendencies
toward differentiation--Language as emotional and
logical--Language and logic.



Restriction of population--Cultural continuity--Uncritical
veneration of the past--Romantic idealization of the past--Change
synonymous with evil--"Order" _versus_ change--Personal
or class opposition to change--Uncritical disparagement--Critical
examination of the past--Limitations of the
past--Education as the transmitter of the past.





The religious experience--"The reality of the unseen"--Experiences
which frequently find religious expression--Need and
impotence--Fear and awe--Regret, remorse: repentance
and penance--Joy and enthusiasm: festivals and thanksgivings--Theology--The
description of the divine--The divine
as the human ideal--The religious experience, theology and
science--Mechanistic science and theology--Religion and
science--The church as a social institution--The social
consequences of institutionalized religion--Intolerance and
inquisition--Quietism and consolation: other-worldliness.



Art _versus_ nature--The emergence of the fine arts--The æsthetic
experience--Appreciation _versus_ action--Sense
satisfaction--Form--Expression--Art as vicarious experience--Art
and æsthetic experience in the social order--Art as an
industry--Art and morals.



What science is--Science as explanation--Science and a
world view--The æsthetic value of science--The danger of
"pure science"--Practical or applied science--Analysis of
scientific procedure--Science and common sense--Curiosity
and scientific inquiry--Thinking begins with a problem--The
quality of thinking: suggestion--Classification--Experimental
variation of conditions--Generalizations, their
elaboration and testing--The quantitative basis of scientific
procedure--Statistics and probability--Science as an instrument
of human progress.



The pre-conditions of morality: instinct, impulse, and desire--The
conflict of interests between men and groups--The levels
of moral action: custom; the establishment of "folkways"--Morality
as conformity to the established--The values of
customary morality--The defects of customary morality--Custom
and progress--Origin and nature of reflective morality--Reflective
reconstruction of moral standards--The
values of reflective morality--Reflection transforms customs
into principles--Reflective action genuinely moral--Reflection
sets up ideal standards--The defects of reflective morality--The
inadequacy of theory in moral life--The danger of
intellectualism in morals--Types of moral theory--Absolutism--Relativistic
or teleological morality--Utilitarianism--Moral
and life--Morality and human nature--Morals, law, and



enterprise of civilization in which mankind have more or less
consciously changed the world they found into one more in
conformity with their desires, two factors have remained
constant: (1) the physical order of the universe, which we
commonly call Nature, and (2) the native biological equipment
of man, commonly known as human nature. Both of
these, we are almost unanimously assured by modern science,
have remained essentially the same from the dawn of history
to the present. They are the raw material out of which is
built up the vast complex of government, industry, science,
art--all that we call civilization. In a very genuine sense,
there is nothing new under the sun. Matter and men remain
the same.

But while this fundamental material is constant, it may be
given various forms; and both Nature itself and the nature of
man may, with increasing knowledge, be increasingly controlled
in man's own interests. The railroad, the wireless,
and the aeroplane are striking and familiar testimonies to the
efficacy of man's informed mastery of the world into which
he is born. In the field of physical science, man has, in the
short period of three centuries since Francis Bacon sounded
the trumpet call to the study of Nature and Newton discovered
the laws of motion, magnificently attained and appreciated
the power to know exactly what the facts of Nature
are, what consequences follow from them, and how they may
be applied to enlarge the boundaries of the "empire of man."

In his control of human nature, which is in its outlines as
fixed and constant as the laws that govern the movements of
the stars, man has been much less conscious and deliberate,
and more frequently moved by passion and ignorance than
by reason and knowledge. Nevertheless, custom and law,
the court, the school, and the market have similarly been man's
ways of utilizing the original equipment of impulse and desire
which Nature has given him. It is hard to believe, but as
certain as it is incredible, that the modern professional and
businessman, moving freely amid the diverse contacts and
complexities pictured in any casual newspaper, in a world of factories
and parliaments and aeroplanes, is by nature no different from
the superstitious savage hunting precarious food, living in
caves, and finding every stranger an enemy. The difference
between the civilization of an American city and that of the
barbarian tribes of Western Europe thousands of years ago
is an accurate index of the extent to which man has succeeded
in redirecting and controlling that fundamental human
nature which has in its essential structure remained the same
through history.

Man's ways of association and coöperation, for the most
part, have not been deliberately developed, since men lived
and had to live together long before a science of human relations
could have been dreamed of. Only to-day are we beginning
to have an inkling of the fundamental facts of human
nature. But it has become increasingly plain that progress
depends not merely on increasing our knowledge and application
of the laws which govern man's physical environment.
Machinery, factories, and automatic reapers are, after all,
only instruments for man's welfare. If man is ever to attain
the happiness and rationality of which philosophers and
reformers have continually been dreaming, there must also
be an understanding of the laws which govern man himself,
laws quite as constant as those of physics and chemistry.

Education and political organization, the college and the
legislature, however remote they may seem from the random
impulses to cry and clutch at random objects with which a
baby comes into the world, must start from just such materials
as these. The same impulse which prompts a five-year-old
to put blocks into a symmetrical arrangement is the stuff
out of which architects or great executives are made.
Patriotism and public spirit find their roots back in the same
unlearned impulses which make a baby smile back when
smiled at, and makes it, when a little older, cry if left too
long alone or in a strange place. All the native biological
impulses, which are almost literally our birthright, may, when
understood, be modified through education, public opinion,
and law, and directed in the interests of human ideals.

It is the aim of this book to indicate some of these more
outstanding human traits, and the factors which must be
taken into account if they are to be controlled in the interests
of human welfare. It is too often forgotten that the problems
which are to be dealt with in the world of politics, of
business, of law, and education, are much complicated
by the fact that human beings are so constituted that given
certain situations, they will do certain things in certain inevitable
ways. These problems are much clarified by knowing what
these fundamental ways of men are.





THE HUMAN ANIMAL. Any attempt to understand what the
nature of man is, apart from its training and education during
the life of the individual, must start with the realization that
man is a human animal. As a human being he is strikingly
set off by his upright posture and his large and flexible hand.
But chiefly he is distinguished by his plastic brain, upon
which depends his capacity to perform the complex mental
activities--from administering a railroad to solving problems
in calculus--which constitute man's outstanding and
exclusive characteristic.[1]

[Footnote 1: The thinking process is discussed in detail in
chapters III and XIV.]

But in his structure and functions man bears, as is now well
known, a marked resemblance to the lower animals. His
respiratory and digestive organs, for example, may be duplicated
as far down in the animal scale as birds and chickens.[2]
Man's whole physical apparatus and mode of life, save in
complexity and refinement of operations, are the same as
those of any of the higher mammals. But more important for
the student of human behavior, man's mental life--that is,
his way of responding to and dealing with his environment--is
in large part identical with that of the lower animals,
especially of the most highly developed vertebrates, such as the
monkey. They have, up to a certain point, precisely the
same equipment for adjusting themselves to the conditions of
life. Apart from education, both man and animal are endowed
with a set of more or less fixed tendencies to respond in
specific ways to specific stimuli. These inborn or congenital
tendencies are generally known as reflexes or instincts.[1]
These are unlearned ways, exhibited by both human and
animal organisms, of responding promptly and precisely, and
in a comparatively changeless manner to a given stimulus
from the environment. These tendencies to act, while they
may be, and most frequently are of advantage to the organism,
are not conscious or acquired. They are irresistible
impulses to do just such-and-such particular things in
such-and-such particular ways when confronted with just
such-and-such particular situations. In the well-known words of

[Footnote 2: With certain modifications accounted for in their historical
"descent" with modification from a common ancestor. See Scott:
_Theory of Evolution_.]

[Footnote 1: The difference between the two is largely one of complexity.
By a reflex is meant a very simple and comparatively rigid response; by
an instinct a series of reflexes such that when the first is set off, the
remainder are set off in a regularly determinate succession.]

The cat runs after the mouse, runs or shows fight before the dog,
avoids falling from walls and trees, shuns fire and water, etc., not
because he has any notion either of life or death, or of self-preservation.
He has probably attained to no one of these conceptions in
such a way as to react definitely upon it. He acts in each case
separately, and simply because he cannot help it; being so framed that
when that particular running thing called a mouse appears in his
field of vision he _must_ pursue; that when that particular barking and
obstreperous thing called a dog appears there he _must_ retire, if at a
distance, and scratch if close by; that he _must_ withdraw his feet from
water, and his face from flame.[2]

[Footnote 2: James: _Psychology_, vol. II, p. 384.]

Similarly, the baby's reaching for random objects, and
sucking them when seized, its turning its head aside, when it
has had enough food, its crying when alone and hungry, are
not, for the most part, deliberate methods invented by the
infant to maintain its own welfare, but are almost as automatic
as the number of sounds omitted by the cuckoo clock at

Why do men always lie down, when they can, on soft beds rather
than on hard floors? Why do they sit round the stove on a cold day?
... Why does the maiden interest the youth so that everything
about her seems more important and significant than anything else
in the world? Nothing more can be said than that these are human
ways, and that every creature _likes_ its own ways, and takes to the
following of them as a matter of course.... Not one man in a billion,
when taking his dinner, thinks of utility. He eats because
the food tastes good, and makes him want more. If you ask him
_why_ he should want to eat more of what tastes like that, instead of
revering you as a philosopher, he will probably laugh at you for a

[Footnote 1: James: _Psychology_, vol. II, p. 386.]

These inborn tendencies to act vary in complexity from the
withdrawing of a hand from a hot stove or the jerking of the
knee when touched in a particular spot to startlingly involved
trains of action to be found in the behavior of certain of the
lower animals. Bergson cites the case of a species of wasp
which with a skill, unconscious though it be, resembling that
of the expert surgeon, paralyzes a caterpillar without killing
it, and carries it home for food for its young.[2] There are
again many cases of "insects which invariably lay their eggs
in the only places where the grubs, when hatched, will find the
food they need and can eat, or where the larvæ will be able to
attach themselves as parasites to some host in a way that is
necessary to their survival."[3] In many instances these complicated
trains of action are performed by the animal in a
situation absolutely strange to it, without its ever having seen
the act performed before, having been born frequently after
its parents had died, and itself destined to die long before its
grubs will have hatched.

[Footnote 2: Bergson: _Creative Evolution_, p. 172.]

[Footnote 3: McDougall: _Social Psychology_, p. 24. (Except
where otherwise noted, all references are to the fourth edition.)]

have been made, notably by such men as James,
McDougall, and Thorndike, to enumerate and classify the
tendencies with which man is at birth endowed, or which,
like the sex instinct, make their appearance at a certain stage
in biological growth, regardless of the particular training to
which the individual has been subjected. Earlier classifications
were inclined to speak of instincts as very general and as
half consciously purposeful in character. Thus it is still
popularly customary to speak of the "instinct of self-preservation,"
the "instinct of hunger," and the "parental instinct."
The tendency of present-day psychology is to note just what
responses take place in given specific situations. As a result
of such observation, particularly by such biologists as Watson
and Jennings,[1] instincts have come to be regarded not as
general and purposive but as specific and automatic. Thus it
is no instinct of self-preservation that drives the child to
blink its eyes at a blinding flash of light; it is solely and simply
the very direct and immediate tendency to blink its eyes in
just that way whenever such a phenomenon occurs. It is no
deliberate intent to inhale the oxygen necessary to the sustenance
of life that causes us to breathe. No more is it a conscious
plan to provide the organism with nourishment that
prompts us to eat our breakfast in the morning; it is simply
the immediate and irresistible enticement of food after a
night's fast. Not a deliberate motive of maternity prompts
the mother to caress and care for her baby, but an inevitable
and almost invincible tendency to "cuddle it when it cries,
smile when it smiles, fondle it and coo to it in turn."

[Footnote 1: Watson: _Behavior_. H. S. Jennings: _Behavior of
the Lower Organisms_.]

In the last few years, as a result of the observation of
animals under laboratory conditions, there has been increasing
evidence of a large number of specific tendencies to act in
specific ways, in response to specific given stimuli. As no
stimuli are ever quite alike, and no animal organism is ever in
exactly the same physico-chemical condition at two different
times, there are slight but negligible differences in response.
Allowing for these, animals may be said to be equipped with a
wide variety of tendencies to do precisely the same things
under recurrent identical circumstances. The aim of the
experimental psychologist is to discover just what actions
occur when an animal is placed in any given circumstances,
precisely as the chemist notes what reaction occurs when two
chemicals are combined.

While experiments with the human infant are more difficult
and rare (and while it is among infants alone among humans
that original tendencies can be observed free from the
modifications to which they are so soon subjected by training and
environment) careful observers find in the human animal also
a great number of these specific ways of acting. Just which of
the large number of observed universal modes of behavior are
original and unlearned, is a matter still in controversy among
psychologists. There is practically complete agreement
among them, however, with respect to such comparatively
simple acts as grasping, reaching, putting things in the mouth,
creeping, standing and walking, and the making of sounds
more or less articulate. Most psychologists recognize even
such highly complicated tendencies as man's restlessness in
the absence of other people, his tendency to attract their
attention when present, to be at once pitying and pugnacious,
greedy and sympathetic, to take and to follow a lead.

In general, it may be said that man possesses not fewer
instincts than animals, but more. His superiority consists in
the fact that he has at once more tendencies to respond, and
that in him these tendencies are more flexible and more
susceptible of modification than those of animals. A chicken has
at the start the advantage over the human; it can at first do
more things and do them better. But it is the human baby
who, though it cannot find food for itself at the start, can
eventually be taught to distinguish between the nutritive
values of food, secure food from remote sources, and make
palatable food from materials which when raw are inedible.

An inventory and classification of man's original tendencies
is made more difficult precisely because these are so easily
modifiable and are, even in earliest childhood, seldom seen in
their original and simple form.

At any given time a human being is being acted upon by a
wide variety of competing and contemporaneous stimuli. In
walking down a street with a friend, for example, one may be
attracted by the array of bright colors, of flowers, jewelry and
clothing in the shop windows, blink one's eyes in the glare of
the sun, feel a satisfaction in the presence of other people and
a loneliness for a particular friend, dodge before a passing
automobile, be envious of its occupant, and smile benevolently
at a passing child. It would be difficult in so complex
and so characteristically familiar a situation to pick out
completely and precisely the original human tendencies at work,
and trace out all the modifications to which they have been
subjected in the course of individual experience. For even
single responses in the adult are not the same in quality or
scope as they were to start with. Even the simplest stimuli
of taste and of sound are different to the adult from what
they are to the child. What for the adult is a printed page
full of significance is for the baby a blur, or at most chaotic
black marks on white paper.

But while it is difficult to disentangle out of even a simple,
everyday occurrence the original unlearned human impulses
at work, experimentation on both humans and animals seems
clearly to establish that "in the same organism the same
situation will always produce the same response." It also seems
clear that in man these native unlearned responses to given
stimuli are unusually numerous and unusually controllable.
Upon the possibility of the ready modification of these original
elements in man's behavior his whole education and social
life depend.

LEARNING IN ANIMALS AND MEN. Men and animals are alike
not only in that they have in common a large number of tendencies
to respond in definite ways to definite stimuli, but that
these responses may be modified, some strengthened through
use, and others weakened or altogether discarded through
disuse. In both also the survival and strengthening of some
native tendencies, the weakening and even the complete
elimination of others, depends primarily upon the satisfaction
which flows from their practice.

It must be remembered that any situation, while it calls
forth on the part of the organism a characteristic response,
may also call out others, especially if the first response made
fails to secure satisfaction, or if it places the animal in a
positively annoying situation. There are certain situations--being
fed when hungry, resting when weary, etc.--which are
immediate and original satisfiers; there are others such as bitter
tastes, being looked at with scorn by others, etc., which
are natural annoyers. The first type the animal will try various
means of attaining; the second, various means of avoiding.
Through "trial and error," through going through every response
it can make to a given situation, the animal or human
hits upon some response which will secure for it satisfaction or
rid it of a positive annoyance. Once this successful response
is hit upon, it tends to be retained and becomes habitual in
that situation, while other random responses are eliminated.

As will be pointed out in the following, man has developed
in the process of reflection a much more effective and subtle
mode of attaining desirable results, but a large part of human
acquisition of skill, whether at the typewriter, the piano, the
tennis court, or in dealing with other people, is still a matter
of making every random response that the situation provokes
until the appropriate and effective one is hit upon, and making
this latter response more immediately upon repeated experiences
in the same situation. Once this effective response becomes
habitual it is just as automatic in character as if it had
been made immediately the first time, and it is almost impossible
without knowledge of the animal's or the human's
earlier modes of response to detect the difference between an
acquired response and one that is inborn.

This process of trial and error is perhaps best illustrated in
the behavior of the lower animals where careful experiments
have been conducted for the purpose of tracing the process of
learning. In the classic cases reported by Thorndike and
Watson, when chickens, rats, and cats were placed in situations
where the first response failed to bring satisfaction,
their behavior was in each case marked by the following features.
At the first trial the animals in every case performed a
wide variety of acts useless to secure the satisfaction they
were instinctively seeking, whether it was food in a box, or
freedom from confinement in a cage. Upon repeated trials
the act appropriate to securing satisfaction was performed with
increasing elimination of useless acts, and consequent decrease
of the time required to perform the act requisite to secure
food, or freedom, or both, as the case might be. One of Thorndike's
famous cat experiments is best told in his own report:

If we take a box twenty by fifteen by twelve inches, replace its
cover and front side by bars an inch apart, and make in this front
side a door arranged so as to fall open when a wooden button inside
is turned from a vertical to a horizontal position, we shall have means
to observe such [learning by trial and error]. A kitten, three to
six months old, if put in this box when hungry, a bit of fish being
left outside, reacts as follows: It tries to squeeze through between
the bars, claws at the bars, and at loose things in and out of the box,
stretches its paws out between the bars, and bites at its confining
walls. Some one of all these promiscuous clawings, squeezings, and
bitings turns round the wooden button, and the kitten gains freedom
and food. By repeating the experience again and again the animal
gradually comes to omit all the useless clawings, and the like, and to
manifest only the particular impulse (_e.g._, to claw hard at the top of
the button with the paw or to push against one side of it with the
nose) which has resulted successfully. It turns the button around
without delay whenever put in the box. It has formed an association
between the situation _confined in a box with a certain appearance_
and the response of _clawing at a certain part of that box in a certain
definite way_. Popularly speaking, it has learned to open a door by
pressing a button. To the uninitiated observer the behavior of the
six kittens that thus freed themselves from such a box would seem
wonderful and quite unlike their ordinary accomplishments of finding
their way to their food or beds.... A certain situation arouses,
by virtue of accident or more often instinctive equipment, certain
responses. One of these happens to be an act appropriate to secure
freedom. It is stamped in in connection with that situation.[1]

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _Educational Psychology_, Briefer Course. p. 129.]

Perhaps the most significant factor to be noted in this, and
in similar cases, is that the successful response to a baffling
situation is acquired, and that this acquisition remains a more
or less permanent possession of the human or animal organism.
Particularly important for the problem and practice of
education is the mechanism by which these learned modes of
behavior are acquired. For, to attain skill, knowledge, intellect,
character, is to attain certain determinate habits of
action, certain recurrent and stable ways of responding to a
situation. The reason why the cat in the box ceased to perform
the hundred and one random acts of clawing and biting,
and after a number of trials got down to the immediately
necessary business of turning the button was because it had
learned that one thing only, out of the multitude of things it
could do, would enable it to get out of the box and get its
food. To say that it learned this is not to say that it consciously
realized it; it means simply that when placed in such
a situation again after having been placed in it a sufficient
number of times, it will be set off to the turning of the button
which gets it food, instead of biting bars and clawing at
random--actions which merely serve further to frustrate its
hunger. The animal has not consciously learned, but its nervous
system has been mechanically directed.

A large part of the education of humans as well as of animals
consists precisely in the modification of our original
responses to situations by a trial-and-error discovery of ways
of attaining satisfactory and avoiding annoying situations.
Both animals and humans, when they have several times performed
a certain act that brings satisfaction, tend, on the recurrence
of a similar situation, to repeat that action immediately
and to eliminate with successive repetitions almost all
the other responses which are possible, but which are ineffective
in the attainment of some specific satisfaction. The
whole training imposed by civilization on the individual is
based ultimately on this fundamental fact that human beings
can be taught to modify their behavior, to change their original
response to a situation in the light of the consequences
that follow it. This means that while man's nature remains
on the whole constant, its operations may be indefinitely
varied by the results which follow the operation of any given
instinct. The child has its original tendency to reach toward
bright objects checked by the experience of putting its hand
in the flame. Later his tendency to take all the food within
reach may be checked by the looks of scorn which follow that
manifestation of man's original greed, or the punishment and
privation which are correlated with it. Through experience
with punishment and reward, humans may be taught to do
precisely the opposite of what would have been their original
impulse in any given situation, just as the monkey reported
by one experimenter may be taught to go to the top of his
cage whenever a banana has been placed at the bottom.

significant and unique fact of human behavior is the period of
"prolonged infancy" which is characteristic of human beings
alone. Fiske and Butler in particular have stressed the
importance of this human trait. In the lower animals the period
of infancy--that is, the period during which the young are
dependent upon their parents for food, care, and training--is
very short, extending even in the highest form of ape to not
more than three months. This would appear, at first blush,
to be a great advantage possessed by the lower animals.
They come into the world equipped with a variety of tendencies
to act which, within a week, or, as in the case of chickens,
almost immediately after birth, are perfectly adapted to
secure for them food, shelter, and protection. They are
mechanisms from the beginning perfectly adjusted to their

The human infant, while it is born with a greater number of
instinctive activities than other animals, is able to make little
use of them just as they stand. For years after birth it is
helplessly dependent on others to supply its most elementary
needs. It must be fed, carried, and sheltered; it cannot by
itself even reach for an object, and it cannot for nearly two
years after birth specifically communicate its wants to other
people. But this comparatively long helplessness of the human
infant is perhaps the chief source of human progress.

The human baby, because it can do so little at the start,
because it has so many tendencies to act and has them all so
plastic, undeveloped, and modifiable, has to a unique degree
the capacity to learn. This means that it can profit by the
experience of others and adjust itself to a great variety and
complexity of situations. The chicken or the bird can do a
limited number of things perfectly, but it is as if it had a
number of special keys opening special locks. The power of
modifying these instinctive adjustments, the capacity of
learning, is like being put in possession of a pass-key. As
Professor Dewey puts it, "An original specialized power of
adjustment secures immediate efficiency, but, like a railway
ticket, it is good for one route only. A being who, in order to
use his eyes, ears, hands, and legs, has to experiment in making
varied combinations of their reactions, achieves a control
that is flexible and varied."[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey; _Democracy and Education_, p. 53.]

The more complex the environment is in which the individual
must live, the longer is the period of infancy needed in
which the necessary habits and capacities may be acquired.
In the human being the period of infancy extends in a literal
sense through the first five years of the individual's life. But
in civilized societies it extends factually much longer. By the
end of the first five years the child's physical infancy is over.
It can take care of itself so far as actually feeding itself, moving
about, and communicating with others is concerned. But
so complex are the habits to which it must become accustomed
in our civilization that it is dependent for a much
longer period. The whole duration of the child's education is
a prolongation of the period of infancy. In most civilized
countries, until at least the age of twelve, the child is literally
dependent on its parents. And with every advance in civilization
has come a lengthening in the period of education, or

Intellectually, the period of infancy might be said not
really to be over before the age of twenty-five, by which time
habits of mind have become fairly well fixed. The brain and
the nervous system remain fairly plastic up to that time, and
if inquiry and learning have themselves become habitual,
plasticity may last even longer. In the cases of the greatest
intellects, of a Darwin, or a Newton, one might almost say
the period of infancy lasts to old age. To be still learning at
sixty is to be still a child in the best sense of the word. It is
still to be open rather than rigid, still to be profiting by

The great social advantages of the prolonged period of
infancy lie in the fact that there is a unique opportunity both
for the acquisition by individuals and for the imposition on
the part of society of a large number of habits of great social
value. The human being, born into a world where there are
many things to be learned both of natural law and human relations,
is, as it were, fortunately born ignorant. He has instincts
which are pliable enough to be modified into habits,
and in consequence socially useful habits can be deliberately
inculcated in the immature members of a society by their
elders. The whole process of education is a utilization of
man's prolonged period of infancy, for the deliberate acquisition
of habits. This is all the more important since only by
such habit formation during the long period of human infancy
can the achievements of civilization be handed down from
generation to generation. Art, science, industrial methods,
social customs, these are not inherited by the individual as
are the instincts of sex, pugnacity, etc. They are preserved
only because they can be taught as habits to those beings who
come into the world with a plastic equipment of instincts
which lend themselves for a long time to modification.

difference between the actions of human beings and those of
animals is that human beings are conscious of themselves as
agents. They may be said not only to be the only creatures
who know what they are doing, but the only ones who realize
their individuality in doing it. Dogs and cats are not, so far
as we can draw inferences from extended observation of even
their most complex actions, conscious of themselves. It is
not very long, however, before the human animal begins to
set itself off against the remainder of the universe, to discover
that it is something different from the chairs, tables, and
surrounding people and faces that at first constitute for it only a
"blooming, buzzing confusion." A human being performs
actions with a feeling of awareness; he is conscious of himself.
This consciousness of self (see chapters VII and VIII) becomes
more acute as the individual grows older. It has consequences
of the gravest character in social, political, and
economic life. It is a large factor at once in such different
qualities of character as ambition, friendship, humility, and
self-sacrifice, and is responsible in large measure for whatever
truth there is in the familiarly spoken-of conflict
between "the individual and society."

Human beings are, furthermore, susceptible to a unique
stimulation to action, namely, ideas. Animals respond to
things only, that is, to things in gross:

It may be questioned whether a dog _sees_ a rainbow any more
than he apprehends the political constitution of the country in which
he lives. The same principle applies to the kennel in which he sleeps
and the meat that he eats. When he is sleepy, he goes to the kennel;
when he is hungry, he is excited by the smell and color of meat;
beyond this, in what sense does he see an _object?_ Certainly he does not
see a house--_i.e._, a thing with all the properties and relations of a
permanent residence, _unless_ he is capable of making what is present
a uniform sign of what is absent--unless he is capable of thought.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _How We Think_, p. 17.]

Human beings can respond to objects as _signs_ of other
things, and, what is perhaps more important, can abstract
from those gross total objects certain qualities, features, elements,
which are universally associated with certain consequences.
They can respond to the meaning or bearing of an
object; they can respond to ideas.

To respond to ideas means to respond to significant similarities
in objects and also to significant differences. It
means to note certain qualities that objects have in common,
and to classify these common qualities and their consequences
in the behavior of objects. To note similarities and differences
in the behavior of objects is to enable individuals to act
in the light of the future. The printing on this page would be
to a dog or to a baby merely a blur. To the reader the black
imprints are signs or symbols. To the animal a red lantern is
a haze of light; to a locomotive engineer it is a sign to halt.
To respond to ideas is thus to act in the light of a future. It
makes possible acting in the light of the consequences that
can be foreseen. Present objects or features of objects are
responded to as signs of future or absent opportunities or
dangers. Every time we read a letter, or act in response to
something somebody has told us, we are responding not to
physical stimuli as such, but to those stimuli as signs of other

period of infancy in the acquisition of habits and the unique
ability of human beings to respond to ideas is inseparably
connected with the fact that man alone possesses a language,
both oral and written. That is to say, men alone have an
instrument whereby to communicate to each other feelings,
attitudes, ideas, information. To a very limited degree, of
course, animals have vocal and gesture habits; specific cries of
hunger, of sex desire, or distress. But they cannot, with their
limited number of vocal mechanisms, possibly develop language
habits, develop a system of sounds associated with definite
actions and capable of controlling actions. Only human
beings can produce even the simplest system of written symbols,
by which visual stimuli become symbols of actions, objects,
emotions, or ideas. Biologists--in particular the experimentalist,
Watson--find, in the capacity for language,
man's most important distinction from the brute.

Language may be said, in fact, to be the most indispensable
instrument of civilization. It is the means whereby the whole
life of the past has been handed to us in the present. It is the
means whereby we in turn record, preserve, and transmit our
science, our industrial methods, our laws, our customs. If
human relations were possible at all without a language, they
would have to begin anew, without any cultural inheritance,
in each generation. Education, the transmitter of the
achievements of the mature generation to the one maturing,
is dependent on this unique human capacity to make seen
marks and heard sounds stand for other things. The extent
to which civilization may advance is contingent upon the
development of adequate language habits. And human beings
have perfected a language sufficiently complicated to
communicate in precise and permanent form their discoveries of
the complex relations between things and between men.

important ways in which man is distinguished from the lower
animals is in his manufacture and use of tools. So far as we
know the ability to manufacture and understand the use of
tools is possessed by man alone. "Monkeys may be taught a
few simple operations with tools, such as cracking nuts with
a stone, but usually they merely mimic a man."[1] Man's
uniqueness as the exclusive maker and user of tools is made
possible by two things. The first is his hand, which with its
four fingers and a thumb, as contrasted with the monkey's
five fingers, enables him to pick up objects. The second is his
capacity for reflection, presently to be discussed, which
enables him to foresee the consequences of the things he does.

[Footnote 1: Mills: _The Realities of Modern Science_, p. 1.]

The use of tools of increasing refinement and complexity is
the chief method by which man has progressed from the life
of the cave man to the complicated industrial civilization of
to-day. Bergson writes in this connection:

As regards human intelligence, it has not been sufficiently noted
that mechanical invention has been from the first its essential
feature, that even to-day our social life gravitates around the
manufacture and use of artificial instruments, that the inventions which
strew the road of progress have also traced its direction. This we
hardly realize, because it takes us longer to change ourselves than to
change our tools. Our individual and even social habits survive a
good while the circumstances for which they were made, so that the
ultimate effects of an invention are not observed until its novelty
is already out of sight. A century has elapsed since the invention of
the steam engine, and we are only just beginning to feel the depths
of the shock it gave us. But the revolution it has effected in industry
has nevertheless upset human relations altogether. New ideas
are arising, new feelings are on the way to flower. In thousands of
years, when, seen from the distance, only the broad lines of the
present age will still be visible, our wars and our revolutions will count
for little, even supposing they are remembered at all; but the steam
engine and the procession of inventions that accompanied it, will
perhaps be spoken of as we speak of the bronze or of the chipped
stone of prehistoric times: it will serve to define an age. If we could
rid ourselves of all pride, if, to define our species, we kept strictly to
what the historic and the prehistoric periods show us to be the
constant characteristic of man and of intelligence, we should not say
_Homo sapiens_, but _Homo faber_.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bergson: _Creative Evolution_, pp. 138-39.]

Man's intelligence, it has so often been said, enables him to
control Nature, but his intelligence in the control of natural
resources is dependent for effectiveness on adequate material
instruments. One may subscribe, though with qualification,
to Bergson's further statement, that "intelligence, considered
in what seems to be its original feature, is the faculty of
manufacturing artificial objects, especially tools to make
tools, and of indefinitely varying the manufacture."

Anthropologists distinguish the prehistoric epochs, by such
terms as the Stone, Copper or Bronze, and Iron Ages, meaning
thereby to indicate what progress man had made in the
utilization of the natural resources about him. We date the
remote periods of mankind chiefly by the mementos we have
of the kinds of tools they used and the methods they had
developed in the control of their environment. The knowledge
of how to start and maintain a fire has been set down
as the practical beginning of civilization. Certainly next in
importance was the invention of the simplest tools. There
came in succession, though æons apart, the use of chipped
stone implements, bronze or copper instruments, and instruments
made of iron. In the ancient world we find the invention
of such simple machines as the pulley, the use of rope,
and the inclined plane.

Without tracing the history of invention, it will suffice for
our purpose to point out that agriculture and industry, men's
modes of exploiting Nature, are dependent intimately on the
effectiveness of the tools at their disposal. It is a far cry
from the flint hatchet to the McCormick reaper and the modern
steel works, but these are two ends of the same process,
that process which distinguishes man from all other animals,
and makes human civilization possible: that is, the use and
the manufacture of tools.



INSTINCTIVE BEHAVIOR. We have already noted the fact that
both men and animals are equipped with a wide variety of
unlearned responses to given stimuli. In the case of human
beings, this original equipment varies from such a specific
reaction as pulling away the hand when it is pinched or burned,
to such general innate tendencies as those of herding or playing
with other people. In a later stage of this discussion we
shall examine the more important of these primary modes of
behavior. At this point our chief concern is with certain
general considerations that apply to them all.

The equipment of instincts with which a human being is at
birth endowed must be considered in two ways. It consists,
in the first place, of definite and unlearned mechanisms of
behavior, fixed original responses to given stimuli. These
are, at the same time, the original driving forces of action.
An instinct is at once an unlearned mechanism for making a
response and an unlearned tendency to make it. That is,
given certain situations, human beings do not simply utilize
inborn reactions, but exhibit inborn drives or desires to make
those reactions. There is thus an identity in man's native
endowment between what he can do and what he wants to do.
Instincts must thus be regarded as both native capacities and
native desires.

Instincts define, therefore, not only what men can do, but
what they want to do. They are at once the primary instruments
and the primary provocatives to action. As we shall
presently see in some detail, human beings may acquire
mechanisms of behavior with which they are not at birth
endowed. These acquired mechanisms of response are called
habits. And with the acquisition of new responses, new motives
or tendencies to action are established. Having learned
how to do a certain thing, individuals at the same time learn
to want to do it. But just as all acquired mechanisms of
behavior are modifications of some original instinctive
response, so all desires, interests, and ideals are derivatives of
such original impulses as fear, curiosity, self-assertion, and
sex. All human motives can be traced back to these primary
inborn impulses to make these primary inborn responses.[1]

[Footnote 1:
The clearest statement of the status of instincts as both mechanisms of
action and "drives" to action has been made by Professor Woodworth in his
_Dynamic Psychology_. No one else, to the best of the author's knowledge,
has made the distinction with the same clarity and emphasis, though it has
been suggested in the work of Thorndike and McDougall. In McDougall's
definition of an instinct he recognizes both the responsive self and the
tendency to make the response. An instinct is, for him, an inherited
disposition which determines its possessor, in respect to any object,
"to act in regard to it in a particular manner, or at least to
experience an impulse to such action."]

being's original equipment of impulses and needs constitutes
at once an opportunity and a problem. Instincts are the
natural resources of human behavior, the raw materials of
action, feeling, and thought. All behavior, whether it be the
"making of mud pies or of metaphysical systems," is an
expression, however complicated and indirect, of some of the
elements of the native endowments of human beings.
Instinctive tendencies are, as we have seen, the primary motives
and the indispensable instruments of action. Without them
there could be no such thing as human purpose or preference;
without their utilization in some form no human purpose
or preference could be fulfilled. But like other natural
resources, men's original tendencies must be controlled and
redirected, if they are to be fruitfully utilized in the interests
of human welfare.

There are a number of conditions that make imperative the
control of native tendencies. The first of these is intrinsic
to the organization of instincts themselves. Human beings
are born with a plurality of desires, and happiness consists in
an equilibrium of satisfactions. But impulses are stimulated
at random and collide with one another. Often one impulse,
be it that of curiosity or pugnacity or sex, can be indulged
only at the expense or frustration of many others just as natural,
normal, and inevitable. There is a certain school of
philosophical radicals who call us back to Nature, to a life of
unconsidered impulse. They paint the rapturous and passionate
moments in which strong human impulses receive
satisfaction without exhibiting the disease and disorganization
of which these indulgences are so often the direct antecedents.
A life is a long-time enterprise and it contains a diversity
of desires. If all of these are to receive any measure of
fulfillment there must be compromise and adjustment between
them; they must all be subjected to some measure of control.

A second cause for the control of instinct lies in the fact that
people live and have to live together. The close association
which is so characteristic of human life is, as we shall see,
partly attributable to a specific gregarious instinct, partly to
the increasing need for coöperation which marks the increasing
complexity of civilization. But whatever be its causes,
group association makes it necessary that men regulate their
impulses and actions with reference to one another. Endowed
as human beings are with more or less identical sets of
original native desires, the desires of one cannot be freely
fulfilled without frequently coming into conflict with the
similar desires of others. Compromise and adjustment must be
brought about by some intelligent modification both of action
and desire. The child's curiosity, the acquisitiveness or sex
desire or self-assertiveness of the adult must be checked and
modified in the interests of the group among which the individual
lives. One may take a simple illustration from the
everyday life of a large city. There is, for most individuals,
an intrinsic satisfaction in fast and free movement. But that
desire, exhibited in an automobile on a crowded thoroughfare,
will interfere with just as normal, natural, and inevitable
desires on the part of other motorists and pedestrians.

Still another imperative reason for the control of our instinctive
equipment lies in the fact that instincts as such are inadequate
to adjust either the individual or the group to contemporary
conditions. They were developed in the process
of evolution as useful methods for enabling the human animal
to cope with a radically different and incomparably simpler
environment. While the problems and processes of his life
and environment have grown more complex, man's inborn
equipment for controlling the world he lives in has, through
the long history of civilization, remained practically
unchanged. But as his equipment of mechanisms for reacting
to situations is the same as that of his prehistoric ancestors,
so are his basic desires. And the satisfaction of man's primary
impulses is less and less attainable through the simple,
unmodified operation of the mechanisms of response with
which they are associated. In the satisfaction of the desire
for food, for example, which remains the same as it was under
primitive forest conditions, much more complex trains of
behavior are required than are provided by man's native
equipment. To satisfy the hunger of the contemporary citizens
of New York or London requires the transformation of
capricious instinctive responses into systematic and controlled
processes of habit and thought. The elaborate systems of
agriculture, transportation, and exchange which are necessary
in the satisfaction of the simplest wants of men in civilization
could never be initiated or carried on if we depended on the
instincts with which we are born.

There are thus seen to be at least three distinct reasons why
our native endowment of capacities and desires needs control
and direction. In the life of the individual, instinctive
desires must be adjusted to one another in order that their
harmonious fulfillment may be made possible. The desires and
native reactions of individuals must be checked and modified
if individuals are to live successfully and amiably in group
association, in which they must, in any case, live. And, finally,
so vastly complicated have become the physical and the
social machinery of civilized life that it is literally impossible
to depend on instincts to adjust us to an environment far different
from that to which they were in the process of evolution
adapted. In the light of these conditions men have found
that if they are to live happily and fruitfully together, certain
original tendencies must be stimulated and developed, others
weakened, redirected, and modified, and still others, within
limits possibly, altogether repressed. Individuals display at
once curiosity and fear, pity and pugnacity, acquisitiveness
and sympathy. Some of these it has been found useful to
allow free play; others, even if moderately indulged, may
bring injury to the individual and the group in which his own
life is involved. Education, public opinion, and law are
more or less deliberate methods society has provided for the
stimulation and repression of specific instinctive tendencies.
Curiosity and sympathy are valued and encouraged because
they contribute, respectively, to science and to coöperation;
pugnacity and acquisitiveness must be kept in check if people
are not simply to live, but to live together happily.

But the substitution of control for caprice in the living-out
of our native possibilities is as difficult as it is imperative. As
already noted, instincts are imperious driving forces as well
as mechanisms. While we can modify and redirect our native
tendencies of fear, curiosity, pugnacity, and the like, they
remain as strong currents of human behavior. They can be
turned into new channels; they cannot simply be blocked.
Indeed, in some cases, it is clearly the social environment that
needs to be modified rather than human behavior. Though
it be juvenile delinquency for a boy to play baseball on a
crowded street, it is not because there is intrinsically anything
unwholesome or harmful in play. What is clearly demanded
is not a crushing of the play instinct, but better facilities
for its expression. A boy's native sociability and gift for
leadership may make him, for want of a better opportunity, a
gangster. But to cut off those impulses altogether would be
to cut off the sources of good citizenship. The settlement
clubs or the Boy Scout organizations in our large cities are
instances of what may be accomplished in the way of providing
a social environment in which native desires can be freely and
fruitfully fulfilled.

Social conditions can thus be modified so as to give satisfaction
to a larger proportion of natural desires. On the other
hand, civilization in the twentieth century remains so divergent
from the mode of life to which man's inborn nature
adapts him that the thwarting of instincts becomes inevitable.
Impulses, in the first place, arise capriciously, and one
of the conditions of our highly organized life is regularity and
canalization of action. Our businesses and professions cannot
be conducted on the spontaneous promptings of instinct.
The engineer, the factory worker, the business man, cannot
allow themselves to follow out whatever casual desire occurs
to them whenever it occurs. Stability and regularity of procedure,
demanded in most professions, are incompatible with
random impulsive behavior. To facilitate the effectiveness
of certain industries, for example, it may be necessary to
check impulses that commonly receive adequate satisfaction.
Thus it may be essential to enforce silence, as in the case of
telephone operators or motormen, simply because of the demands
of the industry, not because there is anything intrinsically
deserving of repression in the impulse to talk.

Again, the mere fact that a man lives in a group subjects
him to a thousand restraints and restrictions of public opinion
and law. A child may come to restrain his curiosity when he
finds it condemned as inquisitiveness. We cannot, when we
will, vent our pugnacity on those who have provoked it; we
cannot be ruthlessly self-assertive in a group; or gratify our
native acquisitiveness by appropriating anything and everything
within our reach.

But because there are all these social forces making for the
repression of instincts, it does not mean that these latter
therefore disappear. If any one of them is unduly repressed,
it does not simply vanish as a driving force in human behavior.
It will make its enduring presence felt in roundabout
ways, or in sudden extreme and violent outbursts. Or, if it
cannot find even such sporadic or fruitive fulfillments, "a
balked disposition" will leave the individual with an uneasiness
and irritation that may range from mere pique to serious
forms of morbidity and hysteria. A man may for eight or ten
hours be kept repeating the same operation at a machine in a
factory. He may thereby repress those native desires for
companionship and for variety of reaction which constitute
his biological inheritance. But too often postponed satisfaction
takes the violent form of lurid, over-exciting amusements
and dissipation. The suppression of the sex instinct
not infrequently results in a morbid pruriency in matters of
sex, a distortion of all other interests and activities by a
preoccupation with the frustrated sex motive. Assaults and
lynchings, and the whole calendar of crimes of violence with
which our criminal courts are crowded, are frequent evidence
of the incompleteness with which man's strong primary instincts
have been suppressed by the niceties of civilization.
The phenomenal outburst of collective vivacity and exuberance
which marked the reported signing of the armistice at
the close of the Great War was a striking instance of those
immense primitive energies which the control and discipline
of civilization cannot altogether repress.

There has been, furthermore, a great deal of evidence adduced
in recent years by students of abnormal psychology
concerning the results of the frustration of native desires.
When the individual is "balked" in respect to particular
impulses or desires, these may take furtive and obscure
fulfillments; they may play serious though obscure and unnoticed
havoc with a man's whole mental life. Unfulfilled desires
may give rise to various forms of "complex," distortions of
thought, action, and emotion of which the individual himself
may be unaware. They may make a man unduly sensitive,
or fearful, or pugnacious. He may, for example, cover up a
sense of mortification at failure by an unwarranted degree of
bluster and brag. A particular baffling of desire may be
compensated by a bitterness against the whole universe or by
a melancholy of whose origin the victim may be quite unconscious.
These maladjustments between an individual's desires
and his satisfactions are certainly responsible for a
considerable degree of that irritation and neurasthenia which are
so frequently observable in normal individuals.[1]

[Footnote 1: While the evidence in this field has been taken
largely from extremely pathological cases, the distortions and
perversions of mental behavior, noticeable in such cases, are
simply extreme forms of the type of distortion that takes place
in the case of normal individuals whose desires are seriously
frustrated. See the very clear statement on the subject of
"repressions" and "conflicts" in R. B. Hart's _Psychology of

The facts enumerated above should make it clear why it is
difficult to modify, much less completely to overcome, these
strong original drives to action. They serve to emphasize
the fact that by control of instinctive responses is not meant
their suppression. For just as instinctive tendencies are our
basic instruments of action, so instinctive desires are our
basic ingredients of happiness. Just as all we can do is
limited by the mechanisms with which we are endowed, so what
we want is ultimately determined by the native desires with
which we are born. The control of action and of desire is
justified in so far as such control will the more surely promote
a harmonious satisfaction of all our desires. A society whose
arrangements are such that instincts are, on the whole, being
repressed rather than stimulated and satisfied, is frustrating
happiness rather than promoting it. At the very least, a life
whose natural impulses are not being fulfilled is a life of
boredom. The ennui which is so often and so conspicuously associated
with the routine and desolate "gayeties" of society,
the listlessness of those bored with their work or their play, or
both, are symptoms of social conditions where the native
endowments of man are handicaps rather than assets, dead
weights rather than motive forces. It means that society is
working against rather than with the grain. Discontent,
ranging from mere pique and irritability to overt violence, is
the penalty that is likely to be paid by a society the majority
of whose members are chronically prevented from satisfying
their normal human desires. No one who has seen whole
lives immeasurably brightened by the satisfaction of a suitable
employment, or melancholy and irritability removed by
companionship and stimulating surroundings, can fail to
realize how important it is to happiness that human instincts
be given generous opportunity for fulfillment.

One may say, indeed, that the evils of too complete repression
of individual impulses are more than that they produce
nervous strain, dissatisfaction, and, not infrequently, crime.
Happiness, as Aristotle long ago pointed out, is a complete
living-out of all a man's possibilities. It is most in evidence
when people are, as we say, doing what they like to do. And
people like to do that which they are prompted to do by the
nature which is their inheritance. Freshness, originality, and
spontaneity are perhaps particularly valued in our own
civilization because of the multiple restraints of business and
professional occupations. Even under the most perfect social
arrangements there will always exist among men conflicts of
desire. Their control over their environment will, of necessity,
be imperfect, as will their mastery of their own passions
and their clear adjustment to one another. That complete
agreement between man's desires and the environment in
which alone they can find their satisfaction remains at
best an ideal. But it is an ideal which indicates clearly the function
of control. This is obviously not to crush native desires, but
to organize their harmonious fulfillment. Where men have
an opportunity to utilize their native gifts they will be satisfied
and interested; where native capacities and desires are
continually balked, men will be discontented though
well-regimented machines.

HABITUAL BEHAVIOR. Except for purposes of analysis, life on
the purely instinctive level may be said scarcely to exist in
contemporary society, or for that matter, since the beginnings
of recorded history. As has been already pointed out,
while men are born with an even wider variety of tendencies
to act than animals, these are much more plastic and modifiable,
more susceptible of training, and much more in need of it
than those of the sub-human forms. Even among animals
under conditions of domestication, instinct tends largely to be
replaced by habitual or acquired modes of behavior. The
human being, born with a nervous system and a brain in extremely
unformed and plastic condition, is so susceptible to
every influence current in his environment that most of his
actions within a few years after birth are, when they are not
the result of deliberate reflection, secondary or habitual rather
than genuinely instinctive. That is, few of the simplest actions
of human beings are not in some degree modified by experience.
They may appear just as automatic and immediate
as if they were instinctive, and indeed they are, but they are
learned ways rather than the unlearned ways man has as his
possession at birth.

THE MECHANISM OF HABIT. The implications of habitual behavior
can better be understood after a brief analysis of the
mechanism of such action. An instinct has been defined as a
tendency to act in a given way in response to a given stimulus.
What happens when a stimulus prompts the organism
to respond in a given way, is that some sensory nerve, whether
of taste or touch or sound, sight, smell, or muscular sensitivity,
receives a stimulus which passes through the spinal cord
to a motor nerve through which some muscle is "innervated"
and a response made. In the simplest type of reflex action,
such as the winking of an eye in a blinding light, or the
withdrawing of a hand from flame, such is the physiology of the
process. But where an immediate adjustment cannot be
made by an instinctive response, where satisfaction is not
secured by the passage of a sensory stimulus to an immediate
motor response, the nervous impulse is, as it were, deflected
to the brain area, auditory, visual, or whatever it may be,
which is associated with that particular type of sensation.
The path to the brain area is far from simple; the nervous impulse,
which might be compared to an electric current, must
pass through many nerve junctions known as "synapses," at
which points there is some not completely understood chemical
resistance offered to the passage of the nerve current. On
passing through the network of nerves in the brain area, the
current passes back again through a complicated maze of connections
to a motor nerve which insures a muscular response.
The first time a stimulus passes through this network the
resistance offered at the nerve junction or synapse is very high;
at succeeding repetitions of the stimulus the resistance is
reduced, the nerve current passes more rapidly and fluently
over the paths it has already traveled, and the action resulting
becomes as direct and automatic as if it were an original
reflex action.[1]

[Footnote 1: See McDougall: _Physiological Psychology_.]

less technical language this means simply that human beings
can learn by experience, and that they tend to repeat actions
they have once learned. Where an animal is perfectly adjusted
to its environment, all stimuli issue in immediate and
nicely adjusted responses. This happens only where the
environment is very simple and stable, and where in
consequence no complexity of structure or action is necessary. In
the clam and the oyster, and in some of the lower vertebrates,
perhaps, instinctive activity is almost exclusively
present. But in the case of man, so complicated are the
situations to which he is exposed that random instinctive
responses will not solve his problems. He must, as with his
highly modifiable nervous system he can, acquire new modes
of response which will, in the complexity of new situations
serve as effectively as his original tendencies to act would
serve him in a simpler and stabler environment. A human
being in a modern city cannot live by instinct alone; he must
acquire an enormous number of habits to meet the variety of
complex situations he meets in daily life. A monkey exists
with fairly fixed native tendencies to act. But civilization
could never have developed if in man new ways could not be
acquired to meet new situations, and if these new ways could
not be retained and made habitual in the individual and the

happens a large number of times daily in the life of the average
man, old ways of response, inborn or formerly acquired,
are inadequate to meet a new situation, there are two methods
of acquiring a new and more adequate response. One is the
method of trial and error, already discussed, whereby animals
and humans try every possible instinctive response to a
situation until one brings satisfaction and is retained as a habitual
reaction when that situation recurs. The other is a delay in
response, during which delay reflection, a consideration of
possible alternatives, and a conscious decision, take place.
The technique of this latter process will be discussed more
specifically in the next chapter.

Whether acquired by trial and error, or through reflection,
learned acts are, the first time they are performed, frequently
imperfect, only partly effective, and performed with some
difficulty. With successive repetitions their performance
becomes more rapid, more immediate, and more adjusted to
the specific situation to be met. And as they become more
familiar responses to familiar stimuli they cease to be
conscious at all. They are performed with almost as little
difficulty or attention as normal breathing.

habits is so important in the education of human beings that
the conditions under which they can be acquired and made
permanently effective have been closely studied. From
experiments certain fundamental conclusions stand out. A
habit is acquired by repetition, and the "curves of learning"
show certain recurrent features. In the first few repetitions
of an acquired activity, there is progress in the rapidity,
effectiveness, and accuracy with which the response is made.
There is, up to a certain point, an almost vertical rise in the
learning curve. After varying numbers of repetitions, depending
somewhat on the particular individual, there occur
what are known as "plateaux," during which no progress in
speed or accuracy of response is to be observed. In experiments
with the learning of typewriting, for example, it has
been found that the beginner makes rapid progress up to the
point, say, where he can write fifty words a minute without
error; there is a long interval not infrequently before he can
raise his efficiency to the point of writing seventy words a
minute correctly. Analogous conditions have been observed
in the speed with which the sending and receiving of telegraphic
messages is learned. These "plateaux" of learning
are sometimes to be accounted for by muscular fatigue.
Frequently there is actual progress in learning during these
apparent intervals of marking time. Some of the less observable
features of skill in performance which only later become
overt in speed and accuracy are being attained during these
seemingly profitless and discouraging intervals. Not infrequently
in the acquisition of skill in the playing of tennis or
the piano, or in the solution of mathematical problems, a
decided gain in skill and speed comes after what seems to
be not only lack of progress but decided backsliding.[1] It is
this which led William James to quote with approval the
aphorism that one learns to skate in summer and swim in

with which habits may be acquired and the permanency with
which they may be retained depend on other factors than
simply that of repetition. Mere mechanical drill is effective
in the acquisition of simple mechanical habits. The most
attentive appreciation of the proper things to be done in playing
tennis or the piano will not by itself make one an expert in
those activities. The effective responses must actually be
performed in order that the appropriate connections within
the nervous system may be made, and may become habitual.
A habit is physiologically nothing but a certain set or direction
given to paths in the nervous system. These paths become
fixed, embedded, and ingrained only when nerve currents
pass over them time and time again.

[Footnote 1: See Ladd and Woodworth: _Physiological Psychology_, pp. 542-92.]

Mere repetition, on the other hand, will not suffice in the
acquisition of complex habits of action. The learning of
these requires a deliberate noting and appreciation of the
significant factors in the performance of an activity, and the
consciously chosen repetition of these in succeeding instances
until the habit is well fixed. One reason why animals cannot
be taught so wide a variety of complex habits as can the human
being is that they cannot keep their attention fixed on
successive repetitions, and that in learning they literally do
not know what they are doing. They cannot, as can humans,
break up the activity which they are in process of learning
into its significant factors, and attend to these in successive
repetitions. The superiority of deliberate learning over the
brute method of trial and error consists precisely in that the
deliberate and attentive learner can pick out the important
steps of any process, and learn rapidly to eliminate random
and useless features of his early performances without waiting
to have the right way "knocked into him" by experience.
He will short-circuit the process of learning by choosing
appropriate responses in advance, noting how they may be
made more effective and discovering methods for making
them so, and for eliminating useless, random, and ineffective
acts. What we call the "capacity to learn" is evident in
marked degree where there is alert attention to the steps of
the process in successive repetitions. The truth in the assertion
that an intelligent man will shortly outclass the merely
automatically skillful in any occupation or profession requiring
training, lies not in any mysterious faculty, but in the
peculiarly valuable habit of attending with discriminating
interest to any process, and learning it thereby with vastly more
economical rapidity. Genius may be more than what one
writer described it, "a painstaking attention to detail"; but a
painstaking attention to the meaning and bearing of details it
most decidedly is.

certain conditions not altogether within the control of the
individual which affect the rapidity with which habits are
acquired. One of the most important of these is fatigue.
Connections among the fibers that go to make up the nervous
system cannot be made with ease and rapidity when the
organism is fatigued. At such times there seems to be an
unusually high resistance at the synapses or nerve junctions
(where there is a lowering of resistance to the passage of a
nerve current when habits are easily formed). After a certain
point of fatigue, whether in the acquisition of motor habits
or the memorizing of information, in which the process is
much the same, the rate of learning is much slower and the
degree of accuracy much less. The length of time through
which habits are retained when acquired during a state of
fatigue is also much less than under a more healthy and
resilient condition of the organism.

The point of fatigue varies among different individuals and
in consequence the conditions of habit-formation vary. But
some conditions remain constant. For instance, in experiments
with memory tests (memory being a form of habit in
the nervous system), material memorized in the morning
seems to be most rapidly acquired and most permanently

The age and health of the individual also are important
factors in the capacity to learn, or habit-formation.
Conditions during disease are similar to those obtaining during
fatigue, only to a more acute degree. The toxins and poisons
in the nervous system at such times operate to prevent the
formation of new habits and the breaking of old ones. For
while the synapses (nerve junctions) may offer high resistance
to the passage of a new stimulus, they will lend themselves
more and more readily to the passage of stimuli by which
they have already been traversed.

That the age of the individual should make a vast difference
in the capacity to acquire new habits and to modify old ones
is obvious from the physiology of habit already described.
When the brain and nervous system are both young, there are
few neural connections established, and the organism is plastic
to all stimuli. As the individual grows older, connections
once made tend to be repeated and to be, as it were,
unconsciously preferred by the nervous system. The capacity to
form habits is most pronounced in the young child in whose
nervous structure no one action rather than another has yet
had a chance to be ingrained. The more connections that are
made, the more habits that are acquired, the less, in a sense,
can be made. For the organism will tend to repeat those
actions to which it has previously been stimulated, and the
more frequently it repeats them the more frequently it will
tend to. So that, as William James pointed out, by twenty-five
we are almost literally bundles of habits. When the
majority of acts of life have become routine and fixed, it is
almost impossible to acquire new ways of acting, since the
acquisition of new habits seriously interferes with the old, and
old habits physiologically stay put.

HABIT AS A TIME-SAVER. This fact, that habits can be
acquired most easily early in life, and that those early acquired
become so fixed that they are almost inescapable, is of supreme
importance to the individual and society. It is in one
sense a great advantage; it is an enormous saver of time. In
the famous words of James:[1]

The great thing, then, in all education, is to _make our nervous system
our ally instead of our enemy_. It is to fund and capitalize our
acquisitions, and live at ease upon the interest of the fund. _For this
we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many
useful actions as we can_, and guard against the growing into ways
that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we would guard
against the plague. The more of the details of our daily life we can
hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our
higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work.
There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing
is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar,
the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every
day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express
volitional deliberation. Full half the time of such a man goes to the
deciding, or regretting, of matters which ought to be so ingrained in
him as practically not to exist for his consciousness at all. If there
be such daily duties not yet ingrained in any one of my readers, let
him begin this very hour to set the matter right.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Psychology_, vol. I, p. 122.]

The ideal of efficiency is the ideal of having the effective
thing habitually done with as little effort and difficulty as
possible. This in the case of human beings is, as James points
out, attained when good habits are early acquired and when
as large a proportion as possible of purely routine activity is
made effortless and below the level of consciousness. To do
as many things as possible without thinking is to free thinking
for new situations. Our experiences would be very restricted
indeed if we could not reduce a large portion of the things we
do to the mechanics of habit. Walking, eating, these, though
partly instinctive, were once problems requiring thought,
effort, and attention. If we had to spend all our lives learning
to dress and undress, to find our way about our own house
or city, to spell and to pronounce correctly, it is clear how
little variety and diversity we should ever attain in our lives.
By the time we are twenty these fundamental habits are so
firmly fixed in us that, for better or for worse, they are ours
for life, and we are free to give our attention to other things.
Again in the words of James:

We all of us have a definite routine manner of performing certain
daily offices connected with the toilet, with the opening and shutting
of familiar cupboards, and the like. Our lower centers know the
order of these movements, and show their knowledge by their "surprise"
if the objects are altered so as to oblige the movement to be
made in a different way. But our higher thought centers know
hardly anything about the matter. Few men can tell off-hand
which sock, shoe, or trousers-leg they put on first. They must first
mentally rehearse the act; and even that is often insufficient--the
act must be _performed_. So of the questions, Which valve of my
double door opens first? Which way does my door swing? etc. I
cannot _tell_ the answer; yet my _hand_ never makes a mistake. No
one can _describe_ the order in which he brushes his hair or teeth; yet
it is likely that the order is a pretty fixed one in all of us.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _loc. cit._, vol. I, p. 115.]

HABIT AS A STABILIZER OF ACTION. Habit not only thus saves
time, but stabilizes action, and where the habits acquired are
effective ones, this is invaluable. Habits of prompt performance
of certain daily duties on the part of the individual are a
distinct benefit both to him and to others, as certain customary
efficient office practices, when they are really habitual,
immensely facilitate the operation of a business. On a larger
scale habit is "society's most precious conservative agent."
Individuals not only develop personal habits of dress, speech,
etc., but become habituated to social institutions, to certain
occupations, to the prestige attaching to some types of action
and the punishment correlated with others. Education in
the broadest sense is simply the acquisition of those habits
which adapt an individual to his social environment. It is
the instrument society uses to hand down the habits of thinking,
feeling, and action which characterize a civilization. Society
is protected from murder, theft, and pillage by law and
the police, but it is even better protected by the fact that living
together peacefully and coöperatively is for most adults
habitual. In a positive sense the multifarious occupations
and professions of a great modern city are carried on from
day to day in all their accustomed detail, not because the
lawyers, the business men, the teachers, who practice them
continuously reason them out, nor from continuous instinctive
promptings. They are striking testimony to the influence
of habit. As a recent English writer puts it:

The population of London would be starved in a week if the flywheel
of habit were removed, if no signalman or clerk or policeman
ever did anything which was not suggested by a first-hand impulse,
or if no one were more honest or punctual or industrious than he was
led to be by his conscious love, on that particular day, for his master
or for his work, or by his religion, or by a conviction of danger from
the criminal law.[1]

[Footnote 1: Graham Wallas: _Great Society_, p. 74.]

From etiquette and social distinction, from formalities of
conversation and correspondence, of greeting and farewell, of
condolence and congratulation to the most important "customs
of the country," with respect to marriage, property, and
the like, ways of acting are maintained by the mechanism of
habit rather than by arbitrary law or equally arbitrary
instinctive caprice.

which can become so completely controlling in the lives of so
many people is not without its dangers. The nervous system
is originally neutral, and can be involved on the side either of
good or evil. A human born with a plastic brain and nervous
system must acquire habits, but that he will acquire good habits
(that is, habits serviceable to his own happiness and to
that of his fellows) is not guaranteed by nature. Habits are
indeed more notorious than famous, and examples are more
frequently chosen from evil ones than from good. Promptness
in the performance of one's professional or domestic duties,
care in speech, in dress and in demeanor, are, once they
are acquired, permanent assets. But if these fail to be
developed, dishonesty or superficiality, slovenliness in dress and
speech, and surliness in manner, may and do become equally
habitual. The significance of this has been eloquently stated
at the close of James's famous discussion:

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no
worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually
fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but
realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits,
they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.
We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone.
Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never-so-little
scar. The drunken Rip Van Winkle, in Jefferson's play, excuses
himself for every fresh dereliction by saying, "I won't count this
time!" Well, he may not count it, and a kind Heaven may not
count it, but it is being counted none the less. Down among his
nerve cells and fibres, the molecules are counting it, registering and
storing it up to be used against him when the next temptation comes.
Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _loc. cit._, vol. I, p. 127.]

SOCIAL INERTIA. If the acquisition of bad, that is, disserviceable
habits, is disastrous to the individual, it is in some respects
even worse in the group. The inertia of the nervous
system, the tendency to go on repeating connections that
have once been made is one of the strongest obstacles to
change, however desirable. It is not only that habits of
action have been established, but that with them go deep-seated
habits of thought and feeling. The repression of people's
accustomed ways of doing things may bring with it a sense of
frustration almost as complete and painful as if these
obstructed activities were instinctive. This is not true merely
in the melodramatic instances of drug addicts and drunkards.
It is true in the case of social habits which have become
established in a large group. Any Utopian that dreams of revolutionizing
society overnight fails to take into account the
enormous control of habits over groups which have acquired
them, and the powerful emotions, amounting sometimes to
passion, which are aroused by their frustration.

once the conserver and the petrifier of society has long been
recognized by social philosophers. There is one habit, however,
the acquisition of which is itself a preventive of the
complete domination of the individual or the group by hard and
fast routine. This is the habit of learning, which is necessary
to the acquisition of any habits at all. Man in learning new
habits, "learns to learn." This ability to learn is, of course,
correlated with a plasticity of brain and nerve fiber which is
most present in early youth. The disappearance of this
capacity is hastened by the pressure which forces individuals in
their business and professional life to cling fast to certain
habits which are prized and rewarded by the group. A sedulous
cultivation on the part of the individual of the habit of
open-minded inquiry, of the habit of learning, and the
encouragement of this tendency by the group are the only antidotes
that can be provided against this marked physiological
tendency to fossilization and the frequent social tendencies in
the same direction.

Whether habits shall master us, or whether we shall be
their masters, depends also on the method by which they
were acquired. If they were learned merely through mechanical
drill, they will be fixed and rigid. If they were learned
deliberately to meet new situations, they will not be retained
when the conditions they were acquired to meet are utterly

THE SPECIFICITY OF HABITS. One important consideration,
finally, that must be brought to consideration is that habits
are, like instincts, specific. They are not general "open sesames"
which, learned in one situation, will apply with indiscriminate
miraculousness to a variety of others. Just as an
instinct is a definite response to a definite stimulus, so is a
habit. The chief and almost only observable difference is
that the former is unlearned, while the latter is learned or

But while habits are specific, they are within limits transferable.
Such is the case when a situation which calls out a
certain habitual response is paralleled in significant points by
another. Thus the situation,
has sufficiently similar significant points to the situation,
to call forth, if the habit has
been established in one case, the identical response of "tidying
up" in the other. But unless there are marked points of
similarity between two different sets of circumstances, specific
habits remain specific and non-transferable. There is in the
laws of habit no guarantee that an industrious application to
the batting averages of the major league on the part of an
alert twelve-year-old will provoke the same assiduous assimilation
of the facts of the American Revolution; that a boy
who works hard at his chemistry will work equally hard at his
English, or that one who is careful about his manners and
pronunciation in school will display the slightest heed to them
among his companions on the ball-field. One of the most
cogent arguments against the stereotyped teaching of Latin
and Greek has been the serious doubt psychologists have held
as to whether four years' training in Latin syntax will develop
in the student general mental habits which will be applicable
or useful outside the Latin classroom.

The older "faculty" psychologists presumed that different
subjects trained various so-called "faculties" of "memory,"
"imagination," and "intellect." It has now become clear on
experimental evidence that in education we are training no
isolated faculties, but are training the individual to certain
specific habits. The more widely applicable the habits are,
obviously the more valuable or dangerous will they be in the
conduct of life. But when habits do become general, such as
a habit of promptness, honesty, and regularity, not in one
situation but "in general," it is because they are something
more than habits in the strict physiological sense. They are
intellectual as well as merely motor in character; they are
deliberate and conscious methods rather than mechanical
rules of thumb. Habits that have been drilled into an
individual will appear only when the situation very closely
approximates the one in which the drill has been performed.
The cat that has learned to get out of a certain type of cage
by pressing a button will be utterly at a loss if the familiar
features of the cage are changed. The intelligent human
will detect and take pains to detect among the minor
differences of the situation some significant fact which he has met
in another setting, and he will apply a habit useful in this new
situation despite the slightly changed accompanying circumstances.
The man who can drive an automobile with reflective
appreciation of the processes involved, who knows, as
we say, what he is doing, will not long be baffled by a car
with a slightly different arrangement of levers and steering-gear,
nor be completely frustrated when the car for some
reason fails to move. As happened in many notable instances
during the World War, trained executives were not long at a
loss when they shifted from the management of a steel plant
to a shipyard, or from large-scale mining operations in Montana
to large-scale relief work in Belgium.

consciously acquired, they may be consciously transferred
with modifications to situations slightly different from those
in which they were first learned. Merely mechanical habits
are a hindrance in any save the most mechanical work. An
alert and conscious method of learning, which means the
development of habits _as_ methods of control, will enable the
individual to modify habits acquired in slightly different
circumstances to new situations where the major conditions
remain the same. To be merely habitual is to be at best an
efficient machine, utterly unable to do anything except to run
along certain grooves, to respond like an animal trained to
certain tricks. It means, moreover, a loss of richness in
experience. When a profession becomes routinated it becomes
meaningless; a mere making of the wheels go round.
The spirit of alert and conscious inquiry must be maintained
if life is not to become a mere repeated monotony.

An alert and conscious adjustment of habits to a changing
environment constitutes intelligence. The technique of this
adjustment is the technique of thinking or of reflective
behavior, which we shall examine in more detail in the following

EMOTION. All human action, whether on the plane of
instinct, habit, or reflection, is, to a lesser or greater degree,
accompanied by emotion. While there is considerable controversy
among psychologists as to the precise nature of emotion,
and the precise conditions of its causation, its general
features and significance are fairly clear. Emotion may be
most generally defined as an awareness or consciousness on
the part of the individual of his experiences, both those in
which he is the actor and those in which he is being passively
acted upon. This awareness or consciousness is not detached
intellectual perception, but is accompanied by, as it is by
some held to be merely the consciousness of, certain specific
bodily disturbances. Thus the emotions of fear and grief
are not cold and abstract perceptions of situations that belong
in the classes dangerous or deplorable, respectively. The
awareness of these situations by the individual is intimately
and invariably connected with certain outward bodily manifestations
and certain inner organic disturbances. Fear, rage,
pity, and the like are not unimpassioned judgments, but
highly charged physical changes. So close, indeed, is the
connection between specific bodily conditions and the subjective
or inner consciousness that we call emotion, that James and
Lange simultaneously came to the conclusion that emotions
are nothing more nor less than the blending of the complex
organic changes that occur in any given emotional state.
Thus James:

What kind of an emotion of fear would be left if the feeling neither
of quickened heart-beats nor of shallow breathing, neither of trembling
lips nor of weakened limbs, neither of goose-flesh nor of visceral
stirrings, were present, it is impossible for me to think. Can
anyone fancy the state of rage, and picture no ebullition in the chest,
no flushing of the face, no dilation of the nostrils, no clenching of the
teeth, no impulse to vigorous action, but in their stead limp muscles,
calm breathing, and a placid face? The present writer, for one, certainly
cannot. The rage is as completely evaporated as the sensations
of its so-called manifestations, and the only thing that can
possibly be supposed to take its place is some cold blooded and
dispassionate judicial sentence, confined entirely to the intellectual realm,
to the effect that a certain person or persons merit chastisement for
their sins. In like manner of grief; what would it be without its
tears, its sobs, its suffocation of the heart, its pang in the breast-bone?
A feelingless cognition that certain circumstances are deplorable, and
nothing more.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Psychology_, vol. II, p. 452.]

Indeed, so completely did James think the emotions were
explicable as the inner feeling of the complex organic sensations
which go to make up each of them that he did not think
it misleading to say "we feel sorry because we cry, angry
because we strike, afraid because we tremble; we do not cry,
strike, or tremble because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as
the case may be."

Whether or not emotions are completely to be explained
as the inner or subjective aspect of the complex of organic
disturbances which accompany fear, rage, and the like, and
which are caused immediately by the perception of the appropriate
objects of these emotions, it is certainly true that
emotional awareness and bodily disturbances are very closely

[Footnote 1: Recent experiments by Dr. Cannon at Harvard have shown the specific
bodily disturbances which accompany anger, fear, etc. In particular, Dr.
Cannon, and others, have noted that in the emotional conditions of fear and
anger the glands, located near the kidneys, discharge a fluid into the blood
stream, which fluid stimulates the heart to activity, constricts the blood
vessels of the internal organs, causes the liver to pour out into the blood its
stores of sugar, and affects in one way or another all the organs of the body.
The general effect is to put the body into a state of preparedness for the
activities connected with the emotion, whether flight in the case of fear,
attack as in the case of anger. This has led Professor Woodworth to define
emotion as, at least in part, "the way the body feels when it is prepared for a
certain reaction." See the latter's _Dynamic Psychology_, pp. 51-59.]

Various attempts have been made to classify the emotions
which are, in ordinary experience, infinitely subtle and complex.
The subtlety and variety of emotion James explains
as the result of the subtle and imperceptible differences in the
complex of sensations which occur in any given situation. In
general, it has been recognized that the emotions are very
closely connected with the primary tendencies of man.
McDougall, for example, says that each of the great primary
impulses is accompanied by an emotion. Indeed, McDougall
considers, as earlier noted, that the emotion is the affective
or conscious aspect of an instinct which, at the same time, has
a perceptual and impulsive aspect; that, in the case of fear,
the perceptual aspect is the instinctive mechanism for recognizing
objects of danger, the impulsive aspect is the tendency
toward flight, and the affective aspect is the inner feeling or
awareness of fear. Thus, for McDougall, the tender emotion
is the emotional aspect of the instinct of pity, anger of the
instinct of pugnacity, which is, as an impulse, the tendency
to strike and destroy.

As a matter of fact, as McDougall himself admits, emotions
are seldom experienced in unmixed forms, and it is very
difficult to reduce the infinite variety of emotional experiences
to any primary forms. One may well agree with James that
"subdivisions [in the psychological demarcation of the emotions]
are to a great extent either fictitious or unimportant,
and ... pretenses to accuracy, a sham." In general, one
may say that emotions are closely connected with the native
tendencies of human beings and are aroused by both their
fulfillment, their conflict, and their frustration. The variety
of emotions results from the fact that no single one of our
instincts is stimulated at a time, and that the peculiar specific
quality of each emotional experience is due to the specific
point of conflict, fulfillment, or frustration in each particular
case. It may be further noted that those emotions are, in
general, pleasantly toned which accompany the fulfillment or
the approach to the fulfillment of a native disposition; and
those are unpleasantly toned which accompany their frustration
or conflict. The depth and intensity of the emotional
disturbance seem to depend on the degree and extent to which
strong instinctive or habitual impulses have become involved.
For as habits of action may be acquired, so also may emotions
become associated habitually with them. The emotional
disturbances connected with the fulfillment, frustration, and
conflict of habits may be just as intense as those connected
with similar phenomena in the case of instincts.

In one sense these emotional disturbances impede action,
certainly action on the reflective level. It is the capacity
and function of reflection to solve and adjust precisely those
conflicts of competing impulses during which emotional disturbances
occur. But the reflective process is confused and
distorted in conflicts of native or habitual desires by these
emotional disturbances which accompany them. It is proverbially
difficult to think straight when angry; the surgeon
in performing an operation must not be moved by pity or fear;
and love is notoriously blind. The facts with which reflection
must deal are presented in distorted and exaggerated form
under the stress of competing impulses. Stimuli become
loaded with emotional associations. They are glaring and
conspicuous on the basis of their emotional urgency rather
than on the ground of their logical significance. The paralysis
or complete disorganization of action which occurs in
extreme cases of hysteria takes place to some extent in all less
extreme instances of emotional disturbances.

Emotions, on the other hand, serve to sustain, and, in their
less violent form, to facilitate action. It has already been
noted that the organic disturbances which are so conspicuous
a feature of emotion are extremely important in preparing the
body for the overt actions in which these emotions always
tend to issue. And it is unquestionable that emotions,
though in more or less obscure ways, call up reserves of energy
in the service of the activity in connection with which the
emotion has been aroused. While very violent emotions, as
in the case of extreme anger or fear or pity, confuse,
disorganize, and even paralyze action, in more moderate form
they rather serve to stimulate and reinforce it. Emotions
are, in many cases, merely the inner or subjective awareness
of one of these great driving forces, or a complex of them.
Anger, pity, and fear, in their less extreme forms, pour floods
of energy into the activities in which they take overt expression.
It needs no special knowledge to recognize the fact
that the normal interests and enterprises of life are quickened
and sustained when some great emotional drive can be roused
in their support. Ambition, loyalty, love, or hate may stir
men to and sustain them in long and difficult enterprises
which they would neither undertake nor continue were these
motive forces removed. The soldier does not fight persistently
and well wholly, or often even in part, because he has
thought out the situation and found the cause of his country
to be just. He is stirred and sustained by the energies which
the emotional complex called "patriotism" has roused and
concentrated toward action. A scientist performing long and
difficult researches, a father sacrificing rest and comfort that
his children may be well provided for, a boy working to pay
his way through college, are all persisting in courses of action,
because of the driving power which the emotions, more
or less mixed, of curiosity, or tenderness, or self-assertion
have released.

But just as the original nature with which man is born is
modifiable, so are his emotional reactions. Each individual's
emotional reactions are peculiar and specific, because of the
particular contacts to which they have been exposed, and the
organization of instincts and habits which have come to be
their more or less fixed character. Any emotional experience
consists of an intermingling of many and diverse feelings.
And these particular complexes of emotions become for each
individual organized about particular persons or objects or
situations. The emotional reactions of an individual are,
indeed, accurately symptomatic of the character of the
individual and the culture of his time. They are aroused, it goes
without saying, on very different occasions and by very
different objects, among different men and different groups.
In the sixteenth century pious persons could watch heretics
being burned in oil with a sense of deep religious exaltation.
Certain Fijian tribes slaughter their aged parents with the
most tender filial devotion. In certain savage communities,
to eat in public arouses on the part of the individual a sense
of acute shame.

Since those emotions are, on the whole, pleasantly toned
which accompany the fulfillment of instinctive and habitual
impulses, and those unpleasantly toned which accompany
their frustration, it becomes, as Aristotle pointed out, of the
most "serious importance" early to habituate men to the
performance of socially useful actions. If good or useful
actions are early made habitual, their performance will bring
pleasure, and will thereby be better insured than by any
amount of preaching or punishment. If the actions which
the group approves are not early made habitual in the younger
members of the group, they will not be enforced either through
logic or electrocution. It is not enough to give people reasons
for doing good, they will only do it consistently if the opposite
arouses in them more or less abhorrence. People learn to
modify their actions on the basis of the pleasure or pain they
find in their performance, and the pleasure or pain they will
experience depends on the actions to which they are habituated
and the emotions which have come to be their characteristic



behavior already discussed, man is, as it were, "pushed from
behind." In the case of instinct he performs an action simply
because he _must_ perform it. Willy-nilly he withdraws his
hand from fire, eats when hungry, and sleeps when tired. In
the case of habits, once they are acquired, he is also largely
dominated by circumstances beyond his own control. The
bottle is to the confirmed drunkard almost an irresistible command
to drink, the alarm clock to one accustomed to it an
equally imperative and not-to-be-disregarded order to arise.
The story of the old veteran who was carrying home his dinner
and who dropped his hands to his side and his dinner to the
gutter when a practical joker called "Attention"; the pathetic
plight of the superannuated business man who is totally at a
loss away from his familiar duties, are often quoted illustrations
of how completely habit may determine a man's actions.

But while in a large portion of our daily duties we are thus
at the beck and call of the instincts which are our inheritance
and the habits which we have acquired, we may also _control_
our actions. Instead of performing actions as immediate and
automatic responses to accustomed stimuli, we may determine
our actions, single or consecutive, in the light of absent
and future results. To act thus is to act reflectively, and to
act reflectively is the only escape from random acts prompted
by instinct and routine ones prompted by habit.

To act reflectively is to delay response to an instinctive or
habitual stimulus until the various possibilities of action and
the results associated with each have been considered. An
action performed instinctively or habitually is automatic; it
is performed not on the basis of what will be the result, but
simply as an immediate response to a present stimulus. But
an act (or a series of acts) reflectively performed is performed
in the light of the results that are prophetically associated
with them. In the case of instinct and habit, the individual
almost literally does not know what he is about. In reflective
activity he does know, and the more thorough the reflective
process, the more thorough and precise is his knowledge. He
performs actions _because_ they will achieve certain results, and
he is conscious of that causal connection, both before the
action is performed when he perceives the results imaginatively,
and after it is performed when he sees them in fact.

noted in the first place, is not a thing, but a process. It is a
process whereby human beings adjust themselves to a continuously
changing environment. Our instincts and habits
suffice to adapt us to that large number of recurrent similar
situations of which our experience in no small measure exists.
In such cases the habitual response will bring the usual satisfaction.
Walking, dressing, getting to familiar places, finding
the electric button in well-known rooms, opening often-opened
combinations--these operations are all adequately
accomplished by the fixed mechanisms of habit. But we
meet as frequently with novel situations where the accustomed
or instinctive reactions will not bring the desired satisfaction.
One response or a number of responses will not
adjust the individual satisfactorily to external conditions; or
there may be a conflict between a number of impulses all
clamoring for satisfaction at once. Reflection thus begins
either in a maladjustment between the individual and his
environment or in a conflict of impulses within the same

Where such a maladjustment occurs, the uneasiness, discomfort,
and frustration of action may be removed in one of
two ways. Adjustment may be achieved, as we have already
seen, through physical trial and error, through a hit-and-miss
experimentation with every possible response until the appropriate
one is made. This is the only way in which animals
can learn to modify their instinctive tendencies into habits
more adequate to their conditions. The more economical
and effective process, one peculiar to human beings, is that
of reflection. To think or to reflect means to postpone response
to a given problematic situation until the possible consequences
of the possible responses have been mentally traced
out. Instead of _actually_ making every response that occurs
to us, we make all of them _imaginatively_. Instead of consuming
time and energy in physical trial and error, we go through
the process of mental trial and error. We make no response
at all in action until we have surveyed all the possibilities of
action and their possible consequences. And when we do
make a response we make it on the basis of those foreseen

[Footnote 1: The possibilities of response that do occur to us are, on
the whole, determined by past training and native differences in
temperament. But part of the process of reflection is, as we shall see
in the chapter on "Science and Scientific Method," concerned with
deliberately enlarging the field of possible responses in the solution
of a given problem.]

In other words, the situation is analyzed. What is the end
or adjustment sought, what are the possible responses, and
how far is each of them suited as a means to achieving the
satisfaction sought? Instead of going through every random
course of action that suggests itself, each one is "dramatically
rehearsed." Finally, that response is made which gives most
promise in terms of its prophesied consequences of adjusting
us to our situation.

example, be seated at his study, preparing for an examination.
A friend enters and suggests going for a walk or to the
theater. If the student were to follow this first immediate
impulse he would, before he realized it, be off for an evening's
entertainment. But instead of responding immediately,
dropping his books, reaching for his hat, opening the door,
and ringing for the elevator (a series of habitual acts initiated
by the instinctive desire for rest, variety, and companionship),
he may rehearse in imagination the various possibilities
of action. In general terms, what happens is simply this:[1]

[Footnote 1: The technique of reflection will be discussed in detail
in the chapter on "Science and Scientific Method."]

On the one hand, the gregarious instinct, the desire for rest,
native curiosity, and an acquired interest in drama may
prompt him strongly to go to the theater. On the other
hand, the habits of industry, ambition, self-assertion, and
studying in the evening urge him to stay at home and study.
The first course of action may, for the moment, be immediately
attractive and stimulating. But instead of responding
to either immediately, the student rehearses dramatically the
possibilities associated with each. On the one hand are the
immediate satisfactions of rest, amusement, and companionship.
But as further consequences of the impulse to go out
to the theater are seen--or, rather, are foreseen--failure in
the examination, the loss of a scholarship, pain to one's family
or friends, and chagrin at the frustration of one's deepest and
most permanent ideals. The second course of action, to
stay at home and study, though it is seen to have connected
with it certain immediate privations, is foreseen to involve
the further consequences of passing the examination, keeping
one's scholarship, and maintaining certain personal or intellectual
standards one has set one's self. Even if the student
decides to follow the first course of action to which an immediate
impulse has prompted him, his act is different in quality
from what it would have been if he had not reflected at all.
The student goes out fully aware of the consequences of what
he is doing; he goes _for_ the immediate pleasure and _in spite
of_ the possible failure in the examination. The very heart
of reflective behavior is thus seen to lie in the fact that present
stimuli are reacted to, not for what they are as immediate
stimuli, but for what they signify, portend, imply, in the way
of consequences or results. And a response made upon reflection
is made on the basis of these imaginatively realized consequences.
We connect what we do with the results that
flow from the doing, and control our action in the light of that
prophetically realized connection.

The process is obviously not always so simple as that described
in the above illustration. In the first place, more
than two courses of action may suggest themselves. And the
consequences of any one of them may be far more complex
and far more obscure than any suggested in the above. For
an individual to be able to decide a problem on the basis of
consequences imaginatively foreseen, it is often necessary to
institute a very elaborate system of connecting links between
an immediately suggested course of action and its not at all
obvious results. "Thinking a thing out" involves precisely
this introduction of connecting links, or "middle terms," between
what is immediately given or suggested and what
necessarily, though by no means obviously, follows. This
is illustrated in the case of any more or less theoretical problem
and its solution. To perceive, for example, the connection
between atmospheric pressure and the rise of water in a
suction pump involves the introduction of connecting links
in the form of the general law of gravitation, of which atmospheric
pressure is a special case.

But the same is true of practical problems. A young man
may be trying to decide whether or not to take a nomination
to the training course at West Point. He may be attracted
by the four years' training, and highly value the results of it.
He may think, however, that the training involves an obligation
to serve in the army; it may mean, for a long time, service
in some remote army post. His decision may be determined
by this last consideration, which required a series of
intermediate "linking" ideas to bring to light.

The technique of scientific or expert thinking is, in large
part, concerned with devices for enabling the thinker more
securely to trace the obscure and remote connections between
actions and their consequences, between causes and effects.
But, whether simple or complex, the essential feature of
reflective activity is that it is action performed in the light of
consequences foreseen in imagination. Physical stimuli are
not responded to immediately with physical action. They
are responded to as symbols, signs, or portents; they are
taken as symptoms of the results that _would_ follow if they
_were_ acted upon. That is, they are, until decision is made,
reacted to imaginatively. When an actual response is finally
made, it is made on the basis of the results that have been
more or less accurately and directly anticipated in imagination.

primarily a revealer of consequences. Instead of yielding to
the first impulse that occurs to him, the thinking man
considers where that impulse, if followed out, will lead. And
since man is moved by more than one impulse at a time, reflection
traces the consequences of each, and determines action
on the basis of the relative satisfactions it can prophesy after
careful inquiry into the situation. To reflect is primarily to
query a stimulus, to find out what it means in terms of its
consequences. The more alert, persistent, and careful this
inquiry, the more will instinctive tendencies be checked and
modified and adjusted to new situations.

In the discussion of the acquisition of habits, it was pointed
out that useful habits may be acquired most rapidly by an
analysis of them into their significant features. The speed
with which random instinctive actions are modified into a
series of useful habitual ones depends intimately upon how
clear and detailed is the individual's appreciation of the
results to be achieved by one action rather than another. A
large part of learning even among humans is doubtless trial
and error, random hit-or-miss attempts, until after successive
repetitions, a successful response is made and retained. But
human learning and habit-formation are so much more various
and fruitful than those of animals precisely because human
beings can check and modify instinctive responses in the
light of consequences which they can foresee. These foreseen
consequences are, of course, derived from previous experience;
that is, they are "remembered." But reflection short-circuits
the process. The more deliberate and reflective the process
of learning, the more the individual notes the connections
between the things he does and the results he gets, the fewer
repetitions will he need in order effectively to modify his
instinctive behavior into useful habits. He will anticipate
results; he will experience them in imagination. He will not
need to make every wrong move in paddling a canoe until he
finally hits upon the right one. He will not need to alienate
all his clients before learning to deal with them successfully.
In any given set of circumstances he will form the effective
habits rapidly. He will calculate, "figure out," find out in
advance. To keep one's temper under provocation, to refrain
from eating delicious and indigestible foods, to keep at
work when one would like to play, and sometimes to play
when one is engrossed in work, are familiar instances of how
our first impulses become checked, restrained, or modified in
the light of the results we have discovered to be associated
with them.

breaking-up of a new type of action into its significant
features, the same connection of a given action with a given
result which makes the intelligent learner so much more
quickly acquire effective new habits than the one who is
mechanically drilled, leads also to a continuous criticism of
habits, and their discontinuance when they are no longer
adequate. Reflection, if it is itself a habit, is the most valuable
one of all. It is an important counterpoise to the hardening
and fossilization which repeated habitual actions bring about
in the nervous system.

In acting reflectively we subject our accustomed ways to
deliberate analysis, however immediately persuasive these
may have become, and deliberately institute new habits in
the light of the more desirable consequences they will bring.
Habits come to be regarded not as final or as good in themselves,
but as methods of accomplishing good. If they fail
to bring genuine satisfaction, reflection can indicate wherein
they are inadequate, wherein they may be changed, and
whether they should be altogether discarded.

Reflection thus makes conduct conscious; it is not the substitute
for instinct and habit; it is the guide and controller of
both. When we act thoughtfully and intelligently, we are
doing things not because we have done them that way in the
past, or because it is the first response that occurs to us, but
because, in the light of analysis, that way will bring about the
most desirable results.

While our impulses and habits may be subjected to the criticism
of reflection in the light of the consequences which it
can forecast, reflection is itself seriously limited by our
original impulses and our acquired habitual ones. On reflection,
we may not follow our first impulse, but to act at all is to act
on some original or acquired impulse or a combination of
them. Which original tendency we shall follow reflection can
tell us; it cannot tell us to follow none. In the illustration
already used, the student may upon reflection study rather
than go out. But the roots of his studying will also lie back
in the instincts and habits which are, for better or for worse,
his only equipment for action. They will lie back in the
tendencies to be curious, to gain the praise of other people
and to be a leader among them, in the habits of knowing work
thoroughly, of studying in the evening, of maintaining a
scholarship average to which he has been accustomed.
Reflection may weigh the relative persuasions of various
impulses; it cannot ignore them. We may think in order to
attain our desires, and may, through reflection, learn to
change them; we cannot abolish them. Whether we are
curious about our neighbors' business or about the movements
of the stars and the possible reactions of a strange
chemical element, depends on our previous training and the
extent to which inquiry itself has become a fixed and
persistent habit. But in any case we are curious. Whether we
fight in street brawls or in campaigns against tuberculosis,
we are still, as it were, born fighters.

Similarly, in the case of habit, we may upon reflection discover
that our habits of walking, writing, or speech are bad;
that we ought not to smoke, or drink, or waste time. We
may come, through reflection, to realize with the utmost
clarity the advantages to ourselves of acquiring the habits of
going to bed early, saving money, keeping our papers in order,
and persisting at work amid distractions. But the bad habits
and the good are already fixed in our nervous system, and in
physiology also possession is nine tenths of the law. We may
_intend_ to change, but by taking thought alone we cannot add
a cubit to our stature. Reflection can do no more than point
the way we should go. For unless the wrong actions are
systematically and repeatedly refrained from, and the proper
ones made habitual, thinking remains merely an impotent
summary of what can be done. Conduct is governed, it must
be repeated, by the satisfactions action can bring us, and
unless actions are made habitual they will not be performed
with satisfaction.

It is as important as it is paradoxical that thinking is impaired
in its efficiency by the instincts and habits in whose service it
arises, and whose conflicts and maladjustments it helps to
resolve. The situations of conflict or perplexity which provoke
thinking are determined by the particular tendencies
which, by nature or training, are brought into play in any
given situation. If we are committed by tradition or habitual
allegiance to a protective tariff, we will be concerned in our
thinking with details, what articles need protection and how
much do they need; the ultimate desirability of a protective
tariff will not be a problem remotely occurring to us. If we
are by training committed to capital punishment, we will be
concerned, if we think about it at all, with means and methods;
we will think about the relative merits of hanging or
electrocution; the ultimate justification or desirability of capital
punishment will not be a problem or issue for us at all.
Thus, it may be said in a sense that our thinking is determined
by what we do not think about as much as by what we do
think about. What we take for granted limits the field within
which we will inquire or reflect at all. But what we take for
granted is, on the whole, settled by our habitual reactions.
And the more settled habitual convictions we have, the narrower
becomes the field within which reflection takes place.
Force of habit may leave us blind to many situations genuinely
demanding solution. Originality in thinking consists,
in part at least, in an ability to see a problem where others,
through routine, see none. Apples have fallen on the heads
of others than Newton, but a habit-ridden rustic will not be
stirred by the falling of an apple to reflection on the problem
of falling bodies. The countryman may live all his life serenely
oblivious to a thousand problems that would pique
the curiosity and reflection of a botanist or geologist. A man
may go on for years accepting income on investments earned
in very dubious ways without ever pausing to reflect on the
sources or the justification of his wealth.[1]

[Footnote 1: According to the traditional anecdote, when Marie Antoinette
was told that the people were clamoring because they could not get any
bread, the one problem that occurred to her was why they didn't eat
cake. From the habits and conditions of life to which she was accustomed,
there had never arisen a problem as to how to get food at all; it was
merely a problem of what kind of food to eat.]

Instincts and habits, furthermore, limit the field of possible
courses of action that suggest themselves. We come, through
habit, to be alive only to certain possibilities to the practical
exclusion of all others. Thinking becomes fruitful and suggestive
when it is freed from the limited number of suggestions
that occur through force of habit. But original thinking is
rare precisely because habits do have such a compulsive
power in determining the possibilities of action that suggest
themselves to us. The man who moves in a rut of habitual
reactions will "never think" of possibilities that "stare in the
face" a less habit-ridden thinker. Inventiveness, originality,
creative intelligence, whatever one chooses to call it, consists,
in no small measure, in this ability to remain alive to a wide
variety of stimuli, to keep sensitive to all the possibilities that
are in a situation, instead of those only to which we are
immediately prompted by instinct or habit. The possibility of
using the current of a river as power is not the first possibility
that flowing water suggests.

Past training and individual differences in temperament
not only limit the possibilities that do occur to us; they
seriously distort, color, and qualify those of which we become
conscious. We forecast differently and with differing degrees
of accuracy the consequences of those possible courses of
action which do occur to us according to the influence and
stimulation which particular native traits and acquired impulses
have in our conduct. Ideally, the consequences which
we imaginatively forecast as following from a given course of
action, should tally with the consequences which genuinely
follow from it. But there is too often a sad discrepancy between
the consequences as they are foreseen by the individual
concerned and the genuine consequences that could be foreseen
by any disinterested observer. The discrepancy between
the genuine and the imagined consequences of given
ideas or suggestions is caused more than anything else by
the hopes, fears, aversions, and preferences which, by nature
or training, are controlling in a man's behavior. Facts are
weighed differently according as one or another of these
psychological influences is present. We intend unconsciously
to substitute a desired or expected consequence for the actual
one; we tend to be oblivious to consequences which we fear,
and quick to imagine those for which we hope. On the day
before an election the campaign managers on both sides, in
the glow and momentum of their activities, are confident of
the morrow's victory. The opponent of prohibition saw
nothing but drug fiends and revolution as its consequences;
its extreme advocates saw it as the salvation of mankind.

The causes of error in appraising the consequences of any
given course of action are partly individual and partly social
in character. From Francis Bacon down, there have been
various attempts to classify these factors in the distortion of
the reflective process. In connection with the particular
human traits, especially such as fear and gregariousness, we
shall have occasion to examine a few of these.

It will suffice to point out here that the aim of reflective
thinking is to discover the genuine consequences of things,
and to eliminate and discount those prejudices and preferences,
bred of early education and training, which might impair
our discovery of those consequences. To the untrained,
those things look most significant which stir their impulses
most strikingly. The beggar's sores seem much more important
and terrible than a gifted youngster deprived of education
through poverty. Instinctively we shrink back from the sight
of blood, but instinct is no safe clue in helping us to
distinguish between the poisons and the panaceas among the
brightly colored bottles of chemicals ranged along a shelf.
The whole technique of scientific method as opposed to the
shrewd but unreliable guesses of common sense is one of freeing
us from the compulsions of random habitual impulses.
It substitutes for caprice the measuring of consequences, the
detailed knowing of what we are about. That impartial judgment
has its difficulties is clear from the simple fact alone that
human beings start by being a bundle of instincts and soon
grow into a bundle of habits. To the extent to which they
can control these they are masters of themselves.

THE VALUE OF REFLECTION FOR LIFE. To many people there is
something terrifying about the idea of controlling life by
reason. Life (they point out correctly) is a vital process of
instincts which appear before thinking, and which are often
more powerful than reasoned judgments. Against advice to
live consciously, to be in control of ourselves, to know what
we are about, comes the call "Back to Nature." A life of
reflection appears chilling and arbitrary. Because reflection
so often reveals that impulses must be checked if disaster
is not to result, it has come to be associated with a metallic
and Stoic repression. To many a persuasive impulse we
must, after reflection, say, "No." Because of this a certain
school of philosophers, poets, and radicals urges us to trust
nature, to follow our impulses, which, being natural, must
be right.

All of these rebels against reason make the mistake of supposing
that the aim of reflective thinking is to quell instincts,
which, with the best will in the world, it cannot succeed in
doing. Instincts are present and powerful. In themselves
they are neither worth encouraging, nor ought they to be
repressed. The satisfaction of native desires _is_ what we want.
The importance of reflective thinking is precisely that it helps
us to secure those satisfactions. To surrender to every random
impulse or every habitual prompting is to have neither
satisfaction nor freedom. Reflection might be compared to
the traffic policeman at the junction of two crowded thoroughfares.
If everyone were to drive his car pell-mell through the
rush, if pedestrians, street cars, and automobiles were not to
abide by the rules, no one would get anywhere, and the result
would be perpetual accident and collision. In thinking we
simply control and direct our impulses in the light of the
consequences we can foresee. To thus guide and control action
makes us genuinely free.

If a man's actions are not guided by thoughtful conclusions, they
are guided by inconsiderate impulse, unbalanced appetite, caprice,
or the circumstances of the moment. To cultivate unhindered,
unreflective external activity is to foster enslavement, for it leaves the
person at the mercy of appetite, sense, and circumstance.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _How We Think_, p. 67.]

Instincts and habits are fixed responses; being placed in
such and such circumstances we _must_ do such and such things.
Only when we can vary our actions in the light of our own
thinking are we masters of our environment rather than
mechanically controlled by it.

in the life of the individual insures that he will not become the
slave of his own habits. He will regard habits as methods
to be followed when they produce good results, to be discarded
or modified when they do not. But if habit in the life of the
individual needs control lest it become dangerously controlling,
it needs it more conspicuously still in the life of the group.
Unless the individuals that compose a society are alert and
conscious of the bearings of their actions, they will be
completely and mechanically controlled by the customs to which
they have been exposed in the early periods of their lives.
What an individual regards as right or wrong, what he will
cherish or champion in industry, government, and art, depends
in large measure on his early education and training
and on the opinions and beliefs of other people with whom he
repeatedly comes in contact. A society may be democratic
in its political form and still autocratic in fact if the majority
of its citizens are merely machines which can be set off to
respond in certain determinate ways to customary stimuli of
names, leaders, and party slogans. A society becomes genuinely
democratic, precisely to the extent to which there is
on the part of its citizens participation in the important decisions
affecting all their lives. But the participation will only
be a formality if votes are decided and opinions formed on the
basis of habit alone.

Thus far thinking has been discussed in its more practical
aspects. And thinking is in its origins a very practical matter.
Literally, most people think when they have to, and only
when they have to. Given a problem, a difficulty, a
maladjustment between the individual and his environment,
thinking occurs. If every instinctive act brought satisfaction,
thinking would be much less necessary and much less frequently
practiced. This is illustrated in the performance of
any act that once required attention and discrimination, and
has later become habitual. We do not think how to walk,
eat, and spell familiar words, how to find our way about
familiar streets or even in familiar dark rooms. We _do_ think
about where we shall spend our evenings or our summer,
which courses we shall choose at college, which profession
we shall enter. Where we are uneasy, drawn by competing
impulses, we consider alternatives, measure consequences,
and choose our course of action in the light of the results we
can forecast. But while a large proportion of reflective behavior
is thus practical in its origins and its results, it also
occurs not infrequently where there is no immediate problem
to be solved. Not all of men's energies are concerned in
purely practical concerns. And part of man's superfluous
vitality is expended in disinterested and curious inquiry
into problems whose solutions afford no immediate practical
benefits, but in the mere solving of which man finds

From the dawn of history, when some man a little more
curious than his fellows, a little less absorbed in the hunting,
the food-getting, and the fighting which were in those early
days man's chief imperative business, first began to observe
the mysterious recurrences in the world about him, the rising
and setting of the sun, the return of the seasons, the movements
of the tides and the stars, there have been individuals
born with a marked and sometimes a passionate desire to
observe Nature and to generalize their observations. They
have noted that, given certain conditions, certain results
follow. They observe that animals with given similarities of
form and structure have certain identical ways of life, that
some substances are malleable and others not, that dew
appears at certain times in the day on certain objects and not
on others. They have generalized from these; and we now
call such generalizations law. These generalizations when
gathered into a system constitute a science.

The sciences started out with unconfirmed guesses based
on not very accurate information. As man's methods became
more precise, he controlled the conditions under which
observations were made, and the conditions under which generalizations
were drawn from them. The control of the conditions
and methods of observation constitute what is known as
induction in science. To this phase of the reflective process
belong all the instruments for precise observation which
characterize the scientific laboratory. The control of the methods
by which generalizations or theories are built up from these
facts is also part of the logic of induction, and includes all the
canons and regulations for inductive inference.

But generalizations once made must be tested, and the
elaboration of these generalizations, the analysis of them into
their precise bearings, constitute that part of the process of
reasoning known as deduction. The final verification is again
inductive, an experimental corroboration of theories by the
facts already at hand and by facts additionally sought out
and observed.

(These processes will be discussed in detail in the chapter
on "Science and Scientific Method.")

However complicated the process of inquiry may become,
the sciences remain essentially man's mode of satisfying his
disinterested curiosity about the world in which he is living.
Through the sciences man makes himself, as has been so often
said, at home in the world. He substitutes for the "blooming,
buzzing confusion" which is the world as he first knows it,
order, system, and law. Primitive man, absurd as seems to
us his belief in a world of magic, of malicious demons and
capricious gods, was trying to make sense out of the meaningless
medley in which he seemed to find himself. Through
science, modern man is likewise trying to make sense out of
his world. The more apparently disconnected and incongruous
facts that can be brought within the compass of simple
and perfectly regular law, the less threatening or capricious
seems the world in which we live. Where everything that
happens is part of a system, we do not need, like the savage
trembling in a thunderstorm, to be frightened at what will
happen next. It is like moving in familiar surroundings
among familiar people. Not all that goes on may be pleasant,
but we can within limits predict what will happen, and are
not puzzled and pained by continuous shocks and surprises.
We like order in the places in which we live, in our homes, in
our cities, in the universe.

The sciences satisfy us not only in that they bring order
into what at first seems the chaos of our surroundings, but in
that they are themselves beautiful in their spaciousness and
their simplicity. We cannot pause here to consider the
physiological facts which make us admire symmetry, but it is
fundamental in our appreciation of music, poetry, and the
plastic arts. From the sciences, likewise, we derive the
satisfaction of symmetry on a magnificent scale. There is beauty
as of a great symphony in the sweep and movement of the
solar system. There is a quiet and infinite splendor about the
changeless and comparatively simple structure which physics,
in the broadest sense, reveals beneath the seeming multiplicity
and variety of things. It is a desire for beauty as well as
a thoroughgoing scientific passion which prompts men like
Poincaré and Karl Pearson to seek for one law, one formula
which, like "one clear chord to reach the ears of God,"
expresses the whole universe.

THE PRACTICAL ASPECT OF SCIENCE. But while the origins of
science may lie in man's thirst for system, simplicity, and
beauty in the world, the tremendous advance of science has
a more immediate and practical cause. To understand the
laws of Nature means to have the power of prediction; it
means to know that, given certain circumstances, certain
others follow always and inevitably; it means to discover
causes--and their effects. Man having attained through
patient inquiry this capacity to tell in advance, may take
advantage of it for his own good. The whole of modern
industry with its phenomenal control of natural powers and
resources is testimony to the use which man has found for
the facts and laws which he would never have found out
save for the curiosity which was his endowment and the
inquiry which he made his habit. "Knowledge is power,"
said Francis Bacon, and the three hundred years of science
that have made possible the whole modern world of electric
transportation, air travel between two continents, and
instantaneous communication between remote parts of the
world, have proved the aphorism. Man since his origin
has tried to control his environment for his own good. The
cave and the flint were his first rude attempts. In science
with its accurate observation of facts not apparent to the
unaided eye, and its discovery and demonstration of laws not
found by casual and unsystematic common sense, man has an
incomparably more refined instrument, and an incomparably
more effective one. Thus, paradoxically enough, man's most
disinterested and impartial activity is at the same time his
most practical asset.

of their lives necessarily in practical activity. Man's particular
equipment of instincts survived in "the struggle for existence"
precisely because they were practical, because they did
help the human creature to maintain his equilibrium in a
half-friendly, half-hostile environment. Man acquires also,
as already has been pointed out, habits that are useful to him,
that bring him satisfactions not attainable through the random
instinctive responses which are his at birth. Reflection,
too, is, for the most part, severely practical in its origins and
its responsibilities. It guides action into economical and useful

Most of man's actions are thus ways of modifying his environment
for immediately practical purposes. Man has instincts
and habits which enable him to live. But in making
those changes in the world which enable him to live better,
man, as it were by accident, makes them beautifully. Pottery
begins, for example, as a practical art, but the skilled
potter cannot help spending a little excess vitality and habitual
skill in adding a quite unnecessarily graceful curve, a
gratuitous decoration to the utilitarian vessel he is making.
In the words of Santayana, "What had to be done was, by
imaginative races, done imaginatively; what had to be spoken
or made was spoken or made fitly, lovingly, beautifully....
The ceaseless experimentation and fermentation of ideas, in
breeding what it had a propensity to breed, came sometimes
on figments that gave it delightful pause."[1]

[Footnote 1: Santayana: _Reason in Art_, p. 16.]

These accidental graces that man makes in the instinctive
and habitual control to which he subjects his environment
become the most cherished values of his experience. Men
may first have come to speak poetry accidentally, for
language arose, like other human habits, as a thing of use. But
the charming and delightful expression of feelings and ideas
came to be cherished in themselves, so that what was first an
accident in man's life, may become a deliberate practice.
When this creation of beautiful objects, or the beautiful
expression of feelings or ideas is intentional, we call it art. In
such intentional creation and cherishing of the beautiful man's
life becomes enriched and emancipated. He learns not only
to live, but to live beautifully.

In such activity men, as has been recognized by social reformers
from Plato to Bertrand Russell, are genuinely happy,
and there alone find freedom. For in the creation of beauty
man is not performing actions because he must, under the
brutal compulsion of keeping alive. He is acting simply because
action is delightful both in the process and in the result.
Whether in business, politics, or scholarship, men are happy
to the extent to which they have the sense of creation that is
peculiarly the artist's.

The products of art, moreover, are not desirable because
they bring other goods, but because they themselves are
intrinsically delightful. Men love to live in a world in which
their marble has been made into statues, in which their houses
are things of beauty rather than merely places in which to
live. Their lives are enriched by living in a society where
the thoughts and emotions which they communicate to one
another and which they must somehow express can be not
infrequently expressed with nobility and music. Through
science Nature becomes man's tool; through art it can
become a beautiful instrument to work with, and a lovely thing
in and for itself.



FOOD, SHELTER, AND SEX. Thus far our analysis has been confined
to the general types of human behavior. We have
found that all human activity is conditioned by a native
equipment consisting of certain more or less specific tendencies
to action, and that these may be modified into acquired
tendencies called "habits." We have found that through the
processes of reflection, through imaginative trial and error,
both of these may, within limits, be controlled. We must
now proceed to an inventory of those elements of our native
equipment which have an especial significance in social life.

In the first place, we must note the three great primary
drives of human action, the unlearned and native demands
for food, shelter, and sex gratification.[1] Although the last-named
does not display itself in human beings until a considerable
degree of maturity has been attained there is indubitable
evidence that it is an inborn and not an acquired reaction.
The practical utility of the first two is apparent; they are the
most essential features of the group of so-called self-preservative
instincts, among which may be grouped the natural
tendency to recover one's equilibrium and the instinct of
flight in the face of dangerous or threatening objects. The
utility of the sex instinct is racial rather than individual. The
instinctive satisfaction human beings find in sex gratification
is the natural guarantee of the continuance of the race.

[Footnote 1: The reader must be reminded that the simpler reflexes
involved in the use of the heart, lungs, intestines, and all the
internal organs, must be classed as part of man's native equipment.
They differ from those reactions commonly classed as instincts in
that they are simpler and stabler, that in their normal functioning
they never rise to consciousness, and that they are almost completely
beyond the individual's modification or control.]

In a general survey of this nature it IS impossible, as it is
unnecessary, to examine in detail the physiological elements
of the demand for food and shelter. It will suffice to point
out that the first two are the ultimate biological bases of a
large proportion of our economic activities. They are primary,
not in the sense that they are constantly conscious
motives to action, but that their fulfillment is prerequisite to
the continuance of any of the other activities of the organism.
Agriculture and manufacture, the complicated systems of
credit and exchange which human beings have devised, are,
for the most part, contrivances for the fulfillment of these
fundamental demands. With the complexity of civilization
new demands, of course, arise, but these fundamental necessities
are still the ultimate mainsprings of economic production.

The demand for sex gratification, because of its enormous
driving force and the emotional disturbances connected with
it, offers a peculiarly acute instance of the difficulties brought
about in the control of man's native endowment in his own
best interest. While the production of offspring is its chief
biological utility, satisfaction of the sex instinct itself is
stimulated in human beings quite apart from considerations of the
desirability or undesirability of offspring. Since the sex
instinct is at once so deep-rooted and intense a driving force in
human action, and its consequences of such crucial importance
to both those directly involved and to the group as a
whole, societies have, through law and custom and tradition,
built up elaborate codes for its control. In civilized society
the free operation of this instinct is checked in a thousand
ways. But, as in the case of other primitive motives to action,
the sex instinct, obvious as are the disasters of disease
and disorganization which follow as consequences of its
uncontrolled indulgence, cannot altogether be repressed.

It is generally recognized that in men and animals alike the sex
impulse is apt to manifest itself in very vigorous and sustained
efforts toward its natural end; and that in ourselves it may
determine very strong desires, in the control of which all the organized
forces of the developed personality, all our moral sentiments and
ideals, and all the restraining influences of religion, law, custom
and convention too often are confronted with a task beyond their

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _Social Psychology_, 11th ed., pp. 399-400.]

There is considerable agreement among students of the
subject that the emotional energies aroused in connection
with the sex instinct may be drained off into other channels,
and serve to quicken and sustain both artistic creation and
appreciation and social and religious enthusiasms of various
kinds. And the sex instinct, as we shall find in our discussion
of Racial Continuity (see p. 243) is the basis of the family.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. The difference between sticks and stones
and living beings consists primarily in the fact that the latter
are positively active; the former are passively acted upon.
The stone will stay put, unless moved by some external agent,
but even the amoeba will do something to its environment.
It will stretch out pseudopodia to reach solid objects to which
to cling; it will attempt to return to these objects when dislodged;
it will actively absorb food. Higher up in the animal
scale, "Rats run about, smell, dig, or gnaw, without real reference
to the business in hand. In the same way Jack (a dog)
scrabbles and jumps, the kitten wanders and picks, the otter
slips about everywhere like ground lightning, the elephant
fumbles ceaselessly, the monkey pulls things about."[2] "The
most casual notice of the activities of a young child reveals a
ceaseless display of exploring and testing activity. Objects
are sucked, fingered and thumped; drawn and pushed, handled
and thrown."[3]

[Footnote 2: Hobhouse: _Mind in Evolution_, p. 195.]

[Footnote 3 Dewey: _How We Think_, p. 31.]

When vitality is at its height in the waking period of a
young child, its environment is a succession of stimulations to
activity. Man's "innate tendency to fool" is notorious, a
tendency particularly noticeable in children. Objects are
responded to, not as means to ends, not with reference to their
use, but simply for the sheer satisfaction of manipulation.
Facial expressions, sounds, gestures, are made almost on any
provocation; they are the expressions of an abundant "physiological
uneasiness." The two-year-old is a mechanism that
simply must and will move about, make all kinds of superfluous
gestures and facial expressions, and random sounds, as
it were, just to get rid of its stored-up energy. Man's laziness
and inertia are not infrequently commented on by moralists,
but it is not laziness and inertia _per se_; certainly in normal
individuals in the temperate zone, to do _something_ most of their
waking time is a natural tendency and one intrinsically pleasant
to practice. That the tendency to be active should vary
in different individuals and at different times is, of course, as
important a fact as it is a familiar one. Some of the causes of
this variation will be noted in the succeeding.

In adult life for casual and random activity is substituted
activity directed by some end or purpose which determines
the responses called into play. Professional and business,
domestic and social enterprises and obligations take up most of
the adult's energy. The contrast between the play of the
child and the work of the adult is that in the case of the
former actions are done for their own sake; and in the latter
for some end. The child, we say, plays "for the fun of the
thing," the adult works for pay, for professional success, for
power, reputation, etc.

But even in the adult the desire for play powerfully persists.
Not all the grown-up's energy is absorbed in his work,
and even some types of work, like that of the poet or painter,
or the building-up of a great business organization, may be
intrinsically delightful and self-sufficient activity. Under the
conditions of modern industry, however, especially of machine
production, much--in many cases, most--of the activity
by which an individual earns his living, utilizes only some of
his native tendencies to act, while the working day does not,
under normal conditions, absorb all his energy. Whatever
vitality is not, therefore, absorbed in necessary work goes into
forms of purely gratuitous activity. Which form "play"
shall take in the adult depends on the degree to which certain
impulses are in him stronger than others, either by native
endowment or cultivation, and which impulses have not been
sufficiently utilized in him during the day's work. A man
musically gifted will find his recreation in some performance
on a musical instrument, let us say; on the other hand, if his
work is music, those impulses, strong though they be, that
make him a musician, will have been sufficiently exhausted in
the day's work to make some other activity a more satisfactory

The relations between play and work can be better understood
by a consideration of the physiological importance of
variety in activity. A certain regular recurrence of response
may be pleasant, as in rowing or canoeing, or in listening to
the rhythms of poetry or music, but a prolonged repetition of
precisely the same stimulus or the same set of stimuli may
make responses dissatisfying to the degree of pain. Ideal
activity, biologically, would be one where every impulse was
just sufficiently frequently called upon to make response easy,
fluent, and satisfactory.

The reason "work" has traditionally come to be regarded
as unpleasant and "play" as pleasant is not because the former
is activity and the second is torpor. Leisure does not necessarily
mean laziness. Many a vacation, a camping party, a
walking expedition, is literally more strenuous than the work
an individual normally does. But work means human energy
expended for the sole purpose of accomplishing some end.
And an end involves the deliberate shutting-out of every
impulse which does not contribute to its fulfillment. A man
weeding a garden may tire of the weeding long before he is
really physically exhausted. One response is being repeatedly
made, while at the same time a dozen other impulses are
being stimulated. When Tom Sawyer, under the compulsion
of his aunt, is whitewashing a fence, it is shortly no fun for
him. But he can make other boys pay him apple-cores and
jackknives for the fun of wielding the brush.

What we call the feeling of boredom depends principally
upon the too repeated stimulation of one set of activities to
the exclusion of all others, the continuous presence of a kind of
stimulation to which we have been rendered unsusceptible, as,
for example, bad popular music to a cultivated musical taste,
or intricate chamber music to an uncultivated one. The
feeling of boredom may become physiologically acute, as in
the case, so frequent in machine production, of literally
monotonous or one-operation jobs. Long hours of labor at acts
calling out only one very simple response may have very serious
effects. In the first place, in the work itself, since repetitions
of one or one simple set of responses may impair speed
and accuracy. On the part of the worker, it promotes varying
degrees of stupefaction or irritation. Excesses of drink,
gambling, and dissipation among factory populations are
often traceable to this continual frustration of normal
instincts during working hours, followed by a violent search for
stimulation and relaxation after work is over. Under conditions
of machine production, the responses which the worker
must make are becoming increasingly simple and automatic.
Hence the problem of bringing variety into work and something
of the same vitality and spontaneity into industry that
goes into play and art is becoming serious and urgent.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Helen Marot: _Creative Impulse in Industry_.]

MENTAL ACTIVITY. Just as physical activity is a characteristic
of all living beings, so, from almost earliest infancy of
human beings, is mental activity. This does not mean that
individuals from their babyhood are continually solving problems.
Deliberation and reflection are simply the mature and
disciplined control of what goes on during all of our waking
hours--random play of the fancy, imagination. We are not
always controlling our thought, but so long as we are awake
something is, as we say, passing through our heads. Everything
that happens about us provokes some suggestion or idea.
"Day-dreaming, building of castles in the air, that loose flux
of casual and disconnected material that floats through our
minds in relaxed moments, are, in this random sense, _thinking_.
More of our waking life than we should care to admit, even to
ourselves, is likely to be whiled away in this inconsequential
trifling with idle fancy and unsubstantial hope."[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _How We Think_, p. 2.]

This play of the imagination is most uncontrolled and
spontaneous in childhood, which is often characteristically
defined as the period of make-believe or fancy. It is this
capacity which enables the child to use chairs as locomotives,
sticks as rifles, and wheelbarrows as automobiles. As we
grow older we tend to discipline this vagrant dreaming, and to
draw only those suggestions from objects which tally with the
workaday world we live in. We stop playing with our imagination
and put our minds to work. But in adult life desire
for the play of the mind, like the desire for the play of the
body, persists. The endeavor of education is not to crush but
to control it.

Imagination, used here in the sense of random mental
activity, may be controlled in two ways, both significant for
human welfare. When it is controlled with reference to some
emotional theme, as in fiction, drama, and poetry, it has no
reference necessarily to actual objects or events; it is
concerned only with producing the effect of emotional congruity
between incidents, objects, forms, or sounds. A great novel
does not pretend to be a literal transcript of experience, nor
a portrait of an actual person. When random mental activity
is thus controlled, it is "imagination," in the popular sense,
the sense in which poets, painters, and dramatists are called
imaginative artists.

Imagination controlled with reference to facts produces
genuine reflection and science. To put it in another way, no
matter how complicated thinking becomes, no matter how
suggestions are examined and regulated with reference to the
facts at hand, new ideas, theories, and hypotheses occur to
the thinker precisely by this upshoot of irresponsible fancies
and suggestions. This free and fertile play of the imagination
is what characterizes the original thinker more than any
other single fact. Suggestions arise, as it were, willy-nilly,
depending on an individual's inheritance, his past experience,
his social position, all at the moment uncontrollable features
of his situation. We can, through scientific method, examine
and regulate suggestions once they arise, but their appearance
is in a sense casual and unpredictable, like the fancies in a
daydream. The greatest scientific discoveries have been made in
a sudden "flash of imagination," as when to the mind of Darwin,
after twenty years' painstaking collection of facts, their
explanation through the single encompassing formula of evolution
occurs, or when to the mind of Newton the hypothesis
of gravitation suddenly suggests itself.

The encouragement of a lively play of the mind over experience,
the stimulation of imagination or what Bertrand Russell
calls "the joy of mental adventure" is thus one of the
most important sources of art and science. The arousing of
imagination depends primarily on the inherited curiosity of
man which varies from the random and restless exploring
of the child to the careful and persistent investigation of the
trained scientist. The curiosity which prompts the child to
experiment with objects in a hit-or-miss fashion is little more
than the physiological overflow of action which has been noted

Curiosity becomes more distinctively mental when it is
social in character, when the child explores and experiments
not by its own manipulations but by communication, by asking
questions of other people.

When the child learns that he can appeal to others to eke out his
store of experiences, so that, if objects fail to respond interestingly to
his experiments, he may call upon persons to provide interesting material,
a new epoch sets in. "What is that?" "Why?" become the
unfailing signs of a child's presence. At first this questioning is
hardly more than a projection into social relations of the physical
overflow which earlier kept the child pushing and pulling, opening
and shutting. He asks in succession what holds up the house, what
holds up the soil that holds the house, what holds up the earth that
holds the soil; but his questions are not evidence of any genuine
consciousness of rational connections. His _why_ is not a demand
for scientific explanation; the motive behind it is simply eagerness
for a larger acquaintance with the mysterious world in which he is
placed. The search is not for a law or principle, but only for a bigger
fact.... But in the feeling, however dim, that the facts which
directly meet the sense are not the whole story, that there is more
behind them and more to come from them, lies the germ of
_intellectual_ curiosity.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _loc. cit._, p. 32.]

Curiosity passes thus from casual rudimentary inquiry
into genuinely scientific investigation. At first it is merely
physical manipulation, then merely disconnected questionings;
it becomes genuinely intellectual when it passes from
"inquisitiveness" to inquiry. To be inquisitive means
merely to want to know facts rather than to solve problems.
To be scientifically inquiring is to seek on one's own account
the significant relations between things. But these earlier
and more casual forms of curiosity are not to be despised. If
developed and controlled they lead to genuinely disinterested
study of Nature and of men, to the spirit and the methods of
science. That free play of imagination which was spoken of
above as the chief source of original thinking and discovery
is stimulated by an active hunting-out of new suggestions.
Curiosity might also be defined as aggressive imagination,
which, frequent enough in children, remains among adults to
a pronounced degree only in geniuses of art and science. We
may not agree with Bertrand Russell that "everything is done
in education to kill it," but the dogmatism and fixity of mind
which so soon settle down on maturity, the inability to be
sensitive to new experiences, these are discouragingly familiar
phenomena clearly inimical to science and to progress.

An active imagination that finds new materials to play
over is the basis of both science and art. A skillful manipulation
of its materials in words or sounds, colors, or lines makes
its result art. Their controlled examination and systematization
makes them science.

QUIESCENCE--FATIGUE. That all life, animal and human,
is characterized by activity of a more or less persistent and
positive kind has already been noted. But in human beings,
as well as in animals, activity displays a "fatigue curve."
The repeated stimulation of certain muscles produces
fatigue toxins which impair the efficiency of response and
make further stimulation painful. Of the causes of this
lessened functional efficiency we may quote from Miss Goldmark's
painstaking study:

During activity, as will be shown later, the products of chemical
change increase. A tired person is literally and actually a poisoned
person--poisoned by his own waste products. But so marvellously
is the body constructed that, like a running stream, it purifies itself,
and during repose these toxic impurities are normally burned up by
the oxygen brought by the blood, excreted by the kidneys, destroyed
in the liver, or eliminated from the body through the lungs. So rest
repaires fatigue.[1]

[Footnote 1: Goldmark, J.: _Fatigue and Efficiency_, p. 13.]

In physical activity, therefore, periods of lessened activity
or change of activity, or nearly complete inactivity as in
sleep, are not only desirable but necessary, if efficiency is to be
maintained. The demand for rest is an imperative physiological
demand. The amount of recuperation demanded by
the organism varies in different individuals, but that there are
certain limits of human productivity has been made increasingly
clear by a careful study of the effects of fatigue upon
output in industrial occupations. Repeatedly, the shortening
of working hours, especially when they have previously numbered
more than eight, has been found to be correlated with
an increase in efficiency. Likewise, the provision of rest
periods as in telephone-operating and the needle trades, has in
nearly every case increased the amount and quality of the
work performed. The human machine in order to be most
effective cannot be pressed too hard. A striking illustration
was offered in England at the beginning of the war. Under
pressure of war necessity, the munition factories relaxed all
restrictions on working hours and operated on a seven-day
week. The folly of this procedure was tersely summarized by
the British Commission investigating industrial fatigue,
which reported: "It is almost a commonplace that seven days'
labor produces six days' output."

In the study of industrial conditions, the effects of prolonged
and repeated fatigue upon output have not been the
only features taken into consideration. Not only are there
immediately observable effects in the decreased output of the
worker, but fatigue means, among other things, general loss
of control. This has the effect of producing on the part of
overworked factory hands dissipation and overstimulation in
free time, with a consequent permanent impairment of efficiency.[1]
Both for the laborer himself and for the efficiency
of the industrial system, it has been increasingly recognized
that limitation of working hours is imperatively demanded.
Rest is as fundamental a need as food, and its deprivation
almost as serious in its effects.

[Footnote 1:
For a striking array of testimony on this point see Goldmark: _loc. cit._,
pp. 220-35.]

NERVOUS AND MENTAL FATIGUE. The conditions of nervous
and mental fatigue have been less adequately studied than
the types of purely physiological fatigue just discussed. It is
difficult in experiments to discount the effects of muscular
fatigue, and to discover how far there is really impairment of
nervous tissue and functions. Experimental studies do show
that "nervous fatigue is an undoubted fact"[2] and that "we
cannot deny fatigue to the psychic centers"[3] which, like any
other part of the organism are subject to deterioration by
fatigue toxins. Most students report, however, a higher degree
of resistance to fatigue in the nerve fibers than in the
muscles, and a like high resistance to fatigue in the brain

[Footnote 2:
Frederick S. Lee: "Physical Exercise from the Standpoint of Physiology,"
_Science_, N.S., vol. XXIX, no. 744, p. 525.]

[Footnote 3: Lee: _Fatigue_. Harvey Lectures, 1905-06, p. 180.]

[Footnote 4:
For a summary of nervous fatigue and extensive bibliography, see Goldmark:
_loc. cit._, p. 32.]

The conditions of mental fatigue, however, can be by no
means as simply described as those of physical fatigue. Elaborate
experiments by Professor Thorndike and others tend to
show that, in the strictest sense of the term, there is no such
thing as mental fatigue. That is, any mental function may
be performed for several hours with the most negligible decrease
in the efficiency of the results attained. The subject of
one experiment kept continuously for seven hours performing
mental multiplications of four-place numbers by four-place
numbers with scarcely any perceptible decrease in speed or
accuracy in results.[1] Professor Thorndike draws from this
and similar experiments the conclusion that it is practically
impossible to impair the efficiency of any mental function as
such. What happens when we say our mental efficiency is
being impaired is rather that we _will not_ than that we _cannot_
perform any given mental function. The causes of loss of
efficiency are rather competing impulses[2] than fatigue in
specific mental functions. We are tired _of_ the work, not _by_
it. Continuous mental work of any given kind, writing a
book, solving problems in calculus, translating French, etc.,
involves our being withheld from other activities, games,
music, or companionship, to which by force of habit or
instinct, we are diverted, and diverted more acutely the more
we remain at a fixed task. That it is not mental "fatigue" so
much as distraction that prevents us from persisting at work
is evidenced in the longer time we can stick to work that
really interests us than to tasks in which we have only a
perfunctory or compulsory interest. The college student who is
"too dead tired" to stay up studying trigonometry will,
though in the same condition, stay up studying football
strategy, rehearsing for a varsity show, or getting out the
next morning's edition of his college paper. "If each man
did the mental work for which he was fit, and which he
enjoyed, men would work willingly much longer than they now
do."[1*] The effects of mental fatigue are, when analyzed, due
chiefly to the physically injurious effects that do, but do not
necessarily, accompany mental work.

[Footnote 1: T. Arai: _Mental Fatigue_.]

[Footnote 2: Thorndike: _Educational Psychology_, Briefer Course, p. 322.]

[Footnote 1*: Thorndike: _Educational Psychology_, Briefer Course, p. 326.]

Proper air and light, proper posture and physical exercise, enough
food and sleep, and work whose purpose is rational, whose difficulty
is adapted to one's powers, and whose rewards are just, should be
tried before recourse to the abandonment of work itself. It is indeed
doubtful if sheer rest is the appropriate remedy for a hundredth part
of the injuries that result from mental work in our present irrational
conduct of it.[2]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., p. 328.]

The study of the conditions of mental work seems to reveal,
in brief, that the conditions of fatigue are essentially physical
in character. Given adequate physical conditions, in particular
guarding against eye-strain, over-excitement (which means
distraction from the work in hand), and loss of sleep, mental
work is itself peculiarly unaffected by fatigue conditions. The
degree in which mental work can be persisted in depends,
therefore, other things being equal, on the individual's own
interests, the number and intensity of rival interests which
persist during a given piece of mental work, and the habits of
mind with which the individual approaches his work.

The experimental demonstration that so-called mental
fatigue is largely physical in its conditions has thus a dual
significance. It indicates how arduous and persistent mental
endeavor may be and how wide are the possibilities of intellectual
accomplishment. It is an important fact for human life
that the brain is possibly the most tireless part of the human
machine. What seems to be mental fatigue can be materially
reduced if the physical conditions under which studying,
writing, and all other kinds of mental work are performed are
carefully regulated. Another large part of what passes for
mental fatigue will be removed if the individual becomes
trained to a reflective appreciation of the end of his work. A
habit of alert and conscious attention, if it is really habitual,
will enable one to persist at work in the face of tempting distractions.
Learning to "tend to business" by an intelligent
application to the aims of the work to be done, will be a
healthy antidote against that yielding to every dissuading
impulse which so often passes for mental weariness.



MAN AS A SOCIAL BEING. Man has long been defined as the
"social animal," and it is certainly characteristic of human
activity that it takes place largely with reference to other people.
Many of man's native tendencies, such as those of sex,
self-assertiveness, and the like, require the presence and
contact of other people for their operation. Nineteenth-century
philosophers attempted frequently to explain how individuals
who were natively self-seeking ever came to act socially. The
solution to this problem was usually found in the fact that precisely
those self-seeking and self-preservation instincts which
governed man's activity could not find satisfaction except
through coöperation with a group. All man's social activity
was conceived as purely instrumental to the gratification of
his own egoistic desires. Man got on with his fellows simply
because he could not get on without them. We shall see that,
in the light of the specific and natural tendencies toward
social behavior which are part of man's original equipment, this
sharp psychological isolation between the individual and the
group is an altogether unwarranted assumption. For it is
just as native to man to act socially as it is for him to be
hungry, or curious, or afraid. The element of truth in the
nineteenth-century exaggeration of man's individuality lies in the
fact that social activity is partly brought about in the
satisfaction of the more egoistic impulses of the individual. "The
fear motive drives men together in times of insecurity; the
pugnacity motive bands them together for group combat; the
economic motive brings industrial coöperation and organization;
the self-assertive and submissive tendencies bring emulation
as well as obedience; the expansion of the self to cover
one's family, one's clique, one's class, one's country contributes
to loyalty; while the parental instinct, expanding its
scope to cover others besides children who are helpless, leads
to self-sacrifice and altruism."[1]

[Footnote 1: R. S. Woodworth: _Dynamic Psychology_, p. 204.]

The fact is, however, that while social activity is promoted
because individuals find in coöperation the possibility of the
satisfaction of their egoistic desires, social activity is primarily
brought about through the specifically social tendencies
which are part of our native equipment. It is with these
natural bases of social activity that we shall in this chapter be
particularly concerned. We shall have to take note, in the
first place, of a native tendency to be with other people, to
feel an unlearned sense of comfort in their presence, and
uneasiness if too much separated from them, physically, or in
action, feeling, or thought. Human beings tend, furthermore,
to reproduce sympathetically the emotions of others,
especially those of their own social and economic groups.
Thirdly, man's conduct is natively social in that he is by
nature specifically sensitive to praise and blame, that he will
modify his conduct so as to secure the one and avoid the
other. Finally, besides the specific tendencies to respond to
the presence, the feelings, the actions, and the thoughts of
others, man displays a "capacity for social behavior." And,
as is the case with all native capacities, man has, therefore, a
native interest in group or social activity for its own sake.

The predominantly social character of human behavior has
thus a twofold explanation. It is based, in the first place, on
the group of native tendencies of a social character to which
we have already referred. It is based, secondly, on the necessity
for group activity and coöperation which the individual
experiences in the satisfaction of his egoistic impulses and
desires. Man, because of his original tendencies, wants to live,
act, think, and feel with others; for the satisfaction of his
nonsocial impulses he must live with others. And in civilized
society human action from almost earliest childhood is in, and
with reference to, a group. Human behavior is thus seen to
be that of an essentially social nature acting in an essentially
social environment. And, as in the case of other instinctive
and habitual activities, human beings experience in social
activity an immediate satisfaction apart from any satisfactions
toward which it may be the instrument.

GREGARIOUSNESS. The "herd instinct" is manifested by
many animals very low in the scale of animal development.
McDougall quotes in this connection Francis Galton's classical
account of this instinct in its crudest form: "Describing
the South African ox in Damaraland, he says he displays
no affection for his fellows, and hardly seems to notice their
existence, so long as he is among them; but, if he becomes
separated from the herd, he displays an extreme distress that
will not let him rest until he succeeds in rejoining it, when he
hastens to bury himself in the midst of it, seeking the closest
possible contact with the bodies of his fellows."[1]

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _Social Psychology_, p. 84.]

This original tendency exhibits itself among human beings
in a variety of ways. The tendency of human beings to herd
together, for which there is evidence in the earliest history of
the race, may be observed on any crowded thoroughfare, or
in any amusement park, or city. That group life has expanded
partly through practical necessity, is, of course, true,
but groups of humans tend to become, as in our monster cities,
larger than they need be, or can be for economic efficiency.

The fascination of city life has not infrequently been set
down to the multiplicity of opportunities offered in the way
of companions, amusements, and occupations after one's own
taste. But the fascination has clearly a more instinctive
basis, the desire to be with other people. Many a man, as
has been pointed out, lives in a large city as unsociable and
secluded a life as if he were surrounded by miles of mountain
or prairie, who yet could not be happy elsewhere. Any one
who has failed to be amused by a really good comedy when
the theater was comparatively empty, or in the presence of
thousands of others hugely enjoyed a second-rate baseball
game, or gone down to the crowded shopping district to get
what he could have purchased on a side-street uptown, can
appreciate how instinctive is this undiscriminating desire for

The native intensity of this desire is what makes rural
isolation, on the other hand, so unsatisfactory. The bleakness
of New England country life as pictured in Edith
Wharton's _Ethan Frome_, or in some of Robert Frost's _North
of Boston_, is due more than anything else to this privation
from companionship. Perhaps nothing better could be said
for the rural telephone, the interurban trolley, and the cheap
automobile than that they make possible the fulfillment of
this normal human longing to be near and with other people
in body and spirit. The horror which makes it practically
impossible in civilized countries to legalize punishment by
solitary confinement and the nervous collapse which such
confinement brings about are indications of how deep-seated
is this desire.

The "herd instinct," like all the other of man's original
tendencies, is educable. It can be trained to respond to
groups of various sizes and kinds. In its simplest manifestation
it tends to be aroused by the family, but in the history
of civilization the group tends progressively to enlarge. The
family, the town, the nation--the gregarious instinct may be
educated to respond to these ever-widening groups. The
intensity and controlling power of this instinct over our
actions seems to vary with the degree of intimacy and
intercommunication between the individual and the group. In
primitive society it is most intense among the family and
clan, and the family still remains in civilized society, certainly
in rural districts, a very closely knit primary group. But as
intercommunication widens, a sense of attachment to and
solidarity with a larger group begins to make itself felt. That
intercommunication is largely important in extending the
group in response to which the herd instinct may be aroused,
is well illustrated by the utter lack of national group feeling
exhibited during the Great War by recruits drafted from the
backwoods districts where they had been tied by no railroads
or newspapers to the national civilization of which they were
a part.

The devotion of generous-hearted souls to "lost causes,"
whether political or religious, of the individual to his family
or friends in the face of personal privation, are classic
illustrations of the power of men's gregarious instinct even in the
face of the dictates of reason. In the perhaps extreme but
nevertheless suggestive statement of Mr. Trotter:

He [man] is more sensitive to the voice of the herd than to any
other influence. It can inhibit or stimulate his thought and conduct.
It is the source of his moral codes, of the sanctions of his ethics and
philosophy. It can endow him with energy, courage and endurance,
and can as easily take these away. It can make him acquiesce in his
own punishment, and embrace his executioner, submit to poverty,
bow to tyranny, and sink without complaint under starvation. Not
merely can it make him accept hardship and suffering unresistingly,
but it can make him accept as truth the explanation that his perfectly
preventable afflictions are sublimely just and gentle. It is
this acme of the power of herd suggestion that is perhaps the most
absolutely incontestable proof of the profoundly gregarious nature
of man.[1]

[Footnote 1: Trotter: _Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War_,
pp. 114-15.]

To how large a group the individual can respond with spontaneous
and instinctive loyalty is questionable. The small
child throws out his arms and exclaims passionately, "I love
the whole world." Auguste Comte could be imbued with a
fervor for "humanity" in the abstract. The idea of a League
of Nations arouses in some minds a passionate devotion to a
world order that to those themselves habituated to an intense
loyalty to the national group seems incredible. Certainly it is
true that we rapidly outgrow that state of mind common to
enthusiastic adolescence when we can develop a love for the
universe in the abstract. The instinct of gregariousness
seems unquestionably to be most intense where there is intimacy
and vividness of group association. The primary
groups, as Professor Ross calls them, are face-to-face associations,
the family, the play group, the neighborhood group.
If "world patriotism" is a possibility, it is because rapid
communication and the frequency of travel, and the education
of the industrial classes to "the international mind" tend
to break down barriers and to make distant countries and
persons vivid and directly imaginable. But there seems to be
no substitute for direct personal contact. Even devotion to
a country tends to take the form of phrases, places, persons,
and symbols, to which we have been familiarized.

instinct, powerful as it is, is of the greatest significance
for social solidarity, and, if misdirected, for seriously limiting
it. It is, in the first place, the trait without which social
solidarity would be almost impossible. "In early times when
population was scanty, it must have played an important
part in social evolution by keeping men together, and thereby
occasioning the need for social laws and institutions."[1] The
coherence of national, political, or religious groups depends
primarily on the extent to which the gregarious instinct may
be aroused. Allegiance to a group may, of course, be secured
through participation in common ideals. This is illustrated
in the case of the numerous literary and scientific associations
that cut across national boundaries and knit into groups
similarly interested persons all over the world. Groups may,
again, be formed through common economic interests, as in
the case of labor unions, or employers' associations. Groups
may be knit and strengthened through law and custom. And
all these factors play a smaller or larger part in any important
grouping of men in contemporary society. But unless there
is, on the part of the members of the group, a deep-seated
emotional attachment to the group itself, solidarity will be
very precarious. The intensity and solidarity, of feeling
exhibited so markedly during war-time is made possible by
the intense excitability of this instinct when the group is
under conditions of stress or danger. Any scheme for enlisting
a great number of individuals in modern society in a
scheme of social reform or improvement, must and does,
when it is successful, arouse in him a heightened sense of loyalty
to a group more than reasoned approval of a cause.
Effective recruiting posters more often told the passer-by,
"Your country needs you," than they attempted to convince
him in black-and-white logic of the justice of his country's

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _Social Psychology_, p. 301.]

While gregariousness is the foundation of group solidarity, it
also interferes with the solidarity of large groups, and not
infrequently brings about conflicts between them, and within
groups themselves. Within even so small a community as
a college class, cliques may form; and so in a country,
attachment to the smaller group may inhibit attachment to
the larger. An individual may be vaguely patriotic, but
instinctively aroused more by his own economic or local or
racial group than by the country as a whole. A man may at
heart be more devoted to his town or home than to the United
States. (Not infrequently his town or home is what the
United States means to the citizen.) Even to-day the sectional
feeling that exists in many parts of the country cannot
be completely explained as occurring through separate economic
interests. The division of classes within a country is
largely an economic matter, but even in such a situation a
loyalty develops to the class as a class or group.

Again, the same instinct to herd with his fellows that makes
a man intensely loyal to his own group may operate to make
him indifferent to the difficulties or jealous and suspicious of
the aims of others Gregariousness is the basis not only of
patriotism, but of chauvinism, not only of civic pride, but of
provincialism. The narrowness and parochialism of group
attachments is most pronounced where groups and communities
are rigidly set off one from another. In such circumstances
community of feeling and understanding is largely reduced.
This may be seen even under contemporary conditions in the
comparatively complete inability of different professional,
social, and economic groups within the same society to
understand each other, and the proverbial ignorance and
carelessness of one half of the population as to "how the other half
lives." Narrowness of group feeling tends to grow less
pronounced under the mobile conditions of modern industry,
communication, and education. Trade relations knit the
farthest parts of the globe together; this morning's newspaper
puts us in touch with the whole of mankind. We have outgrown
the days when every stranger was an enemy. But
though the barriers between nations are tending to break
down, within nations individuals tend, as they grow older, to
experience an insulated devotion to their own set or social
group, a callous oblivion to the needs and desires of that great
majority of mankind with whom they have a less keen sense
of "consciousness of kind."

GREGARIOUSNESS IN BELIEF. Man's gregarious character, as
already pointed out, is manifested not only in his desire to be
physically with his fellows, but to be at one with them in their
actions, feelings, and thoughts. Beliefs once established tend
to remain established if for no other reason than that they are
believed in by the majority. That an opinion gains prestige
merely because we know other people believe it, is frequently
illustrated by the facility with which rumor travels. At the
end of the Great War, it will be recalled, the false news of the
armistice report flew from mouth to mouth and was accepted
with the most amazing credulity simply because "everybody
said so." The spread of superstitions and old wives' tales and
their long lingering in the minds even of intelligent people is
testimony that men tend mentally as well as physically to
herd together.

The tendency to find comfort in the presence of one's fellows
and uneasiness if too much separated from them, is as
pronounced in the sphere of moral and intellectual relations
as it is in the case of merely physical proximity. We like to
be one of a crowd in our opinions and beliefs, as well as in our
persons. There is hardly anything more painful than the
sense of being utterly alone in one's opinions. Even the
extreme dissenter from the accustomed ways of thinking and
feeling of the majority is associated with or pictures some
little group which agrees with him. And, if we cannot find
contemporaries to share our extreme opinions, we at least
imagine some ideal group now or in posterity to share it with

think in groups they tend more emphatically still to act in
groups, to be acutely uncomfortable when acting in a fashion
different from that customary among the majority of their
fellows. Habits of action are more deep-seated physiologically
than habits of thought (which is one reason why our theories
are so often in advance of our practice). People will accede
intellectually to new ideas which they would not and could
not practice, the mind being, as it were, more convertible
than the emotions. Even in minor matters, in dress, speech,
and manners, we like to do the accustomed thing. It is more
painful for most people to use the wrong fork at dinner, or
to be dressed in a business suit where everyone else is in
evening clothes, than to commit a fallacy, or to act upon
prejudices rather than upon logical conclusions.

The individual's instinctive desire to be identical in action
with other members of his group, from the collars and clothes
he wears to the way he brings up his children, is greatly
reinforced by the punishment meted out to those who differ from
the majority. This may vary from ridicule, as in the case of
the laughter that greets the poet's proverbial long hair and
flowing tie, the foreigner's accent, or a straw hat in April, to
the confinement and privation that are the penalties for any
marked infringement of the accepted modes of life. Even
when the punishments are slight, they are effective. A man
who has no moral or religious scruples with reference to
gambling on any day of the week will, to avoid the social ostracism
of his neighbors, refrain from playing cards on his front porch
on Sunday. For no other reason than to avoid being consciously
different, many a man will not wear cool white
clothes on a hot day in his office who will wear them on a cool
evening at the seashore.

instinctive tendency to community of action and thought is in
large part responsible for the comparative absence of innovation
in either of these fields. A premium is put upon the
conventional, the customary, the common, both in the instinctive
satisfaction they give the individual, and in the high
value set upon them by society. In advanced societies, however,
the habit of inquiry and originality may itself come to
be endorsed by the majority, as it is among scientists and
artists. The herd instinct need not always act on the side of
unreason. Among the intellectual classes, it is already enlisted
on the side of free inquiry, which among scholars is the
fundamental common habit.

If rationality were once to become really respectable, if we feared
the entertaining of an unverifiable opinion with the warmth with
which we fear using the wrong implement at the dinner table, if the
thought of holding a prejudice disgusted us as does a foul disease,
then the dangers of man's suggestibility would be turned into

[Footnote 1: Trotter; _loc. cit._, p. 45.]

in the strict psychological sense of the term, means a
"suffering with, the experiencing of any feeling or emotion
when and because we observe in other persons or creatures
the expression of that feeling of emotion."[2] The behavior
of animals exhibits the external features of sympathetic action
very clearly. "Two dogs begin to growl or fight, and at once
all the dogs within sound and sight stiffen themselves, and
show every symptom of anger. Or one beast in a herd stands
arrested, gazing in curiosity on some unfamiliar object, and
presently his fellows also, to whom the object may be invisible,
display curiosity and come up to join in the examination
of the object."[1]

[Footnote 2: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 92.]

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 93.]

Human beings tend not only sympathetically to reproduce
the instinctive actions of others,[2] but they tend, despite
themselves, to experience directly and immediately, often
involuntarily, the emotions experienced and outwardly manifested
by others. Almost everyone has had his mood heightened
to at least kindly joy by the presence in a crowded street car
of a young child whose inquiring prattle and light-hearted
laughter were subdued by the gray restraints and responsibilities
of maturity. One melancholy face can crush the joy of a
boisterous and cheerful party;[3] the eagerness and enthusiasm
of an orator can, irrespective of the merits of the cause he is
defending, provoke eagerness and enthusiasm for the same
cause among an audience that does not in the least understand
what the orator is talking about.

[Footnote 2:
"In man infectious laughter or yawning, walking in step, imitating the
movements of a ropewalker, while watching him, feeling a shock in one's legs
when one sees a man falling, and a hundred other occurrences of this kind are
cases of physiological sympathy." Ribot: _Psychology of the Emotions_, p. 232.

Reproduction of the actions of others has by a certain school of philosophers
and psychologists, notably Tarde, Le Bon, and Baldwin, been ascribed to
imitation. But no experimental researches have revealed any such specific
instinct to imitate (see Thorndike, p. 73 ff.), and "imitations" of acts can
generally be traced to sympathy, or suggestion--which is sympathy on an
intellectual plane.]

[Footnote 3: Such expressions as "kill joy," "wet blanket," "life of the
party" are instances of the popular appreciation of the fact of social

One brand of cigarettes was recently advertised by the
face of a young soldier, roguishly irresponsible, palpably and
completely given over to joy. One found one's self transported
into something of this same mood before one had a
chance to speculate at all as to whether there was any causal
relation between the specific quality of tobacco the youngster
was smoking, and that contagious, undeniable delight. What
is called personal magnetism is perhaps more than anything
else the ability to provoke in others sympathetic experiences
of pleasant and exhilarating emotions.

Sensibility to the emotions of others, though possessed by
almost all individuals, varies in degree. The complete
absence of it marks a man out as "stolid," "cold," "callous,"
"brutal." Such a type of personality may be efficient and
successful in pursuits requiring nothing besides a direct
analysis of facts, uncolored by any irrelevant access of feeling, as in
the case of mathematics and mechanics. But the geniuses
even in strictly intellectual fields have frequently been men of
sensitiveness, delicacy, and responsiveness to the feelings of
others. That intellectual analysis, however, does frequently
blunt the poignancy of feeling is illustrated in the case of John
Stuart Mill, who writes in his _Autobiography_:

Analytic habits may thus even strengthen the associations between
causes and effects, means and ends, but tend altogether to
weaken those which are, to speak familiarly, a _mere_ matter of feeling.
They are, therefore, I thought, favorable to prudence and clear-sightedness,
but a perpetual worm at the root both of the passions
and of the virtues; and above all fearfully undermine all desires and
... all except the purely physical and organic; of the entire insufficiency
of which to make life desirable, no one had a stronger conviction
than I had.... All those to whom I looked up were of the opinion
that the pleasure of sympathy with human beings, and the
feelings which made the good of others, and especially of mankind
on a large scale, the object of existence, were the greatest and surest
sources of happiness. Of the truth of this I was convinced, but to
know that a feeling would make me happy if I had it, did not give
me the feeling.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Autobiography_ (Holt edition), p. 138.]

A generous degree of susceptibility to the emotions of
others makes a man what is variously called "mellow," "humane,"
"large-hearted," "generous-souled." The possession
of such susceptibility is an asset, first, in that it enriches life
for its possessor. It gives him a warm insight into the feelings,
emotions, desires, habits of mind and action of other
people, and gives to his experiences with them a vivid and
personal significance not attainable by any hollow intellectual
analysis. It is an asset, moreover, in the purely utilitarian
business of dealing with men. The statesman or executive
who deals with men as so many animate machines, may
achieve certain mechanical and arbitrary successes. But he
will be missing half the data on which his decisions must be
based if he does not have a live and sensitive appreciation of
how men feel when placed in given situations. The placing of
women in positions of labor management where women chiefly
are to be dealt with is an illustration of the recognition of the
importance of sympathy, fellow-feeling in the management
of human affairs. One of the reasons why many university
scholars make poor teachers is because they cannot place
themselves back at the point where a subject was as live and
fresh and virgin to them as it is to their students.

An extraordinary degree or a decided hypertrophy of emotional
susceptibility is as dangerous a trait as its possession in
a reasonable degree is a utility and an enrichment of life. It
results in the hysteria or sentimentalism which adds to the
real evils and difficulties of life fancied grievances and
disasters. Such temperaments when confronted with any good
or beautiful action dissolve into ecstasy, and when faced with
a problem or a difficulty dissolve into tears. Doctors will
not treat their own children because the overplus of sympathy
is a hindrance to action. Sentimental ladies are not
the most efficient charity workers or prisoner reformers.

While there is a general tendency to experience sympathetically
the feelings of others, this becomes specialized in most
people, and one tends to experience most immediately and
intensely the emotions of one's own kind, physically, socially,
and intellectually. Sympathy is a specialization of man's
general gregariousness, and becomes more specialized as one
becomes habituated exclusively to a small group. Within
this small group, individuals not only experience the emotions
of others, but like to share and communicate their own

The nearer people are to us in mode of life, social status, and
intellectual interests, the closer is community of feeling and
"consciousness of kind." Two Americans meeting in a foreign
country have a quick and sympathetic understanding of
each other. Two alumni of the same college meeting in a
distant city have a common basis of interest and feeling.

This easy give-and-take of feeling and emotion makes the
deep attractiveness of intimate companionship. Our companion
has but to mention a name or a place, and we experience
the same associations, the pleasures, or antipathies which
he does. A gesture, a curious glance of the eye, a pause, we
understand as quickly as if he had spoken a sentence. But
not only do we understand his feelings; he (or she) understands
ours. And for most people, all their interests and enjoyments
are heightened by the presence of an intimately
known companion.

Many children manifest very clearly this tendency of active sympathy;
they demand that their every emotion shall be shared at once.
"Oh, come and look!" is their constant cry when out for a walk, and
every object that excites their curiosity or admiration is brought at
once, or pointed out, to their companion.... On the other hand,
another child, brought up, perhaps, under identical conditions, but
in whom this impulse is relatively weak, will explore a garden,
interested and excited for hours together, without once feeling
the need for sympathy, without once calling on others to share
his emotions.[1]

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 172.]

In adult life, few people care to go to theater or concert
alone, and a man at a club will wander half through the dining-room
until he will find some one with whom he will feel like
sitting through a dinner conversation.

The fact that emotions exhibited in one individual are readily
aroused in another makes art possible and makes it interesting.
A poet by a phrase, a musician by a chord or melody,
can suddenly reproduce in us his own feeling of gayety or
exaltation. A painter by disposition of line and color can
suggest the majesty of mountains, or the sadness of a sunset
as he himself has experienced it. In novels and dramas we
can _relive_ the feelings that the writer imagines to have been
experienced by others. It is testimony to the easy excitability
of sympathy as well as to an artist's skill that this can
sometimes be done in a few lines or paragraphs. Witness the
famous opening of Poe's _Fall of the House of Usher:_

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn
of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens,
I had been passing alone on horseback, through a singularly dreary
tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of evening
drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not
how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of
insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the
feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic,
sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest
natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene
before me--upon the mere house and the simple landscape features
of the domain, upon the bleak walls, upon the vacant eye-like windows,
upon a few rank sedges, and upon a few white trunks of decayed
trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare
to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the
reveller upon opium; the bitter lapse into everyday life, the hideous
dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening
of the heart, an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading
of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What
was it--I paused to think--what was it that so unnerved me in
the contemplation of the House of Usher?

To Aristotle tragedy seemed to afford a cleansing or
"katharsis of the soul" through the sympathetic experience
of pity or fear. To Schopenhauer music was the greatest of
the arts because it made us at one with the sorrows and the
strivings of the world. All the representative arts are vivid
ways of making us feel with the passions or emotions that
stir mankind. And those men are poets, painters, or musicians
who, besides having a unique gift of expression, whether
in word, tone, or color, have themselves an unusually high
sensitivity to the moods of other men and to the imagined
moods of the natural scenes among which they move.[1]

[Footnote 1: Poets generally are so susceptible to emotional shades and
nuances that they read them into situations where they are not present,
and then reproduce them sympathetically in their works. The so-called
"pathetic fallacy" is an excellent illustration of this. Poets sympathize
with the emotions of a landscape, emotions which were in the first
place, their own.]

In experience, the presence or absence of genuine sympathy
with the emotions of others determines to no small extent the
character of our dealings with them. Even courts of justice
take motives into account and juries have been known to ask
for clemency for a murderer because of their keen realization
of the provocation which he had undergone. Fellow-feeling
with others may again warp our judgments or soften them;
in our judgment of the work of our friends, it is difficult
altogether to discount our personal interest and affection. On
the other hand, we may have the most sincere admiration and
respect for a man, and yet be seriously hampered in our
dealings with him, socially or professionally, by a total lack
of sympathy with his motives and desires.

PRAISE AND BLAME. An important part of man's social
equipment is his susceptibility to the praise and blame of his
fellows. That is, among the things which instinctively satisfy
men are objective marks of praise or approval on the part
of other people; among the things which annoy them, sometimes
to the point of acute distress, are marks of disapproval,
scorn, or blame. This is illustrated most simply and directly
in the satisfaction felt at "intimate approval as by smiles,
pats," kindly words, or epithets applied by other people to
one's own actions or ideas, and the discomfort, amounting
sometimes to pain, that is felt at frowns, hoots, sneers, and
epithets of scorn or derision. One student of this subject
notes "as early as the fourth month a 'hurt' way of crying
which seemed to indicate a sense of personal slight. It was
quite different from the cry of pain or that of anger, but
seemed about the same as the cry of fright. The slightest
tone of reproof would produce it. On the other hand, if
people took notice and laughed and encouraged, she was

[Footnote 1: Cooley: _Human Nature and the Social Order_, p. 166.]

Man's sensitiveness to praise and blame is paralleled by his
instinctive tendency to express them.

Smiles, respectful stares, and encouraging shouts occur, I think, as
instinctive responses to relief from hunger, rescue from fear, gorgeous
display, instinctive acts of strength and daring, victory, and other
impressive instinctive behavior that is harmless to the onlooker.
Similarly, frowns, hoots, and sneers seem bound as original responses
to the observation of empty-handedness, deformity, physical meanness,
pusillanimity, and defect. As in the case of all original tendencies,
such behavior is early complicated and in the end much distorted,
by training; but the resulting total cannot be explained by
nurture alone.[1]

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _Educational Psychology_, Briefer Course,
pp. 32-33.]

Man's instinctive tendency to respond to praise and blame
and to exhibit them is, next to gregariousness--through
which men in the first place are able to live together--the
individual human trait most significant for social life. For
while the desire for praise, the avoidance of blame, and the
expression of both are instinctive, the occasions on which they
are called forth depend on the traditions and group habits to
which the individual has been exposed. He soon learns that
in the society in which he is living, certain acts will bring him
the praise of others; certain other acts will bring him their
disapproval. The whole scope of his activity may thus be
profoundly modified by the penalties and prizes in the way
of praise and blame which society attaches to different modes
of action. And the more explicit and outward signs there are
of the approval or scorn of others, the more will individual
action be subject to social control.

As Plato said so long ago and said so well:

Whenever they [the public] crowd to the popular assembly, the
law courts, the theaters, the camp, or any public gathering of large
bodies, and there sit in a dense and uproarious mass to censure some
of the things said or done, and applaud others, always in excess;
shouting and clapping, until, in addition to their own noise, the rocks
and the places wherein they are echo back redoubled the uproar of
their censure and applause. At such a moment, how is a young man,
think you, to retain his self-possession? Can any private education
that he has received hold out against such a torrent of censure and
applause, and avoid being swept away down the stream, wherever it
may lead, until he is brought to adopt the language of these men as
to what is honorable and dishonorable, and to imitate all their practices,
and to become their very counterpart?[1]

[Footnote 1: Plato: _Republic_ (Davies and Vaughn translation), p. 208.]

We have already had occasion to point out that education is
the method by which society inculcates in its younger members
habits which are regarded as socially beneficial. In its
broadest sense the whole social environment is an individual's
education. And it is an education chiefly through experience
with other people, discovering what they will and will not
tolerate, what they will cherish and what they will condemn.

The elaborate paraphernalia and rites of fashion in clothes exist
chiefly by virtue of their value as means of securing diffuse notice
and approval. The primitive sex display is now a minor cause:
women obviously dress for other women's eyes. Much the same is
true of subservience to fashions in furniture, food, manners, morals,
and religion. The institution of tipping, which began, perhaps, in
kindliness and was fostered by economic self-interest, is now well-nigh
impregnable because no man is brave enough to withstand the scorn
of a line of lackeys whom he heartily despises, or of a few onlookers
whom he will never see again.[2]

[Footnote 2: Thorndike: _loc. cit._, p. 32.]

One of the things we mean when we say a man is worldly-wise,
shrewd, knows human nature, is that he knows what
will win people's admiration, and knows, moreover, to distinguish
between that which they publicly condemn and
secretly approve, and _vice versa_. In the passage quoted above
Plato was trying to show how the young Athenian acquired
not wisdom itself, but "worldly wisdom," the ability to get
along in affairs. This he learned not from the professional
teachers, but from the Athenian public, with whose approvals
and disapprovals he came in daily contact.

PRAISE AND BLAME MODIFY HABIT. In order to avoid censure
and gain the expressed approval of others, people learn, either,
as we say, through bitter experience, or deliberately, to modify
their actions. The well-brought-up child, even when
its mother is not about and its appetite unsatisfied, may be
ashamed to say "Yes" to a second offering of ice cream. The
ten-year-old who likes to be coddled by his mother in private
would be acutely embarrassed to be "babied" in the presence
of other people. Among adults, likewise, actions are checked,
prompted, or modified by the praise and blame that have become
habitually associated with them. Men like to appear
virtuous, even if they do not like to practice virtue. It is not
only the professional politician who does generous acts for
public approval, nor is even the most disinterested and conscientious
work altogether free from being affected by the
expressed attitudes of approval or disapproval of other people.
Even transportation companies have found that they can
increase the efficiency of their employees by expressing in
some form the approval of their employees' courtesy and
loyalty.[1] "A man, again, ... may fail to see any 'reason'
why an elementary-school teacher or a second-division clerk
cannot do his work properly after he has been 'put in his
place' by some official who happens to combine personal callousness
with social superiority. But no statesman who did
so could create an effective educational or clerical service."[2]

[Footnote 1: Many transportation companies maintain a merit system.
Sometimes they award special insignia, as the green flag to the New
York bus-drivers who save gasoline.]

[Footnote 2: Wallas: _Great Society_, p. 197.]

To say that we are moved to action by praise and blame is
not to indicate that actions thus motivated are done in a spirit
of hypocrisy or charlatanism. Even the most sincere acts are
prompted or sustained, especially where their performance
involves serious personal privation or sacrifice, by the imagined
or actual approval of those whom we love, admire, or
respect. Whose praise and blame individuals will care about
depends on their education and temperamental differences.
That there will be some group, however small, is almost sure
to be the case. The poet who curls his lip at popular taste
cherishes the more keenly the applause of those whom he
regards as competent judges. The martyr will be unmoved
by the curses, the jeers, and the hoots of the contemporary
multitude so long as he has the trust of his small band of comrades
or faith that the Lord approves his ways. A man who
is utterly alone in the approval of his actions is regarded as
crazy or is driven so by the perpetual disesteem in which he is
held. There have been cases in literature and life of accused
criminals who could bear up against the belief of the whole
world in their guilt so long as one friend or kinsman had faith
in them. That faith gone, they completely collapsed.

PRACTICE OF VIRTUE. While the desire for social approval is
strong in most men, so are other desires. It happens, moreover,
that the actions to which men's instincts prompt them
are not always such as would be approved by others.[1] In
order, therefore, to have their cake and eat it, to do what they
please and yet seem to please others, men often conceal the
discrepancy between what they profess and what they practice.
One of the least agreeable features of civilized society
is the extent to which the codes which men and groups profess
differ from those by which they live. Men who have ostensibly
Christian codes of honor, and, indeed, practice them in
their private lives, will have an actual "ethics" for business
that they could not possibly sanction in their dealings as
trustees of a church. There are practices within trades and
professions, the familiar "trade" practices, and "ethics" of
the profession, which, for social as well as for professional
reasons, their practitioners would not want known. "Company"
manners are a trivial illustration of this, but there are
more serious instances. One has but to recall the sensation
created a few years ago when a minister of a fashionable
congregation called upon his congregation to practice Christianity,
or, on a superb scale, Tolstoy's leaving the estates and
mode of life of a rich Russian noble, in order to live the simple
life he regarded as prescribed by the Christian teaching.[2]

[Footnote 1: At least not publicly approved. There is, however,
admiration, often unconcealed, for the man who does even an
unusual act conspicuously well. One need only mention a Raffles
or a Captain Kidd.]

[Footnote 2: See Tolstoy's _Diary_ and _Confessions_.]

Psychologically, therefore, the cause of the discrepancy
between the codes which men preach and profess and those
which they practice, is thus seen to be a desire to secure illicit
(that is, socially unsanctioned) satisfactions without incurring
the penalty of social disapproval. Part of this discrepancy is
not to be set down to the evils men actually do so much as
the irrationality and fanaticism of the codes which they have
been taught to profess. This is the case, for example, where
excessive Puritanism or fanaticism, not possible for most men,
is imposed upon them by an arbitrary and fanatical teaching.
They will then pretend to types of action socially regarded as
virtues in order to avoid the penalties incurred by not practicing
them. The desire for "respectability" is responsible
for no small amount of pretension, illustrated pathetically in
cases where individuals, to satisfy the standards of their associates,
live beyond their means physically, socially, or intellectually.[1]

[Footnote 1: "Many Bostonians, _crede experto_ (and inhabitants
of other cities, too, I fear), would be happier men and women to-day
if they could once for all abandon the notion of keeping up a Musical
Self and without shame let people hear them call a symphony a nuisance."
James: _Psychology_, vol. I, p. 311.]

Again, codes of action remain formally accepted long after
they have ceased to be taken seriously. In States that went
"dry" where there was no majority public sentiment in their
favor, "bootlegging," the illicit making and selling of whiskey,
was practiced freely, because not many people regarded
prohibition as a serious matter, or its infringement as a serious
crime. Legal codes remain not infrequently a generation
behind public opinion, and many ideas are verbally professed
that nobody takes quite seriously.

social estimates of approval and disapproval affect the conduct
of the individual depends on the degree to which, through
education, public opinion, and law, he is made part of the
group. In primitive society, even the slightest details of
conduct were regulated by the group, through an elaborate system
of punishments for slight infringements. In civilized
society, the development of a sense of personal selfhood and
social recognition of its importance has to a degree freed
individual action from complete domination by the group. This
has in part been compensated by the education of the contemporary
citizen to national interests, and social sympathy,
which render him susceptible to the praise and blame of public

The effectiveness of praise and blame in determining action
depends also on the explicitness with which they are expressed.
In contemporary life the control of public opinion
is made precarious because there is so rarely complete or
palpable unanimity on any subject among the variety of groups
that constitute a modern society. In a large city there are so
many groups, so many sets of opinion, that an individual may
not feel any great pressure of praise and blame except from the
small circle of people with whom he is associated. In small
communities action is restrained by the fear of ostracism or
contempt of the whole group among whom one is living. But
in large cities, where one may not be known by one's next-door
neighbor, this restraint is much reduced. The temptations
of a metropolis, so often referred to in the lurid literature
of the day, consist not in temptations more numerous than or
different from those in smaller places, but in the marked
absence of social control as compared with small villages where
every one knows everyone else's business.

The influence of the social estimate on individual conduct
depends finally on individual differences in suggestibility.
In normal individuals susceptibility to the praise and blame
of others is very high, especially among the close circle of
friends, professional and business associates among whom one
moves. This susceptibility is heightened when the praise or
blame comes from persons superior in social status, though
here the element of fear of the consequences of displeasing is
perhaps more important than the responsiveness to the praise
and blame itself. To the praise and blame of close associates
most men are also highly suggestible, not less so when there
is equality in social status. "Birds of a feather flock together,"
but humans tend to _become_ similar _because_ they flock together.
There are few men who can withstand the pressure of doing
what their group approves, and refraining from doing what it

In some men susceptibility to the attitudes of others is
extremely low, and of such are both criminals and martyrs
made. In the prisons of this country there are a large number
of men absolutely indifferent to the usual social standards,
completely undeterred by the codes of conduct by which
other people cannot help but be governed. Such absolute
callousness to the feelings which govern the majority of
mankind as we read of every now and then in the trial of some
desperate criminal, is not infrequently associated with
abnormally low intelligence, the sodden stolidity of the traditional
criminal type. Where it appears, as it sometimes does, in
criminals of high intelligence, it is regarded by psychiatrists
as a specific abnormality, comparable to color-blindness or a
physical deformity.

There are, on the other hand, individuals whose apparent
low suggestibility is of the highest social value. There are
striking instances, throughout the long struggle toward human
liberty, of persons who could withstand the public opinion
of their own day in the light of some ideal which they cherished,
of men who needed no other approval than their consciences,
their better selves, or their god. Socrates drinking
the fatal hemlock, Christ upon the cross, the Christian saints,
Joan of Arc, the extreme dissenters of every generation, are
instances of men and women seemingly unmoved by the
praise and blame of their contemporaries. Sustained by their
deep inner conviction of the justice and significance of their
mission, they have been content to suffer scorn, ridicule, and
martyrdom at the hands of their own generation in a persistent
devotion to what in their eyes constituted the highest good of

are early habituated to the customs of the society in which
they live, and come to approve, as might be expected from
the power of men's habits and from their instinctive gregariousness,
those things which they or their companions have
always done. That "people don't do such things," or that
"everybody does them," is a frequently assigned reason for
the approval or condemnation of an act. Social approvals
thus become affixed to acts which are regularly done by the
majority, and divergences are subjected to varying degrees
of censure. In civilized societies variations from customs
that are not legally enforced are punished mainly by social
ostracism. There is no law against walking down a crowded
city street in Elizabethan costume, yet few would indulge
their taste for beautiful but archaic dress in the face of all the
ridicule they would incur. The whole system of etiquette,
of the standard of living of respectable society, is maintained
in large part because of the approvals and outward marks of
admiration that go to some types of life and the contempt in
which others are held. Much of the economic activity of the
leisure class, as Professor Veblen has so well pointed out, is
devoted to wasting time and spending money conspicuously
as outward indications that the individual is living up to
established and approved standards.[1]

[Footnote 1: Veblen: _Theory of the Leisure Class._]

The more significant folkways, standards of importance and
unimportance, of the admirable and the despicable, the noble
and the base, are determined by approvals and disapprovals
that have become socially habitual. When we speak of a
country being imperialistic or materialistic, we mean that
most individuals in it, or at least those who are articulate or
influential, perform or approve of actions leading to national
or individual aggrandizement. The amount of money, time,
and energy that is spent on amusement, public works, education,
the army and navy is a fairly accurate gauge of the relative
group approvals they have respectively secured. In the
same way the professions and occupations in which men engage
are determined by the social prestige attaching to them
no less than by economic considerations. The pay of stenographers
is no less than that of primary-school teachers; it is
often much more; yet many a girl remains a teacher for the
gentility which is traditionally associated with the profession.
In the same way many girls, in spite of the fact that they are
economically and physically better off in domestic service
than in factory work, still prefer the latter because of the
social inferiority which is associated with the servant's position.

Approvals and disapprovals become fixed to acts, in the
first place, because of some supposed danger or utility they
possess. But whether the acts are really socially useful or not,
approvals and censures once fixed tend to remain habitual,
even though the conditions which first called them forth are
utterly changed. We are to-day still more shocked by errors
in etiquette than in logic; we are still horrified by the infringement
of a law which, if we stopped to consider it, is not now,
if it ever was, of any genuine service to mankind.

In advanced societies approvals are not always reserved for
the habitual. Certainly in science original research and
discovery are generally welcomed. In art originality is
cherished, at least by the discriminating.[1] Variation in action is
for reasons discussed in other connections less generally welcomed.
But in advanced societies, criticism and reflection
upon social institutions and habits may themselves come to be
sanctioned and encouraged. Already we are beginning to
endow the scientific study of government and industrial
relations, and regarding with favor genuine inquiry into the
possibilities of progress.

[Footnote 1: Even in art most people's approvals and disapprovals
are fixed by what is called "good taste," which consists not
infrequently in approving what other people approve. Æsthetic
approval thus becomes approval of the customarily recognized.
It took a Ruskin to make the neglected genius of Turner
fashionable. Keats and Byron were bitterly attacked by the
orthodox critics of their generation.]

CONDUCT. What people approve and disapprove, if their
approval becomes sufficiently emphatic, is fixed by law. Law
is the official and permanent preservation and enforcement
of public approval and condemnation. When certain acts are
regarded as of crucial importance, the group does not depend
on the precarious effectiveness of public opinion, but deliberately
attaches punishments to the performance of undesired
acts, and, more infrequently, rewards to the practices of others.
Most of our laws are enforcement of social condemnations,
for the performance or the non-performance of specific acts,
rather than direct encouragements of action. But which laws
will be passed depends in the first place on social approval or
public opinion. And if, as happens in our complicated political
machinery, laws are passed which have not the sanction
of widespread public approval, they remain "dead letters."

Outside the field of legal control, individual action is controlled
primarily by public opinion. There are many practices,
strictly speaking "within the law," that an increasingly
enlightened public opinion will not sanction; there are many
practices encouraged by an enlightened public which no law
compels. There is no law forcing business establishments to
close every Saturday during the summer, yet many now do.
There are many courtesies practiced by them which are not
ordained by law. That adverse public opinion may have
economic consequences if disregarded is evidenced by the
powerful instrument the Consumers' League found in advertising
against firms that maintained particularly unsanitary
and morally degrading working conditions for their employees,
or the dread that hotels and department stores have for
adverse publicity. The phenomenal development of modern
advertising is an instance of the direct economic values that
have been found in winning public approval. There is more
than metaphor in the statement made during the war that
Lord Northcliffe, as owner of a chain of English newspapers
with an immense circulation, was a "cabinet minister without

The growth of humanitarian sentiment has frequently enforced
the improvement of labor and social conditions before
improvements were made compulsory by law. And in that
field of personal relations, which constitute so large a part of
our daily life, our conduct is controlled almost entirely by
the force of the public opinion with which we come in contact.
There is much more courtesy and kindliness and coöperation
manifested in the ordinary contacts of life of a modern city
than is required, or ever could be secured by statute.

enormous power in the habits of approval or disapproval to which
we have, in our early days, been subjected by our parents,
teachers, and companions. It is through education, in the
broadest sense, that the young come to learn, and hence to
practice, those actions which are socially approved, and by
the same token to avoid those acts which are socially condemned.
Through formal education the adult members of a
society impress upon the plastic minds of the immature those
habits of thought and action which are currently recognized
as desirable. Education thus becomes the crucial instrument
by which social standards are established and transmitted.

Society exists through a process of transmission quite as much as
biological life. The transmission occurs by means of communication
of habits of doing, thinking, and feeling, from the older to the
younger. Without this communication of ideals, hopes, expectations,
standards, opinions, from those members of society who are
passing out of the group life to those who are coming into it, society
could not survive.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey; _Democracy and Education_, pp. 3-4.]

Society survives through education. Just as truly might
it be said that the kind of society, art, culture, industry,
religion, science that does survive depends on the kind of likes
and dislikes that are through education made habitual in the

Education, however, may not only transmit existing standards,
but can be used to inculcate newer and better expectations
and ideals. In the adult, habits are already set physiologically,
and kept rigid by the demands of economic life. In
the young there is a "fairer and freer" field. Through education
the immature may be taught to approve ways of action
more desirable than those which have become habitual with
their adult contemporaries. The children of to-day may
acquire habits of action, feeling, and thought that will be their
enlightened practice as the adults of to-morrow. All great
social reformers, from Plato to our own contemporaries like
Bertrand Russell, have seen in education, therefore, the chief
instrument, as it is the chief problem, of social betterment.
We may train the maturing generation to approve modes of
behavior which the best minds of our time may have found
reason to think desirable, but which could not be substituted
immediately for the fixed habits of the already adult generation.

the social nature of man we have, thus far, been dealing with
his specific social tendencies. But apart from these, or rather
as an outgrowth of these, men exhibit what Professor Woodworth
has well described as a gift for "learning" social behavior.

Possessing, as he eminently does, the capacity for group activity,
man is interested in such activity. He needs no ulterior motive to
attract him to it. It is play for him.... The social interest is part
and parcel of the general _objective_ interest of man.[1]

[Footnote 1: Woodworth: _Dynamic Psychology_, pp. 202, 203.]

In other words, the activity of man as an individual is
not simply deflected a little by man's native gregariousness,
sympathy, and susceptibility to praise and blame. Rather,
group activity becomes to the gregarious human, born into an
environment where he must act with and among other human
beings, an interesting and exciting activity in and for itself.
Men enjoy working in a group or a society for joint and common
objects just as they enjoy food or musical composition
or golf.

The social motive is of the same order as the musical or mathematical
motive. Just as one who has the musical gift takes to music
naturally and finds it interesting for its own sake, so the socially
gifted individual understands other people, sees the possibilities of
collective activity, and the ways of coördinating it, and enters
into such doings with gusto.... The social gift is a capacity for
_learning_ social behavior. Individuals differ in degree in the social
gift, as in other capacities; some are capable of becoming creative
artists or inventors along social lines.[1]

[Footnote 1: Woodworth: _Dynamic Psychology_, p. 203.]

The social behavior of man is thus seen to be no curious
anomaly and contradiction in the life of an otherwise thoroughly
egoistic individual. Man is instinctively social; he
finds social activity useful in the satisfaction of his own
desires, and he comes from his native tendencies and acquired
habits of social behavior to enjoy and take part in social
activities for their own sake. The individual does not have
to be coerced into social activity; he finds in such behavior
the same pleasure that attends the fulfillment of any of his
native or acquired reactions. Society has been variously
pictured as a force holding the individual in check, as an
organism of which he is a part, as a machine of which he is a
cog. Society consists rather as the collective name for the
coöperative and associated activities of human beings who
find such activity, by nature and by habit, interesting for its
own sake.



to a consideration of a number of individual human
traits--curiosity, pugnacity, leadership, fear, love, hate,
etc., and some of their more important social consequences.
These are seldom present in isolation. A man is not, under
normal circumstances, simply and solely pugnacious, curious,
tired, submissive, or acquisitive. One's desire to own a
particular house at a particular location may be complicated by
the presence of several of these traits at once. The house
may be wanted simply as a possession, a crude satisfaction of
our native acquisitiveness. It may be sought further as a
mode of self-display, an indication of how one has risen in the
world. Its attractiveness may be heightened by the fact that
it is situated next door to the house of a rather particularly
companionable old friend. It may be peculiarly indispensable
to one's satisfaction because it is also being sought by a
detested rival. Moreover, as we shall see in the discussion
of the Self, these traits are interwoven with each other and
attain varying degrees of power as motive forces in an individual's

But while these distinctive human traits are seldom apparent
in isolation, it is worth while to consider them separately,
not only because the elements of human behavior will thus
stand out more clearly, but because in certain individuals one
or another of these-traits may be natively of especial strength.
And further, in differing social situations, the possession or
the cultivation of one or another of these native endowments
may be of particular social value or danger. And in any given
situation, one or another of them may be predominant, as
when a man is intensely angry, or curious, or tired. Thus an
individual may have a marked capacity for leadership, or an
extraordinarily tireless curiosity, or an abnormally developed
pugnacity or acquisitiveness. The capacity for leadership,
as will later be discussed in some detail, will be of particular
social value in large enterprises; patient and persistent inquiry
may produce science; pugnacity when freely expressed may
provoke quarrels, bickerings, and war. In the following
discussion, the continual interpenetration and qualification of
these traits by one another in a complex situation must be
recognized. Else it may appear in the discussion of any single
trait, as if by means of it all human action were being explained.
Rather the aim is to trace them as one might the
elements in the pattern of a tapestry, or the recurrent themes
in the development of a symphony. But as the symphony is
more than a single melody, the tapestry more than one element
of line or color, so is human life more than any single

[Footnote 1: Philosophers and others have time and again made the
mistake of simplifying human life to a single motive or driving
power. Hobbes rested his case on fear; Bain and Sutherland on
sympathy; Tarde on imitation; Adam Smith and Bentham on enlightened
self-interest. In our own day the Freudians interpret everything
as being sexual in its motive. And most recently has come an
interpretation of life, as in Bertrand Russell and Helen Marot,
in terms of the "creative impulse."]

THE FIGHTING INSTINCT. Almost all men exhibit in varying
degrees the "fighting instinct"; that is, the tendency, when
interfered with in the performance of any action prompted by
any other instinct, to threaten, attack, and not infrequently,
if successful in attack, to punish and bully the individual

The most mean-spirited cur will angrily resent any attempt to
take away its bone, if it is hungry; a healthy infant very early
displays anger if its meal is interrupted, and all through life most men
find it difficult to suppress irritation on similar occasions. In the
animal world the most furious excitement of this instinct is provoked
in the male of many species by any interference with the satisfaction
of the sexual impulse.[2]

[Footnote 2: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 60.]

This original tendency to fight is very persistent in human
beings, but is susceptible of direction, and is not, in civilized
life, frequently revealed in its crude and direct form, save
among children and among adults under intense provocation
and excitement. Occasionally, however, pugnacity is displayed
in its simple animal form. "Man shares with many
of the animals the tendency to frighten his opponent by loud
roars or bellowings.... Many a little boy has, without example
or suggestion, suddenly taken to running with open
mouth to bite the person who has angered him, much to the
distress of his parents."[1] As the individual grows older, he
learns to control the outward and immediate expression of
this powerful and persistent human trait. He learns in his
dealings with other people not to give way, when frustrated
in some action or ambition, to mere animal rage. The customs
and manners to which a child is early subjected in
civilized intercourse are effective hindrances to uncontrolled
display of anger and pugnacity; superior intelligence and
education find more refined ways than kicking, pummeling, and
scratching of overcoming the interferences of others. But
even in gentle and cultured persons, an insult, a disappointment,
a blow will provoke the tell-tale signs of pugnacity and
anger, the flushing of the cheeks, the flash of the eye, the
incipient clenching of the fists, the compressing of the teeth and
lips, and the trembling of the voice. We substitute sarcasm
for punching, and find subtly civilized, and, in the long run,
more terrible, ways than bruises of punishing those who oppose
us in our play, our passions, our professions. But our
ancestors were beasts of prey, and there is still "fighting
in our blood."

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 61.]

The fighting instinct is aroused by both personal and impersonal
situations, and is occasioned even by very slight interferences,
and even when the author of the interference is
neither human nor animate. Quite intelligent men have been
known to kick angrily at a door as if from pure malice it refused
to open. Irate commuters have glared vindictively at
trains they have just missed. The glint of anger is roused in
our eye by an insolent stare, an ironic comment, or an impertinent
retort. The "boiling point" varies in different individuals
and races, and pugnacity is generally more readily roused
in men than in women. There are some persons, like the proverbial
Irishman, who, seeing the slightest opportunity for a
fight, "want to know whether it is private, or whether anybody
can get in." In most men pugnacity is more intense
when it is provoked by persons; except for a moment, one does
not try to fight a chair struck in the dark.

Under the conditions of civilized life the primitive expression
of pugnacity in physical combat has been outlawed and
made unnecessary by law and custom. Individuals are prevented
by the fear of punishment, besides their early training
and habits, from settling disputes by physical force. But as
the instinct itself remains strong, it must find some other
outlet. This it secures in more refined forms of rivalry, in
business and sport, or, all through human history, in fighting
between groups, from the squabbling and perpetual raids and
killings, and the extermination of whole villages and tribes
in Central Borneo, to the wars between nations throughout
European history.

persistency of this human tendency, when uncontrolled or
when fostered between groups, make it a very serious menace.
Like all the other instincts, and more than most, it is
frustrated and continually checked in the normal peace-time
pursuits of contemporary civilization. Participation,
imaginative at least, in a great collective combat undoubtedly holds
some fascination for the citizens of modern industrial society,
despite the large-scale horror which war is in itself, and the
desolation it leaves in its wake. During peace the fighting
instinct for most men receives satisfaction on a small scale,
sometimes in nothing more important than small bickerings
and peevishness, or in seeing at first hand or on the ticker a
championship prize-fight. The pessimism which many writers
have expressed at the possibility of perpetual peace rests
in part on their perception of the easy excitability and deep
persistence of this impulse, especially among the vigorous and

Not only may the fighting instinct be aroused by the possibility
of international wars, but it may be used by fomenters
and agitators to add a sense of intense pugnacity and violent
anger to the genuine friction that does exist between conflicting
interests in the same society. The theory of a "class
war" possibly finds its appeal for many minds as much in its
picturesque stimulation of their instincts of pugnacity as in
the logic of its economics.

pugnacity and its easy stimulation makes this instinct a
peculiarly inflammable and dangerous motive force in civilized
society, it is, on the other hand, an indispensable source of
social progress. Many psychologists and sociologists, such as
McDougall, Bagehot, and Lang, attribute the superiority in
culture and social organization of the European races over,
say, the Chinese and East Indians, to the fighting instinct.
In the long series of wars that for centuries constituted much
of the history of Europe, those nations which survived, as in
earlier times those tribes which survived combat, were those
which displayed marked qualities of superiority in allegiance,
fidelity, and social coöperation. The intensity and effectiveness
of social coöperation in our own country was never so
well illustrated as during the Great War. In combat between
groups those groups survive which do stand out in
these respects.

William James in a famous essay[1] recognizes clearly the
enormous value of the fighting instinct in stimulating action
to an intense effectiveness exhibited under no other circumstances,
and proposes a "moral equivalent for war"--an
army devoted to constructive enterprises, reclaiming the
waste places of the land, warring against poverty and disease
and the like. Certainly every great reform movement has
been intensely stimulated and has gathered about it the energies
of men when it has become a "crusade for righteousness."
Part of Theodore Roosevelt's power was in his picturesque
phrasing of political issues as if they were great moral
struggles. No one could forget, or fail to have his heart beat
a trifle faster at Roosevelt's trumpet call in the 1912 campaign:
"We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the
Lord." His "Big Stick" became a potent political symbol.
Astute political leaders have not failed to capitalize the fighting
instinct, and any social project will enlist the wider enthusiasm
and the more energetic support if it is hailed as a
battle or fight against somebody or something.

[Footnote 1: "A Moral Equivalent of War," in _Memories and Studies_.]

In personal life also the instinct of pugnacity and the feeling
of anger that goes with it seem to set loose immense floods
of reserve energy. McDougall exaggerates but a trifle when
he says it supplies the zest and determines the forms of all our
games and recreations, and nine tenths of the world's work is
done by it. "Our educational system is founded upon it; it is
the social force underlying an immense amount of strenuous
exertion; to it we owe in a great measure even our science, our
literature, and our art; for it is a strong, perhaps an essential,
element of ambition, that last infirmity of noble minds."[1]
In the overcoming of obstacles, whether in the work itself, or
in the difficulties that a surgeon or a scholar meets with, or
in frustrations deliberately put in our way by other people,
pugnacity is an invaluable stimulant and sustainer of action.
Every great personality of strong convictions and dominant
energy has possessed it to some extent; in characters of great
moral energy it sometimes takes the form of a volcanic and
virtuous wrath, as in the case of the Prophets of the Old
Testament, or of later religious and social reformers who
brought an earnest and bitter anger against the wrongs they
saw and literally fought to overcome.

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 294.]

THE "SUBMISSIVE INSTINCT." Of great importance in the
social relations of men is their original tendency to find
satisfaction in following, partly submitting to, or completely
surrendering to a person or cause more dominating than the
individual. Thorndike describes this instinct in its simplest

There is an original tendency to respond to the situation, "the
presence of a human being larger than one's self, of angry or mastering
aspect," and to blows and restraint by submissive behavior.
When weak from wounds, sickness, or fatigue, the tendency is
stronger. The man who is bigger, who can outyell and outstare us,
who can hit us without our hitting him, and who can keep us from
moving, does originally extort a crestfallen, abashed physique and
mind. Women in general are thus by original nature submissive to
men in general. Every human being thus tends by original nature
to arrive at a status of mastery or submission toward every other
human being, and even under the more intelligent customs of civilized
life somewhat of the tendency persists in many men.[1]

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _Educational Psychology_, briefer course, p. 34.]

The impulse to follow and submit to something not ourselves
and more dominating than ourselves is very strong in
most men, and is called out by stimuli much less violent than
those physical manifestations of power mentioned in the
above quotation. Men instinctively long to be led, especially
if, as happens in the case of most individuals, there is in them
a marked absence of definite interest, conviction, or skill.
This instinct is aroused by any sign of exceptional power, or,
more generally still, by any exceptional conspicuousness,
whether socially useful or not. Men follow leaders partly
because men live in groups with common interests and in any
large-scale organization leadership is necessary. But the
power of demagogues, the faithfulness with which men will
follow a bad leader as well as a good, are evidence that men find
an instinctive satisfaction in submission. Self-dependence
stands out as a virtue or an accomplishment precisely because
most men feel so utterly at sea without any loyalty, allegiance,
or devotion. Any one who has spent a summer at a
boy's camp will recall the helplessness of youngsters to mark
out a program for themselves and to keep themselves happy
on the one afternoon when there was no official program of
play. Half the mischief performed on such occasions is initiated
by some boy with just a little more independence and
persuasiveness than the others. And it is not only among
children that there is evinced an almost pathetic bewilderment
and unrest in the absence of a leader. There is an
equally pathetic and sometimes dangerous attachment among
adults to the first sign of leadership that makes its appearance.
The demoralizing authority of the ward heeler is sometimes
dependent on no more trustworthy an index of real power
than a booming voice, a rough _camaraderie_, and a physically
"big" personality. And there are, on the other hand,
instances where lack of leadership seemed to be the chief reason
why certain classes of labor were unable to make their
demands effective at a much earlier date than they did. In the
first really big strike in the telephone industry in Boston
during the autumn of 1918 success seems to have been chiefly due
to the remarkable leadership of one of the young women
operators, a type of leadership which seems to have appeared
nowhere else in the telephone industry.[1]

[Footnote 1: See the article by Wm. Hard in the _New Republic_, May 3, 1919.]

The instinct of submissiveness, as has been pointed out in
connection with the discussion of all the other of man's original
tendencies, is not only strong, but may find its outlets in
attachment, both to desirable and to undesirable persons or
objects. Once aroused, attachment and submission may become
as stanch as they are blind. The signs which arouse our
loyalty may be and most frequently are glaring rather than
important. As Trotter phrases it:

The rational basis of the relation [following a leader] is, however,
seen to be at any rate open to discussion when we consider the
qualities in a leader upon which his authority so often rests, for there can
be little doubt that their appeal is more generally to instinct than
to reason. In ordinary politics it must be admitted that the gift of
public speaking is of more decisive value than anything else. If a
man is fluent, dextrous, and ready on the platform, he possesses the
one indispensable requisite for statesmanship; if in addition he has
the gift of moving deeply the emotions of his hearers, his capacity
for guiding the infinite complexities of national life becomes undeniable.
Experience has shown that no exceptional degree of any other
capacity is necessary to make a successful leader. There need be no
specially arduous training, no great weight of knowledge, either of
affairs or the human heart, no receptiveness to new ideas, no outlook
into reality.[1]

[Footnote 1: Trotter, p. 116.]

Though these be picturesquely exaggerated statements, they
do indicate the fact that the outward signs of leadership, of a
conspicuously emotional sort, may be more significant in determining
the attachments and loyalties of human beings,
than are genuine marks of capacity in the direction of political
and social affairs.

This pronounced tendency on the part of human beings to
follow a lead, and anybody's lead, as it were, has the most
serious dangers. It means that a man with qualities that
sway men's emotions and stir their imaginations can attach
to himself the profoundest loyalties for personal or class ends.
The gifts of personal magnetism, of a kindly voice, an air of
confidence and calmness, exuberant vitality, and a sensitivity
to other people's feelings, along with some of the genuine
qualities of effective and expert control of men and affairs,
may be used by a demagogue as well as by a really devoted
servant of the popular good, by an Alcibiades as well as by a
Garibaldi, by a conquering Napoleon as well as by a Lincoln.

Our instincts of following and submission, apart from education,
are as easily aroused by specious signs of social power
and conspicuousness as by signs of mental effectiveness and
genuine altruistic interest. The exploitation of these tendencies
by selfish leaders is therefore particularly easy. The
large circulation of the "yellow press," the power in politics
of the unscrupulous, the selfish, and the second-rate, are
symptoms of how men's natural tendency to follow has been
played upon in support of plans and ambitions which would
not be sanctioned by their reason. The genius for leadership
has been exhibited in criminal gangs, in conquests and in
fanaticism, as well as in the promotion of good government,
of better labor conditions and better education.

But progress in these last-named is dependent on the utilization
of men's submissiveness by leaders interested in the
promotion of desirable social enterprises. While men may be
so easily led, they are responsive to leadership in good
directions as well as bad. No great social movements, the freeing
of slaves, the gaining of universal suffrage, the bettering of
factory conditions, freedom of thought and action, could have
gained headway if men had been born unwilling to follow.
There are (see chapter IX) ineradicable differences in capacity
between men, and if the uninformed and the socially helpless
could not be aroused to follow those great both in mind and
magnanimity, it is difficult to see how the lot of mankind ever
could have, or ever can improve. A good leader may make
men support, out of instinctive loyalty, purposes and plans
which, if they completely understood them, they would support
out of reason. Up to the present most people have been,
and will probably remain for a long time to come, too ill-educated
or too poorly endowed by nature to understand the
bearings of the great social movements in which they are
involved. In consequence, it is a matter of congratulation that
their instinct of submission can be utilized in the interests of
their welfare which they frequently not only do not know how
to obtain, but do not understand. The Roman populace, enchanted
by Augustus, follow him to greatness, without comprehending
the imperial destiny which they are helping to
build. The barbarian hordes affectionately following the
lead of Charlemagne incidentally help to build the whole
edifice of European civilization.

tendency to follow a lead is, of course, his tendency to take it.
Individuals tend to display persistently and conspicuously
just those qualities which will win them the allegiance of

The instinct of self-display is manifested by many of the higher
social or gregarious animals.... Perhaps among mammals the horse
displays it most clearly. The muscles of all parts are strongly
innervated, the creature holds himself erect, his neck is arched, his
tail lifted, his motions become superfluously vigorous and extensive,
he lifts his hoofs high in air as he parades before the eyes of his fellows....
Many children clearly exhibit this instinct of self-display; before
they can walk or talk the impulse finds its satisfaction in the admiring
gaze or plaudits of the family circle as each new acquirement is
practiced; a little later it is still more clearly expressed by the
frequently repeated command, "See me do this," or "See how well I
can do so and so"; and for many a child more than half the delight
of riding on a pony, of wearing a new coat, consists in the satisfaction
of this instinct, and vanishes if there be no spectators.[1]

[Footnote 1: McDougall; _loc. cit._, pp. 62-64.]

Individuals thus instinctively love to stand out from their
fellows, to outdistance and outclass them. And the qualities
of leadership are not infrequently stimulated by this competition
with others, for place, power, distinction. To win the
allegiance and loyal affection of men means that one's own
personality is enhanced; one stands out as a man of affairs, a
social or political leader, a guide to others in action or thought.
As has already been pointed out, the qualities that will win
the submission and loyalty of others vary widely. In the case
of one man it may be a charming smile and a gift of saying
striking and stirring rather than significant things. In the
case of another it may be his air of immense confidence,
restraint, and reserve. It may be brute force or a terrible
earnestness; it may even be, as in the case of certain religious
reformers, extraordinary gentleness. Garibaldi "inspired
among men of the most various temperaments love that
nothing could shake, and devotion that fell little short of
idolatry." "He enjoyed the worship and cast the spell of
a legendary hero." Alcibiades charmed, despite the patent
evil he wrought, by his magical personal beauty and grace.
Vandamme said of Napoleon: "That devil of a man exercises
on me a fascination that I cannot explain to myself, and in
such a degree that, though I fear neither God nor devil, when
I am in his presence I am ready to tremble like a child, and he
could make me go through the eye of a needle to throw myself
into the fire." Augereau is stupefied at their first meeting,
and confesses afterwards that "this little devil of a general"
has inspired him with awe.[1]

[Footnote 1: See chapter XXI on "Personality" in Ross's _Social Control_.]

Men's qualities of leadership depend, however, not only on
their personal charm, but on certain seeming or genuine
symptoms of effectiveness. Evidences of strong determination,
of a sweeping imagination, of calm, of confidence, of
enthusiasm, of qualities possessed by the vast majority only in
minor degrees, win men's admiration and devotion because
they are associated with the ability to accomplish great ends,
to do the unusual, to succeed where most people fail. Most
men are so conscious of their limitations and the difficulties of
any enterprise which they undertake that at any sign of exceptional
talent, whether real or apparent, they will commit
their respect, their energies, and sometimes, as in the case of a
religious crusade, their lives.

For good or evil, the possession, the cultivation, and the
exhibition of the qualities of leadership give men enormous
power. There was in the nineteenth century a historical
fashion, brilliantly exemplified by Carlyle, to assume that
history was made by great men. Latterly, there has been
wide dissent from this simplification of the processes of
history, but it is clear that innovations must be started by
individuals, and that a powerful leader is a matchless instrument
for initiating, and getting wide and enthusiastic support for
changes, whether good or bad. To quote Carlyle's eloquent

For, as I take it, Universal History, the history of what man has
accomplished in this world, is at the bottom the History of the Great
Men who have worked here. They were the leaders of men, ... the
creators of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or to
attain; all things that we see standing accomplished in the world are
properly the outer material result, the practical realization and
embodiment, of thoughts that dwelt in the Great Men sent into the
world: the soul of the whole world's history, it may justly be
considered, was the history of these.... Could we see _them_ well, we
should get some glimpses into the very marrow of the world's

[Footnote 1: Carlyle: _Heroes and Hero-Worship_, Lecture I.]

Later Nietzsche made much of this same idea, of the Superman
striding through the world and changing its destiny,
although in Nietzsche the Superman was an end in himself
rather than the servant of the world in which he lived.

To most historical writers to-day the forces at work in history
are much too complex to be dismissed with any such
simple melodrama. But there remain striking testimonies
of the influence of leaders. The sweep of Mohammedanism
into Europe was initiated by the burning and contagious zeal
of one religious enthusiast. The campaign against slavery
in this country assumed large proportions through the strenuous
leadership of the Garrisons and the Wendell Phillipses.
In our own day we have seen the same phenomenon; the
great political and social changes of the last generation have
all had their special advocates and leaders who, if they were
merely expressing the "spirit of the times," yet did give that
spirit expression. Every reform or revolution has its leading
spirits. That leadership is not the one essential goes without
saying; there have been great guides of repeatedly lost causes.
But many great causes may have been lost through the want
of good leadership.

In contemporary life leadership is not always directly personal,
but is carried on through the medium of the newspapers
and periodicals. But this merely means that a leader
may reach a wider audience; he reaches thousands through
picture and print, instead of hundreds by word of mouth.

Qualities of leadership may be utilized in the support of
the customary or the established, as well as in initiation and
support of the novel. People ape the great, or those that pass
for great, in manners and morals. The words of a distinguished
public man have prestige in the maintenance of the
established. Men _will_ follow, and if the socially conspicuous
lead them along the ways of the established, they will follow
there as readily and, being creatures of habit, often more
readily than along new paths. The immense following among
the lower social classes that the Conservative Party had in
England all through the nineteenth century in the face of
proposed changes that would have bettered their own conditions,
is an interesting illustration of this. This is partly
because the influence of leaders is dependent on their social
status as well as their personal qualities. The opinions of
inventors and big business men are taken with eagerness and
credulity even when touching matters outside their own field.
A man is made, as it were, _ipso facto_, a leader, by being rich,
powerful, of a socially distinguished family, or the director of
a large industry, although he may have, besides, qualities of
leadership that do not depend on his social position.

all human beings exhibit a tendency to protect weak and
suffering things. This impulse is closely related to, and
probably has its origin in the parental instinct, more common, of
course, in women than in men. The feeling of affectionate
pity and the impulse to rescue from pain are most intense
when the distressed thing is a child, and particularly one's
own. One of the most poignant instances extant is the speech
of Andromache, one of the Trojan women in Euripides's play
of that name, to her child who is about to be slain by the

  And none to pity thee!... Thou little thing,
  That curlest in my arms, what sweet scents cling
  All round thy neck! Beloved; can it be
  All nothing, that this bosom cradled thee
  And fostered; all the weary nights wherethrough
  I watched upon thy sickness, till I grew
  Wasted with watching? Kiss me. This one time;
  Not ever again. Put up thine arms and climb
  About my neck; now kiss me, lips to lips...
  O ye have found an anguish that outstrips
  All tortures of the East, ye gentle Greeks!
  Why will ye slay this innocent that seeks
  No wrong?...[1]

[Footnote 1: Euripides: ''Trojan Women'' (Gilbert Murray translation), p. 49.]

But the "tender emotion" as McDougall calls it, is aroused
by other children than one's own, and by others than children.
It is called out particularly by things that are by nature
helpless and delicate, but may be aroused by adults who are
placed in situations where they are suffering and powerless.
Samson, shorn of his strength, has been a traditional occasion
for pathos. The sick, the bereaved, the down-and-outers, the
failures, the forlorn and broken-hearted, call out in most men
an impulse to befriend and protect. Those who have been
dealt with unjustly or severely by their associates and society
and who have no redress, the poverty-stricken, the criminal
who has been punished and remains an exile, the maimed
and deformed, the widow and orphan, all these, arouse, apart
from the restraining force exercised by other instincts and
habits, such as anger and disgust, a natural tendency to pity
and aid.

The parental instinct in its direct and primitive form is
responsible for the closeness of family relations, a most important
consideration in the case of humans who have, as already
discussed, a long period of infancy during which they are
absolutely dependent on their elders. In the higher species,
writes McDougall, "The protection and cherishing of the
young is the constant and all-absorbing occupation of the
mother, to which she devotes all her energies, and in the
course of which she will at any time undergo privation, pain,
and death. The instinct becomes more powerful than any
other, and can override any other, even fear itself."[2] Wherever
the power of the parental instinct has waned, as in Greek
and Roman society, the civilization in which that degeneration
occurred was subjected to rapid decay.[3]

[Footnote 2: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 67.]

[Footnote 3: _Cf. Ibid._, p. 271.]

The parental instinct in its more general form of pity and
protectiveness toward all weak and suffering things is, in the
minds of many moralists, the origin of all altruistic sentiments
and actions, and at the same time the moral indignation
which insists on the punishment of wrong-doers. It is
clearly apparent in such movements as the Societies for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children or to Animals, the antivivisection
crusade, and the like. But according to such a
distinguished moralist as John Stuart Mill, the whole system
of justice and punishment has its origins in this tender feeling
for those who have been wronged.

FEAR. Fear is one of the least specialized of human traits,
being called out in a great variety of situations, and resulting
in a great variety of responses. The most obvious symptom
of fear is flight, but there may be a dozen other responses.
"Crouching, clinging, starting, trembling, remaining stock
still, covering the eyes, opening the mouth and eyes, a temporary
cessation followed by an acceleration of the heart-beat,
difficulty in breathing, paleness, sweating, and erection of the
hair are responses of which certain ones seem bound, apart
from training, to certain situations, such as sudden loud
noises or clutches, the sudden appearance of strange objects,
thunder and lightning, loneliness and the dark."[1]

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _loc. cit._, p. 20.]

In general, the marked physical reactions and deep emotional
disturbance that we call fear are aroused by anything
loud or strange, or that has outward signs of possible danger
to ourselves, such as a large wild animal approaching us. In
civilized man, whose life is comparatively sheltered, there are
considerable individual differences in susceptibility to fear,
and in the intensity with which it controls the individual.
But there are certain typical situations that call it forth.
Among young children, and not much less so among adults,
fear is aroused by any sudden loud noise, by strange men and
strange animals, black things and dark places, "vermin," such
as spiders and snakes, among a great many adults fear of
high places, and, among a few agaraphobia or fear of open
spaces.[1] The deep-seatedness of fear has been explained by
the fact that most of the things which instinctively arouse
fear were, in primitive life, the source of very real danger and
that under those conditions, where it was absolutely essential
to beware of the unfamiliar and the strange, only those animals
survived who were equipped with such a protective
mechanism as fear provides.

[Footnote 1: For a discussion of these, see James: _Psychology_,
vol. II, p. 415 ff.]

The instinct of fear has important social consequences, especially
as its influence is not infrequently clothed over with
reasons. In savage life, as McDougall points out, "fear of
physical punishment inflicted by the anger of his fellows must
have been the great agent of discipline of primitive man;
through such fear he must first have learned to control and
regulate his impulses in conformity with the needs of social
life."[2] In contemporary society fear is not so explicitly
present, but it is still a deep-seated power over men's lives.
Fear of punishment may not be the only reason why citizens
remain law-abiding, but it is an important control over many
of the less intelligent and the less socially minded. In an
unideal society there are still many who will do as much evil as is
"within the law," and fear of the consequences of failing a
course is among some contemporary undergraduates still an
indispensable stimulus of study.

[Footnote 2: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 303.]

Fear plays a part, however, not only in preventing people
from breaking the law, but often from living their lives freely
and after their own convictions. As has been strikingly
pointed out by Hilaire Belloc and Hobson, one of the greatest
evils of our present hit-or-miss methods of employment is
the fear of "losing his job," the uncomfortable feeling of
insecurity often felt by the workingman who, having so
frequently nothing to store up against a rainy day, lives in
perpetual fear of sickness or discharge.

In earlier times fear of the consequences of expressing dissent
from established opinions and beliefs was one of the
chief sources of social inertia. Where excommunication, torture,
and death followed dissent, it is not surprising that men
feared to be dissenters. In contemporary society under
normal conditions men have much less to fear in the way of
punishment, but may accept the traditional and conventional
because they fear the consequences of being different,
even if those consequences are not anything more serious than
a personal snub.

While men fear to dissent because of the disapproval to
which they may be subjected, dissent, the novel and strange
in action and opinion are themselves feared by most men
because of the unknown and unpredictable consequences to
which they may lead. Men were at first afraid of the steam-engine
and the locomotive. Men still fear novel political and
social ideas before they can possibly understand what they
have to be afraid of. The fact that thought so continually
turns up the novel and the strange is, according to Bertrand
Russell, precisely the reason why most men are afraid to
think. And fear of the novel, the strange, the unaccustomed
is, as in the case of many other instincts, a perfectly natural
means of protection that would otherwise have to be sought
by elaborate processes of reason. In what we call prudence,
caution, and care, fear undoubtedly plays some part, and
Plato long ago pointed out it is only the fool, not the brave
man, who is utterly unafraid.[l]

[Footnote 1: _Protagoras_.]

Psychologists may be said to differ largely as to the utility
of fear. They are nearly all agreed that in the forest life
which was man's originally, fear had its specific marked
advantages. Open spaces, dark caverns, loud noises were
undoubtedly associated very frequently with danger to the
primitive savage, and an instinctive recoil from these centers
of disaster was undoubtedly of survival value. But there is
an increasing tendency to discount the utility of fear in civilized
life. "Many of the manifestations of fear must be
regarded as pathological, rather than useful.... A certain
amount of timidity obviously adapts us to the world we live
in, but the _fear paroxysm_ is surely altogether harmful to him
who is its prey."[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Psychology_, vol. II, p. 419.]

Fear and worry, which is a continuous form of fear, in general
hinder action rather than promote it. In its extreme
form it brings about complete paralysis, as in the case of
terror-stricken hunted animals. When humans or animals are
utterly terrified even death may result. This fact that fear
hinders action, sometimes most seriously, seems to some
philosophic writers, especially Bertrand Russell, a key fact
for social life. "No institution," he writes, "inspired by
fear, can further life."[2] And in another connection: "In the
world as we have been imagining it, economic fear will be removed
out of life.... No one will be haunted by the dread of
poverty.... The unsuccessful professional man will not live
in terror lest his children should sink in the scale.... In such
a world, most of the terrors that lurk in the background of
men's minds will no longer exist."[3] "In the daily lives of most
men and women, fear plays a _greater part than hope. It is not
so that life should be lived_."[4]

[Footnote 2: Bertrand Russell: _Why Men Fight_, p. 180.]

[Footnote 3: Russell: _Proposed Roads to Freedom_, p. 203.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid._, p. 186. (Italics mine.)]

LOVE AND HATE. All human relations are qualified by the
presence, more or less intense, of emotion. Human beings
are not merely so many items that are coldly counted and
handled, as one counts and handles pounds of sugar and
pieces of machinery. A man may thus regard human beings
when he deals with them in mass, or thinks of them in statistical
tables or in the routine of a government office. But
human beings experience some emotional accompaniment in
their dealings with individuals, especially when face to face,
and experience more especially, in varying degrees, the emotions
of love or hate. These terms are here used in the general
sense of the receptive, positive, or expansive attitude and the
cold, negative, repellent, and contractual attitude toward
others. These may both be intense and consciously noted, as
in the case of long-cherished and deep affections or antipathies
to different individuals. They may appear as a half-realized
sense of pleasure in the mere presence and poise of a
person, or a curious sense of discomfort and irritation at his
appearance, his voice, or his gesture. These attitudes, even
when slight, color and qualify our relations with other
individuals. They may, in their larger manifestations, play so
large a part, that they must be considered separately, and in

LOVE. Love, used in this broad sense, varies in intensity.
It may be nothing more--it certainly frequently starts as
nothing more--than the feeling, so native as to be fairly
called instinctive, of common sympathy, fellow feeling,
immediate affinity with another. The psychological origins of
this disposition have already been noted in connection with
man's tendency to experience sympathetically immediately
the emotions of others. Every business man, lawyer, teacher,
any one who comes much into contact with a wide variety
of people, knows how, antecedent to any experience with an
individual's capacities or talents, or even before one had a
chance to draw any inferences from a person's walk, his bearing,
or his clothing, one may register an immediate like or dislike.
Every one has had the experience in crossing a college
campus or riding in a train or street car of noting, in passing
some one whom one has never seen before, an immediate
reaction of good-will and affection. This has been charmingly
expressed by a well-known English poet:

  "The street sounds to the soldiers' tread,
     And out we troop to see;
   A single redcoat turns his head,
     He turns and looks at me.

  "My man, from sky to sky's so far,
     We never crossed before;
   Such leagues apart the world's ends are,
     We're like to meet no more.

  "What thoughts at heart have you and I,
     We cannot stop to tell;
   But dead or living, drunk or dry,
     Soldier, I wish you well."[1]

[Footnote 1: A. E. Housman: _The Shropshire Lad_ (John Lane edition), p. 32.]

All affection for individuals probably starts in this immediate
instinctive liking. "The first note that gives sociability a
personal quality and raises the comrade into an incipient
friend is doubtless sensuous affinity. Whatever reaction we
may eventually make on an impression, after it has had time
to soak in and to merge in some practical or intellectual
habit, its first assault is always on the senses; and no sense is
an indifferent organ. Each has, so to speak, its congenial
rate of vibration, and gives its stimuli a varying welcome.
Little as we may attend to these instinctive hospitalities of
sense, they betray themselves in unjustified likes and dislikes
felt for casual persons and things, in the _je ne sais quai_
that makes instinctive sympathy."[2] From this immediate
instinctive liking it may rise to deep personal attachments,
strikingly manifested in friendship and love between the
sexes, both immemorially celebrated by poets and novelists.
Love is aroused chiefly by persons, and among persons,
especially in the case of sexual love, most frequently by more or
less physical beauty and attractiveness. But affection may
be aroused and is certainly sustained by other than merely
physical qualities.

[Footnote 2: Santayana: _Reason in Society_, p. 151.]

It is provoked by what we call personal or social charm, a
genuine kindliness of manner, an open-handed sincerity and
frankness, considerateness, gentleness, whimsicality. Which
particular social graces will win our affections depends of
course on our own interests, equipment, and fund of instinctive
and acquired sympathies. Popular psychology has in
various proverbs hit at and not entirely missed some of the
obvious and contradictory elements: "Opposites attract,"
"Birds of a feather flock together," and so on. Intellectual
qualities, in persons of marked intellectual interests, will also
sustain friendship and deepen an instinctive liking. Friendships
thus begin in accident and are continued through community
of interest. It is to be questioned whether merely
striking intellectual qualities initiate a friendship. They may
command admiration and respect, but liking, friendship, and
love have a more emotional and personal basis.

This same warm affectionate appreciation that nearly all
people have for other persons, fewer people--great poets,
philosophers, and enthusiastic leaders of men--have for
causes, institutions, and ideas. One feels in the works of great
thinkers the same warmth and loyalty to ideas and causes
that ordinary people display toward their friends. Plato has
given for all time the progress of love from attachment to a
single individual through to institutions, ideas, and what he
called mystically the idea of beauty itself.

For he who would proceed rightly in this matter should begin in
youth to turn to beautiful forms; and first, if his instructor guide
him rightly, he should learn to love one such form only--out of that
he should create fair thoughts, and soon he will himself perceive that
the beauty of one form is truly related to the beauty of another,
and then if beauty in general is his pursuit, how foolish would he be
not to recognize that the beauty in every form is one and the same!
And when he perceives this he will abate his violent love of the one,
which he will despise and deem a small thing, and will become a lover
of all beautiful forms; this will lead him on to consider that the
beauty of the mind is more honorable than the beauty of the outward
form. So that if a virtuous soul have but a little comeliness, he will
be content to love and tend him... until his beloved is compelled
to contemplate and see the beauty of institutions and laws, and
understand that all is of one kindred; and that personal beauty is
only a trifle; and after laws and institutions, he will lead him on to
the sciences, that he may see their beauty... until at length he
grows and waxes strong, and at last the vision is revealed to him of a
single science which is the science of beauty everywhere.[l]

[Footnote 1: Plato: _Symposium_ (Jowett translation), p. 502.]

There have been again great scientists who have had the
same warm affectionate devotion for their subject-matter
that most men display toward persons. There are scholars
almost literally in love with their subjects. There have been
a greater number whose capacity for affection has extended to
include the whole human race, and, indeed, all animate creation.
Such a type of character is beautifully exemplified in
Saint Francis of Assisi:

In Francis all living creatures may truly be said to have found a
friend and benefactor; his great heart embraced all the men and
women who sought his sympathy and advice, and his pity for the
dumb helplessness of suffering animals was deep and true. He would
lift the worm from his path lest a careless foot should crush it, and
would encourage his "little sister grasshopper" to perch upon his
hand, and chirp her song to his gentle ear. He tamed the fierce wolf
of Gubbio, and fed the robins with crumbs from his table.[1]

[Footnote 1: Goff and Kerr-Lawson: _Assisi of Saint Francis_, p. 121.]

And Christ stands, of course, in the Christian world, as the
supreme symbol of love for mankind.

In ordinary men it is this generalized affection which is at
the basis of any sustained interest in philanthropic or altruistic
enterprises. No less than a large and generous affection for
humanity is required to enable men to endure for long the
dreariness and disillusion so often incident to philanthropic
work, the conflicts and disappointments of public administration.
Certainly this is true of the first rank of statesmen; no
characterization of Lincoln fails to emphasize his essential
humanity and tenderness.

Disinterested love for humanity is normally most intense
in the adolescent.[2] The pressure of private concerns, of one's
narrowing interest in one's own career, one's own family, and
small circle of friends, the restriction of one's sympathies by
fixed habits and circumscribed experience, all tend to dampen
by middle age the ardor of the man who as an undergraduate
at eighteen set out to make the world "a better place to live
in." But more effective in dampening enthusiasm is the disillusion
and weariness that set in after a period of exuberant
and romantic benevolence to mankind in general. "We
call pessimists," writes a contemporary French philosopher,
"those who are in reality only disillusioned optimists."[1] So
the cynic may be fairly described as a disheartened lover of
men. It is only an unusual gift of affectionate good-will
that enables mature men, after rough and disillusioning experiences
in public life, to maintain without sentimentality a genuine
and persistent interest in the welfare of others. Those in
whom the fund of human kindness is slender will, and easily
do, become cynical and hard.

[Footnote 2: Simeon Strunsky has somewhere remarked: "At eighteen
a man is interested in causes; at twenty-eight in commutation

[Footnote 1: Georges Sorel: _Reflection on Violence_ (English
translation), p. 9.]

The attitude of affection for others is profoundly influential
in stimulating our interest in specific individuals, and modifying
our attitudes toward them. We cannot help being more
interested in those for whom we entertain affection than in
those to whom we are indifferent. In the same way our judgments
of our own friends, families, and children are qualified
by our affection for them. Parents and lovers are notoriously
partial, and a fair judgment of the work of our friends
demands unusual clarity, determination, and poise.

In a larger way the generally friendly attitude towards
others, genial expansive receptivity, is at the basis of what is
called "charity for human weakness." The gentle cynic can
see and tolerate other men's weaknesses:

 "He knows how much of what men paint themselves
  Would blister in the light of what they are;
  He sees how much of what was great now shares
  An eminence transformed and ordinary;
  He knows too much of what the world has hushed
  In others, to be loud now for himself."[2]

[Footnote 2: Edwin Arlington Robinson: "Ben Jonson Entertains a Man
from Stratford," in his _Man Against the Sky_.]

The devoutly religious have displayed keen psychological
insight when they made man's salvation dependent on God's
charity, and identified, as did Dante, charity with love.[3]

[Footnote 3: "Love and the gentle heart are one and the same thing."
_The New Life_. XX (son XI) _Amore e cor gentile son una cosa._
To Dante the spontaneous impulse to love is the basis of all altruism.
To feel and to follow this impulse is to be truly noble, to have a
"_cor gentile_," a gentle heart.]

HATE. Hate may be described as an extreme form of disaffection
usually provoked by some marked interference with
our activities, desires, or ideals. But in less intense degree
the negative feeling towards others may be provoked immediately
and unmistakably by most casual evidence of voice,
manner, or bearing. Such immediate revulsions of feeling
contrast with the instances of "instinctive sympathy" previously
cited, and are as direct and uncontrollable. Even
kindly disposed persons cannot help experiencing in the presence
of some persons they have never seen before, a half-conscious
thrill of repulsion or a dislike colored with dread.
A shifting gaze, a noticeably pretentious manner, a marked
obsequiousness, a grating voice, a chillness of demeanor, a
physical deformity, these, however little they may have to do
with a person's genuine qualities, do affect our attitudes toward
them. As the familiar verse has it:

 "I do not like you, Dr. Fell,
  The reason why I cannot tell,
  But this I know, and know full well,
  I do not like you, Dr. Fell."

We may later revise our estimates, but the initial reaction
is made, and often remains as a subconscious qualification of
our general attitude toward another. People of worldly experience
learn to trust their first reactions, to "size a man up"
almost intuitively, and to be surprised if their first impressions
go astray.

From this merely instinctive revulsion the negative attitude
may rise to that terrible form of destructive antipathy
which is "hate," as popularly understood. In between lie
degrees of dislike depending partly on the strength of the
initial antipathy, but equally so on the degree to which others,
whether persons, institutions, or ideas, interfere with our
activities, desires, or ideals. The man who seriously obstructs
our love, our pleasure, or our ambition, or who tries to do so,
provokes hate, and its concomitants of jealousy, rage, and
pugnacity. It is not only that we dislike the mere presence
of the person (in the opposite case the mere presence of the
beloved object is a joy), but we dislike it for what it portends
in danger and threat to ourselves. The more serious the evil
or disaster for which a person comes to stand, the more violent
the hatred for him, despite his personal fascinations.
The villain is not infrequently a "damned smiling villain."

The provocation of hate is complicated by the fact that it
is closely associated with fear. We dislike those who threaten
our happiness partly because we fear them. And we fear, as
was pointed out in more detail in the discussion of that powerful
human trait, the unfamiliar, the strange, the startling, the
unexpected. The facility with which sensational newspapers
can work up in an ignorant population a hate for foreign
nations, especially those of a totally alien civilization, is made
possible by the fear which these uninformed readers can feel
at the dangerous possibilities of mysterious foreign hordes.
The fomenting of fear is in nearly all such cases a prerequisite
to the fomenting of hate. And the promotion of hate has
historically been one of the frequent ingredients of international

Like love, hate is profoundly influential in modifying our
interest in persons and situations. To dislike a person moderately
is, in his absence, to be indifferent to him. To dislike
him intensely, in a sense increases our interest in him, though
perversely. Just as we wish the beloved person to succeed, to
gain honor and reputation and wealth, so we long for and
rejoice in the downfall and discomfiture of our enemies. Thus
writes the Psalmist:

Arise, O Lord, save me, my God; for thou has smitten all mine
enemies upon the cheekbone; thou hast broken the teeth of the

Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies that I might
destroy those that hate me.

Hate may be directed against persons, and usually it is.
But hatred may be directed against institutions and ideas as
well. For many persons it will be impossible for a decade to
listen to German music or the German language, so closely
have these become associated in their minds with ideas and
practices which they detest. To a dogmatic Calvinist in the
sixteenth century, both an heretical creed and its practitioners,
were objects of abomination. Disappointed men may
take out in a spleen and hatred of mankind their personal
pique and balked desires.

Great hates may be present at the same time and in
the same persons as great loves. Indeed for some persons
strength in the one passion is impossible without a corresponding
strength in its opposite. We cannot help hating,
more or less, not only those who interfere with our own welfare,
but with the welfare of those who, being dear to us, have
become, as we say, a part of our lives. Thus writes Bertrand
Russell in the introduction to his treatment of some of the
radical social tendencies of our own day:

Whatever bitterness or hate may be found in the movements which
we are to examine, it is not bitterness or hate, but love, that is their
mainspring. It is difficult not to hate those who torture the objects
of our love. Though difficult, it is not impossible; but it requires a
breadth of outlook, and a comprehensiveness of understanding which
are not easy to preserve amid a desperate contest.[1]

[Footnote 1: Russell: _Proposed Roads to Freedom_, pp. xvii-xviii.]

Hate may thus be, as great religious and social reformers
illustrate, invoked on the side of good as well as evil. The
prophets burned with a "righteous indignation." But hate
is a violent and consuming passion, bent on destroying
obstacles rather than solving problems. It consumes in hatred
for individuals such energy as might more expeditiously be
devoted to the improvement of the circumstances which
make people do the mean or small or blind actions which
arouse our wrath. The complete meekness and humility
preached by Christ have not been taken literally by the
natively pugnacious peoples of Europe. But as James says

"Love your enemies!" Mark you not simply those who do not
happen to be your friends, but your _enemies_, your positive and active
enemies. Either this is a mere Oriental hyperbole, a bit of verbal
extravagance, meaning only that we should, in so far as we can,
abate our animosities, or else it is sincere and literal. Outside of
certain cases of intimate individual relation, it seldom has been
taken literally. Yet it makes one ask the question: Can there in
general be a level of emotion so unifying, so obliterative of differences
between man and man, that even enmity may come to be an irrelevant
circumstance and fail to inhibit the friendlier interests aroused.
If positive well-wishing could attain so supreme a degree of excitement,
those who were swayed by it might well seem superhuman
beings. Their life would be morally discrete from the lives of other
men, and there is no saying... what the effects might be: they
might conceivably transform the world.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Varieties of Religious Experience_, p. 283.]

Dislikes, disagreements, native antipathies are not to be
abolished, human differences being ineradicable and human
interests, even in an ideal society, being in conflict. But a
keener appreciation of other viewpoints, which is possible
through education, a less violent concern with one's own
personal interests to the exclusion of all others, may greatly reduce
the amount of hate current in the world, and free men's
energies in passions more positive in their fruits.



PRIVACY AND SOLITUDE. Although one of man's most powerful
tendencies, as has already been pointed out, is his desire to
be with his fellows, this desire is not unqualified. Just as men
can be satiated with too much eating, and irritated by too
much inactivity, so men become "fed up" with companionship.
The demand for solitude and privacy is thus fundamentally
a physiological demand, like the demand for rest.
"The world is too much with us," especially the human world.
Companionship, even of the most desirable kind, exhausts
nervous energy, and may become positively fatiguing and
painful. To crave solitude is thus not a sign of man's
unsociability, but a sign merely that sociability, like any other human
tendency, becomes annoying, if too long or too strenuously
indulged. Much of the neurasthenia of city life has been
attributed to the continual contact with other people, and the
total inability of most city dwellers to secure privacy for any
considerable length of time. In some people a lifelong habit
of close contact with large numbers of people makes them
abnormally gregarious, so that solitude, the normal method of
recuperation from companionship, becomes unbearable. Few
city dwellers have not felt after a period of isolation in some
remote country place the need for the social stimulus of the
city. But a normal human life demands a certain proportion
of solitude just as much as it demands the companionship of

With the spread of education and the general enhancement
of the sense of personal selfhood and individuality among
large numbers of people, the demand for privacy has increased.
The modern reader is shocked to discover in the
literature of the Elizabethan period the amazing lack of a
sense of privacy there exhibited. In contemporary society
this sense and the possibility of its satisfaction are variously
displayed on different economic and social levels. In the
congested life of the tenements it is almost impossible, and many
social evils are to be traced to the promiscuous mingling of
large families (and sometimes additional boarders) in
congested quarters.

The demand for privacy and solitude becomes acute among
people who do a great deal of mental work. "Man," says
Nietzsche, "cannot think in a herd," and the thinker has
traditionally been pictured as a solitary man. This is because
quiet seems to be, for most men, an essential condition of
really creative thought. There are some men who find it
impossible to write when there is another person, even one of
whom they are fond, in the same room. "No man," writes
Mr. Graham Wallas, "is likely to produce creative thoughts
(either consciously or subconsciously) if he is constantly
interrupted by irregular noises." Constant association with
other people means, moreover, continual distraction by
conversation which seriously interrupts a consecutive train of
thought. The insistence in public and college reading rooms
on absolute quiet is a device for securing as nearly as may
be privacy in intellectual work.

Privacy is again demanded as a matter of emotional protection
in individuals in whom there is a highly sensitive development
of personal selfhood. We like to keep our concerns to
ourselves, or to share them only with those with whom we
have a marked community of interest and feeling. Children
love to "have secrets they won't tell," and older people,
especially sensitive and intelligent ones, feel a peculiar sense of
irritation at having their personal affairs and feelings publicly
displayed. Nearly everyone must recall occasions where he
was vividly communicative and loquacious with a friend, only
to relapse into a clam-like silence on the entry of a third person.
This is primarily due to the fact that while men are by
nature gregarious, their gregariousness early becomes specialized
and aroused exclusively by people for whom they develop
a sense of personal affection and common sympathy. Any
intrusion from without this circle becomes an intrusion upon

An almost universal human trait of considerable social consequence
is the satisfaction men experience in having objects
that are their own. Both animals and humans, apart from
training, display a tendency to get and hold objects. This
tendency may take extreme forms, as in the case of miserliness
or kleptomania. It is evidenced in special ways in the
collections that children, and some grown-ups, make of
miscellaneous objects without any particular use, and with no
particular æsthetic value.

The objects which satisfy this instinct of possession may
include material goods, family, or larger groups. In primitive
tribes under the patriarchal system, the patriarch practically
owns the tribe. Our laws not so long ago recognized
the marriage relation as a state in which the wife is
possessed or owned by the husband.

Possession gives the owner various kinds of satisfaction.
The instinctive satisfaction in possession itself may be quite
irrespective of the values of the objects owned, and deprivation
may be fiercely resisted out of all proportion to the value
of the objects. Especially will this be the case if the object
possessed has become surrounded with other emotional
attachments, so that an individual may be as bitterly chagrined
and piqued by being deprived of some slight memoir or keepsake
as of a large sum of money. In the same way the fighting
spirit of a whole tribe or nation may be aroused by the
invasion or seizure of a small and unimportant bit of land, or by
the chance of its possession.

The instinctive sense of satisfaction, as in the last mentioned
case is enhanced by the sense of importance which
comes from possession, and which enhances one's own individuality
and personality. A man's vast holdings in wealth,
land, factories, machinery, or private estates is, in a sense,
regarded by him as an extension of his personality. He is
confirmed in this impression because it is so regarded by his
neighbors and the whole social group. A great landowner is
a celebrity throughout the countryside, and, as Mr. Veblen
points out, a large part of the luxurious display and expenditure
of the leisure classes is their way of publicly and conspicuously
indicating the amount of their possessions.

As in the case of any other strong native tendency, interference
with the instinct of acquisition, whether displayed by
the individual or the group, provokes often fierce anger and
bitter combat. The history of wars of aggrandizement
throughout the history of Europe are testimonies to the
efficacy of this instinct at least in the initiation of war.

The progress of civilization beyond its earliest states is
held, by some sociologists and economists, to be ascribed to
the power of the acquisitive instinct. The acquisition of
material wealth or capital, the development of the institution
of private property with its concomitant individual development
of land and natural resources is maintained by Lester
Ward to be of paramount importance in social advance:

... Objects of desire multiplied themselves and their possession
became an end of effort. Slowly the notion of property came into
being and in acquiring this, as history shows, the larger share of all
human energy has been absorbed. The ruling passion has for a
time long anterior to any recorded annals always been proprietary
acquisition.... Both the passion and the means of satisfying it were
conditions to the development of society itself, and rightly viewed
they have also been leading factors in civilization.[1]

[Footnote 1: Lester Ward: _The Psychic Factors of Civilization_, p. 156.]

There are many other motives to activity than acquisition,
but there are many evidences of its intense operation even in
modern society. Many men go on working long after they have
money enough to enable them to live in comfort, merely
for the further satisfaction of this impulse. "While in the
course of satisfaction of most other desires, the point of satiety
is soon reached, the demands of this one grow greater without
limit, so that it knows no satiety."[1]

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 323.]

The power of this tendency to personal acquisition and
possession seems an obstacle to all thoroughly communistic
forms of political and social organization. The conception of
a state where nobody owns anything, but where all is owned
in common--an idea which has been repeated in many modern
forms of socialism and communism, fails to note this powerful
human difficulty. Many socialist writers, it must be
noted, however, point out that they wish social ownership of
the means of production rather than of every item of personal
property, such as books, clothing, and the like.

display with regard to their opinions and beliefs the same passionate
attachment that they exhibit with regard to their
physical possessions. Like the latter, these come to be regarded
as an extension of the individual's personality, and
the same tenacious defense may be made of them as of a house,
land, or money.

Individual opinions and beliefs are not themselves possessions,
from a social point of view, so much as is the right to
express them. A man's private opinion may influence his
own conduct; his conduct itself may be an expression of
opinion. But unless an opinion is communicated, it cannot
influence any one else's conduct, and society has never been
much concerned about opinions that an individual harbored
strictly in his own bosom. Silence, socially, is as good as
assent. The insistence on the right to one's own opinions
becomes, therefore, an insistence on the right or the freedom to
express them.[2] This right is cherished in varying degrees by
different individuals in different ages. It becomes pronounced
in persons in whom there is marked development
of individuality, and, in general, where, as in Anglo-Saxon
countries, a social and political tradition of liberty and
individuality has become very powerful.

[Footnote 2: Beliefs and opinions may come to be regarded as
important personal possessions in themselves, as in the case
of rival claimants to some theory or idea, as in the case of
Leibnitz's and Newton's dispute over the calculus.]

Individuality in opinion and belief becomes critical chiefly
when the opinions and beliefs expressed are at variance with
those generally current among the group. For reasons already
discussed in connection with man's instinctive gregariousness
and the emotional sway which habits of thought have
over men, dissent is regarded with suspicion. Especially is
this the case where the dissenting opinions have to do with
new social organization and custom. The psychological
causes of this opposition are various, but include among other
things a positive feeling of fear.

It is only recently that men have been abandoning the belief that
the welfare of a state depends on rigid stability and on the
preservation of its traditions and institutions unchanged. Wherever that
belief prevails, novel opinions are felt to be dangerous as well as
annoying, and any one who asks inconvenient questions about the
why and the wherefore of accepted principles is considered a pestilent

[Footnote 1: Bury: _History of Freedom of Thought_, p. 9.]

Throughout history there has been a long struggle for
freedom of thought and discussion, and there have been great
landmarks in the degree with which freedom was attained,
and the fields wherein it was permitted. For a long time in
the history of Europe, dissent from the prevailing opinion on
religious matters was regarded both as abominable and socially
dangerous, and was severely punished. Since the middle
of the nineteenth century there has been no legal punishment
provided for dissent from established opinions in
religion, although penalties for heterodoxy in countries where
religious opinion is strong and fairly unanimous may be
exerted in other ways. In social matters also, there has
practically ceased to be legal coercion of opinion.[2] The argument
for the suppression of individual opinion has been tersely
summarized by the author above quoted:

[Footnote 2: Except in the recent period of excitement and stress
during the Great War, when suppression of opinion was, for better
or for worse, taken as a measure of national defense.]

Those who have the responsibility of governing a society can argue
that it is incumbent on them to prohibit the circulation of pernicious
opinions as to prohibit any anti-social actions. They can argue that
a man may do far more harm by propagating anti-social doctrines
than by stealing his neighbor's horse or making love to his neighbor's
wife. They are responsible for the welfare of the State, and if they
are convinced that an opinion is dangerous... it is their duty to
protect society against it as against any other danger.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bury: _loc. cit._, p. 13.]

have been many notable documents in support of the belief
that society is the gainer and not the loser by permitting and
encouraging individuality in thought and belief. The following,
taken from one of the most famous of these, John Stuart
Mill's _Essay on Liberty_, was written to illustrate the fatal
results of prohibiting dissenting opinions merely because most
people think or call them immoral:

Mankind can hardly be too often reminded that there was once a
man named Socrates, between whom and the legal authorities and
public opinion of his time there took place a memorable collision.
Born in an age and country abounding in individual greatness, this
man has been handed down to us by those who best knew both him
and the age, as the most virtuous man in it.... This acknowledged
master of all the eminent thinkers who have since lived--whose
fame, still growing after two thousand years, all but outweighs the
whole remainder of the names which make his native city illustrious--was
put to death by his countrymen, after a judicial conviction,
for impiety and immorality. Impiety, in denying the gods recognized
by the State.... Immorality, in being, by his doctrines and
instructions, a "corrupter of youth." Of these charges the tribunal,
there is every ground for believing, honestly found him guilty, and
condemned the man who probably of all then born had deserved best
of mankind to be put to death as a criminal.[2]

[Footnote 2: J. S. Mill: _Essay on Liberty_, chap. II.]

Every important step in human progress has been a variation
from the normal or accustomed, something new. Most
advances in science have been departures from older and
accustomed ways of thinking. Through the permission and
encouragement of individual variation in opinion we may
discover in the first place that accepted beliefs are wrong.
Galileo thought differently from the accepted Ptolemaic
astronomy of his day, and the demonstration of his diverging
belief proved the Ptolemaic astronomy to be wrong. The
evolutionary theory, bitterly attacked in its day, replaced
Cuvier's doctrine of the forms of life upon earth coming about
through a series of successive catastrophes. Lyell, in the face
of the whole scientific world of his day, insisted on the gradual
and uniform development of the earth's surface. Half the
scientific doctrines now accepted as axiomatic were bitterly
denounced when they were first suggested by an inquiring

Milton in his famous _Areopagitica_, an address to Parliament
written in 1644, protesting against the censorship of
printing, stressed the importance of permitting liberty for the
securing and developing of new ideas:

What should ye do then, should ye suppress all this flowery crop
of knowledge and new light sprung up and yet springing daily in this
city? Should ye set an oligarchy of twenty engrossers [censors] over
it, to bring a famine upon our minds again, when we shall know nothing
but what is measured us by their bushel? ... That our hearts
are now more capacious, our thoughts more erected to the search and
expectation of greatest and exactest things, is the issue of your own
virtue propagated in us; ye cannot suppress that unless ye reënforce
an abrogated and merciless law.... Give me the liberty to know, to
utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.[1]

[Footnote 1: Milton: _Areopagitica_.]

Even if the currently accepted doctrines prove to be true,
there is, as Mill pointed out, a vast social utility in permitting
the expression of contrary opinion though it be an error.
New ideas, however extreme, "may and commonly do possess
some portion of truth"; they bring to light and emphasize
some aspect or point of view which prevailing theories fail to
note. Thus the possible over-emphasis of certain contemporary
writers on the socialization of man's life is a valuable
corrective to the equal over-emphasis on individualism which
was current among so many thinkers during the nineteenth
century. The insistence with which present-day psychologists
call our attention to the power of instinct, though it may
possibly be over-emphasized, counterbalances that tendency
exhibited by such earlier authors as Bentham to picture man
as a purely rational being, whose every action was determined
by sheer logic.

Finally, unless doctrines are subjected to criticism and
inquiry, no matter how beneficial they are to society, they
will become merely futile and empty formulæ with very little
beyond a mechanical influence on people's lives. The maxims
of conventional morality and religion which everybody
believes and few practice are solemnly bandied about with
little comprehension of their meaning and no tendency to act
upon them. A belief becomes, as Mill pointed out, living,
vital, and influential in the clash of controversy. Whether
novel and dissenting doctrines are true or false, therefore, the
encouragement of their expression provides vitality and
variation without which progress is not possible.

The social appreciation of persons who display marked individual
opinions varies in different ages toward the same
individual. The martyr stoned to death by one generation
becomes the hero and prophet of the next. One has but to
look back at the contemporary vilification and ridicule to
which Lincoln was subjected to find an illustration. Or, on
a more monumental scale:

The event which took place on Calvary rather more than eighteen
hundred years ago. The man who left on the memory of those who
witnessed his life and conversation such an impression of his moral
grandeur that eighteen subsequent centuries have done homage to
him as the Almighty in person, was ignominiously put to death, as
what? As a blasphemer.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Essay on Liberty_, chap. II.]

One would suppose that men would have learned not only
to tolerate and be receptive to novelty in belief after these
repeatedly tardy recognitions of greatness. There are dozens
of instances in the history of religious, social, and political
belief, of men and women who, suppressed with the bitterest
cruelty in one generation, have been in effect, and sometimes
in fact, canonized by posterity. And a certain degree of tolerance
and receptiveness has come to be the result. But
while we no longer burn religious and social heretics,
condemnation is still meted out in some form of ostracism.
Prejudice, custom, and special interest frequently move men
to suppress in milder ways extremists, expression of whose
opinions seems to them, as unusual opinions have frequently
seemed, fraught only with the greatest of harm.



The expression of individuality in opinion is only one way
men have of expressing their personality, individuality, or
self. From the beginnings of childhood, men experience an
increasing sense of "personal selfhood" which finds various
outlets in action or thought. So familiar, indeed, in the normal
man is his realization that he is a "self," that it seldom
occurs to him that this conception was an attainment gradually
accomplished through long years of experience with the
world about him. The very young baby does not distinguish
between Itself and the Not-Self which constitutes the
remainder of the universe. It is nothing but a stream of
experiences, of moment to moment pulsations of desire, of
hunger and satisfaction, of bodily comfort and bodily pain. As it
grows older, it begins dimly to distinguish between Itself and
Everything-Else; it finds itself to be something different,
more vivid, more personal and interesting than the chairs and
tables, the crib and bottle, the faces and hands, the smiles and
rattles that are its familiar setting. It discovers that "I am
I," and that everything else ministers to or frustrates or remains
indifferent to its desires. It becomes a person rather
than a bundle of reactions. It develops a consciousness of

In its simplest form this consciousness of self is nothing
more than a continuous stream of inner organic sensations,
and the constant process of the body and limbs "and the
special interest of these as the seat of various pleasures and
pains." This is what James calls the "bodily self." As it
grows older, the baby distinguishes between persons and
things. And as, in setting off his own body from other things,
it discovers its "bodily self," so in setting off its own opinions,
actions, and thoughts from other people, it discovers its "social
self." It is because Nature does in some degree the
"giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us," that we do
discover our "selves" at all. "The normal human being, if it
were possible for him to grow up from birth onward in a purely
physical environment, deprived, that is, to say, of both animal
and human companionship, would develop but a very
crude and rudimentary idea of the self."[1]

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _loc. cit._, p. 183.]

THE SOCIAL SELF. A man's social self, that is, his consciousness
of himself as set over against all the other individuals
with whom he comes in contact, develops as his relations
with other people grow more complex and various. A man's
self, apart from his mere physical body, consists in his peculiar
organization of instincts and habits. In common language
this constitutes his personality or character. We can infer
from it what he will, as we say, characteristically do in any
given situation. And a particular organization of instincts
and habits is dependent very largely on the individual's social
experience, on the types and varieties of contact with
other people that he has established. There will be differences,
it goes without saying, that depend on initial differences
in native capacity. But both the consciousness of self and
the overt organization of instinctive and habitual actions are
dependent primarily on the groups with which an individual
comes in contact. In the formation of habits, both of action
and thought, the individual is affected, as we have seen,
largely by praise and blame. He very early comes to detect
signs of approval and disapproval, and both his consciousness
of his individuality and the character of that individuality
are, in the case of most persons, largely determined by these
outward signs of the praise and blame of others. And since,
in normal experience, a man comes into contact with several
distinct groups, with varying codes of conduct, he will really
have a number of distinct personalities. The professor is a
different man in his class and at his club; the judge displays a
different character in the court and in the bosom of his family.

The self that comes to be most characteristic and distinctive
of a man, however, is determined by the group with
which he comes most habitually in contact, or to whose approvals
he has become most sensitive. Thus there develop
certain typical personalities or characters, such as those of
the typical lawyer or soldier or judge. Their bearing, action,
and consciousness of self are determined by the approvals
and disapprovals of the group to which they are most
completely and intimately exposed.

Both the consciousness of self which most men experience
and the overt expression of that selfhood in act are thus seen
to be a more or less direct reflex of the praise and blame of the
groups with which they are in contact. Men learn from
experience with the praise and blame of others to "place"
themselves socially, to discover in the mirror of other men's
opinions the status and locus of their own lives. As we shall
see in a succeeding section, the degree of satisfaction which
men experience in their consciousness of themselves is dependent
intimately on the praise and blame by which their
selfhood is, in the first place, largely determined. In the
chapter on the "Social Nature of Man," we examined in some
detail the way in which praise and blame modified a man's
habits. The total result of this process is to give a man a
certain fixed set of overt habits that constitute his character and
a more or less fixed consciousness of that character.

On the other hand, a man's character and self-consciousness
may develop more or less independently of the immediate
forces of the public opinion to which he is exposed. One
comes in contact in the course of his experience not merely
with his immediate contemporaries, but with a wide variety
of moral traditions. Except in the rigidly custom-bound life
of primitive societies, a man is, even in practical life, exposed
to a diversity of codes, standards, and expectations of behavior.
His family, his professional, his political, and his social
groups expose him to various kinds of emphases and accent
in behavior. And a man of some intelligence, education, and
culture may be determined in his action by standards whose
origin is remote in time, space, and intention from those operative
in the predominant public opinion of his day. He may
come to act habitually on the basis of ideal standards which
he has himself set up through reflection, or which he has
acquired from some moral system or tradition, far in advance of
those which are the staple determinants of character for most
of his contemporaries. He may be one of those rare moral
geniuses, singularly unsusceptible to praise and blame, who
create a new ideal of character by the dominant individuality
of their own. Or, as more frequently happens, he may follow
the ideals set up by such a one, instead of accepting the orthodoxies
which are generally observed. He may follow Christ
instead of the Pharisees, Socrates instead of the habit-crusted
citizens of Athens. We are, indeed, inclined to think of a
man as a peculiarly distinctive personality, when his sense of
selfhood, and the overt actions in which that selfhood finds
expression, are not determined by the current dogmas of his
day, but by ideal standards to which he has reflectively given
allegiance. But so much is the self, both in its consciousness
and expression, socially produced that men acting on purely
imagined ideal standards, current nowhere in their day and
generation, have imagined a group, no matter how small or
how remote, who would praise them or a God who noted and
approved their ways.

CHARACTER AND WILL. From the foregoing it would appear
that the self is an organization of habitual tendencies, developed
primarily through contact with other people and more
specifically through their praise and blame. And consciousness
of self is the awareness of the unique or specific character
of the habit-organization one has acquired. Individuals differ
natively in given capacities, and differences in fully developed
personalities depend, certainly in part, on innate
initial differences. But differences in the kinds of selfhood
displayed and experienced by different men are due to something
more than differences in native capacities and native
desires. The self that a man exhibits and of which he is conscious,
at any given period of his life, depends on the complex
system of habits he has in the course of his experience developed.
One individual may, as we have seen, develop a number
of sets of organized dispositions, a multiple character, as
it were, as a consequence of the multiplicity of groups with
which he has come in contact. But whether through deliberate
or habitual conformity to one group as a norm, or the
deliberate organization of habits of action and feeling and
thought, on the basis of ideal or reflective standards, a man
comes to develop a more or less "permanent self." That is,
while men start with somewhat similar native equipments,
each man's set of inborn tendencies comes to be fixed in a
fairly definite and specific system. While all men start within
limits equally responsive and similarly responsive to all stimuli,
certain stimuli come to have the "right of way." They
are more or less easily and more or less readily responded to,
according as they do or as they do not fit in with the habit-organization
which the individual has previously acquired.

When we say that a man has no character or individuality,
we mean that he has developed no stable organization of actions,
feelings, and thoughts, with reference to which and by
the predominant drive of which his actions are determined.
There is no particular system of behavior which he has come
consciously to identify as his person or self; no interweaving
of motives and stimuli by the persistent momentum of which
his conduct is controlled; no single group of stimuli rather
than another has, in his pulpy person, attained priority in
stimulating power. Such men are chameleons rather than
characters. Their actions do not flow from a selfhood or
individuality at all; they are merely the random results of the
accidental situations in which such men find themselves.

The self exists, then, as a well-defined, systematic trend of
behavior. Impulses to action attain a certain order of priority
in an individual's conduct, and it is by the momentum of
these primary drives to action that his life is controlled.
What is commonly known as "will" is simply another name
for the power and momentum of a man's "personal self."
Will exists not as a thing, but as a process. To will an action
means to identify it consciously with one's permanent self, to
weigh and support it with all the emotions and energies connected
with one's consciously realized habitual system of behavior.
A man may bring to bear on the accomplishment of
a given action the deepest and most powerful motive forces of
his developed personality. To pass a course or make a team
a student may marshal all the habits of loyalty, of self-assertion
(and the emotional energies associated with them) which
have become the leading ingredients of his character.

The "permanent self" becomes involved in the same way
in the case of willing _not_ to perform a certain action. Any
stimulus may, on occasion, be strong even if it has ceased to
be characteristic or habitual in a man's behavior. This is
particularly the case with some of the primary physical drives
to action. Even the ascetic feels the strong sting of sense-desire.
A man in resisting temptation, in denying the pressure
of an immediate stimulus, is setting up to block or inhibit
it all the contrary reactions and emotions which have
become part of the "permanent self." In more familiar language
he is setting will over against desire. The temporary
desire may be strong, but it is consciously regarded by the
individual as alien to his "real" or "better" self. And _will_
is this whole complex organization of the permanent self set
over against an alien intruding impulse.

The phenomenon of will contending against desire occurs
usually when a stimulus not characteristically powerful in a
man's conduct becomes so through special conditions of excitement
or fatigue. When a man is tired, or stirred by violent
emotion, his systematic organization of habits begins to
break down. The ideal permanent or inclusive self is then
brought into conflict with a temporary passion. Love conflicts
with duty, the lower with the higher self, flesh with
spirit, desire with will. Few men have so thoroughly integrated
a self that such conflicts altogether cease. Every one
carries about with him a more or less divided soul.

  Fire and ice within me fight
  Beneath the suffocating night.

There are, in the records of abnormal psychology, many cases
of really divided personalities, cases of two or more completely
separate habit-organizations inhabiting the same physical
body. Such a complete Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde dissociation
of a personality is clearly abnormal. But it is almost as
rare to find a completely integrated character. We are all of
us more or less multiple personalities. Our various personalities
usually keep their place and do not interfere with each
other. Our professional and family selves may be different;
they do not always collide. But the various characters that
we are in various situations not infrequently do clash. The
self whose keynote is ambition or learning may conflict with
the self whose focus is love.

  "Resolve to be thyself; and know, that he
   Who finds himself, loses his misery!"

wrote Matthew Arnold. And it does seem to be true that a
man whose will is never divided or confused by contending
currents of desire, whose character is unified and whose action
is consistent, is saved from the perturbations, the confusions,
the tossings of spirit which possess less organized souls. But
to find one's self, and to keep one's self whole and undivided,
is a difficult achievement and a rare one. Even men whose
interests and activities are fairly well defined find their
characters divided and their wills, consequently, confused. A
man's duties as a husband and father may conflict with his
professional ambitions; his love of adventure, with his desire
for wealth and social position; his artistic interests, with his
philanthropic activities; his business principles, with his
religious scruples. A man can achieve a selfhood by thrusting
out all interests save one, and achieving thereby unity at the
expense of breadth. There are men who choose to be, and
succeed in being, first and last, scholars or poets or musicians
or doctors. All activities, interests, and ideals that do not
contribute to that particular and exclusive self are practically
negligible in their conduct. Such men, although they have
attained a permanent self, have not achieved a broad, comprehensive,
or inclusive one. They are like instruments
which can sound only one note, however clear that may be;
or like singers with only a single song. All lives are necessarily
finite and exclusive; every choice of an interest or ideal
very possibly precludes some other. A man cannot be all
things at once; "the philosopher and the lady-killer," as
James merrily remarks, "could not very well keep house in
the same tenement of clay." But a strong character need
not necessarily mean a narrow one, nor need a determined will
be the will of a fanatic. The self may be--in the case of rare
geniuses it has been--diverse in its interests, activities, and
sympathies, yet unified and consistent in action. A character
may be various without being confused; versatility is not
synonymous with chaos. A man's interests and activities
may be given a certain order, rank, and proportion, so that
his life may exhibit at once the color, consistency, clarity, and
variety of a finished symphony.

The consciousness of "self" which starts as a mere continuum
of bodily sensations comes to be the net result of one's
social and intellectual as well as physical activities. The
"self" of which we are conscious ceases to be our merely physical
person, and comes to include our possessions. The house
we live in and the garden we tend, our children, our friends,
our opinions, creations, or inventions, these become extensions
and more or less inalienable parts of our personalities.
Our "selfhood" includes not simply us, but ours.

Our possessions, and especially such as are the fruits of our
own actions, are indications of what we are. We judge, and
within limits correctly, of a man by the company he keeps,
the clothes he wears, by the books he reads, the pictures with
which he decorates his home, the kind of home he builds or
has built. And a man may feel as provoked by insult or injury
to the person or things which have become an intimate
part of his life as if he were being attacked in his physical
person. Strip a man one by one of his physical acquisitions,
of his associates, of the indications and mementos of the
things he has thought and done, and there would be no "self"
left. To speak of a man as a nonentity is to imply that he is
no "self" worth speaking of; that he can be blown about
hither and thither; that neither his opinions nor desires, nor
possessions, nor associates make an iota of difference in the
world. A man who is a "somebody," a "person to be reckoned
with," is one who is a "self." He is one whose physical
possessions or personal abilities or standing in the community
make him one of the "powers that be." And it is the desire
to be a factor in the world, to increase the scope and
consequence of one's self that is the leading ingredient in what we
call ambition, and the desire for fame, and at least one ingredient
in the desire for wealth. Men may want wealth
merely for the sake of possession, or for bodily comfort, but
part of the desire consists in the ability thereby to spread one's
influence, to be "one of the happy sons of earth, who lord it
over land and sea, in the full-blown lustihood that wealth
and power can give, and before whom, stiffen ourselves as
we will ... we cannot escape an emotion, sneaking or open,
of dread."[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Psychology_, vol. I, p. 293.]

THE ENHANCEMENT OF THE SELF. The building-up of a more or
less permanent self is natively satisfactory to most men, and
every means will be taken to increase its scope and influence.
Biologically we are so constituted as to perform many acts
making for our self-preservation. The ordinary reflexes and
instincts such as those which prompt us to eat, to defend ourselves
against blows and the threatening approach of animals,
to keep our equilibrium and recover our balance, are examples
of these.

The development and preservation of our social self is also
made possible as it is initially prompted by our specifically
social instincts. There is a native tendency, as already noted,
to get ourselves noticed by other people, to seek their praise
and avoid their blame. The instincts of self-display and
leadership, and many of the non-social instincts, such as
curiosity and acquisitiveness, are frequently called into play in
the service of the more directly social tendencies of the
individual. A large part of our activity, whatever be its other
motives, is determined to some degree by the desire to develop
the social self, to be a "somebody," to cut a figure in the

In the enlargement of the social self, various people use
various means, and with varying degrees of vigor, intensity,
and persistency. There are a few who go through life with
almost no sense of selfhood, who go through their daily routine
with no more recognition of their acts as their own than
that displayed by an animal or a machine. In most men the
sense of their personality and their interest in it are high, and
the development of the self is sought in all possible or
legitimate ways. The ways in which the self is developed, and the
kind of self that is sought, help to determine whether a man is
self-seeking in the lowest sense of that epithet, or idealistic
and ambitious in the approved popular sense.

The kind of self we seek to build up depends, as we have
seen, largely on the type of praise and blame and the general
character of the moral tradition to which we have been exposed.
But whichever type of self a man does select as his
ideal or permanent self, all his activities will be more or less
consciously and more or less consistently controlled by it.
His habits of action, his habitual choices, his habitual feelings,
will be built up with this ideal self as a standard and control.
He will do those things which "carry on" toward the ideal
self, leave undone those things which do not. The man or
woman who wishes simply to cut a figure "socially" will cultivate
the wit, the gayety, the facility, the smartness, which are
the familiar ingredients of such a personality. The same
persons will be singularly blind to abysses of ignorance which
would be painfully in the consciousness of those who had
set up for themselves ideals of erudition and culture. A
laborer will live and move and have his being serenely in clothes
and in surroundings that "would never do" for a professional
man who had committed himself to live according to the
social standards of his class. Sometimes a man's actions will
be directed toward the construction of an ideal self, on standards
far in advance of those of his group. A man in developing
such a self is, indeed, in some cases practically committing
social suicide. The extreme dissenter from the
current standards of action is attempting to build up what
James has well called a "spiritual self," a self in the light
of his own ideals, rather than those current among his

EGOISM _VERSUS_ ALTRUISM. The individual in developing his
own personality need not, necessarily, be selfish, nor is the
enhancement of one's personality incompatible with altruism.
One man may find his individuality sufficiently developed in a
large bank account, another in discovering a cure for cancer;
one man may seek nothing but gratification of his physical
appetites; another may find his fulfillment on the battlefield
in defense of the national honor. Since man is born with the
original tendencies to herd with and have common sympathies
with his fellows, and to pity those of them that are weak
and distressed, there is nothing more unnatural about altruism
than about egoism. It is true that in some men the so-called
altruistic impulses, the impulse to sympathize with
the emotions, feelings, aspirations and difficulties of others,
and to pity them in their distress, are comparatively weak;
that in some men the more obviously egoistic impulses, such
as the gratification of bodily desires, the acquisition of
physical possessions are strong and uncontrollable. But through
education the altruistic and social impulses of men may be
cultivated and strengthened, so that they may become more
powerful and dominant than even the urgency of physical
desire. "Man cannot live by bread alone," and a man in
whom a passion for reform or for religion, for a cause or for a
conquest has become strong, will sacrifice food, sleep, and
physical comfort, and may even find the satisfactory fulfillment
of self in self-sacrifice and obliteration.[1]

[Footnote 1: This is partly because man's sense of selfhood is
so largely socially conditioned and affected by praise and blame.
Many a man in whom impulses of an egoistic sort are strong cannot
resist the scorn of his gang, club, or clique. In this sense even
socially beneficial actions may be "selfish."]

The old distinction between egoism and altruism is thus an
artificial one. A genuinely altruistic individual derives
satisfaction from the beneficent things he does, though he does
not, as Jeremy Bentham supposed, calculate the benefits he
will derive from his beneficence. Altruism is just as natural
as egoism in its origins, though the impulses of self-preservation
and personal physical satisfaction are natively stronger
and more numerous. But human beings can be educated to
altruism, and find the same satisfaction in service to others as
individuals reared in less humane conditions find in satisfying
their immediate physical desires.

of selfhood plays so large a part in human action, it is
natural that powerful emotions should be associated with it.
Individuals become conscious of the kind of self they are and
measure it favorably or unfavorably with the kind of self they
would be. In so far as the actuality they conceive themselves
to be measures up to the ideal self, to the fulfillment of
which they have dedicated themselves, they have a feeling of
self-satisfaction, of elation. They are jubilant or crestfallen,
satisfied or dissatisfied with themselves, in so far as they are
in their own estimation making good. In normal individuals,
these estimates of triumph and frustration are, of course,
colored and qualified by signs of approval and disapproval
from other people. There are very few--and these insanely
conceited--in whom the opinions of others are not largely
influential in determining their own estimates of themselves.

The emotions themselves of self-satisfaction and abasement are of
a unique sort ... each has its own peculiar physiognomical
expression. In self-satisfaction the extensor muscles are innervated, the
eye is strong and glorious, the gait rolling and elastic, the nostril
dilated, and a peculiar smile plays upon the lips. This complex of
symptoms is seen in an exquisite way in lunatic asylums, which
always contain some patients who are literally mad with conceit,
and whose fatuous expression and absurdly strutting or swaggering
gait is in tragic contrast with their lack of any valuable personal
quality. It is in these same castles of despair that we find the
strongest examples of the opposite physiognomy, in good people who
think they have committed "the unpardonable sin" and are lost
forever, who crouch and cringe and slink from notice, and are unable
to speak aloud or look us in the eye.... We ourselves know how the
barometer of our self-esteem and confidence rises and falls from
one day to another through causes that seem to be visceral and
organic rather than rational, and which certainly answer to no
corresponding variations in the esteem in which we are held by our

[Footnote 1: James: _loc. cit._, vol. I, p. 307.]

Self-satisfaction depends, as has been said, on the kind of
self we are aiming at, and that in turn depends on the kind
of self we are. A professional bank-robber may take a craftsman's
pride in the skill with which he has rifled a safe and
made off with the booty, just as a surgeon may take pride in
a delicate operation, or a dramatist in a play. The ideal and
the measure of satisfaction will again be determined by the
group among whom we move. The bank-robber will not
boast of his exploits to a missionary conference; the surgeon
will prefer to explain the details of his achievement to medical
men who can critically appreciate its technique. The ideal
self we set ourselves may far outreach our achievements,
considerable and generally applauded though these be. A
man may know in his heart how futile are his triumphs, how
far from the goals he cherished as young ideals. Many a
brilliant comedian longs to play Hamlet; the gifted and scholarly
musician knows how easy it is to win an audience with
sentimental and specious music. The humility of genius has
again and again been noted. "The more one knows the less
one knows one knows."

Many men attain self-satisfaction through negation,
through a serene surrender of the unattainable. As the
Epicureans counseled, they increase their happiness by lessening
their desires. The content which middle-aged people exhibit
is not so frequently to be traced to the dazzling character of
their achievement as to their resignation to their station.
Young people are moody and unhappy not infrequently
because they cannot make a reconciliation between what they
would be and what they are. Others again attain satisfaction
vicariously in the achievements of others, as mediocre fathers
do in their brilliant children, or as sympathetic and interested
people do in the whole world about them.

The magnanimity of these expansive natures is often touching
indeed. Such persons can feel a sort of delicate rapture in thinking
that, however sick, ill-favored, mean-conditioned, and generally
forsaken they may be, they are yet integral parts of the whole of this
brave world, have a fellow's share in the strength of the dairy horses,
the happiness of the young people, the wisdom of the wise ones, and
are not altogether without part or lot in the good fortunes of the
Vanderbilts and the Hohenzollerns themselves.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _loc. cit._, vol. I, p. 313 (written in 1890).]

In some men a modicum of success will give a disproportionate
sense of confidence and power. The man to whom success
has always come easily is not baffled by problems that
would appall those who, in middle life, "lie among the failures
at the foot of the hill." As Goethe, who had always been
miraculously successful, said to one who came to complain
to him about the difficulty of an undertaking: "You have
but to blow on your hands." In a crowd one can hardly fail
to note the easy air of competence and confidence that
distinguishes the successful man of affairs.

of self increases with the expression of personal opinion
and power. The man whose books are translated into half a
dozen languages, to whose lectures people come from all parts
of the world, cannot help feeling an increased sense of
importance, although he may combine this consciousness with a
sense of personal humility. In the same way a man who
exerts great social power, who controls the economic lives of
thousands of employees, or whose benefactions in the way of
libraries and charitable institutions dot the land, develops
inevitably a sense of his own selfhood as over against that of the
group. He begins to realize that he does make a significant
difference in the world. This was curiously illustrated in a
speech delivered by Andrew Carnegie when, after a prolonged
absence in Europe, he came back to the opening of the Carnegie
Institute, the building of which had cost him six million

He said he could not bring himself to a realization of what had
been done. He felt like Aladdin when he saw this building and was
aware that he had put it up, but he could not bring himself to
consciousness of having done it any more than if he had produced the
same effect by rubbing a lamp. He could not feel the ownership of
what he had given, and he could not feel that he had given it away.[1]

[Footnote 1: Quoted from the obituary of Andrew Carnegie in the
_New York Times_ of August 12, 1919.]

This sense of incredulity at one's actions or achievements
is rarer than the consciousness of self which it promotes.
The intensity of this self-awareness is increased when opinion
is expressed or power exerted in the face of opposition. The
man who finds himself standing out against the community
in which he lives, who is a freethinker among those who are
intensely religious, an extremist among those who are custom-ridden,
spiritualistic among people who are controlled by
materialistic ideas, finds the sense of his own personality
heightened by contrast. When dissenting opinions are steadfastly
maintained in the face of the opposition of a powerful
majority, there develops a personality with edge and strength.
The man who can persist in his belief against the prevailing
winds of doctrine and of action may be wrong, but he is a
personality. He is intensely and persistently aware of himself.
Similarly, the exertion of power in the face of opposition
increases the sense of one's own power and helps to consolidate
it. One derives from it the same exhilaration that one
has in feeling a canoe under the impulsion of one's paddle
overcome the resistance of the water. In the same way, the
exertion of social power in the face of obstacles makes half the
exhilaration of politics and business for some types of men in
business and political life. One admires the ruthlessness of a
Napoleon at war or of a captain of industry in the sharp industrial
competition of the nineteenth century, not because it is
ruthless, but because it is power. Such men are at least not
neutral; they are positive forces.

The contrast between the "self" and the others may be
friendly, with a recognition of all other selves as equally
entitled to existence. One pursues the even tenor of one's way,
and is content to let others pursue theirs. Men of very powerful
personality have exhibited the utmost gentleness and
consideration of others. Lincoln, the typical strong, silent
man, displayed a tenderness for the suffering and distressed
that has already become proverbial.

The contrast between one's self and the world may be one of
bitter opposition, as when one's ideas or actions are subjected
to social censure. As Mill argued over half a century ago, the
forceful suppression of opinion produces a more violent manifestation
of it. Socrates was put to death, but the Socratic
philosophy rose like the sun in the heavens. A sense of injustice,
of unfairness, will not only intensify a man's opinions but
his consciousness of his own personality. To meet with opposition
is to feel acutely the outlines of one's own person; to
be forced to recognize the differences between ourselves and
others is to discover what sort of people we ourselves are.

The contrast is likewise one of opposition, sometimes to
bitterness, when the individual seeks to impose his own
opinions or his own personality forcibly on others. A Mohammed,
fired with the zeal of a religious enthusiasm, may
spread his doctrine by fire and sword and be resisted
by similar violence. Others than the Germans have betaken themselves
to arms to spread a specific and arbitrary type of life.
On a small scale it is seen wherever a fanatical parent tries to
force his own belief and type of life upon his children, reared
in a younger and freer generation. In contemporary society
most individuals are neither tempted nor permitted to coerce
people to their own way of thinking, although economic pressure
and social ostracism are still powerful instruments by
which strategically situated individuals can force their own
opinions or types of life upon others.

TYPES OF SELF. The consciousness of self varies in its
expression and intensity and at different times may display
different types or combinations of types. No one is ever
utterly consistent, and different situations, different groups,
provoke different selves in us. Nobody writes quite the same
kind of letter to his different friends, or is, as has been pointed
out, the same person in different situations. But, except for
those intellectual will-o'-the-wisps, or moral ne'er-do-wells
who take on the color of every new circumstance in which they
happen to be cast, men do develop predominantly one type of
self which constitutes, in familiar language, their character.

The manner of our consciousness of our personality may vary
in quality, even though it be intense in degree. One
may be aware even of one's importance, without being "self-important."
One may be quite conscious of one's significance
in the world and yet not be "self-conscious." It is indeed
usually the little man who has a great air about him. The
officiousness and pettiness of the small soul invested with
authority has often been commented on. Proverbial wisdom
has succinctly recorded the fact that empty barrels make the
most noise. Latterly, Freudian psychology has pointed out
the mechanisms by which insignificant people compensate for
the poverty of their person by bluster and brag.[1]

[Footnote 1: On this point see an illuminating brief discussion
by Hart in _The Psychology of Insanity_.]

SELF-DISPLAY OR BOLDNESS. The most obvious type of
consciousness of self is found in individuals who seek mere social
conspicuousness, who spend no inconsiderable part of their
energy in deliberate display. The child says with naïve
frankness, "See how high I can jump." Many adults find
more conspicuous or subtle ways of saying the same thing.
One need only to take a ride in a bus or street car to find the
certain symptoms of self-display. These may consist in
nothing more serious than a peculiarly conspicuous collar or
hatband, or particularly high heels. It may consist in a loud
voice full of pompous references to great banquets recently
attended or great sums recently spent. It may be in a raised
eyebrow or a disdainful smile. There are people among
every one's acquaintance whose conversation is largely made
up of reminiscences of more or less personal glory, of deliberate
allusions to large salaries and famous friends, to glorious
prospects and past laurels.[1]

[Footnote 1: Almost every college class has one or two members
who enter vociferously and continuously into discussions, less
for the contribution of ideas or information than for the
propagation of their own personalities.]

On a larger scale this is to be found in the almost universal
desire to see one's name in print:

There is a whole race of beings to-day whose passion is to keep
their names in the newspapers, no matter under what heading,
"arrivals and departures," "personal paragraphs," "interviews"--gossip,
even scandal will suit them if nothing better is to be had.
Guiteau, Garfield's assassin, is an example of the extremity to which
this craving for notoriety may go in a pathological case. The
newspapers bounded his mental horizon; and in the poor wretch's prayer
on the scaffold, one of the most heartfelt expressions was: "The
newspaper press of this land has a big bill to settle with thee, O

[Footnote 2: James: _loc. cit._, vol. I, p. 308.]

As was pointed out in connection with praise and blame,
more of our actions than we should care to admit are determined
by this desire for recognition. The loud, the vulgar,
the notoriety seekers are merely extreme illustrations of a
type of self that most of us are some of the time.

SELF-SUFFICIENT MODESTY. The other extreme is exhibited
by the type of personality that is markedly averse to display
and shrinks from observation. In its intensest and possibly
least appealing form it is exhibited by people who become
awkwardly embarrassed in the presence of a stranger, however
fluent and vivacious they may be with their friends.
This type at its best may be described by the epithet of
self-sufficient modesty. To be such a person may be said to be an
achievement rather than a weakness. To be self-sufficient
and modest at the same time means that one is going about
one's business, that one is too absorbed in one's work to be
continually and anxiously noting what sort of figure one cuts
in the world. To quote Matthew Arnold's well-known lines:

  "Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
   Undistracted by the sights they see,
   These demand not that the things without them
   Yield them love, amusement, sympathy."[1]

[Footnote 1: _Self-Dependence._]

There are in every great university quiet great men who
steadily pursue vital and difficult researches without the
slightest reference or desire for cheap conspicuousness. In
every profession and business there are known to the
discriminating men who are experts, even geniuses in their own
field, but who shrink back from the loudness of publicity as
from a plague. There are a number of wealthy philanthropists
in all our large cities who consistently and steadily do
good works in almost complete anonymity. One finds in almost
every department of human activity these types of self-effacing
men who find their fulfillment in the work they do
rather than in moving in the aura of other people's admiration.

THE POSITIVE AND FLEXIBLE SELF. But in order to be effective
in affairs, some positive force must be displayed, and modesty
need not mean pusillanimity. A frequently observable
type of personality--and socially one of a highly desirable
sort--is the type of man who, himself standing for positive
convictions, ideas, and principles of action, and not casually
to be deflected from them, has sufficient flexibility and sensitivity
to the feelings of others, to accept modification. Such
a self not only has its initial force and momentum, but gains
as it goes by the experience of others. A personality must be
positive to contribute to the solution of difficulties and the
management of enterprises, but it must be receptive in order
to benefit by the ideas of others and coöperate with them.
To have power and humility at once is sometimes sufficient to
make a leader among men. Humility prevents us from rushing
headlong along the paths of our own dogmatic errors; it
enables us further to deal with other people who would be
simply antagonized by our flat-footed insistence on every
detail of our own initial position. The history of great
statesmanship is in part, at least, the history of wise compromise.
Nor does this mean sordid temporizing and opportunism. As
John Morley puts it:

It is the worst of political blunders to insist on carrying an ideal
set of principles into execution, where others have rights of dissent,
and those others persons whose assent is as indispensable to success
as it is difficult to attain. But to be afraid or ashamed of holding
such an ideal set of principles in one's mind in their highest and most
abstract expression, does more than any other one cause to stunt or
petrify those elements of character to which life should owe most of
its savor.[1]

[Footnote 1: Morley: _On Compromise_, p. 123.]

person of powerful and distinctive opinions is so moved by
the momentum of his own strong enthusiasms, so fixed by the
habitual definiteness of his own position that he cannot be
swayed. In its worst form this is rampant egoism and dogmatism.
All of us have met the loud-mouthed exponent of his
own opinions, who speaks whatever be the subject, as if _his_
position only were plausible or possible, and as if all who gain-said
him were either fools or knaves.

If we examine the mental furniture of the average man we shall
find it made up of a vast number of judgments of a very precise kind
upon subjects of very great variety, complexity, and difficulty. He
will have fairly settled views upon the origin and nature of the
universe, and upon what he will probably call its meaning; he will have
conclusions as to what is to happen to him at death and after, as to
what is and what should be the basis of conduct. He will know how
the country should be governed, and why it is going to the dogs, why
this piece of legislation is good and that bad. He will have strong
views upon military and naval strategy, the principles of taxation,
the use of alcohol and vaccination, the treatment of influenza, the
prevention of hydrophobia, upon municipal trading, the teaching of
Greek, upon what is permissible in art, satisfactory in literature, and
hopeful in science.

The bulk of such opinions must necessarily be without rational
basis, since many of them are concerned with problems admitted by
the expert to be still unsolved, while as to the rest it is clear that the
training and experience of no average man can qualify him to have
any opinion on them at all.[1]

[Footnote 1: Trotter: _Instincts of the Herd_, p. 36.]

In action as well as opinion dogmatism and unbridled self-assertion
may be the dominant characteristics of a personality.
The man who has a strong will and little social sympathy
will be ruthlessly insistent on the attainment of his own
ends. This type of self has indeed been set up as an ideal by
such philosophers as Nietzsche and Max Stirner, who urged
that the really great man should express his own personality
irrespective of the weaklings whom he might crush in his
comet-like career. Thus writes Nietzsche in one of his
characteristic passages:

The _Superman_ I have at heart; _that_ is the first and only thing to
me--and _not_ man: not the neighbor, not the poorest, not the sorriest,
not the best....

In that ye have despised, ye higher men, that maketh me hope....
In that ye have despaired, there is much to honor. For ye have
not learned to submit yourselves, ye have not learned petty policy.

For to-day have the petty people become master; they all preach
submission, and humility, and policy, and diligence, and consideration,
and the long _et cetera_ of petty virtues.

These masters of to-day--surpass them, O my brethren--these
petty people: they are the Superman's greatest danger![2]

[Footnote 2: _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ (Macmillan edition), pp. 351-52.]

It need scarcely be noted that even if the genius or Superman
were justified, as this philosophy insists, on ruthlessly
asserting his priority, it is a dangerous procedure to identify
one's ambitions with one's desserts. As already noted, a
flamboyant assurance of one's own importance is sometimes a
ludicrous symptom of the reverse.

The more legitimate manifestation of strong individualism
in action or opinion is in the case of deeply conscientious
natures, who will not compromise by a hair's breadth from
what they conceive to be the right. The fanatic is seldom an
appealing character, but he is a type that enforces admiration.
Of such unflinching insistence are martyrs and great leaders
made. There are in every community men who will regard it
as treachery to their highest ideals to compromise at all from
the inviolable principles to which they feel themselves committed.
Such men are difficult to deal with in human situations
involving coöperation and compromise, and they exhibit
frequently a rigid austerity, bitterness, and hate that do not
readily win sympathy. But it is to such men as these that
many religious and social reforms owe their initiation. Bertrand
Russell, who, whether one agrees with him or not, exhibits
a puritanical devotion to his social beliefs, has finely
described the type:

The impatient idealist--and without some impatience a man will
hardly prove effective--is almost sure to be led into hatred by the
oppositions and disappointments which he encounters in his
endeavors to bring happiness to the world. The more certain he is of
the purity of his motives and the truth of his gospel, the more
indignant will he become when his teaching is rejected.... The intense
faith which enables him to withstand persecution for the sake of his
beliefs makes him consider these beliefs so luminously obvious that
any thinking man who rejects them must be dishonest and must be
actuated by some sinister motive of treachery to the cause.[1]

[Footnote 1: Russell: _Proposed Roads to Freedom_, pp. xiii-xiv.]

ENTHUSIASM. The enthusiast is another type of self that
plays an important part in social life and makes not the least
attractive of its figures. The exuberant exponent of ideas,
causes, persons, or institutions is an effective preacher,
teacher, or leader of men, and may be, apart from his utility,
intrinsically of the utmost charm. Emotions vividly displayed
are, as already pointed out in connection with sympathy,
readily duplicated in others, and the ardors of the
enthusiast are, when they have the earmarks of sincerity,
contagious. A genuinely enthusiastic personality kindles
his own fire in the hearts of others, and makes them
appreciate as no mere formal analysis could, the vital and moving
aspects of things. Good teaching has been defined as
communication by contagion, and the teachers whom students
usually testify to have influenced them most are not those
who doled out flat prescribed wisdom, but those whose own
informed ardor for their subject-matter communicated to the
student a warm sense of its significance. Leaders of great
movements who have been successful in controlling the energies
and loyalties of millions of men have been frequently
men of this high and contagious voltage. It certainly
constituted part of Theodore Roosevelt's political strength, and, in
more or less genuine form, is the asset of every successful
political speaker and leader.

Both for the one controlled by enthusiasm and for the
others to whom it spreads, experience becomes richer in
significance. Poets and the poetically-minded have to a singular
degree the power of clothing with imaginative enthusiasm
all the items of their experience.

Enthusiasm does not necessarily connote hysteria or sentimentalism.
The unstable enthusiast is a familiar type, the
man who has another object of eagerness and loyalty each
week. Mark Twain describes the type in the person of his
brother, who had a dozen different ambitions a year. But
enthusiasm may be a long-sustained devotion to a single ideal.
A curious instance of it was seen in the case of an Armenian
scholar who, so it is reported to the writer by a student of
Armenian culture, spent forty years in mastering cuneiform
script in order to prove that the Phrygians were descended
from the Armenians, and not _vice versa_.

Shelley could kindle the spirit of revolution in thousands
who would have been bored to death with the same fiery doctrines
in the abstract and cold pages of Godwin, from whom
Shelley derived his ideas of "political justice." The enthusiast,
since he instinctively likes to share his emotions, not
infrequently displays an intense desire for leadership, not so
much that he may be a leader as that he may win converts to
his own cause or creed. Such a personality finds its satisfaction
in some form of proselyting zeal, be it for a religion, for
a favorite charity, for good books, poetry, or social justice.
A well-known literary scholar who died recently was thus
described by one of his former students:

Dr. Gummere was not a teacher; he was a vital atmosphere and
his lectures, as one considered them from an intellectual or
emotional angle, were revelations or adventures. There never were
such classes as his, we believed. Who could equal him in readiness
of wit? Where was there such a raconteur? Who else could put the
feel of a poem into one's heart? ... His voice was very deep, and
exceedingly free and flexible. It always seemed to brim up as from
a spirit overflowing. Everything about him was individual and
spontaneous. He was perhaps most like a powerful river that braced
one's energies, and carried one along without the slightest desire to

[Footnote 1: Charles Wharton Stork: "A Great Teacher," _The Nation_,
July 26, 1919.]

THE NEGATIVE SELF. All the types of personality or self that
have thus far been discussed are in some way positive or
assertive. But the self may be exhibited negatively, in a
shrinking, not only from observation, but from any positive
or pronounced action. This has already been noted in connection
with submissiveness. Most people in the presence of
their intellectual and social or even their physical superior,
experience a sense of, to use McDougall's term, "negative
self-feeling." In some people this negation or effacement of
the self is a predominant characteristic.

It may be mere social timidity, which, in the case of those
continually placed in servile positions, as in the case of the
proverbial "poor relation," may become chronic. In its most
disagreeable form it is exhibited as an obsequious flattering
and a pretentious humility. Of this the classic instance is
Uriah Heep in _David Copperfield_:

"I suppose you are quite a great lawyer," I [David Copperfield]
said, after looking at him for some time.

"Me, Master Copperfield?" said Uriah. "Oh, no! I'm a very
umble person."

It was no fancy of mine about his hands, I observed; for he
frequently ground the palms against each other, as if to squeeze them
dry and warm, besides often wiping them, in a stealthy way, on his

"I am well aware that I am the umblest person going," said Uriah
Heep modestly, "let the other be where he may. My mother is
likewise a very umble person. We live in a numble abode, Master
Copperfield, but have much to be thankful for. My father's former
calling was umble. He was a sexton."

"What is he now?" I asked.

"He is a partaker of glory, at present, Master Copperfield, but we
have much to be thankful for. How much have I to be thankful for,
in living with Mr. Wickfield."

Negative self-feeling may be provoked by a genuine sense
of unworthiness or modesty, and when this takes place among
religious people, it may become a complete and rapturous
submissiveness to God. The records of many mediæval and
of some modern mystics emphasize this complete yielding to
the will of God, and in His will finding peace. James quotes
in this connection Pascal's _Prière pour bien user les maladies_:

I ask you, neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death;
but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and
my death, for your glory.... You alone know what is expedient
for me; you are the sovereign master; do with me according to your
will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to
yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and
bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad
in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or
sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That
discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden
among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not
seek to fathom.[1]

[Footnote 1: Quoted in James: _Varieties of Religious Experience_, p. 286.]

Self-surrender, however, takes other forms than religious
absorption or devotion. "Saintliness" is not unknown in
secular forms of life, in the devotion of men to any ideal,
despite pain and privation of worldly goods and successes.
The doctor sacrificing his life in a leper colony is an extreme
example. But something of the same humility and submissiveness
is exhibited every time a man makes a choice which
places the welfare of other people before his own immediate
success. It is shown by the thousands of physicians and
settlement workers and teachers who spend their lives in
patient devotion to labors that bring little remuneration and
as little glory. Men of affairs and a large proportion of other
men generally measure worth by worldly success. But even
from the worldly, such signs of self-surrender elicit admiration.

ECCENTRICS. There is one type of self so various and
miscellaneous that it can only be subsumed under the general
epithet, "eccentric." These are the unexpectedly large number
of individuals in our civilization who do not come under any
of the usual categories, who display some small or great
abnormality which sets them off from the general run of men.
That some of these are accounted eccentric is to be explained
in the light of man's tendency, as a gregarious animal, to
think "queer" and "freakish" anything off the beaten track.
Some are clearly and unmistakably abnormal in some physiological
or psychological respect. From these are recruited
the inmates of our penitentiaries and insane asylums and the
candidates for them. But there are eccentricities of social
behavior, types of personality which though they cannot be
classed as either insane or criminal, yet definitely set an
individual apart.

These include what Trotter has called the "mentally unstable,"
as set over against "the great class of normal, sensible,
reliable middle age, with its definite views, its resiliency
to the depressing influence of facts, and its gift for forming
the backbone of the State." There are the large group of
slightly neurasthenic, made so, in part, by the high nervous
tension under which modern, especially modern urban, life is
lived. These include what are commonly called the hysterical
or over-emotional, or "temperamental" types. In a
civilization where most professions demand regularity,
restraint, punctuality, and directness, unstability and excess
emotionalism are necessarily at a discount. There are the
vagabond types who, like young Georges, Jean-qhristophe's
protégé, regard a profession as a prison house, in which most
of one's capacities are cruelly confined. There are again
those who, possessing singular and exclusive sensitivity to
æsthetic values, to music, art, and poetry, find the world
outside their own lyric enthusiasms flat, stale, and unprofitable.
If, as so frequently happens, these combine, along with their
peculiar temperaments, little genius and slender means, social
and economic life becomes for them a blind alley. Every year
at our great universities we see small groups of young men,
who, having spent three or four years on philosophy, literature,
and the liberal arts, and having no interest in academic
life, are put to it to find a profession in which they can find a
genuine interest or possible success.

Among these "eccentrics" a few have been reckoned geniuses
by their contemporaries or by posterity. In such cases
society hesitates to apply its usual formulæ. One cannot
condemn out of hand a Shelley. He is not of the run of men.

Shelley was one of those spokesmen of the _a priori_, one of those
nurslings of the womb, like a bee or a butterfly, a dogmatic, inspired,
perfect, and incorrigible creature.... Being a finished child of
nature, not a joint product, like most of us, of nature, history, and
society, he abounded miraculously in his own clear sense, but was
obtuse to the droll miscellaneous lessons of fortune. The cannonade
of hard inexplicable facts that knocks into most of us what little
wisdom we have, left Shelley dazed and sore, perhaps, but uninstructed.[1]

[Footnote 1: Santayana: _Winds of Doctrine_; Shelley, p. 159.]

It is difficult to draw the line in some cases between genius
and insanity.[1] There have been time and again in society
Cassandras who have spoken true prophecies and have been
thought mad. There have been, on the other hand, those
who, having some of the external eccentricities of genius,
have given an illusive impression of greatness. The professional
Bohemian likes to make himself great by wearing
his hair long and living in a garret. But it is unquestionably
true that a highly sensitive and creative mind is often ill at
ease in the world of action, and remains a vagabond, an
_enfant terrible_ or an eccentric all through life. It remains
a fact that in contemporary society there are a small number
of people, some of them of considerable talents, who simply
cannot be made to fit into the social routine. For such
Bertrand Russell suggests a "vagabond's wage." This he
conceives as being just large enough to enable them to get
along, to give them a chance to wander and experiment, but
sufficiently small to penalize them for not settling down to
the accustomed social routines.[2]

[Footnote 1: Thus Plato: "But he who, not being inspired and
having no touch of madness in his soul, comes to the door and
thinks that he will get into the temple by the help of art--he,
I say, and his poetry are not admitted; the sane man is nowhere
at all when he enters into rivalry with the madman."
_Phoedrus_ (Jowett translation), p. 550.]

[Footnote 2: Russell: _Proposed Roads to Freedom_, p. 177.
There was recently introduced to the writer a boy, aged nineteen,
for whom this would be an admirable solution. Brought up in a
tenement and working as a clerk, this youngster wrote what
competent judges pronounced to be really extraordinary lyrics.
He was at the same time utterly helpless in the world of affairs.
Even at college his casual habits and absorption would have
prevented him from getting through his freshman year.]

Mill has generalized the situation of the genius:

Persons of genius, it is true, are, and are always likely to be, a
small minority; but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve
the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an
_atmosphere_ of freedom. Persons of genius are, _ex vi termini_, more
individual than any other people--less capable, consequently, of
fitting themselves, without hurtful compression, into any of the small
number of moulds which society provides in order to save its members
the trouble of forming their own character.... If they are of a
strong character, and break their fetters, they become a mark for
the society which has not succeeded in reducing them to commonplace,
to point at with solemn warning as "wild," "erratic," and the
like; much as if one should complain of the Niagara River for not
flowing smoothly between its banks, like a Dutch canal.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Essay on Liberty_, chap. III.]

must be made, one that cuts across all the types of self hitherto
discussed, namely, the distinction between the man of
action and the man of thought. One need not go far in literature
or in life to find the contrast made. In the Scriptures
Mary is set over against Martha, Rachel against Leah.
Hamlet and Ulysses are permanent representations of the
melancholy thinker and the exuberant adventurer. The
business man and the executive may be put over against the
poet and the scholar; the strenuous organizer and administrator
over against the quiet philosopher. Both have their
outstanding uses, and, in their extreme forms, their
outstanding defects. The active type, as we say, "gets things
done." He builds bridges and industries; he manages markets
and men. His eye is on the practical; he is dependable,
rapid, and efficient. In an industrial civilization he is the
great heroic type. The statesman and the railroad builder,
the newspaper editors and the political leaders captivate the
imaginations as they control the destinies of mankind.

On the other hand, there are those who stand aside (either
from incapacity or disinclination or both) from the management
of affairs and the life of action, and spend their lives in
observation and contemplation. Plato and Aristotle regarded
this as the highest type of life; it may have been because they
were themselves both philosophers. In its extreme form it
is exhibited in such men as Spinoza or Kant, spending their
lives in practical obscurity, speculating on time and space and
eternity. But it is apparent in less extreme types. The
"patient observer," the genial spectator of other men's actions
is not infrequent. When he has literary gifts he is a philosopher
or a poet. Lucretius in a famous passage stated the
contemplative ideal, contrasting it with its opposite:

Sweet it is when on the great seas the winds are buffeting, to gaze
from the land on another's great struggles; not because it is pleasure
or joy that any one should be distressed, but because it is sweet to
perceive from what misfortunes you yourself are free. Sweet is it, too,
to behold great contests of war in full array over the plains, when you
have no part in the danger. But nothing is more gladdening than
to dwell in the calm high places, firmly embattled on the heights by
the teaching of the wise, whence you can look down on others, and
see them wandering hither and thither and going astray, as they seek
the way of life, in strife matching their wits or rival claims of birth,
struggling night and day by surpassing effort to rise up to the height
of power and gain possession of the world.[1]

[Footnote 1: Lucretius: _De Rerum Natura_ (Bailey translation),
book II, lines 1-12.]

But in the two types it is not the fruit of action or contemplation,
but action and contemplation themselves that the
two types find respectively interesting. The man of action
finds an immediate satisfaction in movement, change, the
clamor of affairs, the contacts with other people, the making
of changes in the practical world. The man of thought finds
as immediate enjoyment in noting the ways of men, and reflecting
upon them.

That contemplation, disinterested thinking, also has its use
goes without saying. The thinker and the dreamer may be
something at least of what the Irish poet boasts:

  "... the movers and shakers
   Of the world, forever, it seems."

The scholar, the thinker, the man who stands aside from
immediate action, may, often does, help the world of action
in a far-reaching way. The researches of a Newton make
possible eventually the feats of modern engineering and
telegraphy; the abstruse study of the calculus helps to build
bridges and skyscrapers.

Both types, in their extremes, have their weaknesses. The
extremely practical man "may cut off the limb upon which
he is sitting," or "see no further than the end of his nose." A
really great administrator is not penny-wise; he thinks far
ahead, around and into a problem. He is concerned for
tomorrow as well as to-day. The contemplative man may
come to be "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought."
There is the hero of one Russian novel who reflects through
three hundred pages on his wasted life, all at the ripe age of
twenty-three.[1] The practical man gains width and insight
by checking himself with reflection; the contemplative finds
thought called home and made meaningful by contacts with
the world. It was something of this balance which Plato
had in mind when he insisted that his future philosopher-king
should, after fifteen years' study, go for fifteen years into the
"cave" or world to learn to deal with men and affairs. The
"mere theorist" is often an absurd if not a dangerous character;
the practical man may come to make the wheels go
round without ever taking note of his direction.

[Footnote 1: Contchareff: _Oblomoff_.]

As pointed out in the beginning of this discussion, no one
of these types is exclusively exemplified in any one individual.
To be exclusively any one of these would be to be a caricature
rather than a character.[2] But to be no one of these types to
any degree at all is to be no character at all, is to be socially a
nonentity, a minus quantity; it is to be determined by the
vicissitudes of chance or circumstance; it is to be a succession
of vacillations rather than a distinctive self-determined
personality. Each of these types, moreover, if not extreme, has
its specific excellences, and their various presence lends
richness and diversity to social life.

[Footnote 2: Dickens's success lay, perhaps chiefly, in his
ability to draw these unforgettable exaggerations, these outstanding
types: "Micawber" waiting for something to turn up; the fiendish
cruelty of "Bill Sikes"; the angelic self-effacement of "Little Nell";
the hypocritical "Mr. Pecksniff"; the gossipy "Sairy Gamp." He had
a unique gift for representing psychological traits in large. The
so-called psychological novelists like Meredith, trace a character
through its moods and fluctuations, making truer, more composite,
though less memorable characters.]

various types of self may be defended with bitterness and
pertinacity, and in their support the most powerful emotions
may be enlisted. As pointed out in connection with individuality
in opinion, men may be willing to die for their beliefs.
Similarly invasion of one's home, infringement or threat
against what one regards as one's rights or one's possessions,
whether physical or social, may be bitterly contested. And
in this conflict in support of the integrity of the self, anger,
hate, fear, submissiveness, all the nuances of emotion may be
aroused. The themes of great tragedy are built largely on
this theme of insistent selfhood. Any obstruction of the self-integrity
one has set one's self may provoke a violent reaction.
It may be interference with one's love, as in the case of Medea
or Othello, the pain of ingratitude as in Lear, the conflict
between "the lower and the higher self," as in the case of
Macbeth's loyalty and his ambition. These are the staple
materials of drama. In common experience, an insult to one's
wife or friend, an obstacle placed in the way of one's professional
career, deprivation of one's liberty or one's property,
or one's unhindered "pursuit of happiness," are the provocations
to violent emotions in the sustaining of the self. How
violent or what form the reaction will take depends on the
situation of the "self" involved. If one has been grossly
insulted by another upon whom one is utterly dependent
socially and economically, a rankling and impotent rage may be
the only outlet. To a person gifted with humility, the
disillusions of a false friendship may provoke nothing more than
a deep but resigned disappointment. Where passion and
determination run high, and retaliation is feasible, a violent
hate may find violent fulfillment. In earlier and more
bloodthirsty days, the dagger, the duel, and poison were, as
illustrated in the history of the Borgias, ways of maintaining
the self and venting one's anger or revenge. Even in
modern society the still distressingly large number of crimes
of violence may be traced in many, perhaps most cases, to
blind and bitter hate. To any deep personal injury, hate,
whether it takes overt form or not, is still the instinctive
answer; just such hate as Euripides represents in the jealous
Medea, when she, a barbarian captive among the Greeks,
sees Jason, her lover, about to be married to a Greek princess:

  "... But I, being citiless, am cast aside,
   By him that wedded me, a savage bride.
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
  "I ask one thing. If chance yet ope to me
   Some path, if even now my hand can win,
   Strength to requite this Jason for his sin,
   Betray me not! Oh, in all things but this,
   I know how full of fears a woman is,
   And faints at need, and shrinking from the light
   Of battle; but once spoil her of her right
   In man's love, and there moves, I warn thee well,
   No bloodier spirit between Heaven and Hell."[1]

[Footnote 1: Euripides: _Medea_ (Gilbert Murray translation), p. 16.]

In defense of the self in its narrower or broader sense, courage
and heroism may be displayed. The martyr will die
rather than submit; there have been many to whom Patrick
Henry's "Give me Liberty or give me death," was something
more than rhetoric. The self for which we will fight, of course,
varies. A spoilt child will go into a paroxysm of rage if its
toy is taken away. Older people will fight for smaller or
larger points of social position. There is the familiar citizen
who will insist on his rights, often of a petty sort, in a hotel,
theater, or department store. Or a man may display the last
extremity of courage in defense of some ideal, as in a man's
surrender of his life for his country. Something of the same
heroism is displayed by individuals who stand out against
their group in the face of ridicule or persecution. It is the
general sympathy with the desire to preserve one's selfhood
untarnished that gives point to Henley's lines:

  "Out of the night that covers me,
     Black as the pit from pole to pole,
   I thank whatever gods may be
     For my unconquerable soul.
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
  "It matters not how strait the gate,
     How charged with punishments the scroll,
   I am the master of my fate,
     I am the captain of my soul."[2]

[Footnote 2: _Invictus_.]

In the same way as the emotions fear, anger, and hate, and
their variations and degrees, may be aroused by attack or
threat against the self, so help and encouragement of an
individual's selfhood arouse love, affection, and gratitude. Even
our affection for our parents, though in part instinctive, is
undoubtedly increased by the care and persistence with which
they have fostered our own life and hopes, have educated us,
and made possible for us a career. The same motives play a
part in our affection for teachers who have beneficently influenced
our lives, for other older people who "give us a start,"
advice and encouragement or financial aid. Even the love of
God has in religious ritual been colored with gratitude for
God's mercies and benevolences.

THE INDIVIDUALITY OF GROUPS. Groups may display the same
individuality and sense of selfhood as is exhibited by
individuals. And the members of the group may come to regard
the group life as something quite as important and inalienable
as their own personalities and possessions. Indeed in defense
of the integrity of the group life, as in the case, for example,
of national honor, the individual life and possession may come
to be reckoned as naught. Man's gregariousness and his
instinctive sympathy with his own kind make it easy for the
individual to identify his own life with that of the group.
What threatens or endangers the group will in consequence
arouse in him the same emotions as are aroused by threats or
dangers that concern his own personality. An insult to the
flag may send a thrill of danger through the millions who
read about it, just as would an insult to themselves or their

Group feeling may exist on various levels. It may be
nothing more momentous than local pride, having the tallest
tower, the finest amusement park, the best baseball team, or
being the "sixth largest city." It may be a belligerent
imperialism, a "desire for a place in the sun." It may be a
desire for independence and an autonomous group life,
manifested so strikingly recently by such small nationalities as
Poland and Czecho-Slovakia and influential in keeping Switzerland
alive as a nationality through hundreds of years,
though surrounded by powerful neighbors.[1] While a group
does not exist save as an abstraction, looked at as a whole it
may exhibit the same outstanding traits, or the same types
of selfhood as an individual. It may be fiercely belligerent
and dogmatic; it may, like literary exponents of the German
ideal, desire to spread its own conception of Kultur throughout
the world.[2] It may be insistent on its own position, or
its own possessions or its own glory. It may be fanatic in
aggrandizement. It may be interested in the welfare of other
groups, as in the case of large nationalities championing and
protecting the causes of small or oppressed ones, such an ideal
as was expressed, for example, by President Wilson in his
address to Congress on the entrance of America into the
Great War:

[Footnote 1: Group feeling may be displayed under the most
disadvantageous conditions, as in the strong sentiment for
nationalism current among the Jews, even through all the
centuries of dispersion.]

[Footnote 2: Thorstein Veblen has pointed out how the "common man"
comes to identify his interest with that of the group: "The common
man who so lends himself to the aggressive enhancement of the
national Culture and its prestige has nothing of a material kind
to gain from the increase of renown that comes to his sovereign,
his language, his countrymen's art or science, his dietary, or
his God. There are no sordid motives in all this. These spiritual
assets of self-complacency are indeed to be rated as grounds of
high-minded patriotism without afterthought." (_The Nature of
Peace_, p. 56.)]

... We shall fight for the things which we have always carried
nearest our hearts--for democracy, for the right of those who submit
to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the
rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right
by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all
nations and make the world itself at last free.[3]

[Footnote 3: Woodrow Wilson: _Address to Congress_, April 2, 1917.]

The selfhood displayed by various groups varies with the
degree and integration of the individual within the group.
In extreme cases, such as that of Germany under the imperial
régime, the group individuality may completely overshadow
and engulf that of the individual. This ideal was not
infrequently expressed by German political writers:

To us the state is the most indispensable as well as highest requisite
of our earthly existence.... All individualistic endeavor must
be unreservedly subordinated to this lofty claim.... The state
eventually is of infinitely more value than the sum of the individuals
within its jurisdiction. This conception of the state which is as
much a part of our life as the blood in our veins, is nowhere to be
found in the English constitution, and is quite foreign to English
thought, and to that of America as well.[1]

[Footnote 1: Eduard Meyer: _England, Its Political Organization and
Development and the War Against Germany_ (English translation), pp. 30-31.]

While custom-bound and feudal régimes may emphasize
the tendency to suppress development of individuality, and
insist on regimentation in thought and action--an ideal
proclaimed with increasing generality in Germany from Hegel
down[2] there may be on the part of both individuals and
groups the tendency to promote individuality as itself a social
good. In such a case the social structure and educational
systems and methods will be designed to promote individuality
rather than to suppress it. Individual variations, if it be
generally recognized that they are the only source of progress,
will be utilized and cultivated instead of suppressed.[3]

[Footnote 2: See Dewey: _German Philosophy and Politics_.]

[Footnote 3: Individuality is the theme of Montessori kindergarten

Throughout the nineteenth century (indeed throughout
the history of political theory), the pendulum swung between
individualism and complete socialization. Spencer long ago
proclaimed the dominance of the individual; T. H. Green,
following the German philosophers, the dominance of the
state. Like the contrast between egoism and altruism, an
emphasis on either side is bound to be artificial. The
individual can only be a self in a social order; the individual is
only an individual in contrast with others. It is doubtful, for
example, whether a man living all his life alone on a desert
island would discover any individuality at all. A man's
character is displayed in action, and his actions are always,
or nearly always, performed with reference to other people.
And a man's best self-realization cannot be achieved save in
congenial social order. A man will not readily grow into a
saint among a society of sinners, and unless the social order
provides opportunities for the highest type of life, it will exist
only in a very fortunate and favored few. One of the charges
that has been laid against democracy is that it fails to
encourage the highest types of scientific and artistic interests,
that it is the gospel of the mediocre.[1]

[Footnote 1: This is the essence of the aristocratic position,
that a choice life lived by a few is better than a vulgar one
shared by the many.]

It is too often forgotten, on the other hand, by those who
emphasize the importance of society, that society is, after all,
nothing more than an aggregate of selves. The "state," the
"social order" is nothing but the individuals who make it up,
and their relations to each other.

The group exists, after all, even as the most completely
socialized political doctrines insist, for the realization of
individual selves, for freedom of opportunity and initiative. It
is when "individualism" runs rampant, when self-realization
on the part of one individual interferes with self-realization
on the part of all others that individualism becomes a menace.
Individuality is itself valuable, in the first place, because as
Mill pointed out in his essay on _Liberty_ earlier quoted:

What has made the European family an improving instead of a
stationary portion of mankind? Not any superior excellence in
them, which, when it exists, exists as the effect, not the cause; but
their remarkable diversity of character and culture. Individuals,
classes, nations, have been extremely unlike one another; they have
struck out a great variety of paths, each leading to something
valuable; and although at every period those who traveled in different
paths have been intolerant of one another, and each would have
thought it an excellent thing if all the rest could have been compelled
to travel his road, their attempts to thwart each other's development
have rarely had any permanent success, and each has endured in
time to receive the good which the others have offered.[2]

[Footnote 2: Mill: _Essay on Liberty_, chap. III.]

Apart from the variations in group customs and traditions,
and their progressive application to changing circumstances
which individuality makes possible, it cannot be too strongly
emphasized that society is the name for the process by which
individuals live together. It is the individuals who are the
realities and the happiness of individuals which is the aim of
social organization. Such happiness is only attainable when
individuals are allowed to make the most of their native
capacities and individual interests. The social group as a group
will be more interesting, colorful, and various when every
experimentation and variety of life are encouraged and promoted.
And the individuals in such a society will be personalities,
not the mere mechanisms of a regimented routine.



this volume has been devoted to a consideration of those
traits, interests, and capacities which all individuals share, and
which may in general be described as the "original nature of
man." These distinctive inborn tendencies were treated, for
purposes of analysis, in the most general terms, and, on the
whole, as if they appeared in the same strength and variety in
all individuals. When we thus stand off and abstract those
characteristics which appear universally in all individuals,
human nature appears constant. But there are marked variations
in the specific content of human nature with which
each individual is at birth endowed. Put in another way, one
might say that to be a human being means to be by nature
pugnacious, curious, subject to fatigue, responsive to praise
and blame, etc., and susceptible to training in all these
respects. By virtue of the fact that we are all members of the
human race, we have common characteristics; by virtue that
we are _individuals_, we all display specific variations in specific
human capacities. There is, save abstractly, no such thing as
a standard human being. We may intellectually set up a
norm or standard, but it will be a norm or standard from
which every individual is bound to vary.

The fact that individuals do differ, and in specific and definable
respects, has most serious consequences for social life.
It means, briefly, that while general inferences may be drawn
from wide and accurate observations of the workings of human
nature, these inferences remain general and tentative,
and if taken as rigid rules are sure to be misleading. Theories
of education and social reform certainly gain from the general
laws that can be formulated about original human traits,
fatigue, memory, learning capacity, and the like. But they
must, if they are to be applicable, take account also, in a
precise and systematic way, of the variety of men's interests and
capacities. To this fact of variety in the original nature of
different men social institutions and educational methods
must be adapted. Arbitrary rules that apply to human nature
in general do not apply to the specific cases and specific
types of talent and desires. Educational and social organizations
can mould these, but the result of these environmental
influences will vary with individual differences in original
capacities. We can waste an enormous amount of time and
energy trying to train a person without mechanical or mathematical
gifts to be an engineer. We not only save energy and
time, but promote happiness, if we can train individuals so
that their specific gifts will be capitalized at one hundred per
cent. They will be at once more useful to society and more
content with themselves, when they are using to the full their
own capacities. They will at once be unproductive and unhappy
when they find themselves in activities or social situations
where their genuine talents are given no opportunity
and where their defects put them at a conspicuous handicap.

Individuals differ, it must further be noted, not only in
specific traits, but in that complex of traits which is commonly
called "intelligence." In the broadest terms, we mean by an
individual's intelligence his competence and facility in dealing
with his environment, physical, social, and intellectual. This
competence and facility, in so far as it is a native endowment,
consists of a number of traits present in a more or less high
degree, traits, for example, such as curiosity, flexibility of
native and acquired reactions, sociability, sympathy, and the
like. In a sense an individual possesses not a single intelligence,
but many, as many as there are types of activity in
which he engages. But one may classify intelligence under
three heads, as does Thorndike:[1] mechanical intelligence,
involved in dealing with things; social intelligence, involved in
dealing with other persons; and abstract intelligence, involved
in dealing with the relations between ideas. Each of
these types of intelligence involves the presence in a high degree
of a group of different traits. Thus, in social intelligence,
a high degree of sympathy, sensitivity to praise and blame,
leadership, and the like, are more requisite than they are for
intelligent behavior in the realm of mechanical operations or
of mathematical theory. A person may be highly intelligent
in one of these three spheres and mentally helpless in the
others. Thus, a brilliant philosopher may be nonplused by a
stalled motor; a successful executive may be a babe in the
realm of abstract ideas. But what we rate as a person's general
intelligence is a kind of average struck between his various
competences, an estimate of his general ability to control
himself in the miscellaneous variety of situations of which
his experience consists.

[Footnote 1: "Measuring Intelligence," _Harper's Magazine_, March, 1920.]

There have been a number of tests devised for the purpose
of estimating an individual's general intelligence.[1] On a
rating scale such as is used in these examinations most
individuals will come up to a certain standard that may be
called average or normal. There will be a certain number so
far below the normal rating in a complex of traits that go to
produce intelligent (competent and facile) behavior that they
will have to be classed as subnormal, ranging from
feeblemindedness to idiocy. A certain number will be found so
extraordinarily gifted in general traits and in specific
abilities--in given subject-matters, as, for example, in
mathematics and music--that they will be marked out as geniuses.
Following the laws of probability, the greater the inferiority
or superiority, the more exceptional it will be.

[Footnote 1: These, in large part, deal with words and ideas and
are, therefore, weighted in favor of abstract intelligence, and
put at a discount individuals whose experience and whose intelligence
are predominantly social or mechanical in character. Some of the
tests are fairly adequate for mechanical intelligence, but no good
tests have been devised for social intelligence. These tests,
however, as used in the army and for appraising college entrants,
as at Columbia University, have been demonstrated to be fairly
good indices of general intelligence.]

Individual differences are, therefore, seen to be not simply
differences with respect to given mental traits, but differences
with respect to general mental capacity. Experimental
investigation points to a graded difference in mental capacity,
ranging from idiocy to genius, the largest group being normal
or average, the size of the group diminishing with further
deviation from the average in either direction.

Certain important correlations, furthermore, have been
found between the level of intelligence and the level of character.
The great in mind, it may be said briefly, are also great
in spirit. "General moral defect commonly involves intellectual
inferiority. Woods and Pearson find the correlation between
intellect and character to be about .5.... General
moral defect is due in part to a generally inferior nervous

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _Educational Psychology_ (1910), p. 224.]

One other important correlation must be noted. While
gifts and capacities are specific, superiority in a given trait
commonly involves superiority in most others. Exceptional
talent in one direction in most cases involves exceptionality
in many other respects. While talents are not indiscriminately
transferable from one field to another, the same complex
of traits which makes a person stand out preëminently in
a given field, say law, would make him stand out in any one of
half a dozen different fields into which he might have gone.
There seems to be no evidence that extraordinary capacity in
one direction is balanced by extraordinary incapacity and
stupidity in others. The fact that individuals differ not only
in specific traits but in general mental capacity has, also,
certain obvious practical consequences. It means that there are
present in society, in the light of recent tests in the army, an
unexpectedly large number of individuals below the level of
normal intelligence. One in five hundred, Thorndike estimates,
is the "frequency of intellectual ability so defective as
to disturb the home, resist school influence, and excite popular
derision." These are clearly liabilities in the social order.
On the other hand, there is a large number above the level of
average intelligence. The importance of this group for human
progress can hardly be overestimated. As we have seen
in other connections, progress is contingent upon variation
from the "normal" or the accustomed, and such variation
from the normal is initiated in the majority of cases by members
of this comparatively small super-normal group. If
civilization is to advance it must capitalize its intelligence;
that is, educate up to the highest point of native ability. But
in any case, its chief guarantee of progress lies in the
comparatively small group in whom native ability is exceptionally
high. For it is among this group that original thinking,
invention, and discovery almost exclusively occur.

of individual differences may, in general, be set down the following:
(1) Sex, (2) Race, (3) Near Ancestry or Family,
(4) Environment. The particular fund of human nature
which an individual displays, that is, his specific native
endowments, as they appear in practice, will be a resultant of
these various causes. In the study of each of these characteristics,
we should be able ideally to eliminate all the others
and to consider them each in isolation.

THE INFLUENCE OF SEX. In the case of sex, for example, we
should not confuse individual differences due to the fact of sex
with individual differences due to divergent training given to
each of the sexes. In scientific experiments to determine sex
differences in mental traits, there have been careful attempts
to eliminate everything but the factor of sex itself. Thus in
Karl Pearson's studies of fifty twin brothers and sisters, the
factors of ancestry and difference of training and age were
practically eliminated.

In so far as allowance can be made for other contributing
factors, studies of individual differences due to sex have
revealed, roughly speaking, the following results. There have
been, in the field of sensory discrimination and accuracy of
motor response, slight--and negligible--differences of responses
made by male and female. The subjects stated were,
in most cases, selected so far as possible from the same social
strata, social and intellectual interest, and background.[1]

[Footnote 1: As, for example, the members of the graduating and junior
classes of the co-educational college at the University of Chicago,
studied by Dr. Thompson.]

Thorndike reports the general results of such tests as follows:

The percentages of males reaching or exceeding the median ability
of females in such traits as have been subjected to exact investigation
are roughly as follows:

  In speed of naming colors and sorting cards by color and
   discriminating colors as in a test for color blindness     24
  In finding and checking small visual details such as letters  33
  In spelling                                                   33
  In school "marks" in English                                  35
  In school "marks" in foreign languages                        40
  In memorizing for immediate recall                            42
  In lowness of sensory thresholds                              43
  In retentiveness                                              47
  In tests of speed and accuracy of association                 48
  In tests of general information                               50
  In school "marks" in mathematics                              50
  In school "marks" (total average)                             50
  In tests of discrimination (other than for color)             51
  In range of sensitivity                                       52
  In school "marks" in history                                  55
  In tests of ingenuity                                         63
  In accuracy of arm movements                                  66
  In school "marks" in physics and chemistry                    68
  In reaction time                                              70
  In speed of finger and arm movement                           71

The most important characteristic of these differences is their
small amount. The individual differences within one sex so enormously
outweigh the differences between the sexes in these intellectual
and semi-intellectual traits that for practical purposes the sex
difference may be disregarded. So far as ability goes, there could
hardly be a stupider way to get two groups alike within each group
but differing between the groups than to take the two sexes. As is
well known, the experiments of the past generation in educating
women have shown their equal competence in school work of elementary,
secondary, and collegiate grade. The present generation's experience
is showing the same fact for professional education and business
service. The psychologists' measurements lead to the conclusion
that this equality of achievement comes from an equality of natural
gifts, not from an overstraining of the lesser talents of women.[1]

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _Educational Psychology_, briefer course, pp. 345-46.]

That is, so far as experiments upon objectively measurable
traits have been conducted, the specific differences that
individuals display have comparatively nothing to do with the
fact that an individual happens to be a man or a woman.
These experiments have been conducted with boys and girls
as young as seven, and with men and women ranging up to the
age of twenty-five.[2]

[Footnote 2: There seems, as might be expected to be, a slightly
higher differentiation between the two sexes after adolescence
than before.]

These experiments have been conducted to test sensory
discrimination, precision of motor response and some of the
simpler types of judgment, such as those involved in the solution
of simple puzzles with blocks, matches, etc. The fact
of the negligibility of sex difference with regard to certain
minor measurable traits has been adequately demonstrated
by a wide variety of experiments. The fact of sex equality or
mental capacity has been less accurately but fairly universally
noted by popular consensus of observation and opinion of the
work of women in the various trades and professions. There
are differences between men and women in physical strength
and in consequent susceptibility to fatigue. These are
important considerations in qualifying the amount of work a
woman can do as compared with that of a man, and have
justly resulted in the regulation of hours for women, as a
special class. But there do not seem to be, on the average,
significant original differences in mental capacity.[3]

[Footnote 3: On this subject there has been collected a large
amount of accurate experimental data. See Goldmark: _Fatigue
and Efficiency_, part II, pp. 1-22. These refer to
physiological differences.]

There do exist, as a matter of practical fact, some of the
special attributes commonly ascribed to the masculine and
feminine mental life, but it is generally agreed by investigators
that these are to be accounted for by the different environment
and standards socially established for men and for
women. There are radical and subtle differences in training
to which boys and girls are subjected from early childhood.
There are deeply fixed traditions as to the standards of action,
feeling, and demeanor to which boys and girls are respectively
trained and to which they are expected to conform. If a boy
should not live up to this training and expectation, he may be
marked out as "effeminate." If a girl does not conform, she
is defined as a "hoyden" or a "tomboy."

These social distinctions, which are emphasized even in the
behavior of young boys and young girls, grow more pronounced
as individuals grow older. One need hardly call attention
to actions regarded as perfectly legitimate for men
which provoke disapproval if practiced by women. Rigid
training in these different codes of behavior may cause
acquired characteristics to seem inborn. But whether these
general features commonly held to distinguish the mental life
of man or woman are or are not intrinsic and original, they
have been marked out by certain investigators as socially
fundamental. Thus Heymans and Wiersma, two German
investigators, set down as the differentia of feminine mental
life (1) greater activity, (2) greater emotionality, (3) greater
unselfishness of the female.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Thorndike's _Educational Psychology_ (1910), p. 136.]

There are some general differences noted by both layman
and psychologist, which, though not subject to quantitative
determination, yet seem to differentiate somewhat definitely
between feminine and masculine mental activity. These
may be set down in general as occurring in the field of
emotional susceptibility. Thorndike traces them back to the
varying intensity of two human traits earlier discussed: the
fighting instinct, relatively much stronger in the male, and
the nursing or mothering instinct, much stronger in the
female. With this fact are associated important differences in
the conduct of men and women in social relations. The maternal
instinct is held by some writers, for instance, to be in
large measure the basis of altruism, and is closely associated
with sensitivity to the needs and desires of others. Thorndike

It has been common to talk of women's dependence. This is, I am
sure, only an awkward name for less resentment at mastery. The
actual nursing of the young seems likewise to involve equally
unreasoning tendencies to pet, coddle, and "do for" others. The
existence of these two instincts has been long recognized by
literature and common knowledge, but their importance in causing
differences in the general activities of the two sexes has not.
The fighting instinct is in fact the cause of a very large amount
of the world's intellectual endeavor. The financier does not
think merely for money, nor the scientist for truth, nor the
theologian to save souls. Their intellectual efforts are aimed in
great measure to outdo the other man, to subdue nature, to
conquer assent. The maternal instinct in its turn is the chief
source of woman's superiorities in the moral life. The virtues
in which she excels are not so much due to either any general
moral superiority or any set of special moral talents as to her
original impulses to relieve, comfort, and console.[1]

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _loc. cit._, pp. 48-49.]

Ordinary observation reveals, as literature has in general
recorded, what Havelock Ellis has called the "greater affectability
of the female mind." There is evidenced in many
women a singular and immediate responsiveness to other
people's emotions, a quick intuition, a precise though non-logical
discrimination, which, though shared to some extent
by all individuals gifted with sympathy and affection, is a
peculiarly feminine quality. Indeed when a man possesses
it, it is common to speak of him as possessing "almost a
woman's intuition." Such emotional susceptibility is manifested
in the higher frequency of emotional instability and
emotional outbreaks among women than among men, and the
decreased power of inhibition which women have over
instinctive and emotional reactions. Further than this, women
more than men may be said to qualify their judgments of persons
and situations by their emotional reactions to them.

The common suspicion that in general women's abilities
are less than those of men has seemed to gain strength from
the greater number of geniuses and eminent persons there
have been among men than among women. Professor Cattell
writes in this connection:

I have spoken throughout of eminent men as we lack in English
words including both men and women, but as a matter of fact women
do not have an important place on the list. They have in all thirty-two
representatives in the thousand. Of these eleven are hereditary
sovereigns, and eight are eminent through misfortunes, beauty, or
other circumstances. Belles-lettres and fiction--the only department
in which woman has accomplished much--give ten names as
compared with seventy-two men. Sappho and Joan d'Arc are the
only other women on the list. It is noticeable that with the
exception of Sappho--a name associated with certain fine fragments--women
have not excelled in poetry or art. Yet these are the departments
least dependent on environment, and at the same time those
in which the environment has been perhaps as favorable to women
as to men. Women depart less from the normal than men--a fact
that usually holds for the female throughout the animal series; in
many closely related species only the male can be readily

[Footnote 1: Cattell: "A Statistical Study of Eminent Men,"
_Popular Science Monthly_, vol. LXII. pp. 375-77.]

In the facts of higher variability among males, and the
hitherto restricted social opportunities provided for women
are to be found the chief reasons for the comparatively high
achievement of the male sex as compared with the female.
But on the average the difference between the two sexes with
respect to mental capacity is slight.

THE INFLUENCE OF RACE. A second factor in determining
individual differences in mental traits is race. There are
certain popular presuppositions as to the inherent differences in
the mental activity of different races. The Irishman's wit,
the negro's joyousness, the emotionality of the Latin races,
the stolidity of the Chinese, are all supposed to be fundamental.
And in a sense they are. That is, in the life and
culture of these groups, such traits may stand out distinctively.
But most psychologists and anthropologists question
seriously whether these traits are to be traced to radical differences
in racial inheritance. For the most part they seem
rather to be the result of radical differences in environment.
"Many of the mental similarities of an Indian to Indians and
of his differences from Anglo-Saxons disappear, if he happens
to be adopted and brought up as an Anglo-Saxon."[1]

[Footnote 1: Thorndike _loc. cit._, p. 52.]

There have been various experimental studies made to
determine how much divergences in the mental activity of
different races are determined by differences in racial
inheritance. Such experiments have been conducted chiefly
upon very simple traits and capacities. The accuracy of
sensory response among different races has, for example, been
examined. There have proved to be, in regard to these, slight
differences in the effectiveness and accuracy of response.
There are racial differences in hearing, as tested by the ticking
of a watch or clock artificially made. In this test, Papuans,
to take an instance, were inferior to Europeans. The sense
of touch has been similarly tested, and comparatively negligible
differences have been found. In regard to the five senses,
their efficiency seems to be about equal in all the races of
mankind. The proverbial keenness of vision of the Indian, for
example, is found to be due to a superior training in its use, a
training made imperative by the conditions of Indian life. In
reaction time tests--that is, tests in the speed of simple mental
and motor performances--the time consumed in response
has been found to be about the same for all races tested. The
results have been similar with regard to certain simple processes
of judgment or inference:

There are a number of illusions and constant errors of judgment
which are well known in the psychological laboratory, and which
seem to depend, not on peculiarities of the sense organs, but on
quirks and twists in the process of judgment. A few of these have
been made the matter of comparative tests, with the result that
peoples of widely different cultures are subject to the same errors,
and in about the same degree. There is an illusion which occurs
when an object, which looks heavier than it is, is lifted by the hand;
it then feels, not only lighter than it looks, but even lighter than it
really is. The contrast between the look and the feel of the thing
plays havoc with the judgment. Women are, on the average, more
subject to this illusion than men. The amount of this illusion has
been measured in several peoples, and found to be, with one or two
exceptions, about the same in all. Certain visual illusions, in which
the apparent length or direction of a line is greatly altered by the
neighborhood of other lines, have similarly been found present in all
races tested, and to about the same degree. As far as they go, these
results tend to show that simple sorts of judgment, being subject
to the same disturbances, proceed in the same manner among various
peoples; so that the similarity of the races in mental processes
extends at least one step beyond sensation.[1]

[Footnote 1: Woodworth: "Racial Differences in Mental Traits,"
_Science_, New Series, vol. 31, pp. 179-81.]

Professor Woodworth also points out that these simple
tests are not adequate to measure general intelligence.

A good test for intelligence would be much appreciated by the
comparative psychologist, since, in spite of equal standing in such
rudimentary matters as the senses and bodily movement, attention
and the simpler sorts of judgment, it might still be that great
differences in mental efficiency existed between different groups of men.
Probably no single test could do justice to so complex a trait as
intelligence. Two important features of intelligent action are
quickness in seizing the key to a novel situation, and firmness in limiting
activity to the right direction, and suppressing acts which are
obviously useless for the purpose in hand. A simple test which calls for
these qualities is the so-called "form test." There are a number of
blocks of different shapes, and a board with holes to match the
blocks. The blocks and board are placed before a person, and he is
told to put the blocks in the holes in the shortest possible time. The
key to the situation is here the matching of blocks and holes by their
shape; and the part of intelligence is to hold firmly to this obvious
necessity, wasting no time in trying to force a round block into a
square hole. The demand on intelligence certainly seems slight
enough; and the test would probably not differentiate between a
Newton and you or me; but it does suffice to catch the feeble-minded,
the young child, or the chimpanzee, as any of these is likely to fail
altogether, or at least to waste much time in random moves and
vain efforts. This test was tried on representatives of several races
and considerable differences appeared. As between whites, Indians,
Eskimos, Ainus, Filipinos, and Singhalese, the average differences
were small, and much overlapping occurred. As between these
groups, however, and the Igorot and Negrito from the Philippines
and a few reputed Pygmies from the Congo, the average differences
were great, and the overlapping small.[1]

[Footnote 1: Woodworth: _loc. cit._, pp. 171-86.]

Equality among races in the various traits that have been
measured by psychologists does not imply that common
observation is wrong in counting one race as intellectually
superior to another. There have, as yet, been no measurements
of such general features of social life as energy, self-reliance,
inventiveness, and the like. But from indications of
experiments already made, these so-called (and for practical
purposes genuine) intellectual differences between the
individuals of different races must be attributed to differences in
environment. Races _as_ races seem to be equally gifted.

Professor Boas points out that civilized investigators traveling
among savage tribes commit one serious fallacy in insisting
on the inferiority of these primitive peoples. They
are said to be irrational, for example, when they are quite
logical in their way of dealing with the material which is at
their disposal. Without any scientific information available,
for example, anthropomorphism, or the tendency to interpret
cosmic phenomena in human terms is quite natural and reasonable.

The difference in the mode of thought of primitive man and that
of civilized man seems to consist largely in the difference of character
of the traditional material with which the new perception associates
itself. The instruction given to the child of primitive man is not
based on centuries of experimentation, but consists of the crude
experience of generations. When a new experience enters the mind of
primitive man, the same process which we observe among civilized
man brings about an entirely different series of associations, and
therefore results in a different type of explanation. A sudden
explosion will associate itself in his mind, perhaps, with the tales he has
heard in regard to the mythical history of the world, and consequently
will be accompanied by superstitious fear. When we recognize
that neither among civilized men nor among primitive men the
average individual carries to completion the attempt at causal
explanation of phenomena, but carries it only so far as to amalgamate
it with other previously known facts, we recognize that the
result of the whole process depends entirely upon the character of
the traditional material.[1]

[Footnote 1: Boas: _Mind of Primitive Man_, pp. 203-04.]

This may be illustrated by our immediate reactions of pleasure
or disgust at customs or ideas that provoke directly opposite
reactions among races reared in another tradition.

Again primitive races have been accused of lacking self-control.
The fact is that they exhibit self-control about
matters which they regard as important, and lack of it in
respect to matters which they regard as trivial. "When an
Eskimo community is on the point of starvation, and their
religious proscriptions forbid them to make use of the seals
that are basking on the ice, the amount of self-control of the
whole community which restrains them from killing those
seals is certainly very great."[2] The case is similar with
regard to nearly all the alleged inferiorities of primitive man, his
improvidence, unreliability, and the like. In nearly every
instance, it has been found that we are holding him to account
for not being able to persist in courses of action which do not
seem to him, with his training and education, worth persisting
in, and for not conforming to standards which, given his
background, are meaningless.

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_. p. 108.]

But if differences in racial attainments are due to differences
in environment, it might be said that this itself is testimony
to the superiority of the race that has the more complex
and exacting environment. This is not by any means clearly
the case. The "culture" or civilization which a race exhibits
is a very uncertain index of its gifts or its capacities. The
culture found in a race is, it may be said without exaggeration,
largely a matter of accident or circumstance rather than
of heredity.

Some of the environmental causes for differences in culture
may he explicitly noted. Any modern culture is the result
of interminglings of many different cross-streams and cross-borrowings.
Races that have long been isolated as, for example
the African negroes, have no possibility of picking up
all the acquisitions to which races that intermingle have
access. Progress in the developments of arts, sciences, and
institutions depends on fortunate individual variations. The
smaller the race the less the number of variations possible,
including those on the side of what we call genius. Again
fortunate variations depend not so much on the general average
intellectual capacities of the race as on its variability.
So one race may possess a relative superiority of achievement
because of its high variability, just as, as we have already
pointed out, the greater preëminence of the male sex with
regard to intellectual accomplishment is due to the greater
number of variations both above and below the norm which
it displays. The reasons for variability are again, according
to Professor Boas, largely environmental. "We have seen,
when a people is descended from a small uniform group, that
then its variability will decrease; while on the other hand,
when a group has a much-varied origin or when the ancestors
belong to entirely distinct types the variability may be
considerably increased."[1]

[Footnote 1: Boas; _loc. cit._, p. 93.]

Again a race may be placed in such geographical conditions
that a fortuitous variation on the part of one individual may
prove of enormous value in the development of its civilization.
Or fortunate geographical conditions may stimulate
types of activity that lie dormant, although possible, among
other races. Thus by some investigators the flexibility and
emancipation of the Greek genius were attributed to their
access to the sea and their constant intermingling with other
cultures, especially the Egyptian.

On the subject of the fundamental equality of races despite
their seeming disparity, as that at present, let us say, between
whites and negroes, Professor Boas writes:

Much has been said of the hereditary characteristics of the Jews,
of the Gypsies, of the French and Irish, but I do not see that the
external and social causes which have moulded the character of
members of these people have ever been eliminated satisfactorily;
and, moreover, I do not see how this can be accomplished. A number
of external factors that influence body and mind may easily be
named--climate, nutrition, occupation--but as soon as we enter
into a consideration of social factors and mental conditions we are
unable to tell definitely what is cause and what is effect.

       *       *       *       *       *

The conclusions reached are therefore, on the whole, negative. We
are not inclined to consider the mental organization of different races
of man as differing in fundamental points. Although, therefore, the
distribution of faculty among the races of man is far from being
known, we can say this much: the average faculty of the white race
is found to the same degree in a large proportion of individuals
of all other races, and although it is probable that some of these
races may not produce as large a proportion of great men as our own
race, there is no reason to suppose that they are unable to
reach the level of civilization represented by the bulk of our own

[Footnote 1: Boas; _loc. cit._, pp. 116, 123.]

In contrast must be cited the opinions of a large class of
psychologists and anthropologists who are inclined to regard
racial differences as intrinsic and original. Of such, for example,
is Francis Galton, who claims in his _Hereditary Genius_,
that taking negroes on their own ground they still are inferior
to Europeans by about one eighth the difference, say, between
Aristotle and the lowest idiot. Recent psychological
experiments in the army reveal, again, certain fundamental
intellectual inferiorities of negroes, though whether this is
environmental or to be traced to hereditary causes is open to

The fact remains that there are, despite the lack of evidence
for hereditary mental differences, practical differences in the
mental activity of different races that are of social importance.
These differences, which seem so fundamental, have been
explained primarily by the powerful control exercised over the
individual by the habits which he acquires even before the
age of five years. These, though unconscious, may be, as the
Freudian psychologists maintain, all the more important for
that reason. This would appear to be the only explanation of
significant racial differences. Cultural differences cannot,
biologists are generally agreed, be transmitted in the germs
that pass from generation to generation. One may say, in
effect, that an individual is differentiated in his mental traits
by early association with a certain race, and by his immediate
ancestry or family, rather than by the fact of belonging
physically to a certain race.

that is, on experimental evidence, rated to be of high importance
in the determination of the differences of the mental
make-up of human beings, is "immediate ancestry" or family.
Stated in the most simple and general terms this means
that children of the same parents tend to display marked
likenesses in mental traits, and to exhibit less variation among
themselves than is exhibited in the same number of individuals
chosen at random. A great number of experiments have
been conducted to determine how far resemblances in mental
traits are due to common parentage. The correlation between
membership in the same family and resemblances of
social traits has been found to be uniformly high.

The inference was made that children of the same family
would show great resemblances in mental traits, when accurate
experiments showed marked similarity in physical traits
under the same conditions. The coefficient of correlation
between brothers in the color of the eye, is, according to the
results obtained by Karl Pearson, .52.[1] The coefficient of
fraternal correlation in the case of the cephalic index (ratio
of width to length of head) is .40. The correlation of hair
color is found to be .55. The fact of high correlation between
resemblance of physical traits and membership in the
same family is of crucial importance, because these traits
are clearly due to ancestry, and not to environmental
differences. If physical traits show such a correlation, it is likely
that mental traits will also, mental traits being ultimately
dependent on the brain and the nervous system, which are both
affected by ancestry.

[Footnote 1: These facts are based on the reports of Karl Pearson
in his _On the Laws of Inheritance in Man_. What is meant by
coefficient of correlation may be explained as follows: If the
coefficient of correlation between father and son is .3 and the
coefficient of correlation between brother and brother is .5 we
may say: a son on the average deviates from the general trend of
the population by .3 of the amount of his father's deviation, a
brother by .5 of the amount of his brother.]

Measurements of measurable traits and observations of less
objectively measurable ones, have revealed that immediate
ancestry is in itself an influential factor in producing likenesses
and differences among men with respect to mental traits.
One interesting case, interesting because it was a test of a
capacity that might be expected to be largely environmental
in its origins, was that of the spelling abilities of children in
the St. Xavier School in New York. Thorndike thus reports the test:

As the children of this school commonly enter at a very early age,
and as the staff and the methods of teaching remain very constant,
we have in the case of the 180 brothers and sisters included in the 600
children closely similar school training. Mr. Earle measured the
ability of any individual by his deviation from the average for his
grade and sex, and found the co-efficient of correlation between
children of the same family to be .50. That is, any individual is on the
average fifty per cent as much above or below the average for his age
and sex as his brother or sister.

Similarities in home training might theoretically account for this,
but any one experienced in teaching will hesitate to attribute much
efficacy to such similarities. Bad spellers remain bad spellers though
their teachers change. Moreover, Dr. J. M. Rice in his exhaustive
study of spelling ability found little or no relationship between good
spelling and any one of the popular methods, and little or none
between poor spelling and foreign parentage. Yet the training of a
home where parents do not read or spell the language well must be a
home of relatively poor training for spelling. Cornman's more careful
study of spelling supports the view that ability to spell is little
influenced by such differences in school or home training as commonly

[Footnote 1: Thorndike: _loc. cit._, p. 78.]

In general the influence of heredity may be said far to outweigh
the influence of home training. In all the cases
reported, the resemblances were about the same in traits subject
to training, and in those not subject to training. Thus industry
and conscientiousness and public spirit, which are clearly
affected by environment, show no greater resemblance than
such practically unmodifiable traits as memory, original
sensitiveness to colors, sounds, and distances.

The influence of parentage, it must be added, consists in the
transmission of specific traits, not of a certain "nature" as a
whole. There are in the germ and the ovum which constitute
the inheritance of each individual, certain determinant elements.
The elements that determine the original traits with
which each individual will be born vary, of course, in the
germs produced by a single parent less than among individuals
chosen at random, but they vary none the less. In this
variation of the determining elements in the germs of the
same individual is to be found the cause of the variation in
the physical and mental traits among children of the same

Since the determining elements, the unit characters that
appear in the sperm or ovum of each individual, do not appear
uniformly even in children of the same parents, brother
and sister may resemble each other in certain mental traits,
and differ in others. "A pair of twins may be indistinguishable
in eye color and stature, but be notably different in hair
color and tests of intellect."

Mental inheritance, as well as physical, is, then, organized
in detail. It is not the inheritance of gross total natures, but
of particular "mental traits." If we had sufficient data, we
should be able to analyze out the unit characters of an
individual's mental equipment, so as to be able to predict with
some accuracy the mental inheritance of the children of any
two parents. In the case of physical inheritance, the laws of
the hereditary transmission of any given traits are known in
considerable detail. The detailed quantitative investigations
of inheritance, following the general lines set by Mendel, have
given striking results.

Physical traits have been found to be analyzable into unit-characters
(that is, traits hereditarily transmitted as units),
such as "curliness of hair," "blue eyes," and the like. Mental
traits, however, do not seem analyzable into the fixed
unit-characters prescribed by the Mendelian laws of inheritance.

The success which breeders have had in the control of the
reproduction of plants and animals, in the perpetuation of a
stock of desirable characteristics and the elimination of the
undesirable, has given rise to a somewhat analogous ideal in
human reproduction. That eugenics has at least its theoretical
possibilities with regard to physical traits, few biologists
will question. However difficult it may be in practice
to regulate human matings on the exclusive basis of the kind
of offspring desired, it is a genuine biological possibility. In a
negative way, it has already in part been initiated in the
prevention of the marriage of some extreme types of the physically
unfit, by the so-called eugenic marriage laws in some
states in this country.[1]

[Footnote 1: There have been laws, as there is a fairly decided
public opinion, adverse to reproduction by the feeble-minded and
the morally defective. But (see Richardson: _The Etiology of
Arrested Mental Development_, p. 9) there have been a number
of cases of feeble-minded parents producing normal children.]

But whether scientific regulation of marriages for the
production of eugenic offspring is feasible, even apart from the
personal and emotional questions involved, is open to question.
No mental trait such as vivacity, musical ability,
mathematical talent, or artistic sense, has been analyzed into
such definitely transmissible unit-characters as "blue eyes"
and "curliness of hair." So many unit-characters seem to be
involved in any single mental trait that it will be long before
a complete analysis of the hereditary invariable determinants
of any single trait can be made.

It is thus impossible to tell as yet with any security or precision
the biological components of any single mental trait.
The evidence at our disposal, however, does confirm us in the
belief that one of the most significant and certain causes of
individual differences, whether physical or mental, is immediate
ancestry or family. Individuals are made by what they
are initially, and, as we shall presently see, therefore largely
by their inheritance. With the latter, environment can do
just so much, and no more. And the most significant and
effective part of an individual's inheritance is his family for
some generations back, rather than the race to which he belongs.

discussed which determine individual differences are independent
of the particular conditions of life in which an individual
happens to be placed. An individual's race, sex, family
are beyond modification by anything that happens to him
after birth. Maturity, in so far as it is mere growth independent
of training, is also largely a fixed and unmodifiable

The original nature, determined by race, sex, and immediate
ancestry, with which a man starts life is subject to modification
by his social environment, by the ideas, customs, companions,
beliefs, by which he is surrounded, and with which
he comes continuously in contact. Commonly the influence
of environment is held to be very high. It is difficult, however,
accurately to distinguish between effects which are due
to original nature and effects which are due to environment.

Differences in training are important, but the results vary
with the natures trained. Precisely the same environment
will not have the same consequences for two different natures.
Two approximately same natures will show something like
the same effects in dissimilar environments. Human beings
are certainly differentiated by the customs, laws, ideals,
friends, and occupations to which they are exposed. But
what the net result will be in a specific case, depends on the
individual's equipment to start with, an equipment that is
fixed before the environment has had a chance to act at all.
The kindliness and indulgence that save some children
demoralize others. In some people a soft answer turneth away
wrath; in others it will kindle it. Andrew Carnegie starts as a
bobbin boy, and becomes a millionaire; but there were many
other bobbin boys. The sunset that stirs in one man a lyric,
leaves another cold. The same course in biology arouses in
one student a passion for a life of science; it leaves another
hoping never to see a microscope again. On the other hand,
the same types of original capacity thrown into different
environments will yet attain somewhat comparable results, in
the way of character and achievement. The biographies of
a few poets, painters, philosophers, and scientists chosen at
random, show the most diverse antecedents.[1]

[Footnote 1: Taking the social and professional status of a
distinguished man's father as some index of the social environment
to which he was subjected during his youth, we find some
interesting examples: The father of John Keats was a livery
stable-keep; his mother the daughter of one. Byron's father
was a captain in the Royal Guards; his mother a Scottish heiress.
Newton's father was a tanner; Pasteur's, a tanner; Darwin's, a
doctor of considerable means. Francis Bacon's father was Lord
Keeper of the Great Seal; Newton's was a farmer and the headmaster
of a school; Turner was the son of a barber.]

An individual, again, to a certain extent, makes his own
environment. What kind of an environment he will make
depends on the kinds of capacities and interests he has to
start with. Similarity of original tendencies and interests
brings men together as differences among these keep them
apart. The libraries, the theaters, and the baseball parks
are all equally possible and accessible features of their
environment to individuals of a given economic or social class.
Yet a hundred individuals with the same education and
social opportunities will make themselves by choice a hundred
different environments. They will select, even from
the same physical environment, different aspects. The
Grand Cañon is a different environment to the artist and to
the geologist; a crowd of people at an amusement park
constitutes a different environment to the man who has come
out to make psychological observations, and the man who
has come out for a day's fun. A dozen men, teachers and
students, selected at random on a university campus, might
well be expected to note largely different though overlapping
facts, as the most significant features of the life of the

The environment is the less important in the moulding of
character, the less fixed and unavoidable it becomes. If an
individual has the chance to change his environment to suit
his own original demands and interests, these are the less
likely to undergo modification. This is illustrated in the animal
world by the migratory birds, which change their habitations
with the seasons. Similarly human beings, to suit the
original mental traits with which they are endowed, can and
do exchange one environment for another. There are a very
large number of individuals living in New York City, in the
twentieth century, for example, for whom a multiplicity of
environments are possible. The one that becomes habitual
with an individual is a matter of his own free choice. That is,
it is choice, in the sense that it is independent of the
circumstances of the individual's life. But an individual's choice of
his environment must be within the limited number of alternatives
made possible by the original nature with which he
is endowed. As pointed out in connection with our discussion
of "Instinctive Behavior," we do originally what gives
satisfaction to our native impulses, and avoid what irritates
and frustrates them. We may be trained to find satisfactions
in acquired activities, but there is a strong tendency to
acquire habits that "chime in," as it were, with the tendencies
we have to start with.

There is, for example, to certain individuals, intrinsic
satisfaction in form and color; to others in sound. To the
former, pictures and paintings will tend to be the environment
selected; to the latter the hearing and the playing of
music. To those gifted with sensitivity in neither of these
directions, pictures may be through all their lives a bore, and
a piano a positive nuisance.

These facts of original nature, therefore, determine initially,
and consequently in large part, what our environment is
going to be. Once we get into, or select through instinctive
desires, a certain kind of environment, those desires become
strengthened through habit, and that environment becomes
fixed through fulfilling those habitual desires. A man may,
in the first place, choose artists or scholars as companions
because his own gifts and interests are similar. But such an
environment will become the more indispensable for him
when it has the reinforcement of habit to confirm what is
already initially strong in him by birth. "To him who hath
shall be given" is most distinctly true of the opportunities and
environment open to those with native gifts to begin with.

Original nature thus sets the scope and the limits of an
individual's character and achievement. It tells "how
much" and, in the most general way, "what" his capacities
are. Thus a man born with a normal vocal apparatus can
speak; a man born with normal vision can see. But what
language he shall speak, and what sights he shall see, depend
on the social and geographical situation in which he happens
to be placed. Again, if a man is born with a "high general
intelligence," that is, with keen sensory discriminations and
motor responses, precise and accurate powers of analysis of
judgment, a capacity for the quick and effective acquisition
and modification of habits, we can safely predict that he will
excel in some direction. But whether he will stand out as a
lawyer, doctor, philosopher, poet, or executive, it is almost
impossible from original nature to tell.[1]

[Footnote 1: The psychological tests used in the army, and being
used now with modifications in the admission of students to
Columbia College, are "general intelligence" tests. That is, they
show general alertness and intellectual promise, but are not
prophetic of any specialized talents or capacities.]

fact that individuals differ in ability and interest has important
consequences for education and social progress. It
means, in the first place, that while current optimistic
doctrines about the modifiability of human nature are true, they
are true within limits--limits that vary with the individual.
Whether or not we shall ever succeed, through the science or
the practice of eugenics, in eliminating low ability and
perpetuating high exclusively, the fact remains that there are in
contemporary society the widest variations both in the kinds
of interest and ability displayed, and in their relative efficacy
under present social and industrial conditions.

There are, it must be noted at the outset, a not inconsiderable
number of individuals who must be set down as absolute
social liabilities. Even if existing social and educational
arrangements were perfect, these would remain unaffected
and unavailable for any useful purpose. They would have to
be endowed, cared for, or confined. There is the quite
considerable class, who, while normal with respect to sensory and
motor discrimination, seem to be seriously and irremediably
defective in their powers of judgment. These also seem to
offer invulnerable resistance to education, and their original
natures would not be subject to modification even by an
education perfectly adapted to the needs of normal people.

But the more significant fact, more significant because it
affects so many, is the fact that within the ranks of the great
class of normal people, there are fundamental inherited differences
in ability and interest. Next in importance to the fact
that an individual is human is the fact that he is an individual,
with very specific initial capacities and desires. For education
the implications are serious. Education aims, among
other things, to give the individual habits that will enable
him to deal most effectively with his environment. But an
individual can be trained best, it goes without saying, in the
capacities and interests he has to begin with. Education cannot,
therefore, be wholesale in its methods. It must be so adjusted
as to utilize and make the most of the multifarious
variety of native abilities and interests which individuals
display. If it does not utilize these, and instead sets up
arbitrary moulds to which individuals must conform, it will be
crushing and distorting the specific native activities which
are the only raw material it has to work upon.

There have not as yet been many detailed quantitative
studies of individual differences that would enable educators,
if they were free to do so, scientifically to adapt education to
specific needs and possibilities. Beginnings in this direction
are being made, though rather in advanced than in more
elementary education. Professional and trade schools, and
group-electives in college courses are attempts in this direction.
Any attempt, of course, to adapt education to specific
needs and interests, instead of crushing them into _a priori_
moulds, requires, of course, a wider social recognition and
support of education than is at present common. For individual
differences require attention. And where millions are
to be educated, individual attention requires an immense
investment in teaching personnel.

But in this utilization of original interests and capacities
lies the only possibility of genuinely effective education.[1]
In the first place to try in education to give individuals habits
for which they have no special innate tendencies to begin with,
is costly. Secondly, to train individuals for types of life or
work for which their gifts and desires are ill adapted is to
promote at once inefficiency and unhappiness. One reason
why the chance to identify one's life with one's work (as is the
case with the artist and the scholar) is so universally recognized
as good fortune, is because it is so rare. A general and
indiscriminate training of men, as if they were all fitted with
the same talents and the same longings, does as much as
underpayment or overwork to impair the quality of the work
done and the satisfaction derived from it.

[Footnote 1: A beginning in the application of this principle has
been made by the vocational guidance and employment management work
which is being done with increasing scientific accuracy throughout
the United States. Individual differences and interests are studied
with a view to putting "the right man in the right place." This
slogan is borrowed from the Committee on Classification and Personnel,
which during the Great War, through its trade tests and other
machinery of differentiation, utilized for the national welfare
the specific abilities of thousands of drafted men.]

It has latterly been recognized that industry offers the
crucial opportunity to utilize to the fullest individual differences.
By "getting the right man in the right place," we at
once get the work done better and make the man better satisfied.
If adequate attention is given to "placement," to the
specific demands put upon men by specific types of work, and
to the specific capacities of individuals for fulfilling those
demands, we will be capitalizing variations among men instead
of being handicapped by them. As it is, specific differences
do exist, and men enter occupations and professions ignoring
them. As a result both the job and the man suffer; the
former is done poorly, and the latter is unsuccessful and unhappy.

It must be noted that the existence of specific differences
between individuals does not altogether, or often even in part,
imply superiority or inferiority. It implies in each case
inferiority or superiority with respect to the performance of a
particular type of work. Whether scientific insight and
accuracy is better than musical skill, whether a gift for
salesmanship surpasses a gift for mathematics, depends on the
social situation and the standards that happen to be current
among the group. An intensely disagreeable person may be
the best man for a particular job. All scientific observation
can do is to note individual differences, to note what work
makes demands upon what capacities, and try to bring the
man and the job together.

It must be emphasized that, while individual capacities
determine what an individual can do, social ideals and
traditions determine what he will do, because they determine what
he will be rewarded and encouraged to do. There is no
question but that in our industrial civilization certain types
of ability, that of the organizer, for example, have a high
social value. There is no question but that there are other
abilities, which under our present customs and ideals we
reward possibly beyond their merit, as, to take an extreme
case, that of a championship prize fighter. We can through
education and vocational guidance utilize all native capacities.
To make provision for the utilization of all native
capacities is to have an efficient social life. But to what end
our efficient human machinery shall be used depends on the
ideals and customs and purposes that happen to be current in
the social order at any given time.

In the words of Professor Thorndike, "we can invest in
profitable enterprises the capital nature provides." But
what profiteth a man or a society, is a matter for reflective
determination; it is not settled for us, as are our limitations,
at birth.

The net result of scientific observation in this field is the
discovery, in increasingly precise and specific form, that men
are most diverse and unequal in interest and capacity. The
ideal of equality comes to mean, under scientific analysis,
equality of opportunity, leveling all social inequalities; the
fact of natural inequalities and divergences remains incontestable.

There may even be, as recent psychological tests seem to
indicate, a certain proportion of individuals who are not
competent to take an intelligent part in democratic government,
who, having too little intellectual ability to follow the
simplest problem needing coöperative and collective decision,
must eternally be governed by others. If these facts come to
be authenticated by further data, it merely emphasizes the
fact that in a country professedly democratic it is essential
to devise an education that will, in the case of each individual,
educate up to the highest point of native ability.

Where a country is ostensibly democratic, a few informed
citizens will govern the many uninformed, unless the latter
are educated to an intelligent knowledge and appreciation of
their political duties and obligations. Furthermore, the citizens
of a community who are prevented from using their native
gifts will be both useless and unhappy. Certainly this is
an undesirable condition in a society where all individuals are
expected, so far as possible, to be ends in themselves and not
merely means for the ends of others.



[Footnote 1: Much of the technical material for this chapter is
drawn from Leonard Bloomfield's _The Study of Language_, and
W. D. Whitney's _The Life and Growth of Language_.]

It was earlier pointed out that human beings alone possess
language. They alone can make written symbols and heard
sounds stand for other things, for objects, actions, qualities,
and ideas. In this chapter the consideration of language may
best be approached from the spoken tongue, under the influence
of which, except in the simplest type of pictorial writing,
the written form develops.[2]

[Footnote 2: Bloomfield: _loc. cit._, pp. 7-8.]

From the point of view of the student of behavior, language,
spoken language especially, is a habit, acquired like walking
or swimming. It is made possible primarily by the fact that
human beings possess a variety and flexibility of vocal reflexes
possessed by no other animal. All the higher animals have a
number of vocal reflexes, which are called out primarily in the
expression of emotion or desire. Cries of pain, hunger, rage,
sex desire or desire for companionship, are common to a great
number of the animal species. But these cries and vocal
utterances are limited, and comparatively unmodifiable.
They are moreover expressed, so far as experimental observation
can reveal, with no consciousness of the specific significance
of particular sounds and are used as the involuntary
expression of emotion rather than as a specific means of

... The primates have a much larger number of such vocal instincts
than the other mammals, and a much larger number of stimuli
can call them out, _e.g._, injury to bodily tissue calls out one group;
hunger calls out a certain group; sex stimuli (mate, etc.) another;
and similarly cold, swiftly moving objects, tones, strange animals
call out others. When attachments are formed between the female
and her offspring another large group is called into action. There is
no evidence to show in the case of mammals that these vocal instincts
are modified by the sounds of other animals.... These throat habits
may be cultivated to such an extent in birds that we may get an
approximation, more or less complete, to a few such habits possessed
by the human being. Such throat habits, however, are not language

[Footnote 1: Watson: _Behavior_, p. 323.]

In human beings language, it is clear, may attain extraordinary
refinement and complexity, and may convey extremely
fine shades and subtleties of emotion or idea. This
results from the fact that man is born with a vocal
apparatus far superior in development to that of any of the

It is pretty clear that the mutant man, when thrown off from the
primate stock, sprang forth with a vocal apparatus different from
that of the parent stock, and possessing abundant richness in reflexes,
even far surpassing that found in the bird. It is interesting to
observe, too, in this connection, that within the narrow space occupied
by the vocal apparatus we have a system of muscular mechanisms
which has within it, looking at it now as a whole, the same possibilities
of habit formation that we find in the remaining portion of bodily
musculature.... It is probable that in a few years we shall undertake
the study of such habits from exactly the same standpoint that
we now employ in studies upon the acquisition of skill in the human

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, pp. 323-24.]

The human baby starts its expressive habits by emitting
with wide-open mouth an undifferentiated shriek of pain. A
little later it yells in the same way at any kind of discomfort.
It begins before the end of the first year to croon when it is
contented. As it grows older it begins to make different
sounds when it experiences different emotions. And with
remarkable rapidity its repertoire of articulatory movements
has greatly increased.

Speech that begins in the child as a mere vague vocal
expression of emotion soon begins to exhibit a marked element
of mimicry. The child begins to associate the words uttered
by his nurse or parents with the specific objects they point to.
He comes to connect "milk," "sleep," "mother" with the
experiences to which they correspond. The child thus learns
to react to certain sounds as significant of certain experiences.
Unlike Adam, he does not have to give names to animals, or
for that matter to anything else on earth. They all have
specific names in the particular language in which he happens
to be brought up. In the case of other habits, largely through
trial and error, he learns to associate given sounds expressed
by other people about him with given experiences, pleasant
or unpleasant. He learns further to imitate, so far as possible,
these sounds, as a means of more precisely communicating
his wants or securing their fulfillment.

In this connection students of language frequently have
raised the question of how man first came to associate a given
sound-sequence with a given experience. Like fire, language
was once conceived to be a divine gift. Another theory
postulated a genius who took it into his head to give the
things of earth their present inevitable names. One other
theory equally dubious held that language started in onomatopoetic
expressions like "Bow-wow," for dog. Still another
hypothesis once highly credited held that the sounds first
uttered were the immediate and appropriate expressions
called out by particular types of emotional experience. The
validity of the last two theories has been rendered particularly
dubious. The very instances of imitative words cited,
words like "cuckoo," "crash," "flash," were, in their original
forms, quite other than they are now. And that words are
not immediately apposite expressions of the emotions which
they represent, has been generally recognized. In gesture
language, the gesture has to remain fairly imitative or
expressive to be intelligible. But an examination of half a dozen
casual words in contemporary languages shows how arbitrary
are the signs used, and how little appositeness or relevance
they bear in their sound to the sense which they represent.
The detailed study of the perfectly regular changes that so
largely characterize the evolution of language, have revealed
the inadequacy of any of these views. There seems to be, in
fact, no explanation of the origin of the language any more
than there is of the origin of life. All that linguistic science
can do is to reveal the history of language. And in this
history, human language stands revealed as a highly refined
development of the crude and undifferentiated expressions
which, under emotional stress, are uttered by all the animals.

LANGUAGE AS A SOCIAL HABIT. Language, as has repeatedly
been pointed out, is essentially social in character. It is, in
the first place, primarily an instrument of communication
between individuals, and is cultivated as such. In human
speech, interjections like "Oh!" or "Ah!" are still involuntary
escapes of emotion, but language develops as a vehicle of
communication to others rather than as a mere emotional outlet
for the individual. Even if it were possible for the mythical
man brought up in solitude on a desert island to have a
language, it is questionable whether he would use it. Since
language is a way of making our wants, desires, information
known to others, it is stimulated by the presence of and
contact with others. Excess vitality may go into shouting or
song,[1] but language as an instrument of specific utterance
comes to have a more definite use and provocation. Man,
as already pointed out, is a highly gregarious animal, and
language is his incomparable instrument for sharing his emotions
and ideas and experience with others. The whole process
of education, of the transmission of culture from the
mature to the younger members of a society, is made possible
through this instrument, whereby achievements and traditions
are preserved and transmitted in precise and public

[Footnote 1: Human song is by some linguistic experts, including
Bloomfield, held to have originated in the chant of rhythmic
labor, as in rowing or threshing.]

Secondly, language is social in that, for the individual at
least, it is socially acquired. The child first imitates sounds
without any consciousness of their meaning, just as he imitates
other actions in sheer "physiological sympathy." But
he learns soon, by watching the actions of other people, that
given sounds are always performed when these others do given
actions. He learns that some sounds are portents of anger
and punishment; still others of satisfaction and pleasure. He
learns soon to specify his utterances, to use sounds as specific
stimuli, to attain through other people specific satisfactions.
The child is born with a flexible set of reflexes. In which way
they shall be developed depends entirely on the accident of the
child's environment. Whether he shall call it "bread" or
"pain" or "brod," depends on the particular social environment
in which he from the first hears that particular item of
experience referred to. A child of American missionaries in
Turkey picks up the language of that country as well as that
of his own. An English child brought up under a French
nurse may learn with perfect ease the foreign tongue, and to
the exclusion of that of his native country. Indeed, so completely
subject is one in this regard to one's early environment,
that it is not only difficult in later life to acquire a new
pronunciation, but one finds it impossible to breathe freely,
as it were, in the whole psychological atmosphere of a foreign
language. Its grammatical categories, its spelling, its logic
seem hopelessly irrational. It was perfectly natural of the
Englishman in the story, when he was told that the French
called it "pain," to insist, "Well, it's bread, anyhow." Many
a reader of a foreign language which has become habitual can
still not refrain from translating, as he reads, what seem to
him irrational idioms into the familiar, facile, and sensible
modes of his native tongue.

LANGUAGE AND MENTAL LIFE. The connection of language
with thought has repeatedly been noted. It has even been
questioned whether thought in any effective sense is possible
without words. In general it may be said that thinking demands
clean-cut and definite symbols to work with, and that
language offers these in incomparable form. A word enables
one to isolate in thought the dominant elements of an experience
and prevents them from "slipping through one's fingers."

The importance of having words by which concepts may be
distinguished and isolated from one another will become
clearer by a brief reminder of the nature of reflection. Thinking
is in large part (as will be discussed in detail in chapter
XIII) concerned with the breaking-up of an experience into
its significant elements. But experience begins with objects,
and so far as perceptual experience is concerned, ends there.
We perceive objects, not qualities, actions, or ideas apart from
objects. And the elements into which thinking analyzes an
experience are never present, save in connection with, as
parts of, a sensibly perceived object. Thus we never perceive
whiteness save in white objects; warmth save in warm objects;
red save in red objects. We never, for that matter,
perceive so abstract a thing as an "object." We experience
red houses or red flags; white flowers, white shoes, white
paper; warm stoves, warm soup, and warm plates. Even
houses and stoves and shoes are, in a sense, abstractions. No
two of these are ever alike. But it is of the highest importance
for us to have some means of identifying and preserving
in memory the significant resemblances between our experiences.
Else we should be, as it were, utterly astounded every
time we saw a chair or a table or a fork. Though they may,
in each case in which we experience them, differ in detail,
chairs, tables, forks have certain common features which we
can "abstract" from the gross total experience, and by a
word or "term," define, record, communicate, and recall. The
advantage of a precise technical vocabulary over a loose
"popular" one is that we can by means of the former more
accurately single out the specific and important elements of
an experience and distinguish them from one another. The
common nouns, or "general names" in a language indicate
to what extent and in what manner that language, through
some or other of its users, classifies its experiences. Highly
developed languages make it possible to classify similarities
not easily detected in crude experience. They make it
possible to identify other things than merely directly sensed

In primitive languages experience is described and classified
only in so far as it is perceptual. In other words, primitive
languages have names for objects only, not for ideas, qualities,
or relations. Thus it is impossible in some Indian languages
to express the concept of a "brother" by the same word, unless
the "brother" is in every case in the same identical
circumstances. One cannot use the same word for "man" in
different relations: "man-eating," "man-sleeping,"
"man-standing-here," and "man-running-there" would all be separate
compound words. Among the Fuegians there is one
word which means "to look at one another, hoping that each
will offer to do something which both parties desire but are
unwilling to do."[1] Marett writes in this connection:

[Footnote 1: Marett: _Anthropology_, p. 140.]

Take the inhabitants of that cheerless spot, Tierra del Fuego,
whose culture is as rude as that of any people on earth. A scholar
who tried to put together a dictionary of their language found that
he had got to reckon with more than thirty thousand words, even
after suppressing a large number of forms of lesser importance. And
no wonder that the tally mounted up. For the Fuegians had more
than twenty words, some containing four syllables, to express what
for us would be either "he" or "she"; then they had two names for
the sun, two for the moon, and two more for the full moon, each of
the last named containing four syllables and having no elements in

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, pp. 138-39.]

It is easy to see how very little refinement or abstraction
from experience could be made with such a cumbersome and
inflexible vocabulary. The thirty thousand word vocabulary
expressed a poverty of linguistic technique rather than a richness
of ideas.

At the other extreme stands a language like English, which
is, to an extraordinary degree, an "analytic" language. It has
comparatively no inflections. This means that words can be
used and moved about freely in different situations and relations.
Thus the dominant elements of an experience can be
freely isolated. A noun standing for a certain object or relation
is not chained to a particular set of accompanying circumstances.
"Man" stands as a definite concept, whether it be
used with reference to an ancient Greek, a wounded man, a
brave, a wretched, a competent, or a tall man. We can give
the accompanying circumstances by additional adjectives,
which are again freely movable verbally and intellectually.
Thus we can speak of a brave child and a tall tower as well as
a brave man and a tall man. In Marett's words:

The evolution of language then, on this view, may be regarded as a
movement away from the holophrastic [compound] in the direction
of the analytic. When every piece in your playbox of verbal bricks
can be dealt with separately, because it is not joined on in all sorts of
ways to the other pieces, then only can you compose new constructions
to your liking. Order and emphasis, as is shown by English,
and still more conspicuously by Chinese, suffice for sentence-building.
Ideally, words should be individual and atomic. Every modification
they suffer by internal change of sound, or by having prefixes
or suffixes tacked on to them, involves a curtailment of their
free use and a sacrifice of distinctness. It is quite easy, of course,
to think confusedly, even whilst employing the clearest type of
language.... On the other hand, it is not feasible to attain a high
degree of clear thinking, when the only method of speech available
is one that tends toward wordlessness--that is to say, one that is
relatively deficient in verbal forms that preserve their identity in all

[Footnote 1: Marett: _loc. cit._, pp. 141-42.]

Languages differ not only in being more or less analytic,
but in their general modes of classification. That is, not only
do they have more or less adequate vocabularies, but in their
syntax, their sentence structure, their word forms, they variously
organize experience. It is important to note that in
these divergent classifications no one of them is more final
than another. We are tempted, despite this fact, to think
that the grammar, spelling, and phonetics of our own language
constitute the last word in the rational conveyance of thought.

THE INSTABILITY OF LANGUAGE. Language being a social habit,
it is to be expected that it should not stay fixed and changeless.
The simpler physiological actions are not performed in
the same way by any two individuals, and no social practice
is ever performed in the same way by two members of a group,
or by two different generations. In this connection writes
Professor Bloomfield:

The speech of former times, wherever history has given us records
of it, differs from that of the present. When we read Shakspere,
for example, we are disturbed by subtle deviations from our own
habits in the use of words and in construction; if our actors
pronounced their lines as Shakspere and his contemporaries did we
should say that they had an Irish or German brogue. Chaucer we
cannot read without some grammatical explanation or a glossary;
correctly pronounced his language would sound to us more like Low
German than like our English. If we go back only about forty
generations from our time to that of Alfred the Great, we come to
English as strange to us as modern German, and quite unintelligible,
unless we study carefully both grammar and lexicon.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bloomfield: _loc. cit._, p. 195.]

There are, in general, three kinds of changes that take place
in a language. "Phonetic" changes, that is, changes in the
articulation of words, regardless of the meaning they bear.
This is illustrated simply by the word "name" which, in the
eighteenth century was pronounced ne'm. " Analogic"
changes, that is, changes in the articulation of words under
the influence of words somewhat similar in meaning. The
word "flash," for example, became what it is because of the
sound of words associated in meaning, "crash," "dash,"
"smash." The third process of change in language alters
not only the articulate forms of words, not only their sound,
but their sense. All these changes, as will be presently pointed
out, can easily be explained by the laws of habit early discussed
in this book, these laws being applicable to the habit of
language as well as to any other.

In the case of phonetic change, it is only to be expected that
the sounds of a language will not remain eternally changeless.
A language is spoken by a large number of individuals, no
two of whom are gifted with precisely the same vocal apparatus.
In consequence no two of them will utter words in
precisely the same way. Before writing and printing were
general, these slight variations in articulation were bound to
have an effect on the language. People more or less unconsciously
imitate the sounds they hear, especially if they are
not checked up by the written forms of words. Even to-day
changes are going on, and writing is at best a poor representation
of phonetics. The Georgian, the Londoner, the Welshman
and the Middle Westerner can understand the same
printed language, precisely because it does not at all represent
their peculiarities of dialect. Variant sounds uttered by one
individual may be caught up in the language, especially if the
variant articulation is simpler or shorter. Thus the shortening
of a word from several syllables to one, though it starts
accidentally, is easily made habitual among a large number
of speakers because it does facilitate speech. In the classic
example, pre-English, "habeda" and "habedun" became in
Old English, "hæfde" and" hæfdon," and are in present English
(I, we) "had."[1] In the same way variations that reduce
the unstressed syllables of a word readily insinuate themselves
into the articulatory habits of a people. In the production
of stressed syllables, the vocal chords are under high tension
and the breath is shut in. It is easier, consequently, to produce
the unstressed syllables "with shortened, weakened
articulations... lessening as much as possible all interference
with the breath stream."[2] Thus "contemporaneous prohibition"
becomes "kntempe'rejnjes prhe'bifn." Sound
changes thus take place, in general, as lessenings of the
labor of articulation, by means of adaptation to prevailing rest
positions of the vocal organs. They take place further in
more or less accidental adaptations to the particular speech
habits of a people. That is, those sounds become discarded
that do not fit in with the general articulatory tendencies of
a language. Of this the weakening of unstressed syllables in
English and palatalization in Slavic are examples.[1*]

[Footnote 1: Bloomfield: _loc. cit._, p. 211.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 212.]

[Footnote 1*: _Ibid._, p. 218.]

These changes of sound in language so far discussed are
made independently of the meaning of words. Other changes
in articulation occur, as already noted, by analogy of sound or
meaning. That is, words that have associated meanings
come to be similarly articulated. This is simply illustrated in
the case of the child who thinks it perfectly natural to assimilate
by analogy "came" to "come." Thus the young child
will frequently say, until he is corrected, he "comed," he
"bringed," he "fighted." In communities where printing
and writing and reading are scarce, such assimilation by
analogy has an important effect in modifying the forms of

CHANGES IN MEANING. The changes in language most important
for the student of human behavior are changes in
meaning. Language, it must again be stressed, is an instrument
for the communication of ideas. The manner in which
the store of meanings in a language becomes increased and
modified (the etymology of a language) is, in a sense, the
history of the mental progress of the people which use it. For
changes in meaning are primarily brought about when the
words in a language do not suffice for the larger and larger
store of experiences which individuals within the group desire
to communicate to one another. The meanings of old words
are stretched, as it were, to cover new experiences; old words
are transferred bodily to new experiences; they are slightly
modified in form to apply to new experiences analogous to the
old; new words are formed after analogy with ones already
in use.

A simple illustration of the application of a word already
current to a wider situation is the application of the word
"head" as a purely objective name, to a new experience,
which has certain analogies with the old; as when we speak
of a "head" of cabbage, the" head" of an army, the "head"
of the class, or the "headmaster." In many such cases the
transferred meaning persists alongside of the old. Thus the
word "capital" used as the name for the chief city in a
country, persists alongside of its use in "capital" punishment,
"capital" story, etc. But sometimes the transferred
meaning of the word becomes dominant and exclusive. Thus
"disease" (dis-ease) once meant discomfort of any kind.
Now it means specifically some physical ailment. The older
use has been completely discarded. To "spill" once meant,
in the most general sense, to destroy. Now all the other uses,
save that of pouring out, have lapsed. "Meat" which once
meant any kind of nourishment has now come to refer almost
exclusively (we still make exceptions as in the case of sweetmeat)
to edible flesh. Whenever the special or novel application
of the word becomes dominant, then we say the meaning
of the word has changed.

Mental progress is largely dependent on the transfer of
words to newer and larger spheres of experience, the modification
of old words or the formation of new ones to express the
increasing complexity of relations men discover to exist
between things. In the instances already cited some of the
transferred words lost their more general meaning and became
specialized, as in the case of "meat," "spill," etc. Other
words, like "head," though they may keep their specific objective
meaning, may come to be used in a generalized intellectual
sense. One of the chief ways by which a language remains
adequate to the demands of increasing knowledge and experience
of the group is through the transfer of words having
originally a purely objective sense to emotional and
intellectual situations. These words, like "bitter," "sour,"
"sharp," referring originally only to immediate physical
experiences, to objects perceived through the senses, come to
have intellectual and emotional significance, as when we speak
of a "sour" face, a "bitter" disappointment, a "sharp"
struggle. Most of our words that now have abstract emotional
or intellectual connotations were once words referring
exclusively to purely sensible (sense perceptual) experiences.
"Anxiety" once meant literally a "narrow place," just as
when we speak of some one having "a close shave." To
"refute" once meant literally "to knock out" an argument.
To "understand" meant "to stand in the midst of." To
"confer" meant "to bring together." Sensation words
themselves were once still more concrete in their meaning.
"Violet" and "orange" are obviously taken as color names from
the specific objects to which they still refer. Language has
well been described as "a book of faded metaphors." The
history of language has been to a large extent the assimilation
and habitual mechanical use of words that were, when first
used, strikingly figurative.

The novel use of a word that is now a quite regular part
of the language may in many cases first be ascribed to a
distinguished writer. Shakespeare is full of expressions which
have since, and because of his use of them, become literally
household words. Many words that have now a general
application arose out of a peculiar local situation, myth, or
name. "Boycott" which has become a reasonably intelligible
and universal word, only less than fifty years ago referred
particularly and exclusively to Boycott, a certain unpopular
Irish landowner who was subjected to the kind of discrimination
for which the word has come to stand. "Burke"
used as a verb has its origin in the name of a notorious Edinburgh
murderer. Characters in fiction or drama, history or legend
come to be standard words. Everyone knows what we mean when we
speak of a Quixotic action, a Don Juan,
a Galahad, a Chesterfield. To tantalize arises from the
mythical perpetual frustration of Tantalus in the Greek
story. Expressions that had a special meaning in the
works of a philosopher or littérateur come to be generally
used, as "Platonic love."[1] Again words that arise as mere
popular witticisms or vulgarisms may be brought into the
language as permanent acquisitions. "Mob," now a quite
legitimate word, was originally a shortening of _mobile vulgum_,
and was, only a hundred years ago, suspect in polite discourse.

[Footnote 1: Though this is very loosely and inaccurately used.]

Outside the deliberate invention by scientists of terms for
the new relations they have discovered, more or less spontaneous
variation in the use of words and their unconscious
assimilation by large numbers with whose other language
habits they chance to fit, is the chief source of language
growth. One might almost say words are wrenched from
their original local setting, and given such a generalized
application that they are made available for an infinite complexity
of scientific and philosophical thought.

UNIFORMITIES IN LANGUAGE. Thus far we have discussed
changes in language from the psychological viewpoint, that is,
we have considered the human tendencies and habits which
bring about changes in the articulation and meaning, in the
sound and the sense, of words. It is evident from these
considerations that there can be no absolute uniformity in
spoken languages, not even in the languages of two persons
thrown much together. Within a country where the same
language is ostensibly spoken, there are nevertheless
differences in the language as spoken by different social strata, by
different localities. There are infinite subtle variations
between the articulation and the word uses of different
individuals. There are languages within languages, the dialects of
localities, the jargon of professional and trade groups, the
special pronunciations and special and overlapping vocabularies
of different social classes.

But while there are these many causes, both of individual
difference and of differing social environments, why languages
do not remain uniform, there are similar causes making for a
certain degree of uniformity within a language. There is one
very good reason why, to a certain extent, languages do attain
uniformity; they are socially acquired. The individual learns
to speak a language from those about him, and individuals
brought up within the same group will consequently learn to
speak, within limits, the same tongue; they will learn to
articulate through imitation, and, while no individual ever
precisely duplicates the sounds of others, he duplicates them
as far as possible. He learns, moreover, as has already been
pointed out, to attach given meanings to given words, not for
any reason of their peculiar appositeness or individual caprice,
but because he learns that others about him habitually attach
certain meanings to certain sounds. And since one is stimulated
to expression primarily by the desire and necessity of
communication of ideas a premium is put upon uniformity.
It is of no use to use a language if it conceals one's thoughts.
In consequence, within a group individual variations, unless
for reasons already discussed they happen to lend themselves
to ready assimilation by the group, will be mere slips of the
tongue. They will be discarded and forgotten, or, if the individual
cannot rid himself of them, will like stammering or stuttering or
lisping be set down as imperfections and social
handicaps. The uniformity of language within groups whose
individual members have much communication with each
other is thus to a certain extent guaranteed. A man who is
utterly individualistic in his language might just as well have
no language at all, unless for the satisfaction of expressing to
himself his own emotions.[1] Language is learned from the
group among whom one moves, and those sounds and senses
of words are, on the whole, retained, which are intelligible to
the group. Those sounds and meanings will best be understood
which are already in use. No better illustration could
be found of how custom and social groups preserve and enforce
standards of individual action.

[Footnote 1: There have been a few poets, like Emily Dickinson,
or mystics like Blake, some of whose work exhibits almost complete
unintelligibility to most readers, though doubtless it had a very
specific meaning and vividness to the writers concerned.]

The obverse of the fact that intercommunication promotes
uniformity in language is that lack of communication brings
about language differentiation. The less the intercommunication
between groups, the more will the languages of the
groups differ, however uniform they may be within the groups
themselves. The most important factor in differentiation of
language is local differentiation. In some European countries
every village speaks its own dialect. In passing from one
village to another the dialects may be mutually intelligible,
but by the time one has passed from the first village in the
chain to the last, one may find that the dialect of the first
and last are utterly unintelligible to each other. A real break
in language, as opposed to dialect variations, occurs where
there is a considerable barrier between groups, such as a
mountain range, a river, a tribal or political boundary. The
more impenetrable the barriers between two groups the more
will the languages differ, and the less mutually intelligible will
they be.

Looking back over the history of language the student of
linguistics infers that those languages which bear striking or
significant similarities are related. Thus Spanish, Italian,
French, Portuguese, and Roumanian are traceable directly
back to the Latin. This does not mean that all over the areas
occupied by the speakers of these languages Latin was originally
spoken. But the Romans in their conquests, both military
and cultural, were able to make their own language
predominant. The variations which make French and Roumanian,
say, mutually unintelligible, are due to the fact that
Latin was for the natives in these conquered territories
assimilated to their own languages. So that, in the familiar
example, the Latin "homo" becomes "uomo" in Italian,
"homme" in French, "hombre" in Spanish, and "om" in
Roumanian. Similarly related but mutually unintelligible
languages among the American Indians have been traced to
three great source-languages.

The history of European languages offers an interesting
example of differentiation. English and German, for example,
are both traceable back to West-Germanic; from that
in turn to a hypothecated primitive West-Germanic. All
the European languages are traceable back to a hypothecated
Primitive Indo-European.[1] The theory held by most
students of this subject is that the groups possessing this
single uniform language spread over a wider and wider area,
gradually became separated from each other by geographical
barriers and tribal affiliations, and gradually (and on the
part of individual speakers unconsciously) modified their
speech so that slight differences accumulated, and resulted
finally in widely different and mutually unintelligible

[Footnote 1: By the word "primitive" the linguistic experts
mean a language the existence of which is inferred from common
features of several related languages, of which written records
are current, but of which no actual records exist. Thus, if
there were no written records of Latin the approximate
reconstruction of it by linguists would be called "Primitive

The process of differentiation in the languages of different
groups is very marked. We find, for example, in the early
history of Greece and Rome, a number of widely different
dialects. There seems every evidence that these were derived
from some more primitive tongue. We find, likewise, on the
American continent, several hundred different languages,
which--to the untrained observer--bear not the slightest
resemblance to each other. This welter and confusion can
also be traced back to a few primitive and uniform languages.

Thus the history of civilization reveals this striking
differentiation in the language of different groups, a
counter-tendency making for a wider uniformity of particular
languages. One "favored dialect" becomes standard, predominant
and exclusive. Thus out of all the French dialects, the
one that survives is the speech of Paris; Castilian becomes
standard Spanish, and in ancient Greece the language of
Athens supersedes all the other dialects. The reasons for the
survival of one out of a great welter of dialects may be various.
Not infrequently the language of a conquering people has, in
more or less pure form, succeeded the language of the conquered.
This was the case in the history of the Romance
languages, which owe their present forms to the spread of
Roman arms and culture. There was, as is well known, a
similar development in the case of the English language. The
Norman Conquest introduced, under the auspices of a socially
superior and victorious group, a language culturally superior
to the Anglo-Saxon. The latter was, of course, not entirely
replaced, but profoundly modified, especially in the enrichment
and enlargement of its vocabulary. One has but to
note such words as "place," "choir," "beef," etc., which
came entirely to replace in the language the indigenous Anglo-Saxon
names for those objects.

Colonization and commercial expansion may bring about
the replacement of the native language of special localities by
the language of the colonizers, at least in hybrid form. The
spread of English through Australia, and through the larger
part of North America, the spread of Spanish through South
America, in each instance practically replacing the native
tongues, are cases in point.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dialects and jargons are often the result of the
partial assimilation by the speakers of one language of another
language to which they are exposed. French-Canadian and
Pennsylvania Dutch are examples of such a mixture.]

STANDARDIZATION OF LANGUAGE. At the present time, and for
some time in the past, the differentiation of language has been
greatly lessened by the stabilizing influence of print. The
printed word continually recalls the standard pronunciation
and meaning, and the changes in language (save those deliberately
introduced by the addition of scientific terms, or the
official modifications of spelling, etc., as in some European
countries[2]) are much less rapid, various, and significant than
hitherto. It is true that differences in articulation and usage,
especially the former, do still, to a degree, persist and develop.
Our Southern accent, with its drawling of words and slurring
of consonants, our Middle-Western accent, with its stressed
articulation of "r's" and its nasalizing tendencies, are
instances of this persistence.

[Footnote 2: In France the Ministry of Education from time to time
settles points of orthography definitely.]

But the printed language--English, for example--the
official language, which is published in the newspapers, periodicals,
and books, which is taught in the schools, and spoken
from the pulpit, the platform, on the stage, in cultivated
society, is more or less alike all over the United States and
wherever English is spoken. It is, of course, only a standard,
a norm, an ideal, which like the concept of the circle, never
quite appears in practice. The language which is spoken,
even in the conversation of the educated, by no means conforms
to the ideal of "correct usage." But the important
fact is that the standard language _is_ a standard, that it is,
moreover, a widely recognized and effective standard. The
dictionaries and the grammars become authoritative, and are
referred to when people consciously set about discovering
what _is_ the accepted or correct meaning or pronunciation.
But a more effectual authority is exerted by the teaching they
receive at school, and the continuous, though unnoticed,
influence of the more or less standard language which they read
in print.

Even phonetic changes, though they persist, are checked
from spreading to the point of mutually unintelligible dialects
by the standards enforced in print. The "accents" in various
parts of the United States, for example, differ, but not to
the point of becoming absolutely divergent languages. The
Southerner and the Westerner may be conscious in each
other's speech of a quaint and curious difference in pronunciation,
but they can, except in extreme cases, completely
understand each other.[1]

[Footnote 1: Some of the isolated districts in the Kentucky mountains
reveal dialects with some important differences in vocabulary and
construction. These are shown most strikingly in some of the ballads
of that region which have been collected by William Aspinwall Bradley,
and by Howard Brockway. Rural schools and the breakdown of complete
isolation will probably in time eliminate this divergence.]

The most important stabilizing influence of print, however,
is its fixation of meanings. It makes possible their maintenance
uncorrupted and unmodified over wide stretches in
which there are phonetic variations. These variant articulations
in different parts of a large country where the same language
is spoken, would, if unchecked, eventually modify the
sense of words. Print largely prevents this from happening.
One can read newspapers published in Maine, California,
Virginia, and Iowa, without noticing any significant, or, in
many cases, even slight differences in vocabulary or construction.
There are, of course, local idioms, but these persist in
conversation, rather than in print, save where they are caught
up and exploited for literary purposes by a Bret Harte, a
Mark Twain, or an O. Henry.

_standard_ language does become fixed and stable, there are,
in the daily life of different social groups, varying actual
languages. Every class, or profession, every social group,
whether of interest, or occupation, has its slight individuality
in articulation or vocabulary. We still observe that members
of a family talk alike; sometimes households have literally
their own household words. And on different economic
and social levels, in different sports, intellectual, professional,
and business pursuits, we notice slightly different "actual"
languages. These partly overlap. The society lady, the
business man, the musician, the professor of literature, the
mechanic, have specializations of vocabulary and construction,
but there is, for each of them, a great common linguistic
area. Every individual's speech is a resultant of the various
groups with whom he associates. He is affected in his speech
habits most predominantly, of course, by his most regular
associates, professional and social. In consequence we still
mark out a man, as much as anything, by the kind of language
he speaks. The mechanic and the man of letters are
not likely to be mistaken for each other, if overheard in a
street car. Many literary and dramatic characters are memorable
for their speech habits. Such types are successful when
they do hit upon really significant linguistic peculiarities.
Their frequent failures lie in making the language of a particular
social type artificially stable. No one ever talks quite
as the conventional stage policeman, stage professor, and
stage Englishman talk.

These actual variations in the language, as it is used by
various groups who are brought up under the same standard
language, operate to prevent complete stabilization of language.
Such variations are remarkably influential, considering
the conservative influences upon language of the repeated
and continuous suggestion made by the printed page. The
language is, in the first place, being continually enriched
through increments of new words and modifications of old
ones, from the special vocabularies of trades, professions,
sciences, and sports. Through some accidental appositeness
to some contemporaneous situation, these may become generally
current. A recent and familiar example is the term
"camouflage," which from its technical sense of protective
coloration has become a universally understood name for
moral and intellectual pretense. The vocabulary of baseball
has by this time already given to the language words that
show promise of attaining eventual legitimacy. An increasingly
large source of enrichment of the native tongue comes
from the "spontaneous generation" of slang, which, starting
in the linguistic whimsicality of one individual, gets caught
up in conversation, and finds its ultimate way into the language.
Important instruments, certainly in the United
States, in spreading such neologisms are the humorous and
sporting pages of the newspapers, in which places they not
infrequently originate.[1] Whether a current slang expression
will persist, or perish (as do thousands initiated every year),
depends on accidents of contemporary circumstances. If the
expression happens to set off aptly a contemporary situation,
it may become very widespread until that situation, such as a
political campaign, is over. But it may, like the metaphor
of a poet, have some universal application. "Log-rolling,"
"graft," "bluff," have come into the language to stay.
Roosevelt's "pussy-foot," and "Ananias Club" are, perhaps,
remembered, but show less promise of permanency. "Movies"
has already ceased to be a neologism, its ready adoption
illustrating a point already mentioned, namely, that a variation
that facilitates speech (as "movies" does in comparison with
"moving pictures," or "motion pictures ") has a high potentiality
of acceptance.

[Footnote 1: H. L. Mencken in his suggestive book, _The American
Language_, sees in this upshoot of phrases indigenous to the
soil and the temper of the American people, and of grammatical
constructions also, symptoms of the increasing divergence of
the American from the English language. That there are a large
number of special expressions exclusively used in the United
States, and parts of the United States, that are not found in
use in England, goes without saying. Everyone knows that the
Englishman says "lift" where we say "elevator," "shop," where
we are likely to say "store." There are significant differences
to be found even in the casual expressions of American and
English newspapers. But it is doubtful whether the divergence
can go very far, in view of the constant intercommunication,
the rapidity of travel between the two countries, and the
promiscuous reading of English books in America, and American
books in England.]

primarily useful as an instrument of communication, it should
ideally be a direct and clean-cut representation of experience.
It should be as unambiguous, and immediate, as telegraphy,
algebra, or shorthand. But language has two functions,
which interfere with one another. Words not only represent
logical relations; they provoke emotional responses. They
not only explicitly tell; they implicitly suggest. They are not
merely skeletons of thought; they are clothed with emotional
values. They are not, in consequence, transitive vehicles of
thought. Words should, from the standpoint of communication,
be mere signals to action, which should attract attention
only in so far as they are signals. They should be no more
regarded as things in themselves than is the green lamp which
signals a locomotive engineer to go ahead. They should be as
immediate signals to action as, at a race, the "Ready, set, go"
of the starter is to the runner. Yet this rarely happens in the
case of words. They frequently impede or mislead action by
arousing emotions irrelevant to their intellectual significance,
or provoke action on the basis of emotional associations rather
than on their merits, so to speak, as logical representations of

To take an example: England, as an intellectual symbol,
may be said to be a name given to a small island bounded by
certain latitudes and longitudes, having a certain distribution
of raw materials and human beings, and a certain topography.
It might just as well be represented by X for all practical
purposes. Thus in the secret code of the diplomatic corps if
X were agreed on as the symbol for England, it would be just
as adequate and would even save time. But England (that
particular sound) for a large number of individuals who have
been brought up there, has become the center of deep and
far-reaching emotional associations, so that its utterance in
the presence of a particular listener may do much more than
represent a given geographical fact. It may be associated
with all that he loves, and all that he remembers with affection;
it may suggest landscapes that are dear to him, a familiar
street and house, a particular set of friends, and a cherished
historical tradition of heroic names and storied places. It
may arouse such ardor and devotion as Henley expresses in
his famous _England, my England_:

  "What have I done for you,
     England, my England,
   What is there I would not do,
     England, my own?
   With your glorious eyes austere,
   As the Lord were walking near,
   Whispering terrible things and dear,
     As the song on your bugles blown,
     Round the world on your bugles blown!"

Words thus become powerful provocatives of emotion.
They become loaded with all the energies that are aroused by
the love, the hate, the anger, the pugnacity, the sympathy,
for the persons, objects, ideas, associated with them. People
may be set off to action by words (just as a bull is set off by a
red rag), although the words may be as little freighted with
meaning as they are deeply weighted with emotion.

Poets and literary men in general exploit these emotional
values that cling to words. Indeed, in epithets suggesting
illimitable vistas, inexpressible sorrows, and dim-remembered
joys, lies half the charm of poetry.

  "Before the beginning of years,
     There came to the making of man,
   Time with a gift of tears,
     Grief with a glass that ran;
   Pleasure with pain for a leaven,
     Summer with flowers that fell;
   Remembrance fallen from Heaven,
     And madness risen from Hell,
   Strength without hands to smite,
     Love that endures for a breath,
   Night the shadow of light,
     And life, the shadow of death."[1]

[Footnote 1: Swinburne: _Atalanta in Calydon_ (David Mackay
edition), p. 393.]

Swinburne does not, to be sure, give us much information,
and what there is is mythical, but he uses words that are fairly
alive with suggested feeling.

But this emotional aura in which words are haloed, beautiful
though it is in literature, and facile though it makes the
communication of common feelings, is a serious impediment
in the use of words as effective instruments of communication.
Language oscillates, to speak metaphorically, between algebra
and music. To be useful as an instrument of thought it
should keep to the prosaic terseness of a telegraphic code. One
should be able to pass immediately from the word to the thing,
instead of dissolving in emotions at the associations that the
mere sound or music of the epithet arouses. Words should,
so to speak, tend to business, which, in their case, is the
communication of ideas. But words are used in human situations.
And they accumulate during the lifetime of the individual
a great mass of psychological values. Thus, to take
another illustration, "brother" is a symbol of a certain relationship
one person bears to another. "Your" is also a symbolic
statement of a relation. But if a telegram contains the
statement "Your brother is dead," it is less a piece of information
to act on than a deep emotional stimulus to which one
responds. Bacon long ago pointed out how men "worshipped
words." As we shall see presently, he was thinking of errors
in the intellectual manipulation of words. Perhaps as serious
is the inveterate tendency of men to respond to the more or
less irrelevant emotions suggested by a word, instead of to its
strict intellectual content. If the emotions stirred up by an
epithet were always appropriate to the word's significance,
this might be an advantage. But not infrequently, as we shall
see immediately, words suggest and may be used to suggest
emotions that, like "the flowers that bloom in the spring,"
have nothing to do with the case.

In practice, political and social leaders, and all who have
to win the loyalties and support of masses of men have appreciated
the use--and misuse--that might be made of the
emotional fringes of words. Words are not always used as
direct and transparent representations of ideas; they are as
frequently used as stimuli to action. A familiar instance is
seen in the use of words in advertisements. Even the honest
advertiser is less interested in giving an analysis of his product
that will win him the rational estimation and favor of the
reader than in creating in the reader through the skillful use of
words, emotions and sympathies favorable to his product.
The name of a talcum powder or tobacco is the subject of
mature consideration by the advertising expert, because he
knows that the emotional flavor of a word is more important
in securing action than its rational significance.[1] "Ask Dad!
He knows!" does not tell us much about the article it advertises,
but it gives us the sense of secure trust that we had as
a boy in those mysterious things in an almost completely unknown
world which our fathers knew and approved.

[Footnote 1: It has been pointed out that such an expression as
"cellar door," considered merely from the viewpoint of sound,
is one of the most romantically suggestive words in the English
language. A consideration of some of the names of biscuits and
collars will show a similar exploitation of both the euphony and
the emotional fringes of words.]

On a larger scale, in political and social affairs words are
powerful provocatives of emotion and of actions, determining
to no small degree the allegiances and loyalties of men and
the satisfaction and dissatisfactions which they experience in
causes and leaders. A word remains the nucleus of all the
associations that have gathered round it in the course of an
individual's experience, though the object for which it stands
may have utterly changed or vanished. This is illustrated in
the history of political parties, whose personnel and principles
change from decade to decade, but whose names remain stable
entities that continue to secure unfaltering respect and loyalty.
In the same way, the name of country has emotional
reverberations for one who has been brought up in its traditions.
Men trust old words to which they have become accustomed
just as they trust old friends. To borrow an illustration
from Graham Wallas, for many who call themselves
Socialists, Socialism is something more than

a movement towards greater social equality, depending for its force
upon three main factors, the growing political power of the working
classes, the growing social sympathy of many members of all classes,
and the belief, based on the growing authority of scientific method,
that social arrangements can be transformed by means of conscious
and deliberate contrivance.[1]

[Footnote 1: Wallas: _Human Nature in Politics._ p. 92.]


the need for something for which one may love and work has created
for thousands of workingmen a personified Socialism: Socialism, a
winged goddess with stern eyes and a drawn sword, to be the hope
of the world, and the protector of those that suffer.[2]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 93.]

Political leaders and advertising experts, no less than poets,
have recognized the importance of the suggestive power of
words. Half the power of propaganda lies in its arousing of
emotions through suggestion, rather than in its effectiveness
as an instrument of intellectual conversion.[3]

[Footnote 3: During the recent Liberty Loan campaigns, for
example, when it was of the most crucial practical importance
that bonds be bought, the stimuli used were not in the form of
reasoned briefs, but rather emotional admonition:
"Finish the lob," "Every miser helps the Kaiser," "If you were
out in No Man's Land."]

LANGUAGE AND LOGIC. Even where words are freed from
irrelevant emotional associations, they are still far from being
adequate instruments of thought. To be effectively representative,
words must be clean-cut and definitive; they must
stand for one object, quality, or idea. Words, if they are to
be genuine instruments of communication, must convey the
same intent or meaning to the listener as they do to the
speaker. If the significance attached to words is so vague
and pulpy that they mean different things to different men,
they are no more useful in inquiry and communication than
the shock of random noise or the vague stir and flutter of
music. Words must have their boundaries fixed, they must
be terms, fixed and stable meanings, or they will remain instruments
of confusion rather than communication. Francis
Bacon stated succinctly the dangers involved in the use of

For men imagine that their reason governs words, whilst in fact
words react upon the understanding; and this has rendered philosophy
and the sciences sophistical and inactive. Words are generally
formed in a popular sense, and define things by those broad
lines which are most obvious to the vulgar mind; but when a more
acute understanding or more diligent observation is anxious to vary
these lines, and adapt them more accurately to nature, words oppose
it. Hence the great and solemn disputes of learned men terminate
frequently in mere disputes about words and names, in regard to
which it would be better to proceed more advisedly in the first
instance, and to bring such disputes to a regular issue by definitions.
Such definitions, however, cannot remedy the evil ... for they consist
themselves of words, and these words produce others....

[Footnote 1: _Novum Organum_. bk. I, aphorism 59.]

If, to take an extreme case, a speaker said the word "chair,"
and by "chair" his listener understood what we commonly
mean by the word "table," communication would be impossible.
There must be some common agreement in the words
used. In the case of simple terms referring to concrete
objects there are continual concrete reminders of the meaning
of a word. We do not make mistakes as to the meaning of
words such as chair, river, stone, stove, books, forks, knives,
because we so continually meet and use them. We are continually
checked up, and the meanings we attach to these
cannot go far astray.

But the further terms are removed from physical objects,
the more opportunity is there for ambiguity. In the realm of
politics and morals, as Socrates was fond of pointing out, the
chief difficulties and misunderstandings of men have come
from the ambiguities of the terms they use. "Justice," "liberty,"
"democracy," "good," "true," "beautiful," these
have been immemorial bones of contention among philosophers.
They are accepted, taken for granted, without any
question as to their meaning by the individual, until he finds,
perhaps, in discussion that his acceptation of the term is
entirely different from that of his opponent. Thus many an
argument ends with "if that's what you mean, I agree with
you." Intellectual inquiry and discussion to be fruitful must
have certain definitive terms to start with.

Discussion ... needs to have the ground or basis of its various
component statements brought to consciousness in such a way as to
define the exact value of each. The Socratic contention is the need
compelling the common denominator, the common subject, underlying
the diversity of views to exhibit itself. It alone gives a sure
standard by which the claims of all assertions may be measured.
Until this need is met, discussion is a self-deceiving play with
unjudged, unexamined matters, which, confused and shifting, impose
themselves upon us.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _Essays in Experimental Logic_, p. 200.]

To define our terms means literally to know _what_ we are
talking about and what others are talking about. One of the
values of discussion is that it enables us more clearly to realize
the meaning of the words with which we constantly operate.
A man may entertain for a long while a half-conscious definition
of democracy as meaning political equality, and suddenly
come face to face with another who means by it industrial
coöperation and participation on the part of all workers.
Whether he agrees with the new definition or not, at least his
own becomes clearer by contrast.

"Science," wrote Condillac, "is a well-made language."
No small part of the technique of science lies in its clear definition
of its terms. The chemist knows what he means by an
"acid," the biologist by a "mammal." Under these names
he classifies all objects having certain determinable properties.
Social science will never attain the precision of the physical
sciences until it also attains as clear and unambiguous a
terminology. As we shall see in the chapter on science, however,
the definitions in the physical sciences are arrived at through
precise inquiries not yet possible in the field of social phenomena.



That the history of the race is an unbroken continuum goes
without saying. What this means in the way of transmission
of the arts, the sciences, the religion, the ideas, the customs of
one generation to the next, we shall presently see. Cultural
continuity is made possible by the more fundamental fact of
the actual biological continuity of the race. This biological
continuity extends back, as far as we can infer from the scientific
evidence, unbrokenly through the half million years
since man has left traces of his presence on earth. The continuity
of life itself goes back to that still more remote time
when man and ape were indistinguishable, indeed to that
postulated epoch when life as it existed on earth was no more
complex than it is as it now appears in the one-celled animal.
Evolution has taught us that life, however it started, has been
one long continuous process which has increased in complexity
from the unicellular animals to man.

The continuity of the human race is a contrivance of nature
rather than of man. It is, as it were, a by-product of the sex
instinct. Man is endowed natively with a powerful desire for
sex gratification, and though offspring are the chief utility of
this instinct, desire for reproduction is not normally its primary
stimulus. But while the production of offspring may
thus be said to be an incidental result of the sex instinct, human
reproduction may be subjected to rational consideration
and control, according as offspring are or are not considered

The sense of the desirability of offspring may, in the first
place, be determined by social rather than individual considerations.
To the group or the state a large birth-rate, a
steady increase of the number of births over the number of
deaths, may be made desirable by the need of a large population
for agriculture, herding, or war. In primitive tribes,
superiority in numbers must have been, under conditions of
competitive warfare, a pronounced asset. In any imperialistic
régime, where military conquest is highly regarded, the
maintenance and replenishment of large armies is a factor that
has entered into reflection on the question of population.

In cases where a small ruling class is benefited by the labor
of a slave or serf class, there is, at least for the ruling classes,
a marked utility in the increase in population. It means just
so much opportunity for increase of wealth on the part of
landowning and slaveholding or serf-controlling classes. In
any country, increase in the labor supply means just so much
more human energy for the control of natural resources, so
many more units of energy for the production of national

Offspring may come to be reflectively desired by the individual
as a means of perpetuating property, family, or fame.
A man cannot nonchalantly face the prospect of obliteration,
and the biological fact of death may be circumvented by the
equally real fact of reproduction. A man's individuality, we
have already had occasion to see, is enhanced by his possessions,
and if his fortune or estate is handed down he shall not
altogether have been obliterated from the earth. Similarly,
where a family has become a great tradition, there may be a
deliberate desire on the part of an individual to have the
name and tradition carried on, to keep the old lineage current
and conspicuous among men. A man may think through his
children to keep his own fame alive in posterity. At least his
name shall be known, and if, as so often happens, a son follows
in his father's profession, carries on his father's business,
farm, or philanthropies, the individual attains at least some
measure of vicarious immortality. His own ways, habits,
traditions are carried on.

A man may, moreover, come to desire offspring for the
pleasures and responsibilities of domesticity and parenthood.
There is a parental instinct as such, certainly very strong in
most women, and not lacking to some degree in most men.
The joys of caring for and rearing a child have too often been
celebrated in literature and in life by parents both young and
old to need more explicit statement here.

RESTRICTION OF POPULATION. But reproduction has been in
human history promiscuous, and increase of population has
been less a problem to moralists and economists than has its
restriction. The danger of over-increase in population was
first powerfully stated by Malthus in his _Essay on Population_.
Malthus contended in effect that population always tends to
increase up to the limit of subsistence, and gives indications,
unless increase is checked, of increasing beyond it. In its
extreme form, as it appeared in Malthus's first edition of his
_Essay_, it ran somewhat as follows:

As things are now, there is a perpetual pressure by population on
the sources of food. Vice and misery cut down the number of men
when they grow beyond the food. The increase of men is rapid and
easy; the increase of food is in comparison, slow, and toilsome. They
are to each other as a geometrical increase to an arithmetical; in
North America, the population double their number in twenty years.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bonar: _Philosophy and Political Economy in their
Historic Relations_, p. 205.]

Malthus's pessimistic prophecy of the increase of population
beyond the means of subsistence has been subjected to
refutation by various causes. For one thing, among civilized
races at least, the birth-rate is declining. Again, intensive
agriculture has vastly increased the possibilities of our natural
resources. On this point, writes Kropotkin, who is better
acquainted with agricultural conditions than are most social

They [market gardeners] have created a totally new agriculture.
They smile when we boast about the rotation system having permitted
us to take from the field one crop every year, or four crops
each three years, because their ambition is to have six and nine crape
from the very same plot of land during the twelve months. They
do not understand our talk about good and bad soils, because they
make the soils themselves, and make it in such quantities as to be
compelled yearly to seed some of it; otherwise it would raise up the
levels of their gardens by half an inch, every year. They aim at
cropping, not five or six tons of grass on the acre as we do, but from
fifty to one hundred tons of various vegetables on the same space;
not 51 pounds worth of hay, but 100 pounds worth of vegetables of
the plainest description, cabbages and carrots.[1]

[Footnote 1: Kropotkin: _Fields, Factories, and Workshops_, p. 74.]

Of intensive industry the same might be said. Where formerly
a man could produce only enough for one man's consumption,
under conditions of machine production one man's
work can supply quantities sufficient for many. With a
declining birth-rate and the vastly increased productivity of
industry and agriculture, there is a greatly reduced danger of
the population growing beyond their possible sustenance by
the available food supply.

Under certain economic and social conditions there are
marked variations in the birth-rate. This may be due to
various causes which are, by different writers, variously
assigned. The variation of the birth-rate among different
classes is again a matter of common observation and statistical
certainty. Higher standards of living are found regularly
to be correlated with a decrease in the number of children in
a family. An important factor in the voluntary restriction of
population is the desire to give children that are brought
into the world adequate education, environment, and social

CULTURAL CONTINUITY. To the very young the world seems an
unprecedented novelty. It seems scarcely older than their
own memories, which are few and short, and their own experience,
which is necessarily limited and confined. Through
education our experience becomes immeasurably widened; we
can vicariously live through the experiences of other people
through hearing or reading, and can acquire the racial memory
which goes back as far as the records of history, or
anthropological research. As we grow older we come to learn
that our civilization has a history; that our present has a past.
This past extends back through the countless æons before
man walked upright. The past of human life on earth goes
back itself over nearly half a million years. With this long
past, the present is continuous, being as it were, additional
pages in process of being written.

The physical continuity of the race is insured, as we have
just seen, by a mechanism, which, though it may be subjected
to rational consideration, is instinctive in its operation. The
human beings that people the earth to-day are offspring of
human ancestors reaching back to the appearance of the
human animal in the long process of the evolution of life on
earth. So far as we can see, posterity will be for countless
generations physically similar to ourselves, as they certainly
will, unless all records or evidences of the fact are obscured,
trace their ancestry continuously back to us.

Not only is there continuity of physical descent, however,
but continuity of cultural achievement. The past, in any
literal temporal sense, is over and done with. The Romans
are physically dead, as are the generations of barbarians of
the Dark Ages, and all the inhabitants of mediæval and
modern Europe, save our own contemporaries. Yesterdays
are irrevocably over. The past, in any real sense, exists
only in the form of achievements that have been handed down
to us from previous generations. The only parts of the past
that survive physically are the actual material products and
achievements of bygone generations, the temples and the
cathedrals, the sculptures and the manuscripts, the roads
and the relics of earlier civilizations. Even these exist in the
present; they are evidences, memorials, mementos of the
past. These heritages from past civilizations may be interesting,
intrinsically, as in the case of paintings and statues, or
useful, as in the case of roads, reservoirs, or harbors.

But we inherit the past in a more vital sense. We inherit
ways of thought and action, social systems, scientific and
industrial methods, manners and morals, educational bequests
and ideals, all that we have and are. Without these, each
generation would have to start anew. If the whole of existing
society were destroyed, and a newborn generation could be
miraculously preserved to maturity, its members would have
to start on the same level, with the same ignorances, uncertainties,
and impotences as primitive savages.

In order to make the nature and variety of our abject dependence
on the past clear, we have only to consider our language, our laws,
our political and social institutions, our knowledge and education,
our view of this world and the next, our tastes and the means of
gratifying them. On every hand the past dominates and controls
us, for the most part unconsciously and without protest on our part.
We are in the main its willing adherents. The imagination of the
most radically-minded cannot transcend any great part of the ideas
and customs transmitted to him. When once we grasp this truth,
we shall, according to our mood, humbly congratulate ourselves
that ... we are permitted to stand on the giant's shoulders, and
enjoy an outlook that would be quite hidden to us, if we had to trust
to our own short legs; or we may resentfully chafe at our bonds and,
like Prometheus, vainly strive to wrest ourselves from the rock of the
past, in our eagerness to bring relief to the suffering children of men.

In any case, whether we bless or curse the past, we are inevitably
its offspring, and it makes us its own long before we realize it. It is,
indeed, almost all that we can have.[1]

[Footnote 1: Robinson: _The New History_, pp. 256-57.]

The cultural achievements of the past, which we inherit
chiefly as social habits, are obviously not transmitted to us
physically, as are the original human traits with which this
volume has so far been chiefly concerned. They are not in our
blood; they are acquired like other habits, through contact
with others and through repeated practice.

We are thus to a very large extent conditioned by the past.
It is as if we had inherited a fortune composed of various kinds
of properties, houses, books, automobiles, warehouses, musical
instruments, and in addition, trade concessions, business
secrets, formulæs, methods, and good-will. Our activities will
be limited in measure by the extent of the property, its constituent
items, and the repair in which we keep it. We may
squander or misinvest our principal, as when we use scientific
knowledge for dangerous or dubious aims, for example, for
conquest or rapine. We may add to it, as in the development
of the sciences and industrial arts. We may, so to speak, live
on the income. Such is the case when a society ceases to be
progressive, and fails to add anything to a highly developed
traditional culture, as happened strikingly in the case of
China. Again we may have inherited "white elephants,"
which may be of absolutely no use to us, encumbrances of
which we cannot easily rid ourselves, influential ideas which
are no longer adequate to our present situation, obsolete
emotions, methods, or institutions. We may allow our cultural
inheritance, through bad education, to fall into disrepair and

Since we are so dependent on the past, our attitude toward
it, which in turn determines the use we make of it, is of the most
crucial significance. The several characteristic and varying
attitudes toward the past which are so markedly current are
not determined solely by logical considerations. For individuals
and social groups particular features of their heritage have
great emotional associations. The living past is composed of
habits, traditions, values, which are vivid and vital issues to
those who practice them. Traditions, customs, or social
methods come to have intrinsic values; they become the center
of deep attachments and strong passion. They are a rich
element of the atmosphere of the present; they are woven into
the intimate fabric of our lives. The awe which we feel in
great cathedrals is historical as well as religious. Those vast
solemn arches are the voices of the past speaking to us. The
moral appeal of tradition appears with beautiful clarity in the
opening chapter of Pater's _Marius the Epicurean_.

A sense of conscious powers external to ourselves, pleased or
displeased by the right or wrong conduct of every circumstance of daily
life--that _conscience_, of which the old Roman religion was a formal,
habitual recognition, had become in him a powerful current of feeling
and observance. The old-fashioned, partly Puritanic awe, the power
of which Wordsworth noted and valued so highly in a northern
peasantry, had its counterpart in the feeling of the Roman lad, as he
passed the spot, "touched of heaven," where the lightning had
struck dead an aged laborer in the field: an upright stone, still with
moldering garlands about it, marked the place. He brought to that
system of symbolic usages, and they in turn developed in him further,
a great seriousness, an impressibility to the sacredness of time, of life
and its events, and the circumstances of family fellowship--of such
gifts to men as fire, water, the earth from labor on which they live,
really understood by him as gifts--a sense of religious responsibility
in the reception of them. It was a religion for the most part of fear,
of multitudinous scruples, of a year-long burden of forms.[1]

[Footnote 1: Walter Pater: _Marius the Epicurean_ (A. L. Burt
edition), pp. 3-4.]

To the past, as it is made familiar to us through song, study,
and traditional practice, we may experience a piety amounting
almost to religious devotion. In some individuals and in
some nations, this sense for tradition is very strong.

Every one has felt more or less keenly this sense of being a
link in a great tradition, whether of a college, family, or country.
Sometimes this sense for tradition takes an æsthetic form,
as in the case of ritual, whether social or religious. Old streets,
ivied towers, ancient rooms, become symbols of great and
dignified achievements; ceremonies come to be invested with
a serious beauty and memorable charm. They become reminders
of a "torch to be carried on," of a spirit to be cherished
and kept alive, of a history to be carried on or a purpose
or an ideal to be fulfilled. As we shall see in a moment, this
sense for the past, which, as Santayana says, makes a man
loyal to the sources of his being, has both its virtues and vices.
It is of immense value in preserving continuity and cultural
integration, in keeping many men continuously moving toward
a single fixed end. It may also wrap dangerously irrelevant
habits and institutions in a saving--and illusive--halo.

There are, on the other hand, individuals with very little
sense for tradition. This may be accounted for in some cases
by a marked æsthetic insensibility, which sees in ritual, ceremony,
or habit, merely the literal, without any appreciation
at all of its symbolic significance.[1] In other cases, individuals
are unsusceptible and hostile to tradition, because they
have themselves been socially disinherited. This is illustrated
not infrequently in the case of foreigners who, for one reason
or another, have left and lost interest in their native land, and
become men without a country.

[Footnote 1: This is illustrated by the crass excesses of certain
radical satirists of religious forms. Those who are the enemies of
religion for economic, social, or intellectualistic reasons combine
a singular sense of the literal absurdities of religious forms
with a marked insensibility to their symbolic values. One may find
interesting examples, from Voltaire to Robert Ingersoll.]

There are others by temperament rebellious and iconoclastic,
who combine a keen sense of present difficulties and problems
with small reverence, use for, or interest in the past, and
small imaginative sympathy with it. The past is to them a
"sea of errors." They regard all past achievements as bad
scribblings which must be erased, so that we may start with
a clean slate. There have been included among such, great
historical reformers. Bentham's enthusiasm for progress led
him into most intemperate attacks on history and historical
method. The most noted of the eighteenth-century philosophers
saw nothing but evil in tradition. Such sentiments
were echoed in the early nineteenth century by Shelley, Godwin,
and their circle, as expressed, for example, in Shelley's

  "The world's great age begins anew,
     The golden years return,
   The earth doth like a snake renew
     Her winter weeds outworn;
   Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam,
   Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.
      .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
  "Another Athens shall arise,
     And to remoter time
   Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
     The splendor of its prime;
   And leave, if nought so bright can live,
   All earth can take or Heaven can give."

It is not surprising that men with an eye fixed on the future
should develop a contempt or an obliviousness of the past.
Utopians nearly always start with "a world various and beautiful
and new."

Perhaps the chief ingredient in such discounting of all past
history is the rebel temperament which wants to break away
from what it regards as the chains, the dead weight, the ruts of
tradition. It cheerfully says, "Nous changerons tout cela,"
and does not stop to discriminate between the _roads_ and the
_ruts_ that have been made by people in the past.

These two temperaments,[1] play a large part in determining
attitudes toward the past. The one regards with awe and
reverence past achievement, and rests his faith on the
experiments which have been tested and proved by time. The
other, to state the position extremely, regards each day as the
possible glorious dawn of a completely new world. The first
attitude, when intemperately preached and practiced, becomes
an uncritical veneration of the past; the second, an uncritical
disparagement. We shall briefly examine each.

[Footnote 1: One is reminded of the song of the sentry before the
House of Parliament in Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe";

  "'T is strange how Nature doth contrive
     That every little boy or gal,
   That's born into the world alive,
     Is either a little Liberal,
       Or else a little Conservative!"]

uncritical veneration of the past may be said to take the position
that old things are good simply because they are _old_; new
things are evil simply because they are _new_. Institutions,
Ideas, Customs are, like wines, supposed to attain quality
with age. A custom, a law, a code of morals is defined or
maintained on the ground of its ancient--and honorable--history,
of the great span of years during which it has been
current, of the generation after generation that has lived
under its auspices. The ways of our fathers, the old time-tested
ways, these, we are told, must be our ways.

The psychological origins of this position have in part been
discussed. There is in some individuals a highly developed
sentiment and reverence for tradition as such, and an æsthetic
sensibility to the mellowness, ripeness, and charm that so often
accompany old things.[1] The new seems, as it often is, loud,
brassy, vulgar, and hard. But there are other and equally
important causes. Men trust and cherish the familiar in
ideas, customs, and social organization, just as they trust and
cherish old friends. They know what to expect from them;
they have their well-noted excellences, and, while they have
their defects, these also are definitely known and can be
definitely reckoned with. The old order may not be perfect, but
it is an order, and an order whose outlines and possibilities
are known and predictable. Change means change to the
unaccustomed and the unfamiliar. And the unaccustomed
and the unfamiliar, as already pointed out, normally arouse
fear. One of the conventional phrases (which has become
conventional because it is accurate) with which changes have
been greeted is the _cliché_, "we view with alarm." No small
part of genuine opposition to change comes from the cautious
and conscientious types of mind which will not sanction the
reckless taking of chances, especially where the interests of
large groups are concerned, which want to know precisely
where a change will lead. Such a mind holds off from committing
society to making changes that will put a situation
beyond control and lead to unforeseen and uncontrollable
dangers. Especially is this felt by the administrator, by the
man who has experience with the difficulties of putting ideas
in practice, who knows how vastly more difficult it is to
operate with people than with paper.[2] The man of affairs knows
how easy it is to check and change ideas in one's mind, but
knows also the uncontrollable momentum of ideas when they
are acted upon by vast numbers of men.

[Footnote 1: "Oxford," said a distinguished visitor to that
venerable institution, "looks just as it ought to look." And
one is reminded of the story of the American lady who, admiring
the smooth lawns at Oxford, asked a gardener how they managed
to give them that velvet gloss. "We roll them, madam," he said,
"for eight hundred years."]

[Footnote 2: Thus writes Catharine II, in a letter to Diderot,
the French philosopher and humanitarian: "M. Diderot, in all
your schemes of reform, you entirely forget the difference in
our position; you work only on paper, which endures all things;
it offers no obstacle, either to your pen or your imagination.
But I, poor Empress that I am, work on a far more delicate and
irritable substance, the human skin."]

Again, the maintenance of ways that have been practiced
in the past has a large hold over people, for reasons already
discussed in the chapter on Habit. The old and the accustomed
are comfortable and facile; change means inconvenience
and frustration of habitual desires. This is in part
the explanation of the increasing conservatism of men as
they grow older. Not only do they have a keener sense of
the difficulty of introducing changes, but their own fixed
habits of mind and emotion make part of the difficulty.
They like the old ways and persist in them just as they like
and keep old books, old friends, and old shoes.

may also be due to a romantic idealization of it. In such
cases, it is not an interest in maintaining the present order;
it is rather a contempt for the present and wistful yearning
for the "good old days." Everyone indulges more or less
in such idealization. Such halos are made possible because
we retain the pleasant rather than the painful and dreary
aspects of our past experience. The college alumnus returning
to the campus tells of the since unsurpassed intellectual
and athletic feats of the freshman class of which he was a
member. The elderly gentleman sighs over his newspaper
at the bad ways into which the world is degenerating, and
yearns for the old days when the plays were better,
conversation more interesting, houses more comfortable, and
men more loyal. In similar trivial instances we are all
inclined to indulge in such mythology. The universality and
age of this tendency has been well described by a student of
Greek civilization.

This is the belief of the old school of every age--there was once a
"good" time; and it matters not at all in the study of moral ideals
that no such time can be shown to have existed. The men of the
fourth century [B.C.] say that it was in the fifth; those of the fifth
say it was in the sixth; and so on infinitely. The same ideal was at
work when William Morris looked to the thirteenth century, forgetting
that Dante looked to a still earlier period; and both forgot that
the men of that earlier period said the same--"not now, indeed,
but before us men were happy." So simpler men incline to say that
their grandfathers were fine fellows, but the "old college is going to
the dogs," or "the House of Commons is not what it was once," for
reverence and faith and manliness once ruled the world. The old
school lives upon an ignorance of history; it is genuinely moved by
a simple moral ideal of life and character which its own imagination
has created. And when evil becomes obvious, it is the new-fangled
notions that are to blame. "Trying new dodges" has brought
Athens down in the world--as Aristophanes in 393 B.C. makes his
protagonist say:

  "And would it not have saved the Athenian state,
   If she kept to what was good, and did not try
   Always some new plan?"[1]

[Footnote 1: C. Delisle Burns: _Greek Ideals_, pp. 118-19.]

On a large scale the romantic idealization of the past has
been made into a philosophy of history. The "golden age,"
instead of being put in a roseate and remote future, is put in an
equally remote and roseate past. The Greek legends were
fond of a golden age when the gods moved among men. The
Garden of Eden is the Christian apotheosis of the world's
perfections. Various philosophers have pointed out the
fallacy of finding such a mythological locus for our ideals, and
evolution and the general revelations of history have indicated
the completely mythical character of the golden age. History
may, in general, be said to reveal that, whatever the
imperfections of our own age, we have immeasurably improved
in many pronounced respects over conditions earlier
than our own. The idealized picture of the Middle Ages with
its guardsmen and its courtly knights and ladies, is coming,
with increasing historical information, to seem insignificant
and untrue in comparison with the unspeakable hardships of
the mass of men, the evil social and sanitary conditions, the
plagues and pestilences which were as much a part of it. The
picture of the ideally gentle and benevolent attitude of the
master to his slaves is by no means regarded as a typical picture
of conditions of slave labor in the South. We know,
positively, on the other hand, that our medicine and surgery,
our scientific and industrial methods, our production and our
resources are incomparably greater than those of any earlier
period in history, as are the possibilities of the control of
Nature still unrealized.

If there were time I might try to show that progress in knowledge
and its application to the alleviation of man's estate is more rapid
now than ever before. But this scarcely needs formal proof; it is so
obvious. A few years ago an eminent French _littérateur_, Brunetière,
declared science bankrupt. This was on the eve of the discoveries
in radio-activity which have opened up great vistas of possible human
readjustments if we could but learn to control and utilize the
inexhaustible sources of power that lie in the atom. It was on the eve
of the discovery of the function of the white blood corpuscles, which
clears the way for indefinite advance in medicine. Only a poor
discouraged man of letters could think for a moment that science was
bankrupt. No one entitled to an opinion on the subject believes
that we have made more than a beginning in penetrating the secrets
of the organic and inorganic worlds.[1]

[Footnote 1: Robinson: _The New History_, p. 262.]

Even in the face of these facts, reverence for the past may
amount to such religious veneration that change may come
literally to be regarded as sacrilegious. In primitive tribes
the reasons for this insistence are clear. Rites and rituals are
used to secure the favor of the gods and any departure from
traditional customs is looked upon as fraught with actual danger.
But the past, as it lives in established forms and practices,
is still by many, and in highly advanced societies, almost
religiously cherished, sustained, and perpetuated. Every
college, religion, and country has its traditional forms of life
and practice, any infringement of which is regarded with the
gravest disapproval.[2] In social life, generally, there are fixed
forms for given occasions, forms of address, greeting, conversation,
and clothes, all that commonly goes under the name of
the "conventions" or "proprieties." In law, as is well known,
there is developed sometimes to an almost absurd degree a
ritual of procedure. In religion, traditional values become
embodied in fixed rituals of music, processional, and prayer.
In education, especially higher education, there has developed
a fairly stable tradition in the granting of degrees, the
elements of a curriculum, the forms of examination, and the
like. To certain types of mind, fixed forms in all these fields
have come to be regarded as of intrinsic importance. Love
of "good form," the classicist point of view at its best, may
develop into sheer pedantry and Pharisaism, an insistence on
the fixed form when the intent is changed or forgotten, a regard
for the letter rather than the spirit of the law. In a large
number of cases, the fixed modes of life and practice which
are our inheritance come to be regarded as symbols of eternal
and changeless values. Thus many highly intelligent men
find ritual in religion and traditional customs in education
or in social life freighted with symbolic significance, and any
infringement of them as almost sacrilegious in character.

[Footnote 2: It has been said that a custom repeated on a college
campus two years in succession constitutes a tradition.]

CHANGE SYNONYMOUS WITH EVIL. Change, again, may be discouraged
by those who hold, with more or less sincerity, that
no good can come of it. Such a position may, and frequently
is, maintained by those in whom fortunate accident of birth,
favored social position, exuberant optimism, or a stanch and
resilient faith, induces the belief that the social order and
social practices, education, law, customs, economic conditions,
science, art, _et al._, are completely satisfactory. Like
Pippa, in Browning's poem, they are satisfied that "God's
in His Heaven; all's right with the world." That there
are no imperfections, in manners, politics, or morals, in
our present social order, that there are no improvements
which good-will, energy, and intelligence can effect, few will
maintain without qualification. To do so implies, when sincere,
extraordinary blindness to the facts, for example, of
poverty and disease, which, though they do not happen to
touch a particular individual, are patent and ubiquitous
enough. In the face of undeniable evils the position that the
ways we have inherited are completely adequate to our
contemporary problems cannot be ingenuously maintained.

The position more generally expounded by the opponents of
change is that our present modes of life give us the best
possible results, considering the limitations of nature and human
nature, and that the customs, institutions, and ideas we now
have are the fruits of a ripe, a mellow, and a time-tested
wisdom, that any radical innovations would, on the whole, put
us in a worse position than that in which we find ourselves.
Persons taking this attitude discount every suggested
improvement on the ground that, even though intrinsically
good, it will bring a host of inevitable evils with it, and that,
all things considered, we had better leave well enough alone.
Some extreme exponents of this doctrine maintain, as did
some of the Hebrew prophets, that whatever evils are ours are
our own fault, that fault consisting in a lapse from the
accustomed ancient ways. To continue without abatement the
established ways is the surest road to happiness. Education,
social customs, political organization, these are sound and
wholesome as they are; and modification means interference
with the works and processes of reason.

  "All Nature is but art, unknown to thee;
   All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
   All discord, harmony not understood;
   All partial evil, universal good;
   And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
   One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right."[1]

[Footnote 1: Pope: _Essay on Man_, epistle I, lines 289 ff.]

Later Hegel developed an elaborate philosophy of history
in which he tried to demonstrate that the history of the past
was one long exemplification of reason; that each event that
happened was part of the great cosmic scheme, an indispensable
syllable of the Divine Idea as it moved through history;
each action part of the increasing purpose that runs through
the ages. That these contentions are, to say the least, extreme,
will appear presently in the statement of the opposite
position which sees nothing in the past but a long succession
of blunders, evils, and stupidities.

"ORDER" _VERSUS_ CHANGE. Finally, genuine opposition to
change arises from those who fear the instability which it implies.
Continuation in established ways makes for integration,
discipline, and stability. It makes possible the converging
of means toward an end, it cumulates efforts resulting
in definite achievement. In so far as we do accomplish anything
of significance, we must move along stable and determinate
lines; we must be able to count on the future.[1] It has
already been pointed out that it is man's docility to learning,
his long period of infancy[2] which makes his eventual achievements
possible. But it is man's persistence in the habits
he has acquired that is in part responsible for his progress.
In individual life, the utility of persistence, and concentration
of effort upon a definite piece of work, have been sufficiently
stressed by moralists, both popular and professional.
"A rolling stone gathers no moss," is as true psychologically
as it is physically. Any outstanding accomplishment,
whether in business, scholarship, science, or literature,
demands perseverance in definite courses of action. We are
inclined, and usually with reason, to suspect the effectiveness
of a man who has half a dozen professions in half as
many years. Such vacillations produce whimsical and scattered
movements; but they are fruitless in results; they literally
"get nowhere."

[Footnote 1: The uncertainty that business men feel during a
presidential campaign is an illustration.]

[Footnote 2: See _ante_, p. 10.]

Just as, in the case of individuals, any significant achievements
require persistent convergence of means toward a definite
end, so is it in the case of social groups. No great business
organizations are built up through continual variations
of policy. Similarly, in the building up of a university, a
government department, a state, or a social order, consecutive
and disciplined persistence in established ways is a requisite
of progress. Without such continuous organization of efforts
toward fixed goals, action becomes frivolous and fragmentary,
a wind along a waste. The history of the English people has
elicited the admiration of philosophers and historians because
it has been such a gradual and deliberate movement, such a
measured and certain progress toward political and social
freedom. To those who appreciate the value of unity of
action, of the assured fruits of cumulative and consistent
action along a given path, change as such seems fraught with
danger. Nor is it specific dangers they fear so much as the
loss of moral fiber, the scattering of energies, the waste and
futility that are frequently the net result of casual driftings
with every wind that blows. No one has more eloquently
expressed this view than Edmund Burke in his _Reflections on
the French Revolution:_

But one of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth
and the laws are consecrated, is lest the temporary possessors
and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received
from their ancestors, or of what is due to their posterity, should act
as if they were the entire masters; that they should think it among
their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance,
by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their
society; hazarding to leave to those who come after them a ruin
instead of a habitation--and teaching these successors as little to
respect their contrivances, as they had themselves respected the
institutions of their forefathers. By this unprincipled facility of
changing the state as often, and as much, and in as many ways, as
there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity
of the commonwealth would be broken. No one generation could
link with the other. Men would be little better than the flies of a

       *       *       *       *       *

To avoid, therefore, the evils of inconstancy and versatility, ten
thousand times worse than those of obstinacy and the blindest prejudice,
we have consecrated the state, that no man should approach
to look into its defects or corruptions, but with due caution; that he
should never dream of beginning its reformation by its subversion;
that he should approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds
of a father, with pious awe and trembling solicitude.[1]

[Footnote 1: Edmund Burke: _Reflections on the French Revolution_
(George Bell & Sons, 1888), pp. 366-68.]

possible evils of novelty in the disorganization which it promotes,
habituation to established ways, or a sentimental and
æsthetic allegiance to them--all these are factors that determine
genuine opposition to change. But aversion to change
may be generalized into a philosophical attitude by those who
have special personal or class reasons for disliking specific
changes. The hand-workers in the early nineteenth century
stoned the machinists and machines which threw them out of
employment. Every change does discommode some class or
classes of persons, and part of the opposition to specific
changes comes from those whom they would adversely affect.
It is not surprising that liquor interests should be opposed to
prohibition, that theatrical managers should have protested
against a tax on the theater, or those with great incomes
against an excess profits tax. Selfish opposition to specific
changes is, indeed, frequently veiled in the disguise of plausible
reasons for opposition to change in general. Those who
fear the results to their own personal or class interests of some
of the radical social legislation of our own day may disguise
those more or less consciously realized motives under the form
of impartial philosophical opposition to social change in general.
They may find philosophical justification for maintaining
unmodified an established order which redounds to their
own advantage.

UNCRITICAL DISPARAGEMENT. The other extreme is represented
by the position that old things are bad because they
are _old_, and new things good because they are _new_. This is
illustrated in an extreme though trivial form by faddists of
every kind. There are people who chiefly pride themselves
on being up-to-the-minute, and exhibit an almost pathological
fear of being behind the times. This thirst for the novel is
seen on various levels, from those who wear the newest styles,
and dine at the newest hotels, to those who make a point of
reading only the newest books, hearing only the newest music,
and discussing the latest theories. For such temperaments,
and more or less to most people, there is an intrinsic glamour
about the word "new." The physical qualities that are so
often associated with newness are carried over into social and
intellectual matters, where they do not so completely apply.
The new is bright and unfrayed; it has not yet suffered senility
and decay. The new is smart and striking; it catches the
eye and the attention. Just as old things are dog-eared, worn,
and tattered, so are old institutions, habits, and ideas. Just
as we want the newest books and phonographs, the latest
conveniences in housing and sanitation, so we want the latest
modernities in political, social, and intellectual matters.
Especially about new ideas, there is the freshness and infinite
possibility of youth; every new idea is as yet an unbroken
promise. It has not been subjected to the frustrations,
disillusions, and compromises to which all theory is subjected in
the world of action.[1] Every new idea is an experiment, a
possibility, a hope. It may be the long-awaited miracle; it
may be the prayed-for solution of all our difficulties.

[Footnote 1: "Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a
perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the
world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations,
no barrier to the creative activity embodying in splendid edifices
the passionate aspiration after the perfect from which all great
work springs. Remote from human passions, remote even from the
pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created
an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural
home, and where one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape
from the dreary exile of the actual world." (Bertrand Russell:
_Mysticism and Logic_, pp. 60-61.)]

This susceptibility to the novel is peculiarly displayed by
those who see nothing but evil in the old. Against the outworn
past with its disillusions, its errors, its evils, and its
hypocrisies, the new shines out in glorious contrast. There
are persons who combine a very genuine sense of present evils
with a resilient belief in the possibilities of change. The
classic instance of this is seen in the Messianic idea. Even in
the worst of times, the pious Jew could count on the saving
appearance of the Messiah. Every Utopian is as sure of the
salvation promised by his prize solution as he is of the evils
which it is intended to rectify. The ardent Socialist may
equally divide his energies between pointing out the evils of
the capitalist system, and the certain bliss of his Socialist
republic. The past is nothing but a festering mass of evils;
industry is nothing but slavery, religion nothing but superstition,
education nothing but dead traditional formalism, social
life nothing but hypocrisy.

Where the past is so darkly conceived, there comes an uncritical
welcoming of anything new, anything that will take
men away from it. Nothing could be worse than the present
or past; anything as yet untried may be better. As Karl
Marx told the working classes: "The proletarians have
nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win."

The past is, by its ruthless critics, conceived not infrequently
as enchaining or enslaving. Particularly, the radical
insists, are men enslaved by habits of thought, feeling, and
action which are totally inadequate to our present problems
and difficulties. War-like emotions, he points out, may have
been useful in an earlier civilization, but are now a total
disutility. Belief in magic may have been an asset to primitive
man in his ignorance; it is not to modern man with his science.
The institution of private property may have had its values
in building up civilization; its utility is over. We still make
stereotyped and archaic reactions where the situation has
utterly changed. The institutions, ideas, and habits of the
past are at once so compelling and so obsolete that we must
make a clear break with the past; we must start with a clean
slate. To continue, so we are told, is merely going further
and further along the wrong paths; it is like continuing with
a broken engine, or without a rudder.

CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE PAST. That both positions just
discussed are extreme, goes without saying. The past is
neither all good nor all bad; it has achieved as well as it has
erred. But it is, in any case, all we have. Without the
knowledge, the customs, the institutions we have inherited,
we should have no advantage at all over our ancestors of ten
thousand years ago. Biologically we have not changed. The
past is our basic material. Each generation starts with
what it finds in the way of cultural achievement, and builds
upon that.

Antiquity deserveth that reverence, that men should take a stand
thereupon, and discover what is the best way; but when the
discovery is well-taken, then to make progression. And to speak truly,
_antiquitas soeculi iuventus mundi_. These times are the ancient times,
when the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient
_ordine retrogrado_, by a computation backwards from ourselves.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bacon: _The Advancement of Learning_,
Collected Works, vol. I, p. 172.]

The past, save what we discover in our generation, is our
sole storehouse of materials. And a very small part of our
useful knowledge in the industrial arts, in science, in social
organization and administration does come from our own
generation. It is the accumulated experience of generations
of men. We can, out of this mass of materials, select whatever
is useful in clarifying the issues of the present, whatever
helps us to accomplish those purposes which we have, after
critical consideration, decided to be useful and serviceable.
If, for example, we decide to build a bridge, it is of importance
that we know all that men have in the past discovered of
mechanical relations and industrial art which will enable us to
build a bridge well. If we want to establish an educational
system in some backward portion of the world, it is useful for
us to know what methods men have used in similar situations.
Whatever we decide to do, we are so much the better off, if
we know all that men before us have learned in analogous

But to use the inheritance of the past implies an analysis
of present problems, and an acceptance of the course to be
pursued. The experience of the past, the heritage of knowledge
that has come down to us, is so various and extensive
that choices must be made. The historian in writing even
a comprehensive history of a country must still make choices
and omissions. Similarly, in using knowledge inherited from
the past as materials, we must have specific problems to
govern our choice. The statistician could collect innumerable
statistics; he collects only those which have a bearing on his
subject. The lawyer searches out that part of the legal tradition
which is applicable to his own case. Without some lead
or clue we should lose ourselves in the multifariousness of
transmitted knowledge at our disposal.

To use the past as an instrument for furthering present
purposes implies neither veneration nor disparagement of it.
We neither condemn nor praise the past as a whole; we regard
specific institutions, customs, or ideas, as adequate or
inadequate, as serviceable or disserviceable. In general, it may be
said that the value of any still extant part of the past, be it a
work of art, a habit, a tradition, has very little to do with its
origin. The instinct of eating is still useful though it has a
long history. The works of the Old Masters are not really
great because they are old, nor are the works of contemporaries
either good or bad because they are new. Man himself is
to be estimated no differently, whether he is descended from
the angels or the apes.

If we would appreciate our own morals and religion we are often
advised to consider primitive man and his institutions. If we would
evaluate marriage or property, we are often directed to study our
remote ancestors.... Such considerations as these have diverse
effects according to our temperaments. They quite uniformly produce,
however, disillusionment and sophistication.... This exaltation
of the past, as the ancestral home of all that we are, may make
us regret our loss of illusions and our disconcerting enlightenment....
We may break with the past, scorn an inheritance so redolent of
blood and lust and superstition, revel in an emancipation unguided
by the discipline of centuries, strive to create a new world every day,
and imagine that, at last, we have begun to make progress.[1]

[Footnote 1: Woodbridge: _The Purpose of History_, p. 72.]

The standards of value of the things we have or do or say,
the approvals or disapprovals we should logically accord them,
are determined not by their history, not by their past, but by
their uses in the living present in which we live. An institution
may have served the purposes of a bygone generation; it
does not follow that it thereby serves our own. The reverse
may similarly be true. For us the specific features of our
social inheritance depend upon the ends or purposes which we
reflectively decide upon and accept. Whether capital punishment
is good or evil; whether private property is an adequate
or inadequate institution for social welfare; whether marriage
is a perfect or an imperfect institution; whether collective
bargaining, competitive industry, old age insurance, income
taxes, nationalization of railroads are useful or pernicious
depends neither on their age nor their novelty. Their value
is determined by their relevancy to our own ideals, by the
extent to which they hinder or promote the results which we
consciously desire.

The past may be studied with a view to clarifying present
issues. In the first place, we may study past successes and
failures in order to guide our actions in present similar situations.
A man setting out to organize and administer a newspaper
will benefit by the experiences others have had in the
same situation. In the same way, we can learn from past
history something, at least, bearing on present political and
social issues. It is true enough that history has been much
misused for the drawing of lessons and guidance. As Professor
Robinson says:

To-day, however, one rarely finds a historical student who would
venture to recommend statesmen, warriors, and moralists to place
any confidence whatsoever in historical analogies and warnings, for
the supposed analogies usually prove illusive on inspection, and the
warnings impertinent. Whether or no Napoleon was ever able in his
own campaigns to make any practical use of the accounts he had
read of those of Alexander and Cæsar, it is quite certain that Admiral
Togo would have derived no useful hints from Nelson's tactics at
Alexandria or Trafalgar. Our situation is so novel that it would
seem as if political and military precedents of even a century ago
could have no possible value. As for our present "anxious morality,"
as Maeterlinck calls it, it seems equally clear that the sinful
extravagances of Sardanapalus and Nero, and the conspicuous public virtue
of Aristides and the Horatii, are alike impotent to promote it.[1]

[Footnote 1: Robinson: _The New History_, p. 36.]

But situations are, within limits, duplicated in historical
processes, and it is illuminating at least to see wherein men
failed and wherein they succeeded in the things they set themselves
to do. The history of labor legislation certainly testifies
to the effectiveness of "collective bargaining" in securing
improved labor conditions, as the history of strikes does also
to the public loss and injury incident to this kind of industrial
warfare. If compulsory arbitration has been a successful
method of dealing with labor difficulties in Australia in the
past, we can, by a careful study and comparison of conditions
there and conditions current in our country at the present,
illuminate and clarify our own problems. A campaign manager
in one presidential campaign does not forget what was
effective in the last, nor does he hesitate to profit by his
mistakes or those of others.

An impartial survey of the heritage of the past undertakes
critically to examine institutions, customs, ideas still current
with a view to determining their relevancy and utility to our
present needs. This demands, on the one hand, clarity as to
what those needs are, and, on the other hand, freedom from
prejudice for or against existing modes of life simply because
they have a history. A critical examination of the past
amounts practically to a taking stock, a summary of our
social assets and liabilities. We shall find our ideas, for
example, and our customs, a strange mixture of useful preservations,
and absurd or positively harmful relics of the past.
Ideas which were natural and useful enough in the situation
in which they originated, live on into a totally changed situation,
along with other ideas, like that of gravitation, which are
as true and as useful now as when they were first enunciated.
Many customs and institutions which may be found to have
as great utility now as when they were first practiced generations
ago, the customs and institutions, let us say, of family
life, may be found persisting along with customs and institutions,
like excess legal formalism (or, as their opponents claim,
a bi-cameral legislative system or a two-party system) which
may come generally to be regarded as impediments to progress.[1]
The unprejudiced observer, scientifically interested in
preserving those forms and mechanisms of social life which
are of genuine service to his own generation, will not condemn
or applaud "the past" _en masse_. He will, rather, examine it
in specific detail. He will not, for example, dismiss classical
education, because it is classical or old. He will rather try
experimentally to determine the actual consequences in the
case of those who study the classics. He will examine the
claims made for the study, try in specific cases to find out
whether those claims are fulfilled, and condemn or approve
the study, say, of Latin and Greek, according to his estimate
of the desirability or undesirability of those consequences.
If he finds, for example, that the study of Latin does promote
general literary appreciation, his decision that it should or
should not be continued will depend on his opinion of the value
of general literary appreciation as compared with other values
in an industrial civilization. Similarly, with "freedom of contract,"
"freedom of the seas," military service, bi-cameral
systems, party caucuses, presidential veto, and all the other
political and social heritages of the past.

[Footnote 1: The situation in the case of outworn social
institutions is paralleled in the case of the human appendix,
once possessing a function in the digestive system of primitive
man, but now useless and likely on occasion to become a
positive disutility.]

But a man who impartially examines the past will usually
exhibit also an appreciation of its attainments and a sense of
the present good to which it has been instrumental. He will
not glibly dismiss institutions, habits, methods of life that
are the slow accumulations of centuries. He will have a
sense of the continuous efforts and energies that have gone
into the making of contemporary civilization. He will have,
in suggesting ruthless innovations, a sobering sense of the
gradual evolution that has made present institutions, habits,
ideas, what they are.

The student of the past knows, moreover, that the present
without its background of history is literally meaningless.
In the words of a well-known student of the development of
human culture:

Progress, degradation, survival, modification, are all modes of the
connection that binds together the complex network of civilization.
It needs but a glance into the trivial details of our own daily life to
set us thinking how far we are really its originators, and how far
but the transmitters and modifiers of the results of long past ages.
Looking round the rooms we live in, we may try here how far he who
knows only his own time can be capable of rightly comprehending
even that. Here is the honeysuckle of Assyria, there the fleur-de-lis
of Anjou, a cornice with a Greek border runs round the ceiling, the
style of Louis XIV and its parent the Renaissance share the looking
glass between them. Transformed, shifted or mutilated, such elements
of art still carry their history plainly stamped upon them....
It is thus even with the fashion of the clothes men wear. The ridiculous
little tails of the German postilion's coat show of themselves
how they came to dwindle to such absurd rudiments; but the English
clergyman's bands no longer so convey their history to the eye, and
look unaccountable enough till one has seen the intermediate stages
through which they came down from the more serviceable wide
collars, such as Milton wears in his portrait, and which gave their
name to the "band-box" they used to be kept in. In fact, the books
of costume showing how one garment grew or shrank by gradual
stages and passed into another, illustrate with much force and
clearness the nature of the change and growth, revival and decay, which
go on from year to year in more important matters of life. In books,
again, we see each writer not for and by himself, but occupying his
proper place in history; we look through each philosopher, mathematician,
chemist, poet, into the background of his education--through
Leibnitz into Descartes, through Dalton into Priestly,
through Milton into Homer.[1]

[Footnote 1: Tylor, Edward B.: _Primitive Culture_, vol. I. pp. 17 ff.]

Besides understanding the present better in terms of its
history, there is much in the heritage of the past, especially
of its finished products, that the citizen of contemporary
civilization will wish preserved for its own sake. The works
of art, of music, and of literature which are handed down to us
are "possessions forever." Whatever be the limitations of
our social inheritance, as instruments for the solution of our
difficulties, those finished products which constitute the "best
that has been known and thought" in the world are beyond
cavil. They may not solve our problems, but they immensely
enrich and broaden our lives. They are enjoyed because they
are intrinsically beautiful, but also because they widen men's
sympathies and broaden the scope of contemporary purposes
and ideals.

The culture that this transmission of racial experience makes possible,
can be made perfect by the critical spirit alone, and, indeed,
may be said to be one with it. For who is the true critic but he who
bears within himself the dreams and ideas and feelings of myriad
generations, and to whom no form of thought is alien, no emotional
impulse obscure. And who is the true man of culture, if not he in
whom fine scholarship and fastidious rejection... develops that
spirit of disinterested curiosity which is the real spirit, as it is the
real fruit of the intellectual life, and thus attains to intellectual
clarity; and having learned the best that is known and thought in the
world, lives--it is not fanciful to say so--among the Immortals.[1]

[Footnote 1: Oscar Wilde: _Intentions_, pp. 192-93.]

The student of Greek life knows that the Greeks in their
view of Nature and of morals, in their conception of the way
life should be lived, in their discrimination of the beautiful,
have still much to teach us. He knows, however much we
may have outlived the hierarchy of obedience which constitutes
mediæval social and political life, we should do well to
recover the humility in living, the craftsmanship in industry,
and precision in thinking which constituted so conspicuous
features of mediæval civilization. He knows that progress
is not altogether measured by flying machines and wireless
telegraphy. He is aware that speed and quantity, the key
values in an industrial civilization, are not the only values
that ever have been, or ever should be cherished by mankind.

LIMITATIONS OF THE PAST. Along with a sensitive appreciation
of the achievements and values of the past, goes, in
the impartial critic, an acknowledgment of its limitations.
We can appreciate the distinctive contributions of Greek culture
without setting up Greek life as an ultimate ideal. We
know that with all the beauty attained and expressed in
their art and, to a certain extent, in their civilization, the
Athenians yet sacrificed the majority to a life of slavery in
order that the minority might lead a life of the spirit, that
their religion had its notable crudities and cruelties, that
their science was trivial, and their control of Nature negligible.
In the words of one of their most thoroughgoing

The harmony of the Greeks contained in itself the factors of its
own destruction. And in spite of the fascination which constantly
fixes our gaze on that fairest and happiest halting place in the secular
march of man, it was not there, any more than here, that he was
destined to find an ultimate reconciliation and repose.[1]

[Footnote 1: G. Lowes Dickinson: _Greek View of Life_, p. 248.]

Again, we know the many beautiful features of mediæval
life through its painting and poetry and religion. We know
Saint Francis and are familiar with the heroic records of
saintliness and renunciation. We know, the great cathedrals,
the pageantry and splendor, the exquisite handicraft, the
tapestries and illuminated manuscripts, the vast learning
and the incomparable dialectic. We know also the social
injustices, the misery and squalor the ignorance in which
the mass of the people lived.

We can stop, therefore, neither in perpetual adoration of nor
perpetual caviling at the past. Each age had its special excellences
and its special defects, both from the point of view
of the ideals then current, and those current in our own day.
In so far as the past is dead and over with, we cannot legitimately
criticize it with standards of our own day. We cannot
blame the Greeks for sanctioning slavery, nor criticize James I
because he was not a thoroughgoing democrat. But in so far
as the past still lives, it is open to critical examination and
revision. Traditions, customs, ideas, and institutions inherited
from the past, which still control us, are subject to
modification. We are justified in welcoming changes and
modifications which, after careful inquiry, seem clearly to
promise betterment in the life of the group. Thus to welcome
changes which upon experimental evidence show clearly the
benefits that will accrue to the group, is not radicalism. Nor
is opposition to changes on the ground that upon critical
examination they give promise of harmful consequences, conservatism.
Verdicts for or against change reached on such a
basis reflect the spirit and technique of experimental science.
They reflect the desire to settle a course of action on the basis
of its results in practice rather than on any preconceived
prejudices in favor either of stability or change. To the critical
mind, neither stability nor change is an end in itself.
There is no hypnotism about "things as they are"; no lure
about things as they have not yet been. The problem is
shifted to a detailed and thoroughgoing inquiry into the
consequences of specific changes in social habits, ideas and
institutions, education, business, and industry. Whether changes
should or should not win critical approval depends on the kind
of ideals or purposes we set ourselves and, secondly, on the
practicability of the proposed changes. Change may thus
be opposed or approved, in a given case, on the grounds of
desirability or feasibility. Whether a change is or is not
desirable depends on the ideals of the individual or the group.
Whether it is or is not feasible is a matter open increasingly to
scientific determination. Thus a city may hire experts to
discover what kind of transportation or educational system
will best serve the city's needs. But whether it will or will not
spend the money necessary depends on the social interests

process by which society undertakes the transmission of its
social heritage. Indeed the main function of education in
static societies is the initiation of the young into already
established customs and traditions. It is the method used
to hand down those social habits which the influential and
articulate classes in a society regard as important enough to
have early fixed in its young members. The past is simply
transmitted, handed down _en masse_. It is a set of patterns
to be imitated, of ideals to be continued, of mechanisms for
attaining the fixed purposes which are current in the group.

In progressive societies education may be used not simply
to hand down habits of doing, feeling, and thinking, from the
older generation to the younger, but to make habitual in the
young reflective consideration of the ends which must be
attained, and reflective inquiry into the means for attaining
them. The past will not be handed down in indiscriminate
completeness. The present and its problems are regarded as
the standard of importance, and the past is considered as an
incomparable reservoir of materials and methods which may
contribute to the ends sought in the present. But there is so
much material and so little time, that selection must be made.
Many things in the past, interesting on their own merits, must
be omitted in favor of those habits, traditions, and recorded
files of knowledge which are most fruitful and enlightening in
the attainment of contemporary purposes. What those purposes
are depends, of course, on ideals of the group in control
of the process of education. But these purposes of ideals may
be derived from present situations and not taken merely because
they have long been current in the group. Thus, in a
predominantly industrial civilization, it may be found more
advisable and important to transmit the scientific and technical
methods of control which men have acquired in recent
generations than the traditional liberal arts. Science may be
found more important than the humanities, medicine than
moral theory. Even such education that tends to call itself
"liberal" or "cultural" is effective and genuine education
just in so far as it does illuminate the world in which we live.
The religion and art, the literature and life of the past broaden
the meaning and the background of our lives. They are valuable
just because they do enrich the lives of those who are
exposed to their influence. If studying the great literature
and the art of the past did not clarify the mind and emancipate
the spirit, enabling men to live more richly in the present,
they would hardly be as studiously cherished and transmitted
as they are. We are, after all, living in the present.
The culture of the past either does or does not illuminate it.
If it does not it is a competing environment, a shadow world
in which we may play truant from actuality, but which
brings neither "sweetness nor light" to the actual world in
which we live.



The foregoing analysis of human behavior might thus be
briefly summarized. We found that man is born a creature
with certain tendencies to act in certain definite ways,
tendencies which he largely possesses in common with the lower animals.
We found also that man could learn by trial and error,
that his original instinctive equipment could be modified.
Thus far in his mental life man is indistinguishable from the
beasts. But man's peculiar capacity, it appeared, lay in his
ability to think, to control his actions in the light of a future,
to choose one response rather than another because of its
consequences, which he could foresee and prefer. This capacity
for reflection, for formulating a purpose and being able to
obtain it, we found to be practical in its origins, but persisting
on its own account in the disinterested inquiry of philosophy
and science and the free imaginative construction of art. And
in all man's behavior, whether on the plane of instinct, habit,
or reflection, we found action to be accompanied by emotion,
by love and hate, anger and awe, which might at once impede
action by confusing it, or sustain it by giving it a vivid and
compelling motive.

The second part of the book was devoted to an analysis of
the various specific traits which human beings display and the
consequences that these have in men's relations with one
another. Under certain conditions, one or another of these
may become predominant; in particular historical conditions,
one or another of them may have a high social value or the
reverse. These traits vary in different individuals; in any of
them, a man may be totally defective or abnormally developed.
But taken in general, they constitute the changeless pattern
of human nature, and fix the conditions and the limits of

But while these universal traits determine what man may
do, and fix definitively the boundaries of human possibility,
within these limits the race has a wide choice of ideals and
attainments. The standards of what man will and should do,
within the boundaries of the nature which is his inheritance,
are to be found not in his original impulses, but in his mind
and imagination. The human being is gifted with the ability
to imagine a future more desirable than the present, and to
contrive ingeniously in behalf of anticipated or imagined

These anticipated goods we call ideals, and these ideals
arise, in the last analysis, out of the initial and inborn hungers
and cravings of men. "Intellect is of the same flesh and blood
with all the instincts, a brother whose superiority lies in his
power to appreciate, harmonize, and save them all." The
function of reason is not to set itself over against men's original
desires, but to envisage ideals and devise instruments
whereby they may all, so far as nature allows, be fulfilled.

Man's reason, then, which has its roots in his instincts, is
the means of their harmonious fulfillment. It attempts, in
the various fields of experience, to effect an adjustment
between man's competing desires, and between man and his
environment. If instincts were left each to its own free course,
they would all be frustrated; if man did not learn reflectively
to control his environment, and to make it subserve his own
ends, he would be a helpless pygmy soon obliterated by the
incomparably more powerful forces of Nature.

These various attempts of man to effect an adjustment of
his passions with one another, and his life to his environment,
may be described as the "Career of Reason." In this career
man has formulated many ideals, not a small number of which
have led him into error, disillusion, and unhappiness.
Sometimes they have misled him by promising him fulfillments
that were in the nature of things unattainable. They have
added to the real evils of life a longing after impossible goods,
goods which an informed intelligence would early have dismissed
as unattainable. Man has disappointed himself by
counting on joys which, had he been less incorrigibly addicted
to imaginative illusions, he should never have expected.
Sometimes he has framed ideals which could be fulfilled, but
only at the expense of a large proportion of natural and
irrepressible human desires. Such, for example, have been the
one-sided ascetic ideals of Stoicism or Puritanism, which in
their attempt to give order and form to life, crush and distort
a considerable portion of it. The same is true of mysticism
which seeks frequently to attain life by altogether denying its
instinctive animal basis. Yet though reason has led men
astray, it is the only and ultimate hope of man's happiness.
It is responsible for whatever success man has had in mastering
the turmoil of his own passions and the obstacles of an
environment "which was not made for him but in which he
grew." It has given point and justice to Swinburne's exultant

"Glory to man in the highest! For man is the master of things!"

This Career of Reason has taken various parallel fulfillments,
and in each of them man has in varying degrees attained
mastery. Religion arose as one of the earliest ways by
which man attempted to win for himself a secure place in the
cosmic order. Science, in its earliest forms hardly distinguishable
from religion, is man's persistent attempt to discover the
nature of things, and to exploit that discovery for his own
good. Art is again an instance of man's march toward mastery.
Beginning, in the broadest sense, in the industrial arts,
in agriculture and handicrafts, it passes, as it were by
accident, from the necessary to the beautiful. Having in his
needful business fortuitously created beautiful objects, man
comes to create them intentionally, both for their own sake
and for the sheer pleasure of creation.

Finally in morals men have endeavored to construct for
themselves codes of conduct, ideals of life, in which no possible
good should be needlessly or recklessly sacrificed, and in which
men might live together as happily as is permitted by the
nature which is at once their life and their habitation. The
Career of Reason in these various fields we shall briefly trace
and describe. We must expect to find, as in any career, however
successful, failures along with the triumphs, and, as in
any notable career still unfinished, possibility and great
promise. Man's reason and imagination have a long past;
they have also an indefinite future. Man has in the name of
reason made many errors; but to reason he owes his chief
success, and with increasing experience he may be expected
to attain continually to a more certain and effective wisdom.
With these provisos, let us address ourselves to the Career of
Reason, beginning with religion.



THE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. Since human nature remains
constant in its essential traits, despite the variations it exhibits
among different individuals, it is to be expected that certain
experiences should be fairly common and recurrent among
all human beings. Joy and sorrow, love and hate, jubilance
and despair, disillusion and rapture, triumph and frustration,
these occur often, and to every man. They are, as it were,
the sparks generated by the friction of human desires with the
natural world in which they must, if anywhere, find fulfillment.
Just such a normal, inevitable consequence of human
nature in a natural world is the religious experience. It is
common in more or less intense degree to almost all men, and
may be studied objectively just as may any of the other universal
experiences of mankind.

There are, however, certain peculiar difficulties in the study
of the religious experience. Most men are by training emotionally
committed to one particular religious creed which it is
very difficult for them impartially to examine or to compare
with others. In the second place, there is a confusion in the
minds of most people between the personal religious experience,
and the formal and external institution we commonly
have in mind when we speak of "religion." When we ordinarily
use the term, we imply a set of dogmas, an institution,
a reasoned theology, a ritual, a priesthood, all the apparatus
and earmarks of institutionalized religion. We think of
Christianity, Mohammedanism, Judaism, the whole welter
of churches and creeds that have appeared in the history of
mankind. But these are rather the outward vehicles and
vestments of the religious experience than the experience
itself. They are the social expressions and external instruments
of the inner spiritual occurrence. But the latter is
primary. If man had not _first been religious_, these would
never have arisen. In the words of William James:

In one sense at least, the personal religion will prove itself more
fundamental than either theology or ecclesiasticism. Churches
when once established live at second hand upon tradition, but the
_founders_ of every Church owed their power originally to the fact of
their direct personal communion with the divine. Not only the
superhuman founders, the Christ, the Buddha, Mahomet, but all
the originators of Christian sects have been in this case; so personal
religion should still seem the primordial thing, even to those who
esteem it incomplete.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Varieties of Religious Experience_, p. 30.]

Before we examine the social institutions and fixed apparatus
of ritual and of reasoned theology in which the religious
experience has become variously embodied, we must pause to
analyze the experience itself. To be religious, as a personal
experience, is, like being philosophical, to take a total attitude
toward the universe. But the religious attitude is one of a
somewhat specific kind. It is, one may arbitrarily but also
somewhat fairly say, to sense or comprehend one's relation to
the divine, however the divine be conceived. It is to have this
sense and comprehension not only deeply, as one might in a
poetic or a philosophical mood, but to have it suffused with
reverence. We shall presently see that the objects of veneration
have had a different meaning for different individuals,
groups, and generations. But whatever be the conception of
the divine object, the religious attitude seems to have this
stable feature. It is always an awed awareness on the part
of the individual of his relation to that "something not himself,"
and larger than himself, with whom the destinies of the
universe seem to rest. This somehow sensed relation to the
divine appears throughout all the varieties of religion that
have appeared in the world, and among many individuals not
popularly accounted religious.

It is just such an experience, for example, that Wordsworth
expresses when he says in the "Lines Written Above Tintern

               "... And I have felt
  A presence that disturbs me with the joy
  Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
  Of something far more deeply interfused,
  Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
  And the round ocean and the living air,
  And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
  A motion and a spirit, that impels
  All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
  And rolls through all things."

It is the same sense that comes over so-called worldly people
when oppressed suddenly by a great sorrow, or uplifted
by a sudden great joy, an awareness of a divine power that
moves masterfully and mysteriously through the events of
life, provoking on the part of finite creatures a strange and
compelling reverence. This "divinity that shapes our ends"
may be variously conceived. It may be an intimately realized
personal God, "Our Father which art in Heaven." It
may be such an abstract conception as the Laws of Nature or
Scientific Law, such a religion as is expounded by the
Transcendentalists, in particular by Emerson:

These laws execute themselves. They are out of time, out of
space, and not subject to circumstance: thus in the soul of man there
is a justice whose retributions are instant and entire.... If a man is
at heart just, then, in so far is he God; the safety of God, the
immortality of God, the majesty of God, do enter into that man with
justice.... For all things proceed out of the same spirit, which is
differently named, love, justice, temperance, in its different applications,
just as the ocean receives different names on the several shores which
it washes.... The perception of this law awakens in the mind a
sentiment which we call the religious sentiment, and which makes
our highest happiness. Wonderful is its power to charm and to
command. It is a mountain air. It is the embalmer of the world.
It makes the sky and the hills sublime, and the silent song of the
stars is it. It is the beatitude of man. It makes him illimitable.[1]

[Footnote 1: Emerson: _Miscellanies_, quoted by James in
_Varieties_, pp. 32-33.]

It may be conceived as Nature itself, as it was by Spinoza,
for whom Nature was identical with God. It may be the
World-Soul which Shelley sings with such rapture:

  "That Light whose smile kindles the universe,
   That beauty in which all things work and move,
   That benediction which the eclipsing curse
   Of birth can quench not, that sustaining love,
   Which through the web of being, blindly wove,
   By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
   Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
   The fire for which all thirst--now beams on me,
   Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality."[1]

[Footnote 1: From _Adonais_.]

In all these conceptions it still seems to be a hushed sense of
reverential relationship to the divine power that most specifically
constitutes the religious experience. The latter exhibits
certain recurrent elements, any of which may be present
in a more intense degree in some individuals than in others,
but all of which appear in some degree in most of the phenomena
of personal life that we call religious.

"THE REALITY OF THE UNSEEN." In the first place may be
noted the sense of the actuality and nearness of the divine
power, what James calls the "reality of the unseen," and
what is frequently spoken of by religious men as "the presence
of God." James quotes in this connection an interesting
letter of James Russell Lowell's:

I had a revelation last Friday evening.... Happening to say
something of the presence of spirits of whom, as I said, I was often
dimly aware, Mr. Putnam entered into an argument with me on
spiritual matters. As I was speaking, the whole system seemed to
rise up before me, like a vague destiny looming from the abyss. I
never before felt the spirit of God so keenly in me, and around me.
The whole room seemed to me full of God. The air seemed to waver
to and fro with the presence of something I knew not what. I spoke
with the calmness and clearness of a prophet.[2]

[Footnote 2: Lowell: _Letters_, I, p. 75.]

The archives of the psychology of religion are crowded
with instances of men who have felt deeply, intimately, and
irrefutably the near and actual presence of God. This sense
of the reality of an unseen Thing or Power is not always identified
with God. There come moments in the lives of normal
men and women when the world of experience seems alive
with something that is apprehended through none of the five
senses. There are times when things unseen, unheard, and
untouched seem to have, nay, for those concerned, do have,
a clearer and more unmistakable reality than the things we
can touch, hear, and see. Sometimes, in the hearing of
beautiful music, we sense a transcendent beauty which is
something other than, something more real than, the specific
harmonies which we physically hear. In rare moments of
rapture, when the imagination or the affections are intensely
stirred, we become intensely aware of this reality which is
made known to us through none of the ordinary avenues of
experience. The Unseen is not only vividly felt, but is deeply
felt and regarded as a thing of deep significance, and is
experienced in most cases with great inexplicable joy. And, not
infrequently, this significant and beautiful Unseen Somewhat
is identified with God.

The sense of the reality of the divine, is, however, as it were,
only the prerequisite of the religious experience. When an
individual does have this sense, what interests the student of
the psychology of religion is the attitude it provokes and the
satisfactions it gives. These we can the better understand if
we examine the conditions in an individual's experience which
make this longing for the divine presence acute, and the
general circumstances of human life which make it a continuous
desire in many people.

There are, to begin with, constant facts of experience which
make the realization of the divine presence not only a satisfaction,
but the indispensable "staff of life" for certain human
beings. In their unfaltering faith in God's enduring and proximate
actuality lies their sole source of security and trust.
For such persons a lapse or a lack of faith is the prelude to
utter collapse. A vague general assurance of the dependability
of the future is, for most people, a prerequisite for a
sane and untroubled existence. Even those who live in unreflective
satisfaction with the fruits of the moment would
find these moments less satisfactory were they not set in a
background of reasonably fair promise. The exuberant optimist,
when he stops to reflect, has a buoyant and inclusive
faith in the essential goodness of man and the universe.
Whitman stands out in this connection as the classic type.
Evil and good were to him indifferently beautiful. He maintained
an incredibly large-hearted and magnanimous receptivity
to all things great or small, charming or ugly, that
lightened or blackened the face of the planet.

While the average man accepts the universe with a less
wholesale and indiscriminate appreciation, yet he does feel
vaguely assured that the nature of things is ordered, harmonious,
dependable, and regular, that affairs are, cosmically
speaking, in a sound state. He feels a vast and comfortable
solidity about the frame of things in which his life is set; he
can depend on the familiar risings and settings of the sun, the
recurrent and assured movement of the seasons. Were this
trust suddenly removed, were the cosmic guarantee withdrawn,
to live would be one long mortal terror. That this is
precisely what does happen under such circumstances, the
voluminous literature of melancholia sufficiently proves.

The sense of insecurity takes various forms. Sometimes
the patient experiences a profound and intimate conviction
of the unreality of the world about him. His whole physical
environment comes to seem a mere phantasy and a delusion.
In some cases he finds himself unmoved by the normal interests
and excitements of men, unable to find any stimulus,
value, or significance in the world.

Esquirol observed the case of a very intelligent magistrate....
Every emotion appeared dead within him. He manifested neither
perversion nor violence, but a complete absence of emotional reaction.
If he went to the theater, which he did out of habit, he could find no
pleasure there. The thought of his house, of his home, of his wife,
and of his absent children, moved him as little, he said, as a theorem
of Euclid.[1]

[Footnote 1: Ribot: _Psychology of the Emotions_, p. 54.]

The sense of futility, of the flatness, staleness, and unprofitableness
of the world, which is felt in such extreme forms by
pronounced melancholiacs, is experienced sometimes, though
to a lesser degree, by every sensitive mind that reflects much
upon life. Such an attitude, it is true, arises principally during
moments of fatigue and low vitality, and is undoubtedly
organic in its origins, as for that matter is optimism. Again
such a sense of world-weariness comes often in moments of
personal disappointment and disillusion, when friends have
proved false, ambitions empty, efforts wasted. At such times
even the normal man echoes Swinburne's beautiful melancholy:

  "We are not sure of sorrow,
     And joy was never sure,
   To-day will die to-morrow,
     Time stoops to no man's lure;
   And love grown faint and fretful,
   With lips but half regretful,
   Sighs, and with eyes forgetful,
   Weeps that no loves endure.

  "From too much love of living,
     From hope and fear set free,
   We thank with brief thanksgiving,
     Whatever gods may be,
   That no life lives, forever;
   That dead men rise up never;
   That even the weariest river,
     Winds somewhere safe to sea."[1]

[Footnote 1: From _A Garden of Proserpine_.]

Even the eager and exuberant, if sufficiently philosophical
and generous-minded, may come, despite their own success,
to a deep realization of the utter futility, meaninglessness, and
stupidity of life, of the essential blindnesses, cruelties, and
insecurities which seem to characterize the nature of things.
Unless against this dark insight some reassuring faith arises,
life may become almost unbearable. In extreme cases it has
driven men to suicide. Take, for example, the picture of the
universe as modern materialism presents it:

Purposeless... and void of meaning is the world which science
reveals for our belief.... That man is the product of causes that had
no prevision of the end they were achieving, that his origin, his
growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome
of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no
intensity of thought or feeling can preserve an individual life beyond
the grave, that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the
inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined
to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the
whole temple of man's achievements must inevitably be buried beneath
the débris of a universe in ruins--all these things if not quite
beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which
rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these
truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the
soul's habitation henceforth be safely built.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bertrand Russell: _Philosophical Essays_, pp. 60-61
("The Free Man's Worship").]

Such a prospect to the serious-minded and sensitive-spirited
cannot but provoke the profoundest melancholy. There is,
even for the most healthy-minded of us, sufficient ground for
pessimism, bitterness, insecurity. Even if we personally--largely
through the accidents of circumstance--happen to
be successful, "our joy is a vulgar glee, not unlike the snicker
of any rogue at his success." The utter futility and evanescence
of earthly goods, beauties, and achievements is sensed
at least sometimes by normally complacent souls. And so
patent and ubiquitous are the evidences of decay, disease, and
death at our disposal, that they may easily be erected into a
thoroughgoing philosophy of life:

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is

What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the

All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and
to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to
him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good so
is the sinner; and he that sweareth as he that feareth an oath....

For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not
anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of
them is forgotten.

Also their love and their hatred and their envy is now perished;
neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is
done under the sun.[1]

[Footnote 1: _Ecclesiastes_.]

Religion offers solace to those perturbed and passionate
souls, among others, to whom these futilities have become a
rankling, continuous torment and depression. When life on
earth appears fragmentary and disordered, not only nonsense
but terrifying nonsense, full of hideous injustices, sickening
uncertainties, and cruel destructions, men have not infrequently
found a refuge in the divine. "Come unto me all
ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

In the religious experience man finds life to be made clear,
complete, and beautiful. What seems a contradictory fragment
finds its precise niche in the divine scheme, what seems
dark and cruel shines out in a setting of eternal beneficence
and wisdom. The experience of the individual, even the happiest,
is always partial, broken, and disordered. No ideal is
ever completely realized, or if realized leaves some perfection
to be desired. Men living in a natural existence imagine
values and ideals which can never be realized there. In religion,
if anywhere, men have found perfection, and ultimate

This perfection, completion, and clarification of life has been
attained in various ways. The religious experience itself,
when intense, may give to the individual apart from a reasoned
judgment, or from any actual change in his physical
surroundings, a translucent insight during which he sees
deeply, calmly, joyously into the beautiful eternal order of
things. This mystic insight has been experienced on occasion
by quite normal and prosaic men and women. While it lasts,
reality seems to take on new colors and dimensions. It becomes
vivid, luminous, and intense. The mystic seems to
rise to a higher level of consciousness, in which he experiences
a universe more significant, ordered, and unified than any
commonly experienced through the senses. One may take,
as an example, such an instance autobiographically and anonymously
reported a few years ago, and well documented:

It was not that for a few keyed-up moments I _imagined_ all
existence as beautiful, but that my inner vision was cleared to the truth
so that I _saw_ the actual loveliness which is always there, but which
we so rarely perceive; and I knew that every man, woman, bird, and
tree, every living thing before me, was extravagantly beautiful, and
extravagantly important. And as I beheld, my heart melted out of
me in a rapture of love and delight. A nurse was walking past; the
wind caught a strand of her hair and blew it out in a momentary
gleam of sunshine, and never in my life before had I seen how
beautiful beyond all belief is a woman's hair. Nor had I ever guessed
how marvelous it is for a human being to walk. As for the internes
in their white suits, I had never realized before the whiteness of
white linen; but much more than that, I had never so much as
dreamed of the beauty of young manhood. A little sparrow chirped
and flew to a near-by branch, and I honestly believe that only "the
morning stars singing together, and the sons of God shouting for
joy" can in the least express the ecstasy of a bird's flight. I cannot
express it, but I have seen it.

Once out of all the gray days of my life I have looked into the
heart of reality; I have witnessed the truth; I have seen life as it
really is--ravishingly, ecstatically, madly beautiful, and filled to
overflowing with a wild joy, and a value unspeakable. For those
glorified moments I was in love with every living thing before me--the
trees in the wind, the little birds flying, the nurses, the internes,
the people who came and went. There was nothing that was alive
that was not a miracle. Just to be alive was in itself a miracle. My
very soul flowed out of me in a great joy.[1]

[Footnote 1: "Twenty Minutes of Reality," _The Atlantic
Monthly_, vol. 117, p. 592.]

The mystic experience is important in the study of religion
because it has so frequently given those who have had it a
very real feeling of "cosmic consciousness." The individual
feels "for one luminously transparent conscious moment," at
one with the universe; he has a realization at once rapturous
and tranquil of the passionate and wonderful significance of
things. He has moved "from the chill periphery to the radiant
core." All the discrepancies which bestrew ordinary life
are absent. All the negations of disappointment, all conflicts
of desire disappear. The mystic lives perfection at first

  "The One remains, the many change and pass,
   Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly,
   Life, like a dome of many colored glass,
   Stains the white radiance of eternity."

This sense of splendid unity in which all the divisive and
corroding elements of selfhood are obliterated has "to those
who have been there" no refutation. "It is," writes William
James, "an open question whether mystic states may not be
superior points of view, windows through which the mind
looks out on a more extensive and inclusive world."

Whatever be the logical validity of the intense mystical
insight, of his singular gift for a vivid and intimate union with
eternity which has been known by so many mystics, the fruits
of this insight are undeniable. During such a vision the world
is perfect. There is no fever or confusion, but rapture and
rest. And to some degree, at a religious service, a momentous
crisis, joy at deliverance or resignation at calamity, during
beatific interludes of friendship or of love, men have felt a
clear enveloping oneness with divinity.

Such states of intense religious experience, however, are as
transient as they are ineffable. Though they recur, they are
not continuous, and something more than occasional vivid
unions with the divine enter into the constant perfection with
which the world, as it appears to the religious man, is endowed.
He feels himself, in the first place, to be part of a world scheme
in which ultimate perfection is secured. It has already been
pointed out that any individual human life is characterized
by negation, conflict, and disappointment. Our lives seem
largely to be at the mercy of circumstance. Our inheritance
is fixed for us without our connivance in the matter; accident
determines in which social environment we happen to be born.
And these two facts are the chief determinants of our careers.
Even when successful we realize either the emptiness of the
prize we had desired, or the distance we are in reality from
the goal we had set ourselves. Generalizing thus from his
own experience, the individual notes the similar disheartening
discrepancies throughout human life. He sees the good
suffer, and the wicked prosper; the innocent die, and the
guilty escape. Disease is no respecter of persons, and death
comes to the just and the unjust alike.

Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring
    before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.
Their bull gendereth and faileth not; their cow calveth and casteth
    not her calf.
They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
Therefore they say unto God; depart from us, for we desire not the
    knowledge of thy ways.
What is the Almighty that we should serve him? And what profit
    should we have if we pray unto him?[1]

[Footnote 1: Job, chap. XXI.]

In contrast, in the religious experience man feels himself to
be a part of a world scheme in which justice and righteousness
are assured by an incontestable and invulnerable power;
"God's in his Heaven; all's right with the world." Despite
the grounds he has for doubt, Job robustly avers: "Though
he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Calamities are but
temporary; God will bring all things to a beautiful fruition.

Or a man may feel that the evils he or others experience
here are not real evils, that, seen _sub specie oeternitatis_, they
would cease to be regarded as such. He may feel that God
moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform, that
"somehow good may come of ill." He may feel, as does the
Christian believer, that all the evils and pains unjustly
experienced in this world will be adjusted in the next. Whatever
be my privations from earthly good, "in my Father's house
are many mansions." Immortality is, indeed, the religious
man's faith in a second chance. The surety of a world to
come, in which the blessed shall live in eternal bliss, is a
compensation and a redress for the ills and frustrations of life in
this world. Whatever be the seeming ills or injustices of life,
there is eventual retribution, both to the just and the unjust.
Once more to quote Emerson:

And yet the compensations of calamity are made apparent to the
understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation,
a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems
at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years
reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts. The death
of a dear friend, wife, brother, lover, which seemed nothing but
privation, somewhat later assumes the aspect of a guide or genius; for
it commonly operates revolutions in our way of life, terminates an
epoch of infancy or of youth which was waiting to be closed, breaks
up a wonted occupation, or a household, or style of living, and
allows the formation of new ones more friendly to the growth of
character. It permits or constrains the formation of new acquaintances,
and the reception of new influences that prove of the first
importance to the next years; and the man or woman who would
have remained a sunny garden flower, with no room for its roots and
too much sunshine for its head, by the falling of the walls and the
neglect of the gardener, is made the banian of the forest, yielding
shade and fruit to wide neighbourhoods of men.[1]

[Footnote 1: Emerson: _Essay on Compensation_.]

On a larger scale, from the cosmic rather than from the
personal point of view, an individual, gifted with a large and
charitable interest in the future of mankind, is secured and
sustained by the feeling that he is a part of that procession
headed to the "one far-off divine event to which the whole
creation moves." The lugubrious picture of an utterly meaningless
world, blind, purposeless, and heartless, which materialistic
science reveals, is sufficient to wreck the equanimity
of a sensitive and thoughtful mind.

That is the sting of it, that in the vast drifting of the cosmic
weather, though many a jewelled shore appears, and many an enchanted
cloud-bank floats away, long lingering ere it be dissolved--even
as our world now lingers for our joy--yet when these transient
products are gone, nothing, absolutely _nothing_ remains. Dead and
gone are they, gone utterly from the very sphere and room of being.
Without an echo, without a memory; without an influence on aught
that may come after, to make it care for similar ideals. This utter
wreck and tragedy is of the essence of scientific materialism, as at
present understood.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Pragmatism_, p. 105.]

A belief that a divine power governs the universe, that all
these miscellaneous and inexplicable happenings will be
gathered up into a smooth and ultimate perfection, gives
faith, comfort, and solace. We are on the side of the angels, or
rather the angels are on our side. Human passion, purpose,
and endeavor are not wasted. They are small but not altogether
negligible contributions to eventual cosmic good. And
good is eventual. Perfection may be long delayed, but God's
presence assures it. "Weeping may endure for a night, but
joy cometh in the morning."

A world with a God in it to say the last word may indeed burn up
or freeze, but we then think of Him as still mindful of the old ideals,
and sure to bring them elsewhere to fruition; so that where He is,
tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution
not the absolutely final things.[2]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 106.]

Amid tragic errors and pitiful disillusions, men have yearned
for "a benediction perfect and complete where they might
cease to suffer and desire." This perfection religion has, as
we have seen, accorded them in various ways. Some have
found it in the immediate vision, the ecstatic union with the
divine that, in intense degree, is peculiarly the mystic's. Some
have found it in the assured belief that evil is itself an illusion,
and, if rightly conceived, a beautiful dark shadow to set
off by contrast the high lights of a divinely ordered cosmos, a
minor note giving lyric and lovely poignancy to the celestial
music. Some have rested their faith in a perfect world not
here, but hereafter, "where the blessed would enter eternal
bliss with God their master." Thus man has in religion found
the fulfillment of his ideals, which always outrun the actualities
amid which he lives. In the religious experience, in all of
its forms throughout the ages, man has had the experience
of perfection at first hand, in the immediate and rich
intensity of the mystic ecstasy, in the serene faith of a lifelong
intuition or of a reasoned belief in the ultimate divinely
assured rightness of things.

Besides experiencing perfection, man has, in the sense of
security and trust afforded by the religious experience, found
release from the fret, the fever, the compulsion, and constriction
under which so much of life must be lived. Whatever
happens, the truly devout man has no fears or qualms. He
has attained equanimity; the Lord is his shepherd; he shall
not want. There is a serenity experienced by the genuinely
faithful that the faithless may well envy. God is the believer's
eternal watcher; a wise and merciful Providence, his infinite

Whoever not only says but feels, "God's will be done" is mailed
against every weakness; and the whole historic array of martyrs,
missionaries and religious reformers is there to prove the
tranquil-mindedness, under naturally agitating or distressing circumstances,
which self-surrender brings.[1]

[Footnote 1: James; _Varieties of Religious Experience_, p. 285.]

But peace is attained not only through faith in the fulfillment
of desire, but in a marked lessening in the tension of
desire itself, in a large and spacious freedom attained through
release from the confinement of self. We saw in the chapter
on the Consciousness of Self how much exertion and energy
may be devoted to the enhancement of Self through fame,
achievement, social distinction, power, or possession. We
saw how, in the frustration of self, the germ of great tragedy
lay. From the tragedy and bitterness of such frustration
men have often been reassured by a genuine conversion to
the religious life. Through the negation of self rather than
through its fulfillment men have found solace and rest. And
this negation, when it takes religious form, has consisted in
a rapturous submission to the will of God.

  "Outside, the world is wild and passionate.
     Man's weary laughter and his sick despair
   Entreat at their impenetrable gate,
     They heed no voices in their dream of prayer.

  "Calm, sad, secure, with faces worn and mild,
     Surely their choice of vigil is the best.
   Yea! for our roses fade, the world is wild;
     But there beside the altar there is rest."[1]

[Footnote 1: Ernest Dawson: _Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration._]

The religious experience, as pointed out in the beginning of
this discussion, has its roots in the same impulses which cause
men to love and to hate, to be jubilant and sorrowful, exalted
and depressed. All these human experiences sometimes take
a religious form, that is, their expressions have some reference
to the supernatural and the divine. We find, in surveying the
history of religion, that certain experiences more than others
tend to find religious expression. We shall examine a few of
the chief of these.

NEED AND IMPOTENCE. An awed, almost frightened sense of
dependence overcomes even the most robust and healthy-minded
man when he sees the forces of Nature suddenly unloosed
on a magnificent scale. A terrific peal of thunder, an
earthquake or a cyclone will send thrills of terror through the
normally calm and self-sufficient. Even apart from such
vivid and terrifying examples of the range and scale of non-human
power, there comes to the reflective a sense of the
frailty of human life, of the utter dependability of all human
purposes and plans on conditions beyond human control. In
our most fundamental industry, agriculture, an untimely frost
can undo the work of the most ingenious industry and thrift.
A tornado or a snowstorm can disorganize the cunning and
subtle, swift mechanisms of communication which men have
invented. In the field of humanly built-up relations, again, a
fortune or a friendship may depend on some chance meeting;
a man's profession and ideals are fixed by a single fortuitous
conversation, by a chance encouragement, opportunity or

There is thus a psychological though perhaps not literal
truth in the figure of Fate, or in the metaphor that speaks of
human destiny as lying on the knees of the gods. Action so
often wanders from intent, so much in the best-laid plans is at
the mercy of external circumstance! A creature whose being
can be snuffed out in a moment, whose life is less than an
instant in the magnificent perspective of eternity, comes not
unnaturally to be aware of his own insignificance as compared
with those vast forces, some auspicious and some terrible,
which are patently afoot in the world.

But as patent a fact as man's impotence is his desire. The
individual realizes how powerless is a human being to fulfill,
independently of external forces, those impulses with which
these same inexplicable forces have launched him into the
world. Thus do we feel even to-day when we have learned
that the forces of Nature, obdurate to the ignorant, yet
become flexible and fruitful under the knowing manipulation
of science. We realize that despite our cunning and contrivance,
our successes are, as it were, largely matters of grace;
the changes we can make in Nature are as nothing to the slow,
gradual processes by which Nature makes mountains into
molehills, builds and destroys continents, develops man out of
the lower animals, and, by varying climates and topographies,
affects the destinies of nations.

To primitive man the sense of impotence and need were not
derived from any general reflections upon the insecurity of
man's place in the cosmos, but rather from the sharp pressure
of practical necessity.

The helplessness of primitive man set down in the midst of a universe
of which he knew not the laws, may perhaps be brought home
to the mind of modern man, if we compare the universe to a vast
workshop full of the most various and highly-complicated machinery
working at full speed. The machinery, if properly handled, is capable
of producing everything that the heart of primitive man can
wish for, but also, if he sets hand to the wrong part of the machinery,
is capable of whirling him off between its wheels, and crushing
and killing him in its inexorable and ruthless movement. Further,
primitive man cannot decline to submit himself to the perilous test:
he must make his experiments or perish, and even so his survival is
conditional on his selecting the right part of the machine to handle.
Nor can he take his own time and study the dangerous mechanism
long and carefully before setting his hand to it: his needs are pressing
and his action must be immediate.[1]

[Footnote 1: Jevons: _An Introduction to the History of Religion_, p. 17.]

The very food of primitive man was to him as precarious as
it was essential. His life was practically at the mercy of wind
and rain and sun. His food and shelter were desperately
lucky chances. Not having attained as yet to a conception of
the impersonality of Nature, he regarded these forces which
helped and hindered him as friendly and alien powers which
it was in the imperative interests of his own welfare to placate
and propitiate. It was in this urgent sense of helplessness and
need that there were developed the two outstanding modes of
communication with the supernatural, _sacrifice_ and _prayer_.

Primitive man conceived his universe to be governed by
essentially human powers; powers, of course, on a grand scale,
but human none the less, with the same weaknesses, moods,
and humors as human beings themselves. They could be
flattered and cajoled; they could be bribed and paid; they
could be moved to tenderness, generosity, and pity. "Holiness,"
says Socrates in one of Plato's dialogues, "is an art in
which gods and men do business with each other, ... Sacrifice
is giving to the gods, prayer is asking of them."[2] In
Frazer's _Golden Bough_ one finds the remarkably diverse
sacrificial rites by which men have sought to win the favor of the
divine. Primitive man believed literally that the universe
was governed by superhuman personal powers; he believed
literally that these are human in their motives. He believed
in consequence that sacrifices to the gods would help him to
control the controlling powers of Nature for his own good,
just as modern man believes that an application of the laws of
electricity and mechanics will help him to control the natural
world for his own purposes. The sacrifices of primitive man
were immensely practical in character; they were made at the
crucial moments and pivotal crises of life, at sowing and at
harvest time, at the initiation of the young into the responsibilities
of maturity, at times of pestilence, famine, or danger.
The gods were given the choice part of a meal; the prize calf;
in some cases, human sacrifices; the sacrifice, moreover, of the
beautiful and best. The chief sacrificial rites of almost all
primitive peoples are connected with food, the sustainer, and
procreation or birth, the perpetuator, of life.

[Footnote 2: See Plato's _Euthyphro_.]

As Jane Harrison puts it:

If man the individual is to live, he must have food; if his race is to
persist, he must have children. To live and to cause to live, to eat
food and beget children, these were the primary wants of man in the
past, and they will be the primary wants of man in the future, so
long as the world lasts. Other things may be added to enrich and
beautify life, but unless these wants are first satisfied, humanity
itself must cease to exist. These two things, therefore, were what
men chiefly sought to procure by the performance of magical rites
for the regulation of the seasons.... What he realizes first and foremost
is that at certain times the animals, and still more the plants,
which form his food, appear, at certain others they disappear. It is
these times that become the central points, the focusses of his interest,
and the dates of his religious festivals.[1]

[Footnote 1: Jane Harrison: _Ancient Art and Ritual_, p. 31.]

Sacrifice is only one way primitive man contrives of winning
the favor of the gods toward the satisfaction of his desires.
Another common method is prayer. In its crudest form
prayer is a direct petition from the individual to divinity for
the grant of a specific favor. The individual seeks a kindness
from a supernatural power whose motives are human, and
who may, therefore, be moved by human appeals; whose
power is superhuman and can therefore fulfill requests.
Prayer may become profoundly spiritualized, but in its primitive
form it is, like sacrifice, a certain way of getting things
done. They are both to primitive man largely what our
science is to us.

Both prayer and sacrifice arise in primitive man's need and
helplessness and terror before mysterious supernatural powers,
but they may rise, in the higher form of religion, to genuine
nobility, from this crass commerce with divinity, this religion
of bargaining and _quid pro quo_. Sacrifice may change from a
desperate reluctant offering made to please a jealous god, to a
thanksgiving and a jubilation, an overflowing of happiness,
gratitude, and good-will.

Greek writers of the fifth century B.C. have a way of speaking of
an attitude toward religion, as though it were wholly a thing of joy
and confidence, a friendly fellowship with the gods, whose service is
but a high festival for man. In Homer, sacrifice is but, as it were,
the signal for a banquet of abundant roast flesh and sweet wine; we
hear nothing of fasting, cleansing, and atonement. This we might
explain as part of the general splendid unreality of the Greek saga,
but sober historians of the fifth century B.C. express the same spirit.
Thucydides is by nature no reveller, yet religion is to him, in the
main, a rest from toil. He makes Pericles say of the Athenians:
Moreover we have provided for our spirit very many opportunities
of recreation, by the celebration of games and sacrifices throughout
the year.[1]

[Footnote 1: Jane Harrison: _Prolegomena to Greek Religion_, p. 1.]

Sacrifice may become spiritualized, as it is in Christianity,
"instead of he-goats and she-goats, there are substituted offerings
of the heart for all these vain oblations." The sacrificial
heart has at all times been accounted germane to nobility.
There is something akin to religion in the laying down of a
life for a cause or a country or a friend, in surrendering one's
self for others. It is this power and beauty of renunciation
that is the spiritual value behind all the rituals of sacrifice
that still persist, as in the sacraments of Christianity. It is
the tragic necessity of self-negation that haloes, even in secular
life, the sacrificial attitude:

But there is in resignation a further good element. Even real
goods when they are attainable ought not to be fretfully desired.
To every man comes sooner or later the great renunciation. For
the young there is nothing unattainable; a good thing desired with
the whole force of a passionate will, and yet unattainable, is to them
not credible. Yet by death, by illness, by poverty, or, by the voice
of duty, we must learn, each one of us, that the world was not made
for us, and that, however beautiful may be the things we crave,
Fate may nevertheless forbid them. It is the part of courage, when
misfortune comes, to bear without repining the ruin of our hopes,
to turn away our thoughts from vain regrets. This degree of submission
to power is not only just and right; it is the very gate of wisdom.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bertrand Russell: _Philosophical Essays_, p. 65.]

The spiritual meaning and value of sacrifice is thus seen to
lie in self-surrender. The human being, born into a world
where choices must be made, must make continual abnegation.
And when the temporary good is surrendered in the
maintenance of an ideal, sacrifice becomes genuinely spiritual
in character.

Prayer, also, becomes genuinely spiritual in its values when
one ceases to believe in its practical efficacy and comes to
think it shameful to traffic with the divine. Prayer beautifully
illustrates a point previously noted, how speech oscillates
between the expression of feeling and the conveyance of ideas.
Beginning in primitive religion as a crude and cheap petition
for favors, it becomes in more spiritual religious experience, a
lyric cry of emotion, a tranquil and serene expression of the
soul's desire. Prayer is, moreover, "religion in act." That
deep sense of an awed relationship to divine power which was,
in the beginning of this discussion, noted as constituting
certainly one of the outstanding characteristics of the religious
experience, finds its most adequate emotional expression in

Religion is nothing [writes Auguste Sabatier] if it be not the vital
act by which the entire mind seeks to save itself by clinging to the
principle from which it draws life. This act is prayer, by which I
understand no vain exercise of words, no mere repetition of certain
sacred formulas, but the very movement itself of the soul, putting
itself in a personal relation of contact with the mysterious power of
which it feels the presence--it may be even before it has a name
by which to call it. Wherever this interior prayer is lacking, there
is no religion; wherever, on the other hand, this prayer rises and
stirs the soul, even in the absence of forms or doctrines, we have

[Footnote 1: A. Sabatier: _Esquisse d'une Philosophie de la
Religion_ (ed. 1897), pp. 24-26.]

In prayer, furthermore, we may hope to find not the fulfillment
of our desires, but what our desires really are. We
are released temporarily from tension of temporal and selfish
longings. We hold a tranquil and reverential speech with a
power not ourselves, and in communion with the infinite
purge ourselves of the dross of immediate personal needs.
In such a peaceful interlude we may find at once clarity and
rest. Prayer, at its highest, might be defined as audible meditation,
controlled by the sense of the divinity of the power we
are addressing. So that the truly spiritual man prays not for
the fulfillment of his own accidental longings, but pleads
rather: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of
my heart be acceptable in thy sight, 0 Lord, my strength and
my redeemer."

FEAR AND AWE. Man's attitude toward the divine was
noted to have arisen partly in his feeling of dependence on
personal forces incomparably superior to himself, and in his
urgent need for winning their favor. In primitive man this
sense of dependence was certainly bound up with a feeling of

It must be borne in mind that uncivilized peoples had
pathetically little understanding or control of the forces of
Nature. In consequence on being afflicted with some sudden
catastrophe of famine or disease, on experiencing a sudden
revelation in storm, wind, or volcanic eruption, of the terrible
magnificence of elemental forces, he must have been struck
with dread. He was living in a world that appeared to him
much less ordered and regular than ours appears to us. His
prayers and sacrifices were not always friendly and confidential
intercourse with the gods; they were as often ways of averting
the evils of malicious and terrifying demons. The enemies of
religion have been fond of pointing out how much of it has
been a quaking fear of the supernatural. It is in this spirit
that Lucretius's bitter attack is conceived.

When the life of man lay foul to see and grovelling upon the earth,
crushed by the weight of religion, which showed her face from the
realms of heaven, lowering upon mortals with dreadful mien, 't was
a man of Greece who dared first to raise his mortal eyes to meet her,
and first to stand forth to meet her; him neither the stories of the
gods nor thunderbolts checked, nor the sky with its revengeful roar,
but all the more spurred the eager daring of his mind to yearn to
be the first to burst through the close-set bolts upon the doors of

[Footnote 1: Lucretius: _De Rerum Natura_, book I; lines 28-38.]

Primitive man feared the gods as much as he needed them.
Jane Harrison points out, for example, that as great a part of
Greek religion was given over to the exorcising of the evil and
jealous spirits of the underworld, as in friendly communion
with the beautiful and gracious Olympians.

But what appears in the ignorant and harassed savage as
fear may be transformed in civilized man into awe. Long
after man's crouching physical terror of the divine has passed
away, he may still live awed by the ultimate power that orders
the universe. He may, "at twilight, or in a mountain gorge,"
at a cañon or waterfall, experience an involuntary thrill and
breathlessness, a deepened sense of the divinity which so
orders these things. He may have the same feeling at the
crises of life, at birth, disease, and death. He may sense on
occasion that overwhelming and infinite power of which Job
becomes aware, as he listens to the voice out of the whirlwind:

Who hath divided a water course for the overflowing of waters, or a
      way for the lightning of thunder?
To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness,
      wherein there is no man;
To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the
      tender herb to spring forth? ...
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the
      bands of Orion? ...
Knowest thou the ordinances of Heaven? Canst thou set the
      dominion thereof in the earth? ...
Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee,
      Here we are?
Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who hath given
      understanding to the heart?

Where man experiences such awe, he will become reverential,
and, if articulate, will express his reverence in prayer,
again not the prayer of practical requests for favors from God,
but a hushed meditation upon the assured eternity in which
the precarious and finite lives of men are set.

sufficiently common human experience. There are for most
men wistful backward glances in which they realize what
might have been, what might have been done, what might
have been accomplished. For many this never rises above
pique and bitterness over personal failure, a chagrin, as it
were, over having made the wrong move. But to some regret
may take on a deeply spiritual quality. Instead of regretting
merely the successes which he hoped, as it proved vainly, to
attain, a man may become passionately aware of his own
moral and spiritual shortcomings. This sense of dereliction
and delinquency may take extreme forms. James quotes a
reminiscence of Father Gratry, a Catholic philosopher:

... All day long without respite I suffered an incurable and
intolerable desolation, verging on despair. I thought myself, in fact,
rejected by God, lost, damned! I felt something like the suffering
of hell. Before that I had never even thought of hell.... Now,
and all at once, I suffered in a measure what is suffered there.[1]

[Footnote 1: Quoted by James in his _Varieties_, p. 146.]

Normal individuals may come to a deep consciousness of
having left undone the things they ought to have done, of
having done the things they ought not to have done. This
realization may be at once a "consciousness of sin," and a
desire for a new life. If it is the consciousness of sin which
becomes predominant, then a desolate and tormenting remorse
engulfs the individual. But the consciousness of sin
for the religious becomes simply a prelude to entrance upon a
better life. The awareness of past sins is combined in the
religious, especially in devout Christians, with faith in God's
mercy, and in his welcoming of the penitent sinner:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite
      heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Have mercy upon me, O God; according to thy loving kindness, blot
      out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be
      whiter than snow.

Again the New Testament call to repentance is symbolic of
the experience of millions of religious people. "Repent ye,
for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." There is a terrible
intensity and immediate imperativeness about this call. But
to all there comes at one time or another an urgent sense of
spiritual shortcoming and the desire to lead a better life.
The lamenting of sins becomes the least part; what is important
is the immense new impetus toward a better life. The
records of religious conversion are full of instances where men
by this sudden penitential revulsion from their past life and a
startled realization of new spiritual possibilities, have broken
away permanently from lifelong habitual vices. James cites
a case of an exceedingly belligerent and pugilistic collier
named Richard Weaver, who was by a sudden conversion to
religion not only made averse to fighting, but persistently
meek and gentle under provocation. Similar cases, genuine
and well documented, fill the archives of religious psychology.

The religious man in repenting knows that God will, if his
repentance is sincere, forgive him, and sustain and support
him in his new life.

I say unto you that likewise Joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner
that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which
need no repentance.

I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner that repenteth.[1]

[Footnote 1: Luke, 15: 7,10.]

While regret over sin, alienation from a past life of evil, and
a persistent dedication to a purified and righteous existence
constitute, spiritually, the phenomena of repentance and conversion,
repentance has had in religion certain fixed outward
forms. If sin had been committed, merely inward spiritual
realization was not sufficient, penance must be done. Penance
in the early days of the Christian Church was public.
Later penance became a private matter (public penance was
suppressed by an ordinance of Pope Leo I in 461 A.D.).

Private penance took various familiar forms, such as scourgings,
fastings on bread and water, reciting a given number
of psalms, prayers, and the like. Later penalties could be
redeemed by alms. A penitent would be excused from the
prescribed works of penance at the cost, _e. g._, of equipping a
soldier for the crusade, of building a bridge or road. Gradually
in the history of the Christian religion, penances have
been lightened. In the Protestant Church, with the enunciation
of the principle of justification through faith alone
there could be no sacrament of penance.

One form in which the penitential mood receives expression
is in confession in which the penitent acknowledges his sins.
There is no space here to trace the development of this practice
in religion. It must suffice to point out that psychologically
it is a cleansing or purgation. It clears the moral atmosphere.
It is a relief to the tormented and remorseful
soul to say "Peccavi," and to confide either directly or indirectly
to the divine the burden of his sins. It is for many
people the necessary pre-condition, as it is in the Catholic
Church, to penitence and the actual performance of penance.

The psychological value of confession varies with individual
temperaments; for many it is high. There are few so self-contained
and self-sufficient that they do not seek to express their
emotions to others. It is not surprising that the gregarious
human creature should find confession a restorative and a
solace. Human beings are not only natively responsive to
the emotions of others, but by nature tend to express their
own emotions and to be gratified by a sympathetic response.
Emotions of any sort, joyous or sorrowful, find some articulation.
The oppressive consciousness of sin particularly must
find an outlet in expression. And the expression of sin must
somewhere be received. The wrong done rankles heavily in
the private bosom. The crucified soul demands a sympathetic
spirit to receive its painful and personal revelation.
He that would confess his sins requires a listener of a large
and understanding heart. Just such a merciful, forgiving, and
understanding friend is the God whom Christianity pictures.
God waits with infinite patience for the confessions and the
surrender of the contrite heart. The normal human desire
to rid one's self of a tormenting secret, to "exteriorize one's
rottenness," finds satisfaction on an exalted plane in confession
to God, or to his appointed ministers.

far our account has been confined to experiences in which man
felt the need or fear of the divine, because of his own desires,
weaknesses, or sins. But humans find religious expression
for more joyous emotions. Even primitive man lives not
always in terror or in tribulation. There are occasions, such
as plentiful harvests, successful hunting, the birth of children,
which stir him to expressions of enthusiastic appreciation and
gratitude toward the divine. Some of the so-called Dionysiac
festivals in ancient Greece are examples of the enthusiasm,
joy, and abounding vitality to which religion has, among so
many other human experiences, given expression. In the
religion of the Old Testament, again, we find that the Psalmist
is time and again filled with rejoicing:

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endureth
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from
    the hand of the enemy.
And he gathered them out of the lands from the east and from the
    west, from the north and from the south.
They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no
    city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered
    them out of their distresses.
And he led them forth by the right way that they might go to a city
    of habitation.
O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his
    wonderful works to the children of men.
For he satisfieth the longing soul and filleth the hungry heart with

Nor need this rejoicing be always an explicit thanksgiving
for favors received. It may be, as were the dithyrambic
festivals of Greece, the riotous overflow of enthusiasm, a
joyous, sympathetic exuberance with the vital processes of
Nature. Dionysos stood for fertility, life, gladness, all the
positive, passionate, and jubilant aspects of Nature. And the
well-known satyr choruses, the wine and dance and song of
the Greek spring festivals, are classic and beautiful illustrations
of the religion of enthusiasm. Euripides gives voice to
this spirit in the song of the Mænads in the _Bacchoe_:

  "Will they ever come to me, ever again,
     The long, long dances,
   On through the dark till the dim stars wane?
   Shall I feel the dew on my throat and the stream
   Of wind in my hair? Shall our white feet gleam
     In the dim expanses?
   O feet of a fawn to the greenward fled,
     Alone in the grass and the loveliness?"[1]

[Footnote 1: Euripides: _Bacchoe_ (Gilbert Murray translation).]

Every religion has its festival as well as its fast days. Sacrifices
come to be held less as offerings to jealous gods than as
sacrificial feasts, in which the worshipers themselves partake,
as opportunities for communal rejoicings and for friendly
fellowship with divinity. At sacrificial feasts it is as if the
gods themselves were at table.

Dance and song are a regular accompaniment of primitive
religion. Students of Greek drama, such as Jane Harrison
and Gilbert Murray, trace Greek tragedy back to the choruses
and dances of early Dionysiac festivals. Throughout the
history of religion not only have man's sorrow and need been
expressed, but also his sympathetic gladness with vitality,
fertility, and growth, his rejoicings over the fruitions and glad
eventualities of experience. Man has felt the decay and
evanescence of human goods. He has felt also the exuberance
of natural processes, the triumph of life over death when
a child is born, the renewal of life by food, the recurrence of
growth and fertility in the processes of the seasons, of sowing
and of harvest. And for all these enrichments and enlargements
of life, he has rejoiced, and found rituals to express his
rejoicings. He has had the impulse and the energy to sing
unto the Lord a new song.

THEOLOGY. Thus far we have discussed the religious experience
_as_ an experience, as normal, natural, and inevitable as
are love and hate, melancholy and exaltation, joy and sorrow.
Like these latter, the religious experience is subjected to
rationalization. Like all other emotions, that of religion
finds for itself a logic and a justification. But so profoundly
influential is "cosmic emotion" on men's lives that when it is
reasoned upon, the results are nothing less than an attitude
taken toward the whole of reality. Theology arises as a
world view formulated in accordance with a reasoned interpretation
of the religious experience. It must be noted again
that the experience is primary. If men had not first had the
experience of religion, they would not have reflected about it.
Every contact of the individual with the world to some degree
arouses emotion and provokes thought. It is not different
with religion. That theologies should differ and conflict is not
surprising. No two individuals, no two groups or ages have
precisely the same experiences of the world, and their reasonings
upon their religious feelings are bound to differ, overlap,
and at times to conflict. The variety of world views are
testimony to the genuineness of the religious experience as it
fulfills the different needs, emotions, and desires of different
ages, groups, and generations of men.

THE DESCRIPTION OF THE DIVINE. Reasonings upon religion
exhibit, like the religious emotions, certain recurrent features.
There is, in the first place, a certain universality in the
description of the objects of veneration. These are nearly always
regarded as self-sufficient in contrast with man. Man
seeks, strives, desires, has partial triumphs and pitiful failures,
is always in travail after some ideal. His life is incomplete;
at best it is a high aspiration; it is never really fulfilled.
But divinity has nearly always been regarded as seeking
nothing, asking nothing, needing nothing. This is what
infinity in practical terms means. And, with certain
exceptions presently to be noted, the divine power has always
been regarded as infinite. Thus Aristotle says that in man's
best moments, when he lives in reflection a life of self-sufficiency,
he lives just such a life as God lives continually. And
Plato describes the philosopher as a man who because he can
live, at least temporarily, amid eternal, changeless beauty
and truth, "lives in recollection among those things among
which God always abides, and in beholding which God is
what he is." Lucretius also gives a simple picture of the
even calmness and still, even security of the life of the gods
as he and all the Epicureans conceived it. Tennyson paraphrases
the picture:

      "...The Gods, who haunt
  The lucid interspace of world and world,
  Where never creeps a cloud, or moves a wind,
  Nor ever falls the least white star of snow,
  Nor ever lowest roll of thunder moans,
  Nor sound of human sorrow mounts to mar
  Their sacred everlasting calm!"[1]

[Footnote 1: Tennyson: _Lucretius_.]

Divinity has, again, quite universally been recognized as
exerting over the individual a compelling power, and of
insistently arousing his veneration. The psychological origins
of this phenomenon have already been noted. Men fear,
need, feel themselves dependent on the gods. But further
than this many religious thinkers hold that man cannot even
be aware of the divine power without wishing to adjust himself
harmoniously to it. And they hold, as did Immanuel
Kant, that man is born with an awareness of the divine.

The attributes of divinity have been differently assigned at
different times in the history of religion. In general two
qualities have been regarded as characteristic: power and
goodness. In primitive belief, the first received the predominant
emphasis; the higher religions have emphasized the
second. For savage man, as we have seen, the divine personages
were conceived in effect as human beings with superhuman
powers. They were feared and flattered, needed and
praised. Adjustment to them was a practical, imperative
necessity. They combined infinite capacity with human and
finite caprice. The attention they received from humans was
distinctly utilitarian in character. These forces of wind and
sun and rain might be brutal or benignant. Primitive man
established, therefore, a system of magic, sacrifice, and prayer,
whereby he might minimize the precariousness of existence,
and keep the gods on his side.

In the more spiritualistic monotheistic religions, while the
power of God has been insistently reiterated, there has been
an increasing emphasis upon the divine goodness. The
Psalmist is continually referring to both:

  Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:
    for his mercy endureth forever.
  Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?
       .       .       .       .       .
  Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his
    wonderful works to the children of men!
  For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in

Wrath and terror gradually give place to mercy and benevolence
as the primary attributes of the divine. The power of
God, in Christianity, for example, is still regarded as unlimited,
but it is completely expended in the loving salvation of mankind.
Where the divinity has ceased to be a willful power and
has become instead the God of mercy and loving kindness, it is
no longer necessary to placate him by material sacrifice, to
win his favor by trivial earthly gifts. Divine favor is sought
rather by aspiration after and the practice of a better life.
The mighty but capricious deity gives place to the God of
unfailing charity and love. One earns God's mercies by walking
in the ways of the Lord. "Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.... Blessed are they which do hunger
and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
In both Christianity and Judaism, God's grace and mercies
go always to the pure in heart, and the righteous in spirit.
"What doth the Lord require of thee," proclaims Micah, "but
to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy

THE DIVINE AS THE HUMAN IDEAL. There has been in certain
latter-day philosophies, a tendency to interpret the divine as
the objectification of human ideals. That is, according to this
theory, men have found in their imagined divinities the
fulfillment of ideals that they could never have realized on earth.
Men, says this theory, long to be immortal, so they imagine
gods who are. Finite man has infinite desires. In God is
infinite fulfillment through eternity. No men are all good;
some desire to be. Such fulfillment they find in the divine.
Our conception of God is an index of our own ideals. When
men were savages, their divinity was a jealous monster. In
the refinement and spiritualization of the human imagination,
divinity becomes all-beautiful and all-benevolent as well as
the wielder of infinite power. John Stuart Mill gives possibly
the clearest expression to this attitude which is, if not in the
strictest sense religious, at least deeply spiritual:

Religion and poetry address themselves, at least in one of their
aspects, to the same part of the human constitution; they both
supply the same want, that of ideal conceptions grander and more
beautiful than we see realized in the prose of human life. Religion,
as distinguished from poetry, is the product of the craving to know
whether these imaginative conceptions have realities, answering to
them in some other world than ours. The mind, in this state, eagerly
catches at any rumors respecting other worlds, especially when
delivered by persons whom it deems wiser than itself. To the poetry of
the supernatural, comes to be thus added a positive belief and expectation,
which unpoetical minds can share with the poetical. Belief
in a God or gods, and in a life after death, becomes the canvas which
every mind, according to its capacity, covers with such ideal pictures
as it can either invent or copy. In that other life each hopes to find
the good which he has failed to find on earth, or the better which is
suggested to him by the good which on earth he has partially seen
and known. More especially this belief supplies the finer minds with
material for conceptions of beings more awful than they _can_ have
known on earth, and more excellent than they probably _have_ known.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Three Essays on Religion_ (Henry Holt & Co.),
pp. 103-04.]

In his religion, Mill maintains, man thus finds the fulfillment
of unfulfilled desire. Religion is thus conceived as an imaginative
enterprise of a very high and satisfying kind. It
peoples the world with perfections, not true perhaps to actual
experience, but true to man's highest aspirations. It gives
man companionship with divinity at least in imagination.
It enables him to live, at least spiritually, in such a universe as
his highest hopes and desires would have him live in, in fact.
It must be pointed out, however, that the devoutly religious
do not regard their God as a beautiful fiction, but as a dear
reality whom they can serenely trust and love, and whose
existence is the certain faith by which they live.

already been pointed out that theology is the reasoned formulation
of the religious experience which comes to men with
varying degrees of intensity, or the revelation by which some
man, a Moses or a Mohammed, has been inspired. Such a
formulation has a dual importance. For the individual it
brings clarity, order, and stability into his religious experience.
For the group, it makes possible the social transmission of
religious conceptions and ideals.

Reason in a man's religion, as in any other experience, introduces
stability, consistency, and order. It makes distinctions;
it resolves doubts, confusions, and uncertainties. It
is true that there have been in religion, as in politics and
morals, rebels against reason. There have been mystics who
preferred their warm ecstatic visions to the cold formulations
and abstractions of theology. But there have been, on the
other hand, those gifted or handicapped, according to one's
point of view, by an insistence on reason as well as rapture in
their religion. These have not been satisfied with an intuition
of God. They have wished to know God, as the highest
possible object of knowledge. Thus in the Middle Ages
philosophy and science were regarded as the Handmaids of
Theology. All was dedicated to, as nothing could be more
important than, a knowledge of God. So we have, in contrast
with ecstatic visions of God, the plodding analysis of the
scholastics, the subtle and clean-cut logic by which such men
as Saint Anselm sought to give form, clarity, and ultimacy
to their sense of the reality of God. There has possibly
nowhere in the history of thought been subtler and more
thoroughgoing analysis than some of the mediæval schoolmen
lavished upon the clarification and demonstration of the
concept of God. The necessity for reasoning upon one's sense
of the reality of the divine, as it was felt by many mediæval
schoolmen, is thus stated by one historian:

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury ... is the true type of the
schoolman; firmly convinced of the truth of the dogmas and yet
possessed of a strong philosophical impulse, he seeks to prove to
reason what has to be accepted on authority. He bravely includes
in his attempt to rationalize the faith not only such general
propositions as the existence of God, but the entire church scheme of
salvation, the Trinity, and Incarnation, and the Redemption of man. We
must believe the Catholic doctrine--that is beyond cavil--but we
should also try to understand what we believe, understand _why_ it is

[Footnote 1: Thilly: _History of Philosophy_, p. 169.]

But theology has public as well as purely private importance.
It must not be forgotten that religion is a social habit
as well as a personal activity. From primitive life down to
our own day, religion has been intimately associated with the
other social activities of a people, and has indeed been one of
the chief institutions of moral and social control. Ethical
standards have been until very recent times in the history of
Christian Europe almost exclusively derived from religion.
Where the religious experience is of such crucial importance, it
has been necessary to give it a fixed form and content which
might be used to initiate the young and the outsider.

Theology, though essentially a product of reflection upon
the religious experience itself, tends to incorporate extra-religious
material into its system. In its demonstration of the
divine order and of man's relationship to the divine, it incorporates
both science and history. Science becomes for it the
manifestation of the divine arrangements of the universe;
history becomes a revelation of the divine purpose and its
realization. In primitive belief science and religion are practically indistinguishable from each other. The way of the
gods is the way of the universe. The attribution of personal
motives to the gods was primitive man's literal and serious
way of conceiving the government of the cosmos. He believed
himself actually to be living in a world governed by living
and personal powers, an animistic world. The myths which
describe the birth and life of the gods, the creation of
man, the bestowing of the gift of fire are conceived as the
literal and natural history of creation.

Christianity affords a striking example of how theology
incorporates science and natural history into its world view.
For the early Christian Fathers, natural science was interesting
and useful in so far as it illustrated, which it did, the ways
of God upon earth.

"The sole interest [of the Fathers] in natural fact," writes Henry
Osborn Taylor, "lay in its confirmatory evidence of Scriptural truth.
They were constantly impelled to understand facts in conformity
with their understanding of Scripture, and to accept or deny accordingly.
Thus Augustine denies the existence of Antipodes, men on
the opposite side of the earth, who walk with their feet opposite to
our own. That did not harmonize with his general conception of
spiritual cosmogony."[1]

[Footnote 1: H. O. Taylor: _The Medioeval Mind_, vol. I, pp. 75-76.]

All the natural science current, as represented, for example,
in the compilation called the _Physailogus_, is used as
symbolical of the ways of the Lord to man.

The Pelican is distinguished by its love for its young. As these
begin to grow they strike at their parents' faces, and the parents
strike back and kill them. Then the parents take pity, and on the
third day the mother comes and opens her side and lets the blood
flow on the dead young ones, and they become alive again. Thus
God cast off mankind after the Fall, and delivered them over to
death; but he took pity on us, as a mother, for by the Crucifixion He
awoke us with His blood to eternal life.[2]

[Footnote 2: Thilly: _loc. cit._, p. 76.]

History is treated in the same way. Nearly all the histories
written by the early Christian Fathers were written in deliberate
advocacy of the Faith. It was to silence the heresies of
those who attributed to the Church the entrance of Alaric into
Rome that Augustine wrote his famous _City of God_. The
whole of history is a revelation of the divine purpose which is
eventually to be fulfilled. Orosius, again, a disciple of Augustine,
wrote his _Seven Books of Histories against the Pagans_ to
prove the abundance of calamities which had afflicted mankind
before the birth of Christ. He gathers together all the
evidence he can to exhibit at once the patience and the power
of God. "Straitened and anxious minds" might not be able
to see the purpose always, but all was ordained for one end.
Thus he writes at the beginning of his seventh book:

The human race from the beginning was so created and appointed
that living under religion with peace without labor, by the fruit of
obedience it might merit eternity; but it abused the Creator's goodness,
turned liberty into wilful license, and through disdain fell into
forgetfulness; now the patience of God is just and doubly just, operating
that this disdain might not wholly ruin those whom He wished
to spare ... and also so that He might always hold out guidance
although to an ignorant creature, to whom if penitent He would
mercifully restore the means to grace.[1]

[Footnote 1: Orosius: _Seven Books of Histories against the Pagans_, II, 3.]

History thus comes to reveal the fulfillment of the divine
purpose, as science reveals the divine arrangements of the

It has already been noted that theology, certainly Christian
theology, maintains that God is all-good. In consequence the
natural world which scientific inquiry reveals must be all-good
in its operations and its fruits. The history of the universe
must be a steady and unfaltering fulfillment of the
divine, of the beneficent eternal purpose. The ways of the
Almighty, so theology tells us, are just ways, and the universe
in which we live, so theology tells us, is a revelation of
that justice. The eighteenth century "natural theologians"
spent much energy in demonstrating how perfectly adapted to
his needs are man's natural environment and his organic structure.
They pointed to the eye with its delicate membranes
so subtly adapted to the function of sight. All Nature was
a continuous and magnificent revelation of God's designs,
which were good. Christian Wolff, for example, a rationalistic
theologian of the late eighteenth century, writes:

God has created the sun to keep the changeable conditions on the
earth in such an order that living creatures, men and beasts, may
inhabit its surface.... The sun makes daylight not only on our
earth, but also on the other planets; and daylight is of the utmost
utility to us; for by its means we can commodiously carry on those
occupations which in the night-time would either be quite impossible,
or at any rate impossible without our going to the expense of artificial

[Footnote 2: Christian Wolff: _Vernünftige Gedanken von den
Absichten der natürlichen Dinge_, 1782, pp. 74 ff.; quoted by
James in _Varieties of Religious Experience_, p.492.]

MECHANISTIC SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY. With the rise of mechanistic
science there has come about a sharp collision between
the conception of the goodness of the universe as theology declares
it, and of its blindnesses and indifference as science seems
to unfold it to us. Contrast the picture of a cosmos which
was deliberately and considerately made by God to serve
every exigency of man's welfare, with the picture earlier
quoted from Bertrand Russell as the natural scientist gives it
to us. It is no longer easy to say the Heavens declare the
glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. As
far as we can see natural processes go on without the slightest
reference to the welfare of man, who is but an accidental
product of their indifferent forces. The universe is a system
of blind regularities. "Omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless
way." Nature is thoroughly impersonal, and indeed,
were it to be judged by personal or human standards, it could
with more accuracy be maintained that it is evil than that it is
good. As Mill puts it in a famous passage:

In sober truth, nearly all the things which men are hanged or
imprisoned for doing to one another, are Nature's everyday
performances. Killing, the most criminal act recognized by human laws,
Nature does once to every being that lives, and in a large proportion
of cases, after protracted tortures such as only the greatest monsters
whom we read of ever purposely inflicted on their living fellow-creatures....
Nature impales men, breaks them as if on the wheel,
casts them to be devoured by wild beasts, burns them to death,
crushes them with stones like the first Christian martyr, starves
them with hunger, freezes them with cold, poisons them by the quick
or slow venom of her exhalations.... A single hurricane destroys
the hopes of a season; a flight of locusts or an inundation desolates a
district; a trifling chemical change in an edible root starves a million
of people.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Three Essays on Religion_ (Holt), pp. 28-30.]

The theology which insists on the patent and ubiquitous
evidences of God's beneficent purpose, attempts, as already
pointed out, to demonstrate that purpose in the history of
mankind. Orthodox Christian doctrine, for example, insists
that man has been especially created by God, as were the
other animals each after their kind, and that man's ultimate
and unique destiny is salvation through God's grace. Man
was created in perfection in the Garden of Eden, sinned, and
will, through God's mercy, find eventual redemption.

Following the publication of Darwin's _Origin of Species_, in
1859, the rapid spread of evolutionary doctrine aroused violent
opposition on the part of Christian thinkers and devout
Christians generally. In the first place it conflicted sharply
with the orthodox version of special creation. Secondly, it
made more difficult the insistence on marks of design or purpose
in Nature. These two points will be clearer after a brief
consideration of the nature of Darwinian evolution, with
whose thoroughgoing mechanical principles nineteenth-century
theology came most bitterly in conflict. The theory
explains the origins of species, somewhat as follows:

The variety of species now current developed out of simpler
forms of animal life, from which they are lineally descended.
Their present forms and structures are modifications from the
common forms possessed by their remote ancestors. These
modifications are, in the stricter forms of Darwinian evolution,
explained in mechanical terms by the theory of the "survival
of the fittest." That is, those animals with variations
adapted to their environment survive; those without, perish.
In consequence when any individual in a species happens to be
born with a variation specially adapted to its environment, in
the sharp "struggle for existence" that characterizes animal
life in a state of nature, it alone will be able to survive and
reproduce its kind. All the variations of species current are,
therefore, examples of this continuous process of descent with
adaptive modifications. The origin of the human species
came about through just such a variation or mutation from
one of the higher mammals (we have reason to believe, a
species similar to that of the anthrapoid ape). Man's
ancestry, it seems, from the scientific evidence which has been
marshaled, may be traced back biologically, in an almost
unbroken chain to unicellular animals.[1]

[Footnote 1: For detailed discussion see Scott: _Theory of Evolution_.]

This theory profoundly affected theological thinking. In
the first place, the evolutionary account not only of the origin
of man, but of the origin of all species, as a descent with
modification from simpler-animal forms, conflicts with the account
of special creation, certainly in the literal form of the Biblical
story. Secondly, the arguments from design which had been
drawn from the adaptation of organic life to environment were,
if not disproved, at least rendered dubious. Although evolution
did not account for the first appearance of life on earth,
it did account for the processes of adaptation, and without
invoking design or purpose.

The eye, for example, as explained by the theory of evolution,
came to its present perfection through a series of fortunate
and cumulative variations through successive generations.
Even in its imperfect form, it was a variation with
high "survival value." Even when it was no more than a
pigmented spot peculiarly sensitive to light, so the theory
holds, it was a variation that enabled a species to survive and
perpetuate its kind. Those not possessing these fortunate
variations were wiped out. The process of Nature, certainly,
in the development of biological life thus appears to be no
economical convergence of means upon an end. Nature has
been recklessly prodigal. Millions more seeds of life are
produced than ever come to fruition. And only animals perfectly
adapted to their environment survive, while an incomparably
greater number perish.

Theology, when it incorporates science and sets itself up as
a direct and factual description of the universe, thus comes
sharply in rivalry with modern mechanistic science. The
conflict is crucial with regard to the purpose which theology
holds to be evident in the universe, and the lack of purpose,
the purely blind regularity, which science seems to reveal.
The mechanical laws by which natural processes take place
exhibit a fixed and changeless regularity, in which man's good
or ill counts absolutely nothing. The earth instead of being
the center of the solar system, is a cosmic accident thrown
out into space. Man instead of being a little lower than the
angels is revealed by science as a little higher than the ape.

There is no space in these pages to trace the various
reconciliations that have been made between theology and science.
It must be pointed out, however, that Christian theology has
increasingly accepted modern mechanistic doctrines, including
the doctrine of evolution. But it has attempted to show
that, granting all the facts of physical science, the universe
does still exhibit the divine purpose and its essential beneficence.
The very order and symmetry of physical law have
been taken as testimony of divine instigation. Mechanism
was set in motion by God. In answer to this, it is pointed
out by the non-theologian that then God's goodness cannot
be maintained. Mechanical processes are indiscriminate in
their distribution of goods and evils to the just and the unjust:

All this Nature does with the most supercilious disregard both of
mercy and of justice, emptying her shafts upon the best and noblest,
indifferently with the meanest and worst; upon those who are
engaged in the highest and worthiest enterprises, and often as the
direct consequence of the noblest acts; and it might almost be imagined
as a punishment for them. She mows down those on whose
existence hangs the well-being of a whole people; perhaps the
prospects of the human race for generations to come, with as little
compunction as those whose death is a relief to themselves, or a blessing
to those under their noxious influence.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Three Essays on Religion_ (Holt), p. 29.]

Modern theology sometimes grants the apparent reality of
the evils which are current in a mechanistic world, but insists
that they are making for goods which we with our finite
understanding cannot comprehend. Were our intelligence
infinite, as is God's, we should see how "somehow good
will be the final goal of ill."

Evolution has also been explained as God's method of
accomplishing his ends. By some evolutionists, Driesch and
Bergson for example, evolution itself, in its steady production
of higher types, has been held to be too purposive in character
to permit of a purely mechanical explanation. The process of
evolution has itself thus come to be taken by some theologians
as a clear manifestation of God's beneficent power at work
in the universe.

But theology, in the more spiritualistic religions, has always
insisted on the primacy of God's goodness. There has
been, therefore, in certain theological quarters the tendency
to surrender the conception of divine omnipotence in the face
of the genuine human evils that are among the fruits of blind
mechanical forces. The idea of a finite God who is infinitely
good in his intentions, but limited in his powers, has been
advocated by such various types of mind as John Stuart Mill,
William James, and H. G. Wells. The first mentioned of
these writes:

One only form of belief in the supernatural--one theory respecting
the origin and government of the universe--stands wholly clear
both of intellectual contradiction and of moral obliquity. It is that
which, resigning irrevocably the idea of an omnipotent creator, regards
Nature and Life not as the expression throughout of the moral
character and purpose of the Deity, but as the product of a struggle
between contriving goodness and an intractable material, as was
believed by Plato, or a principle of evil as was believed by the
Manicheans. A creed like this ... allows it to be believed that all the
mass of evils which exists was undesigned by, and exists not by the
appointment of, but in spite of the Being whom we are called upon
to worship.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _loc, cit._, p. 116.]

RELIGION AND SCIENCE. While there have thus been genuine
points of conflict between theology and science, these are
essentially irrelevant to the religious experience itself. Man
is still moved by the same emotions, sensations, needs, and
desires which have, from the dawn of history, provoked in
him a sense of his relationship with the divine. There comes
to nearly all individuals at some time, not without rapture,
a sudden awareness of divinity.

It is the terror and beauty of phenomena, the "promise" of the
dawn and of the rainbow, the "voice" of the thunder, the "gentleness"
of the summer rain, the "sublimity" of the stars, and not the
physical laws which these things follow, by which the religious mind
continues to be most impressed; and just as of yore, the devout man
tells you that in the solitude of his room or of the fields he still feels
the divine presence, that inflowing of help come in reply to his
prayers, and that sacrifices to this unseen reality fill him with
security and peace.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Varieties of Religious Experience_, p. 498.]

Modern man, just as his savage ancestor cowering before
forces he did not understand, realizes sometimes--some
persons realize it always--how comparatively helpless is man
amid the magnificent and eternal forces in which his own
life is infinitesimally set. Even when one has been educated
to the sober prose of science, one feels still the ancient emotions
of joy, sorrow, and regret. Birth and death, sowing and
harvest, conquest or calamity, as of old, evoke a sympathetic
feeling with the movement of cosmic processes. All of these
emotions to-day, as in less sophisticated times, may take
religious form.

Nor does the universe because we understand it better
seem, to many, less worthy of worship. The most thorough-going
scientific geniuses have felt most deeply the nobility
and grandeur of that infinite harmony and order which their
own genius has helped to discover. It has been well said the
"undevout astronomer is mad." And it is not only the student
of the stars who has intimations of divinity. As Professor
Keyser puts it: "The cosmic times and spaces of modern
science are more impressive and more mysterious than
a Mosaic cosmogony or Plato's crystal spheres. Day is just
as mysterious as night, the mystery of knowledge is more
wonderful and awesome than the darkness of the unknown."[2]
It is significant that such men as Newton, Pasteur, and Faraday,
giants of modern physical inquiry, were devoutly religious.

[Footnote 2: Keyser: _Science and Religion_, p. 30.]

It would appear indeed that the objects which men revere
are not the subject-matter of science. Physics and chemistry
can tell us what Nature is like; they cannot tell us to what in
Nature we shall give our faith and our allegiance. Religion
remains, as ever, "loyalty to the highest values of life."
Science instead of making the world less awesome has made it
more mysterious than ever. Origins and destinies are still
unknown. Science tells how; it describes. It does not tell
why things occur as they do; or what is the significance of
their occurrence. Worship can never be reduced to molecules
or atoms. While man lives and wonders, hopes and fears,
feels the clear beauty, the infinite mystery, and the eternal
significance of things, the religious experience will remain, and
men will find objects worthy of their worship.

crucial a set of social habits, institutions arise for the perpetuation
of its traditions, and for the social expression of the religious
life. The churches perpetuate the religious tradition in
a number of ways. Fixed ecclesiastical systems, recitals and
definitions of creeds, the regular and meticulous performance
of rites and ceremonies, become powerful instruments for the
transmission of religious ideas and standards. Rites frequently
performed by men in mass have a deep and moving
influence. They have at once all the pressure and prestige of
custom, confirmed by the mystery and awe that attends any
expression of man's relationship to the divine. The church,
moreover, by the mere fact of being an institution, having a
hierarchy, an ordered procedure, a definite assignment and
division of ecclesiastical labor, becomes thereby an incomparable
preserver and transmitter of traditional values.

Churches, ecclesiastical organizations in general, may be
said to arise because of the necessity felt by men for
intermediaries between themselves and the divine. We have
already seen of what vast practical moment in savage life was
communication with the gods. Upon the success of such
addresses to deity, depended not only the salvation of the soul,
but the actual welfare of the body--shelter, harvest, and
victory. The gods among many tribes were held to be
meticulous about the forms and ceremonies which men addressed
to them. In consequence it became important to have,
as it were, experts in the supernatural, men who knew how to
win the favor of these watchful powers. The priests were
originally identical with medicine men and magicians. They
knew the workings of the providential forces. In their hands
lay, at least indirectly, the welfare of the tribe. Their
principal duties were to administer and give advice as to the worship
of the gods. Often it was necessary for them to point out to
the lay members of the tribe which gods to worship on special
occasions. The priests being accredited with a superior
knowledge of the ways of the gods, they were required to
influence the wind and rain, to cause good growth, to ensure
success in hunting and fishing, to cure illness, to foretell the
future, to work harm upon enemies.[1]

[Footnote 1: For a detailed discussion see Hastings: _Encyclopoedia
of Religion and Ethics_, vol. II, pp. 278-335.]

There is more than one criterion by which men may be set
apart as priests. Sometimes they are those who in a mystic
state of ecstasy are supposed to be inspired by the gods.
During their trance such men are questioned as to the will of
the divine. Sometimes they become renowned through their
reputed performance of an occasional miracle. Again, as
magical and religious ceremonies become more complicated,
there is a deliberate training of an expert class to perform
these essential acts. And, whatever be the source of the
selection of the priestly class, the immense influence which
their functions are regarded as having on the welfare of the
tribe causes them to be particularly revered and often feared
by the lay members of the tribe. In more civilized and
spiritual religions, the priestly or professional ecclesiastical
class is no longer regarded as possessed of magical powers by
which it can coerce divinity. It is the official administrator
of the ceremonies of religion, is especially trained, versed and
certificated in doctrine, is empowered to receive confession,
fix penance, and the like. It is still an intermediary between
man and the divine, although itself not possessing any supernatural

Where ecclesiastical organization is highly developed and
has become controlling in the life of a people, it may be one of
the most powerful forces in social life. Such, for example,
might be said of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages:

A life in the Church, for the Church, through the Church; a life
which she blessed in mass at morning and sent to peaceful rest by
the vesper hymn; a life which she supported by the constantly recurring
stimulus of the sacraments, relieving it by confession, purifying
it by penance, admonishing it by the presentation of visible objects
for contemplation and worship--this was the life which they of the
Middle Ages conceived as the rightful life of Man; it was the actual
life of many, the ideal of all.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bryce: _Holy Roman Empire_, p. 423.]

Churches may also come to acquire political functions.
The history of the Church is for many centuries the leading
factor in the political history of Europe, nor is it only in
Christendom that political institutions have been inextricably
associated with religion.

Religious institutions may, as pointed out in the case of
primitive tribes, acquire educational functions. The initiation
ceremonies in Australian tribes have a markedly religious
character. In the higher and more modern religions educational
functions still persist. The Catholic Church has been
regarded as the educator of Europe. Charlemagne's endowment
and encouragement of education was largely made
effectual through the Church. The grammarians and didactic
writers, the poets, the encyclopædists, the teachers whom
Charlemagne endowed and gathered about him, the heads of
the schools which he founded, were all churchmen. Until
very recently in the history of Europe the universities and
education in general were nearly all under the domination of
the Church. The secularization of primary education in
England took place only late in the nineteenth century, and it
is not yet a generation since the battle over the secularization
of education was waged in France. All religious sects
maintain on a smaller or larger scale educational functions.
Parochial and convent schools and denominational colleges
are contemporary examples.

consequences of institutionalized religion in social development
have been very marked. The mere association of large
groups in a common faith and a common religious interest has
been a considerable factor in their integration. There is to
be noted in the first place the common emotional sympathies
aroused by the participation of great numbers in identical
rites and ceremonies. Any widespread social habit becomes
weighted with emotional values for its members. Particularly
is this true of religious habits, the mystery and magnificence
associated with which deeply intensify their emotional
influence. Again religious habits are given a unanimous and
high social approval, especially where the prohibitions and
commands enforced by religion are conceived intimately to
affect the welfare of the tribe. The prophets reiterated to the
people of Israel that their calamities were the result of their
having ceased to follow in the ways of the Lord. The possession
of a common religious history and tradition may also give
a people a deepened sense of group solidarity. The national
development of the ancient Hebrews was undoubtedly promoted
by their sense of being the chosen people, of possessing
exclusively the law of Jehovah.

Again religious sanction is given to codes of belief, modes of
conduct, and to institutions, thus at once strengthening them
and making change difficult. It is not merely customs that
are obeyed and disobeyed, but the sacred commands. A
premium is put upon the regular and traditional because of
the divine sanction associated with them. To violate a
prohibition, even a slight one, becomes thus the most terrible
sacrilege. Customs that, like the hygienic rules of the Mosaic
code, may have started as genuine social utilities are maintained
because they have become fixed in the religious traditions
as enjoined by the Lord. In consequence there may be a
Pharisaical insistence on the performance of the letter of the
law, long after its practical utility or spiritual significance is
forgotten. It is this persistence in the literal fulfillments of
religious commands at the expense of the spirit, that the
Hebrew prophets so vehemently condemned. Thus proclaims

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith
the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they
are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them....

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from
before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the
fatherless, plead for the widow.[1]

[Footnote 1: Isaiah I: 11-17.]]

Institutions and modes of life, even when they are not,
strictly speaking, part of the religious tradition proper, are
given tremendous sanction and confirmation when they become
embodied in the religious tradition. The institution of
the family, for example, through the strong religious sanctions
and values implied in the marriage ceremony and relationship
(especially the marriage sacrament of the Catholic Church),
comes to be strongly fortified and entrenched. Change in
the form of an institution so hallowed by religion is something
more than change; it is sacrilege. Governments and dynasties,
again, when they have a religious sanction, when the
King rules by "divine right," acquire a strong additional
source of persistence and power. The imperial character of
the Japanese government to-day, for example, is said to be
greatly enhanced in prestige by the widespread popular belief
that the Emperor is lineally descended from divinity.

Sometimes religious sanctions have inspired and promoted
zeal for social enterprise. The Crusades stand out as classic
instances, but in the name of religion men have done more
than build cathedrals and go on pilgrimages. In the Middle
Ages, bridges and roads were constructed, alms were given,
pictures were painted, books illuminated, encyclopædias
made, education conducted, all under the auspices and
inspiration of the Church. The mediæval universities started
as church schools. In our own day, the expansion of the
churches in the direction of welfare work and social reform,
the use of the church as a community center, are examples of
this development. Men have found justification by good
works as well as faith.

INTOLERANCE AND INQUISITION. The influence of religious
tradition over the minds of its followers has had, among many
noble and beautiful consequences, the dark fruits of intolerance,
persecution, inquisition, and torture. Part of the bitter
narrow-mindedness which has characterized the history of
ecclesiastical institutions is not to be attributed specifically
to religion. It is rather to be explained by the general uneasiness
which the gregarious human creature feels at any
deviation from the accustomed. In addition men have felt
frequently that any divergence from the divinely ordained
would bring destruction upon the whole group. In the Christian
tradition there was an additional reason for intolerance:
the heretic was willfully losing his own soul, and it was only
humane to compel him to come "into the fold, to rescue him
from the pains he would otherwise suffer in Hell."

The profound conviction that those who did not believe in its
doctrines would be damned eternally, and that God punishes theological
error as if it were the most heinous of crimes, led naturally to
persecution. It was a duty to impose on men the only true doctrine,
seeing that their own eternal interests were at stake, and to hinder errors
from spreading. Heretics were more than ordinary criminals, and
the pains that man could inflict on them were as nothing to the
tortures awaiting them in hell.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bury: _History of Freedom of Thought_, pp. 52-53.]

In fevered zeal for the Faith began that long hunting and
punishment of heresy, which has done so much to darken the
history of religion in Western Europe. There were, as in the
Albigensian Crusade, wholesale burnings and hangings of men,
women, and children.[1] Heresy was hunted out in secret retreats.
"It was the foulest of crimes; to prevail against it
was to prevail against the legions of Hell." The culmination
of intolerance was, of course, the Inquisition. One need not
pause to recall its espionage system, its search for the spreaders
of false doctrine, its use of any and every witness against the
suspect, its granting of indulgences to any one who should
bear witness against him, its "relaxing of the criminal to the
secular arm," which unfailingly punished him with death. It
must be pointed out that in the instance of the Inquisition,
just as in the case of all religious persecution, the motives
were most frequently of the noblest. "In the Middle Ages
and after, men of kindly temper and the purest zeal were
absolutely devoid of mercy when heresy was suspected." Nor
are intolerance and persecution to be laid exclusively at the
door of any one religion. In Protestant countries, in England
and Scotland, the persecution and torture of alleged witches is
one of the most painful instances of the cruelties into which
men can be led by loyalty to their religious convictions. And
Mohammedanism vividly taught men how a faith might be
spread by fire and sword.

[Footnote 1: _Ibid._, pp. 56-57.]

religions, including Christianity, have emphasized "other-worldliness."
This has most frequently taken the form of
emphasis on the life to come. This world has been conceived,
as it were, as a prelude to eternity. In the Christian world
scheme, as most clearly expounded and universally accepted
during the Middle Ages, man's chief imperative business was
salvation. All else was trivial in comparison with that
incomparable eternal bliss which would be the reward of the
virtuous, and that unending agony which would be the penalty
for the damned. "Salvation was the master Christian motive.
The Gospel of Christ was a gospel of salvation unto
eternal life. It presented itself in the self-sacrifice of divine
love, not without warnings touching its rejection."[1]

[Footnote 1: H. O. Taylor: _Medioeval Mind_, vol. I, p. 61.]

Where interest is centered on a world to come, there not
infrequently results a loss of interest and discrimination in the
goods of earthly life. "For what shall it profit a man if he
shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" The
beauties, goods, and distinctions of this world coalesce into an
indiscriminate triviality in comparison with that infinite glory
hereafter to be attained. One does not trouble one's self
about the furniture of earthly life any more than one would
take pains with the beautification of a room in which one happens
to be lodged for a night.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and
rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth
nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor

Though on earth you may live in squalor, poverty, and disease,
yet "in my Father's house are many mansions."

Poverty, indeed, became in the Middle Ages one of the vows
of monastic orders. In the New Testament it is prescribed,
"Blessed are the poor in spirit" and the doctrine was in many
cases literally accepted.

If any one of you will know whether he is really poor in spirit, let
him consider whether he loves the ordinary consequences and effects
of poverty, which are hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue, and the denudation
of all conveniences. See if you are glad to wear a worn-out
habit full of patches. See if you are glad when something is lacking
to your meal, when you are passed by in serving it, when what you
receive is distasteful to you, when your cell is out of repair. If you
are not glad of these things, if instead of loving them you avoid
them, then there is proof that you have not attained the perfection
of poverty of spirit.[2]

[Footnote 2: Alfonso Rodriguez: _Pratique de la Perfection Chrétienne_,
part III, treatise III, chap. VI; quoted in James's _Varieties of
Religious Experience_, p. 315.]

Contempt for this world's goods, when generalized, promotes
an attitude of indifference to the social conditions in
which men live. The history of the saints is filled with
references to their endurance of pain, ill health, poverty, and
disease. And the "world, the flesh, and the devil" are for
some types of religious mind all one. For such, to be
engaged in social betterment is an irrelevant business, it is to
be lost in the world. People's souls must be saved; not their

Religions, on the other hand, have frequently emphasized
man's social duty. In Christianity this is largely a derivative
of the highly regarded virtue of Charity. Interest in one's
own well-being was a prerequisite for the devout, but interest
in the welfare of others was equally enjoined. To help the
poor and the needy, the widowed and the fatherless, to bring
succor to the oppressed and justice to the downtrodden, have
been part of the religion whose Founder taught that all men
were the children of their Father in Heaven. The mendicant
orders of the Middle Ages were devoted to philanthropic works;
and with religious institutions, throughout their history, have
been associated works of philanthropy and social welfare.
Very recently urban churches in this country have been showing
a tendency to reorganize with emphasis on the church as an
instrument of social coöperation rather than as an aloof
exponent of dogmatic theology. It is the ideal of some liberal
theologians to use the churches chiefly as instruments for
giving social effectiveness to the religious impulse and at the
same time for making social betterment a spiritual enterprise.



ART _VERSUS_ NATURE. In the Career of Reason man has gradually
learned to control the world in which he lives in the interests
of his own welfare as he imaginatively contemplated it.
Deliberate control has been made necessary because of the
fact that man is born into a world which was not made for
him, but in which he must, if anywhere, grow; in a world which
was not designed to fulfill his desires, but where alone his
desires can find fulfillment. Art may thus, in the broadest
sense, be set over against Nature. It is the activity by which
man realizes ideals. He may realize them practically, as when
he builds a house which he has first imagined, or reaps a
harvest in anticipation of which he has first sown the seeds. He
may realize them imaginatively, as when in color, form, or
sound he creates some desiderated beauty out of the crude
miscellaneous materials of experience. Art, in the broad
sense of control or direction of Nature, arises in the double
fact of man's instinctive activities and desires and the
inadequacy of the environment as it stands to afford them
satisfaction. Because nature is not considerate of his needs, man
must himself take forethought, and devise means by which
the forces and the materials of Nature may be exploited to his
own good. And the realization of this forethought is made
possible through the fact that natural conditions do lend
themselves to modification. Nature, though indifferent to man's
welfare, is yet partly congruous with it. While the wind
blows careless of the good or ill it does to him, yet man may
learn by means of windmills or sailboats to turn the wind to
his own interest. Though the river may flow on forever,
oblivious to the men that come and go along its shores, yet
the passing generations may transform this undeliberate
flowing into the power that yields them clothing, machinery,
and transportation. All civilization is, as Mill says, an
exhibition of Art or Contrivance; it is illustrated by

the junction by bridges of shores which Nature had made separate,
the draining of Nature's marshes, the excavation of her wells, the
dragging to light of what she has buried at immense depths in the
earth; the turning away of her thunderbolts by lightning rods; of her
inundations by embankments, of her oceans by breakwaters.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Three Essays on Religion_, p. 19 (essay on "Nature").]

By irrigation man has learned to make the "wilderness blossom
as the rose." By railways, telegraphs, and telephones, he
has learned to minimize the obstacles that time and space offer
to the fulfillment of his desires. By controlling, by means of
education and social organization, his own instincts in the
light of the purposes he would attain, by studying "the secret
processes of Nature," man has learned to make the world a fit
habitation for himself. To dig, to plough, to sow, to reap, are
instances of the means whereby man has applied intelligent
control to his half-friendly, half-hostile environment.

Man's deliberate control of Nature arises thus under the
sharp pressure of practical necessity. Man is inherently
active, but, as pointed out in an earlier connection, his activity
takes coherent and consecutive form primarily under the compulsion
of satisfying his physical wants, of finding food, clothing,
and shelter. The greater part of human energy, certainly
under primitive conditions, is devoted to maintaining a
precarious equilibrium among the mysterious and terrifying
forces of a half-understood environment. There is not much
time for leisure, play, or art, where food is a continuously
urgent problem, where one's shelter is likely to be destroyed by
storm or wind, where one is threatened incessantly by beasts
of prey, and, as primitive man supposed, by capricious supernatural
powers. Under such circumstances, life is largely
spent in instrumental or imperative pursuits. Action is
fixed by necessity. It is controlled with immediate and urgent
reference to the business of keeping alive. There is scarcely
time for the activity of art, which is spontaneous and free.

In civilized life, also, the greater part of human energy
must be spent in necessary or instrumental business. Men
must, as always, be fed, clothed, and housed, and the fulfillment
of these primary human demands absorbs the greater
part of the waking hours of the majority of mankind. Our
civilization is predominantly industrial; it is devoted almost
entirely to the transforming of the world of nature into products
for the gratification of the physical wants of men. These
wants have, of course, become much complicated and refined:
men wish not only to live, but to live commodiously and well.
They want not merely a roof over their heads, but a pleasant
and comfortable house in which to live. They want not
merely something to stave off starvation, but palatable foods.
In the satisfaction of these increasingly complicated demands
a great diversity of industries arises. With every new want to
be fulfilled, there is a new occupation, pursued not for its own
sake, but for the sake of the good which it produces. There
are industrial leaders, of course, who find in the development
and control of the productive energies of thousands of men,
in the manipulation of immense natural resources, satisfactions
analogous to that of the fine artist. But for most
men engaged in the routine operations of industry, the work
they do is clearly not pursued on its own account. Industry,
viewed in the total context of the activities of civilization,
is a practical rather than a fine art. Its ideal is efficiency,
which means economy of effort. Its interest is primarily in
producing many goods cheaply.

THE EMERGENCE OF THE FINE ARTS. In the sharp struggle of
man with his environment, those instincts survived which
were of practical use. The natural impulses with which a
human being is at birth endowed, are chiefly those which
enable him to cope successfully and efficiently with his
environment. But even in primitive life, so exuberant and resilient
is human energy that it is not exhausted by necessary labors.
The plastic arts, for example, began in the practical business
of pottery and weaving. The weaver and the potter who
have acquired skill and who have a little more vitality than
is required for turning out something that is merely useful,
turn out something that is also beautiful. The decorations
which are made upon primitive pottery exhibit the excess
vitality and skill of the virtuoso. Similarly, religious ritual,
which, as we have seen, arises in practical commerce with
the gods, comes to be in itself cherished and beautiful. The
chants which are prescribed invocations of divinity, become
songs intrinsically interesting to singer and listener alike; the
dance ceases to be merely a necessary religious form and becomes
an occasion of beauty and delight. Jane Harrison has
shown in detail how ritual arises out of practical need, and
art out of ritual.[1] Thus the Greek drama had its beginnings
in Greek religion; the incidental beauty of the choruses of
the Greek festivals developed into the eventual tragic art of
Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Ceasing to be a practical
invocation to the gods it became an artistic enterprise
in and for itself. Repeatedly we find in primitive life that
activity is not exhausted in agriculture, hunting, and handicraft,
or in a desperate commerce with divinity. Harvest
becomes a festival, pottery becomes an opportunity for decoration,
and prayer, for poetry. Even in primitive life men
find the leisure to let their imaginations loiter over these
intrinsically lovely episodes in their experience.

The potter may be more interested in making a beautifully
moulded and decorated vessel than merely in turning out a
thing of use; the maker of baskets may come to "play with
his materials," to make baskets not so much for their usefulness
as for the possible beauty of their patterns. When this
interest in beauty becomes highly developed, and when
circumstances permit, the fine arts arise. The crafts come to
be practiced as intrinsically interesting employments of the
creative imagination. The moulding of miscellaneous materials
into beautiful forms becomes a beloved habitual practice.

[Footnote 1: See Jane Harrison: _Ancient Art and Ritual_, especially chap. I.]

The context in which art appears in primitive life is paralleled
in civilized society. The energies of men are still largely
consumed in necessary pursuits. Men must, as of old, by the
inadequacy of the natural order in which they find themselves,
find means by which to live; and, being by nature constituted
so that they must live together, they must find ways
of living together justly and harmoniously. "Industry,"
writes Santayana, "merely gives to Nature that form which,
if more thoroughly humane, she might already have possessed
for our benefit." It is creative in so far as it transforms matter
from its crude indifferent state to forms better adapted to
human ideals. It makes cotton into cloth, wool into clothing,
wheat into flour, leather into shoes, coal into light and power,
iron into skyscrapers. It is devoted to annulling the discrepancies
between nature and human nature. It turns refractory
materials and obdurate forces into commodious goods
and useful powers.

But, in the broadest sense, industry is a means to an end.
Interesting and attractive it may well become, as when a
bookbinder or a printer takes a craftsman's proud delight in
the manner in which he performs his work, and in the quality
of its product. But the industrial arts, for the most part,
serve more ultimate purposes. It is imaginable that Nature
might have provided clothing, food, and shelter ready to our
hand. It is questionable whether under such circumstances
men would out of deliberate choice continue industries which
are now made imperative through necessity. The mines and
the stockyards are necessary rather than beautiful or intrinsically
attractive occupations. But in the world of fact, those
things which are necessary to us are not ready to our hand.
Our civilization is predominantly industrial, and must be so,
if the billion and a half inhabitants of our world are to be
maintained by the resources at our command.

Nevertheless despite the absorption of a large proportion of
contemporary society in activities pursued not for their own
sakes, but for the goods which are their fruits, there is still, as
it were, energy left over. This excess vitality may, as it does
for most men, take the form of mere unorganized play or
recreation. But not so for those born with a singular gift for
realizing in color or form or sound the ideal values which they
have imagined. For these "play" is creative production.
The fine arts are, in a sense, the play of the race. They are
the fruits of such energy as is, through some fortunate accident
of temperament or circumstance, not caught up in the
routine and mechanics of industry or the trivialities of sport
or pleasure. They are human activities, freed from the limitations
imposed by the exigencies of practical life, and controlled
only by the artist's imagined visions. Creative activity is
most explicit and most successful in the fine arts, because in
these there are fewer obstacles to the material realization of
imagined perfections. "The liberal arts bring to spiritual
fruition the matter which either nature or industry has prepared
and rendered propitious."

The industrial arts are, as already pointed out, man's
transformation of natural resources to ideal uses. In the same
way political and social organization are human arts, enterprises,
at their best, in the moulding of men's natures to their
highest possible realization. But in the world of action,
whether political or industrial, there are incomparably greater
hindrances to the realization in practice of imagined goods
than there are, at least to the gifted, in the fine arts. Every
ideal for which men attempt to find fulfillment in the world of
action is subject to a thousand accidental deflections of circumstance.
Every enterprise involves conflicting wills; the
larger the enterprise, the more various and probably the more
conflicting the interests involved. Social movements have
their courses determined by factors altogether beyond the control
of their originators. Statesmen can start wars, but cannot
define their eventual fruits. A man may found a political
party, and live to see it wander far from the ideal which he
had framed. But in the fine arts, to the imaginatively and
technically endowed, the materials are prepared and controllable.
In the hands of a master, action does not wander
from intent. Language to the poet, for example, is an
immediate and responsive instrument; he can mould it precisely
to his ideal intention. The enterprise of poetry is less
dependent almost than any other undertaking on the accidents
of circumstance, outside the poet's initial imaginative resources.
In music, even so simple an instrument as a flute
can yield perfection of sound. The composer of a symphony
can invent a perpetual uncorroded beauty; the sculptor an
immortality of irrefutably persuasive form. This explains in
part why so many artists, of a reflective turn of mind, are
pessimists in practical affairs. The world of action with its
perpetual and pitiful frustrations, failures, and compromises,
seems incomparably poor, paltry, and sordid, in comparison
with the perfection that is attainable in art.

Haunting foreshadowings of the temple appear in the realm of
imagination, in music, in architecture, in the untroubled kingdom of
reason, and in the golden sunset magic of lyrics, where beauty shines
and glows, remote from the touch of sorrow, remote from the fear of
change, remote from the failures and disenchantment of the world of
fact. In the contemplation of these things the vision of heaven will
shape itself in our hearts, giving at once a touchstone to judge the
world about us, and an inspiration by which to fashion to our needs
whatever is capable of serving as a stone in the sacred temple.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bertrand Russell: _Philosophical Essays_, pp. 65-66.]

The creative artist gives such form to the miscellaneous
materials at his disposal that they give satisfaction not only
to the senses or the intellect, but to the imagination. What
constitute some of the chief elements in the æsthetic experience,
we shall presently examine. It must first be pointed
out that in general in the fine arts creative genius has found
ways of imaginatively attaining perfections not usually accorded
in the experiences of the senses, in the life of society,
or in the life of the mind.

The region called imagination has pleasures more airy and luminous
than those of sense, more massive and rapturous than those of
intelligence. The values inherent in imagination, in instant
intuition, in sense endowed with form, are called æsthetic values; they are
found mainly in nature and in living beings, but also in man's artificial
works, in images evoked by language, and in the realm of sound.[1]

[Footnote 1: Santayana: _Reason in Art_, p. 15.]

The painter imagines and seeks to realize hues and intensities
of color more satisfying and more suggestive than those
commonly experienced in nature, save in the occasional grace
of sunset on a mountain lake, or the miracle of moonlight
on the ocean. The artist takes his hints from nature, but
clothes the suggestions of sense with the values and motives
which exist only in his own mind and imagination. A Turner
sunset is, as Oscar Wilde points out, in a sense incomparably
superior to one provided by nature. It not only gives the
beautiful sensations to be had in a landscape suffused with
the sunset glow; it infuses into this experience the passionate
and penetrating insight of a genius. The artist, to an extent,
imitates nature. But, if that were all he did, he would be no
more than a photographer. He pictures nature, but gives it
"tint and melody and breath"; he gives it a value and significance
derived from his own imaginative vision. The musician
combines sounds more significant, ordered, and rhythmical
than those miscellaneous noises which, in ordinary
experience, beat indifferently or painfully upon our ears.
The poet selects words whose specific music, rhythmical
combinations, and lyrical context produce a something more
evocative, compelling, and euphonic than the casual and
raucous instrument of communication which constitutes
ordinary speech.

Not only do poets give imaginative and ideal extensions to
sense experience; they do as much with and for social life.
In the dreaming of Utopias, in the building of the Perfect
City, men have found compensations for the imperfect cities
which have been their experiences on earth. They build
themselves in imagination a world where all injustices are
erased, where beauty is perennial, where truth, courage,
kindliness, and merriment are the pervasive colors of life.
In the activity of creative art, man's imagination has reached
out beyond the confines of nature and of history, and built
itself, in marble and in music, in lyrics and in legends, hints
of that enchanting possible, of which the impoverished actual
gives tentative and tenuous hints.

In some men sensitivity to the imaginative possibilities of
the materials of Nature is so high, that they can find satisfactory
activity nowhere else than in one or another of the
fine arts. These are the poets, the musicians, and the sculptors,
who seek to give realization in the arts in the technique
of which they are especially gifted, to that imagined beauty
by the intimate experience of which they live. In one way or
another the creative artist seeks to give form and dimension to

  "The light that never was on sea or land,
   The consecration and the poet's dream."

This creative impulse may find its realization, as already
pointed out, in industry, though, with the highly routine
character of most men's occupations in present-day industrial
life, there is not much opportunity for imaginative activity.
That both work and happiness would be promoted by the
encouragement of the craftsman ideal goes without saying.
Whether or not it is possible to utilize the creative impulses
in the processes of industry as now organized, there are instances
where the joy of craftsmanship may be exploited both
for the happiness of the worker and the good of the work.
The William Morris ideal of the artist-worker may be hard to
attain, but it is none the less desirable, both for the sake of the
worker and his work.

In science the uses of the imagination have been frequently
commented on, not least by scientists. The patient
collection of facts, the digging and measurement and
inquiry that characterize so much of scientific investigation
are not the whole of it. Inference, the forming of a generalization,
is frequently described "as a leap from the known to
the unknown," and this discovery of a binding principle that
brings together a wide variety of disconnected facts is not
unlike the process of the creative artist. The same unconscious
method by which a poet hits upon an appropriate epithet, a
musician upon a melody, a painter upon an effect of color
or line is displayed in that sudden vivid flash of insight by
which a scientist sees a mass of facts that have long seemed
bafflingly contradictory, gathered up under a single luminous
law. In his famous essay on "The Scientific Uses of the
Imagination," Tyndall writes:

We are gifted with the power of Imagination, ... and by this
power we can lighten the darkness which surrounds the world of the
senses. There are tories even in science who regard imagination as
a faculty to be feared and avoided rather than employed. They had
observed its action in weak vessels and were unduly impressed by its
disasters. But they might with equal justice point to exploded
boilers as an argument against the use of steam. Bounded and
conditioned by coöperant Reason, imagination becomes the mightiest
instrument of the physical discoverer. Newton's passage from a
falling apple to a falling moon was, at the outset, a leap of the
imagination. When William Thomson tries to place the ultimate
particles of matter between his compass points, and to apply to them
a scale of millimetres, he is powerfully aided by this faculty. And
in much that has been recently said about protoplasm and life, we
have the outgoings of the imagination guided and controlled by the
known analogies of science. In fact, without this power, our knowledge
of Nature would be a mere tabulation of coexistences and
sequences. We should still believe in the succession of day and
night, of summer and winter; but the soul of Force would be
dislodged from our universe; causal relations would disappear, and
with them that science which is now binding the parts of nature into
an organic whole.[1]

[Footnote 1: Tyndall: _Fragments of Science_, pp. 130-31.]

As we shall presently see, this imaginative leap is guarded
and controlled, so that no flash of insight, however attractive,
is uncritically accepted. But the origin of every eventually
accepted hypothesis lies in the upshoot of irresponsible fancy,
differing not at all from the images in the mind of a poet or
painter or the melodies that unpredictably occur to a musician.

THE ÆSTHETIC EXPERIENCE. Art is, on its creative side, as we
have seen, the control of Nature in the practical or imaginative
realization of ideals. The industrial arts are pursued out
of necessity, because man must find himself ways of living
in a world which he must inhabit, though it is not _a prior_
arranged for his habitation. The fine arts are pursued as
ends in themselves.[1] The genuinely gifted sing, paint, write
poetry, apart from fame and reward, for the sheer pleasure of
creation. But the products of these creative activities themselves
become satisfactions on a par with other natural goods.
The objects of art--poems, paintings, statues, symphonies--are
themselves prized and sought after. They afford satisfaction
to that large number of persons who are sensitive to
the beautiful without having a gift for its creation.

[Footnote 1:
Many industrial processes exhibit elements of the fine arts. This is the
case whenever there is opportunity for the worker to feel, and to have some
ground for the feeling, that he is not merely turning out a product, but turning
out a well-made or a beautiful one, to which his own skill is contributing.
The makers of fine books or bindings or furniture, of fine embroidery and the
like, are examples. But such conditions occur chiefly in the so-called luxury
trades. There is very little opportunity for the display of creative talent in
quantity manufacture.

On the other hand, every fine art involves some elements of merely technical
skill or craftsmanship, which is important in achieving an imaginative
result, but is the skill of the mechanic rather than the vision of the artist.
In surveying the finished product of art as it appears in a painting by a
Turner or a Cezanne, we may forget the "dust and ointment of the calling,"
but it is none the less there. The drudgery of art, the practicing of scales.
the mixing of colors, the rehearsing of plays, are, as it were, the necessary preliminary industry in art.]

Æsthetic appreciation is indeed shared by all men, and is
called out by other objects than paintings or poems. There is
hardly anything men do which is not affected by what has
been called "an irrelevant access of æsthetic feeling." We saw
in another connection how our estimates of persons and situations
are qualified by love and hate, sympathy and revulsion.
In the same way all our experiences have an æsthetic coloring.
It may be nothing more than the curious jubilance and
vivacity, the thrill and tingle of the blood that comes upon a
crisp autumn day. It may be, as Mill pointed out, the largeness
of thought and vision promoted by habitually working
in a spacious and dignified room. Æsthetic influences are
always playing upon us; they determine not only our tastes in
the decoration of our houses, our choices of places to walk and
to eat, but even such seemingly remote and abstract matters
as a scientific theory or a philosophy of life. Even the industrial
ideal of efficiency has, "with its suggestion of Dutch
neatness and cleanliness," order and symmetry, an æsthetic
flavor. Similarly is there an appeal to our æsthetic sensibilities
in the grouping of a wide variety of facts under sweeping
inclusive and simple generalizations. There is, as has often
been pointed out, scarcely anything to choose from as regards
the relative plausibility of the Copernican over the Ptolemaic
system. The former we choose largely because of its greater
symmetry and simplicity in accounting for the facts. Even a
world view may be chosen on account of its artistic appeal.
One feels moved imaginatively, even if one disagrees with the
logic of those philosophies which see reality as one luminously
transparent conscious whole, in which every experience is
delicately reticulated with every other, where discord and
division are obliterated, and the multiple variety of mundane
facts are gathered up into the symmetrical unity of the eternal.

APPRECIATION _VERSUS_ ACTION. Every human experience has
thus its particular and curious æsthetic flavor, as an inevitable
though undetected obligato. Æsthetic values enter into and
qualify our estimates of persons and situations, and help to
determine that general sympathy or revulsion, that love or
hate for people, institutions, or ideas, which make the pervasive
atmosphere of all human action. But in the world of
action, we cannot emphasize these irrelevant æsthetic feelings.
The appreciative and the practical moods are sharply contrasted.
In the latter we are interested in results, and insist
on the exclusion of all considerations that do not bear on
their accomplishment. The appreciative or æsthetic mood is
detached; it is interested not to act, but to pause and consider;
it does not want to use the present as a point of departure.
It wants to bask in the present perfection of color, word, or
sound. The practical man is interested in a present situation
for what can be done with it; he wants to know, in the vernacular,
"What comes next?" "Where do we go from here?"
The appreciator wishes to remain in the lovely interlude of
perfection which he experiences in music, poetry, or painting.

The æsthetic mood is obviously at a discount in the world
of action. To bask in the charm of a present situation, to
linger and loiter, as it were, in the sun of beauty, is to accomplish
nothing, to interrupt action. It is precisely for this
reason that persons with extremely high æsthetic sensibilities
are at such a discount in practical life. They are too easily
dissolved in appreciation. They are too much absorbed, for
practical efficiency, in the tragic, the whimsical, the beautiful,
or the comic aspects of men and affairs. The same sensitivity
to the innuendoes and colors of life that enable some of
such men to give an exquisite and various portraiture of
experience, incapacitates them for action. The practical man
must not observe anything irrelevant to his immediate business.
He must not be dissolved, at every random provocation,
into ecstacy, laughter, or sorrow. There is too much to
be done in business, government, mechanics, and the laboratory,
to allow one's attention to wander dreamingly over the
tragic, the beautiful, the pathetic, the comic, and the
grotesque qualities of the day's work. To take an extreme case,
it would, as Jane Harrison observes, be a monstrosity, when
our friend was drowning, to note with lingering appreciation
the fluent white curve of his arm in the glimmering waters of
the late afternoon. The man to whom every event is flooded
with imaginative possibilities and emotional suggestions is a
useless or a dangerous character in situations where it is
essential to discriminate the immediate and important bearings
of facts. We cannot select an expert accountant on the
basis of a pleasant smile, nor a chauffeur for his sense of

But while, in the larger part of the lives of most men, observation
of facts is controlled with reference to their practical
bearings, observation may sometimes take place for its own
sake. The glory of a sunset is not commonly prized for any
good that may come of it; nobody but a general on a campaign
or a fire warden looks out from a mountain peak upon
the valley below for reasons other than the pleasure of the
beholding. In the case of persons, also, we are not always
interested in them for their uses; we are sometimes delighted
with them in themselves. We pause to watch merry or
quaint children, experts at tennis, beautiful faces, for their
own sakes.

While even in nature and in social experience, we thus sometimes
note specifically æsthetic values, the objects of fine art
have no other justification than the immediate satisfactions
they produce in their beholder. Those intrinsic pleasures
which go by the general name of beauty are various and
complicated. Our joy may be in the sheer delight of the senses,
as in the hearing of a singularly lucid and sustained note of a
clarinet, a flute, a voice, or a violin. It may be in the appreciation
of form, as in the case of the symmetry of a temple, an
arch, or an altar. It may be in the simultaneous stirring of
the senses, the imagination, and the intellect, by the presentation
of an idea suffused with music and emotion, as in the case
of an ode by Wordsworth or a sonnet by Milton.

In all these instances we are not interested in anything beyond
the experience itself. The objects of the fine arts are
not drafts on the future, anticipations of future satisfactions
eventually to be cashed in. They are immediate and intrinsic
goods, absolute fulfillments. They are not signals to action;
they are releases from it. A painting, a poem, a symphony,
do not precipitate movement or change. They invite a restful
absorption. It was this that made Schopenhauer regard art
as a rest from reality. During these interludes, at least, we
live amid perfections, and are content there to move and have
our being.

SENSE SATISFACTION. Appreciation of the arts begins in the
senses. Sight and sound, these are unquestionably the chief
avenues by which the imagination is stirred.[1]

[Footnote 1: The so-called lower senses are not regarded as
yielding æsthetic
values. Smell, taste, and touch are not generally, certainly
in Occidental art, made
much of.]

In the words of Santayana:

For if nothing not once in sense is to be found in the intellect,
much less is such a thing to be found in the imagination. If the
cedars of Lebanon did not spread a grateful shade, or the winds
rustle through the maze of their branches, if Lebanon had never
been beautiful to sense, it would not now be a fit or poetic subject of
allusion.... Nor would Samarcand be anything but for the mystery
of the desert, and the picturesqueness of caravans, nor would an
argosy be poetic if the sea had no voices and no foam, the winds and
oars no resistance, and the rudder and taut sheets no pull. From
these real sensations imagination draws its life, and suggestion its

[Footnote 2: Santayana: _Sense of Beauty_, p. 68.]

Satisfaction in sounds arises from the regular intervals of
the vibrations of the air by which it is produced. The rapidity
of these regular beats determines the pitch. But sounds also
differ in _timbre_ or quality, depending on the number of overtones
which occur in different modes of production. This explains
why a note on the scale played on the piano, differs
from the same note played on the 'cello or the organ. From
these fundamental sensuous elements of sound, elaborate
symphonic compositions may be built up, but they remain
primary nevertheless. Unless the sensuous elements of sound
were themselves pleasing it is difficult to imagine that a musical
composition could be. Music would then be like an orchestra
whose members played in unison, but whose violins were
raucous and whose trumpets hoarse.

Color again illustrates the æsthetic satisfactions that are
found in certain kinds of sense stimulation, apart from the
form they are given or the emotions or ideas they express.
The elements of color, _as_ color, may be reduced to three simple
elements: First may be noted _hue_, as yellow or blue; second,
_value_ (or _notan_) dark or light red; and third _intensity_ (or
brightness to grayness), as vivid blue or dull blue. Specific
vivid æsthetic combinations and variations are made possible
by variations or combinations of these three elements of
color. If a color scheme is displeasing, the fault may be in the
wrong selection of hues, in weak values, in ill-matched intensities
or all three.

Dutch tiles, Japanese prints and blue towels, Abruzzi towels,
American blue quilts, etc., are examples of harmony built up with
several values of one hue.

With two hues innumerable variations are possible. Japanese
prints of the "red and green" period are compositions in light
yellow-red, middle green, black, and white....

Color varies not only in hue and value [_notan_] but in intensity--ranging
from bright to gray. Every painter knows that a brilliant
bit of color, set in grayer tones of the same or neighboring hues, will
illuminate the whole group--a distinguished and elusive harmony.
The fire opal has a single point of intense scarlet, melting into pearl;
the clear evening sky is like this when from the sunken sun the red-orange
light grades away through yellow and green to steel gray.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dow: _Composition_, p. 109.]

These variations in hue, value, and intensity of color afford
specific æsthetic satisfactions. The blueness of the sky is its
specific beauty; the greenness of foliage in springtime is its
characteristic and quite essential charm. Apart from anything
else, sensations themselves afford satisfaction or the
reverse. A loud color, a strident or a shrill sound may cause
a genuine revulsion of feeling. A soft hue or a pellucid note
may be an intrinsic pleasure, though a formless one, and one
expressive of no meaning at all.

FORM. While the imagination is stirred most directly by
the immediate material beauty, by the satisfaction of the
senses, beauty of form is an important element in the enhancement
of appreciation. In the plastic arts and in music,
it is, next to the immediate appeal of the sensuous elements
involved, the chief ingredient in the effects produced. And
even in those arts which are notable for their expressive values,
poetry, fiction, drama and painting, the appeal of form, as
in the plot of a drama, or the structure of an ode or it sonnet
is still very high. Certain dispositions of line and color in
painting; of harmony and counterpoint in music; rhythm,
refrain, and recurrence in poetry; symmetry and balance in
sculpture; all have their specific appeal, apart from the materials
used or the emotions or ideas expressed. Certain harmonic
relations are interesting in music apart from the particular
range of notes employed, or the particular melody upon
which variations are made. The pattern of a tapestry may
be interesting, apart from the color combinations involved.
The structure of a ballade or a sonnet may be beautiful, apart
from the melody of the words or the persuasiveness of the
emotion or idea. Out of the factors which enter into the
appreciation of form certain elements stand out.

There is, in the first place, _symmetry_, the charm of which
lies partly in recognition and rhythm. "When the eye runs
over a façade, and finds the objects that attract it at equal
intervals, an expectation, like the anticipation of an inevitable
note or requisite word, arises in the mind, and its non-satisfaction
involves a shock."[1]

[Footnote 1: Santayana: _The Sense of Beauty_, p. 92.]

Similarly, form given to material brings a variety of details
under a comprehensive unity, enabling us to have at once the
stimulation of diversity and the clarification of a guiding
principle. We cherish sensations in themselves, when they
consist of elements like limpidness of color and lucidity of
sound. But too much miscellany of sensation is disquieting;
it has an effect analogous to noise. A baby or a barbarian
may delight in loud heterogeneity and vivid confusion, but
extravagance of sensation does not constitute an æsthetic

The discovery of the one in the many, the immediate apprehension
of the fluent tracing of a pattern, a form, or a structure,
is intrinsically delightful. The pattern of a tapestry
design is as striking and suggestive as the colors themselves.
When musical taste has passed from a sentimental intoxication
with the sensuous beauty of the sounds themselves, the
beauty we admire is primarily beauty of form or structure.
The musical connoisseur likes to trace the recurrence of a
theme in a symphony, its deviations and disappearances, its
distribution in the various choirs of wood-wind, brass, and
strings, its interweaving with other themes, its resilient,
surprising, and apposite emergences, its pervasive penetration of
the total scheme.

The æsthetic experience, indeed, as specifically æsthetic,
rather than merely sensuous or intellectual, is, it might be
said, almost wholly a matter of form. It is the artist's function,
as it is occasionally his achievement, to give satisfying,
determinate forms to the indeterminate and miscellaneous
materials at his command. Formlessness is for the creator of
beauty the unpardonable sin. To give clarity and coherence
to the vague ambiguous scintillations of sound, to chisel a
specific perfection out of the indefinite inviting possibilities
of marble, to form precise and consecutive suggestions out of
the random and uncertain music of words, is to achieve, in so
far, success in art. Nor does form mean formality. Experience
is so various and fertile, and so far outruns the types under
which human invention and imagination can apprehend
it, that inexhaustible novelty is possible. Novelty, on the
other hand, does not mean formlessness. The artist must, if
he is to be successful, always remain something of an artisan.
However beautiful his vision, he must have sufficient command
of the technical resources to his craft to give a specific
and determinate embodiment to his ideal.

Every one has haunting premonitions of beauty; it is the
business of the artist to give realization in form to the hints of
the beautiful which are present in matter as we meet it in
experience, and to the imaginative longings which they provoke.

In which forms different individuals will find satisfaction
depends on all the circumstances which go to make one individual
different from another. There cannot be in the case of
art, any more than in any other experience, absolute standards.
We can be pleased only with those arrangements of sound
or color to which our sensibilities have early been educated.
Even the most catholic of tastes becomes restricted in the
course of education. To Western ears, there is at first no
music at all in Chinese music, and Beethoven would appear to
the Chinese as barbarous as their compositions appear to us.

But while in a wide sense, conformity to the average determines
or limits our possible appreciation of the beautiful,
within these limits certain elements are intrinsically more
pleasing than others. Those elements of experience, in the
first place, more readily acquire æsthetic values, which in
themselves strikingly impress the senses. Thus tallness in a
man, because it is in the first place striking, becomes readily
incorporated into our standard of the beautiful. And all elements
in themselves beautiful, the human eye, the curve of
the arm, the wave of the hair, come to be emphasized. These
outstanding elements may themselves become conventionalized
and standardized, so that objects of art which conform
to them are insured thereby of a certain degree of recognition
as beautiful. Too close a conformity produces monotonous
formalities, cloying classicisms. Too wide a divergence
results in shock and unpleasantness. The history of all the arts,
however, is full of instances of how the taste of a people can be
educated to new forms. Ruskin had to educate the English
people to an appreciation of Turner. The poets of the Romantic
period were condemned by the critics brought up on
the rigid classic models. The so-called Romantic movements
in the arts are, at their best, departures from old forms, not
into formlessness, but into new, various, and more fruitful
forms. Romanticism at its worst dissolves into mere formlessness
and inarticulate ecstacies. Infinite variety of forms
the world of experience may be made to wear, but sensations,
emotions, and ideas must be given some form, if they are to
pass from a fruitless yearning after beauty into its positive
incarnation in objects of art.

All forms have their characteristic emotional effects, as have
all materials, even apart from the emotions or ideas they express.
The glitter of gold and the sparkle of diamonds, the
strength of marble, the sturdiness of oak--we hardly can
think of these materials without thinking of the associations
which go with them. Similarly the symmetry of the colonnades
of a temple, the multiplicity and variety of Gothic
architecture, even so simple a form as a circle, provoke a
great or slight characteristic emotional reaction. Likewise,
a staccato or a fluent rhythm in music, a march, or a dance
movement, have, even apart from their unconscious or intentional
expressiveness, specific emotional values. In literature,
also, where the value of the words themselves might
be expected to give place entirely to the emotions or ideas of
which they are the expressive instruments, poems may themselves,
by their form and music, be provocative of specific
emotional effects.

  "...And over them the sea wind sang,
   Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
   By zigzag paths and juts of pointed rock,
   Came on the shining levels of the lake.

   Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves,
   And barren chasms, and all to left and right,
   The bare black cliff clanged round him, as he based
   His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang,
   Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels--
   And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
   And the long glories of the winter moon."[1]

[Footnote 1: From Tennyson's _Morte d'Arthur_.]

Here the effect lies partly in the form, but more especially in
the _timbre_ and reverberation of the words themselves. In
other cases, it is the form that is the chief ingredient in the
effect produced. In Alfred Noyes's "The Barrel Organ,"
apart from the meaning, it is the rhythmic form that is of chief
æsthetic value:

  "Come down to Kew in lilac time, in lilac time, in lilac time,
   Come down to Kew in lilac time, it is n't far from London,
   And you shall wander hand-in-hand with love in summer's wonderland.
   Come down to Kew in lilac time; it is n't far from London.

  "The cherry trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume.
   The cherry trees are seas of bloom (and oh, so near to London!)
   And there they say, when dawn is high, and all the world's a blaze of sky,
   The cuckoo, though he's very shy, will sing a song for London."

Apart from all considerations of meaning, set the easy fluent
grace of this lyric over against the march and majesty of the
"Battle Hymn of the Republic."

  "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
   He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
   He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
       His truth is marching on.

  "He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
   He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
   Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
       Our God is marching on."

EXPRESSION. The objects of art, as we have seen, are interesting
and attractive in themselves, for the material of
which they are formed, and for the form which the artist has
given them. But they are interesting in another and possibly
as important a way: they are instruments of expression.
That is, a painting is something more than an intrinsically
interesting disposition of line and color, a statue something
more than an exquisite or sublime chiseling of marble, a poem
more than a rhythmic combination of the music of words.
All of these are expressive. Something in their form is
associated with something in our past experience. Thus, as
James somewhere suggests, "a bare figure by Michelangelo,
with unduly flexed joints, may come somehow to suggest the
moral tragedy of life." Something in the face of an old man
painted by Rembrandt may recall to us a similar outward
evidence of inner seriousness, wistfulness, and resignation
which we have ourselves beheld in living people. And we
clearly value the poems of a Wordsworth, a Milton, a Matthew
Arnold, not solely for the magnificent form and music
of their words, but also for the sober beauty of their meaning.
We may come to appreciate even the highly immediate
sensuous and formal pleasure of music for the reverie or
rapture into which by suggestion it throws us. "Expression may,
therefore, make beautiful by suggestion, things in themselves
indifferent, or it may come to heighten the beauty which they
already possess."

The objects of art may be appreciated chiefly either for
their material and form, or for the values which they express.
In some cases the actual object may be beautiful; sometimes
the beauty may lie almost wholly in the image, emotion, or
idea evoked. "Home, Sweet Home," for example, may be
plausibly held to win admiration rather for the sentimental
associations which it evokes in the singer or hearer than for its
verbal or melodic beauty. The enjoyment which people without
any musical gifts, out on a camping or canoeing trip,
experience from singing a rather cheap and frayed repertory
is obviously for sentimental rather than for æsthetic satisfaction.
Similarly, we may cherish the mementos of a lost
friend or child, not for their intrinsic worth, but for the
tenderness of the memories they arouse. The situation is
delicately described in Eugene Field's "Little Boy Blue":

  "The little toy dog is covered with dust,
     But sturdy and staunch he stands,
   And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
     And his musket moulds in his hands.
   Time was when the little toy dog was new,
     And the soldier was passing fair,
   And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
     Kissed them and put them there."

Some objects of art may indeed become beautiful almost
completely through their expressiveness. There are certain
poets whose music is raucous and who make little appeal
through clarity of form. These survive almost completely by
virtue of the persistent strength and enduring sublimity of the
ideas which they express. Much of Whitman may be put in
this class, and also much of Browning. Similarly a sculptor
may not captivate us by the fluent beauty of his marble, but
by the power and passion which his crude mighty figures express.
In such cases we may even come to regard what, from
a purely formal point of view, is unlovely, as a thing of the
most extreme beauty. Even the roughness in such direct
revelations of strength, may come to be regarded as elements
of the beautiful. And where massiveness of effect does not
suffice to retrieve a work of art from its essential crudities, we
may still come to accept it as beautiful, as it were, in intention,
and for what comes to be regarded as its essence, namely,
the idea or emotion it expresses. We forgive the imperfections
of form as we forgive the stammerings and stutterings of
persons whose broken sayings are yet full of wisdom.

Usually even where the object, emotion, or idea expressed is
beautiful, we demand certain formal and material elements of
beauty. A telegram may convey the very apex of felicity,
yet be not at all felicitous in its form or in the music of its
words. If in such cases, we speak of beauty, the term is
altogether metaphorical and imputed; we are using it in the
same analogical sense as when we speak of a "beautiful operation"
or a "beautiful deed"; it is a moral rather than an
æsthetic term. We may find the letter of a friend expressive of
the gentleness, fidelity, and charm that have endeared him to
us, but unless these have attained sufficiently clear and explicit
form and determinate unmistakable music, the letter will
have a meaningful beauty only in the light of the peculiar
relation existing between us and the writer. From an impartial
æsthetic point of view, the epistle can only by affectionate
exaggeration be called beautiful.

But the arts, through their beauty of form, may present
pleasingly objects, emotions, ideas, not in themselves beautiful
or pleasing. The clearest case of this kind is tragedy,
where we may enjoy at arm's length and through the medium
of art, experiences which would in the near actualities of life be
only unmitigated horror. Refracted through the medium of
poetry and drama, they may appear beautiful pervasively
and long.

We are enabled through the arts to survey sympathetically
universal emotions, those by which our own lives have been
touched, or to which they are liable; we are enabled to survey
bitterness and frustration calmly because they are set in a
perspective, a beautiful perspective, in which they shine out clear
and persuasive, purified of that bitter personal tang which
makes sorrow in real life so different in tone from the beauty
with which in tragedy it is halved. Any sensation, as Max
Eastman justly remarks in his "Enjoyment of Poetry," may,
if sufficiently mild, become pleasing. And there is hardly any
human action or experience, however terrible, which cannot
in the hands of a master be made appealing and sublime in its
emotional effect.

The beauty of Tragedy does but make visible a quality which,
in more or less obvious shapes, is present always and everywhere in
life. In the spectacle of death, in the endurance of intolerable pain,
and in the irrevocableness of a vanished past, there is a sacredness,
an overpowering awe, a feeling of the vastness, the depth, the
inexhaustible mystery of existence, in which, as by some strange marriage
of pain, the sufferer is bound to the world by bonds of sorrow. In
these moments of insight we lose all eagerness of temporary desire,
all struggling and striving for petty ends, all care for the little trivial
things that, to a superficial view, make up the common life of day
by day; we see, surrounding the narrow raft, illumined by the flickering
light of human comradeship, the dark ocean on whose rolling
waves we toss for a brief hour.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bertrand Russell: _Philosophical Essays_, pp. 67-68.]

But emotions and experiences that in real life are displeasing
can be made pleasing in art chiefly by virtue of the qualities
of material and form already discussed. The disappointment,
disillusion, or terror which tragedy so vividly reveals is
made tolerable chiefly through the intrinsic beauty of the vehicle
in which it is set forth. The high and breathless beauty
of rhythm, the verve, the mystery, and music with which evils
are set forth, may make them not only tolerable but tender
and appealing. What would be as immediate experience
altogether heartrending, for example the torturing remorse of
a Macbeth, is made splendid and moving in the incisive
majesty and penetration of his monologues. At the end of
Hamlet, the utter wreck, unreason, and confusion is made
bearable and beautiful by the tender finality of Hamlet's
dying words to Horatio:

  "Absent thee from felicity awhile
   And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
   To tell my story."

Greek tragedy had the additional accouterments of a
chorus, of music, of production in a vast amphitheater to give
an atmosphere of outward grandeur to the glory of its intent.
Tragedy often relieves the net horror which is its burden by
the pomp and circumstance of the associations it suggests:

We have palaces for our scene, rank, beauty, and virtues in our
heroes, nobility in their passions and in their fate, and altogether a
sort of glorification of life without which tragedy would lose both in
depth of pathos--since things so precious are destroyed--and in
subtlety of charm, since things so precious are manifested.[1]

[Footnote 1: Santayana: _Sense of Beauty_, p. 228.]

Tragedy still more subtly attains the beauty of expressiveness
by making the very evils and confusions and terrors it
presents somehow the exemplifications of a serene eternal
order. The function of the chorus in Greek tragedy was indeed
chiefly to indicate in solemn strophe and antistrophe the
ordered and harmonious verities of which these particular
follies and frustrations were so tender and terrible an
illustration. They catch up the present and particular evil into
the calm and splendid interplay of cosmic forces. Thus at the
end of Euripides's play _Medea_, when the heroine has slain
the children she has borne to Jason and in her fury refuses to
let him gather up their dead bodies, when Jason in utter
inconsolable despair, casts himself upon the earth, out of all
this wrack and torture the chorus raises the audience into a
contemplation of the ordered eternity by which these things
come to be. It sings:

  "Great treasure halls hath Zeus in Heaven,
   From whence to man strange dooms be given,
       Past hope or fear;
   And the end men looked for cometh not,
   And a path is there where no man thought:
       So hath it fallen here."[1]

[Footnote 1: Euripides: _Medea_ (Gilbert Murray translation).]

ART AS VICARIOUS EXPERIENCE. The drama, art, and painting
are, in general, ways by which we can vicariously experience
the emotions of others. All of the expressive arts are made
possible by the fundamental psychological fact that human
beings give certain instinctive and habitual signs of emotion
and instinctively respond to them. In consequence, through
art experience may be immeasurably broadened, deepened,
and mellowed. Through the medium of art, modes of life long
past away can leave their imperishable and living mementos.
Dante opens to the citizen of the twentieth century the mind
and imagination of the Middle Ages. A Grecian urn can
arouse, at least to a Keats, the whole stilled magic of the
Greek spirit. And not only can we live through the life and
emotion of times long dead, but the fiction and drama and
poetry of our own day permit us to enter into realms of
experience which in extent and variety would not be possible to
one man. Indeed, the possibility of vicariously enlarging
experience is one of the chief appeals of art. We cannot all be
rovers, but we can have in reading Masefield a pungent sense
of romantic open spaces, the salt winds, the perilous motion
or the broad calm of the sea. We feel something of the same
urgency as that of the author when we read:

  "I must go down to the seas again, the lonely sea and the sky,
   And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
   And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
   And a gray mist on the sea's face and a gray dawn breaking."[2]

[Footnote 2: Masefield: _Sea-Fever_.]

Art opens up wide avenues of possibility; it releases us from
the limitations to which a particular mode of life, an accidental
niche in a business or profession has committed us. It
enables us vividly to experience and sympathetically to
appreciate the lives which are led by other men, and in which
something in our own personalities could have found fulfillment.

While the objects of art thus broaden our experience by
their precise and contagious communication of emotion, they
may also express ideas. Thus a play may have a message, a
poem a vision, a painting an allegory. Art is both at an
advantage and at a disadvantage in the communication of
ideas. Ideas, if they are to be accurately conveyed, should
be devoid of emotional flourish, and presented with telegraphic
directness and precision. They should have the clarity of
formulas, rather than the distracting array and atmosphere
of form. But ideas presented in the persuasive garb of
beauty, gain in their hold over men what they lose in
precision. Thus an eloquent orator, a touching letter, a vivid
poem, may do more than volumes of the most definitive and
convincing logic to insinuate an idea into men's minds. Compare
in effectiveness the most thoroughgoing treatise on the
status of the agricultural laborer with the stirring momentum
of Edwin Markham's" The Man With the Hoe":

  "Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
   Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
   The emptiness of ages in his face,
   And on his back the burden of the world.
   Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
   A thing that grieves not, and that never hopes,
   Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
   Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
   Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
   Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

  "Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
   To have dominion over sea and land;
   To trace the stars and search the heavens for power,
   To feel the passion of Eternity?
   Is this the Dream he dreamed who shaped the suns,
   And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
   Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf
   There is no shape more terrible than this--
   More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed--
   More filled with signs and portents for the soul--
   More fraught with menace to the universe."

An idea clothed with such music and passion is an incomparably
effective means of arousing a response. It is this
which makes art so valuable an instrument of propaganda.
People will respond actively to ideas set forth with fervor by
a Tolstoy or an Ibsen who would be left cold by the flat and
erudite accuracy of a volume on economics. And the confirmed
Platonist is made so perhaps less by the convincingness
of Plato's logic, than by the inevitable and irrefutable grace
of his dramatic art.

There is, for certain persons educated in the arts, a satisfaction
that is neither sensuous nor emotional, but intellectual.
These come to discriminate form with the abstract
though warm interest of the expert. The well-informed concert-goer
begins to appreciate beauties hidden to the uninitiate.
He notes with eager anticipation the technical genius
of a composition as it unfolds, admiring the craft and skill
as well as the vision of the artist. In extreme cases this may,
of course, degenerate into mere pedantry. But at its best,
it is the satisfaction of the man who, having a keen eye for
beauty, is all the more solicitous for its accurate realization.
The satisfactions of the connoisseur are merely a refinement
of less sophisticated forms of appreciation. To appreciate
the bare sounds of music, or the vividness of color in a painting
is the prelude to more discriminating tastes. It is impossible
for most men to have in all the arts expert judgment,
but the ability to be able to discriminate with authority the
technical achievements of a work of genius, while it does not
supplant the emotional and sense satisfaction derived from
the arts, nevertheless enhances them.

creative activity which is, to a peculiar extent, the artist's,
is sought and practiced to some degree by all men. Genius
is rare, but talent of a minor sort is frequent. In the playing
of a musical instrument, in the practice of a handicraft, in
the cultivation of a garden, ordinary men in modern society
find an outlet for invention, craftsmanship, and imagination.
To give this joy of creation, in smaller or larger measure, to
all men is to promote social happiness. In the discussion of
instinct it was pointed out that men come nearest to attaining
happiness when they are doing what is their bent by original
nature, when they are acting out of sheer love of the activity
rather than from compulsion. And since all men possess,
although in moderate degree, the creative impulse, to give
this impulse a chance is a distinct social good.

The employment of the creative imagination demands both
leisure and training. Leisure is needed because, in the routine
activities of industry, men's actions are determined not by
their imagination, but by the immediacies of practical demands.
There may be, as Helen Marot suggests, a possibility
of a wide utilization of the creative impulse in industry. But
a large part of industrial life must of necessity remain routine.
In consequence, during their leisure hours alone, can men
find free scope for some form of æsthetic interest and activity.
The second requisite is training. Even the poor player of an
instrument can derive some pleasure from his performance.
And, under the accidents of economic and social circumstance,
many a flower may really be born to blush unseen through the
fact that its talents receive no opportunity. The occasional
"discovery" by a wealthy man of a genius in the slums, indicates
how a more liberal and general provision of training in
the arts might redound to the general good. And a more
widespread endowment of training in the fine arts, if it did
not produce many geniuses, might at least produce a number
of competent painters and musicians, who, in the practice of
their skill, during their leisure, would derive considerable and
altogether wholesome pleasure.

While high æsthetic capacity may be lacking in most people,
æsthetic appreciation is widely diffused, and the education of
taste and the growth in appreciation of the arts have been
marked. The museums of art in our large cities report a
constantly increasing attendance, both of visitors to the
galleries and attendants at lectures. And the crowds which
regularly attend musical programs of a sustainedly high
character in many cities, winter and summer, are evidence of how
widespread and eager is appreciation of the fine arts. In
the Scandinavian countries and in Germany one of the most
remarkable social phenomena has been the growth of a
widely supported people's theater movement, in which there
has been consistent support of the highest type of operas and

ART AS AN INDUSTRY. The fact that objects of art are
themselves immediate satisfactions and supply human wants,
makes their provision for large numbers an important social
enterprise. Certain forms of art, therefore, become highly
industrialized. The provision of the objects of art becomes
a profitable business, as it is also made possible only by a large
economic outlay. Tolstoy in his _What is Art?_ brings out
strikingly the economic basis of artistic enterprises in
contemporary society:

For the support of art in Russia [1898], the government grants
millions of roubles in subsidies to academies, conservatories, and
theatres. In France, twenty million francs are assigned for art, and
similar grants are made in Germany and England.

In every large town enormous buildings are erected for museums,
academies, conservatories, dramatic schools, and for performances
and concerts. Hundreds of thousands of workmen--carpenters,
masons, painters, joiners, paperhangers, tailors, hairdressers, jewelers,
molders, type-setters--spend their whole lives in hard labor to
satisfy the demands of art, so that hardly any other department of
human activity, except the military, consumes so much energy as this.

Not only is enormous labor spent on this activity, but in it, as in
war, the very lives of men are sacrificed. Hundreds of thousands of
people devote their lives from childhood to learning to twirl their legs
rapidly (dancers), or to touch notes and strings very rapidly (musicians)
or to turn every phrase inside out and find a rhyme for every

[Footnote 1: Tolstoy: _What is Art?_ pp. 1-2 (written in 1898).]

Tolstoy's point in thus emphasizing the immense energies
devoted to artistic enterprises is to lead us to consider what is
the end of all this labor. He points out scathingly the ugliness,
frivolity, and crudity of much that passes for drama in
the theater, for music in the concert hall, and for literature
between covers. He pleads for a simple art that shall express
with sincerity the genuine emotions of the great mass of men.

Whatever be our estimate of Tolstoy's sweeping condemnation
of so much of what has come to be regarded as classic
beauty, the point he makes about the commercialization of
art is incontrovertible. If art is an industry, the good is
determined, as it were, by popular vote. The many must be
pleased rather than the discriminating. While, as has been
noted, æsthetic appreciation is fairly general, appreciation of
the subtler forms of art requires training. The glaring, the
conspicuous, the broad effect, is more likely to win rapid
popular approval than the subtle, the quiet, and the fragile.
That taste is readily educable is true. But when immediate
profits are the end, one cannot pause to educate the public.
And publishing and the theater are two conspicuous instances
of the conflicts that not infrequently arise between standards
of economic return and standards of æsthetic merit. Even
where there is no deliberate selection of the worse rather than
the better, commercial standards operate to put the novel in art
at a discount. As already pointed out, we tend to appreciate
forms and ideas to which we are accustomed. In consequence,
where commercial demands make immediate widespread
appreciation necessary, the untried, the odd, the radical
innovation in music, literature, or drama, is a questionable
venture. There are notable instances of works which, though
eventually recognized as great, had to go begging at first for
a publisher or a producer. This was the case with some of
Meredith's earlier novels; later Meredith, as a publisher's
reader, turned down some of Shaw. The same inhospitality
met some of the plays of Ibsen and some of the symphonies of

ART AND MORALS. Attention has already been called to the
fact that objects of art are powerful vehicles for social
propaganda. Indeed some works become famous less for their
intrinsic beauty than for their moral force.[1] The effectiveness
of art forms as instruments of propaganda lies in the fact,
previously noted, that the ideas presented, with all the accouterments
of color, form, and movement, are incomparably
effective in stimulating passion; ideas thus aroused in the
beholder have the vivid momentum of emotion to sustain them.
There is only rhetorical exaggeration in the saying, "Let me
sing a country's songs, and I care not who makes its laws."
Plato was one of the first to recognize how influential art
could be in influencing men's actions and attitudes. So keenly
did he realize its possible influence, that in constructing his
ideal state he provided for the rigid regulation of all artistic
production by the governing power, and the exile of all poets.
He felt deeply how insinuatingly persuasive poets could become
with their dangerous "beautiful lies." Artists have,
indeed, not infrequently been revolutionaries, at least in the
sense that the world which they so ecstatically pictured makes
even the best of actual worlds look pale and paltry in comparison.
The imaginative genius has naturally enough been
discontented with an existing order that could not possibly
measure up to his ardent specifications. Shelley is possibly
the supreme example of the type; against his incorrigible
construction of perfect worlds in imagination he set the real
world in which men live, and found it hateful.

[Footnote 1: The classic instance of a work that certainly was notable
in its early history for its propaganda value is _Uncle Tom's Cabin_.
An extreme instance of a book famous almost exclusively for its vivid
propaganda is Upton Sinclair's _The Jungle_.]

In consequence of this discontent which the imaginative
artist so often expresses with the real world, and the power of
his enthusiastic visions to win the loyalties and affections of
men, many moralists and statesmen have, like Plato, regarded
the creative artist with suspicion. They have half believed
the lyric boast of the Celtic poet who wrote:

  "One man with a dream at pleasure,
     Shall go forth and conquer a crown,
   And three with a new song's measure,
     Can trample an empire down.

  "We, in the ages lying,
     In the buried past of the earth,
   Built Nineveh with our sighing,
     And Babel itself with our mirth;
   We o'erthrew them with prophesying
     To the old of the new world's worth,
   For each age is a dream that, is dying,
     Or one that is coming to birth."[1]

[Footnote 1: O'Shaughnessy: _Ode to the Music-Makers_.]

Many, therefore, who have reflected upon art--Plato first
and chiefly--have insisted that art must be used to express
only those ideas and emotions which when acted upon would
have beneficent social consequences. Only those stories are
to be told, those pictures to be painted, those songs to be sung,
which contribute to the welfare of the state. Many artists
have similarly felt a Puritanical responsibility; they have told
only those tales which could be pointed with a moral. The
supreme example of this dedication of art to a moral purpose
is found in the Middle Ages, when all beauty of architecture,
painting, and much of literature and drama, was pervaded, as
it was inspired, with the Christian message. Later Milton
writes at the beginning of _Paradise Lost_:

  "... What in me is dark,
   Illumine, what is low--raise and support,
   That to the height of this great argument
   I may assert Eternal Providence,
   And justify the ways of God to man."[2]

[Footnote 2: Milton: _Paradise Lost_, book I, lines 22-26.]

In a sense, the supreme achievements of creative genius
have been notable instances of the expression of great moral
or religious or social ideals. Lucretius's _On the Nature of
Things_ is the noblest and most passionate extant rendering
of the materialistic conception of life. Goethe's _Faust_
expresses in epic magnificence a whole romantic philosophy
of endless exploration and infinite desire. Dante's _Divine
Comedy_ sums up in a single magnificent epic the spirit and
meaning of the mediæval point of view. As Henry Osborn
Taylor writes of it:

Yet even the poem itself was a climax long led up to. The power
of its feeling had been preparing in the conceptions, even in the
reasonings, which through the centuries had been gaining ardour as
they became part of the entire natures of men and women. Thus
had mediæval thought become emotionalized and plastic and living
in poetry and art. Otherwise, even Dante's genius could not have
fused the contents of mediæval thought into a poem. How many
passages in the _Commedia_ illustrate this--like the lovely picture of
Lia moving in the flowering meadow, with her fair hands making her
a garland. The twenty-third canto of the _Paradiso_, telling of the
triumph of Christ and the Virgin, yields a larger illustration; and
within it, as a very concrete lyric instance, floats that flower of
angelic love, the song of Gabriel circling the Lady of Heaven with its
melody, and giving quintessential utterance to the love and adoration
which the Middle Ages had intoned to the Virgin. Yes, if it be
Dante's genius, it is also the gathering emotion of the centuries,
which lifts the last cantos of the _Paradiso_ from glory to glory, and
makes this closing singing of the _Commedia_ such supreme poetry.
Nor is it the emotional element alone that reaches its final voice in
Dante. Passage after passage of the _Paradiso_ is the apotheosis of
scholastic thought and ways of stating it, the very apotheosis, for
example, of those harnessed phrases in which the line of great scholastics
had endeavoured to put in words the universalities of substance
and accident and the absolute qualities of God.[1]

[Footnote 1: Taylor: _The Mediæval Mind_, vol. II, pp. 588-89.]

In these supreme instances the ideas have been given a genuinely
æsthetic expression. They are beautiful in form and
music, as well as in content and vision. But not infrequently
where propaganda appears, art flies out of the window. Many
modern plays and novels might be cited, which in their serious
devotion to the enunciation of some social ideal, lapse from
song into statistics. The artist with his eye on the social
consequences of his work may come altogether to cease to regard
standards of beauty. It is only the rare genius who can make
poetry out of politics. Even Shelley lapses into deadly and
arid prosiness when his chief interest becomes the presentation
of the political ideas of Godwin.

In contrast with the theory that art has a social responsibility,
that so powerful an instrument must be used exclusively
in the presentation of adequate social ideals, must be
set the doctrine, widely current in the late nineteenth century,
of "art for art's sake." To the exponents of this point of view,
the artist has only one responsibility, the creation of beauty.
It is his to realize in form every pulsation of interest and
desire, to provide every possible exquisite sensation. The
artist must not be a preacher; he must not tell men what is
the good; he must show them the good, which is identical
with the beautiful. And he must exhibit the beautiful in
every unique and lovely posture which can be imagined,
and which he can skillfully realize in color, in word, or in
sound. Art is its own justification; "a thing of beauty is a
joy forever."

Where art is governed by such intentions, form and material
become more important than expression. Thus there
develops in France in the late nineteenth century a school of
Symbolists and Sensationalists in poetry, whose single aim is
the production of precise and beautiful sensations through
the specific use of evocative words. The form and the style
become everything in literature, in painting, and the plastic
arts. The emphasis is put upon exquisiteness in decoration,
upon precision in technique, upon loveliness of material. The
Pre-Raphaelite movement in poetry, with its emphasis on the
use of picturesque and decorative epithets, the exclusive
emphasis in some modern music on subtlety of technique in tone
and color, are recent examples.

The position taken has clearly this much justification. A
work does not become a work of art through the fact that it
expresses noble sentiments. The most righteous sermon may
not be beautiful. Whatever be the source of its inspiration,
art must make its appeal through the palpable and undeniable
beauty of the formal embodiment it has given to its
vision. However much an object be prized as a moral instrument,
unless it stirs the senses and the imagination, it hardly
can be called a work of art. On the other hand, things intrinsically
beautiful do seem to be their own justification. A
poem of Keats, a Japanese print, a delicate vase, or an exquisite
song demand no moral justification. They are their
own sufficient excuse for being.

But the "art for art's sake" doctrine, carried to extremes,
results in mere decadence or triviality. It produces at best
exquisite decorative trifles rather than works of a large and
serious beauty. Music seems to be the art where sheer beauty
of form is its own justification, for music can hardly be used as
a specific medium of communication. Those compositions
that purport to be "program music," to convey definite
impressions of particular scenes or ideas, are somewhat
halting attempts to use music as one uses language. Yet
even in music, though we may enjoy ingenious and fluent
melodic trifles, we regard them less highly than the earnest
and magnificent beauty of a Beethoven symphony.

But because art is only effective when it appeals to the
senses and to the imagination does not mean that the senses
and the imagination must be stirred by insignificance. The
artist may use the rhythms of music, line and color, the
suggestiveness of words, in the interests of ideal values. Gifted,
as he is, with imaginative foresight to imagine a world better
than the one in which he is living, he may, by picturing ideals
in persuasive form, not only bring them before the mind of
man, but insinuate them into his heart. The rational artist
may note the possibilities afoot in his environment. He may
treasure these hints of human happiness, and by giving them
vivid reality in the forms of art indicate captivatingly to men
where possible perfections lie. "For your young men shall
see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." The artist
may become the most influential of prophets, for his prophecies
come to men not as arbitrary counsels, but as pictures of
Perfection intrinsically lovely and intriguing. When Socrates
is asked whether or not his perfect city exists, he replies that
it exists only in Heaven, but that men in beholding it may, in
the light of that divine pattern, learn to attain in their earthly
cities a not dissimilar beauty.



WHAT SCIENCE IS. Science may be considered either as the
product of a certain type of human activity, or as a human
activity satisfactory even apart from its fruits. As an activity,
it is a highly refined form of that process of reflection by
which man is, in the first place, enabled to make himself at
home in the world. It differs from the ordinary or common-sense
process of thinking, as we shall presently see, in being
more thoroughgoing, systematic, and sustained. It is common
sense of a most extraordinarily refined and penetrating
kind. But before examining the procedure of science, we
must consider briefly its imposing product, that science whose
vast structure seems to the layman so final, imposing, and

From the point of view of the product which is the fruit of
reflective activity, Science may be defined as _a body of
systematized and verified knowledge, expressing in general terms the
relations of exactly defined phenomena._ In all the respects here
noted, science may be contrasted with those matters of _common
knowledge_, of _opinion_ or _belief_ which are the fruit of our
casual daily thinking and experience. Science is, in the first
place, a body of _systematized_ knowledge. One has but to
contrast the presentation of facts in an ordinary textbook in
zoölogy with the random presentation of facts in a newspaper
or in casual conversation. In science the facts bearing on a
given problem are presented as completely as possible and
are classified with reference to their significant bearings upon
the problem. Moreover the facts gathered and the classifications
of relationship made are not more or less accurate, more
or less true; they are tested and verified results. That
putrefaction, for example, is due to the life of micro-organisms in
the rotting substance is not a mere assumption. It has been
proved, tested, and verified by methods we shall have occasion
presently to examine.

Scientific knowledge, moreover, is general knowledge. The
relations it expresses are not _true_ in some cases of the precise
kind described, _untrue_ in others. The relations hold true
whenever these precise phenomena occur. This generality
of scientific relations is closely connected with the fact that
science expresses relations of exactly defined phenomena.
When a scientific law expresses a certain relation between _A_
and _B_, it says in effect: Given _A_ as meaning this particular
set of conditions and no others, and _B_ as meaning this particular
set of conditions and no others, then this relation holds
true. The relations between _exactly_ defined phenomena
are expressed in general terms, that is, the relations expressed
hold true, given certain conditions, whatever be the accompanying
circumstances. It makes no difference what be the
kind of objects, the law of gravitation still holds true: the
attraction between objects is directly proportional to the product
of their masses and inversely proportional to the square
of the distance between them.

Thus science as an activity is marked off by its method and
its intent rather than by its subject-matter. As a method it
is characterized by thoroughness, persistency, completeness,
generality, and system. As regards its intent, it is characterized
by its freedom from partiality or prejudice, and its interest
in discovering what the facts are, apart from personal
expectations and desires. In the scientific mood we wish to
know what the nature of things is. There are men who seem
to have a boundless, insatiable curiosity, who have a lifelong
passion for acquiring facts and understanding the relationship
between them.

SCIENCE AS EXPLANATION. The satisfactions which scientific
investigators derive from their inquiries are various. There
is, in the first place, the sheer pleasure of gratifying the normal
human impulse of curiosity, developed in some people to an
extraordinary degree. Experience to a sensitive and inquiring
mind is full of challenges and provocations to look
further. The appearance of dew, an eclipse of the sun, a flash
of lightning, a peal of thunder, even such commonplace phenomena
as the falling of objects, or the rusting of iron, the
evaporation of water, the melting of snow, may provoke inquiry,
may suggest the question, "Why?" Experience, as it
comes to us through the senses, is broken and fragmentary.
The connections between the occurrences of Nature seem
casual, and connected, as it were, purely by accident. A
black sky portends rain. But such an inference made by the
untrained mind is merely the result of habit. A black sky
has been followed by rain in the past; the same sequence of
events may be expected in the future. But the connection
between the two is not really understood. Sometimes
experiences seem to contradict each other. The straight stick
looks crooked or broken in water. The apparent anomalies
and contradictions, the welter of miscellaneous facts with
which we come in contact through the experiences of the
senses, are clarified by the generalizations of science. The
world of facts ceases to be random, miscellaneous, and
incalculable. Every phenomenon that occurs is seen to be an
instance of a general law that holds among all phenomena that
resemble it in certain definable respects. Thus the apparent
bending of the stick in water is seen to be a special case of the
laws of the refraction of light; the apparent anomaly or
contradiction of our sense experiences is, as we say, explained.
What seemed to be a contradiction and an exception is seen
to be a clear case of a regular law.

The desire for explanation in some minds is very strong.
Science _explains_ in the sense that _it reduces a phenomenon to
the terms of a general principle, whatever that principle may be._
When we meet a phenomenon that seems to come under no
general law, we are confronted with a mystery and a miracle.
We do not know what to expect from it. But when we can
place a phenomenon under a general law, applicable in a wide
variety of instances, everything that can be said of all the
other instances in which the law applies, applies also to this
particular case.

Think of heat as motion, and whatever is true of motion will be
true of heat; but we have had a hundred experiences of motion for
everyone of heat. Think of the rays passing through this lens as
bending toward the perpendicular, and you substitute for the
comparatively unfamiliar lens the very familiar notion of a particular
change in direction of a line, of which motion every day brings us
countless examples.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Psychology_, vol. II, p. 342.]

It must be noticed that the explanation which science gives,
is really in answer to the question, "How?" not the question,
"Why?" We are said to understand phenomena when
we understand the laws which _govern_ them. But to say that
certain given phenomena--the appearance of dew, the falling
of rain, the flash of lightning, the putrefaction of animal
matter--_obey_ certain laws is purely metaphorical. Phenomena
do not _obey_ laws in the sense in which we say the child
follows the commands of his parents, or the soldier those of
his officer. The laws of science simply describe the relations
which have repeatedly been observed to exist between phenomena.
They are laws in the sense that they are invariably
observed successions. When it has been found that
whenever _A_ is present, _B_ is also present, that the presence of
_A_ is always correlated with the presence of _B_, and the
presence of _B_ is always correlated with the presence of _A_, we say
we have discovered a scientific law.

Science thus explains in the sense that it reduces the multiplicity
and variety of phenomena to simple and general laws.
The ideal of unity and simplicity is the constant ideal toward
which science moves, and its success in thus reducing the miscellaneous
facts of experience has been phenomenal. The
history of science in the nineteenth century offers some
interesting examples. The discovery of the conservation of
energy and its transformations has revealed to us the unity
of force. It has shown, for example, that the phenomenon of
heat could be explained by molecular motions. "Electricity
annexed magnetism." Finally the relations of electricity and
light are now known; "the three realms of light, of electricity
and of magnetism, previously separated, form now but one;
and this annexation seems final."

There has been thus an increasing approach toward unity,
toward the summation of phenomena under one simple, general
formula.[1] Poincaré, in reviewing this progress, writes:

[Footnote 1: Poincaré notes also the opposite tendency, for
science to grow more complex. As he says: "And Newton's law
itself? Its simplicity, so long undetected, is perhaps only
apparent. Who knows whether it is not due to some complicated
mechanism, to the impact of some subtile matter animated
by irregular movements, and whether it has not become simple
only through the action of averages and of great numbers? In
any case it is difficult not to suppose that the true law
contains complementary terms, which would become sensible
at small distances." (_Foundations of Science_, p. 132.)]

The better one knows the properties of matter the more one sees
continuity reign. Since the labors of Andrews and Van der Wals, we
get an idea of how the passage is made from the liquid to the gaseous
state and that this passage is not abrupt. Similarly there is no gap
between the liquid and solid states, and in the proceedings of a recent
congress is to be seen, alongside of a work on the rigidity of liquids,
a memoir on the flow of solids....

Finally the methods of physics have invaded a new domain, that
of chemistry; physical chemistry is born. It is still very young, but
we already see that it will enable us to connect such phenomena as
electrolysis, osmosis, and the motions of ions.

From this rapid exposition what shall we conclude?

Everything considered, we have approached unity; we have not
been as quick as we had hoped fifty years ago, we have not always
taken the predicted way; but, finally, we have gained ever so much

[Footnote 2: Poincaré: _loc. cit._, pp. 153-54.]

The satisfaction which disinterested science gives to the
investigator is thus, in the first place, one of clarification.
Science, by enabling us to see the wide general laws of which
all phenomena are particular instances, emancipates the
imagination. It frees us from being bound by the accidental
suggestions which come to us from mere personal caprice,
habit, and environment, and enables us to observe facts
uncolored by passions and hope, and to discover those laws of
the universe which, in the words of Karl Pearson, "hold for
all normally constituted minds." In ordinary experience,
our impressions and beliefs are the results of inaccurate sense
observation colored by hope and fear, aversion and revulsion,
and limited by accidental circumstance. Through science
we are enabled to detach ourselves from the personal and the
particular and to see the world, as, undistorted, it must
appear to any man anywhere:

The scientific attitude of mind involves a sweeping away of all
other desires in the interests of the desire to know--it involves
suppression of hopes and fears, loves and hates, and the whole subjective
emotional life, until we become subdued to the material, able to see
it frankly, without preconceptions, without bias, without any wish
except to see it as it is, and without any belief that what it is must be
determined by some relation, positive or negative, to what we should
like it to be, or to what we can easily imagine it to be.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bertrand Russell: _Mysticism and Logic_, p. 44.]

Besides the satisfactions of system and clarity which the
sciences give, they afford man power and security. "Knowledge
is power," said Francis Bacon, meaning thereby that to
know the connection between causes and effects was to be
able to regulate conditions so as to be able to produce desirable
effects and eliminate undesirable ones. Even the most
disinterested inquiry may eventually produce practical
results of a highly important character. "Science is," as
Bertrand Russell says, "to the ordinary reader of newspapers,
represented by a varying selection of sensational triumphs,
such as wireless telegraphy and aeroplanes, radio-activity,
etc." But these practical triumphs in the control of natural
resources are often casual incidents of patiently constructed
systems of knowledge which were built up without the slightest
reference to their fruits in human welfare. Wireless
telegraphy, for example, was made possible by the disinterested
and abstract inquiry of three men, Faraday, Maxwell,
and Hertz.

In alternating layers of experiment and theory these three men
built up the modern theory of electromagnetism, and demonstrated
the identity of light with electromagnetic waves. The system which
they discovered is one of profound intellectual interest, bringing
together and unifying an endless variety of apparently detached
phenomena, and displaying a cumulative mental power which cannot
but afford delight to every generous spirit. The mechanical details
which remained to be adjusted in order to utilize their discoveries
for a practical system of telegraphy demanded, no doubt, very
considerable ingenuity, but had not that broad sweep and that
universality which could give them intrinsic interest as an object of
disinterested contemplation.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bertrand Russell: _Mysticism and Logic_, p. 34
("Science and Culture").]

SCIENCE AND A WORLD VIEW. One of the values of disinterested
science that is of considerable psychological importance
is the change in attitude it brings about in man's realization
of his place in the universe. Lucretius long ago thought to
free men's minds from terror and superstition by showing
them how regular, ordered, and inevitable was the nature of
things. The superstitious savage walks in dread among natural
phenomena. He lives in a world which he imagines to be
governed by capricious and incalculable forces. To a certain
extent he can, as we have seen, control these. But he is ill at
ease. He is surrounded by vast ambiguous forces, and moves
in a trembling ignorance of what will happen next.

To those educated to the scientific point of view, there is a
solidity and assurance about the frame of things. Beneath
the variability and flux, which they continually perceive, is
the changeless law which they have learned to comprehend.
Although they discover that the processes of Nature move on
indifferent to the welfare of man, they know, nevertheless,
that they are dependable and certain, that they are fixed
conditions of life which, to a certain extent, can be controlled, and
the incidental goods and ills of which are definitely calculable.
Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, noted the eternal
flux, yet perceived the steady order beneath, so that he could
eventually assert that all things changed save the law of
change. The magnificent regularity of natural processes has
been repeatedly remarked by students of science.

THE ÆSTHETIC VALUE OF SCIENCE. As pointed out in the
chapter on Art, scientific discovery is more than a mere
tabulation of facts. It is also a work of the imagination, and
gives to the worker in the scientific field precisely the same
sense of satisfaction as that experienced by the creative artist.
Of Kelvin his biographer writes:

Like Faraday and the other great masters in science, he was accustomed
to let his thoughts become so filled with the facts on which his
attention was concentrated that the relations subsisting between
the various phenomena gradually dawned upon him, and he _saw_
them, as if by some process of instinctive vision denied to others.
... His imagination was vivid; in his intense enthusiasm, he seemed
to be driven rather than to drive himself. The man was lost in his
subject, becoming as truly inspired as is the artist in the act of

[Footnote 1: Sylvanus P. Thompson; _The Life of William Thomson,
Baron Kelvin of Largs_, pp. 1125 ff.]

In the working-out of a principle, the systematizing of
many facts under a sweeping generalization, the scientist
finds a creator's joy. He is giving form and significance to
the disordered and chaotic materials of experience. The
scientific imagination differs from the artistic imagination
simply in that it is controlled with reference to facts. The
first flash is subjected to criticism, examination, revision, and
testing. But the grand generalizations of science originate
in just such an unpredictable original vision. The discovery
of the fitting formula which clarifies a mass of facts hitherto
chaotic and contradictory is very closely akin to the process
by which a poet discovers an appropriate epithet or a musician
an apposite chord.

But in its products as well as in its processes, scientific
investigations have a high æsthetic value. There is symmetry,
order, and splendor in the relations which science reveals.
The same formal beauty that appeals to us in a Greek statue
or a Beethoven symphony is to be found in the universe, but
on a far more magnificent scale. There is, in the first place,
the sense of rhythm and regularity:

There comes [to the scientific investigator] a sense of pervading
order. Probably this began at the very dawn of human reason--when
man first discovered the year with its magnificent object-lesson
of regularly recurrent sequences, and it has been growing ever
since. Doubtless the early forms that this perception of order took
referred to somewhat obvious uniformities; but is there any essential
difference between realizing the orderliness of moons and tides, of
seasons and migrations, and discovering Bodes's law of the relations
of the planets, or Mendeléeff's "Periodic Law" of the relations of
the atomic weights of the chemical elements?[1]

[Footnote 1: Thomson: _Introduction to Science_, p. 174.]

Ever since Newton's day the harmony of the spheres has
been a favorite poetic metaphor. The spaciousness of the
solar system has captivated the imagination, as have the time
cycles revealed by the paths of comets and meteors. The
universe seems indeed, as revealed by science, to present that
quality of æsthetic satisfaction which is always derived from
unity in multiplicity. The stars are as innumerable as they
are ordered. And it was Lucretius, the poet of naturalism,
who was wakened to wonder and admiration at the ceaseless
productivity, inventiveness, and fertility of Nature. We find
in the revelations of science again the same examples of delicacy
and fineness of structure that we admire so much in the
fine arts. The brain of an ant, as Darwin said, is perhaps the
most marvelous speck of matter in the universe. Again "the
physicists tell us that the behaviour of hydrogen gas makes it
necessary to suppose that an atom of it must have a constitution
as complex as a constellation, with about eight hundred
separate corpuscles."[2]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 176.]

THE DANGER OF "PURE SCIENCE." The fascinations of
disinterested inquiry are so great that they may lead to a kind of
scientific intemperance. The abstracted scientific interest
may become so absorbed in the working-out of small details
that it becomes over-specialized, narrow, and pedantic. The
pure theorist has always been regarded with suspicion by the
practical man. His concern over details of flora or fauna,
over the precise minutiæ of ancient hieroglyphics, seems
absurdly trivial in comparison with the central passions and
central purposes of mankind. There are workers in every
department of knowledge who become wrapt up in their
specialties, forgetting the forest for the trees. There are men
so absorbed in probing the crevices of their own little niche of
knowledge that they forget the bearings of their researches.
Especially in time of stress, of war or social unrest, men have
felt a certain callousness about the interests of the abstrusely
remote scholar. We shall have occasion to note presently
that it is in this coldness and emancipation from the pressing
demands of the moment that science has produced its most
pronounced eventual benefits for mankind. But an uncontrolled
passion for facts and relations may degenerate into a
mere play and luxury that may have its fascination for the
expert himself, but affords neither sweetness nor light to any
one else. One has but to go over the lists of doctors' dissertations
published by German universities during the late nineteenth
century to find examples of inquiry that seem to afford
not the slightest justification in the way of eventual good to

[Footnote 1: It is only fair to say that literary studies have
been marked by more barren and fruitless investigations (purely
philological inquiry, for example) than have the physical sciences.]

considering science chiefly as an activity which satisfies some
men as an activity in itself, by the æsthetic, emotional, and
intellectual values they derive from it. But a fact at once
paradoxical and significant in the history of human progress is
that this most impersonal and disinterested of man's activities
has been profoundly influential in its practical fruits.
The practical application of the sciences rests on the utilization
of the exact formulations of pure science. Through these
formulations we can control phenomena by artificially setting
up relations of which science has learned the consequences,
thus attaining the consequences we desire, and avoiding those
we do not.

The _direct_ influence of pure science on practical life is enormous.
The observations of Newton on the relations between a falling stone
and the moon, of Galvani on the convulsive movements of frogs' legs
in contact with iron and copper, of Darwin on the adaptation of
woodpeckers, of tree-frogs, and of seeds to their surroundings, of
Kirchhoff on certain lines which occur in the spectrum of sunlight,
of other investigators on the life-history of bacteria--these and
kindred observations have not only revolutionized our conception
of the universe, but they have revolutionized or are revolutionizing,
our practical life, our means of transit, our social conduct, our
treatment of disease.[1]

[Footnote 1: Karl Pearson: _The Grammar of Science_, pp. 35-36.]

Francis Bacon was one of the first to appreciate explicitly
the possibilities of the control of nature in the interests of
human welfare. He saw the vast possibilities which a careful
and comprehensive study of the workings of nature had in the
enlargement of human comfort, security, and power. In _The
New Atlantis_ he envisages an ideal commonwealth, whose
unique and singular institution is a House of Solomon, a kind
of Carnegie Foundation devoted to inquiry, the fruits of
which might be, as they were, exploited in the interests of
human happiness: "The end of our foundation is the knowledge
of causes and the secret motions of things; and the
enlarging of the bounds of human empire to the effecting
of all things possible."[2]

[Footnote 2: _The New Atlantis_.]

Science sometimes appears so remote and alien to the immediate
concrete objects which meet and interest us in daily
experience that we tend to forget that historically it was out of
concrete needs and practical interests that science arose. Geometry,
seemingly a clear case of abstract and theoretical
science, arose out of the requirements of practical surveying
and mensuration among the Egyptians. In the same way
botany grew out of herb gathering and gardening.

The application of the exact knowledge gained by the pure
sciences, may, if properly directed, immeasurably increase the
sum of human welfare. One has but to review briefly the
history of invention to appreciate this truth with vividness
and detail. The great variety of the "applied sciences"
shows the extent and multiplicity of the fruits of theoretical
inquiry. Astronomy plays an important part in navigation; but
it also earns its living by helping the surveyor and the mapmaker
and by supplying the world with accurate time. Industrial
chemistry offers, perhaps, the most striking examples.
There is, for example, the fixation of nitrogen, which makes
possible the artificial production of ammonia and potash;
the whole group of dye industries made possible through the
chemical production of coal tar; the industrial utilization of
cellulose in the paper, twine, and leather industries; the promise
of eventual production on a large scale of synthetic rubber;
the electric furnace, which, with its fourteen-thousand-degree
range of heat, makes possible untold increase in the effectiveness
of all the chemical industries.

Industrial chemistry is only one instance. The application
of theoretical inquiry in physics has made possible the telegraph,
the telephone, wireless telegraphy, electric motors, and
flying machines. Mineralogy and oceanography have opened
up new stores of natural resources. Biological research has
had diverse applications. Bacteriological inquiry has been
fruitfully applied in surgery, hygiene, agriculture, and the
artificial preservation of food. The principles of Mendelian
inheritance have been used in the practical improvement of
domestic animals and cultivated plants. The list might be
indefinitely extended. The sciences arose as attempts, more
or less successful, to solve man's practical problems. They
became historically cut off, as they may in the case of the pure
scientist still be cut off, from practical considerations. But no
matter how remote and abstract they become, they yield
again practical fruits.

Applied science, if it becomes too narrowly interested in
practical results, limits its own resources. Purely theoretical
inquiry may be of the most immense ultimate advantage. In
a sense the more abstract and remote science becomes, the
more eventual promise it contains. By getting away from the
confusing and irrelevant details of particular situations,
science is enabled to frame generalizations applicable to a wide
array of phenomena differing in detail, but having in common
significant characteristics. Men can learn fruitfully to control
their experience precisely because they can emancipate
themselves from the immediate demands of practical life,
from the suggestions that arise in the course of instinctive and
habitual action. "A certain power of _abstraction_, of
deliberate turning away from the habitual responses to a situation,
was required before men could be emancipated to follow up
suggestions that in the end are fruitful."[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _How We Think_, p. 156.]

Too complete absorption in immediate problems may operate
to deprive action of that sweeping and penetrating vision
which a freer inquiry affords. The temporarily important
may be the less important in the long run. A practical
adjustment of detail may produce immediate benefits in the way of
improved industrial processes and more rapid and economical
production, but some seemingly obscure discovery in the most
abstruse reaches of scientific theory may eventually be of
untold practical significance.

Only the extremely ignorant can question the utility of, let us say,
the prolonged application of the Greek intellect to the laws of conic
sections. Whether we think of bridges or projectiles, of the curves
of ships, or of the rules of navigation, we must think of conic sections.
The rules of navigation, for instance, are in part based on astronomy.
Kepler's Laws are foundation stones of that science, but Kepler discovered
that Mars moves in an ellipse round the sun in one of the
foci by a deduction from conic sections.... Yet the historical fact
is that these conic sections were studied as an abstract science for
eighteen centuries before they came to be of their highest use.[2]

[Footnote 2: Thomson: _Introduction to Science_, pp. 239-40.]

Pasteur, whose researches are of such immediate consequence
in human health, began his studies in the crystalline forms
of tartrates. The tremendous commercial uses which have
been made of benzene had their origin "in a single idea,
advanced in a masterly treatise by Auguste Kekule in the year

[Footnote 1: Quoted by Thomson from an address on "Technical
Chemistry" by C. E. Munroe.]

Practical life has been continually enriched by theoretical
inquiry. Scientific descriptions increase in value as they
become absolutely impersonal, absolutely precise, and especially
as they become condensed general formulas, which will
be applicable to an infinite variety of particular situations.
And such descriptions are necessarily abstract and theoretical.

merely common sense made more thoroughgoing and systematic.
Reflection of a more or less effective kind takes place
in ordinary experience wherever instinctive or habitual action
is not adequate to meet a situation, whenever the individual
has a problem to solve, an adjustment to make. Thinking,
of some kind, goes on continually. Scientific thinking merely
means careful, safeguarded, systematic thinking. It is thinking
alert and critical of its own methods. As contrasted
with ordinary common-sense thinking, it is distinguished by
"caution, carefulness, thoroughness, definiteness, exactness,
orderliness, and methodic arrangement." We think, in any
case, because we have to, being creatures born with a set of
instincts not adequate to meet the conditions of our environment.
We can think carelessly and ineffectively, or carefully
and successfully.

Scientific method, or orderly, critical, and systematic
thinking, is not applicable to one subject-matter exclusively.
Examples are commonly drawn from the physical or chemical
or biological laboratory, but the elements of scientific method
may be illustrated in the procedure of a business man meeting
a practical problem, a lawyer sifting evidence, a statesman
framing a new piece of legislation. In all these cases the
difference between a genuinely scientific procedure and mere
casual and random common sense is the same.

Science is nothing but _trained and organized common sense_,
differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit:
and its methods differ from those of common sense only so far as the
guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage
wields his club. The primary power is the same in each case, and
perhaps the untutored savage has the more brawny arm of the two.
The _real_ advantage lies in the point and polish of the swordsman's
weapon; in the trained eye quick to spy out the weakness of the
adversary; in the ready hand prompt to follow it on the instant.
But, after all, the sword exercise is only the hewing and poking of the
clubman refined and developed.

So, the vast results obtained by science are won by ... no mental
processes, other than those which are practiced by everyone of us,
in the humblest and meanest affairs of life. A detective policeman
discovers a burglar from the marks made by his shoe, by a mental
process identical with that by which Cuvier restored the extinct animals
of Montmartre from fragments of their bones.... Nor does
that process of induction and deduction by which a lady finding a
stain of a peculiar kind upon her dress, concludes that somebody has
upset the inkstand thereon, differ, in any way, in kind, from that by
which Adams and Leverrier discovered a new planet.

The man of science, in fact, simply uses with scrupulous exactness
the methods which we all, habitually and at every moment, use
carelessly; and the man of business must as much avail himself of
the scientific method--must as truly be a man of science--as the
veriest bookworm of us all.[1]

[Footnote 1: Huxley: _Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews_,
pp. 77, 78 (in "The Educational Value of the Natural History Sciences").]

The scientific procedure becomes, as we shall see, highly
complicated, involving elaborate processes of observation,
classification, generalization, deduction or development of
ideas, and testing. But it remains thinking just the same,
and originates in some problem or perplexity, just as thinking
does in ordinary life.

SCIENCE AND COMMON SENSE. It is profitable to note in
some detail the ways in which scientific method, in spirit and
technique, differs from common-sense thinking. It is more
insistent in the first place on including the whole range of
relevant data, of bringing to light all the facts that bear on a
given problem. In common-sense thinking we make, as we
say, snap judgments; we jump at conclusions. Anything
plausible is accepted as evidence; anything heard or seen is
accepted as a fact. The scientific examiner insists on examining
and subjecting to scrutiny the facts at hand, on searching
for further facts, and on distinguishing the facts genuinely
significant in a given situation from these that happen to be
glaring or conspicuous. This is merely another way of saying
that both accuracy and completeness of observation are
demanded, accuracy in the examination of the facts present,
and completeness in the array of facts bearing on the question
at hand.

Scientific thinking is thus primarily inquiring and skeptical.
It queries the usual; it tries, as we say, to penetrate beneath
the surface. Common sense, for example, gives suction as the
explanation of water rising in a pump. But where, as at a great
height above sea level, this mysterious power of suction does
not operate, or when it is found that it does not raise water
above thirty-two feet, common sense is at a loss. Scientific
thinking tries to analyze the gross fact, and by accurately and
completely observing all the facts bearing on the phenomenon
endeavors to find out "what _special_ conditions are present
when the effect occurs" and absent when it does not occur.
Instead of trying to fit all unusual, contradictory, or exceptional
facts into _a priori_ ideas based on miscellaneous and
unsifted facts, it starts without any _fixed_ conclusions beforehand,
but carefully observes all the facts which it can secure
with reference to a particular problem, deliberately seeking
the exceptional and unusual as crucial instances. Thus in a
sociological inquiry, the scientist, instead of accepting
"common-sense" judgments (based on a variety of miscellaneous,
incomplete, and unsifted facts) that certain races are inferior
or superior, tries, by specific inquiries, to establish the facts
of racial capacities or defects. Instead of accepting proverbial
wisdom and popular estimates of the relative capacities
of men and women, he tries by careful observation and
experiment accurately to discover all the facts bearing on
the question, and to generalize from those facts.

Scientific method thus discounts prejudice or dogmatism.
A prejudice is literally a pre-judgment. Common sense sizes
up the situation beforehand. Instead of examining a situation
in its own terms, and _arriving_ at a conclusion, it _starts_
with one. The so-called hard-headed man of common sense
_knows_ beforehand. He has a definite and stereotyped reaction
for every situation with which he comes in contact.
These rubber-stamp responses, these unconsidered generalizations,
originate in instinctive desires, or in preferences acquired
through habit. Common sense finds fixed pigeon holes
into which to fit all the variety of specific circumstances and
conditions which characterize experience. "When its judgments
happen to be correct, it is almost as much a matter of
good luck as of method.... That potatoes should be planted
only during the crescent moon, that near the sea people are
born at high tide and die at low tide, that a comet is an
omen of danger, that bad luck follows the cracking of a
mirror," all these are the results of common-sense observation.
Matters of common knowledge are thus not infrequently
matters of common misinformation.

Common-sense knowledge is largely a matter of uncritical
belief. When there is absent scientific examination of the
sources and grounds of belief, those judgments and conclusions
are likely to be accepted which happen to have wide
social currency and authority. In an earlier chapter, it was
shown how the mere fact of an opinion prevailing among a
large number of one's group or class gives it great emotional
weight. Where opinions are not determined by intelligent
examination and decision, they are determined by force of
habit, early education, and the social influences to which one
is constantly exposed.

The scientific spirit is a spirit of emancipated inquiry as
contrasted with blind acceptance of belief upon authority.
The phenomenal developments of modern science began
when men ceased to accept authoritatively their beliefs about
man and nature, and undertook to examine phenomena in
their own terms. The phenomenal rise of modern science is
coincident with the collapse of unquestioning faith as the
leading ingredient of intellectual life.

Common sense renders men peculiarly insensitive to the
possibilities of the novel, peculiarly susceptible to the
influence of tradition. It was common sense that credited the
influence of the position of the stars upon men's welfare, the
power of old women as witches, and the unhealthiness of night
air. It was common sense also that ridiculed Fulton's steamboat,
laughed at the early attempts of telegraphy and telephony,
and dismissed the aeroplane as an interesting toy. The
characteristic feature of common sense or empirical thinking
is its excess traditionalism, its wholesale acceptance of authority,[1]
its reliance upon precedent. Where beliefs are not subjected
to critical revision and examination, to the constant
surveillance of the inquiring intelligence, there will be no
criterion by which to estimate the true and the false, the
important and the trivial. All beliefs that have wide social
sanction, or that chime in with immediate sense impressions,
established individual habits, or social customs will be accepted
with the same indiscriminate hospitality. To common sense
the sun _does_ appear to go round the earth; the stick _does_
appear broken in water. Thus "totally false opinions may
appear to the holder of them to possess all the character of
rationally verifiable truth."

[Footnote 1: "Authority" in this sense of social prestige must
be distinguished from "authority" in the sense of scientific
authority. The acceptance of the authority of the expert is the
acceptance of opinions that we have good reason to believe are
the result of scientific inquiry.]

The dangers and falsities of common-sense judgments are
conditioned not only by expectations and standards fixed by
the social environment, but by one's own personal predilections
and aversions. Recent developments in psychology
have made much of the fact that many of our so-called
reasoned judgments are rationalizations, secondary reasons
found after our initial, primary, and deep-seated emotional
responses have been made. They are the result of emotional
"complexes," fears, expectations, and desires of which we are
not ourselves conscious.[1] It is from these limiting conditions
of personal preference and social environment that scientific
method frees us.

[Footnote 1: "When a party politician is called upon to consider
a new measure, his verdict is largely determined by certain
constant systems of ideas and trends of thought, constituting
what is generally known as 'party bias.' We should describe
these systems in our newly acquired terminology as his 'political
complex.' The complex causes him to take up an attitude toward
the proposed measure which is quite independent of any absolute
merits that the latter may possess. If we argue with our politician,
we shall find that the complex will reinforce in his mind those
arguments which support the view of his party, while it will
infallibly prevent him from realizing the force of the arguments
propounded by the opposite side. Now, it should be observed that
the individual himself is probably quite unaware of this mechanism
in his mind. He fondly imagines that his opinion is formed solely
by the logical pros and cons of the measure before him. We see,
in fact, that not only is his thinking determined by a complex
of whose action he is unconscious, but that he believes his
thoughts to be the result of other causes which are in reality
insufficient and illusory. This latter process of self-deception,
in which the individual conceals the real foundation of his
thought by a series of adventitious props, is termed

"The two mechanisms which manifest themselves in our example of
the politician, the unconscious origin of beliefs and actions,
and the subsequent process of rationalization to which they are
subjected, are of fundamental importance in psychology."
(Bernard Hart: _The Psychology of Insanity_, pp. 64-66.)]

Again, even where common-sense judgments are not particularly
qualified by such conditions, they are frequently
based upon the observation of purely accidental conjunctions
of circumstances. A sequence once or twice observed is taken
as the basis of a causal relation. This gives rise to what is
known in technical logic as the _post hoc ergo propter hoc_
fallacy; that is, the assumption that because one thing happens
after another, therefore it happens _because_ of it. Many
superstitions probably had their origin in such chance observations,
and belief in them is strengthened by some accidental
confirmation. Thus if a man walks under a ladder one
day and dies the next, the believer in the superstition that
walking under a ladder brings fatal results will find in this
instance a clear ratification of his belief. There seems to be
an inveterate human tendency to seek for causes, and by
those who are not scientific inquirers causes are lightly
assigned. It is easiest and most plausible to assign as a cause
an immediately preceding circumstance. Exceptional or contradictory
circumstances are then either unnoticed or pared
down to fit the belief.

Scientific method does not depend on such chance conjunctions
of circumstance, but controls its observations or
experimentally arranges conditions so as to discover what are
the conditions necessary to produce given effects, or what
effects invariably follow from given causes. It does not
accept a chance conjunction as evidence of an invariable
relation, but seeks, under regulated conditions, to discover what
the genuinely invariable relations are. This method of
controlling our generalizations about the facts of experience, we
shall presently examine in some detail.

CURIOSITY AND SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY. Curiosity, the instinctive
basis of the desire to know, is the basis of scientific inquiry.
Without this fundamental desire, there could be no sustaining
motive to deep and thoroughgoing scientific research, for
theoretical investigations do not always give promise of immediate
practical benefits. The scientific interest is a development
of that restless curiosity for a knowledge of the world in
which they are living which children so markedly exhibit.
Beginning as a kind of miscellaneous and omnivorous appetite
for facts of whatever description, it grows into a desire to
understand the unsuspected and hidden relations between
facts, to penetrate to the unities discoverable beneath the
mysteries and multiplicities of things.

The scientific mood is thus in the first place a sheer instinctive
curiosity, a basic passion for facts. It is this which sustains
the scientific worker in the sometimes long and dreary
business of collecting specimens, instances, details. Many of
the most notable scientific advances, as Lord Kelvin pointed
out, must be attributed to the most protracted and unmitigated
drudgery in the collection of facts, a thoroughgoing and
trying labor in which the scientific worker could persist only
when fortified by an eager and insistent curiosity. This
"hodman's work" is the basis of the great generalizations
which constitute the framework of the modern scientific
systems. "The monotonous and quantitative work of star-cataloguing
has been continued from Hipparchus, who began
his work more than a century before Christ, work which is
continued even to the present day. This work, uninspiring
as it seems, is yet an essential basis for the applications of
astronomy, the determination of time, navigation, surveying.
Furthermore, without good star places, we can have no theory
of the motions of the solar system, and without accurate
catalogues of the stars we can know nothing of the grander
problems of the universe, the motion of our sun among the
stars, or of the stars among themselves."[1]

[Footnote 1: Hinks: _Astronomy_, p. 162.]

Not only is curiosity a sustaining motive in the drudgery of
collection and research incident and essential to scientific
generalization; it alone makes possible that suspense of
judgment which is necessary to fruitful scientific inquiry. This
suspense is, as we have already seen, difficult for most men.
Action demands immediate decision, and inquiry deliberately
postpones decision. It is only a persistent desire to "get at
the bottom of the matter" that will act as a check upon the
demands of social life and of individual impatience which rush
us to conclusions. In most men, as earlier noted, the sharp
edge of curiosity becomes easily blunted. They are content,
outside their own immediate personal interests, "to take
things for granted." They glide over the surfaces of events,
they cease to query the authenticity of facts, or to examine
their relevance and their significance, or to be concerned about
their completeness. For an example, one has but to listen to
or partake in the average discussion of any political or social
issue of the present day. There are few men who retain, even
as far as middle life, a genuinely inquiring interest in men and
affairs. Their curiosity is dulled by fatigue and the pressure
of their own interests and preoccupations, and they allow
their prejudices and formulas to pass for judgments and conclusions.
The scientist is the man in whom curiosity has
become a permanent passion, who, as long as he lives, is
unwilling to forego inquiry into the processes of Nature, or of
human relations.

THINKING BEGINS WITH A PROBLEM. While the general habit
of inquiry is developed in the satisfaction of the instinct of
curiosity, any particular investigation begins with a felt
difficulty. By difficulty is not meant one of an imperative
and practical kind, but any problem whether theoretical or
practical. For many men, it is true, thinking occurs only
when instinct and habit are inadequate to adjust them to
their environment. Any problem of daily life affords an
example. To borrow an illustration from Professor Dewey:

A man traveling in an unfamiliar region comes to a branching of
the roads. Having no sure knowledge to fall back upon, he is
brought to a standstill of hesitation and suspense. Which road is
right? And how shall the perplexity be resolved? There are but
two alternatives. He must either blindly and arbitrarily take his
course, trusting to luck for the outcome, or he must discover grounds
for the conclusion that a given road is right.[1]

[Footnote l: Dewey: _How We Think_, p. 10.]

To the inquiring mind, purely theoretical difficulties or
discrepancies will provoke thought. To the astronomer an
unaccounted-for perturbation in the path of a planet provokes
inquiry; the chemist is challenged by a curious unexplained
reaction of two chemical elements, the biologist, anterior to
the discovery of micro-organisms, by the putrefaction of
animal tissues. The degree to which curiosity persists and
the extent of training a man has had in a given field largely
determine the kind of situations that will provoke inquiry.
"A primrose by the river's brim" may be simply a primrose
to one man, while to another, a botanist, it may suggest an
interesting and complex problem of classification.

But however remote and recondite thinking becomes, however
far removed from immediate practical concerns, it occurs
essentially in a situation analogous to the "forked-road situation"
described above. The situation as it stands is confused,
ambiguous, uncertain. In a practical problem, for example,
there are two or more courses of action open to us, all of them
giving promise as solutions of our difficulties. We aim through
reflection to reduce the uncertainty, to clarify the situation,
to discover more clearly the consequences of the various
alternatives which suggest themselves to us. When action is
unimpeded, suggestions flow on just as they arise in our
minds. This is illustrated best in the reveries of a day-dream
when casual and disconnected fancies follow each other in
random and uncontrolled succession. But when there is a
problem to be settled, an ambiguity to be resolved, suggestions
are held in check and controlled with reference to the
end we have in view; each suggestion is estimated with regard
to its relevance to the problem in hand. Every idea that
arises is, so to speak, queried: "Is it or is it not a solution to
our present difficulty?"

We are indebted to Professor Dewey, for an analysis of the
thought process. Every instance of thinking reveals five

(1) A felt difficulty, (2) its location and definition, (3)
suggestions of possible solutions, (4) development by reasoning
of the bearings of the most promising suggestion, (5) further
observation or experiment leading to its acceptance or rejection,
that is a conclusion either of belief or disbelief.

When instinct or habit suffices to adjust us to our environment,
action runs along smoothly, freely, uninterruptedly. In
consequence the provocation to thinking may at first be a
mere vague shock or disturbance. We are, as it were, in
trouble without knowing precisely what the trouble is. We
must carefully inquire into the nature of the problem before
undertaking a solution. To take a simple instance, an automobile
may suddenly stop. We know there is a difficulty,
but whether it is a difficulty with the transmission, with the
carburetor, or with the supply of gasoline, we cannot at first
tell. Before we do anything else in solving our problem, we
find out literally and precisely _what the trouble is_. To take a
different situation, a doctor does not undertake to prescribe
for a patient until he has diagnosed the difficulty, found out
precisely what the features of the problem are.

The second step after the situation has been examined and
its precise elements defined, is _suggestion_. That is, we
consider the various possibilities which _suggest_ themselves as
solutions to our problem. There may be several ways of temporarily
repairing our engine; the doctor may think of two or
three possible treatments for a disease. In one sense, suggestion
is uncontrollable. The kind of suggestions that occur to
an individual depend on his "genius or temperament," on his
past experiences, on his hopes or fears or expectations when
that particular situation occurs. We can, however, through
the methods of science, control suggestions indirectly. We
can do this, in the first place, by reëxamining the facts which
give rise to suggestion. If upon close examination, the facts
appear differently from what they did at first, we will derive
different inferences from them. Different suggestions will
arise from the facts _A, B, C_, than from the facts _A', B', C'_.
Again we can regulate the conditions under which credence is
given to the various suggestions that arise. These suggestions
are entertained merely as tentative, and are not accepted
until experimentally verified. "The suggested conclusion as
only tentatively entertained constitutes an idea."

After the variety of suggestions that proffer themselves as
solutions to a problem have been considered, the third step is
the logical development of the idea or suggestion that gives
most promise of solving the difficulty. That is, even before
further facts are sought, the idea that gives promise of being a
solution is followed out to its logical consequences. Thus, for
example, astronomers were for a long time puzzled by unexplained
perturbations in the path of the planet Uranus. The
suggestion occurred that an unseen planet was deflecting it
from the path it should, from observation and calculation,
be following. If this were the case, from the amount of deflection
it was mathematically calculated, prior to any further
observation, that the supposed planet should appear at a certain
point in space. It was by this deductive elaboration that
the planet Neptune was discovered. It was figured out deductively
that a planet deflecting the path of the planet Uranus
by just so-and-so much should be found at just such and such
a particular point in the heavens. When the telescopes were
turned in that direction, the planet Neptune was discovered
at precisely the point deductively forecast.

The elaboration of an idea through reasoning it out may
sometimes lead to its rejection. But in thinking out its
details we may for the first time note its appositeness to the
solution of the problem in hand. The gross suggestion may
seem wild and absurd, but when its bearings and consequences
are logically developed there may be some item in
the development which dovetails into the problem as its
solution. William James gives as the outstanding feature of
reasoning, "sagacity, or the perception of the essence."[1] By
this he meant the ability to single out of a complex situation
or idea the significant or key feature. It is only by a logical
development of a suggested solution to a problem that it is
possible to hit upon the essence of the matter for a particular
situation, to single out of a gross total situation, the key to
the phenomenon. "In reasoning, _A_ may suggest _B_; but _B_,
instead of being an idea which is simply _obeyed_ by us, is an
idea which suggests the distinct additional idea _C_. And
where the train of suggestion is one of reasoning distinctively
so-called as contrasted with mere 'revery,' ... the ideas bear
certain inward relations to each other which we must carefully
examine. The result _C_ yielded by a true act of reasoning
is apt to be a thing voluntarily _sought_, such as the means
to a proposed end, the ground for an observed effect, or the
effect of an assumed cause."[2] Thus what at first sight might
seem a fantastic suggestion may, when its bearings are logically
followed out, be seen in one of its aspects to be the key
to the solution of a problem. To primitive man it might have
seemed absurd to suggest that flowing water might be used
as power; to the man in Franklin's day that the same force
that was exhibited in the lightning might be used in transportation
and in lighting houses.[1]

[Footnote 1: James: _Psychology_, vol. II, p. 343.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 329.]

[Footnote 1: James gives an illuminating passage on the importance
of the effectiveness of _reasoning_ things out: "I have a
student's lamp, of which the flame vibrates most unpleasantly unless
the collar which bears the chimney be raised about a sixteenth of
an inch. I learned the remedy after much torment by accident, and
now always keep the collar up with a small wedge. But my procedure
is a mere association of two totals, diseased object and remedy.
One learned in pneumatics could have named the _cause_ of the
disease, and thence inferred the remedy immediately. By many
measurements of triangles, one might find their area always equal
to their height multiplied by half their base, and one might
formulate an empirical law to that effect. But a reasoner saves himself
all this trouble, by seeing that it is the essence (_pro hac vice_)
of a triangle to be the half of a parallelogram whose area is the height
into the entire base. To see this he must invent additional lines; and
the geometer must often draw such to get at the essential properties
he may require in a figure. The essence consists in some _relation
of the figure to the new lines_, a relation not obvious at all until
they are put in. The geometer's sagacity lies in the invention of the
new lines." (_Psychology_, vol. II, pp. 339-40.)]

But no thinking is conclusive until after the experimental
certification and warranting of the idea which has been held
in mind as the solution of the problem. By deduction, by
logical elaboration of an idea, we find its adoption involves
certain consequences. Some of the logical consequences
which follow from an idea may indicate that it is a plausible
solution of our problem. But no matter how plausible a
suggestion looks, until it is verified by observation or experiment
the thinking process is not concluded, is not finished,
as we say, _conclusively_. When an idea or a suggestion has
been developed, and seen to involve--as an idea--certain
inevitable logical consequences, the idea must be tested by
further observation and experiment. Suggestions arise _from_
facts and must be tested _by_ them. Until the suggestion is
verified, it remains merely a suggestion, a theory, a hypothesis,
an idea. It is only when the consequences implied logically
in the very idea itself are found in the actual situation
that the idea is accepted as a solution to the problem. Sometimes
the suggestion may be verified by observation; sometimes
conditions must be deliberately arranged for testing its
adequacy. In either case it is only when the facts of the
situation correspond to the conditions theoretically involved that
the tentative idea is accepted as a conclusion.

Thus a treatment that is regarded by the doctor as a possible
cure can be called an actual cure only when its beneficent
results are observed. The supposition about the planet
Neptune is only verified when the planet is actually observed
in the heavens. Thinking ends, as it begins, in observation.
At the beginning the facts are carefully examined to see
precisely where the difficulty lies; at the end they are again
examined to see whether an idea, an entertained hypothesis,
a suggested solution, can be verified in actual observable

varies, first, with the fertility of suggestion of the analyzing
mind. Ease of suggestion, in the first place, depends on innate
individual differences. There are some minds so constituted
that every fact provokes a multitude of suggestions.
Readiness in responding with "ideas" to any experience is
dependent primarily on initial differences in resilience and
responsiveness. But differences in training and past experience
are also contributory. A man who has much experience
in a given field, say in automobile repairing, will, given a
difficulty, not only think of more suggestions, but think more
rapidly in that field.

Again persons differ in range or number of suggestions that
occur. The quality of the thinking process and of the results
it produces depends, in part, on the variety of suggestions which
occur to an individual in the solution of a given problem. If
too few suggestions occur one may fail to hit upon any promising
solution. If too many suggestions occur one may be
too confused to arrive at any conclusion at all. Whether an
individual has few or many suggestions depends largely on
native differences. It depends, also, however in part, on
acquaintance with a given field. And the fertility of suggestions
may be increased by a careful survey and re-survey of
the facts at hand, and by the deliberate searching-out of
further facts from which further suggestions may be derived.
Suggestions differ, finally, in regard to depth or significance;
by nature and by training, individuals produce ideas of varying
degrees of significance in the solution of problems. Ease
and versatility of suggestion not infrequently connote
superficiality; to make profound and far-reaching suggestions takes

It is further requisite, as already pointed out, that the analyzing
mind be free from prejudice. Thinking is continually
qualified, as we have seen, by preferences and aversions.
Every prejudice, every _a priori_ belief we have, literally
prejudges the inquiry. Whenever we are moved by a "predominant
passion," we cannot survey the facts impartially.
It is hard to think clearly and justly about people whom we
love or hate, or to estimate with precision the morality of
actions toward which we are moved by very strong impulses.
It is only the mind that remains resolutely emancipated from
the compulsions of habit and circumstances, that persists in
surveying facts as they are, letting the chips, so to speak, fall
where they will, that can be really effective in thinking. In
the physical sciences it is comparatively easy to start with no
prejudices; in social inquiries where we are bound by traditions,
loyalties, and antipathies it is much more difficult.

Not the least essential to effective thinking is persistence
and thoroughness of investigation. Since we are primarily
creatures of action, we crave definiteness and immediacy of
decision, and there is a constant temptation to rush to a
conclusion. In order to attain genuine completeness of the facts
and certainty and accuracy as to what the facts are, long,
unwavering persistence is required. There must be persistence,
moreover, not merely because of the length of time and the
amount of labor involved in the collection of data; steadiness
is required in holding in mind the end or purpose of the investigation.
Too often in inquiry into the facts of human relations,
the specific problem is forgotten and facts are collected
with an indiscriminate omnivorousness. There is in such
cases plodding, but of an unenlightened and fruitless sort.
Not only _persistency_ but _consistency_ is required. The
investigation must be steadily carried on with persistent and
unwavering reference to the specific business in hand.

Effective thinking depends further on familiarity with the
field of facts under investigation. Even the most ready and
fertile of minds, the most orderly habits of thought, are at a
loss without a store of material; that is, facts from which
suggestions may arise. And this store of materials can only
be attained through a thoroughgoing acquaintance with the
particular field of inquiry. Thinking aims to explain the
relations between facts, and an intimate acquaintance with
facts involved in a given situation is prerequisite to any
generalization whatsoever.

While the native fertility of given minds cannot be controlled,
suggestions can be controlled indirectly. Suggestions
arise from the data at hand, but the data themselves change
under more precise conditions of observation, and the suggestions
that arise from them change in consequence. The
whole elaborate apparatus of science, its instruments of
precision, are designed to yield an exact determination of the
precise nature of the data at hand. The scientist attempts to
prevent "reading-in" of meanings. "Reading-in" of meanings
may be due to various causes. In the first place there
may be purely physical causes: a dim light, a fog, a cracked
window-pane are examples of how ordinary observation may
lead us astray. Again, physiological causes may be at work
to distort sensations: imperfection's in the sense organs,
fatigue, illness, and the like are examples. But not least among
the causes of error must be set psychological causes. That is,
we read facts differently in the light of what we fear or hope,
like or dislike, expect or recall. We see things the way we
want them to be, or the way previous experience has taught
us to expect them to be.

Both physiological and psychological causes may be checked
up by instruments. Indeed, one of the chief utilities of
instruments of precision is that they do serve to check up personal
error. They prevent scientific inquirers from reading in
meanings to which they are led by hope, fear, preference, or
aversion. They help us to see the facts as they are, not as for
various social and personal reasons we want or expect them
to be. They help to give precise and permanent impressions
which are not dependent for their discovery or for their preservation
on the precariousness of human observation or memory.

CLASSIFICATION. Next only in importance to accurate
observation of the facts is their classification. Objects of
experience as they come to us through the senses appear in a
sequence which is random and chaotic. But in order to deal
effectively with our experience we must arrange facts according
to their likenesses and differences. Whenever we discover
certain striking similarities between facts, we classify
them, place them in a class, knowing that what will apply to
one will apply to all. Some logicians go so far as to say that
science cannot go any further than accurate classification.
In the words of Poincaré:

The most interesting facts are those which may serve many times;
these are the facts which have a chance of coming up again. We
have been so fortunate as to have been born in a world where there
are such. Suppose that instead of sixty chemical elements there
were sixty milliards of them, that they were not some common, the
others rare, but that they were equally distributed. Then, every
time we picked up a new pebble there would be great probability of
its being formed of some unknown substance; all that we knew of
other pebbles would be worthless for it; before each new object we
should be as the new-born babe; like it we could only obey our
caprices or our needs. Biologists would be just as much at a loss if
there were only individuals and no species, and if heredity did not
make sons like their fathers.[1]

[Footnote 1: Poincaré: _Foundations of Science_, p. 363.]

The aim of classification in science is grouping in such a way
as to make manifest at once similarities in the behavior of
objects. That characteristic is selected as a basis of classification
with which is correlated the greatest number of other
characteristics belonging to the facts in question. It would
be possible to classify all living things according to color, but
such a classification would be destitute of scientific value.
Biology offers some interesting examples of how an illuminating
classification may be made on the basis of a single characteristic.
It has been found, for example, that the differences
or resemblances of animals are correlated with corresponding
differences or resemblances in their teeth. In general, the
function of classification may be summarized in Huxley's
definition as modified by Jevons:

By the classification of any series of objects is meant the actual
or ideal arrangement together of those things which are like and the
separation of those things which are unlike, the purpose of the
arrangement being, primarily, to disclose the correlations or laws of
union of properties and circumstances, and, secondarily, to facilitate
the operations of the mind in clearly conceiving and retaining in
memory the characters of the object in question.

It should be noted that the object of classification is not
simply to indicate similarities but to indicate distinctions or
differences. In scientific inquiry, differences are as crucial in
the forming of generalizations as similarities. It is only possible
to classify a given fact under a scientific generalization
when the given fact is set off from other facts, when it is seen
to be the result of certain special conditions.

If a man infers from a single sample of grain as to the grade of
wheat of the car as a whole, it is induction, and under certain
circumstances, a _sound_ induction; other cases are resorted to simply for the
sake of rendering that induction more guarded and correct. In the
case of the various samples of grain, it is the fact that the samples
are unlike, at least in the part of the carload from which they are
taken, that is important. Were it not for this unlikeness, their likeness
in quality would be of no avail in assisting inference.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _How We Think_, pp. 89-90.]

generalizations from the observation of situations as they occur
in Nature, we are at a disadvantage. If we observe cases
just as we find them, there is much present that is irrelevant
to our problem; much that is of genuine importance in its
solution is hidden or obscure. In experimental investigation
we are, in the words of Sir John Herschel, "active observers";
we deliberately invent crucial or test cases. That is, we
deliberately arrange conditions so that every factor is definitely
known and recognized. We then introduce into this set of
completely known conditions one change, one new circumstance,
and observe its effect. In Mill's phrase, we "take a
phenomenon home with us," and watch its behavior. Mill
states clearly the outstanding advantage of experimentation
over observation:

When we can produce a phenomenon artificially, we can take it, as
it were, home with us, and observe it in the midst of circumstances
with which in all other respects we are accurately acquainted. If
we desire to know what are the effects of the cause _A_, and are able to
produce _A_ by means at our disposal, we can generally determine at
our own discretion ... the whole of the circumstances which shall
be present along with it; and thus, knowing exactly the simultaneous
state of everything else which is within the reach of _A's_ influence,
we have only to observe what alteration is made in that state by the
presence of _A_.

For example, by the electric machine we can produce, in the midst
of known circumstances, the phenomena which Nature exhibits on
a grander scale in the form of lightning and thunder. Now let any
one consider what amount of knowledge of the effects and laws of
electric agency mankind could have obtained from the mere observation
of thunderstorms, and compare it with that which they have
gained, and may expect to gain, from electrical and galvanic

When we have succeeded in isolating the phenomenon which is
the subject of inquiry, by placing it among known circumstances,
we may produce further variations of circumstances to any extent,
and of such kinds as we think best calculated to bring the laws of the
phenomenon into a clear light. By introducing one well-defined
circumstance after another into the experiment, we obtain assurance
of the manner in which the phenomenon behaves under an indefinite
variety of possible circumstances. Thus, chemists, after having
obtained some newly discovered substance in a pure state, ... introduce
various other substances, one by one, to ascertain whether it
will combine with them, or decompose them, and with what result;
and also apply heat or electricity or pressure, to discover what will
happen to the substance under each of these circumstances.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Logic_ (London, 1872), vol. I, pp. 441-42.]

Through experiment, we are thus enabled to observe the
relation of specific elements in a situation. We are, furthermore,
enabled to observe phenomena which are so rare in occurrence
that it is impossible to form generalizations from
them or improbable that we should even notice them: "We
might have to wait years or centuries to meet accidentally
with facts which we can readily produce at any moment in a
laboratory; and it is probable that many of the chemical
substances now known, and many excessively useful products,
would never have been discovered at all, by waiting till Nature
presented them spontaneously to our observation." And
phenomena, such as that of electricity, which can only be
understood when the conditions of their occurrence are varied,
are presented to us in Nature most frequently in a
fixed and invariable form.

we have been concerned with the steps in the control of
suggestion, the reëxamination of the facts so that significant
suggestions may be derived, and the elimination of the
significant from the insignificant in the elements of the situation
as it first confronts us. In logically elaborating a suggestion,
as we have already seen, we trace out the bearings of a given
situation. We expand it; we see what it _implies_, what it
means. Thus, if we came, for example, to a meeting that
had been scheduled, and found no one present, we might
have several solutions arise in our minds. The meeting, we
might suppose, had been transferred to another room. If
that were the case, there would probably be some notice
posted. In all cases of deductive elaboration, we go through
what might be called the If-Then process. If _such-and-such_ is
the case, then _such-and-such_ will follow. We can then verify
our suggested solution to a problem, by going back to the
facts, to see whether they correspond with the implications
of our suggestion. We may, to take another example, think
that a man who enters our office is an insurance agent, or a
book solicitor who had said he would call upon us at a definite
date. If such is the case, he will say such-and-such things.
If he does say them, then our suggestion is seen to be correct.
The advantages of developing a suggestion include the fact
that some link in the logical chain may bear a more obvious
relation to our problem than did the undeveloped suggestion

The systematic sciences consist of such sets of principles
so related that any single term implies certain others, which
imply certain others and so on _ad infinitum_.

After the facts have been elaborated, the generalization,
however plausible it may seem, must be subjected to experimental
corroboration. That is, if a suggestion is found
through local elaboration to mean _A, B, C_, then the situation
must be reëxamined to see if the facts to be found tally with
the facts deduced. In the case cited, the suggestion that the
man who entered the room was the insurance agent we expected
would be verified if he immediately broached the subject
and the fact, say, of a previous conversation. In the case
of disease, if the illness is typhoid, we shall find certain specific
conditions in the patient. If these are found, the suggestion
of typhoid is verified.

The _reliability_ of generalizations made by this scientific
procedure varies according to several factors. It varies, in
the first place, according to the correspondence of the predictions
made on the basis of the generalization, with subsequent
events. The reason we say the law of gravitation holds
true is because in every instance where observations or
experiments have been made, the results have tallied precisely
with expectations based upon the generalization. We can, to
a certain extent, determine the reliability of a generalization
before comparing our predictions with subsequent events.
If a generalization made contradicts laws that have been
established in so many instances that they are practically
beyond peradventure, it is suspect. A law, for example, that
should be an exception to the laws of motion or gravitation,
is _a priori_ dubious.

If an induction conflicts with stronger inductions, or with conclusions
capable of being correctly deduced from them, then, unless on
reconsideration it should appear that some of the stronger inductions
have been expressed with greater universality than their evidence
warrants, the weaker one must give way. The opinion so long prevalent
that a comet, or any other unusual appearance in the heavenly
regions, was the precursor of calamities to mankind, or to those at
least who witnessed it; the belief in the veracity of the oracles of
Delphi or Dodona; the reliance on astrology, or on the weather
prophecies in almanacs, were doubtless inductions supposed to be
grounded on experience.... What has really put an end to these
insufficient inductions is their inconsistency with the stronger
inductions subsequently obtained by scientific inquiry, respecting the
causes on which terrestrial events really depend.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Logic_ (London, 1872), vol. I, pp. 370-71.]

science, some scientists insist, in so far as it is mathematical.
That is, in the precise determination of facts, and in their
repetition with a view to their exact determination, quantities
must be known. The sciences have developed in exactness,
in so far as they have succeeded in expressing their
formulations in numerical terms. The physical sciences, such
as physics and chemistry, which have been able to frame their
generalizations from precise quantities, have been immeasurably
more certain and secure than such sciences as psychology
and sociology, where the measurement of exact quantities is
more difficult and rare. Jevons writes in his _Principles of

As physical science advances, it becomes more and more accurately
quantitative. Questions of simple logical fact resolve themselves
after a while into questions of degree, time, distance, or weight.
Forces hardly suspected to exist by one generation are clearly
recognized by the next, and precisely measured by the third generation.[1]

[Footnote 1: Jevons: _Principles of Science_, p. 270.]

The history of science exhibits a constant progress from
rude guesses to precise measurement of quantities. In the
earliest history of astronomy there were attempts at quantitative
determinations, very crude, of course, in comparison
with the exactness of present-day scientific methods.

Every branch of knowledge commences with quantitative notions
of a very rude character. After we have far progressed, it is often
amusing to look back into the infancy of the science, and contrast
present with past methods. At Greenwich Observatory in the present
day, the hundredth part of a second is not thought an inconsiderable
portion of time. The ancient Chaldreans recorded an eclipse to
the nearest hour, and the early Alexandrian astronomers thought it
superfluous to distinguish between the edge and center of the sun.
By the introduction of the astrolabe, Ptolemy, and the later
Alexandrian astronomers could determine the places of the heavenly
bodies within about ten minutes of arc. Little progress then ensued
for thirteen centuries, until Tycho Brahe made the first great step
toward accuracy, not only by employing better instruments, but
even more by ceasing to regard an instrument as correct.... He
also took notice of the effects of atmospheric refraction, and
succeeded in attaining an accuracy often sixty times as great as that of
Ptolemy. Yet Tycho and Hevelius often erred several minutes in
the determination of a star's place, and it was a great achievement of
Roemer and Flamsteed to reduce this error to seconds. Bradley, the
modern Hipparchus, carried on the improvement, his errors in right
ascension, according to Bessel, being under one second of time, and
those of declination under four seconds of arc. In the present day
the average error of a single observation is probably reduced to the
half or the quarter of what it was in Bradley's time; and further
extreme accuracy is attained by the multiplication of observations,
and their skillful combination according to the theory of error. Some
of the more important constants... have been determined within
a tenth part of a second of space.[2]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, pp. 271-72.]

The precise measurement of quantities is important because
we can, in the first place, only through quantitative determinations
be sure we have made accurate observations, observations
uncolored by personal idiosyncrasies. Both errors of
observation and errors of judgment are checked up and
averted by exact quantitative measurements. The relations
of phenomena, moreover, are so complex that specific causes
and effects can only be understood when they are given precise
quantitative determination. In investigating the solubility
of salts, for example, we find variability depending on
differences in temperature, pressure, the presence of other salts
already dissolved, and the like. The solubility of salt in
water differs again from its solubility in alcohol, ether, carbon,
bisulphide. Generalization about the solubility of salt,
therefore, depends on the exact measurement of the phenomenon
under all these conditions.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Jevons, p, 279 ff.]

The importance of exact measurement in scientific discovery
and generalization may be illustrated briefly from one
instance in the history of chemistry. The discovery of the
chemical element _argon_ came about through some exact measurements
by Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay of the
nitrogen and the oxygen in a glass flask. It was found that
the nitrogen derived from air was not altogether pure; that
is, there were very minute differences in the weighings of
nitrogen made from certain of its compounds and the weight
obtained by removing oxygen, water, traces of carbonic acid,
and other impurities from the atmospheric air. It was found
that the very slightly heavier weight in one case was caused
by the presence of argon (about one and one third times as
heavy as nitrogen) and some other elementary gases. The
discovery was here clearly due to the accurate measurement
which made possible the discovery of this minute discrepancy.

It must be noted in general that accuracy in measurement
is immediately dependent on the instruments of precision
available. It has frequently been pointed out that the Greeks,
although incomparably fresh, fertile, and direct in their thinking,
yet made such a comparatively slender contribution to
scientific knowledge precisely because they had no instruments
for exact measurement. The thermometer made possible the
science of heat. The use of the balance has been in large part
responsible for advances in chemistry.

The degree to which sciences have attained quantitative
accuracy varies among the physical sciences. The phenomena
of light are not yet subject to accurate measurement;
many natural phenomena have not yet been made the subject
of measurement at all. Such are the intensity of sound, the
phenomena of taste and smell, the magnitude of atoms, the
temperature of the electric spark or of the sun's atmosphere.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Jevons, p. 273.]

The sciences tend, in general, to become more and more
quantitative. All phenomena "exist in space and involve
molecular movements, measurable in velocity and extent."
The ideal of all sciences is thus to reduce all phenomena to
measurements of mass and motion. This ideal is obviously
far from being attained. Especially in the social sciences
are quantitative measurements difficult, and in these sciences
we must remain therefore at best in the region of shrewd
guesses or fairly reliable probability.

STATISTICS AND PROBABILITY. While in the social sciences,
exact quantitative measurements are difficult, they are to an
extent possible, and to the extent that they are possible we
can arrive at fairly accurate generalizations as to the probable
occurrence of phenomena. There are many phenomena where
the elements are so complex that they cannot be analyzed
and invariable causal relations established.

In a study of the phenomena of the weather, for example, the phenomena
are so exceedingly complex that anything approaching a
complete statement of their elements is quite out of the question.
The fallibility of most popular generalizations in these fields is
evidence of the difficulty of dealing with such facts. Must we be
content then simply to guess at such phenomena? ... In instances of
this sort, another method ... becomes important: The Method of
Statistics. In statistics we have an _exact_ enumeration of cases. If
a small number of cases does not enable us to detect the causal
relations of a phenomenon, it sometimes happens that a large number,
accurately counted, and taken from a field widely extended in time
and space, will lead to a solution of the problem.[1]

[Footnote 1: Jones; _Logic, Inductive and Deductive_, p. 190.]

If we find, in a wide variety of instances, two phenomena
occurring in a certain constant correlation, we infer a causal
relation. If the variations in the frequency of one correspond
to variations in the frequency of the other, there is probability
of more than connection by coincidence.

The correlation between phenomena may be measured
mathematically; it is possible to express in figures the exact
relations between the occurrence of one phenomenon and
the occurrence of another. The number which expresses this
relation is called the coefficient of correlation. This
coefficient expresses relationship in terms of the mean values of the
two series of phenomena by measuring the amount each individual
phenomenon varies from its respective mean. Suppose,
for example, that in correlating crime and unemployment,
the coefficient of correlation were found to be .47. If in
every case of unemployment crime were found and in every
case of crime, unemployment, the coefficient of correlation
would be +1. If crime were never found in unemployment,
and unemployment never in crime, the coefficient of correlation
would be -1, indicating a perfect inverse relationship.
A coefficient of 0 would indicate that there is no relationship.
The coefficient of .47 would accordingly indicate a significant
but not a "high" correlation between crime and unemployment.

We cannot consider here all the details of statistical methods,
but attention may be called to a few of the more significant
features of the process. Statistics is a science, and consists
in much more than the mere counting of cases.

With the collection of statistical data, only the first step has been
taken. The statistics in that condition are only raw material showing
nothing. They are not an instrument of investigation any more
than a kiln of bricks is a monument of architecture. They need to
be arranged, classified, tabulated, and brought into connection with
other statistics by the statistician. Then only do they become an
instrument of investigation, just as a tool is nothing more than a
mass of wood or metal, except in the hands of a skilled workman.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mayo-Smith: _Statistics and Sociology_, p. 18.]

The essential steps in a statistical investigation are: (1) the
collection of material, (2) its tabulation, (3) the summary,
and (4) a critical examination of the results. The terms are
almost self-explanatory. There are, however, several general
points of method to be noted.

In the collection of data a wide field must be covered, to be
sure that we are dealing with invariable relations instead of
with mere coincidences, "or overemphasizing the importance
of one out of a number of coöperating causes." Tabulation
of the data collected is very important, since classification of
the data does much to suggest the causal relations sought.
The headings under which data will be collected depend on
the purposes of the investigation. In general, statistics can
suggest generalizations, rather than establish them. They
indicate probability, not invariable relation.[2]

[Footnote 2: See Jones: _Logic_, pp. 213-25, for a discussion
of Probability.]

an earlier section of this chapter, referred to the practical
value of science. "Man's power of deliberate control of his
own affairs depends upon ability to direct energies to use; an
ability which is, in turn, dependent upon insight into nature's
processes. Whatever natural science may be for the specialist,...
it is knowledge of the conditions of human action."[3]
And the wider, the more complete and the more penetrating
our knowledge of the world in which we live, the more extended
become the boundaries of human action. Through
a knowledge of natural processes, men have passed from a
frightened subjection to Nature to its conscious control. And
the fruits of that control are, as we have already had occasion
to notice, all-pervading in practical life. That complete
transformation of life known as the Industrial Revolution,
which came about with such swiftness and completeness in
the early nineteenth century, and whose effects have not yet
ceased to accumulate, was the direct outcome of the application
of the experimental science which had begun in the
sixteenth. Some of the consequences of the application of
theoretical investigation to practical life have already been
noted. There are first the more obvious facts of the inventions,
great and small--the railways, steamships, electric
transportation, automobiles, and telephones--which have
changed in countless details our daily life. There are the
profound and all-pervasive changes which have been brought
about in industrial and social relations: the building-up of
our vast industrial centers, the change from small-scale
handicrafts to large-scale machine production, the factory
system, with its concomitants of immensely increased resources
and immensely complicated problems of human
life. Science in the short span of three centuries has shown
how rapid and immediate could be the fruits of human control
of Nature, and its further fruits are incalculable.

[Footnote 3: Dewey: _Democracy and Education_, p. 267.]

Science has indeed already begun to affect men's attitude
towards experience as well as their material progress. It is
only when men set out with the conscious realization that
intelligence does make a difference in the world, that science
becomes articulate. Science is the guarantee of progress. It
has shown men that the future is to some extent in their own
hands; that by dint of a laborious and detailed application of
intelligence to the processes of nature, those processes can be
controlled in the interests of human welfare.

Science has led men to look to the future instead of the past. The
coincidence of the ideal of progress with the advance of science is not
a mere coincidence. Before this advance men placed the golden age
in remote antiquity. Now they face the future with a firm belief
that intelligence properly used can do away with evils once thought
inevitable. To subjugate devastating disease is no longer a dream;
the hope of abolishing poverty is not Utopian.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _Democracy and Education_, pp. 262-63.]

But science may be used for any end. It reveals the relations
of phenomena, relations which hold for all men. It
shows what causes are connected with what consequents, and,
as already pointed out, in the knowledge of causes lies the
possible control of effects. We can secure the results we
desire, by discovering what antecedents must first be established.
Science is thus a fund of common resources. Specific causes
are revealed to be connected with specific effects, and men, by
making a choice of antecedents, can secure the consequences
they desire. But which effects they will desire depends on the
instincts, standards, and habits of the individual, and the
traditions and ideals of the group. A knowledge of chemistry
may be used for productive industrial processes, or in the
invention of poison gas. Expert acquaintance with psychology
and educational methods may be used to impress upon a
nation an arbitrary type of life (an accusation justly brought
against the Prussian educational system), or to promote the
specific possibilities that each individual displays.

Not only are the fruits of scientific inquiry used in different
ways by different individuals and groups, but scientific inquiry
is itself affected by the prevailing interests and mode
of life. What inquiries shall be furthered depends on _what_
the individual or group feels it important to know. From
a social point of view, certain scientific developments are of
more urgency and imperativeness than others. During an
emergency, as during the Great War, it might be necessary
to turn all the energies of scientific men into immediately
productive pursuits. And, since the pursuit of inquiry on a
large scale demands large resources, those researches which
give promise of beneficent human consequences will the more
readily command social sanction and approval and will be
developed at the expense of more remote speculations however
intrinsically interesting these latter may be.

Science has proved so valuable a human instrument that it
has attained a moral responsibility. Men have increasingly
come to realize that the pressing problems of our industrial
life require for their solution not the confusions and incompetences
of passion and prejudice, but an application of the
fruits of scientific inquiry. Science has already so completely
demonstrated its vast fruitfulness in human welfare, that it
must be watched with jealous vigilance. It must result as it
began, in the improvement of human welfare.[1] But what
constitutes human welfare is a question which leads us into
the final activity of the Career of Reason, Morals and Moral
Valuation, man's attempt to determine what happiness is,
and how he may attain it.

[Footnote 1:
We have already noted the danger of too complete a commitment of
science to immediately practical results. This narrows instead of broadening
possibility. As Mr. F. P. Keppel points out in a recent article, "Scholarship
in War" (_Columbia University Quarterly_, July, 1919), some of the most
important and immediately practical contributions during the Great War came
from the ranks of those who would be regarded as "pure theorists."]



DESIRE. In Art and Science, man attempts to transform the
world of nature into conditions more in conformity with his
desires. In the enterprise of Morals, man attempts to discover
how to control his own nature in the attainment of happiness.
We have already had occasion to see that Art, in the
broad sense of human contrivance, is made necessary by the
incongruity between nature and human nature. We shall
examine now the conditions which make it necessary and
make it possible for man to consider and to control those
elementary impulses with which he is endowed.

The origin of the moral problem will become clearer after
a brief recapitulation of those elements of original nature
which form the basis of all human action. We have seen
that human beings are equipped, apart from education or
training, with certain tendencies to act in certain definite
ways, given certain definite stimuli. Any single activity of
an average human being in a modern civilized community is
compounded of so many modifications of original tendencies
to action that these latter seem often altogether obliterated.
The conditions of civilized life, moreover, place continual
checks on the free activity of any given impulse, and there
are so many stimuli playing upon an individual at once that
the responses called out tend to inhibit each other. The
particular thing we say to an acquaintance we happen to
meet is not determined by a single original impulse, by love
or hate, fear or sympathy, pugnacity or pity. It is a compound
of some or of most of these. On the other hand, no
matter how complicated or sophisticated human action
becomes, it is built out of these same impulses, which were
operative when human beings had not yet passed out of
savagery. We may check and control our responses through
habitual repressions, through deliberate forethought, through
conscious or mechanical acquiescence in the ways of the
group among which we live. But these original impulses are
still the mainspring of our activities.

The complex, highly artificial character of our civilization
often obscures the presence of these powerful instinctive
tendencies, but that they _are_ present and powerful several
facts bear witness. They manifest themselves, as the newer
psychology of the subconscious has repeatedly pointed out,
in roundabout ways; they are, in the technical phrase, sublimated.
Instincts find, as it were, substitute realizations.
This process of sublimation of unfulfilled desire has been
noted particularly with regard to the sex instinct, but the
principle applies to the others.

The continual suppression of instincts results in various
forms of morbidity, in what Graham Wallas calls "baulked
dispositions." To say that instincts are repressed, is to say
there is a maladjustment between the individual as he comes
into the world, and the world as he finds it. This maladjustment
may vary in intensity. It may be exhibited in nothing
more serious than boredom, or petulance, or hyper-sensitiveness.
It may be a chronic sense of not fitting in, of being
lost in a blind alley. One has but to review one's list of
acquaintances to see how many people there are who feel
somehow frustrated in the work they happen to be doing,
who feel themselves inexplicably at odds with the world.
Graham Wallas well describes the situation when he writes:

For we cannot in Saint Paul's sense mortify our dispositions. If
they are not stimulated, they do not therefore die, nor is the human
being what he would be if they had never existed. If we leave
unstimulated, or, to use a shorter term, if we "baulk" any one of our
main dispositions, Curiosity, Property, Trial and Error, Sex, and the
rest, we produce in ourselves a state of nervous strain. It may be
desirable in any particular case of conduct that we should do so, but
we ought to know what we are doing.

The baulking of each disposition produces its own type of strain;
but the distinctions between the types are, so far, unnamed and
unrecognized, and a trained psychologist would do a real service to
civilized life if he would carefully observe and describe them.[1]

[Footnote 1: Wallas: _The Great Society_, p. 65.]

The presence of instinctive activities is seen in stark immediacy
and directness every now and then in civilized life.
Lynchings and mob violence in general are illustrations of
what happens when groups throw to the winds the multiple
inhibitions of custom and law. And the records of the criminal
courts exhibit more cases than are commonly realized of
sheer crimes of violence. In some instances these can be set
down as pathological, but in many more they are normal
instincts breaking through the fixed channels set by public
opinion, tradition, and legal compulsion. On a smaller scale
an outburst of anger, a fit of temper, sulk or spleen, exhibits
the enduring though often obscured presence of instinctive
tendencies in civilized life.

comes it, then, that men whose whole activity is a complication
of these powerful original tendencies to action should not
follow these native impulses freely? The answer is that men
not only live, but live together. Wherever human wants, as
in any group, even a small one, must be filled through
cooperation, accommodation, compromise, give-and-take,
adjustment must be made. "Man," to adapt Kant's phrase,
"cannot get on with his fellows; and he cannot get on without
them." Other men are necessary to help us fulfill our desires,
and yet our desires conflict with theirs. The dual fact of
cooperation and conflict is, in a sense, the root of the moral
problem. How is one individual to attain happiness without
at the same time interfering with the happiness of others?
How can the desires with which all men come into the world be
fulfilled for all men?

The adjustment of these problems is at once complicated
and facilitated by the fact that one of man's most powerful
native desires is, as we have already seen, his desire to please
other men. This extreme sensitivity to the praise and blame
of his fellows operates powerfully to qualify men's other
instincts. The ruthlessness with which men might otherwise
fulfill their desires is checked by the fact that within
themselves there is a conflict between the desire to win other sorts
of gratification, and the desire to win the praise of others and
to avoid their blame. This is simply one instance of what we
shall have occasion presently to note, that not only is there a
conflict between men in the fulfillment of their native instincts,
but within individuals an adjustment must be made between
competing impulses themselves.

The kinds of conflict that occur between men in the fulfillment
of their original native tendencies, are as various as
those tendencies and their combinations. It may be a conflict,
as in primitive life, between individuals seeking food
from the same source. It may be a clash in the pursuit of one
form or another of self-enhancement, enhancement which
can come to only some individual out of a group. The sex
instinct has afforded, in the case of the "eternal triangle,"
an example of the sharing by two people of an imperious
desire for precisely the same object of satisfaction. These
conflicts of interest are an inevitable result of the constitution
of human nature. It is perfectly natural that human beings
constituted with largely identical impulses should not
infrequently seek identical satisfactions. Groups as well as
individuals may come into collision, and for analogous reasons.
Class divisions over the distribution of wealth, international
wars over the distribution of territory, are sufficiently
familiar examples.

OF "FOLKWAYS." No anthropologist seems to have
discovered anywhere individuals living totally alone or in total
oblivion to the needs or interests of others. The human
necessity for coöperation and the human desire for companionship
bring individuals together. And individuals, once living
together, find some _modus vivendi_. Adjustments are, in
general, effected through established and authoritative "folkways."[1]
That is, certain acts come to be recognized as sanctioned
or as disapproved by the group. And these sanctions
or disapprovals are powerful in the control of human action.
The fact that individuals live and must live together is thus
the surest guarantee that they will not, once they have grown
old enough to communicate with other people, altogether follow
their immediate capricious desires.

[Footnote 1: Professor Sumner's convenient term.]

The reason for the power of social approvals and disapprovals
over individuals lies partly in the fact, already noted,
of the human being's extremely high sensitivity to the praise
and blame of others. But part of the explanation is social
rather than psychological. Even primitive tribes take special
pains to make public and pervasive the commands and prohibitions
which have become affixed to given acts. The mere
fact that an act _is_ customary is itself a sufficiently strong
guarantee that it will be practiced, since the human being
tends to perform, as he likes to perform, the habitual. But
in primitive life, the enforcement of custom is not left to the
influence of habit. The prohibitions and sanctions, both in
savage and in civilized society, are made into law. In the
former instance, there are most elaborate devices and institutions
for enforcing the traditional approvals and disapprovals.
Tabus are one important instrument of the enforcement
of social checks upon individual action; "tabus
are perhaps not so much a means for enforcing custom as they
are themselves customs invested with peculiar and awful
sanction. They prohibit or ban any contact with certain
persons or objects under penalty of danger from unseen

Through ritual certain acts come to be performed with
great regularity, thoroughness, detail, and solemnity. "In
primitive life it [ritual] is widely and effectively used to insure
for educational, political, and domestic customs obedience to
the group standards." In contemporary life, certain social
forms and observances, as well as certain religious ceremonies,
are examples of the enforcement of given acts, by ritual.

Praise and blame are equally effective enforcements of
certain types of action and of the avoidance of others. In
primitive life, praise is as likely as not to take the form of
art--decorations, costumes, songs, and tattoos. In modern
life, as we have seen, praise and blame take the form of public
opinion, as expressed by friends, acquaintances, newspapers,
and the like.[1] Praise and blame are not so fixed and rigid
in civilized communities; individuals move freely among diverse
groups whose standards differ. But group approval is
none the less effective.

[Footnote 1: See page 106.]

In primitive life and, though less patently, in contemporary
society, physical force is the ultimate power for enforcing
custom. Primitive chiefs are usually the strong men
of the tribes; and behind law in modern social organization
is the physical power of the State to enforce it.

of morals is thus to be found in conformity to the established
or customary. The criterion of morality is compliance--compliance
with the regular, the socially approved, the common
(that is, the communal) ways of action. Apart from
the consequences of violation, violation _per se_ is impure,
unholy, immoral. The terms are, in some cases, interchangeable.
In primitive life, violations are regarded with particular
horror, because they are frequently held to be not only
infringements of established ways of the tribe, but as offenses
against the gods, offenses which involve the whole tribe in
the retributive punishments of the gods. Violation of the
customary may, indeed, apart from arousing intellectual disapproval,
provoke a genuine revulsion of feeling on the part
of a group which has acquired certain fixed habits. We still
feel emotionally shocked by the infringement of a custom
that we do not intellectually value highly. If we examine our
moral furniture we find it made up of an immense number of
early acquired inhibitions or "checks." These not only prevent
us from violating, at least without qualms, standards to
which we have early been trained; they make deviations or
irregularities on the part of others appear as "immoral," even
before or without our intellectually classifying them as such.
There are adults, for example, who cannot outgrow the feeling
to which they have early been habituated, that card-playing
at any time, or baseball-playing on Sunday, is "evil," even
though they are no longer intellectually affected by scruples
in those respects. There is significance in the fact that by
speaking of "irregularities" in a man's conduct, we signify.
or imply moral disapproval.

The group, in any stage of civilization, rewards in some
form conformity to group standards, and punishes infringements
of them. Punishment may be nothing more tangible
than disrepute or ostracism; it may be as serious as execution.
Reward may range from a decoration or a chorus of praise
to all forms of compensation in the way of wealth, rank, and

We have noted how sanctions and prohibitions are made
public and effective among the members of a group. But
it is further regarded as important by the group that these
customs, positive and negative, should be handed down from
the current to succeeding generations. In primitive life
transmission of the traditional practices is made a very special
occasion in the form of initiation ceremonies.

[Initiation ceremonies] are held with the purpose of inducting
boys into the privileges of manhood and into the full life of the group.
They are calculated at every step to impress upon the initiate his
own ignorance and helplessness in contrast with the wisdom and
power of the group; and as the mystery with which they are
conducted imposes reverence for the elders and the authorities of the
group, so the recital of the traditions and performances of the tribe,
the long series of ritual acts, common participation in the mystic
dance and song and decorations, serve to reinforce the ties that bind
the tribe.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey and Tufts: _Ethics_, pp. 57-58.]

In civilized life, the whole institution of education, as
has been repeatedly emphasized in these pages, is designed
to transmit to the young those habits of thought, feeling,
and action which their influential elders wish to perpetuate.
As was noted in connection with man's gregariousness, the
normal becomes the "respectable," the regular becomes the
"proper." We still speak of things that it is not "nice" to
do. This tendency to identify the moral with the customary
is brought about through early habituating the members of
the group to the group standards and securing for them
thereby the emotional support that goes with all habitual

Morality at this stage is clearly social in its origins and
its operations. The standards are group standards, and the
individual's single duty is obedience and conformity to the
established social sanctions.

begins, as we have seen, in the collision of interests of similarly
constituted individuals living together. Adjustments of
conflicting interests are effected by group standards more or
less consciously transmitted and enforced by education, public
opinion, and law. We shall note presently that reflection
operates to modify and criticize these customary approvals
and disapprovals and to substitute more effective
standards. But whether on the level of custom or reflection,
the moral problem is essentially a _social_ problem, the problem
of the adjustment of the desires of individuals living together.
For an individual living altogether alone in the world there
could hardly be a moral problem, a question of "ought."
There might be problems of how to attain satisfaction, but no
sense of duty or moral obligation. Custom is the first great
stage through which morality passes, and the only form in
which morality exists for many people. In civilized life there
is, to be sure, considerable reflection and querying of custom,
but for the vast majority of men "right" and "wrong" are
determined by the standards to which their early education
and environment have accustomed them. In primitive life,
reflective criticism on the part of the individual is almost
unknown, and custom remains the great arbiter of action, the
outstanding source of social and moral control.

The values of custom as a moral force are, in both primitive
and civilized life, notable and not to be despised. Custom
is, in the first place, frequently rational in its origin. That
is, in general, those acts are made habitual in the group
which are associated with the general welfare. The customary
is the "right," but those activities most frequently
come to be regarded as "right" which are favorable to the
welfare of the group. In the literal struggle for existence
which characterizes primitive life, those tribes may alone
be expected to survive whose customs do promote the welfare
of their members. Persistence by a group in customs
like infanticide or excessive restriction of population will
result in their extinction. Customs are, for the most part,
standards of action established in the light of the conceptions
of well-being as understood at the time of their origin. The
intensity with which they are maintained, enforced, and
transmitted is an indication of how supremely and practically
important they are regarded by primitive groups.

Custom is valuable, if for nothing else, in the fact that
it makes possible some accommodation or adjustment of
competing individual interests--and on the basis of a widely
considered social welfare. Customs are _social_, they are
binding on all; they apply to all, and to the extent that they do
promote welfare, they promote, within limits, the welfare
of all. A man conforming to custom is thereby consulting
something other than his arbitrary caprice or personal desire.
On the level of customary morality, action through
conformity to custom is referred to a wider context than
unconsidered individual impulse; it is, for better or worse,
performed with reference to the group with whose standards
it is in conformity. It is the beginning of the socialization
of human interests. Though unconsciously, the man conforming
to a custom is considering his fellows, and the values
and traditions which have become current among them.

Customs, moreover, are the first invasion of moral chaos.
They establish enduring standards; they give common and
permanent bases of action. It is only through the establishment
and transmission of customary standards that one generation
is in any way superior to its predecessors. Customs,
in civilized life, include all the established effective
ways of civilization, its arts, its sciences, its industries, and
its useful modes of coöperation.

If a plague carried off the members of a society all at once, it is
obvious that the group would be permanently done for. Yet the
death of each of its constituent members is as certain as if a plague
took them off all at once. But the graded difference in age, the fact
that some are born as some die, makes possible through transmission
of ideas and practices the constant reweaving of the social fabric.
Yet this renewal is not automatic. Unless pains are taken to see
that genuine and thorough transmission takes place, the most civilized
group will relapse into barbarism and then into savagery.[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _Democracy and Education_, p. 4.]

In all levels of civilization, there is a conscious transmission
of those social habits which are regarded as of importance.
If this transmission were suddenly to cease, not
only would each generation have to start afresh, but it would
be altogether impossible for it to grow to maturity.

valuable as a moral agent in establishing standards of social
life and rendering them continuous and enduring, a morality
that is completely based upon it has serious defects. Though
customs may start as allegedly or actually useful practices,
they tend, so strong is the influence of habit over the individual,
to outlive their usefulness, and may become, indeed,
altogether disadvantageous conventions. "Dr. Arthur Smith
tells of the advantage it would be in some parts of China to
build a door on the south side of the house, in order to get
the breeze, in hot weather." The simple and sufficient
answer to such a suggestion is, "We don't build doors on the
south side."

We have but to examine our own civilization to see that
there are many customs which are practiced not for any
good assignable reason, but simply because they have become
fixed and traditional. This is not to say that everything
that has become "merely conventional" is evil. It is
to suggest how, even in civilized society, groups may fall
into modes of action that are practiced simply because they
_have been_ practiced, rather than from any reasoned
consideration that they _should_ be. An illustration may be taken
from the experience of civilians drawn into the military
routine during the Great War. Men engaged in war work
at Washington in civilian capacities reported repeatedly
their impatience at the "red tape" of tradition with which
certain classes of business were conducted by the military
establishment. In law also, progressive practitioners and
students have pointed out the well-known fact of the immense
and beclogging ritual which has come to surround
legal procedure. It is the contention of critics of one or
another of our contemporary social habits and institutions
that traditionalism, the persistence of custom simply because
it _is_ custom, is responsible for many of the anachronisms
in our social, political, and industrial life. Space does
not permit here a detailed consideration of this question,
but it must be noted that social habits, when they are acquired,
as they are, unreflectively by the vast majority of
people, will tend to be repeated and supported, apart from
any consideration of their consequences. This tendency
toward social inertia, earlier noted in connection with habit,
can only be checked by reflective criticism and appraisement
of our current accustomed ways of action.[1]

[Footnote 1: See chapter on "Cultural Continuity."]

In the case of the group, too complete a domination by
custom is dangerous in that it sanctions and promotes the
continuance of habits that have become useless or harmful.
In the case of the individual, the determination of action by
custom alone has its specific dangers and defects. Even
though the individual happens to conform to useful customs,
his conformity is purely mechanical. It involves no intelligent
discrimination. Merely to conform places one at
the disposition of the environment in which one chances to
be. There is not necessary any intelligent analysis on the
part of the agent, of the bearings and consequences of his
actions. He takes on with fatal facility the color of his
environment. To all men, however critical and reflective, a
certain degree of conformity to custom is both necessary and
useful. There must, in any social enterprise, be some common
basis of action. Because taking the right-hand side of the road
is a convention, it is none the less a useful one. But reflective
acquiescence in a custom differs from merely mechanical
conformity. It transforms a custom from a blind mechanism
into a consciously chosen instrument for achieving good.

The trivial and the important in a morality based upon
custom receive the same unconsidered support. "Tithing
mint, anise, and cummin are quite likely to involve the neglect
of weightier matters of the law." Physical, emotional, and
moral energies that should be devoted to matters genuinely
affecting human welfare are lavished upon the trivial and the
incidental. We may come to be concerned more with manners
than with morals; with ritual, than with right. Customary
morality tends to emphasize, moreover, the letter
rather than the spirit of the law. It implies complete and
punctilious obedience, meticulous conformity. It emphasizes
form rather than content. Since conformity is the only
criterion, the appearance of conformity is all that is required.
The individual may fear to dissent openly rather than actually.
This is seen frequently in the ritualistic performance
or fulfillment of a duty in all its external details, rather
than the actual and positive performance of its content. It
is just such Pharisaism that is protested against in the Sermon
on the Mount:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are;
for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners
of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you,
They have their reward....

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for
they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Formalism in morality has periodically roused protest from
the Prophets down, and formalism is the result of an unconsidered
mechanical acquiescence in custom, or deliberate insistence
on traditional details when the spirit and motive are

CUSTOM AND PROGRESS. Emphasis upon customs as already
established tends to promote fixity and repetition, and to discourage
change regardless of the benefits to be derived from
specific changes. Custom is supported by the group merely
because it is custom; and the ineffective modes of life are
maintained along with those which are more useful. Progress
comes about through individual variation, and conformity
and individual variation are frequently in diametrical collision.
It is only when, in Bagehot's phrase, "the cake of
custom" is broken, that changes making for good have a
possibility of introduction and support. Where the only
moral sanctions are the sanctions of custom, change of
whatever sort is at a discount. For change implies deviation
from the ways of life sanctioned by the group, and
deviation is itself, in a custom-bound morality, regarded with

It is clear that complete conformity is impossible save in
a society of automata. There will be some individuals who
will not be able to curb their desires to fit the inhibitions
fixed by the group; there will be some who will deliberately
stand out against the group commands and prohibitions, and
assert their own imperious impulses against their fellows.
Where such men are powerful or persuasive they may indeed
bring about a transvaluation of all values; they may create
a new morality. There are geniuses of the moral as well
as the intellectual life, whose sudden insight becomes a
standard for succeeding generations.

There may, again, be more infringement of the moral code
than is overtly noticeable. Frequently, as in a Puritanical
régime, there may be, along with fanatic public professions
and practice of virtue, private violation of the conventional
moral codes. Our civilization is unpleasantly decorated with
countless examples of this discrepancy between professed
and practiced codes. The desire for praise and the fear of
blame and its consequences, the desire, as we say, for the
"good-will" and "respect of others," will lead to all the public
manifestations of virtue, "with a private vice or two to
appease the wayward flesh." The utterance of conventional
moral formulas by men in public, and the infringement of
those high doctrines in private, needs unfortunately not to
be illustrated. Molière drew Tartuffe from real life.

current were adequate to adjust men to their environment,
reflection upon them might never arise. Reflection does
arise precisely because customs are not, or do not remain,
adequate. An individual is brought up to believe that certain
actions are good, and that their performance promotes
human happiness. He discovers, by an alert and unclouded
insight, that in specific cases the virtues highly regarded by
his group do not bring the felicitous results which they are
commonly and proverbially held to produce. He observes,
let us say, that meekness, humility, honesty are not modes
of adaptation that bring happy results. He observes, as
Job observed, that the wicked prosper; he notes that those
who follow the path called righteous bring unhappiness
to themselves and to others.

Or the individual's first reflection upon moral standards
may arise in his discovery that moral standards are not
absolute, that what is virtue in the Occident is vice in the
Orient, and _vice versa_. He discovers that those actions which
he regards as virtuous are so regarded by him simply because
he has been trained to their acceptance. Given another
environment, his moral revulsions and approvals might be
diametrically reversed. He makes the discovery that Protagoras
made two thousand years ago: "Man is the measure
of all things"; standards of good and evil depend on the
accidents of time, space, and circumstance. In such a discovery
an individual may well query, What _is_ the good? Not
what passes for good, but what is the essence of goodness?
What is justice? Not what is accredited justice in the courts
of law, or in the market-place, or in the easy generalizations
of common opinion. But what constitutes _justice_ essentially?
What is the _standard_ by which actions may be rated just and

Where individuals are habituated to one single tradition
or set of customs, such questions may not arise. But where
one, through personal experience or acquaintance with history
and literature, discovers the multiplicity of standards
which have been current with regard to the just and the good
in human conduct, the search for some reasonable standard
arises. The great historical instance of the discovery of the
relativity and irrationality of customary morality and the
emergence of reflective standards of moral value is the Athenian
period of Greek philosophy. The Sophists pointed out
with merciless perspicuity the welter, the confusion, the
essential irrationality of current social and religious traditions
and beliefs. They went no further in moral analysis than
destructive criticism. They pointed out the want of authenticity
or reason in the traditional morality by which men lived.
Socrates went a step further. If current customs are not
authoritative, he said, let us find those that have and _ought_ to
have enduring authority over men. If the traditional standards
are proved to be futile and inefficacious, let us find the
unfaltering standards authenticated by reason. Let us substitute
relevant and adequate codes and creeds for those
which have by reason been shown to be unreasonable. Beneath
the multiplicity of contradictory and often vicious
customs, reason must be able to discover ways of life, which,
if followed, will lead men to eventual happiness.

There are thus two stages in the process of reflection upon
morals. In the first stage reflection does no more than to
point out the essential discrepancies and absurdities of the
current moral codes. Reflection upon morals begins by
being critical and querying. It starts when an individual,
a little more thoughtful and perspicacious than his fellows,
notes the discrepancies between the customs of different
men, and notes also the discrepancies between the threatened
results of the violation of traditional codes and the actual
results. He may then come to the cynic's conclusion that
morality is a myth and a delusion, and, in the words of the
Sophist in Plato's _Republic_, "justice is merely the right of
the stronger." Men in whom reflection or social sympathy
extends not very far may, as they frequently do, stop at this
point. These are the worldly wise; they are interested not
in goodness, truth, and justice, but in those effective
representations of those things publicly accounted good, true, and
just which will win them public approval and increase their
own wealth or power and position. Plato, in the _Republic_,
pictures the type with magnificent irony:

All those mercenary adventurers who, as we know, are called
sophist by the multitude, and regarded as rivals, really teach nothing
but the opinions of the majority to which expression is given when
large masses are collected, and dignify them with the title of wisdom.
As well might a person investigate the caprices and desires of some
huge and powerful monster in his keeping, studying how it is to be
approached, and how handled,--at what times and under what
circumstances it becomes most dangerous, or most gentle--on what
occasions it is in the habit of uttering its various cries, and further,
what sounds uttered by another person soothe or exasperate it,--and
when he has mastered all these particulars, by long-continued
intercourse, as well might he call his results wisdom, systematize
them into an art, and open a school, though in reality he is wholly
ignorant which of these humours and desires is fair, and which foul,
which good and which evil, which just and which unjust; and therefore
is content to affix all these names to the fancies of the huge
animal, calling what it likes good, and what it dislikes evil, without
being able to render any other account of them,--nay, giving the
titles of "just" and "fair" to things done under compulsion, because
he has not discerned himself, and therefore cannot point out to
others, that wide distinction which really holds between the nature
of the compulsory and the good.[1]

[Footnote 1: Plato: _Republic_ (Golden Treasury edition), pp. 209-10.]

Throughout human history, there have been periods of
individualism, of self-assertion against the traditional morality,
which have been marked by loss of moral restraints,
by a breakdown of the old standards without a substitution
of new and sounder ones. There has been, in the beginning
of almost every advance toward a new stage of moral valuation,
the accompaniment of liberty by license.

Reflection upon morals is not likely to produce immediately
good results. The established morality is at least established.
In so far as it is controlling in men's actions, it keeps those
actions ordered and regular. The traditional code by which
a man's life is governed may be a poor code, but it is more
satisfactory than no code at all. On discovering the inadequacy
of the morality by which he has lived, a man may reject
morality altogether. From that time forth he may have
no other standard than his own selfish desires. When a whole
society, as at the time of the Renaissance, throws its traditional
morality to the winds, it may make havoc of its freedom.
In place of a bad moral order it may cease to have any
moral order at all.

The discovery that the codes by which we have lived are
misleading and delusive may lead us to have nothing whatsoever
to do with morals. The individual may decide simply
to employ his superior insight in the exploitation of other people.
It is something of this point of view that is expressed
in the rampant individualism of Nietzsche and Max Stirner.
The customary morality is meant for slaves; the Superman
must stride above the signs and shibboleths by which men
are led, and create himself a morality more adequate to his
own superb and insolent welfare.

For the reconstruction of a morality more adequate than the
prevailing codes, more is demanded than merely a reflective
criticism of prevailing standards. Where reflection
goes no further than this, the net result is merely cynicism
and libertinism. For moral progress there is needed "a person
who is individual in choice, in feeling, in responsibility,
and at the same time social in what he regards as good, in his
sympathies and in his purposes."

stage of reflection upon morals consists in the reconstruction
of moral standards, in a deliberate discovery of codes by
which men can live together happily. It attempts to establish
standards of action which are enforced and recommended
not because they have been current and are currently
approved, but because they give promise, upon critical
examination, of contributing to human happiness. It must be
recalled here that reflective morality is not a substitute for
action based upon instinct or custom. It merely modifies these
types of action in the light of the desirable consequences which
would result from such modification.

The establishment of reflective standards is limited by two
general conditions. The first, previously mentioned, is that
human beings come into the world with certain fixed tendencies
to act. These original impulses may be obscured,
but cannot be abolished. Secondly, reflection upon morals
always must occur in a given social situation, that is, in a
situation where certain habits of mind, emotion and action,
are already in operation. Moral standards are not fresh
constructions; they are _reconstructions_. We may want to
_change_ current customs and traditions; but that is simply
another way of iterating the fact that they _are there to be
changed_. The moral reformer who would improve society
must take into account the fact that there exist among the
adult members of a generation, powerful habits, which may
be improved or amended, but which cannot be ignored. Any
attempt to improve men's ways of action starts within
processes of action already going on. It is not as if we could
hold up the processes of human life, and say, "Let us begin
afresh." The generation whose habits are to be changed
consists of living men, who are acting on the basis of
customs which have become intimately and powerfully controlling
in their lives. These customs, though they may not
be altogether satisfactory, are yet great social economies.
They give men certain determinate and efficacious modes of
action. Reflection must start with them and from them.
Unless men, furthermore, did act according to custom, they
would have to reflect in detail about every step of their
conduct. The aim of reflection is simply to transform existing
customs into more effective methods for achieving the good.

Reflection, indeed, must move within certain limits; it must
take certain things for granted. We have already seen that
reflection arises in a crisis of greater or lesser degree; it settles
ambiguities, resolves the obscure and doubtful phases of
situations. It is designed to secure adjustments where instinct and
habit are inadequate to adapt the individual to his environment.
But unless there were certain fixed, determined points
to start with, certain limits within which reflection could
operate, and which it could use as points of reference or
departure, all would be chaos, and reflection would be impossible.
It is precisely because we do take certain things as settled,
because, as the phrase runs, "they go without saying," that we
can think to any purpose whatsoever. Useful customs once
established provide precisely these fixed points. If arbitration
of labor disputes has become a fixed social habit, for
example, attention can be turned to ways and means. If
education has become a generally approved social habit, we
can spend our time on instruments and methods. Every useful
custom firmly established gives a basis of operations.
That much is settled; that much does not demand our alert
attention and inquiry. A society without any fixed habits
would be sheer anarchy. The aim of intelligent consideration
of morals is not to abolish customs, but to bring about their
modification so that they will be the most effective adjustment
of the individual and the group to their environment.

Indeed, in advanced societies, reflection may itself become
a custom, and the most highly valued of all. For where alert
and conscious criticism of existing folkways is habitual among
all the members of a society, that society is saved from
subjection through inertia to disserviceable habits. It acts as
a continual check and control; it prevents social and moral
stagnation. The habit of reflection upon conduct, if it could
be made generally current, would insure social progress.
For customs would be regarded merely as tools, as instruments
to be modified and adapted to new circumstances, as
provisional modes of attaining the good. Fixity and rigidity
in social life would give place to flexibility and wise continual

already been noted. We may briefly summarize the foregoing
discussion, and call attention to some additional values of a
morality based upon reason, as contrasted with a morality of
mere mechanical conformity to custom. It has already been
pointed out that intellectual preferences and valuations are
rooted in primary impulses; that is, our desires are anterior to
reflection. What we intellectually value and prefer has its
roots in primary impulses. Reason can discover how man may
attain the good; but what _is_ good is determined by the
desires with which man is, willy-nilly, endowed. Our preferences
are, within limits, fixed for us. As Santayana writes:

Reason was born, as it has since discovered, into a world already
wonderfully organized, in which it found its precursor in what is
called life, its seat in an animal body of unusual plasticity, and its
function in rendering that body's volatile instincts and sensations
harmonious with one another and with the outer world on which
they depend.[1]

[Footnote 1: Santayana: _Life of Reason_, vol. I, p. 40.]

Our chief aim in reflective behavior is to discover ways and
means by which a harmony may be achieved, a harmony of
those very instincts which, left to themselves, would be in
perpetual collision, frustrating and checking each other.

Reflection not only seeks to find a way of life in which no
natural impulse shall be frustrated, but it is through reflection
that desires are broadened, and that new desires arise. Out
of reflection upon social relations, which is in the first instance
prompted by man's innate gregariousness, arise the conception
of ideal friendship and the thirst for and movement
toward ideal society. Out of reflection upon the animal
passion of sex may rise Dante's beatific vision of Beatrice.
Conduct, consciously controlled, finds not only ways by which
animal desires may be fulfilled without catastrophe; it
transmutes animal desires into ideal values.

reflective behavior, as contrasted with that which is controlled by
instinct and custom, there are established standards of action
to which the individual consciously conforms. That is, instead
of merely conforming to custom, an individual comes to
act upon principles, consciously avowed and maintained. A
man who sets up a standard of action in his professional or
business relations is not conforming to an arbitrary code; he is
living according to a way of life which he has deliberately and
consciously chosen. When a man acts upon principles because
he has consciously adopted them in view of the consequences
which he believes to be associated with them, he will
not make his standard an idol. Reflection establishes standards,
but it is not mastered by them. It is persistently critical.
Standards are tools, instruments toward the achievement
of the good. They are merely general rules, derived from
experience and retained so long as they bear desirable fruits
in experience. Moral laws are not regarded as arbitrary and
eternal, but as good only in so far as they produce good. A
virtue is a virtue because it is conducive to human well-being.
Standards are not absolute, but relative--relative to their
fruits in practice.

moral when it is reflective. It is only then that the
individual is a conscious and controlling agent. It is only
then that he knows what he is doing. When a machine performs
actions that happen to have useful results, we do not
speak of the action as moral or virtuous. And action in
conformity with custom is purely mechanical and arbitrary. An
individual who is merely conforming to the customary is no
more moral than an automaton. Given a certain situation,
he makes a certain response. It makes no difference that the
act happens to have fruitful consequences. It is not a matter
of individual choice, of conscious volition. Aristotle long ago
stated the indispensable conditions of moral actions:

It is necessary that the agent at the time of performing them
should satisfy certain conditions, _i.e._ in the first place that he should
know what he is doing, secondly that he should deliberately choose
to do it and to do it for its own sake, and thirdly that he should do
it as an instance of a fixed and immutable moral state.[1]

[Footnote 1: Aristotle: _Ethics_, book II, p. 42 (Weldon translation).]

Only when the individual is aware of the consequences of
his action, and deliberately chooses those consequences, is
there any individuality, any exhibition of choice--in other
words, any moral value in the act. When an act is prompted
by mere habit and custom, we have an evidence of an individual's
environment rather than of his character. Creatures
thus moved by capricious and arbitrary impulse are hardly
persons, and certainly not personalities. They are played
upon by every whimsicality of circumstance; their own character
makes no difference at all in the world in which they live.
To act reflectively is to be the controlling rather than the
controlled element in a situation. Action guided by intelligence
is freed from the enslavement of passion, prejudice, and
routine. It becomes genuinely free. The individual, emancipated
from emotion, sense, and circumstance, from the accidental
environment in which he happens to be born, is in command
of his conduct. "Though shakes the magnet, steady is
the pole." Morally, at least, he is "the master of his fate, the
captain of his soul."

sets up ideal standards by which current codes of conduct are
judged and corrected. It is clear that ideals of life, even when
sincerely entertained, are not always possible of immediate
fulfillment. Theory tends continually to outrun practice,
since human reflection tends to set up goals in advance of its
achievement. For many individuals, anxious to attain immediate
self-enhancement, the current cones are not criticized
at all, but are taken for granted, as inevitable and irrefragable
bases of operation.

Many men, perhaps after a first flush of altruistic rebellion
in adolescence, settle down with more or less complacency to
the current moral codes. They do in Rome as the Romans do.
They may have an intellectual awareness of the crassness, the
stupidity, the essential injustice and inadequacy of the codes
by which men in contemporary society live, but they may also,
out of selfish preoccupation with their own interests, let things
go at that. If the established ways are not as they ought to
be, at least they are as they are. And since the current system
is the one by which a man must live, assent is the better
part of wisdom. There are comparatively few who persist in a
criticism of prevailing standards, or who are troubled very
much beyond their early twenties by a tormenting conviction
that things are not done as they ought to be done. It is from
the few who realize intellectually the inadequacies of prevailing
customs, and are emotionally disturbed by them, that
moral criticism arises. And it is only by such criticism that
moral progress is made possible. "The duty of some exercise
of discriminating intelligence as to existing customs, for the
sake of improvement and progress, is thus a mark of reflective
morality--of the régime of conscience as over against custom."[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey and Tufts: _Ethics_, pp. 181-82.]

Reflection is thus the process by which progress is made
possible, although, as we shall presently see, it is not thereby
insured. The function of intelligence is precisely to indicate
anticipated goods, "to imagine a future which is the projection
of the desirable in the present." Even the best ordered
life or society reveals some maladjustment, some remove,
near or far, from perfection. It is the business of
reflection and imagination to note the discrepancy between
what is, and what ought to be, and assiduously to foster the
vision of the latter, so that in the light of that imagined good,
men's ways of life may be amended.

Nor does the setting-up of ideal standards mean the construction
of fruitless Utopias. Reflection upon the present
ways of life and the prospect of their improvement does not
mean a mere wistful yearning after better things. It means
careful inquiry into those elements of established ways which
may be incorporated into the construction of the ideal. It
means the resolute application of intelligence to an analysis of
present maladjustments in the interests of preserving out of
inherited and current ways those factors which point towards
the goal desired. It means to be eager for perfection, and
sensitive to current imperfections. Moral progress demands a
vision of the desirable future, and a persistent and discriminating
reflection upon the means of its attainment out of the
materials of the present.

pointed out, tends to stop with merely destructive criticism.
Provoked by maladjustment and imperfection, it frequently
goes no further than to note these, with cynicism or despair.
Criticism of established customs and ways of life frequently
rests with the exhibition of absurdities in men's ways, finding
refuge in laughter or rebellion. There is no one so cynical as
the man who has been recently wakened out of dogmatic and
innocent faith in the traditions to which he has been reared.

The child receives from the herd the doctrines, let us say, that
truthfulness is the most valuable of all the virtues, that honesty is
the best policy, that to the religious man death has no terrors, and
that there is in store a future life of perfect happiness and delight.
And yet experience tells him with persistence that truthfulness as
often as not brings him punishment, that his dishonest playfellow has
as good if not a better time than he, that the religious man shrinks
from death with as great a terror as the unbeliever, is as broken-hearted
by bereavement, and as determined to continue his hold
upon this imperfect life rather than trust himself to what he declares
to be the certainty of future bliss.... Who of us is there who cannot
remember the vague feeling of dissatisfaction, the obscure and elusive
sense of something being wrong, which is left by these and
similar conflicts?[1]

[Footnote 1: Trotter: _Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War_, p. 49.]

A little reflection is, in morals, a dangerous thing. It discovers
difficulties, and does not solve them. It finds that
human life is darkly strewn with hypocrisies, with shams, with
makeshifts and compromises. And having made this discovery,
it sighs or satirizes or forgets. It is notorious with
what frequency men "go to pieces" when they are loosed from
the moorings of their childhood moralities, before they have
had a chance to acquire new and more reasonable constraints.
Plato, in protesting that young men should not study philosophy
too early, has well described the dangers of shallow

[Footnote 2: "And will it not be one great precaution to forbid
their meddling with it [philosophy] while young? For I suppose
you have noticed, that whenever boys taste dialectic for the
first time, they pervert it into an amusement, and always employ
it for purposes of contradiction, and imitate in their own persons
the artifices of those who study refutation,--delighting, like
puppies, in pulling and tearing to pieces with logic any one who
comes near them.... Hence, when they have experienced many triumphs
and many defeats, they fall, quickly and vehemently, into an utter
disbelief of their former sentiments: and thereby both they and
the whole cause of philosophy have been prejudiced in the eyes
of the world." (Plato: _Republic_, Golden Treasury edition,
p. 267.)]

morals, even when it goes beyond the stage of criticism and
proceeds to the reconstruction of habits and customs upon a
more reasonable basis, is yet inadequate. However logically
convincing a code of morals may be, it is not efficacious simply
as logic. In Aristotle's still relevant words:

It may fairly be said then that a just man becomes just by doing
what is just and a temperate man becomes temperate by doing what
is temperate, and if a man did not so act, he would not have so much
as a chance of becoming good. But most people, instead of doing
such actions, take refuge in theorizing; they imagine that they are
philosophers and that philosophy will make them virtuous; in fact
they behave like people who listen attentively to their doctors, but
never do anything that their doctors tell them. But it is as improbable
that a healthy state of the soul will be produced by this kind of
philosophizing as that a healthy state of the body will be produced
by this kind of medical treatment.[1]

[Footnote 1: Aristotle: _Ethics_, book II, chap. III,
pp. 42-43 (Weldon translation).]

Moral standards, in order to be effective, must have emotional
support and be constantly applied. Men must be in
love with the good, if good is to be their habitual practice.
And only when the good is an habitual practice, can men be
said to be living a moral life instead of merely subscribing
verbally to a set of moral ideals. Justice, honesty, charity,
mercy, benevolence, these are names for types of behavior,
and are real in so far as they do describe men's actions. As
Aristotle says, in another connection: "A person must be
utterly senseless if he does not know that moral states are
formed by the exercise of the powers in one way or another."
The virtues are not static or frozen; they are names we give
to varieties of action, and are exhibited, as they exist, _only_ in

[Footnote 2: "But the virtues we acquire by first exercising them,
as is the case with all the arts, for it is by doing what we ought
to do when we have learned the arts, that we learn the arts
themselves; we become, _e.g._ builders by building, and harpists
by playing the harp. Similarly it is by doing just acts that we
become just, by doing temperate acts that we become temperate,
by doing courageous acts that we become courageous.... Again
the causes and means by which any virtue is produced, and by
which it is destroyed, are the same; and it is equally so with
any art; for it is by playing the harp that both good and bad
harpists are produced, and the case of builders and all other
artisans is similar, as it is by building well that they will
be good builders, and by building badly that they will be bad
builders.... It is by acting in such transactions as take place
between man and man that we become either just or unjust. It is
by acting in the face of danger and habituating ourselves to
fear or courage that we become either cowardly or courageous.
It is much the same with our desires and angry passions. Some
people become temperate and gentle, others become licentious
and passionate, according as they conduct themselves in one way
or another way in particular circumstances." (Aristotle:
_Ethics_, pp. 35-36, Weldon translation.)]

The mere preaching of virtue will thus not produce its
practice. Those standards which reflection discovers, however
useful in the guidance of life, are not sufficient to improve
human conduct. They must, as noted above, be emotionally
sanctioned to become habitual, and, on the other
hand, only if they are early acquired habits, will the emotions
associated with them be pleasant rather than painful.
"Accordingly the difference between one training of habits
and another from early days is not a light matter, but is serious
or rather all-important."[1] Ideals of life, when they remain
mere closet-ideals, are interesting academic specimens,
but are hardly effective in the helpful amendment of the lives
of mankind. "Whoever contemplates the world in the light
of an ideal," writes Bertrand Russell, "whether what he seeks
be intellect or art, or love, or simple happiness, or all together,
must feel a great sorrow in the evils which men allow needlessly
to continue and--if he is a man of force and vital
energy--an urgent desire to lead men to the realization of
the good which inspires his creative vision." Great thinkers
upon morals have not been content to work out interesting
systems which were logically conclusive, abstract methods of
attaining happiness. They have worked out their ethical
systems as genuinely preferred ways of life, they have offered
them as solutions of the difficulties men experience in controlling
their own passions and in adapting their desires to the
conditions which limit their fulfillment.

[Footnote 1: Aristotle: _loc. cit._, p. 36.]

"Our present study," writes Aristotle, "is not, like other
studies, purely speculative in its intention; for the object
of our inquiry is not to know the nature of virtue, but to
become ourselves virtuous, as that is the sole benefit which
it conveys."[2] Reflection upon morals can map out the road;
it cannot make people travel it. For that, an early habituation
to the good is necessary.

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 36.]

But it should be noted further that the greatest ethical
reformers have not been those who have convinced men
through the impeccability of their logic. They have been
rather the supreme seers, the Hebrew prophets, Christ, Saint
Francis, who have won followers not so much by the conclusiveness
of their demonstration as through the persuasive
fervor and splendor of their vision.

throughout the history of ethical theory a tendency to oversimplify
life by cramping it into the categories fixed by reason.
Reflection tends to set up certain standards which the infinite
variety of human experience tends to outrun. In the mere
fact of setting up generalizations, reflection is arbitrary. Any
generalization, by virtue of the very fact that it does apply
to a wide variety of situations, must forego concern with the
peculiar colors and qualities inhering in any specific experience.
Various ethical writers have set up general rules, which
they have attempted to apply to life with indiscriminate
ruthlessness. They have tried to shear down the endless rich
variety of human situations to fit the categories which they
assume to start with. Unsophisticated men have complained
with justice against the recurrent attempts of moralists to set
up absolute laws, standards, virtues, which were to be applied
regardless of the specific circumstances of specific situations.
It was such formalism that Aristotle protested against
throughout his _Ethics_.

There is the same sort of uncertainty with regard to good things,
as it often happens that injuries result from them; thus there have
been cases in which people were ruined by wealth, or again by courage.
As our subjects [moral inquiries] then and our premises are of
this nature, we must be content to indicate the truth roughly, and
in outline.[1]

[Footnote 1: Aristotle: _loc. cit._, pp. 3-4.]

He points out repeatedly that situations are specific, that
laws or generalization can only be tentatively made.

Questions of practice and expediency no more admit of invariable
rules than questions of health. But if this is true of general reasoning
upon Ethics, still more true is it that scientific exactitude is impossible
in reasoning upon particular ethical cases. They do not fall
under any art or any law, but the agents themselves are always
bound to pay regard to the circumstances of the moment, as much
as in medicine or navigation.[1]

[Footnote 1: Aristotle: _loc. cit._, p. 37.]

Instead of framing absolute general rules, Aristotle points
out those specific conditions which must be taken into account
in any act that can, without quibbling, be called good
or virtuous.

It is possible to go too far, or not to go far enough, in respect of
fear, courage, desire, anger, pity, and pleasure and pain generally,
and the excess and the deficiency are alike wrong; but to experience
these emotions at the right time, and on the right occasions and
towards the right persons, and for the right causes and in the right
manner is the mean or the supreme good, which is characteristic of

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_. p. 46.]

Reflection thus unduly simplifies the moral problem by
setting up general standards which are not adequate to the
multiple variety of specific situations which constitute human
experience. But in reasoning upon the conduct of life, there
has been displayed, furthermore, by ethical writers an inveterate
tendency to identify the processes of life with the process
of reason. One may cite as a classic instance of this point
of view the ethical theory of Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarians.
According to the Utilitarians human beings judged
acts in terms of their utility, as measured in the amount of
pleasure and pain produced by an action. The individual
figured out the pleasures and pains that would be the consequences
of his action. We shall in the next section examine
this point of view in more detail; we are referring to it here
simply as an illustration of intellectualizing of morals. Few
individuals go through anything remotely resembling the
"hedonic calculus" laid down by Bentham.[3] The individual
is not a static being, mathematically considering the amount
of pleasure and pain associated with the performance of specific
actions. We are, in the vast majority of cases, prompted
to specific responses, not by any mathematical considerations
of pleasures and pains, but by the immediate urgency of
instinctive and habitual desires. Reflection arises in the
process of adjustment of competing impulses, in the effecting of
a harmony between various desires that are much more primary
and fundamental than the reflection that arises upon
them. We may largely agree with McDougall when he writes:

[Footnote 3: The hedonic calculus of Bentham was, briefly, the
following: "Every proposed act is to be viewed with reference
to its probable consequences, in (1) intensity of pleasures and
pains, (2) their duration, (3) their certainty or uncertainty,
(4) their nearness or remoteness, (5) their fecundity, _i.e._,
the tendency of a pleasure to be followed by others, or a pain
by other pains; (6) their purity, _i.e._, the tendency of a
pleasure to be followed by pains and _vice versa_; (7) their extent,
that is, the number or range of persons whose happiness is
affected--with reference to whose pleasures and pains each one of
the first six items ought in strictness also to be calculated.
Then sum up all the pleasures which stand to the credit side of
the account; add the pains which are the debit items, or liabilities,
on the other; then take their algebraic sum, and the balance of
it on the side of pleasure will be the good tendency of the act
upon the whole." (Dewey and Tufts: _Ethics_, pp. 275-76.)

We may say, then, that directly or indirectly, the instincts are the
prime movers of all human activity; by the conative or impulsive
force of some instinct (or of some habit derived from an instinct)
every train of thought, however cold and passionless it may seem,
is borne along towards its end, and every bodily activity is initiated
and sustained. The instinctive impulses determine the ends of all
activities and supply the driving power by which all mental activities
are sustained; and all the complex intellectual apparatus of the most
highly developed mind is but a means towards these ends, is but the
instrument by which these impulses seek their satisfactions, while
pleasure and pain do but serve to guide them in their choice of the

Take away these instinctive dispositions with their powerful impulses,
and the organism would become incapable of activity of
any kind; it would lie inert and motionless, like a wonderful clockwork
whose mainspring had been removed, or a steam-engine whose
fires had been drawn.[1]

[Footnote 1: McDougall: _Social Psychology_, p. 44.]

Reflection is last rather than first; it is provoked and sustained
by instinctive desires, and is the means whereby they
may be fulfilled.

TYPES OF MORAL THEORY. Reflection upon morals produces
certain characteristic types of moral theory. These may be
classified, although, because of the complexity of factors
involved in any moral theory, cross-division is inevitable. But
in the long history of human reflection upon a reasonable way
of life, certain divisions stand out clearly. The first great
contrast that may be mentioned is that existing between Absolutism
and Relativism, the contrast, namely, between theories
of morals that regard right and wrong as absolute and
_a priori_, unconditioned by time, place, and circumstance; and
theories of morals that judge the rightness and wrongness of
acts in terms of their consequences, in the happiness or welfare
of human beings, however that be conceived. These two
points of view represent radically different temperaments and
differ radically in their fruits. The contrast will stand out
more clearly after a brief discussion of each.

ABSOLUTISM. Absolutistic moralities are distinguished by
their maintenance of the fundamental moral idea of Duty,
Duty consisting in an obligation to conform to the Right.
Implied in this obligation of absolute conformity is the
conception that the Right is unalterable, universally binding, and
imperative. Good and evil are not discoverable in experience,
but are standards to which human beings must in experience
conform. The right is not simply the desirable--frequently
it is, from the standpoint of impulses and emotion,
the undesirable; but it is a universal, an _a priori_ standard to
which human beings must in experience conform. Morals
are "eternal and immutable" principles, absolutely irrefutable
and indefeasible in experience. We shall, in approaching
the problem from the standpoint of moral knowledge, see
that most absolutist moral philosophers have also supposed
that these eternal principles of right action are intuitively
perceived. What concerns us in this connection, however, is the
nature of this absolutistic conception, and its bearings on the
governance of human conduct.

According to the absolutist, the "goodness" of an act is
not at all affected by its immediate consequences. The value
of a good or a moral act does not consist in its results. The
moral value of an act consists in the "good-will" of the agent,
and the "good-will" of the agent consists in his willing and
conscious conformity to the absolute moral principle involved.
"Nothing is fundamentally good but the good-will." That is,
an act to be moral, must be the conscious conformity of a
rational agent to the moral law, which he recognizes to be
morally binding. To Kant, the classic exponent of this position,
an act performed out of mere inclination, if not immoral,
certainly was not moral. A moral act could only flow from
reason, and reason would dictate to an individual conformity
to the moral law, which was a law of reason. Conduct that
is determined by mere circumstance is not moral conduct.
Morality is above the domain of circumstance. And the
moral agent is above the defeats and compromises imposed
by time and place. He is a free agent, that is, morally free.
He accepts no commands, except those of reason. A man, in
following impulse or being dictated to by circumstance, is a
mere animal or a machine. He is only a reasonable, that is, a
moral being, when he conforms to the laws which are above
time and place and circumstance, and above the whirls and
eddies of personal inclination.

Concretely, one may take the absolutistic attitude toward
a specific virtue: honesty. The morality of telling the truth
consists in a conscious conformity to the moral standard of
honesty in the face of all deflections of inclination and
particular situations. It makes no iota of difference what the
result of telling the truth in a particular instance may be.
It makes no difference what urgent and plausible and practically
decent reason one has for not telling the truth. The
truth must be told, as justice must be done, though the
heavens fall. We have a case, let us suppose, where telling
bad news to a very sick man may kill him. That temporally
disastrous consequence is, from an absolutistic point of view,
a totally irrelevant consideration, as is also the pain we feel
in telling the truth under such conditions. But the single
moral course is clear; there is no alternative; in absolutistic
morals there are no extenuating circumstances. The truth
must be told, whatever be the consequences. For to tell
the truth is a universal moral law, and conformity to that law
a universal moral obligation.

The defects of this position, if they are not obvious from
its bare statement, will become clearer from the analysis of
the relativist or teleological positions. But its specific virtues
deserve attention. The Kantian or absolutistic position, by
its emphasis on the indefeasible and unwavering character of
moral action, suggests something that rouses admiration from
common sense, unsophisticated by moral theory. We do not
think highly of the man who is at the mercy of every chance
appetite, or every casual incident. Morality must be constituted
of more enduring stuff. We do not deeply admire the
caliber of a man who yields to every pressing exigency,
surrendering thereby every ideal, principle, or value, the
attainment of which demands some postponement or some privation
of the fulfillment of immediate desire. The man who compromises
his political ideals in the attainment of his personal
success, is a scornful figure morally. And we estimate more
highly the character of an individual who can persist in the
strenuous attainment of an ideal in the face of the counter-inclination
of passing pleasures. In its emphasis on the autonomy
and integrity of moral action, even its opponents credit
the Kantian or absolutistic position with having hit upon a
genuinely moral aspect of human action. It is, as we shall
see, in the rigidity and formalism of its conception, in its
fanatical allegiance to _a priori_ standards, and its absolute
sanctification of given ways of action, that the theory is

theories of morals that maintain that right and wrong are
absolute and eternal principles unaffected by time, place, and
circumstance, are those moral philosophies which set out
explicitly to discover a way of life by which human happiness
in this world of time and place and circumstance may be
attained. To know what is the supreme good, and to discover
what are the means of its attainment, are, as Aristotle
long ago and justly observed, of great importance in the regulation
of life. It is this knowledge and discovery that constitute,
according to Aristotle, the business of ethics. Regarding
this "supreme good," we may quote his own expressions:

We speak of that which is sought after for its own sake, as more
final than that which is sought after as a means to something else;
we speak of that which is never desired as a means to something else
as more final than the things which are desired both in themselves
and as means to something else; and we speak of a thing as absolutely
final, if it is always desired in itself and never as a means to something

It seems that happiness preëminently answers to this description,
as we always desire happiness for its own sake, and never as a means
to something else, whereas we desire honour, pleasure, intellect, and
every virtue, partly for their own sakes,... but partly also as being
means to happiness, because we suppose they will prove the instruments
of happiness. Happiness, on the other hand, nobody desires
for the sake of these things, nor indeed as a means to anything else
at all.[1]

[Footnote 1: Aristotle: _loc. cit._, pp. 13-14.]

Happiness may, as Aristotle observes, be differently conceived
by different people. To some it may mean a life of
sensual enjoyment; to some men a life of money-making.
But it is the attainment of _complete_ satisfaction and
self-realization by the individual that ethical theories should
promote; for such self-realization constitutes happiness. It is
sufficient here to point out that all so-called "teleological"
or "relativistic" moralities, insist that the morality of an
action is not determinable _a priori_, or absolutely. They are
_relativistic_ in the sense that they insist on taking into account
the specific circumstances of action in the determination of its
moral value. They are _teleological_ in that they insist on measuring
the moral value of an action in terms of its consequences
in human well-being or happiness, however those be conceived.
To revert to the illustration used in connection with the discussion
of Absolutism, to lie in order to save a life would, on
this basis, be construed as good rather than evil.

UTILITARIANISM. One of the classic statements of relativistic
and teleological morality is Utilitarianism. According to the
Utilitarians the criterion of the worth of a deed was to be
found in an estimation of the relative pleasures and pains produced
by it. The view is thus stated by John Stuart Mill:

The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or
the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in
proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to
produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure,
and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of
pleasure. To give a clear view of the moral standard set up by the
theory, much more requires to be said; in particular, what things it
includes in the ideas of pain and pleasure; and to what extent this
is left an open question. But these supplementary explanations do
not affect the theory of life on which this theory of morality
is grounded--namely, that pleasure and freedom from pain are the
only things desirable as ends; and that all desirable things (which
are as numerous in the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are desirable
either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as means to
the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mill: _Utilitarianism_ (London, 1907), pp. 9-10.]

Simply stated, Utilitarianism says: "Add together all the
pleasures promised by a contemplated course of action, then
the pains, and note the difference; the nature of the difference
will determine whether the course is right or wrong." Pleasures
and pains are thus conceived as being open to quantitative
determination. Action is determined by mathematical
calculation in advance of the pleasure and pain produced by
any action. Bentham's name is particularly associated with
the dictum, "the greatest happiness for the greatest number."
But two implications of this doctrine must be taken into
account, at least as Bentham interpreted it. The greatest
happiness meant the maximum amount of pleasure. And
each individual could desire the greatest happiness, only in
so far as it contributed to his own happiness or pleasure.
And, for Bentham, as for all strict Utilitarians, there was no
qualitative distinction in the amounts of pleasure. "The
quantity being the same," said Bentham, "pushpin is as good
as poetry."

Utilitarianism is here considered as an instance of a type
of ethical theory that set human happiness as the end, and
made its judgments of actions depend on their consequences
in human welfare. It must be pointed out, however, that its
conception of happiness was dependent on a psychology now
almost unanimously recognized as false: Bentham's assumption
that the _reason_ human beings performed certain actions
was _because_ they desired certain pleasures, completely
reverses the actual situation. It puts, as it were, the cart
before the horse. Pleasure is psychologically the accompaniment,
what psychologists call the "feeling tone" of the satisfaction
of any instinctive or habitual impulse. Human beings
have certain native or habitual tendencies to action, and
pleasure attends the performance of these. It is not because
we want the pleasure of eating, that we decide to eat;
we want to eat, and eating is therefore pleasant.

If the good Samaritan cared about the present feelings or the
future welfare of the man fallen among thieves, it would no doubt give
him some pleasure to satisfy that desire for his welfare; if he had
desired his good as little as the priest and the Levite, there would
have been nothing to suggest the strange idea that to relieve him, to
bind up his nasty wounds, and to spend money upon him, would be
a source of more pleasure to himself than to pass by on the other side
and spend the money upon himself. In the case of the great majority
of our pleasures, it will probably be found that the desire is the
condition of the pleasure, not the pleasure of the desire.[1]

[Footnote 1: Rashdall: _Ethics_, p. 18.]

As has been previously pointed out in this and other chapters,
action does not start with reflection upon pleasures, or,
for that matter, upon anything else. Action is fundamentally
initiated by instinctive promptings, or the promptings of
habit. Satisfaction or pleasure attends the fulfillment of any
inborn or acquired impulse, and dissatisfaction or pain its
obstruction or frustration. Apart from the satisfactions
experienced in the fulfillment in action of such impulses,
pleasure does not exist. Actions, situations, persons, or ideas
can be pleasant to us, but "pleasure" as a separate objective
entity cannot be said to exist at all. The Utilitarians, again,
made the intellectualist error of supposing that men dispassionately
and mathematically weighed the consequences of
their actions, whereas their relative impulsions to action are
determined by the instincts they inherit and the habits they
have already acquired.

Despite its false psychology, Utilitarianism does stand out
as one of the great classic attempts to build an ethical theory
squarely designed to promote human happiness. An execution
of the same worthy intention, more acceptable to those
trained in the modern psychology of instinct, is that moral
conception variously known as Behaviorism, or Energism,
a point of view maintained by thinkers from Aristotle to
Professor Dewey in our own day. All behavioristic theories
take the position that in order to find out what is good for
man, we must begin by finding out what man is. In order to
discover what will give man satisfaction, we must discover
what his natural impulses and capacities are. In the utilization
and fulfillment of these will man find his most complete
realization and happiness. The standard of goodness, therefore,
is measured in terms of the extent to which action promotes
a complete and harmonious utilization of natural impulses
and natural capacities. Ethics, from such a viewpoint,
cannot set up arbitrary standards, but must form its standards
by inquiries into the fundamental and natural needs and
desires of men. Instead of laying down eternal principles to
which human beings must be made to conform, it must derive
its principles from observations of human experience, and test
them there. The good is what does good; the bad what does
harm. And what is good for men, and bad for men, depends
not on rigid _a priori_ intellectual standards, but on the original
nature which is each man's inheritance.

To base ethics upon an analysis of the conditions of human
nature, as scientific inquiry reveals it, carries with it two
implications. It means that nothing that is shown to be a part of
man's inevitable original equipment can with justice to man's
welfare be ruled out. Every instinct taken by itself is as good
as any other. It is only when one instinct competes with
another, so that excessive indulgence of one, as, for example,
that of sex or pugnacity, interferes with all a man's other
instincts or interests (or with those of other men), that an
instinct becomes evil. It means, secondly, that since individuals
differ, and since situations are infinitely various and
individual, no arbitrary and fixed laws can be laid down as
fundamental eternal principles.

MORAL KNOWLEDGE. The contrast between the two types
of morality that have been historically current may be
approached from the standpoint of moral knowledge. That is,
moral theories may be classified on the basis of their answer
to the question: How do moral judgments arise? The chief
contrast to be drawn is that between Intuitionalism on the
one hand, and Empiricism on the other. Intuitionalism holds
briefly that the moral quality of an act is intuitively perceived,
and is recognized apart from experience of its consequences.
The empirical theory holds that moral judgments come to be
attached to acts as a result of experience, and particularly
experiences of the approval and disapproval of other people.
The contrast will again become clearer by a discussion of each
theory separately.

INTUITIONALISM. Intuitionalism takes two chief forms. The
first, Perceptual Intuitionalism, as Sidgwick calls it, holds that
the rightness of each particular act is immediately known.
The second, called by the same author Dogmatic Intuitionalism,
holds that the general laws of common-sense morality
are immediately perceived. The popular view of "conscience,"
well illustrates the first-mentioned position of the

We commonly think of the dictates of conscience as relating to
particular actions, and when a man is bidden in a particular case to
"trust to his conscience," it commonly seems to be meant that he
should exercise a faculty of judging morally this particular case
without reference to general rules, and even in opposition to
conclusions obtained by systematic deduction from such rules.[1]

[Footnote 1: Sidgwick: _Methods of Ethics_ (4th edition), p. 99.]

Conscience, this organ of immediate moral perception, is
frequently taken to be divinely given at birth. There is no
one so certain or immovable as the man whose actions are
dictated by his "conscience." He does not have to think
about his actions; he knows immediately what is right and
what is wrong. The intuitionalist does not go into the natural
history of scruples for or against the performance of
certain actions. He takes these immediate aversions or
promptings to act as the revelations of immediate and unquestionable
knowledge, frequently presumed to be divinely implanted.
Most Intuitionalists hold not that we experience an
immediate intuition of the rightness or wrongness of action
in every single situation, but that the common rules of morality,
such common rules as good faith and veracity, are immediately
recognized and assented to as moral. They insist
that these are not determined by experience or by reflection,
since stealing, lying, and murder are _known_ to be wrong by
everyone, though most men could not tell way.

Intuitionalism carried out to logical extremes is represented
by such men as Tclstoy, and, in general, those who genuinely
and persistently act according to the dictates of their conscience,
"who hold, and so far as they can, act upon the principle
that we must never resist force by force, never arrest a
thief, must literally give to him that asketh, up to one's last
penny, and so on."

EMPIRICISM. To explain the grounds of the Empirical
position is to exhibit the arguments in refutation of Intuitionalism.
The most obvious and frequent line of attack
that empirical moralists make upon Intuitionalism is to
examine and compare the various "intuitions" of right conduct
which have been held by men in different ages and places.

The traditional method of combating intuitionalism from the time
of John Locke to that of Herbert Spencer has been to present the
reader with a list of cruel and abominable savage customs, ridiculous
superstitions, acts of religious fanaticism and intolerance, which
have all alike seemed self-evidently good and right to the peoples or
individuals who have practised them. There is hardly a vice or a
crime (according to our own moral standard) which has not at some
time or other in some circumstances been looked upon as a moral
and religious duty. Stealing was accounted virtuous for the young
Spartan, and among the Indian caste of Thugs. In the ancient
world, piracy, that is, robbery and murder, was a respectable
profession. To the mediæval Christian, religious persecution was the
highest of duties, and so on.[1]

[Footnote 1: Rashdall: _loc. cit._, p. 59.]

The Empiricist asks: If all these intuitions are absolute;
if men at various times and at various places, indeed, if,
as is the case, men of different social classes and situations at
the present time, differ so profoundly in their "intuitions" of
the just, the noble, and the base, which of the conflicting
intuitions, all equally absolute, is _the_ absolute? The Intuitionalist
continually appeals to the universal intuition and assent of
Mankind. But there is scarcely a single moral law for which
universal assent in even a single generation can be found.
One has but to survey the heterogeneous collection of customs
and prohibitions collected in such a work as Frazer's _Golden
Bough_, to see how little unanimity there is in the moral
intuitions of mankind.

The Empiricist finds the origin of these divergent moral
convictions in the divergent environments to which individuals
in different places, times, and social situations are exposed.
The intensity and apparent irrefutability of these
convictions, which the Intuitionalist ascribes to their innateness,
the Empiricist ascribes to their early acquisition, and
the deep emotional hold which early acquired habits have
over the individual. Those moral beliefs which we hold with
the utmost conviction and intensity are, instead of being
thereby guaranteed as most reasonable and genuinely moral,
thereby rendered, says the Empiricist, the more suspect.
They are evidences of the effectiveness of our early education,
or of our high degree of sensitiveness to our fellows. Conscience
is thus reduced to habitual emotional reactions produced
by the contact of a given individual temperament with
a given environment.

Thus acts come by the individual to be recognized as right
or wrong, according to the tradition to which he has been
educated and the contacts with other people to which he is
continually exposed. The Empiricist does not deny that
there are intuitions, or apparent intuitions. He denies their
ultimacy, their unquestionable validity.

When ... we find ourselves entertaining an opinion about the
basis of which there is a quality of feeling which tells us that to
inquire into it would be absurd, obviously unnecessary, unprofitable,
undesirable, bad form, or wicked, we may know that that opinion is
a non-rational one, and probably, therefore, founded upon inadequate

[Footnote 1: Trotter: _Instincts of the Herd_, p. 44.]

These so powerful convictions are the immediate promptings
of instincts, or of the habits into which they have been modified.
The humane Christian, had he been brought up in the
Eskimo tradition, would with the most tender solicitude
slaughter his aged parents, just as the humane Christian in
the Middle Ages thought it his duty to slay heretics. There
is no limit to the excesses to which men have gone on the
dictates of conscience. To put actions on the basis of conscience
is to put them beyond the control of reflection or the check
of inquiry. It is to reduce conduct to caprice; to exalt
impulse into a moral command. And the results of accepting
blind intuitions as rational knowledge have been in many
cases catastrophic.

If reason has slain its thousands, the acceptance of instinct as
evidence has slain its tens of thousands. Day by day, in the ordinary
direction of their lives, men have learned during hundreds of
generations how untrustworthy is the interpretation of fact which
Instinct offers, and how bitter is the truth contained in such proverbs
as "Anger is a bad counsellor," or "Love is blind." ... Wars
are often started and maintained, neither from mere blind anger,
nor because those on either side find that they desire the results
which a cool calculation of the conditions makes them regard as
probable, but largely because men insist on treating their feelings as
evidence of fact and refuse to believe that they can be so angry
without sufficient cause.[1]

[Footnote 1: Graham Wallas: _The Great Society_, pp. 224-25.]

The Empiricist insists that the morality of an act cannot
be told from the intensity of approval or disapproval which
it arouses in the individual. Actions are not moral or
immoral in themselves, but in their consequences or relations,
which are only discoverable in experience. The goodness or
badness of an act is measurable in terms of its consequences,
and the consequences of action are discoverable only in experience.
This does not imply that we calculate the results of
every action before performing it, or measure the consequences
of the acts of other persons before judging them.
Our immediate reactions are frequently not the result of reflection
at all, but are responses prompted by previously formed
habits, or by instinctive caprice. These immediate intuitions
are not to be relied upon as moral standards, precisely because
reflection frequently comes to an estimate of an act, directly
at variance with our instinctive reaction to it. We come,
upon reflection, to approve acts that we are, by instinct,
moved to condemn. And the reverse holds true.

When we see that a child's clothes have caught fire, we do not
need to reflect on any consequences for universal well-being before
we make up our minds that it is a duty to extinguish the flames, even
at the cost of some risk to ourselves. It is clear that the act will
conduce to pleasure and to the avoidance of pain. We should feel
an equally instinctive desire to kick out of the room a man whom we
saw making incisions in the flesh of a human being if we did not know
that he was a surgeon, and that the making of incisions will tend to
save the man's life. Were a competent physician to suggest that
the burning of the child's clothes upon its back would cure it of a
fever, every reasonable person would consider it his duty to reconsider
his _prima-facie_ view of the situation.[1]

[Footnote 1: Rashdall: _Ethics_, pp, 51-52.]

The Empiricist insists that moral standards are matters of
discovery; that the laws of conduct must be derived from
experience, just as must the laws of the physical sciences.
To condemn an act as evil means that the performance of that
act has in experience been found to produce harmful results.
Those moral laws which at the present stage of civilized society
seem to have attained universal assent, _have_ attained it
because they are rules whose practice has, in the history of
the race, repeatedly been found to produce desirable results.
Even the conception of justice, which has by so many thinkers
been held to be absolute, to inhere somehow in the nature
of things, is by Mill demonstrated at length to be merely a
particularly highly regarded utility:

It appears ... that justice is a name for certain moral requirements,
which, regarded collectively, stand higher in the scale of
social utility, and are therefore of more paramount obligation than
any others; though particular cases may occur where some other
social duty is so important as to overrule any one of the general
maxims of justice. Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable,
but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine,
or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical

[Footnote 2: Mill: _Utilitarianism_ (London, 1907), p. 95.]

Indeed it is clear, that in the processes of natural selection
those tribes would survive whose rules of morality did in
general promote welfare. And it is the business of reflection,
says the Empiricist, not to accept either his own conviction
or those of others on ethical questions, but in cases of ambiguity
to establish, after inquiry, a standard the practice of
which promises the widest benefits in human happiness.

ETHICS AND LIFE. All ethical theories are more or less
deliberately intended as definitions of the good, and as instruments
for its attainment. They must, therefore, be immediately
tested by their fruits in life. An ethical theory
that is only verbally concerned with the good, but does not
in practice promote human welfare, is futile pedantry or worse.
Reflection upon conduct arises in man's attempt to control
the nature which is his inheritance in the interests of his
happiness. Men have learned through experience that to
follow each impulse without forethought brings them pain,
misery, and sometimes destruction. They have found that
to achieve happiness some harmony must be established
between competing desires, and that only by balances,
adjustment, and control, can they make the most of the nature
which is theirs inescapably. This nature consists, as we have
seen, in certain specific tendencies to action. Men are natively
endowed with instincts to love, to fight, to be curious,
to long for and enjoy the companionship of their fellows, to
wish privacy and solitude, to follow a lead and to take it,
to fear and hate, and sympathize with others. The satisfaction
of any one of these impulses gives pleasure. Any one
of these may become a dominant passion. But it is not
through yielding to a single imperious impulse that men attain
genuine happiness. To be excessively pugnacious or amorous
or fearful is to court unhappiness, both for the individual
and his fellows. It is only by giving each instinct its
proportionate chance in the total context of all the instincts, that
happiness is to be found.

It is for this reason that, as Aristotle first pointed out, a
study of what is good for man must start with a study of
what man himself is. The study of ethics must consequently
fall back for its data upon psychology. It must note with
precision the things that men can do, before it tells them what
they ought to do. For the things they ought to do, are
dependent on the conditions which limit and determine their
ideals. Any ethical system that deliberately excludes from
its formulation natural human desires and capacities, is
denying the very sources of all morality. For every ideal
has its root back in some unlearned human impulse, and an
ideal that has no basis in the nature of man, is not an ideal,
but a negation. The ideal "way of life" is one that provides
for the harmonious utilization of all those possibilities which
lie in man's original nature. To deny a place to the sex
impulse is to deny a place to ideal love. To deny the moral
legitimacy of the fighting instinct is to take away the basis
of that immense energy which goes to sustain great moral
reformers. The place of ethical theory is not to deny human
impulses, but to turn them to uses in which they will not
hinder other impulses either of the individual or of others.
Through physical science, men have sought to make the most
of their physical environment; through moral science, they
can try to make the most of the human equipment which is
theirs for better or for worse. This human equipment is an
opportunity; and the utilization of this opportunity constitutes
happiness. It is in the realization of the possibilities
offered by our original human nature that reflection upon
morals is justified. It is in the effective fulfillment of this
opportunity that its success must be measured.

MORALITY AND HUMAN NATURE. A moral theory that is
merely coercive and arbitrary, therefore, is not in a genuine
sense moral. A morality, to justify itself, must appeal to
the heart of man. The good which it recommends must be
a good which man can without sophistry approve. And the
good for which man can whole-heartedly strive is not determined
by logic, but, in the last analysis, by biology. Human
beings cannot freely call good that to which they have no
spontaneous prompting. Those ascetics who have denied
the flesh may have displayed a certain degree of heroism, but
they displayed an equal lack of insight. For it is out of
physical impulses alone that any ideal values can arise.

It is only when one instinct interferes with its neighbors,
or one individual with his fellows, that instincts or activities
can be called evil. They are called evil in relation, in
context, with reference to their consequences. In itself no
natural impulse is subject to condemnation. It is just as
natural as thunder or sunshine, and is to be taken as a point
of departure, as a basis for action, rather than as a chance
for censure. Impulses demand control simply because, left
to themselves, they collide with each other, just as individuals
uncontrolled by custom, law, and education, collide
with each other in the pursuit of satisfaction. The ideal is
a way of life, which will allow as much spontaneity as the
conditions of nature and life allow, and provide as much control
as they make necessary. To be thus in control of one's
desires is to be free. It is to utilize one's interests and capacities
in the light of a harmony both of one's own desires, and
in so far as this harmony is universal, of the desires of all men.
It is to lead the Life of Reason:

Every one leads the Life of Reason in so far as he finds a steady
light behind the world's glitter, and a clear residuum of joy beneath
pleasure and success. No experience not to be repented of falls
without its sphere. Every solution to a doubt, in so far as it is not
a new error, every practical achievement not neutralized by a second
maladjustment consequent upon it, every consolation not the seed
of another, greater sorrow, may be gathered together and built into
this edifice. The Life of Reason is the happy marriage of two
elements--impulse and ideation--which if wholly divorced would
reduce man to a brute or to a maniac. The rational animal is
generated by the union of these two monsters. He is constituted by
ideas which have ceased to be visionary and actions which have
ceased to be vain.[1]

[Footnote 1: Santayana: _Reason in Common Sense_, p. 6.]

Nor does the leading of a moral life, as Kant and other
moralists said or implied, demand a stern and lugubrious
countenance and a sad, resigned determination to be good.
A moral system should promote rather a hallelujah than a
halo. One may suspect the adequacy to human happiness of
those moral systems which promote in their holders or
practitioners a virtuous somberness and a moral melancholy. A
morality that demands such unwholesome outward evidences
is inwardly not beautiful. As art is an attempt to give perfection
and fulfillment to matter, so is morals an attempt to
give perfect and complete fulfillment to human possibility.
A genuine morality will, in consequence, be spontaneous and
free. In Matthew Arnold's well-known lines:

  "Then, when the clouds are off the soul,
   When thou dost bask in Nature's eye,
   Ask, how _she_ view'd thy self-control,
   Thy struggling task'd morality.
   Nature, whose free, light, cheerful air
   Oft made thee, in thy gloom, despair.
       *       *       *       *       *
  "There is no effort on _my_ brow--
   I do not strive, I do not weep.
   I rush with the swift spheres, and glow
   In joy, and when I will, I sleep."[1]

[Footnote 1: From _Morality_.]

MORALS, LAW, AND EDUCATION. No moral code, however
adequate in its theoretical formulation or the means of its
attainment, is socially effective merely as theory. No matter
how completely it takes into account all the natural desires
and possibilities which demand fulfillment, it remains merely
an academic yearning. It becomes an instrument of happiness
only when it has been made the habitual mode of life of
the individual and the group, through the long continuous
processes of education and law. There is a familiar discrepancy
between theory and practice, even when the discrepancy
is not due to insincerity. Philosophy cannot make a man
virtuous, however much it may convince him of the path to
virtue. Socrates thought that if men only knew the good
they would follow it. But modern psychologists and ordinary
laymen know better. The good must become a habitual
practice if men are to follow it, and it can only become a
habitual practice if education and social conditions in general
provide for the early habituation of the individual to conduct
that is socially useful. Aristotle, who himself framed a
theory of morals that was built on the firm foundation of
human possibility, was aware of the inadequacy of theory
by itself to make men good:

Some people think that men are made good by nature, others by
habit, others again by teaching.

Now it is clear that the gift of Nature is not in our own power,
but is bestowed through some divine power upon those who are
truly fortunate. It is probably true also that reason and teaching
are not universally efficacious; the soul of the pupil must first have
been cultivated by habit to a right spirit of pleasure and aversion,
like the earth that is to nourish the seed.[1]

[Footnote 1: Aristotle: Ethics, book X, chap. X, p. 344 (Weldon translation).

It is only when people find pleasure in the right actions,
that they can be depended upon to perform them. And it
is by their early and habitual performance that they will
become pleasant. In the formation of such socially and
individually useful habits, education is the incomparable
instrument. The conduct of individuals is, as we have
repeatedly seen, largely fixed by the customary recognition of
certain acts as approved, and others as disapproved. These
approvals and disapprovals are transmitted through education.
Education is used here to refer not simply to the formal
institutions of teaching, but to the complete social environment,
the approvals and disapprovals with which an individual
comes in contact. Formal education is, however, the
chief means by which society inculcates into younger members
those values, traditions, and customs which its controlling
elements regard as of the most pivotal importance.

Social customs which are transmitted in education, become
fixed in law. So that, as Aristotle points out in this same
connection, laws are symptomatic of the moral values which
the group regards as of the highest importance. Laws are
customs given all the sanction, support, and significance that
the group can put into them. Education transmits the values,
ideals, and traditions cherished by the group, but the
laws and customs already current largely control the scope
and methods of education. "Education proceeds ultimately
from the patterns furnished by institutions, customs, and
laws. Only in a just state will these be such as to give the
right education."[1]

[Footnote 1: Dewey: _Democracy and Education_, p. 103.]

The state of law and education which is exhibited by a
society, thus accurately mirrors the degree of moral progress
of the group. And what is, perhaps, more significant, the
kind of law and education current determines the moral
ideals and conditions the moral achievements of the maturing
generation. Education, more especially, is the instrument
through which the young can be educated not only to ideals
and customs already current, but to their reflective modification
in the light of our ever-growing knowledge of the conditions
of human welfare.


Ability, education and native.
Absolutism in morality.
Acquisitive instinct.
Activity, creative (see Creative activity); mental; physical; social.
Æsthetic experience; and form; in industry; in science; sense satisfaction
  basis of; standards, effect of custom on; value of science; values; _vs._
  moral values; _vs._ practical values. _See also_ Art.
Affection. _See_ Love.
Age, influence of on learning.
Animal, instincts compared with human; man as an; man a social.
Appreciation. _See_ Æsthetic.
Arnold, Matthew.
Art, and emotion; and morals; and nature; appreciation of; as an industry;
  as propaganda; as realization of ideals; as recreation; as vicarious
  experience; expression of ideas by; fine; for art's sake; imagination in;
  industrial; origin of; standards in. _See also_ Æsthetic.
Attention in habit formation.

  Bacon, Francis.
Beauty. _See_ Art, and Æsthetic.
Behavior, habitual; instinctive; types of human.
Belief, gregariousness in; individuality in.
Blame. _See_ Praise.
Bloomfield, Leonard.
Burke, Edmund.
Burns, C. Delisle.

Career of reason.
Change, in customs; in habits; in language; opposition to.
Character. _See_ Personality, and Self, development of.
Church, the, as a social institution; educational functions of; political
  functions of.
Civilization, and acquisitive instinct; control of instincts in; factors
  in development of. _See also_ Society.
Classification in science.
Coefficient of correlation.
Common sense and science.
Communication. _See_ Language.
Companionship. _See_ Gregariousness.
Comte, Auguste.
Conduct, cultivation of socially desirable; social standards of.
Conservatism, place of fear in; of habit.
Continuity, cultural.
Creative activity, and eccentricity; as sublimation of sex instinct; in
  art; in industry; in society. _See also_ Imagination.
Culture, continuity of; dependent on environment.
Curiosity, instinct of; and scientific inquiry.
Custom, attitudes toward; and art; and morals; changes in; effects of on
  progress; preservation of; social value of.

Dickinson, G. Lowes.
Differences, individual, and education; causes of; in industry; in leadership;
  in reflection: influence of environment on; of heredity; of race; of sex.
Discontent, due to repression of instincts.
Dislike. _See_ Hate.
Divine, as the human ideal; description of.
Dowson, Ernest.

Education, and individual differences; and morals; as transmitter of the
  past; by the church; instrument for social betterment and control; made
  possible by prolonged period of infancy; and by language. _See also_
Emotion, accompanies satisfaction or frustration of instincts or habits;
  and art; and language; aroused in maintenance of self; as driving power;
  difficulty of classifying; in morals; impedes reflection; James-Lange
  theory of; of dislike or hate; of fear; of pity; of love; physical
  indications of.
Empirical morality.
Enthusiasm; religious.
Environment, control of by science; influence of on æsthetic appreciation;
  on individual differences; on racial differences; on instincts;
  maladjustment between individual and; possibility of choice of.
Ethics, and life; contrast between professed and practiced. _See also_
Experience, art as vicarious; modifies man's instincts.
Experiment, to determine learning process in animals; number of instincts
  in animals; in children.
Experimental moral standards.
Experimentation in science.
Expression, art as means of. _See also_ Æsthetic, and Religion.

Fatigue, influence of on learning; in relation to industry; mental; nervous;
Fear, and religious experience; instinct of; of the new.
Field, Eugene.
Fighting instinct. _See_ Pugnacity.
Food, instinct of.
Form, and æsthetic experience.
Freedom of speech.
Freudian psychology.
Friendship. _See_ Love.
Frost, Robert.

Galton, Francis.
Generalization in reflection.
Gregariousness, effect of on innovation; importance of for social solidarity;
  in action; in belief; instinct of.
Group-feeling; influence of on language. _See also_ Society.

Habit, as time-saver; importance of in morals; language as a; of reflection,
  importance of; strength of in individual; in society.
Habits, and emotion; and instincts; disserviceable; education a deliberate
  acquisition of; formation of, influence of on thinking; modification of
  by reflection; of mind; specific not general; transference of.
Hard, William.
Harrison, Jane.
Health, influence of on learning.
Herd instinct. _See_ Gregariousness.
History, and religion.
Hunger, instinct of.

Ideals, created by reflection; devotion to; foundation of; realization of
  in art; in morals; in religion.
Ideas, expressed in art; fear of the novel in; man alone reacts to.
Imagination, as form of mental activity; in art; in science. _See also_
  Creative activity.
Impotence. _See_ Need.
Impulses. _See_ Instincts.
Individual, and education; differences (_see_ Differences, individual);
  maladjustment between environment and.
Individuality, and progress; consciousness of unique in man; in opinion
  and belief.
Industry, art as an; individual differences in; need of
creative activity in.
Infancy, prolonged period of in man.
Instinct, and habit; acquisitive; definition of; of curiosity; fear;
  gregariousness; hunger; leadership; mental activity; parental; physical
  activity; pity; play; pugnacity; self-preservation; sex; shelter;
  submission; sympathy.
Instincts, and education; and emotion; basis of morals; conflict of;
  control of; happiness comes from satisfaction of; interpenetration of;
  modification of; number and variety of; repression of; specific not
  general; unchanged since prehistoric times.
Intelligence, a conscious adjustment of habits; influence of heredity on,
  of race, of sex; makes possible control of nature; measurement of; types of.
Interests, conflict of in society.
Invention of tools.

  James, William.
Jones, A. L..
Joy, religious expression of.


Language, and emotion; and logic; and thought; as a social habit; changes
  in; importance of for civilization; man alone possesses; origin of;
  primitive; uniformities in.
Law, and morals; and society; scientific.
Leadership, instinct of; submission to.
Learning, affected by age, fatigue, and health; capacity for in men and
  animals; drill and attention in; importance of habit of; process of
  (_see also_ Education, and Reflection); trial-and-error.
Le Bon.
Lee, Frederick S..
Logic, and language.

Man, as social being; primitive; study of, basis of ethics; unique
  characteristics of.
Markham, Edwin.
Marot, Helen.
Marx, Karl.
Mendelian laws of heredity.
Mental activity.
Meyer, Eduard.
Mill, John Stuart.
Moral action; knowledge; standards; theory, types of; values.
Morality, absolutistic; and art; and education; and emotion; and habit;
  and human nature; and intellectualism; and law; based on instincts;
  customary; empirical; inadequacy of theory in; intuitional; reflective;
  relativistic and teleological; spontaneous.
Morley, John.

Nature, and art; man's control of; science as explanation of;
  unchangeability of.
Need, and religious experience.
New, progress and the; distrust of; idealization of. _See also_ Originality.
Northcliffe, Lord.
Noyes, Alfred.

Observation in science.
Opinion, individuality in; suppression of.
Originality in thinking, causes of; encouragement of; fear of, in society.
  _See also_ New.

Parental instinct.
Past, critical examination of; disparagement of; education as transmitter
  of; idealization of; limitations of; our heritage from; veneration of.
Pater, Walter.
Pearson, Karl.
Personality. _See also_ Self.
Physical activity, instinct of; fatigue.
Pity, instinct of.
Play. _See_ Physical activity, and Recreation.
Population; restriction of.
Possession. _See_ Acquisitive.
Praise and blame, as instruments of social control; determine professed
  standards; in development of self; indifference to; man responsive to.
Prejudice, influences thinking.
Primitive and civilized races; language; man's manufacture of tools;
  morality; religion; science.
Privacy, instinctive demand for.
Progress, and custom; and pugnacity; and reflection; and variation from
  normal; science as an instrument of.
Propaganda, art as; emotional value of words in.
Psychological tests. _See_ Intelligence, measurement of.
Psychology, and ethics; behavioristic; "faculty"; Freudian; of Utilitarianism.
Public opinion; opposition to.
Pugnacity, instinct of.


Race, continuity of human; influence of on individual differences.
Reason, and religion; as director of life; career of; in absolutistic
  morality. _See also_ Reflection, and Thinking.
Recreation; art as; form dependent on work and habits.
Reflection, and individual differences; and morality; creates moral standards;
  in art; in science; inadequacy of in morals; limited by instinct and habit;
  modifier of instinct and habit; process of; value of for society. _See also_
  Learning, Scientific method, and Thinking.
Relativistic morality.
Religion, and history; and science; experiences giving rise to expression
  of; institutionalized; offers solace; realization of ideals in; primitive;
  rationalization of personal.
Remorse and religion.
Repetition in habit formation.
Repression of instincts.
Robinson, James Harvey.
Robinson, Edwin Arlington.
Russell, Bertrand.

Science, æsthetic aspect of; and common sense; and progress; and religion;
  as explanation of natural phenomena, classification in; definition of;
  experimentation in; imagination in; innovation in; observation in;
  practical; primitive; pure; social.
Scientific inquiry, curiosity and; law; method.
Self-assertion; consciousness of the; development of; display; preservation;
  sufficiency; surrender; satisfaction and dissatisfaction; the divided;
  the negative; the permanent; the social; types of the.
Sense satisfaction basis of æsthetic experience.
Sex, and creative activity; and racial continuity; influence of on
  individual differences; instinct of.
Smith, Adam.
Social activity; being, man as a; consequences of fear; of leadership; of
  opposition to public opinion; of pity; of submission; inertia; institution,
  the church as a; motive; sciences; self; solidarity; standards of conduct;
  value of consciousness of self; of custom; of individuality in opinion; of
  praise and blame; of prolonged period of infancy; of pugnacity; of reflection.
Society, and education; and individual happiness; and law; based on instinct
  of gregariousness; conflict of interests in; control of instincts in.
Sorel, Georges.
Specificity of instincts; of habits.
Speech (_see also_ Language); freedom of.
Standards, æsthetic; _a priori_; experimental; ideal; language; moral; social.
Stirner, Max.
Stork, Charles Wharton.
Submissive instinct.
Suggestion, in thinking.

Taylor, Henry Osborn.
Teleology in morals.
Tender emotion.
Theory, inadequacy of in morals.
Thinking, common sense _vs._ scientific; influence of habit on; analyzes
  experience; begins with a problem. _See also_ Reflection, and Scientific
Thompson, Sylvanus P..
Thorndike, Edward L.
Thought, and language; originality in.
Tools, man only maker and user of.
Tradition. _See_ Custom.
Trial-and-error, learning; reflection as mental.
Tylor, Edward B.
Types of self; of intelligence.


  Values, æsthetic; ideal; moral.
Verification in scientific procedure.

  Wallas, Graham.
War, and acquisitive instinct; and hate; and pugnacity.
Ward, Lester.
Wharton, Edith.
Wilde, Oscar.
Wilson, Woodrow.
Wolff, Christian.
Work determines form of recreation.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Human Traits and their Social Significance" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.