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Title: Crowds - A Moving-Picture of Democracy
Author: Lee, Gerald Stanley, 1862-1944
Language: English
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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.

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_Editor of "Mount Tom"_



_Copyright, 1913, by_
_All rights reserved, including that of
translation into foreign languages,
including the Scandinavian_




  _A Sketch of Civilization_

  _A Constructive Criticism of Education_

  _A Study of the Hebrew Men of Genius_

  _An Introduction to the Twentieth Century_

  _A Study of the Man of Genius in Business_

  _A Moving Picture of Democracy_

    _Gratefully inscribed to a little Mountain,
       a great Meadow, and a Woman.
    To the Mountain for the sense of time, to
       the Meadow for the sense of space, and
       to the Woman for the sense of everything._


























































I. NOW!      280














IX. WHO IS AFRAID?       337






XV. CONVERSION        371

XVI. EXCEPTION        380

XVII. INVENTION        383














V. THE PRESIDENT SAYS "LOOK!"          463

VI. THE PEOPLE SAY "WHO ARE YOU?"           469



IX. NEWS-MEN           476


XI-XII. NEWS-BOOKS               505-513

XIII. NEWS-PAPERS              517

XIV. NEWS-MACHINES                 524

XV. NEWS-CROWDS                527

XVI. CROWD-MEN             550

EPILOGUE                 539




        _"A battered, wrecked old man
    Thrown on this savage shore far, far from home,
    Pent by the sea and dark rebellious brows twelve dreary months
    ... The end I know not, it is all in Thee,
    Or small or great I know not--haply what broad fields, what

        And these things I see suddenly, what mean they
    As if some miracle, some hand divine unsealed my eyes,
    Shadowy vast shapes smile through the air and sky,
    And on the distant waves sail countless ships,
    And anthems in new tongues I hear saluting me."_



The best picture I know of my religion is Ludgate Hill as one sees it
going down the foot of Fleet Street. It would seem to many perhaps like
a rather strange half-heathen altar, but it has in it the three things
with which I worship most my Maker in this present world--the three
things which it would be the breath of religion to me to offer to a God
together--Cathedrals, Crowds, and Machines.

With the railway bridge reaching over, all the little still locomotives
in the din whispering across the street; with the wide black crowd
streaming up and streaming down, and the big, faraway, other-worldly
church above, I am strangely glad. It is like having a picture of one's
whole world taken up deftly, and done in miniature and hung up for one
against the sky--the white steam which is the breath of modern life, the
vast hurrying of our feet, and that Great Finger pointing toward heaven
day and night for us all....

I never tire of walking out a moment from my nook in Clifford's Inn and
stealing a glimpse and coming back to my fireplace. I sit still a moment
before going to work and look in the flames and think. The great roar
outside the Court gathers it all up--that huge, boundless, tiny,
summed-up world out there; flings it faintly against my quiet windows
while I sit and think.

And when one thinks of it a minute, it sends one half-fearfully,
half-triumphantly back to one's work--the very thought of it. The Crowd
hurrying, the Crowd's flurrying Machines, and the Crowd's God, send one
back to one's work!

In the afternoon I go out again, slip my way through the crowds along
the Strand, toward Charing Cross.

I never tire of watching the drays, the horses, the streaming taxis, all
these little, fearful, gliding crowds of men and women, when a little
space of street is left, flowing swiftly, flowing like globules, like
mercury, between the cabs.

But most of all I like looking up at that vast second story of the
street, coming in over one like waves, like seas--all these happy,
curious tops of 'buses; these dear, funny, way-up people on benches;
these world-worshippers, sight-worshippers, and Americans--all these
little scurrying congregations, hundreds of them, rolling past.

I sit on the front seat of a horse 'bus elbow to elbow with the driver,
staring down over the brink of the abyss upon ears and necks--that low,
distant space where the horses look so tiny and so ineffectual and so
gone-by below.

The street is the true path of the spirit. To walk through it, or roll
or swing on top of a 'bus through it--the miles of faces, all these
tottering, toddling, swinging miles of legs and stomachs; and on all
sides of you, and in the windows and along the walks, the things they
wear, and the things they eat, and the things they pour down their
little throats, and the things they pray to and curse and worship and
swindle in! It is like being out in the middle of a great ocean of
living, or like climbing up some great mountain-height of people, their
abysses and their clouds about them, their precipices and jungles and
heavens, the great high roads of their souls reaching off.... I can
never say why, but so strange is it, so full of awe is it, and of
splendour and pity, that there are times when, rolling and swinging
along on top of a 'bus, with all this strange, fearful joy of life about
me, within me ... it is as if on top of my 'bus I had been far away in
some infinite place, and had felt Heaven and Hell sweep past.

One of the first things that strikes an American when he slips over from
New York, and finds himself, almost before he had thought of it--walking
down the Strand, suddenly, instead of Broadway, is the way
things--thousands of things at once; begin happening to him.

Of course, with all the things that are happening to him--the 'buses,
the taxis, the Wren steeples, the great streams of new sights in the
streets, the things that happen to his eyes and to his ears, to his feet
and his hands, and to his body lunging through the ground and swimming
up in space on top of a 'bus through this huge, glorious, yellow mist of
people ... there are all the things besides that begin happening to his

In New York, of course, he rushes along through the city, in a kind of
tunnel of his own thoughts, of his own affairs, and drives on to his
point, and New York does not--at least it does not very often--make
things happen to his mind. He is not in London five minutes before he
begins to notice how London does his thinking for him. The streets of
the city set him to thinking, mile after mile, miles of comparing, miles
of expecting.

And above the streets that he walks through and drives through he finds
in London another complete set of streets that interest him: the
greater, silenter streets of England--the streets of people's thoughts.
And he reads the great newspapers, those huge highways on which the
English people are really going somewhere.... "_Where are they going?_"
He goes through the editorials, he stumbles through the news, "_Where
are the English people going?_"

       *       *       *       *       *

An American thinks of the English people in the third person--at first,
of course.

After three days or so, he begins, half-unconsciously, slipping over
every now and then into what seems to be a vague, loose first person

Then the first person plural grows.

He finds at last that his thinking has settled down into a kind of
happy, easy-going, international, editorial "We." New York and London,
Chicago and Sheffield, go drifting together through his thoughts, and
even Paris, glimmering faintly over there, and a dim round world, and he
asks, as the people of a world stream by, "_Where are WE going?_"

Thus it is that London, looming, teeming, world-suggesting, gets its
grip upon a man, a fresh American, and stretches him, stretches him
before his own eyes, makes him cosmopolitan, does his thinking for him.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a great sea to still his soul and lay down upon his spirit
that big, quiet roundness of the earth.

Nothing is quite the same after that wide strip of sea--sleeping out
there alone night by night--the gentle round earth sloping away down
from under one on both sides, in the midst of space.... Then, suddenly,
almost before one knows, that quiet Space still lingering round one,
perhaps one finds oneself thrust up out of the ground in the night into
that big yellow roar of Trafalgar Square.

And here are the swift sudden crowds of people, one's own fellow-men
hurrying past. One looks into the faces of the people hurrying past:
"_Where are we going?_" One looks at the stars: "WHERE ARE WE GOING?"

       *       *       *       *       *

That night, when I was thrust up out of the ground and stood dazed in
the Square, I was told in a minute that this London where I was was a
besieged and conquered city. Some men had risen up in a day and said to
London: "No one shall go in. No one shall go out."

I was in the great proud city at last, the capital of the world, her
big, new, self-assured inventions all about her, all around her, and
soldiers camping out with her locomotives!

With her long trains for endless belts of people going in and coming
out, with her air-brakes, electric lights, and motor-cars and aerial
mails, it seemed passing strange to be told that her great stations were
all choked up with a queer, funny, old, gone-by, clanky piece of
machinery, an invention for making people good, like soldiers!

And I stood in the middle of the roar of Trafalgar Square and asked, as
all England was asking that night: "Where are we going?"

And I looked in the faces of the people hurrying past.

And nobody knew.

And the next day I went through the silenter streets of the city, the
great crowded dailies where all the world troops through, and then the
more quiet weeklies, then the monthlies, more dignified and like private
parks; and the quarterlies, too, thoughtful, high-minded, a little
absent, now and then a footfall passing through.

And I found them all full of the same strange questioning: "Where are we

And nobody knew.

It was the same questioning I had just left in New York, going up all
about me, out of the skyscrapers.

New York did not know.

Now London did not know.

       *       *       *       *       *

And after I had tried the journals and the magazines, I thought of

I could not but look about--how could I do otherwise than look about?--a
lonely American walking at last past all these nobly haunted doorways
and windows--for your idealists or interpreters, your men who bring in
the sea upon your streets and the mountains on your roof-tops; who
still see the wide, still reaches of the souls of men beyond the faint
and tiny roar of London.

I could not but look for your men of imagination, your poets; for the
men who build the dreams and shape the destinies of nations because they
mould their thoughts.

I do not like to say it. How shall an American, coming to you out of his
long, flat, literary desert, dare to say it?... Here, where Shakespeare
played mightily, and like a great boy with the world; where Milton,
Keats, Wordsworth, Browning, Shelley, and even Dickens flooded the lives
and refreshed the hearts of the people; here, in these selfsame streets,
going past these same old, gentle, smoky temples where Charles Lamb
walked and loved a world, and laughed at a world, and even made
one--lifted over his London forever into the hearts of men....

I can only say what I saw those first few fresh days: John Galsworthy
out with his camera--his beautiful, sad, foggy camera; Arnold Bennett
stitching and stitching faithfully twenty-four hours a day--big, curious
tapestries of little things; H.G. Wells, with his retorts, his
experiments about him, his pots and kettles of humanity in a great stew
of steam, half-hopeful, half-dismayed, mixing up his great, new, queer
messes of human nature; and (when I could look up again) G.K.
Chesterton, divinely swearing, chanting, gloriously contradicting,
rolled lustily through the wide, sunny spaces of His Own Mind; and
Bernard Shaw (all civilization trooping by), the eternal boy, on the
eternal curbstone of the world, threw stones; and the Bishop of
Birmingham preached a fine, helpless sermon....

       *       *       *       *       *

When a new American, coming from his own big, hurried, formless,
speechless country, finds himself in what he had always supposed to be
this trim, arranged, grown-up, articulate England, and when, thrust up
out of the ground in Trafalgar Square, he finds himself looking at that
vast yellow mist of people, that vast bewilderment of faces, of the
poor, of the rich, coming and going they cannot say where--he naturally
thinks at first it must be because they cannot speak; and when he looks
to those who speak for them, to their writers or interpreters, and when
he finds that they are bewildered, that they are asking the same
question over and over that we in America are asking too, "Where are we
going?" he is brought abruptly up, front to front with the great
broadside of modern life. London, his last resort, is as bewildered as
New York; and so, at last, here it is. It has to be faced now and here,
as if it were some great scare-head or billboard on the world, "WHERE

       *       *       *       *       *

The most stupendous feat for the artist or man of imagination in modern
times is to conceive a picture or vision for our Society--our present
machine-civilization--a common expectation for people which will make
them want to live.

If Leonardo were living now, he would probably slight for the time being
his building bridges, and skimp his work on Mona Lisa, and write a
book--an exultant book about common people. He would focus and express
democracy as only the great and true aristocrat or genius or artist will
ever do it. A great society must be expressed as a vision or expectation
before men can see it together, and go to work on it together, and make
it a fact. What makes a society great is that it is full of people who
have something to live for and who know what it is. It is because nobody
knows, now, that our present society is not great. The different kinds
of people in it have not made up their minds what they are for, and some
kinds have particularly failed to make up their minds what the other
kinds are for.

We are all making our particular contribution to the common vision, and
some of us are able to say in one way and some in another what this
vision is; but it is going to take a supreme catholic, summing-up
individualist, a great man or artist--a man who is all of us in one--to
express for Crowds, and for all of us together, where we want to go,
what we think we are for, and what kind of a world we want.

This will have to be done first in a book. The modern world is
collecting its thoughts. It is trying to write its bible.

The Bible of the Hebrews (which had to be borrowed by the rest of the
world if they were to have one) is the one great outstanding fact and
result of the Hebrew genius. They did not produce a civilization, but
they produced a book for the rest of the world to make civilizations out
of, a book which has made all other nations the moral passengers of the
Hebrews for two thousand years.

And the whole spirit and aim of this book, the thing about it that made
it great, was that it was the sublimest, most persistent, most colossal,
masterful attempt ever made by men to look forth upon the earth, to see
all the men in it, like spirits hurrying past, and to answer the
question, "WHERE ARE WE GOING?"

I would not have any one suppose that in these present tracings and
outlines of thought I am making an attempt to look upon the world and
say where the people are going, and where they think they are going, and
where they want to go. I have attempted to find out, and put down what
might seem at first sight (at least it did to me) the answer to a very
small and unimportant question--"Where is it that I really want to go
myself?" "What kind of a world is it, all the facts about me being duly
considered, I really want to be in?"

No man living in a world as interesting as this ever writes a book if he
can help it. If Mr. Bernard Shaw or Mr. Chesterton or Mr. Wells had been
so good as to write a book for me in which they had given the answer to
my question, in which they had said more or less authoritatively for me
what kind of a world it is that I want to be in, this book would never
have been written. The book is not put forward as an attempt to arrange
a world, or as a system or a chart, or as a nation-machine, or even as
an argument. The one thing that any one can fairly claim for this book
is that one man's life has been saved with it. It is the record of one
man fighting up through story after story of crowds and of crowds'
machines to the great steel and iron floor on the top of the world,
until he had found the manhole in it, and broken through and caught a
breath of air and looked at the light. The book is merely a
life-preserver--that is all; and one man's life-preserver. Perhaps the
man is representative, and perhaps he is not. At all events, here it is.
Anybody else who can use it is welcome to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first and most practical step in getting what one wants in this
world is wanting it. One would think that the next step would be
expressing what one wants. But it almost never is. It generally consists
in wanting it still harder and still harder until one can express it.

This is particularly true when the thing one wants is a new world. Here
are all these other people who have to be asked. And until one wants it
hard enough to say it, to get it outside one's self, possibly make it
catching, nothing happens.

If one were to point out one trait rather than another that makes
Bernard Shaw, for so brilliant a man, so ineffective as a leader, or
literary statesman, or social reformer, it would be his modesty. He has
never wanted anything.

If I could have found a book by Bernard Shaw in which Mr. Shaw had
merely said what he wanted himself, it is quite possible this book would
not have been written. Even if Mr. Shaw, without saying what he wanted,
had ever shown in any corner of any book that one man's wanting
something in this world amounted to anything, or could make any one else
want it, or could make any difference in him, or in the world around
him, perhaps I would not have written this book.

Everywhere, as I have looked about me among the bookmen in America, in
England, I have found, not the things that they wanted in their books,
but always these same deadly lists or bleak inventories--these prairies
of things that they did not want.

Now, as a matter of fact, I knew already, with an almost despairing
distinctness, nearly all these things I did not want and it has not
helped me (with all due courtesy and admiration) having John Galsworthy
out photographing them day after day, so that I merely did not want them
harder. And Mr. Wells's measles and children's diseases, too. I knew
already that I did not want them. And Mr. Shaw's entire, heroic, almost
noble collection of things he does not want does not supply me--nor
could it supply any other man with furniture to make a world with--even
if it were not this real, big world, with rain and sunshine and wind and
people in it, and were only that little, wonderful world a man lives
within his own heart. There have been times, and there will be more of
them, when I could not otherwise than speak as the champion of Bernard
Shaw; but, after all, what single piece of furniture is there that
George Bernard Shaw, living with his great attic of not-things all
around him, is able to offer to furnish me for me single, little, warm,
lighted room to keep my thoughts in? Nor has he furnished me with one
thing with which I would care to sit down in my little room and
think--looking into the cold, perfect hygienic ashes he has left upon my
hearth. Even if I were a revolutionist, and not a mere, plain human
being, loving life and wanting to live more abundantly, I am bound to
say I do not see what there is in Mr. Galsworthy's photographs, or in
Mr. Wells's rich, bottomless murk of humanity to make a revolution for.
And Mr. Bernard Shaw, with all his bottles of disinfectants and shelves
of sterilized truths, his hard well-being and his glittering comforts,
has presented the vision of a world in which at the very best--even if
it all comes out as he says it will--a man would merely have things
without wanting them, and without wanting anything.

       *       *       *       *       *

And so it has seemed to me that even if he is quite unimportant, any man
to-day who, in some public place, like a book, shall paint the picture
of his heart's desire, who shall throw up, as upon a screen, where all
men may see them, his most immediate and most pressing ideals, would
perform an important service. If a man's sole interest were to find out
what all men in the world want, the best way to do it would be for him
to say quite definitely, so that we could all compare notes, what he
wanted himself. Speaking for a planet has gone by, but possibly, if a
few of us but speak for ourselves, the planet will talk back, and we
shall find out at last what it really is that it wants.

The thing that many of us want most in the present grayness and din of
the world is some one to play with, or if the word "play" is not quite
the right word, some one with whom we can work with freedom and
self-expressiveness and joy. Nine men out of ten one meets to-day talk
with one as it were with their watches in their hands. The people who
are rich one sees everywhere, being run away with by their motor-cars;
and the people who are poor one sees struggling pitifully and for their
very souls, under great wheels and beneath machines.

Of course, I can only speak for myself. I do not deny that a little
while at a time I can sit by a brook in the woods and be happy; but if,
as it happens, I would rather have other people about me--people who do
not spoil things, I find that the machines about me everywhere have made
most people very strange and pathetic in the woods. They cannot sit by
brooks, many of them; and when they come out to the sky, it looks to
them like some mere, big, blue lead roof up over their lives. Perhaps I
am selfish about it, but I cannot bear to see people looking at the sky
in this way....

       *       *       *       *       *

So, as I have watched my fellow human beings, what I have come to want
most of all in this world is the inspired employer--or what I have
called the inspired millionaire or organizer; the man who can take the
machines off the backs of the people and take the machines out of their
wits, and make the machines free their bodies and serve their souls.

If we ever have the inspired employer, he will have to be made by the
social imagination of the people, by creating the spirit of expectation
and challenge toward the rich among the masses of the people.

I believe that the time has come when the world is to make its last
stand for idealism, great men, and crowds.

I believe that great men can be really great, that they can represent
crowds. I believe that crowds can be really great, that they can know
great men.

The most natural kind of great man for crowds to know first will
probably be a kind of everyday great man or business statesman, the man
who represents all classes, and who proves it in the way he conducts his

I have called this man the Crowdman.

I do not say that I have met precisely the type of inspired millionaire
I have in mind, but I have known scores of men who have reminded me of
him and of what he is going to be, and I am prepared to say that in
spirit, or latent at least, he is all about me in the world to-day. If
it is proved to me that no such man exists, I am here to say there will
be one. If it is proved to me that there cannot be one, _I will make
one_. If it is proved to me that by lifting up Desire in the faces of
young men and of boys, and in the faces of true fathers and young
mothers, and by ringing up my challenge on the great doors of the
schools, I cannot make one, then I will invoke the men that shall write
the books, that shall sing the songs that shall make one! I say this
with all reverence for other men's desires and with all respect for
natural prejudgments. As I have conceived it, the one business of the
world to-day is to find out what we are for and to find out what men in
the world--on the whole--really want. When men know what they want they
get it. Every wrong thing we have to face in modern industrial life is
due to men who know what they want, and who therefore get it, due to the
passions and the dreams of men; and the one single way in which these
wrong things will ever be overcome is with more passions and with more
and mightier dreams of men.

Nothing is more visionary than trying to run a world without dreams,
especially an economic world. It is because even bad dreams are better
in this world than having no dreams at all that bad people so called are
so largely allowed to run it.

In the final and practical sense, the one factor in economics to be
reckoned with is Desire.

The next move in economics is going to be the statement of a shrewd,
dogged, realizable ideal. It is only ideals that have aroused the wrong
passions, and it is only ideals that will arouse the right ones.

It will have to be, I imagine, when it comes, not a mere statement of
principles, an analysis, or a criticism, but a moving-picture, a
portrait of the human race, that shall reveal man's heart to himself.
What we want is a vast white canvas, spread, as it were, over the end of
the world, before which we shall all sit together, the audience of the
nations, of the poor, of the rich, as in some still, thoughtful
place--all of us together; and then we will throw up before us on the
vast white screen in the dark the vivid picture of our vast desires,
flame up upon it the hopes, the passions of human lives, and the grim,
silent wills of men. _"What do we want?" "Where are we going?"_

In place of the literature of criticism we have come now to the
literature of Desire.

This literature will have to come slowly, and I have come to believe
that the first book, when it comes, will be perhaps a book that does not
prove anything, a book that is a mere cry, a prayer, or challenge; the
story of what one man with these streetfuls of the faces of men and the
faces of women pouring their dullness and pouring their weariness over
him, has desired, and of what, God helping him, he will have.

There is a certain sense in which merely praying to God has gone by. In
the present desperate crisis of a world plunging on in the dark to a
catastrophe or a glory that we cannot guess, it is a time for men to
pray a prayer, a standing-up prayer, to one another.

I believe that it is going to be this huge gathering-in of public
desire, this imperious challenge of what men want, this standing-up
prayer of men to one another, which alone shall make men go forth with
faith and singing once more into the battle of life. Sometimes it has
seemed to me I have already heard it--this song of men's desires about
me--faintly. But I have seen that the time is at hand when it shall come
as a vast chorus of cities, of fields, of men's voices, filling the dome
of the world--a chorus in the glory and the shame of which no
millionaire who merely wants to make money, no artist who is not
expressing the souls and freeing the bodies of men, no statesman who is
not gathering up the desires of crowds, and going daily through the
world hewing out the will of the people, shall dare to live.

       *       *       *       *       *

But while this is the vision of my belief, I would not have any one
suppose that I am the bearer of easy and gracious tidings.

It is rather of a great daily adventure one has with the world.

There have been times when it seemed as if it had to begin all over
again every morning.

Day by day I walk down Fleet Street toward Ludgate Hill.

I look once more every morning at that great picture of any religion; I
look at the quiet, soaring, hopeful dome--that little touch of singing
or praying that men have lifted up against heaven. "Will the Dome bring
the Man to me?"

I look up at the machines, strange and eager, hurrying across the
bridge. "Will the Machines bring the Man to me?"

I look in the faces of the crowd hurrying past. "Will the Crowd bring
the Man to me?"

With the picture of my religion--or perhaps three religions or three
stories of religion--I walk on and on through the crowd, past the
railway, past the Cathedral, past the Mansion House, and over the Tower
Bridge. I walk fast and eagerly and blindly, as though a man would walk
away from the world.

Suddenly I find myself, throngs of voices all about me, standing
half-unconsciously by a high iron fence in Bermondsey watching that
smooth asphalt playground where one sees the very dead (for once)
crowded by the living--pushed over to the edges--their gravestones
tilted calmly up against the walls. I stand and look through the pickets
and watch the children run and shout--the little funny, mockingly
dressed, frowzily frumpily happy children, the stored-up sunshine of a
thousand years all shining faintly out through the dirt, out through the
generations in their little faces--"Will the Man come to me out of

The tombstones lean against the wall and the children run and shout. As
I watch them with my hopes and fears and the tombstones tilted against
the walls--as I peer through the railings at the children, I face my
three religions. What will the three religions do with the children?
What will the children do with the three religions?

And now I will tell the truth. I will not cheat nor run away as
sometimes I seem to have tried to do for years. I will no longer let
myself be tricked by the mere glamour and bigness of our modern life
nor swooned into good-will by the roll and liturgy of revolution, "of
the people," "for the people," "by the people," nor will I be longer
awed by those huge phrase-idols, constitutions, routines, that have
roared around me "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"--those imperious,
thoughtless, stupid tra-la-las of the People. Do the People see truth?
Can the People see truth? Can all the crowd, and can all the machines,
and all the cathedrals piled up together produce the Man, the Crowd-man
or great man who sees truth?

And so with my three religions, I have three fears, one for each of
them. There is the Machine fear, lest the crowd should be overswept by
its machines and become like them; and the Crowd fear, lest the crowd
should overlook its mighty innumerable and personal need of great men;
and there is also the daily fear for the Church, lest the Church should
not understand crowds and machines and grapple with crowds and machines,
interpret them and glory in them and appropriate them for her own use
and for God's--lest the Church should turn away from the crowds and the
machines and graciously and idly bow down to Herself.

And now I am going to try to express these three fears that go with the
three religions as well as I can, so that I can turn on them and face
them and, God helping me, look them out of countenance.



Time was when a man was born upon this planet in a somewhat lonely
fashion. A few human beings out of all infinity stood by to care for
him. He was brought up with hills and stars and a neighbour or so, until
he grew to man's estate. He climbed at last over the farthest hill, and
there, on the rim of things, standing on the boundary line of sky and
earth that had always been the edge of life to him before, he looked
forth upon the freedom of the world, and said in his soul, "What shall I
be in this world I see, and whither shall I go in it?" And the sky and
the earth and the rivers and the seas and the nights and the days
beckoned to him, and the voices of life rose around him, and they all
said, "Come!"

On a corner in New York, around a Street Department wagon, not so very
long ago, five thousand men were fighting for shovels, fifty men to a
shovel--a tool for living a little longer.

The problem of living in this modern world is the problem of finding
room in it. The crowd principle is so universally at work through modern
life that the geography of the world has been changed to conform to it.
We live in crowds. We get our living in crowds. We are amused in herds.
Civilization is a list of cities. Cities are the huge central dynamos of
all being. The power of a man can be measured to-day by the mile, the
number of miles between him and the city; that is, between him and what
the city stands for--the centre of mass.

The crowd principle is the first principle of production. The producer
who can get the most men together and the most dollars together controls
the market; and when he once controls the market, instead of merely
getting the most men and the most dollars, he can get all the men and
all the dollars. Hence the corporation in production.

The crowd principle is the first principle of distribution. The man who
can get the most men to buy a particular thing from him can buy the most
of it, and therefore buy it the cheapest, and therefore get more men to
buy from him; and having bought this particular thing cheaper than all
men could buy it, it is only a step to selling it to all men; and then,
having all the men on one thing and all the dollars on one thing, he is
able to buy other things for nothing, for everybody, and sell them for a
little more than nothing to everybody. Hence the department store--the
syndicate of department stores--the crowd principle in commerce.

The value of a piece of land is the number of footsteps passing by it in
twenty-four hours. The value of a railroad is the number of people near
it who cannot keep still. If there are a great many of these people, the
railroad runs its trains for them. If there are only a few, though they
be heroes and prophets, Dantes, Savonarolas, and George Washingtons,
trains shall not be run for them. The railroad is the characteristic
property and symbol of property in this modern age, and the entire value
of a railroad depends upon its getting control of a crowd--either a
crowd that wants to be where some other crowd is, or a crowd that wants
a great many tons of something that some other crowd has.

When we turn from commerce to philosophy, we find the same principle
running through them both. The main thing in the philosophy of to-day is
the extraordinary emphasis of environment and heredity. A man's destiny
is the way the crowd of his ancestors ballot for his life. His soul--if
he has a soul--is an atom acted upon by a majority of other atoms.

When we turn to religion in its different phases, we find the same
emphasis upon them all--the emphasis of mass, of majority. Not that the
church exists for the masses--no one claims this--but that, such as it
is, it is a mass church. While the promise of Scripture, as a last
resort, is often heard in the church about two or three gathered
together in God's name, the Church is run on the working conviction that
unless the minister and the elders can gather two or three hundred in
God's name, He will not pay any particular attention to them, or, if He
does, He will not pay the bills. The church of our forefathers, founded
on personality, is exchanged for the church of democracy, founded on
crowds; and the church of the moment is the institutional church, in
which the standing of the clergyman is exchanged for the standing of the
congregation. The inevitable result, the crowd clergyman, is seen on
every hand amongst us--the agent of an audience, who, instead of telling
an audience what they ought to do, runs errands for them morning and
noon and night. With coddling for majorities and tact for whims, he
carefully picks his way. He does his people as much good as they will
let him, tells them as much truth as they will hear, until he dies at
last, and goes to take his place with Puritan parsons who mastered
majorities, with martyrs who would not live and be mastered by
majorities, and with apostles who managed to make a new world without
the help of majorities at all.

Theology reveals the same tendency. The measuring by numbers is found in
all belief, the same cringing before masses of little facts instead of
conceiving the few immeasurable ones. Helpless individuals mastered by
crowds are bound to believe in a kind of infinitely helpless God. He
stands in the midst of the crowds of His laws and the systems of His
worlds: to those who are not religious, a pale First Cause; and to those
who are, a Great Sentimentality far away in the heavens, who, in a kind
of vast weak-mindedness (a Puritan would say), seems to want everybody
to be good and hopes they will, but does not quite know what to do
about it if they are not.

Every age has its typical idea of heaven and its typical idea of hell
(in some of them it would be hard to tell which is which), and every
civilization, has its typical idea of God. A civilization with sovereign
men in it has a sovereign God; and a crowd civilization, reflecting its
mood on the heavens, is inclined to a pleasant, large-minded God,
eternally considering everybody and considering everything, but
inefficient withal, a kind of legislature of Deity, typical of
representative institutions at their best and at their worst.

If we pass from our theology to our social science we come to the most
characteristic result of the crowd principle that the times afford. We
are brought face to face with Socialism, the millennium machine, the
Corliss engine of progress. It were idle to deny to the Socialist that
he is right--and more right, indeed, than most of us, in seeing that
there is a great wrong somewhere; but it would be impossible beyond this
point to make any claim for him, except that he is honestly trying to
create in the world a wrong we do not have as yet, that shall be large
enough to swallow the wrong we have. The term "Socialism" stands for
many things, in its present state; but so far as the average Socialist
is concerned, he may be defined as an idealist who turns to materialism,
that is, to mass, to carry his idealism out. The world having discovered
two great ideals in the New Testament, the service of all men by all
other men, and the infinite value of the individual, the Socialist
expects to carry out one of these ideals by destroying the other.

The principle that an infinitely helpful society can be produced by
setting up a row of infinitely helpless individuals is Socialism, as the
average Socialist practises it. The average Socialist is the type of the
eager but effeminate reformer of all ages, because he seeks to gain by
machinery things nine tenths of the value of which to men is in gaining
them for themselves. Socialism is the attempt to invent conveniences
for heroes, to pass a law that will make being a man unnecessary, to do
away with sin by framing a world in which it would be worthless to do
right because it would be impossible to do wrong. It is a philosophy of
helplessness, which, even if it succeeds in helplessly carrying its
helplessness out--in doing away with suffering, for instance--can only
do it by bringing to pass a man not alive enough to be capable of
suffering, and putting him in a world where suffering and joy alike
would be a bore to him.

But the main importance of Socialism in this connection lies in the fact
that it does not confine itself to sociology. It has become a complete
philosophy of life, and can be seen penetrating with its subtle satire
on human nature almost everything about us. We have the cash register to
educate our clerks into pure and honest character, and the souls of
conductors can be seen being nurtured, mile after mile, by
fare-recorders. Corporations buy consciences by the gross. They are hung
over the door of every street car. Consciences are worked by pulling a
strap. Liverymen have cyclometres to help customers to tell the truth,
and the Australian ballot is invented to help men to be manly enough to
vote the way they think. And when, in the course of human events, we
came to the essentially moral and spiritual reform of a woman's right to
dress in good taste--that is, appropriately for what she is doing, what
did we proceed to do to bring it about? Conventions were held year after
year, and over and over, to get women to dress as they wanted to; dress
reform associations were founded, syndicates of courage were established
all over the land--all in vain; and finally,--Heaven help us!--how was
this great moral and spiritual reform accomplished? By an invention of
two wheels, one in front of the other. It was brought about by the Pope
Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut in two short years.

Everything is brought about by manufacturing companies. It is the
socialist spirit; the idea that, if we can only find it, there is some
machine that can surely be invented that will take the place of men: not
only of hands and feet, but of all the old-fashioned and lumbering
virtues, courage, patience, vision, common sense, and religion itself,
out of which they are made.

But we depend upon machinery not only for the things that we want, but
for the brains with which we decide what we want. If a man wants to know
what he thinks, he starts a club; and if he wants to be very sure, he
calls a convention. From the National Undertakers' Association and the
Launderers' League to the Christian Endeavour Tournament and the World's
Congress--the Midway Pleasance of Piety--the Convention strides the
world with vociferousness. The silence that descends from the hills is
filled with its ceaseless din. The smallest hamlet in the land has
learned to listen reverent from afar to the vast insistent roar of It,
as the Voice of the Spirit of the Times.

Every idea we have is run into a constitution. We cannot think without a
chairman. Our whims have secretaries; our fads have by-laws. Literature
is a club. Philosophy is a society. Our reforms are mass meetings. Our
culture is a summer school. We cannot mourn our mighty dead without
Carnegie hall and forty vice-presidents. We remember our poets with
trustees, and the immortality of a genius is watched by a standing
committee. Charity is an Association. Theology is a set of resolutions.
Religion is an endeavour to be numerous and communicative. We awe the
impenitent with crowds, convert the world with boards, and save the lost
with delegates; and how Jesus of Nazareth could have done so great a
work without being on a committee is beyond our ken. What Socrates and
Solomon would have come to if they had only had the advantage of
conventions it would be hard to say; but in these days, when the
excursion train is applied to wisdom; when, having little enough, we try
to make it more by pulling it about; when secretaries urge us,
treasurers dun us, programs unfold out of every mail--where is the man
who, guileless-eyed, can look in his brother's face; can declare upon
his honour that he has never been a delegate, never belonged to
anything, never been nominated, elected, imposed on, in his life?

Everything convenes, revolves, petitions, adjourns. Nothing stays
adjourned. We have reports that think for us, committees that do right
for us, and platforms that spread their wooden lengths over all the
things we love, until there is hardly an inch of the dear old earth to
stand on, where, fresh and sweet and from day to day, we can live our
lives ourselves, pick the flowers, look at the stars, guess at God,
garner our grain, and die. Every new and fresh human being that comes
upon the earth is manufactured into a coward or crowded into a machine
as soon as we get at him. We have already come to the point where we do
not expect to interest anybody in anything without a constitution. And
the Eugenic Society is busy now on by-laws for falling in love.

What this means with regard to the typical modern man is, not that he
does not think, but that it takes ten thousand men to make him think. He
has a crowd soul, a crowd creed. Charged with convictions, galvanized
from one convention to another, he contrives to live, and with a sense
of multitude, applause, and cheers he warms his thoughts. When they have
been warmed enough he exhorts, dictates, goes hither and thither on the
crutch of the crowd, and places his crutch on the world, and pries on
it, if perchance it may be stirred to something. To the bigotry of the
man who knows because he speaks for himself has been added a new bigotry
on the earth--the bigotry of the man who speaks for the nation; who,
with a more colossal prejudice than he had before, returns from a mass
meeting of himself, and, with the effrontery that only a crowd can give,
backs his opinions with forty states, and walks the streets of his
native town in the uniform of all humanity. This is a kind of fool that
has never been possible until these latter days. Only a very great many
people, all of them working on him at once, and all of them watching
every one else working at once, can produce this kind.

Indeed, the crowd habit has become so strong upon us, has so mastered
the mood of the hour, that even you and I, gentle reader, have found
ourselves for one brief moment, perhaps, in a certain sheepish feeling
at being caught in a small audience. Being caught in a small audience at
a lecture is no insignificant experience. You will see people looking
furtively about, counting one another. You will make comparisons. You
will recall the self-congratulatory air of the last large audience you
had the honour to belong to, sitting in the same seats, buzzing
confidently to itself before the lecture began. The hush of
disappointment in a small audience all alone with itself, the mutual
shame of it, the chill in it, that spreads softly through the room,
every identical shiver of which the lecturer is hired to warm
through--all these are signs of the times. People look at the empty
chairs as if every modest, unassuming chair there were some great
personality saying to each and all of us: "Why are you here? Did you not
make a mistake? Are you not ashamed to be a party to--to--as small a
crowd as this?" Thus do we sit, poor mortals, doing obeisance to Empty
Chairs--we who are to be lectured to--until the poor lecturer who is to
lecture to us comes in, and the struggle with the Chairs begins.

When we turn to education as it stands to-day, the same self-satisfied,
inflexible smile of the crowd is upon it all. We see little but the
massing of machinery, the crowding together of numbers of teachers and
numbers of courses and numbers of students, and the practical total
submergence of personality, except by accident, in all educated life.

The infinite value of the individual, the innumerable consequences of
one single great teaching man, penetrating every pupil who knows him,
becoming a part of the universe, a part of the fibre of thought and
existence to every pupil who knows him--this is a thing that belongs to
the past and to the inevitable future. With all our great institutions,
the crowds of men who teach in them, the crowds of men who learn in
them, we are still unable to produce out of all the men they graduate
enough college presidents to go around. The fact that at almost any
given time there may be seen, in this American land of ours, half a
score of colleges standing and waiting, wondering if they will ever find
a president again, is the climax of what the universities have failed to
do. The university will be justified only when a man with a university
in him, a whole campus in his soul, comes out of it, to preside over it,
and the soul that has room for more than one chair in it comes out of it
to teach in it.

When we turn from education to journalism, the pressure of the crowd is
still more in evidence. To have the largest circulation is to have the
most advertising, and to have the most advertising means to have the
most money, and to have the most money means to be able to buy the most
ability, and to have the most ability means to keep all that one gains
and get more. The degradation of many of our great journals in the last
twenty years is but the inevitable carrying out of the syndicate method
in letters--a mass of contributors, a mass of subscribers, and a mass of
advertisers. So long as it gives itself over to the circulation idea,
the worse a newspaper is, the more logical it is. There may be a certain
point where it is bound to stop some time, because there will not be
enough bad people who are bad enough to go around; but we have not come
to it yet, and in the meantime about everything that can be thought of
is being printed to make bad people. If it be asserted that there are
not enough bad people to go around even now, it may be added that there
are plenty of good people to take their places as fast as they fail to
be bad enough, and that the good people who take the bad papers to find
fault with them are the ones who make such papers possible.

The result of the crowd principle is the inevitable result. Our journals
have fallen off as a matter of course, not only in moral ideals (which
everybody realizes), but in brain force, power of expression,
imagination, and foresight--the things that give distinction and results
to utterance and that make a journal worth while. The editorial page has
been practically abandoned by most journals, because most journals have
been abandoned by their editors: they have become printed
counting-rooms. With all their greatness, their crowds of writers, and
masses of readers, and piles of cablegrams, they are not able to produce
the kind of man who is able to say a thing the kind of way that will
make everybody stop and listen to him, cablegrams and all. Horace
Greeley and Samuel Bowles and Charles A. Dana have passed from the
press, and the march of the crowd through the miles of their columns
every day is trampling on their graves. The newspaper is the mass
machine, the crowd thinker. To and fro, from week to week and from year
to year, its flaming headlines sway, now hither and now thither, where
the greatest numbers go, or the best guess of where they are going to
go; and Personality, creative, triumphant, masterful, imperious
Personality--is it not at an end? It were a dazzling sight, perhaps, to
gaze at night upon a huge building, thinking with telegraph under the
wide sky around the world, the hurrying of its hundred pens upon the
desks, and the trembling of its floors with the mighty coming of a Day
out of the grip of the press; but even this huge bewildering pile of
power, this aggregation, this corporation of forces, machines of souls,
glittering down the Night--does any one suppose It stands by Itself,
that It is its own master, that It can do its own will in the world? In
all its splendour It stands, weaving the thoughts of the world in the
dark; but that very night, that very moment, It lies in the power of a
little ticking-thing behind its doors. It belongs to that legislature of
information and telegraph, that owner of what happens in a day, called
the Associated Press.

If the One who called Himself a man and a God had not been born in a
crowd, if he had not loved and grappled with it, and been crucified and
worshipped by it, He might have been a Redeemer for the silent, stately,
ancient world that was before He came, but He would have failed to be a
Redeemer for this modern world--a world where the main inspiration and
the main discouragement is the crowd, where every great problem and
every great hope is one that deals with crowds. It is a world where,
from the first day a man looks forth to move, he finds his feet and
hands held by crowds. The sun rises over crowds for him, and sets over
crowds; and having presumed to be born, when he presumes to die at last,
in a crowd of graves he is left not even alone with God. Ten human lives
deep they have them--the graves in Paris; and whether men live their
lives piled upon other men's lives, in blocks in cities or in the
apparent loneliness of town or country what they shall do or shall not
do, or shall have or shall not have--is it not determined by crowds, by
the movement of crowds? The farmer is lonely enough, one would say, as
he rests by his fire in the plains, his barns bursting with wheat; but
the murmur of the telegraph almost any moment is the voice of the crowd
to him, thousands of miles away, shouting in the Stock Exchange: "You
shall not sell your wheat! Let it lie! Let it rot in your barns!"

And yet, if a man were to go around the earth with a surveyor's chain,
there would seem to be plenty of room for all who are born upon it. The
fact that there are enough square miles of the planet for every human
being on it to have several square miles to himself does not prove that
a man can avoid the crowd--that it is not a crowded world. If what a man
could be were determined by the square mile, it would indeed be a gentle
and graceful earth to live on. But an acre of Nowhere satisfies no one;
and how many square miles does a man want to be a nobody in? He can do
it better in a crowd, where every one else is doing it.

In the ancient world, when a human being found something in the wrong
place and wanted to put it where it belonged, he found himself face to
face with a few men. He found he had to deal with these few men. To-day,
if he wants anything put where it belongs, he finds himself face to face
with a crowd. He finds that he has to deal with a crowd. The world has
telephones and newspapers now, and it has railroads; and if a man
proposes to do a certain thing in it, the telephones tell the few, and
the newspapers tell the crowd, and the crowd gets on to the railroad;
and before he rises from his sleep, behold the crowd in his front yard;
and if he can get as far as his own front gate in the thing he is going
for, he must be--either a statesman? a hero? or a great genius? None of
these. Let him be a corporation--of ideas or of dollars; let him be some
complex, solid, crowded thing, would he do anything for himself, or for
anybody else, or for everybody else, in a world too crowded to tell the
truth without breaking something, or to find room for it, when it is
told, without breaking something.

This is the Crowd's World.

       *       *       *       *       *

What I have written I have written.

I have been sitting and reading it. It is a mood. But there is an
implacable truth in it, I believe, that must be gotten out and used.

As I have been reading I have looked up. I see the quiet little mountain
through my window standing out there in the sun. It looks around the
world as if nothing had happened; and the bobolinks out in the great
meadow are all flying and singing in the same breath and rowing through
the air, thousands of them, miles of them. They do not stop a minute.

A moment ago while I was writing I heard the Child outside on the
piazza, four years old, going by my window back and forth, listening to
the crunch of her new shoes as if it were the music of the spheres. Why
should not I do as well? I thought. The Child is merely seeing her shoes
as they are with as many senses and as many thoughts and desires at once
as she can muster, and with all her might.

What if I were to see the world like the Child?

Yesterday I went to Robert's Meadow. I saw three small city boys, with
their splendid shining rubber boots and their beautiful bamboo poles.
They were on their way home. They had only the one trout between them,
and that had been fondled, examined, and poked over and bragged about
until it was fairly stiff and brown with those boys--looked as if it had
been stolen out of a dried-herring box. They put it reverently back,
when I saw it, into their big basket. I smiled a little as I walked on
and thought how they felt about it.

Then suddenly it was as if I had forgotten something. I turned and
looked back; saw those three boys--a little retinue to that solitary
fish--trudging down the road in the yellow sun. And I stood there and
wanted to be in it! Then I saw them going round the bend in the road
thirty years away.

I still want to be one of those boys.

And I am going to try. Perhaps, Heaven helping me, I will yet grow up to

I know that the way those three boys felt about the fish--the way they
folded it around with something, the way they made the most of it, is
the way to feel about the world.

I side with the three boys. I am ready to admit that as regards
technical and comparatively unimportant details or as regards
perspective on the fish the boys may not have been right. It is possible
that they had not taken a point of view, measured in inches or volts or
foot-pounds, that was right and could last forever; but I know that the
spirit of their point of view was right--the spirit that hovered around
the three boys and around the fish that day was right and could last

It is the spirit in which the world was made, and the spirit in which
new worlds in all ages, and even before our eyes by Boys and Girls
and--God, are being made.

It is only the boys and the girls (all sizes) who know about worlds. And
it is only boys and girls who are right.

I heard a robin in the apple tree this morning out in the rain singing,
_"I believe! I believe!"_

       *       *       *       *       *

At the same time, I am glad that I have known and faced, and that I
shall have to know and face, the Crowd Fear.

I know in some dogged, submerged, and speechless way that it is not a
true fear. And yet I want to move along the sheer edge of it all my
life. I want it. I want all men to have it, and to keep having it, and
to keep conquering it. I have seen that no man who has not felt it, who
does not know this huge numbing, numberless fear before the crowd, and
who may not know it again almost any moment, will ever be able to lead
the crowd, glory in it, die for it, or help it. Nor will any man who has
not defied it, and lifted his soul up naked and alone before it and
cried to God, ever interpret the crowd or express the will of the crowd,
or hew out of earth and heaven what the crowd wants.

We want to help to express and fulfil a crowd civilization, we want to
share the crowd life, to express what people in crowds feel--the great
crowd sensations, excitements, the inspirations and depressions of those
who live and struggle with crowds.

We want to face, and face grimly, implacably, the main facts, the main
emotions men are having to-day. And the main emotion men are having
to-day about our modern world is that it is a crowded world, that in the
nature of the case its civilization is a crowd civilization. Every other
important thing for this present age to know must be worked out from
this one. It is the main thing with which our religion has to deal, the
thing our literature is about, and the thing our arts will be obliged
to express. Any man who makes the attempt to consider or interpret
anything either in art or life without a true understanding of the crowd
principle as it is working to-day, without a due sense of its central
place in all that goes on around us, is a spectator in the blur and
bewilderment of this modern world, as helpless in it, and as childish
and superficial in it, as a Greek god at the World's Fair, gazing out of
his still Olympian eyes at the Midway Pleasance.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the Crowd Fear there comes to most of us the machine fear.
Machines are the huge limbs or tentacles of crowds. As the crowds grow
the machines grow; grasping at the little strip of sky over us, at the
little patch of ground beneath our feet, they swing out before us and
beckon daily to us new hells and new heavens in our eyes.



I have had occasion nearly every day for the past two weeks to pass by
an ancient churchyard on a great hillside not far from London. Most of
the stones are very old, and seem to have been thoughtfully and
reverently, flake by flake, wrought into their final form by
long-vanished hands. As I stand and watch them, with the yews and
cypresses flocking round them, it is as if in some sort of way they had
been surely wrought by the hand of love, so full are they of grief and
of joy, of devotion, of the very singing of the dead and of those who
loved them.

When I walk on a little farther, and come to a small and new addition to
the churchyard, and look about me at the stones, I find myself suddenly
in quite a new company. So far as one could observe, looking at the
gravestones in the new churchyard, the people who died there died rather
thoughtlessly and mechanically, and as if nobody cared very much. Of
course, when one thinks a little further, one knows that this cannot be
true, and that the men and the women who gathered by these glib, trim,
capable-looking modern tombstones were as full of love and tenderness
and reverence before their dead as the others were--but the lines on the
stones give no sign. One never stops to read an epitaph on one of them;
one knows it would not be interesting, or really whisper to one the
strange, happy, human things of another world--even of this world, that
make the old tombstones such good company and so friendly to us. One
gives a glance at the stone and passes on. It was made by machinery,
apparently; a machine might have designed it, a machine might have died
and been buried under it. One looks beyond it at all the others like
it--all the glib, competent-looking white stones. Were the silenced
people all machines under them, all mechanical, all made to a pattern
like their stones, like these strangely hard, brief tombstones standing
here at their heads, summing up their lives before us curtly,
heartlessly, on this gentle old hillside?

I wondered.

I looked back to the old eloquent cemetery that almost seemed to be
breathing things, and looked once more at the new.

And as I stood and thought, they seemed to me to be two worlds--one the
world the people all about me are always saying sadly is going by, and
the other--well, the one we will have to have.

       *       *       *       *       *

As I look off from the hilltop at the great sloping countryside about
me, which stretches miles and miles, with its green fields, and bushy
treetops, its red roofs, its banners of steam from twenty railways, its
huge, grim, furious chimneys, its still, sleepy steeples, I also see two
worlds, the same two worlds over again that I saw in the churchyard,
except that they are all jumbled together--the complacent, capable,
cut-out, homeless-looking houses, the little snuggled-down old ones with
their happy trees about them and trails of cooking smoke. I see the same
two worlds standing and facing each other before me whichever way I

And when I slip out of the churchyard from those two little separate
worlds of the dead, and move slowly down the long bustling village
street, and look into the faces of the living, the same two worlds that
were in the churchyard and on the hills seem to look at me out of the
faces of the living too.

The faces go hurrying past me, worlds apart. Most people, I imagine, who
read these pages must have noticed the people's faces in the streets
nowadays--how they seem to have come out of separate worlds into the
street a moment, and hurry past, and seem to be going back in a moment
more to separate worlds.

There is hardly even a village footway left anywhere to-day where one
cannot see these two worlds, or the spirit of these two worlds, flitting
past one through the streets in people's faces, and nightly before our
eyes, struggling with each other to possess, to swallow away into itself
human souls, to master the fate of man upon the earth.

One of these is the World of the Hand-made; the other is the
Machine-made World.

       *       *       *       *       *

As day by day I watch these two worlds with all their people in them
flocking past me, I have come to have certain momentary but recurrent
resentments and attractions, unaccountable strong emotions; and when I
try afterward to rationalize my emotions, as a man should, and give an
account of them to myself, and get them ready to use and face my age
with, and make myself strong and fit to live in an age, I find myself
with a great task before me. And yet one must do it; one cannot live in
an age strongly and fitly if one would rather be living in some other
age, or if it is an age with two worlds in it and one cannot make up
one's mind which is the world one wants and settle down quietly and live
in it. Then a strange thing happens, and always happens the moment I
begin to try to decide which of the two--the Hand-made World or the
Machine-made World--I will choose. I find that in an odd, confused,
groping, obstinate way I am bound to choose them both. In spite of all
its ugly ways--a kind of vast indifference it has to me, to everybody,
its magnificent heartlessness--I find I have come to take in the
Machine-made World a kind of boundless, half-secret pride and joy, for a
terrible and strange beauty there is in it. And then, too, even if I
wanted to give it up, I could not: neither I nor any man, nor all the
world combined, could unthink to-day a hundred years, fold up a hundred
thousand miles of railway, tuck modern life all neatly up again in a
little, old, snug, safe, lovable Hand-made World. There must be some way
out, some connecting link between the Hand-made and the Machine-made. We
have merely lost it for a moment.

Which way shall we turn? And so at last to the little Thing through
which the whole world whispers to me on my desk, to the mighty railways
that beckon past my door, to the airships that cannot be stilled, and to
the rolling mills that will not be silenced, I turn at last! I turn to
the Machines Themselves. Half-singing and half-cursing, I have faced
them. There is some way in which they can answer and can be made to
answer--can be made to give me and the men about me the kind of world we
want. I try to analyze it and think it out. What is the thing, the real
thing in the Hand-made World, that fills me with pride and joy, and that
I cannot and will not give up? Is not the real thing that is in it
something that can be or might be freed from it, exhaled from it,
something that might be in some new form saved, made an atmosphere or a
spirit and passed on? And what is it in the new Machine-made World
which, in spite of the splendid joy, a rough new, wild religion there is
in it, keeps daily filling me as I go past machines with this
contradictory obstinate dread of them? After a time I have made a little
cleared space in my mind, a little breathing room. It has come to me
from thinking that what is beautiful in the Hand-made World perhaps is
not these particular Hand-made things themselves at which I so delight,
but the Hand-made spirit of the men who made them which the men put into
the things. And perhaps what is full of death and fear in the
Machine-made World is not the machines themselves, but the Machine-made
spirit in which the men who run the machines have made the machines
work. Perhaps the Hand-made spirit is pervasive, eternal. Perhaps it can
escape like a spirit, and can live where it will live, and do what it
will do, like a spirit, and possess the body that it wills to possess.
Perhaps the Hand-made spirit is still living around me to-day, and is
not only living, but is living in a more unspeakable, unbounded body
than any spirit has ever lived in before, and is to-day before our eyes,
laying its huge iron fingers around our little earth, and holding the
oceans in its hand, and brushing away mountains with a breath, until we
have Man at last playing all night through the sky, with visions and
airships and telescopes. His very words walk on the air with soft and
unseen feet.

It is the Hand-made spirit that creates machines. The machines
themselves are still the mighty children of the men who move and work in
the Hand-made spirit; and the men who glory in them, the men who bring
them forth, who think them out, and who create them, and who do the
great and mighty things with them, are still the Hand-made men.

       *       *       *       *       *

This leads us up to the question we are all asking ourselves every day.
"How can a machine-made world be run in the spirit of a hand-made
world?" The particular form in which the question has been put, which is
taken from "Inspired Millionaires" is as follows:

"The idea that there is something in a machine simply as a machine which
makes it inherently unspiritual is based upon the experience of the
world; but it is, after all, a rather amateur and juvenile world with
machines as yet. Its ideas are in their first stages, and are based for
the most part upon the world's experience with second-rate men, working
in second-rate factories--men who have been bullied, and could be
bullied, by the machines they worked with into being machines
themselves. No one would think of denying that men who let machines get
the better of them, either in their minds or their bodies, in any walk
of life, grow unspiritual and mechanical. But it does not take a machine
to make a machine out of a man. Anything will do it if the man will let
it. Even the farmer who is out under the great free dome of heaven, and
working in wonder every day of his life, grows like a clod if he buries
his soul alive in the soil. But farming has been tried many thousands of
years, and the other kind of farmer is known by everybody--the farmer
who is master over the soil; who, instead of becoming an expression of
the soil himself, makes the soil express him. The next thing that is
going to happen is that every one is going to know the other kind of
mechanic. It is cheerfully admitted that the kind of mechanic we largely
have now, who allows himself to be a watcher of a machine, a
turner-of-something for forty years, can hardly be classed as vegetable
life. He is not even organic matter except in a very small part of

"But it is not the mechanical machine which makes the man unspiritual.
It is the mechanical man beside the machine. A master at a piano (which
is a machine) makes it a spiritual thing; and a master at a
printing-press, like William Morris, makes it a free and artistic and
self-expressive thing."

I spent a day a little while ago in walking through a factory. I went
past miles of machines--great glass roofs of sunshine over them--and
looked in the faces of thousands of men. As I went through the machines
I kept looking to and fro between the machines and the men who stood
beside them, and sometimes I came back and looked again at the machines
and the men beside them; and every machine, or nearly every machine, I
saw (any one could see it in that factory) was making a man of somebody.
One could see the spirit of the man who invented the machine, and the
spirit of the man who worked with it, and the spirit of the man who
owned it and who placed it there with the man, all softly, powerfully
running together. There were exceptions, and every now and then one
came, of course, upon the man who seemed to be simply another and
somewhat different contrivance or attachment to his machine--some part
that had been left over and thought of last, and had not been done as
well as the others; but the factory, taken as a whole, from the
manager's offices and the great counting-room, and from the tall
chimneys to the dump, seemed to me to have something fresh and human and
unwonted about it. It seemed to be a factory that had a look, a look of
its own. It was like a vast countenance. It had features, an expression.
It had an air--well, one must say it, of course, if one is driven to it:
the factory had a soul, and was humming it. Any one could have seen why
by going into his office and talking a little while with the owner, or
by even not talking to him--by seeing him look up from his desk. After
walking through several miles of his personality, and up and down and
down and up the corridors of his mind, one did not really need to meet
him except as a matter of form and as a finishing touch. One had been
visiting with him all along: to look in his face was merely to sum it
up, to see it all, the whole place, over again in one look. One did not
need to be surprised; one might have known what such a man would be
like--that such a factory could only be conceived and wrought by a man
of genius, a kind of lighted-up man. A man who had put not only
skylights in his buildings, but skylights in his men, would have to have
a skylight in himself (a skylight with a motor attachment, of course).

If one were to try to think in nature or in art of something that would
be like him--well, some kind of transcendental engine, I should say,
running softly, smoothly outdoors in a great sunshine, would have given
one a good idea of him. But, however this may be, it certainly would
have been quite impossible to go through his factory and ever say again
that machines do not and could not have souls, or at least over-souls,
and that men who worked with machines did not and could not have souls
as fast as they were allowed to.

A few days later I went through another factory, and I came out weary
and spent at night, feeling as unreasonable and almost as hateful about
machines, and as discouraged about the people who had to work with them
as John Ruskin did in those first early days when the Factory Chimney
first lifted its long black flag upon our earth, and bullied great
cities into cowards and slaves, and all the great, quiet-hearted
nations, and began making for us--all around us, before our eyes, as
though in a kind of jeer at us, and at our queer, pretty, helpless
little religions--the hell we had ceased to believe in.

The hell is here, and is going to be here apparently as long as may be
necessary for us to see it and believe in it once more. If a hell on our
own premises, shut down hard over our lives here and now, is what is
necessary to make us religious and human once more, if we are reduced to
it, and if having a hard, literal hell--one of our own--is our only way
of seeing things, of fighting our way through to the truth, and of
getting once more decisive, manful, commanding ideas of good and evil, I
for one can only be glad we have Pittsburgs and Sheffields to hurry us
along and soon have it over with.

But while, like Ruskin, any one can look about the machines and see
hell, he can see hell to-day, unlike Ruskin, with heaven lined up close
beside it. The machines have come to have souls. The machines we can see
all about us have taken sides. We can all of us see the machines about
us to-day like vast looms, weaving in and weaving out the fate of the
world, the fate of the churches, the fate of the women and the little
children, and the very fate of God; and everything about us we can see
turning at last on what we are doing with the machines that are about
us, and what we are letting our machines do with us.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has cleared my mind, and at least helped me to live side by side with
machines better from day to day, to consider what these two souls or
spirits in the machines are, and what they are doing and likely to do.
If one knows them and one sees them, and sees how they are working, it
is easier to take sides and join in and help.

It would seem to me that there are two spirits in machinery--the spirit
of weariness, weakness, of inventing ways of getting out of work; and
there is the spirit in the machines, too, of moving mountains,
conquering the sea and air, of working harder and lifting one's work
over to more heroic, to more splendid and difficult, and almost
impossible things. It is these two spirits that are fighting for the
possession and control of our machine civilization. I watch the machines
and the men beside them and see which side they are on. The labourer who
is doing as little work as he dares for his wages and the capitalist who
is giving as little service as he dares for his money are on the one
side (the vast, lazy, mean majority of employers and employees), and
there may be seen standing on the other side against them, battling for
our world, another small but mighty group made up of the labourer who
loves his work more than his wages, and the capitalist who loves the
thing he makes more than the profit. In other words, the fate of our
modern civilization, with all its marvellous machines on it, its art
galleries and its churches, is all hanging to-day on the battle between
the spirit of achievement, the spirit of creating things, and the spirit
of weariness or the spirit of thinking of ways of getting out of things.

It does not take very long to see which one prefers when one considers
the problem of living in one world or the other. If we are to take our
choice between living in a world run by tired men and a world run by
inspired ones, most of us will have little difficulty in deciding which
we would prefer, and which one we are bound to have. I have been moved
to come forward with the idea of inspired employers--or, as I have
called it, "Inspired Millionaires"--because it would seem to me inspired
employers are the very least we can ask for; for certainly if even our
employers cannot be inspired or rested and strong, we cannot expect
their overworked workmen to be. There is no hope for us but to write
our books and to live our lives in such a way as to help put the world
in the hands of the Strong, and to help keep its institutions and
customs out of the hands of the overworked. Overworked mechanical
employers and overworked labourers are the last men to solve the problem
of the overworked, except in a small, tired, mean, resentful, temporary

And so, as I look about me and watch the machines and the men who are
working with the machines, or owning them, it is on this principle that
I find myself taking sides. I will not live, if I can help it, in a
world that is conceived and arranged and managed by tired and overworked
and mechanical men. Have I not seen tired, mechanical men, whole
generations of them, vast mobs of them, the men who have let the
machines mow down their souls? The first thing I have come to ask of a
man, if he is to be at the head of a machine--whether it is a machine
called a factory, or a machine called a Government or a city, or a
machine called a nation--is, _Is he tired?_ I have cast my lot once for
all--and as it seems to me, too, the lot of the world--with those men
who are rested, with the surplus men, the men who want to work more not
less, who are still and gentle and strong in their hearts, steady in
their imaginations, great men--men who are not driven to being
self-centred or driven to being class-centred, who can be world-centred
and inspired.

       *       *       *       *       *

When one has made this decision, that one will work for a world in
control of men who are strong, one suddenly is brought face to face with
a fact in our machine civilization which probably is quite new, and
which the spirit of man has never had to face in any age before.

For the first time in the history of the world, machinery has made it
possible for the world to get into the hands of the weak.

The Gun began it--the gun in a coward's hands may side with the weak,
and the machine in the hands of the weak may temporarily give the world
a list or a trend, and leave it leaning on the wrong side.

The Trust, for instance, which is really an extremely valuable
invention, and perhaps, on the whole, the most important machine of
modern times when it is used to defend the rights of the people, is a
very different thing when it is pointed at them. We have to-day, not
unnaturally, the spectacle of perhaps nine people out of ten getting up
and saying in chorus all through the world that Trusts ought to be
abolished; and yet it cannot honestly be said that there is really
anything about the trust-machine--any more than any other machine--that
is inherently wicked, or mechanical and heartless. Our real objection to
the trust-machines is not to the machines themselves, but to the fact
that they are, or happen to be (judging each Trust by itself), in the
hands of the weak and of the tired--of men, that is, who have no spirit,
no imagination about people; mechanical-minded men, who, at least in the
past, have taken the easiest and laziest course in business--that of
making all the money they can.

The moment we see the Trusts in the hands of the strong men, the men who
are unwilling to slump back into mere money-making, and who face daily
with hardihood and with joy the feat of weaving into business several
strands of value at once, making things and making money and making men
together, the Trust will become a vast machine of human happiness,
lifting up and pulling on the world for all of us day and night.

If our labouring men to-day are to be got out from under the machines,
we can only bring it to pass by doing everything we can in directors'
meetings or in labor unions or as buyers or as journalists--whatever we
may be--to keep the trust-machines in this world out of the hands of the
tired, weak, and mechanical-minded men.

And the things that have been happening to the trust-machines, or are
about to happen to them, have happened and are beginning to happen
before our eyes to the machines themselves. The machines of flame and
iron wheels and men in monstrous factories which the philosophers and
the poets and the very preachers have doomed our world with are passing
through the same evolution as the trust-machines, and shall be seen at
last through the dim struggle yielding themselves, bending their iron
wills to the same indomitable human spirit, the same slow, stern,
implacable will of the soul of man. They shall be inspired machines.

Now for a long time we have seen (for the most part) the weak and
mechanical-minded employer, the man who takes the line of least
resistance in business, on every hand about us, making his employees
mechanical-minded. The men have not been able to work without machines
to work with, and as they have been obliged to come to him to get the
machines, he has adopted the policy of letting himself fall into the
weakest and easiest way of keeping his men under his own control. He
takes the machines the men have come to him to get, and turns them back
against them, points them at their lives, stops their minds with them,
their intelligence and manhood, the very hope and religion with which
they live; and of course, when men have had machines pointed at them
long enough, one sees them on every hand being mowed down in rows into
machines themselves--as deadly and as hopeless to make a civilization
out of, or a nation out of, or to give votes to, or to have for fathers
as machines would be, as iron or leather or wood.

In the meantime, however, we seem to have been developing--partly by
competition and partly by combination and by experience--employers who
are not mechanical-minded, who have spirit themselves, and who believe
in it and can use it in others; who find ways of adjusting the hours,
the wages, and the conditions of work for the men, so that what is most
valuable in them, their spirit, their imaginations, their hourly
good-will, can all be turned into the business, can all daily be used as
the most important part of the working equipment of the factory. These
employers have found (by believing it long enough to try it) that live
men can do better and more marketable work than dead ones. If the great
slow-moving majority of our modern machine employers were not
mechanical-minded, it would not be necessary to prove to them
categorically the little platitude (which even people who have observed
cab-horses know) that the living is more valuable than the half-dead,
and that live men can do better and more marketable work than half-dead

But, of course, if they are not convinced by imagination or by arguments
or by figures, they may have to be convinced by losing their business;
for the most spirited employers, those who take the more difficult and
creative course of making money and men together, are sure to be the
employers who will get and keep the most spirited men, and are sure to
crowd out of the market in their own special line employers who can only
get and keep mechanical-minded ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be hard to overstate the importance of the battle now going on
among the trades unions between the spirited labourers and the tired
ones, and among the manufacturers between the inspired employers and the
mechanical-minded ones.

For the time being, at least, it is the inspired employers who have most
power to change the conditions of labour and to free the
mechanical-minded slaves. It is they who are standing to-day on the
great strategical ground of our time. They hold the pass of human life.
People cannot expect to be inspired in crowds. Crowds are too unwieldy
and too inconvenient to act quickly. The people can only concentrate
their energies on getting and demanding inspired employers, on
insisting that the men who for eight or nine hours a day are pouring in
with their wages their thoughts, and their motives, the very hope with
which they live, into their lives, shall be the champions of the people,
shall represent them and act for them, as they are not placed to act for
themselves, and with more imagination than they can yet expect to have
for themselves. If our labouring men of to-day are going to struggle out
from under the machines, they can only do it by doing all that they can
in labour unions and in the press and at the polls to keep the machines
in this world out of the hands of tired and mechanical-minded owners.

But probably the more immediate rescue from the evil or mechanicalness
in machines is not going to come from the employers on the one hand or
the employees on the other, but from having the employees in the Trades
Unions and the employers in the directors' meetings combining together
to keep in subordinate places where they cannot hurt others all men,
whether directors or employees, who do not work harder than they have
to, and who have not the brains to do their work for something besides
money. The men who are like this will of course be pitied and duly
considered, but they will be kept where they will not have power to
control other men, or where by force of position or by mere majority
they will be able to bully other men to work as mechanically as they do.
Workmen who do not want to become machines can only better conditions by
combination with so-called inspired employers--employers who work harder
than they have to, who dote on the great human difficulties of work, who
choose not the easiest but the most perfect way of doing things, who are
never mechanical themselves, and will not let their men be if they can
help it. I have liked to call these employers inspired millionaires. I
would rather have the machine owner or employer a millionaire, because
the more machines an inspired employer can own, the more he can buy and
get away from the uninspired ones, the sooner will the right of labour
and the will of the people be accomplished. When the machines are in
the hands of inspired and strong and spirited men--men of real
competence or genius for business, the machines will be seen on every
hand around us as the engines of war against evil, against slavery, the
whirling weapons of the Spirit.

Even now, in dreams have I stood and watched them--the will of the
people like a flail in their mighty hands--this vast army of
machines--go thundering past, driving the uninspired and mechanical off
the face of the earth.



When I was arranging to slip over from New York and get something I very
much wanted in England last spring, I found myself held up suddenly in
all my plans because some men on the docks had decided that there was
something that they wanted too. They decided that I and thousands of
other people in New York would have to wait over on the shores of
America until they got it.

After postponing my plans until things had settled down, I took passage,
and in due time found myself standing on English soil, only to be
informed that, while I might be allowed perhaps at least to stand on
English soil, that was really as much as I could expect. I could not go
anywhere because a number of men on the railways had decided that there
was something they wanted and that I would have to wait till they got

I could go down and look at the silent, cold locomotives on the rails,
and I could be as wistful and hopeful as I liked about getting up to
London, but these men had decided that there was something that they
wanted and I must wait.

I could not think of anything I had ever done to these men, and what had
Liverpool and London done to them?

After I was duly settled in London, and had begun to get into its little
ways, and was busily driving about and attending to my business as I had
planned, 6,000 more men suddenly wanted something, brought me up to a
full stop one rainy day, and said that they had decided that if I wanted
to ride I would have to walk, or that I would have to poke dismally
about in a 'bus, or worm my way through under the ground. As I
understood it, there was something that they wanted and something that
they were going to get; and while of course in a way, they recognized
that there might be something that I wanted too, I would have to wait
till they got theirs.

I could not think of anything I had ever done to them, nor could I see
what the thousands of other good people in London that I saw walking and
puddling about, or watched waiting twenty minutes or so with long,
hopeful, dogged whistles for cabs, had done to them.

A few days more, and my morning paper tells me suddenly of some more men
who wanted something--this time up in Lancashire. They had decided that
they wouldn't let some two or three hundred thousand other men go to
their work until they got it. They hushed cities to have their own way.
Day by day I watched them throwing the silence of the cities in their
employers' faces, closing shops, closing up railroads, telling the world
it must pay more for the clothes on its back, and all because--a certain
Mr. and Mrs. Riley of Accrington, North Lancashire did not like or did
not think that they liked, the North Lancashire Trades Union. (The
general idea seemed to be to have all the others join in,
everywhere--fifty-four million spindles, and four hundred and forty
thousand looms--and wait and keep perfectly still until Mr. and Mrs.
Riley could make up their minds.)

And now this present week, morning after morning I take up my paper and
read that 500,000 miners want something. I look in my fire dubiously day
by day. I may have to go home to America in a few weeks to get warm.

Of course it is only fair to say at the outset that this little series
of impressions, or sketches, as one may say, of Civilization as I have
seen it since arriving in England are of such a nature that I need not
have come over to England to observe them. I would be the last to deny
that the same conveniences for being disagreeable and for getting in the
way and for making a general muss of Life can be offered almost any
time in my own hopeful and blundering country.

What more immediately concerns me in these things is that, having
happened, there can be no doubt that they have some valuable and worthy
meaning for me and for other people that I ought to get out of them.

One cannot stand by and see a great civilization like our
English-speaking civilization, with its ocean liners, cathedrals, and
aeroplanes, being undignified and inefficient before one's eyes and even
a little ridiculous, without trying to see if it does not serve some
purpose. There must be something beyond, something further and deeper,
something newborn about it, which shall be worth our while. Strikes seem
to be common people's way of thinking things out. If they had more
imagination, they would know what they were going to think beforehand,
without so much trouble perhaps; but so long as they have not, and so
long as it is really true perhaps that all these millions of levers and
wheels and engines will have to be stopped, so that the rich
mechanical-minded people who own them and the poor mechanical-minded
people who work with them can think better, we will have to be glad at
least that they are thinking, and we will have to hope that they are
thinking fast, and will soon have it over with. In the meantime, while
they are thinking, we can think too.

It is never fair to lump people together, and there are always
exceptions and special reasons to consider; but, speaking roughly, it is
fair to lay it down as a general principle that it is apt to be the more
common kind of employers and employees who find it difficult to think,
and who need strikes to think with. When we see 175,000 weavers striking
in Lancashire, and the Trades Unions insisting on the discharge of
Non-Union men, and employers being willing to recognize the Unions but
being unwilling to be controlled by them, most of us find ourselves
taking sides very quickly. We are often amazed to see how quickly we
take sides, and what amazes some of us most is our apparent
inconsistency. We find ourselves now on the Union side and now on the
employer side in the dispute between Capital and Labour. We never know
when we take up the morning paper, some of us, which side will be our
next; and very often, if we were suddenly asked why, on reading quietly
about a new dispute in the morning paper, we had taken promptly one side
rather than the other, almost unconsciously, before we knew it we would
not perhaps be able to say at once. The other day I became a little
alarmed at myself at what looked at first like a kind of moral weakness,
and inability to stand still on one side or the other in the contest
between Labour and Capital; and I tried to think my way sternly through,
and decide why it was my mind seemed to waver from one side to the
other, and seemed so inconsistent and inefficient.

It seems to me I have just discovered a certain thread of consistency,
as I look back over many disputes.

As near as I can remember, I find the side that uses force, or that uses
the most force, invariably turns me against it. If, as I read, I find
that both sides are using force, I find myself against both sides. I
find myself wishing, in spite of my dislike of Socialism, that the
nation had the power, when a quarrelsome industry turns to the people in
the street and stops them in what they are doing, and tells the people
in the street that they cannot ride, or that they shall not sleep, or
that they cannot eat--when a quarrelsome industry insists on keeping the
whole world up all night because it has a Stomach Ache, I feel suddenly
that the people ought to be able to take the industry away and put it
into such hands that the people in the streets will be protected; into
hands that will make the industry behave so that it won't have a stomach
ache. An industry with a stomach ache always has it because somebody in
it has been over-eating and getting more than their share, and is
incompetent and unfit; and obviously it should have its freedom, its
privilege of selecting its food, taken away from it until it behaves.

Always allowing for exceptions, we may put it down as a general truth
that, when we find a cause using force or mere advantage of position, it
is because there is incompetence or lack of brains in those who conduct
it, and the cure lies, not in more force, but in more brains. One cannot
help being angered by force, because one knows that it is not only not a
remedy, but is itself the cause of all incompetence and blindness in
business. Force merely heaps the incompetence and blindness up,
postpones coöperation, defeats the mutual interest which is the very
substance of business efficiency in a nation. Force is itself the injury
mounting up more and more, which it seeks to cure.

The most likely way to prevent industrial trouble would seem to be to
have employers and managers and foremen who have a genius for getting
men to trust and believe in them. We are getting smoke-consumers,
computing machines, and the next contrivance is going to be the employer
who has the understanding spirit, and who sees the cash value of human
genius, the value in the market of genius for being fair and getting on
with people. Arbitration boards are at best (as they themselves would
say) stupid and negative things, and though better than nothing, as a
rule merely postpone evil or change symptoms. No one can ever really
arbitrate for any one else either in industry or marriage except for a
moment. The trouble lies deep down inside the people who keep needing
arbitration. As long as these people are still there, and as long as
incompetent employers or employees are there, there is bound to be

Turning out incompetent employers and incompetent labourers is the only
way. We are getting rid of them as rapidly as possible. All business in
the last resort turns on brains for being human and understanding
people. Business, as people say, is partly business and business is
partly economics, but more than anything else, in modern times, business
is psychology.

Success is the science of being believed in. Incompetent employers and
incompetent labourers are already being turned out, and are bound to be
turned out implacably more and more, by the competitive nature of modern
business. Under present conditions, if we have in each industry one
single competent employing firm, with brains for being fair and brains
for being far-sighted, and for being thoughtful of others--in short,
with brains for being believed in--the control of that industry soon
falls into their hands. People who use force instead of brains are
second-rate, are out of the spirit of the times, and are going by. And
this seems to be the spirit, too, which is to govern the more efficient
Labour Unions as well as the more efficient Trusts.

If it were possible to collect the names in England and America of the
men in each industry where brains were being personally believed in, we
would have a list of the leaders of England and America for the next
fifty years. Having a soul in business pays, not because it affords a
fine motive power, but because it affords a practical and conclusive
method of driving the devil out of business. He is being driven out of
industry, one industry at a time, by men who get on better without him;
and this is going to go on until the ability to do this--to crowd out
the devil, to get the devil out of machines and factories, out of the
machinery of organization--the power to keep the devil out of things and
out of people, is recognized by everybody as the greatest, most subtle,
most victorious and universal market-value in the world. The men who can
be believed in most will get the most business, and, what is still more
important, the men who can make men believe in them most will be able to
hire the employees who can be believed in most, and will get a monopoly
of the efficiency of the world; and though the men who can be believed
in less may be able to continue for a time to do their work and go
through all their old motions as well as they can, with all their old
lumbering, pathetic machinery of watching each other and suspecting each
other and fighting each other humped up on their backs, they can never
hope to compete with free-moving, honest men, who deal directly and
openly and in a few words for their employees, jobbers, consumers, and
the public, without any vast machinery of suspicion to bother with. It
is a most curious, local, temporary, back-county idea, the idea that,
for sheer industrial economy, for simple cheap conclusive finance, there
is anything on earth in business that will take the place of
old-fashioned human personal prestige--the prestige of the man who has a
genius for being believed in.

In a way, perhaps the recent strike among the London cabmen is an
instance of what is really the essential issue in every strike. The
bottom fact about the taxi chauffeurs, stated simply, was that they did
not believe in their employers. They believed that, if the precise
figures were known, their employers were getting more than their share.
On the other hand, the bottom fact about the employers was that they did
not and could not believe that, if the precise figures were known, the
cabmen were not getting more than their share. They insisted that the
cabmen should publish, or make known, the precise figures of their
extras. The cabmen declined to do it, and it made them look for the
moment perhaps as if they were wrong. But were they necessarily wrong?
Was it really true that they had any more reason to trust their
employers than their employers had to trust them? The cabmen might quite
honestly and justly have said to the owners: "What we want is an honest,
impeccable little dividend-recorder fastened on the back of every owner,
as well as on our machines and on us. Then we will publish our extras."

The determining and important fact of economics in the last analysis
always turns out to be some human fact, some fact about people. It is
really true that just now, in the present half-stage of
machine-industry, employers should nearly all be compelled to go about
in this world with fare-recorders on their backs. Employees too. This
would be the logical thing to do; and as it is impracticable, and as
every business must have certain elements of secrecy in it in order to
be competent, the only alternative is to have in charge men with enough
genius for being believed in and for taking measures to be believed
in--to keep employees believing in them, in spite of secrecy. Under
these conditions, it cannot be long before we will see in every business
the men being put forward on both sides who have a genius for being
believed in. Managers and superintendents will be put in office
everywhere who see the cash value, the economy, of the simple,
old-fashioned power in a man of a genius for being believed in;
employers with the power of inspiring more and better work from their
workmen; Labour men with the power of inspiring employers to believe in
them, of inspiring their employers to put up money, stock, or profits on
their belief--on the belief that workmen are capable of the highest
qualities of manhood: hard work, loyalty, persistence, and faith toward
a common end. I have preferred to have this inspired employer a
millionaire, because the more capital he has the more men he can employ,
and the more rapidly the other kind of millionaire, the blind,
old-fashioned butter of Labour, will be driven out of business.

Little can be done with one book, but at this special juncture, this
psychological moment for copartnership and the spirit of copartnership,
when all the world is touched to the quick by great strikes--at a time
when one can sit still and almost hear the nations think--there are some
of us who hope that the case we are trying to make out for copartnership
between Capital and Labour will be of use to those who are trying to do
things, and who for the moment find themselves foiled at every point by
men who have given up believing in human nature. We wish to put
ourselves on record, and to say that we do believe in human nature, and
that we believe not only that the inspired employer is going to be
evolved by the Crowd, but that the Crowd is going to recognize him and
is going to take sides with him, and that the Crowd is going to justify
him, make him succeed, is going to make his success its own success. In
other words, we believe in heroes, crowds, and goodness; in men of
heroic gifts--who are fit and meet to interpret the wills and desires
of crowds--who are great men or Crowd-Men, crowds in spirit themselves.

I would like to try to express the type of modern man who, as it seems
to me, is about to prove himself the real ruler of our modern world, the
silent master of what the crowds shall think. It has seemed to me that
it is going to be a man of a marked type, and of a particular
temperament, to whom we will have to look in our new and crowded world
for the crowd-interpreter, or man who touches the imagination of crowds.

As our whole labour problem to-day turns on our being able to touch the
imagination of Crowds, it may not be uninteresting in the next chapter
to consider what a man who can do this will probably be like and the
spirit in which he will do it.



When Wilbur Wright flew around the Statue of Liberty in New York the
other day, his doing it was a big event; but a still bigger event, as it
seems to some of us, was the way he felt about New York when he did it.
All New York could not make him show off. Hundreds of thousands of
people on roofs could look up at the sky over New York, for him to go
by, all that they liked. He slipped down to Washington without saying
anything, on the 3:25 train, to attend to flying as part of the serious
business of the world.

Why fly around a little town like New York, or show your bright wings in
the light, or circle the Statue of Liberty for fun, when you are
reconstructing civilization, and binding a whole planet together, and
wrapping the heavens close down around the earth, and making railroads
everywhere out of the air? New York is always a little superficial and
funny about itself. All it needs to do, it seems to think, is to snap
its fingers at a man of genius anywhere on this broad world, whisper to
him pleasantly, and he will trot promptly up, of course, and do his
little turn for it.

But not Wilbur Wright. Wilbur Wright would not give two million people
an encore, or even come back to bow. As one looked over from Mount Tom
one could see all New York black and solid on the tops of its roofs and
houses looking up into a great hole of air for him, and Wilbur Wright
slipping quietly off down to Washington and leaving them there, a whole
great city under the sky, with its heads up!

A little experience like this has been what New York has needed for a
long time. It takes a scientist to do these things. I wish there were
some poet who would do as well. Even a prophet up above New York--or
seer of men and of years--glinting his wings in the light, the New York
_Sun_ and the _World_ and the _Times_ down below, all their opera-glasses
trained on him, and all those little funny reporters running helplessly
about, all the people pouring out from Doctor Parkhurst's church to
look up.... It would be something.

Probably there are very few capitals in the world--Paris, Berlin, or
London--that would not be profoundly stirred and possibly much improved
by having some man suddenly appear up over them, who would be so
interested in what he was doing that he would forget to notice whether
anybody was looking--who would be capable of slipping off quietly and
leaving an entire city with its heads up, and going on and attending to

There have been times when we would have been relieved, some of us, if
the North Pole could have been discovered in this way and without large
audiences tagging. There are some of us who will never cease to regret
as long as we live that the North Pole could not have waited a little.
We would rather have had Wilbur Wright discover it. One can imagine how
he would do it: fly gracefully up to it all by himself, and discover it
some pleasant evening, and have it over with, and slip back on his soft
wings in the night, and not say anything about it. It is this Wilbur
Wright spirit that I would like to dwell on in these pages. It seems to
me it is a true modern spirit, the spirit which alone could make our
civilization great, and the spirit which alone could make crowds great.
It was the crowd that spoiled the way the Pole was discovered--all the
millions of people, vast, thoughtless audiences piling in and making a
show of it. Many people in America, all the vast crowds reading about
it, seemed to feel that they were more important than the Pole; and when
Captain Peary came back, vast crowds of these same people paid as much
as five dollars apiece for the privilege of being in the same room with
him. It was quite impossible not to contrast Captain Peary in his
attitude toward the crowd and Wilbur Wright. There seemed to be, and
there will always remain, a certain vulgarity in the way the North Pole
was discovered, and the way the whole world behaved in regard to it, and
the secret seems to have been in Captain Peary's failure to be a Wilbur
Wright. He allowed the Pole to be a Crowd affair. All the while as he
went about the country holding his little exhibits of the tip of the
planet we could not help wishing, many of us who were in the Audience,
that this man who sat there before us, the man who had the Thing in his
hand, who had collected the North Pole, would not notice us, would snub
us if need be a little, and would leave these people, these millions of
people, with their heads up and go quietly on to the South Pole and
collect that. It is because there are thousands of men who understand
just how Wilbur Wright felt when he slipped away the other day in New
York and left the entire city with its heads up that we have every
reason to expect that the crowd is to produce great leaders, and is to
become a great crowd, great and humble in spirit before God, before the
stars, and the atoms, and the microbes, and before Itself. In the
meantime, however, we see all about us in the world countless would-be
leaders of the crowd, who would perhaps not quite understand the way
Wilbur Wright felt that day when he slipped away from New York and left
the entire city with its heads up. Most newspaper men--men who are in
the habit of writing for a crowd and regarding a crowd quite
respectfully--will have wondered a little why Wilbur Wright could have
let such a crowd go by. Most actors and theatrical people would have
stayed over a train or so and given one more little performance with all
those wistful people on the roof-tops. There are only a very few
clergymen in England or America to-day who, with a great audience like
that and so many men in it, would ever have thought of slipping off on
the 3:25 train in the way Wilbur Wright did. The ministers and the
politicians of all countries are still wondering a little--if they ever
thought of it--how Wright did it. Most of the other people in the world
wonder a little, too, but I imagine that the great inventors of the
world who read about it the next morning did not wonder. The true
scientists, in this country and in Germany and in France, all understood
just how Wilbur Wright felt when he left New York with its heads up. The
great artists of the world, in literature, in painting, and
architecture; the great railroad builders, the city builders, the nation
builders, the great statesmen, the great biologists, and chemists,
understood. James J. Hill, with his face toward the Pacific, understood.
Alexander Graham Bell, out abroad doing the listening and talking and
thinking the thoughts of eighty million people, understood. Marconi,
making the ships whisper across the sea, and William G. McAdoo, shooting
a hundred and seventy thousand people a day through a hole under the

And God, when He made the world. And Columbus when he discovered
America. And Jesus Christ when He was so happy and so preoccupied over
His vision of a new world, over inventing Christianity, that it seemed a
very small and incidental thing to die on the Cross--He understood.

Wilbur Wright's secret was that he had a vision. His vision was that a
human being could be greater and more powerful than the world had ever
believed before.

Just to be there was a great thought, to be allowed to be one of those
admitted, to be present at the first faint beginning, the first still
alighting of the human spirit from the earth upon the sky. Wilbur Wright
made the most ordinary man a genius a minute. He made him wonder softly
who he was--and the people all about him--who were they? and what would
they think, and what would they do next? The first flash of light on the
wings was a thousand years. It was as if almost for a moment he saw at
last the whole earth about him. History, churches, factories on it,
slipping out of its cocoon at last--its little, old, faded, tied-down
cocoon, and sailing upon the air--sailing with him, sailing with the
churches, with the factories, and with the schools, with History,
through the Invisible, through the Intangible--out to the Sun....

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps the reason that New York was a great city a few minutes the
other day when Wilbur Wright was there was that Wilbur Wright had a new
vision in the presence of all those men of something that they could do.
He touched the imagination of men about themselves. They were profoundly
moved because they saw him in their presence inventing a new kind and
new size of human being. He raised the standard of impossibility, and
built an annex on to the planet while they looked; took a great strip
off of space three miles wide and folded it softly on to the planet all
the way round before their eyes. For three miles more--three miles
farther up above the ground--there was a space where human beings would
have to stop saying, "I can't," and "You can't," and "We can't." If
people want to say "I can't," and "You can't," they will have to say it
farther and farther away from this planet now. Let them try Mars. The
modern imagination takes to impossibilities naturally with Wilbur Wright
against the horizon. The thing we next cannot believe is the next thing
to expect.

Nobody would have believed ten years ago that an architect could be
invented who would tell a man that his house would cost him thirty
thousand dollars, and then hand him back two thousand dollars when he
had finished it. But the man had been invented--he invented himself.

He represents the owner, and does as the owner would be done by if he
did it himself--if he had the technical knowledge and the time to do it.

Nobody would have believed a few years ago that a railway president,
when he had occasion to reduce the wages of several thousand employees
10 per cent., would begin by reducing his own salary 30 per cent., and
the salary of all the officials all the way down 15 per cent., or 20 per

Nobody would have believed some time ago that an organizing inventor
would be evolved who would meet his directors and tell them that, if
they would have their work done in their mills in three shifts instead
of two, the men would work so much better that it would not cost the
Company more than 10 per cent. more to offer the better conditions. But
such an organizing inventor has been invented, and has proved his case.

Luther Burbank has made a chestnut tree eighteen months old bear
chestnuts; and it has always taken from ten to twenty-five years to make
a tree furnish its first chestnut before. About the same time that
Luther Burbank had succeeded in doing this with chestnuts a similar type
of man, who was not particularly interested in chestnuts and wanted to
do something with human nature, who believed that human nature could
really be made to work, found a certain staple article that everybody
needs every day in a state of anarchy in the market. The producers were
not making anything on it. The wholesalers dealt in it without a profit,
and the retailers sold it without a profit, and merely because the other
things they sold were worthless without it.

----, who was the leading wholesale dealer and in the best position to
act, pointed out that, if the business was organized and everybody in it
would combine with everybody else and make it a monopoly, the price
could be made lower, and everybody would make money.

Of course this was a platitude.

It was also a platitude that human nature was not good enough, and could
not be trusted to work properly in a monopoly.

---- then proceeded to invent a monopoly--a kind of monopoly in which
human nature could be trusted.

He used a very simple device.

He began by being trusted himself.

Having personally and directly proved that human nature in a monopoly
could be trusted by being trusted himself, all he had to do was to
capitalize his knowledge of human nature, use the enormous market value
of the trust people had in him to gather people about him in the
business who had a good practical business genius for being trusted too
and for keeping trusted: everybody else was shut out.

The letter with which the monopoly was started (after dealing duly with
the technical details of the business) ended like this:

"... the soundest lines of business--_viz._, fair prices, fair profits,
fair division of profits, fair recognition of service, do as you would be
done by, money back where it is practicable, one's profit so small as to
make competition not worth while, open dealing, and open books."

He had invented a monopoly which shared its profits with the people, and
which the people trusted. He was a Luther Burbank in money and people
instead of chestnuts. He raised the standard of impossibility in people,
and invented a new way for human nature to work.



The modern imagination takes, speaking roughly, three characteristic

1. Imagination about the unseen or intangible--the spiritual--as
especially typified in electricity, in the wireless telegraph, the
aeroplane: a new and extraordinary sense of the invisible and the
unproved as an energy to be used and reckoned with.

2. Imagination about the future--a new and extraordinary sense of what
is going to happen next in the world.

3. Imagination about people. We are not only inventing new machines, but
our new machines have turned upon us and are creating new men. The
telephone changes the structure of the brain. Men live in wider
distances, and think in larger figures, and become eligible to nobler
and wider motives.

Imagination about the unseen is going to give us in an incredible degree
the mastery of the spirit over matter.

Imagination about the future is going to make the next few hundred years
an organic part of every man's life to-day.

The imagination of men about themselves and other people is going to
give us a race of men with new motives; or, to put it differently, it is
going to give us not only new sizes but new kinds of men. People are
going to achieve impossibilities in goodness, and our inventions in
human nature are going to keep up with our other inventions.



The most distinctively modern thing that ever happened was when Benjamin
Franklin went out one day and called down lightning from heaven. Before
that, power had always been dug up, or scraped off the ground. The more
power you wanted the more you had to get hold of the ground and dig for
it; and the more solid you were, the more heavy, solid things you could
get, the more you could pull solid, heavy things round in this world
where you wanted them. Franklin turned to the sky, and turned power on
from above, and decided that the real and the solid and the substantial
in this world was to be pulled about by the Invisible.

Copernicus had the same idea, of course, when he fared forth into space,
and discovered the centre of all power to be in the sun. It grieved
people a good deal to find how much more important the sky was than they
were, and their whole little planet with all of them on it. The idea
that that big blue field up there, empty by day and with such crowds of
little faint dots in it all night, was the real thing--the big, final,
and important thing--and that they and their churches and popes and
pyramids and nations should just dance about it for millions of years
like a mote in a sunbeam, hurt their feelings at first. But it did them
good. It started them looking Up, and looking the other way for power.

Very soon afterward Columbus enlarged upon the same idea by starting the
world toward very far things, on the ground; and he bored through the
skylines, a thousand skylines, and spread the nations upon the sea.
Columbus was the typical modern man led by the invisible, the
intangible; and on the great waters somewhere between Spain and New
York, between the old and the new, Columbus discovered the Future Tense,
the centrifugal tense, the tense that sweeps in the unknown, and gathers
in, out of space, out of hope, out of faith, the lives of men. The mere
fastened-down stable things, the mere actual facts, stopped being the
world with Columbus, and the air and the sky began to be swung in, and
to be swept through the thoughts and acts of men and of women.... Then
miners, mariners, explorers, inventors--the impossible steamship, the
railway, the impossible cotton-gin and sewing-machine and reaper, Hoosac
tunnels and Atlantic cables. The impossible became one of the habits of
modern life.

Of course the sky and the air and the unknown and the future had been
recognized before, but only a little and in a rather patronizing way.
But when a world has made a great, solid continent by following a
horizon line, it begins to take things just beyond very seriously. And
so our Time has been fulfilled. We have had the stone age; we have had
the iron age; and now we have the sky age, and the sky telegraph, and
sky men, and sky cities. Mountains of stone are built out of men's
visions, towers and skyscrapers swing up out of their wills and up out
of their hearts.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not long ago, as I was coming away from New York in the Springfield
Express, which was running at fifty-five miles an hour, I saw suddenly
some smoke coming up apparently out of a satchel on the floor, belonging
to the man in the chair in front of me. I moved the satchel away, and
the smoke came up through the carpet. I spoke to the Pullman conductor
who was passing through, and in a second the train had stopped, and the
great wild roaring Thing had ceased, and we stood in a long, wide, white
silence in the fields. We got off the car--some of us--to see what had
happened, and to see if there was a hot box on the wheels. We found
that the entire underside of the floor of the car was on fire, and what
had happened? Nothing except a new impossibility; nothing except that a
human being had invented an electrical locomotive so powerful that it
was pulling that train fifty-five miles an hour while the brakes on the
car were set--twelve brakes all grinding twenty miles on those twelve
wheels; and the locomotive paid no more attention to the brakes of that
heavy Pullman than it would to a feather or to a small boy, all the way
from New York to Stamford, hanging on behind. As I came in I looked
again at the train--the long dull train that had been pulled along by
the Invisible, by the kingdom of the air and the sky--the long, dull,
heavy Train! And the spirit of the far-off sun was in it!

In Count Zeppelin's new airship the new social spirit has a symbol, and
in the gyroscopic train the inspired millionaire is on a firm
foundation. The power of the new kind and new size of capitalist is his
power of keeping an equilibrium with the people, and the men of real
genius in modern affairs are men who have motor genius and light genius
over other men's wills. They are allied to the X-ray and the airship,
and gain their pre-eminence by their power of forecast and
invention--their power of riding upon the unseen, upon the thoughts of
men and the spirit of the time. Even the painters have caught this
spirit. The plein air painters are painting the light, and the sculptors
are carving shadows and haloes, and we have not an art left which does
not lean out into the Invisible. And religion is full of this spirit and
theosophy and Christian Science. The playwrights are touched by it; and
the action, instead of being all on the stage, is thrown out into the
spirit of the audience. The play in a modern theatre is not on the stage
but in the stalls. Maeterlinck, Ibsen, Shaw, merely use the stage as a
kind of magic-lantern or suggestion-centre for the real things that, out
behind us in the dark, are happening in the audience.



I remember looking over with H.G. Wells one night some time ago a set of
pictures or photographs of the future in America, which he had brought
home with him. They were largely skyscrapers, big bridges, Niagaras, and
things; and I could not help thinking, as I came home that night, how
much more Mr. Wells had of the future of America in his own mind than he
could possibly buy in his photographs. What funny little films they were
after all, how faint and pathetic, how almost tragically dull, those
pictures of the future of my country were! H.G. Wells himself, standing
in his own doorway, was more like America, and more like the future of
America, than the pictures were.

The future in America cannot be pictured. The only place it can be seen
is in people's faces. Go out into the street, in New York, in Chicago,
in San Francisco, in Seattle; look eagerly as you go into the faces of
the men who pass, and you feel hundreds of years--the next hundred
years--like a breath, swept past. America, with all its forty-story
buildings, its little Play Niagaras, its great dumb Rockies, is the
unseen country. It can only as yet be seen in people's eyes. Some days,
flowing sublime and silent through our noisy streets, and through the
vast panorama of our towers, I have heard the footfalls of the unborn,
like sunshine around me.

This feeling America gives one in the streets is the real America. The
solidity, the finality, the substantial fact in America, is the daily
sense in the streets of the future. And it has seemed to me that this
fact--whether one observes it in Americans in America, in Americans in
England and in other nations--is what one might call, for lack of a
better name, the American temperament in all peoples is the most
outstanding typical and important fact with which our modern world and
our philosophy about the world have now to reckon. Nothing can be seen
as it really is if this amazing pervasive hourly sense of the future is
left out of it.

All power is rapidly coming to be based on news--news about human
nature, and about what is soon to be done by people. This news travels
by express in boxes, by newspapers, by telephone, by word of mouth, and
by wireless telegraph. Most of the wireless news is not only wireless,
but it is in cipher--hence prophets, or men who have great
sensitiveness; men whose souls and bodies are films for the future,
platinum plates for the lights and shadows of events; men who are
world-poets, sensitive to the air-waves and the light-waves of truth, to
the faintest vibrations from To-morrow, or from the next hundred years
hovering just ahead. As a matter of course, it is already coming to be
true that the most practical man to-day is the prophet. In the older
days, men used to look back for wisdom, and the practical man was the
man who spoke from experience, and they crucified the prophet. But
to-day, the practical man is the man who can make the best guess on
to-morrow. The cross has gone by; at least, the cross is being pushed
farther along. A prophet in business or politics gets a large salary
now; he is a recognized force. Being a prophet is getting to be almost
smug and respectable.

We live so in the future in our modern life, and our rewards are so
great for men who can live in the future, that a man who can be a
ten-year prophet, or a twenty-five-year prophet, like James J. Hill, is
put on a pedestal, or rather is not wasted on a pedestal, and is made
President of a railroad. He swings the country as if it were his hat. We
see great cities tagging Wilbur Wright, and emperors clinging to the
skirts of Count Zeppelin. We only crucify a prophet now if he is a
hundred, or two hundred or five hundred years ahead. Even then, we
would not be apt to crucify; we would merely not use him much, except
the first twenty-five years of him.

The theory is no longer tenable that prophets must be necessarily
crucified. As a matter of history, most prophets have been crucified by
people; but it was not so much because of their prophecy as because
their prophecy did not have any first twenty-five years in it. They were
crucified because of a blank place or hiatus, not necessarily in their
own minds, but at least in other people's. People would have been very
glad to have their first twenty-five years' worth if they could have got
it. It is this first twenty-five years, or joining-on part, which is
most important in prophecy, and which has become our specialty in the
Western World. One might say, in a general way, that the idea of having
a first twenty-five years' section in truth for a prophet is a modern,
an almost American, invention. We are temperamentally a country of the
future, and think instinctively in futures; and perhaps it is not too
much to say (considering all the faults that go with it for which we are
criticized) that we have led the way in futures as a specialty, as a
national habit of mind; and though with terrific blunders perhaps have
been really the first people _en masse_ to put being a prophet on a
practical basis--that is, to supply the first twenty-five years'
section, or the next-thing-to-do section to Truth, to put in a kind of
coupling between this world and the next. This is what America is for,
perhaps--to put in the coupling between this world and the next.

In the former days, the strength of a man, or of an estate, or a
business, was its stability. In the new world, instead of stability, we
have the idea of persistence, and power lies not so much in solid
brittle foundation quality as in conductivity. Socially, men can be
divided into conductors--men who connect powers--and non-conductors--men
who do not; and power lies in persistence, in dogged flexibility,
adaptableness, and impressionableness. The set conservative class of
people, in three hundred years, are going to be the dreamers,
inventors--those who demonstrate their capacity to dream true, and who
hit shrewdly upon probabilities and trends and futures; and the power of
a man is coming to be the power of observing atmospheres, of being
sensitive to the intangible and the unknown. People are more likely to
be crucified two thousand years from now for wanting to stay as they
are. There used to be the inertia of rest; and now in its place, working
reciprocally in a new astonishing equilibrium, we step up calmly on our
vast moving sidewalk of civilization and swing into the inertia of

The inertia of men, instead of being that of foundations, conventions,
customs, facts, sogginess, and heaviness, is getting to be an inertia
now toward the future, or the next-thing-to-do. Most of us can prove
this by simply looking inward and taking a glimpse of our own
consciousness. Let a man draw up before his own mind the contents of his
own consciousness (if he has a motor consciousness), and we find that
the future in his life looms up, both in its motives and its character,
and takes about three quarters of the room of his consciousness; and
when it is not looming up, it is woven into everything he does. Even if
all the future were for was to help one understand the present and act
this immediate moment as one should, nine tenths of the power of seeing
a thing as it is, turns out to be one's power of seeing it as it is
going to be. In any normal man's life, it is really the future and his
sense of the future that make his present what it is.

History is losing its monopoly. It is only absorbed in men's minds--in
the minds of those who are making more of it--in parts or rather in
elements of all its parts.

The trouble with history seems to have been, thus far, that people have
been under the illusion that history should be taken as a solid. They
seem to think it should be taken in bulk. They take it, some of them, a
solid hundred years of it or so, and gulp it down. The advantage of
prophecy is that it cannot be taken as a solid by people who would take
everything so if they could. Prophecy is protected. People have to
breathe it, assimilate it, and get it into their circulation and make a
solid out of it personally, and do it all themselves. It is this process
which is making our modern men spiritual, interpretative, and powerful
toward the present and toward the past, and which is giving a body and
soul to knowledge, and is making knowledge lively and human, the kind of
knowledge (when men get it) that makes things happen.



I would like to propose, as a basis for the judgment of men and events,
and as a basis for forecasting the next men and next events, and
arriving at a vision of action, a Theory of the World.

Every man has one.

Every man one knows can be seen doing his work in this world on a great
background, a kind of panorama or stage setting in his mind, made up of
history and books, newspapers, people, and experiences, which might be
called his Theory of the World.

It is his theory of the world which makes him what he is--his personal
judgment or personal interpretation of what the world is like, and what
works in it, and what does not work.

A man's theory as to why people do or do not do wrong is not a theory he
might in some brief disinterested moment, possibly at luncheon, take
time to discuss. His theory of what is wrong and of what is right, and
of how they work, touches the efficiency with which he works intimately
and permanently at every point every minute of his business day.

If he does not know, in the middle of his business day, what his theory
of the world--of human nature--is, let him stop and find out.

A man's theory of the world is the skylight or manhole over his work. It
becomes his hell or heaven--his day and night. He breathes his theory of
the world and breathes his idea of the people in it; and everything he
does may be made or may be marred by what, for instance, he thinks in
the long-run about what I am saying now on this next page. Whether he
is writing for people, or doing business with them over a counter, or
launching books at them, everything he does will be steeped in what he
believes about what I am saying now--it shall be the colour of the world
to him, the sound or timbre of his voice--what he thinks or can make up
his mind to think, of what I am saying--on this next page.



If the men who were crucifying Jesus could have been suddenly stopped at
the last moment, and if they could have been kept perfectly still for
ten minutes and could have thought about it, some of them would have
refused to go on with the crucifixion when the ten minutes were over. If
they could have been stopped for twenty minutes, there would have been
still more of them who would have refused to have gone on with it. They
would have stolen away and wondered about The Man in their hearts. There
were others who were there who would have needed twenty days of being
still and of thinking. There were some who would have had to have twenty
years to see what they really wanted, in all the circumstances, to do.

People crucified Christ because they were in a hurry.

They did what they wanted to do at the moment. So far as we know, there
were only two men who did what they would have wished they had done in
twenty years: there was the thief on the other cross, who showed The Man
he knew who He was; and there was the disciple John, who kept as close
as he could. John perhaps was thinking of the past--of all the things
that Christ had said to him; and the man on the other cross was thinking
what was going to happen next. The other people who had to do with the
crucifixion were all thinking about the thing they were doing at the
moment and the way they felt about it. But the Man was Thinking, not of
His suffering, but of the men in front of Him, and of what they could be
thinking about, and what they would be thinking about afterward--in ten
minutes, in twenty minutes, in twenty days, or in twenty years; and
suddenly His heart was flooded with pity at what they would be thinking
about afterward, and in the midst of the pain in His arms and the pain
in His feet He made that great cry to Heaven: "Father, forgive them;
they know not what they do!"

It is because Christians have never quite believed that The Man really
meant this when He said it that they have persecuted the Jews for two
thousand years. It is because they do not believe it now that they blame
Mr. Rockefeller for doing what most of them twenty years ago would have
done themselves. It was one of the hardest things to do and say that any
one ever said in the world, and it was said at the hardest possible time
to say it. It was strange that one almost swooning with pain should have
said the gentlest-hearted and truest thing about human nature that has
ever been said since the world began. It has seemed to me the most
literal, and perhaps the most practical, truth that has been said since
the world began.

It goes straight to the point about people. It gives one one's
definition of goodness both for one's self and for others. It gives one
a program for action.

Except in our more joyous and free moments, we assume that when people
do us a wrong, they know what they are about. They look at the right
thing to do and they look at the wrong one, and they choose the wrong
one because they like it better. Nine people out of ten one meets in the
streets coming out of church on Sunday morning, if one asked them the
question plainly, "Do you ever do wrong when you know it is wrong?"
would say that they did. If you ask them what a sin is, they will tell
you that it is something you do when you know you ought not to do it.

But The Man Himself, in speaking of the most colossal sin that has ever
been committed, seemed to think that when men committed a sin, it was
because they did not really see what it was that they were doing. They
did what they wanted to do at the moment. They did not do what they
would have wished they had done in twenty years.

I would define goodness as doing what one would wish one had done in
twenty years--twenty years, twenty days, twenty minutes, or twenty
seconds, according to the time the action takes to get ripe.

It would be far more true and more to the point instead of scolding or
admiring Mr. Rockefeller's skilled labour at getting too rich, to point
out mildly that he has done something that in the long-run he would not
have wanted to do; that he has lacked the social imagination for a great
permanently successful business. His sin has consisted in his not taking
pains to act accurately and permanently, in his not concentrating his
mind and finding out what he really wanted to do. It would seem to be
better and truer and more accurate in the tremendous crisis of our
modern life to judge Mr. Rockefeller, not as monster of wickedness, but
merely as an inefficient, morally underwitted man. There are things that
he has not thought of that every one else has.

We see that in all those qualities that really go to make a great
business house in a great nation John D. Rockefeller stands as the most
colossal failure as yet that our American business life has produced. To
point his incompetence out quietly and calmly and without scolding would
seem to be the only fair way to deal with Mr. Rockefeller. He merely has
not done what he would have wished he had done in twenty, well, possibly
two hundred years, or as long a time as it would be necessary to allow
for Mr. Rockefeller to see. The one thing that the world could accept
gracefully from Mr. Rockefeller now would be the establishment of a
great endowment of research and education to help other people to see in
time how they can keep from being like him. If Mr. Rockefeller leads in
this great work and sees it soon enough, perhaps he will stop suddenly
being the world's most lonely man.

Many men have been lonely before in the presence of a few fellow human
beings; but to be lonely with a whole nation--eighty million people; to
feel a whole human race standing there outside of your life and softly
wondering about you, staring at you in the showcase of your money,
peering in as out of a thousand newspapers upon you as a kind of moral
curiosity under glass, studying you as the man who has performed the
most athletic feat of not seeing what he was really doing and how he
really looked in all the world--this has been Mr. Rockefeller's
experience. He has not done what he would wish he had done in twenty

Goodness may be defined as getting one's own attention, as boning down
to find the best and most efficient way of finding out what one wants to
do. Any man who will make adequate arrangements with himself at suitable
times for getting his own attention will be good. Any one else from
outside who can make such arrangements for him, such arrangements of
expression or--of advertising goodness as to get his attention, will
make him good.



If two great shops could stand side by side on the Main Street of the
World, and all the vices could be put in the show window of one of them
and all the virtues in the show windows the other, and all the people
could go by all day, all night, and see the windowful of virtues as they
were, and the windowful of vices as they were, all the world would be
good in the morning.

It would stay good as long as people remembered how the windows looked.
Or if they could not remember, all they would need to do, most people,
when a vice tempted them would be to step out, look at it in its window
a minute--possibly take a look too at the other window--and they would
be good.

If a man were to take a fancy to any particular vice, and would take a
step up to The Window, and take one firm look at it in The Window--see
it lying there, its twenty years' evil, its twenty days', its twenty
minutes' evil, all branching up out of it--he would be good.

When we see the wrong on one side and the right on the other and really
see the right as vividly as we do the wrong, we do right automatically.
Wild horses cannot drag a man away from doing right if he sees what the
right is.

A little while ago in a New England city where the grade crossings had
just been abolished, and where the railroad wound its way on a huge
yellow sandbank through the most beautiful part of the town, a
prominent, public-spirited citizen wrote a letter to the President of
the Company suggesting that the railroad (for a comparatively small
sum, which he mentioned) plant its sandbanks with trees and shrubs. A
letter came the next day saying that the railroad was unwilling to do
it. He might quite justifiably have been indignant and flung himself
into print and made a little scene in the papers, which would have been
the regular and conventional thing to do under the circumstances. But it
occurred to him instead, being a man of a curious and practical mind,
that possibly he did not know how to express himself to railroad
presidents, and that his letter had not said what he meant. He thought
he would try again, and see what would happen if he expressed himself
more fully and adequately. He took for it this second time a box seven
feet long. The box contained two long rolls of paper, one a picture by a
landscape gardener of the embankment as it would look when planted with
trees and with shrubs, and the other a photograph--a long panorama of
the same embankment as it then stood with its two great broadsides of
yellowness trailing through the city. The box containing the rolls was
sent without comment and with photographs and estimates of cost on the
bottom of the pictures.

A letter from the railroad came next day thanking him for his
suggestion, and promising to have the embankment made into a park at

If God had arranged from the beginning, slides of the virtues, and had
furnished every man with a stereopticon inside, and if all a man had to
do at any particular time of temptation was to take out just the right
slide or possibly try three or four up there on his canvas a second, no
one would ever have any trouble in doing right.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not too much to say that this way of looking at evil and good--at
the latent capacities of evil and good in men, if a man once believes
it, and if a man once practises it as a part of his daily practical
interpretation and mastery of men, will soon put a new face for him on
nearly every great human problem with which he finds his time
confronted. We shall watch the men in the world about us--each for their
little day--trying their funny, pathetic, curious little moral
experiments, and we shall see the men--all of the men and all of the
good and the evil in the men this moment--daily before our eyes working
out with an implacable hopefulness the fate of the world. We know that,
in spite of self-deceived syndicalism and self-deceived trusts, in spite
of coal strikes and all the vain, comic little troops of warships around
the earth, peace and righteousness in a vast overtone are singing toward

We are not only going to have new and better motives in our modern men,
but the new and better motives are going to be thrust upon us. Every man
who reads these pages is having, at the present moment, motives in his
life which he would not have been capable of at first. Why should not a
human race have motives which it was not capable of at first? If one
takes up two or three motives of one's own--the small motives and the
large ones--and holds them up in one's hand and looks at them quietly
from the point of view of what one would wish one had done in twenty
years, there is scarcely one of us who would choose the small ones.
People who are really modern, that is, who look beyond themselves in
what they do to others, who live their lives as one might say six people
away, or sixty people farther out from themselves, or sixty million
people farther, are becoming more common everywhere; and people who look
beyond the moment in what they do to another day, who are getting more
and more to live their lives twenty years ahead, and to have motives
that will last twenty years, are driven to better and more permanent

Thinking of more people when we act for ourselves means ethical
consciousness or goodness, and better and more permanent motives.

In the last analysis, the men who permanently succeed in business will
have to see farther than the other people do.

Men like John D. Rockefeller, who have made failures of their lives, and
have not been able to conduct a business so as to keep it out of the
courts, have failed because they have had imagination about Things but
not imagination about people.

The man who is just at hand will not do over again what Mr. Rockefeller
has done. He will at least have made some advance in imagination over

Mr. Rockefeller became rich by coöperating with other rich men to
exploit the public. The man of the immediate future is going to get
rich, as rich as he cares to be, by coöperating not merely with his
competitors--which is as far as Rockefeller got--but by coöperating with
the people.

It is a mere matter of social imagination, of seeing what succeeds most
permanently, and honourably, of putting what has been called "goodness"
and what is going to be called "Business" together. In other words,
social imagination is going to make a man gravitate toward mutual
interest or coöperation, which is the new and inevitable level of
efficiency and success in business. Success is being transferred from
men of millionaire genius to men of social and human genius. The men who
are going to compete most successfully in modern competitive business
are competing by knowing how to coöperate better than their competitors
do. Employers, employees, consumers, partners, become irresistible by
coöperation; only employers, employees, consumers, and partners who
coöperate better than they do can hope to compete with them. The Trusts
have already crowded out many small rivals because, while their
coöperation has been one-sided, they have coöperated with more people
than their rivals could; and the good Trusts, in the same way are going
to crowd out the bad Trusts, because the good ones will know how to
coöperate with more people than the bad ones do. They will have the
human genius to see how they can coöperate with the people instead of
against them.

They are going to invent ways of winning and keeping the confidence of
the people, of taking to this end a smaller and more just share of
profits. And they are going to gain their leadership through the wisdom
and power that goes with their money, and not through the money itself.
It is the spiritual power of their money that is going to count; and
wealth, instead of being a millionaire disease, is going to become a
great social energy in democracy. We are going to let men be rich
because they represent us, not because they hold us up, and because the
hold-up has gone by, that is: getting all one can, and service--getting
what we have earned--has come in.

The new kind and new size of politician will win his power by his faith,
like U. Ren of Oregon; the new kind and new size of editor is going to
hire with brains a millionaire to help him run his paper; and the new
kind and new size of author, instead of tagging a publisher, will be
paid royalties for supplying him with new ideas and creating for him new
publics. Power in modern life is to be light and heat and motion, and
not a gift of being heavy and solid. Even Money shall lose its inertia.

We are in this way being driven into having new kinds and new sizes of
men; and some of them will be rich ones, and some of them will be poor,
and no one will care. We will simply look at the man and at what size he

If our preachers are not saving us, our business men will. Sometimes one
suspects that the reason goodness is not more popular in modern life is
that it has been taken hold of the wrong way. Perhaps when we stop
teasing people, and take goodness seriously and calmly, and see that
goodness is essentially imagination, that it is brains, that it is
thinking down through to what one really wants, goodness will begin to
be more coveted. Except among people with almost no brains or
imagination at all, it will be popular.

Perhaps it is unnecessary to say that these things that I have been
saying, or trying to say, about the flexibility and the potentiality of
the human race in its present crisis, in its present struggle to
maintain and add to its glory on the earth, are all beyond the range of
possibility, and the present strength of manhood. But I can only hope
that these objections that people make will turn out like mine. I have
been making objections all my life, as all idealists must--only to watch
with dismay and joy the old-time, happy obdurate way objections have of
going by.

People began by saying they would never use automobiles because they
were so noisy and ill-odoured and ugly. Presto! The automobile becomes
silent and shapes itself in lines of beauty.

Some of us had decided against balloons. "Even if the balloon succeeds,"
we said, "there will be no way of going just where and when you want
to." And then, presto! regular channels of wind are discovered, and the
balloon goes on.

"Aeroplanes," we said, "may be successful, but the more successful they
are, the more dangerous, and the more danger there will be of
collisions--collisions in the dark and up in the great sky at night." And,
presto! man invents the wireless telegraph, and the entire sky can be
full of whispers telling every airship where all the other airships are.

Some of us have decided that we will never have anything to do with
monopoly. Presto! there is suddenly evolved an entirely new type of
monopolist--the man who can be rich and good; the millionaire who has
invented a monopoly that serves the owners, the producers and employees,
the distributors and the consumers alike. An American railway President
has been saying lately that America would not have enough to eat in
2050, but it would not do to try to prove this just yet. Some one,
almost any day, will invent a food that is as highly concentrated as
dynamite, and the whole food supply of New York--who knows?--shall be
carried around in one railway President's vest pocket.



It would be hard to overestimate the weariness and cynicism and despair
that have been caused in the world by its more recklessly hopeful
men--the men who plump down happily anywhere and hope, the optimists who
are merely slovenly in their minds about evil. But the optimism that
consists in putting evil facts up into a kind of outdoors in our minds
and in giving them room to exercise in our thoughts and feelings, the
optimism that consists in having one's brain move vigorously through
disagreeable facts--organize them into the other facts with which they
belong and with which they work--is worthy of consideration. Many of us,
who have tried optimism and pessimism both, have noticed certain things.

When one is being pessimistic, one almost always has the feeling of
being rather clever. It is forced upon one a little, of course, having
all those other people about one stodgily standing up for people and not
really seeing through them!

So, though one ought not to, one does feel a little superior--even with
the best intentions--when one is being discouraged.

But the trouble with pessimism is that it is only at the moment when one
is having it that one really enjoys it, or feels in this way about it.

Perhaps I should not undertake to speak for others, and should only
speak for myself; but I can only bear witness, for one, that every time
in my life that I have broken through the surface a little, and seen
through to the evil, and found myself suddenly and astutely discouraged,
I have found afterward that all I had to do was to see the same thing a
little farther over, set it in the light beyond it, and look at it in
larger or more full relations, and I was no longer astutely discouraged.

So I have come to believe slowly and grimly that feeling discouraged
about the world is not quite clever. I have noticed it, too, in watching
other people--men I know. If I could take all the men I know who are
living and acting as if they believed big things about people to-day,
men who are daily taking for granted great things in human nature, and
put them in one group by themselves all together, and if I could then
take all the men I know who are taking little things for granted in one
another and in human nature, I do not believe very many people would
find it hard to tell which group would be more clever. Possibly the
reason more of us do not spend more time in being hopeful about the
world is that it takes more brains usually than we happen to have at the
moment. Hope may be said to be an act of the brain in which it sees
facts in relations large enough to see what they are for, an act in
which it insists in a given case upon giving the facts room enough to
turn around and to relate themselves to one another, and settle down
where they belong in one's mind, the way they would in real time.

So now, at last, Gentle Reader, having looked back and having looked
forward, I know the way I am going.

I am going to hope.

It is the only way to see through things. The only way to dare to see
through ones' self; the only way to see through other people and to see
past them, and to see with them and for them--is to hope.

So I am putting the challenge to the reader, in this book, as I have put
it to myself.

There are four questions with which day by day we stand face to face:

1. Does human nature change?

2. Does it change toward a larger and longer vision?

3. Will not a larger and longer vision mean new kinds and
new sizes of men?

4. Will not new sizes of men make new-sized ethics practical
and make a new world?

Everything depends for every man upon this planet, at this moment, on
how he decides these questions. If he says Yes, he will live one kind of
life, he will live up to his world. If he says No, he will have a mean
world, smaller-minded than he is himself, and he will live down to it.

This is what the common run of men about us--the men of less creative
type in literature, in business, and in politics--are doing. They do not
believe human nature is changing. They are living down to a world that
is going by. They are living down to a world that is smaller than they
are themselves. They are trying to make others do it. They answer the
question "Does human nature change?" by "No!" Wilbur Wright, when he
flew around over the heads of the people in New York a few years ago, a
black speck above a whole city with its heads up, answered "Yes!"

But the real importance of the flying machine has not stopped short with
a little delicate, graceful thing like walking on the air instead of the

The big and really revolutionary thing about Wilbur Wright's flying was
that he changed the minds of the whole human race in a few minutes about
one thing. There was one particular thing that for forty thousand years
they knew they could not do. And now they knew they could.

It naturally follows--and it lies in the mind of every man who
lives--that there must be other particular things. And as nine men out
of ten are in business, most of these particular things are going to be
done in business.

The Wilbur Wright spirit is catching.

It is as if a Lid had been lifted off the world.

One sees everywhere business men going about the street expecting new
things of themselves. They expect things of the very ground, and of the
air, and of one another they had not dared expect before.

The other day in a New England city I saw a man, who had been the
president of an Electric Light Company for twenty years, who had
invented a public service corporation that worked. Since he took office
and dictated the policy of the Company, every single overture for more
expensive equipment in the electric lighting of the city has come from
the Company, and every single overture for reducing the rate to
consumers has come from the company.

The consumption of electricity in the city is the largest _per capita_
in the world, and the rate is the cheapest in the country; and,
incidentally, the Company so trusts the people that they let them have
electricity without metres, and the people so trust the Company that
they save its electricity as they would their own.

Even the man without a conscience, who would be mean if he could, is
brought to terms, and knows that if he refrains from leaving his lights
burning all night when he goes to bed he is not merely saving the
Company's electricity but his own. He knows that he is reducing his own
and everybody's price for electricity, and not merely increasing the
profits of the Company.

It makes another kind of man slowly out of thousands of men every day,
every night, turning on and turning off their lights.

The Electric Light Company has come to have a daily, an almost hourly,
influence on the way men do business and go about their work in that
city--the motives and assumptions with which they bargain with one
another--that might be envied by twenty churches.

All that had happened was that a man with a powerful, quietly wilful
personality--the kind that went on crusades and took cities in other
ages--had appeared at last, and proposed to do the same sort of thing in
business. He proposed to express his soul, just as it was, in business
the way other people had expressed theirs for a few hundred years in
poetry or more easy and conventional ways.

If he could not have made the electric light business say the things
about people and about himself that he liked and that he believed, he
would have had to make some other business say them.

One of the things he had most wanted to say and prove in business was
the economic value of being human, the enormous business saving that
could be effected by being believed in.

He preferred being believed in himself, in business, and he knew other
people would prefer it; and he was sure that if, as people said, "being
believed in did not pay," it must be because ways of inventing faith in
people, the technique of trust, had not been invented.

He found himself invited to take charge of the Electric Light Company at
a time when it was insolvent and in disgrace with the people, and he
took the Corporation in hand on the specific understanding that he
should be allowed to put his soul into it, that he should be allowed his
own way for three years--in believing in people, and in inventing ways
of getting believed in as much as he liked.

The last time I saw him, though he is old and nearly blind, and while as
he talked there lay a darkness on his eyes, there was a great light in
his face.

He had besieged a city with the shrewdness of his faith, and conquered a
hundred thousand men by believing in them more than they could.

By believing in them shrewdly, and by thinking out ways of expressing
that belief, he had invented a Corporation--a Public Service
Corporation--that had a soul, and consequently worked.




    They stay not in their hold
    These stokers,
    Stooping to hell
    To feed a ship.
    Below the ocean floors.
    Before their awful doors
    Bathed in flame,
    I hear their human lives

    Through the lolling aisles of comrades
    In and out of sleep,
    Troops of faces
    To and fro of happy feet,
    They haunt my eyes.
    Their murky faces beckon me
    From the spaces of the coolness of the sea
    Their fitful bodies away against the skies.



It is a little awkward to say what I am going to say now.

Probably it will be still more awkward afterward.

But I find as I go up and down the world and look in the faces of the
crowds in it, that it is true, and I can only tell as it is.

_I want to be good._

And I do not want to go up on a mountain to do it, or to slink off and
live all alone on an island in the sea.

I go a step further.

I believe that the crowds want to be good.

But I cannot prove that people want to be good in crowds, and so for the
sake of the argument, and to make the case as simple as possible, I am
going to give up speaking for crowds, and speak for myself as one member
of the crowd and for Lim. Lim and I (and Lim is a business man and not a
mere author) have had long talks in which we have confided to each other
what we think this world, in spite of appearances, is really like, and
we have come to a kind of provisional program and to a definite
agreement on our two main points.

1. We want to be good.

2. We want other people to be good, partly as a matter of convenience
for us, partly for morally aesthetic reasons, and partly because we want
to be in a kind of world where what is good in us works.

The next point in our confession follows from this. It is an awkward and
exposed thing to say out loud to people in general, but

3. Lim and I want to make over the earth.

4. Sitting down grimly by ourselves, all alone, and believing in a world
hard, with our eyes shut, does not interest us. It is this particular
planet just as it is that interests us, in its present hopeful,
squirming state.

It does not seem to us to the point just now to conceive some brand new,
clean, slick planet up in space, with crowds of perfect and convenient
people on it, and then expect to lay it down in the night like a great,
soft, beautiful dew or ideal on this one. We want to take this heavy,
inconvenient, cumbersome, real planet that we have, and see what can be
done with it, and by the people on it, what can be done by these same
people, whose signs one goes by down the street, with Smith & Smith,
Gowns, with Clapp & Clapp, Butchers, with W.H. Riley & Co., Plumbers and
Gas Fitters, and with things that real people are really doing.

The things that real people are really doing, when one thinks of it, are
Soap, Tooth-brushes, Subsoil Pipes, Wall Papers, Razors, Mattresses,
Suspenders, Tiles, Shoes, Pots, and Kettles. Of course the first thing
that happened to us, to Lim and to me (as any one might guess, in a
little quiet job like making over the earth), was that we found we had
to begin with ourselves.

We did.

We are obliged to admit that, as a matter of fact, we began, owing to
circumstances, in a kind of rudimentary way with the idea of getting
people to take up goodness by talking about it.

But we are reformed preachers now. We seldom backslide into talking to
people about goodness.

We have made up our minds to lie low and keep still and show them some.

Of course one ought to have some of one's own to show. But the trouble
always is, if it is really good, one is sure not to know it, or at least
one does not know which it is. The best we can do with goodness, some of
us, if we want it to show more quickly or to hurry people along in
goodness more, is to show them other people's.

I sometimes think that if everybody in the world could know my plumber
or pay a bill to him, the world would soon begin slowly but surely to be
a very different place.

My plumber is a genius.



Perhaps it will seem a pity to spoil a book--one that might have been
really rather interesting--by putting the word "goodness" down flatly in
this way in the middle of it.

And in a book which deals with crowds, too, and with business.

I would not yield first place to any one in being tired of the word. I
think, for one, that unless there is something we can do to it, and
something we can do to it now, it had better be dropped.

But I have sometimes discovered when I had thought I was tired of a
word, that what I was really tired of was somebody who was using it.

I do not mind it when my plumber uses it. I have heard him use it (and
swearing softly, I regret to say) when it affected me like a Hymn Tune.

And there is Non, too.

I first made Non's acquaintance as our train pulled out of New York, and
we found ourselves going down together on Friday afternoon to spend
Sunday with M---- in North Carolina. The first thing he said was, when
we were seated in the Pullman comfortably watching that big, still world
under glass roll by outside, that he had broken an engagement with his
wife to come. She was giving a Tea, he said, that afternoon, and he had
faithfully promised to be there. But a weekend in North Carolina
appealed to him, and afternoon tea--well, he explained to me, crossing
his legs and beaming at me all over as if he were a whole genial,
successful afternoon tea all by himself--afternoon tea did not appeal to

He thought probably he was a Non-Gregarious Person.

As he was the gusto of our little party and fairly reeked with
sociability, and was in a kind of orgy of gregariousness every minute
all the way to Wilmington (even when he was asleep we heard from him),
we called him the Non-Gregarious Person, and every time he piled on one
more story, we reminded him how non-gregarious he was. We called him
Non-Gregarious all the way after that--Non for short.

This is the way I became acquainted with Non. It has been Non ever

       *       *       *       *       *

I found in the course of the next three days that when Non was not being
the life of the party or the party did not need any more life for a
while, and we had gone off by ourselves, he became, like most people who
let themselves go, a very serious person. When he talked about his
business, he was even religious. Not that he had any particular
vocabulary for being religious, but there was something about him when
he spoke of business--his own business--that almost startled me at first.
He always seemed to be regarding his business when he spoke of it as
being, for all practical purposes, a kind of little religion by itself.

Now Non is a builder or contractor.

       *       *       *       *       *

For many years now the best way to make a pessimist or a confirmed
infidel out of anybody has been to get him to build a house. No better
arrangement for not believing in more people, and for not believing in
more kinds of people at once and for life, has ever been invented
probably than building a house. No man has been educated, or has been
really tested in this world, until he has built a house. I submit this
proposition to anybody who has tried it, or to any one who is going to
try it. There is not a single kind or type of man who sooner or later
will not build himself, and nearly everything that is the matter with
him, into your house. The house becomes a kind of miniature model (such
as they have in expositions) of what is the matter with people. You
enter the door, you walk inside and brood over them. Everything you come
upon, from the white cellar floor to the timbers you bump your head on
in the roof, reminds you of something or of rows of people and of what
is the matter with them. It is the new houses that are haunted now. Any
man who is sensitive to houses and to people and who would sit down in
his house when it is finished and look about in it seriously, and think
of all the people that have been built, in solid wood and stone, into
it, would get up softly and steal out of it, out of the front door of
it, and never enter that house again.

This is what Non saw. He saw how people felt about their houses, and how
they lived in them helplessly and angrily year after year, and felt
hateful about the world.

I gradually drew out of him the way he felt about it. I found he was not
as good as some people are at talking about himself, but the subject was
interesting. He began his career building houses for people, as nearly
every one does. The general idea is that everybody is expected to exact
commissions from everybody else, and the owner is expected to pay each
man his own commission and then pay all the commissions that each man
has charged the other man. Every house that got built in this way seemed
to be a kind of network or conspiracy of not doing as you would be done
by. Non did not see any way out at first, just for one man. He merely
noticed how things were going, and he noticed that nearly every person
that he had dealings with, from the bottom to the top of the house,
seemed to make him feel that he either was, or would be, or ought to be,
a grafter. He could not so much as look at a house he had built, through
the trees when he was going by, without wishing he could be a better
man, and studying on how it could be managed. His own first houses made
him see things. They proved to be the making of him, and if similar
houses have not made similar men, it is their fault. It might not be
reassuring to the men who are now living in these first houses to dwell
too much on this (and I might say he did not build them alone), but it
seems to be necessary to bring out the most striking thing about Non in
his first stage as a business man, _viz._: He hated his business. He
made up his mind he either would make the business the kind of business
he liked or get out of it. I did not gather from the way he talked about
it that he had any idea of being an uplifter. He merely had, apparently,
an obstinate, doggedly comfortable idea about himself, and about what a
thing would have to be, in this world, if he was connected with it. He
proposed to enjoy his business. He was spending most of his time at it.

Other people have had this same happy thought, but they seem to manage
to keep on being patient. Non could not fall back on being patient, and
it made him think harder.

The first thing he thought of was that doing his business as he thought
he ought to, if he once worked his idea out, and worked it down through
and organized it, might pay. He almost had the belief that people might
pay a man a little extra, perhaps, for enjoying his business. It cannot
be said that he believed this immediately. He merely wanted to, and
worked toward it, and merely contrived new shrewd ways at first of being
able to afford it. Gradually he began to notice that the more he enjoyed
his business, the more he enjoyed it with his whole soul and body,
enjoyed it down to the very toes of his conscience, the more people
there were who stepped into his office and wanted him to enjoy his
business on their houses. It was what they had been looking for for
years--for some builder who was really enjoying his business. And the
more he enjoyed his business in his own particular way--that of building
a house for a man in less time than he said he would, and for less
money, not infrequently sending him a check at the end of it--the more
his business grew.

I do not know that there would be any special harm in speaking of Non's
idea--of just doing as you would be done by--in more moral or religious
language, but it is not necessary. And I find I take an almost religious
joy in looking at the Golden Rule at last as a plain business
proposition. All that happened was that Non was original, saw something
that everybody thought they knew, and acted as if it were so.
Theoretically one would not have said that it would be original to take
an old platitudinous law like the law of supply and demand, and act as
if it were so; but it was. At the time Non was beginning his career
there was nothing in the building-market people found harder to hire
than honesty. Here was something, he saw at last, that thousands of busy
and important men who did not have time to be detectives, wanted. There
did not seem to be any one very actively supplying the demand. A big
market, a small supply, and almost no competition. Non stepped in and
proposed to represent a man's interest who is building a house as
literally as the man would represent his interests himself, if he knew
all about houses. Everything has followed from this. What Non's business
is now, when a man is building a house, is to step quietly into the
man's shoes, let him put on another pair, and go about his business. It
is not necessary to go into the details. Any reader who has ever built a
house knows the details. Just take them and turn them around.

What those of us who know Non best like about him is that he is a plain
business man, and that he has acted in this particular matter without
any fine moral frills or remarks. He has done the thing because he liked
it and believed in it.

But the most efficient thing to me about Non is not the way he is making
money out of saving money for other people, but the way the fact that he
can do it makes people feel about the world. Whenever I have a little
space of discouragement or of impatience about the world because it does
not hurry more, I fall to thinking of Non. "Perhaps next week"--I say
to myself cheerfully--"I can go down to New York and slip into Non's
office and get the latest news as to how religion is getting on. Or he
will take me out with him to lunch, and I will stop scolding or
idealizing, and we will get down to business, and I will take a good
long look into that steady-lighted, unsentimental face of his while he
tells me across the little corner table at Delmonico's for three hours
how shrewd the Golden Rule is, and how it works." Sometimes when I have
just been in New York, and have come home and am sitting in my still
study, with the big idle mountain just outside, and the great meadow and
all the world, like some great, calm gentle spirit or picture of itself,
lying out there about me, and I fall to thinking of Non, and of how he
is working in wood and stone inside of people's houses, and inside of
their lives day after day, and of how he is touching people at a
thousand points all the weeks, being a writer, making lights and shadows
and little visions of words fall together just so, seems, suddenly a
very trivial occupation--like amusing one's self with a pretty little
safe kaleidoscope, holding it up, aiming it and shaking softly one's
coloured bits of phrases at a world! Of course, it need not be so. But
there are moments when I think of Non when it seems so.

In our regular Sunday religion we do not seem to be quite at our best
just now.

At least (perhaps I should speak for one) I know I am not.

Being a saint of late is getting to be a kind of homely, modest,
informal, almost menial everyday thing. It makes one more hopeful about
religion. Perhaps people who once get the habit, and who are being good
all the week, can even be good on Sunday.

There are many ways of resting or leaning back upon one's instincts and
getting over to one's religion or perspective about the world. Mount Tom
(which is in my front yard, in Massachusetts) helps sometimes--with a
single look.

When I go down to New York, I look at the Metropolitan Tower, the
Pennsylvania Station, the McAdoo Tunnels, and at Non.

If I wanted to make anybody religious, I would try to get him to work in
Non's office, or work with anybody who ever worked with him, or who ever
saw him; or I would have him live in a house built by him, or pay a bill
made out by him.

It has seemed to me that his succeeding and making himself succeed in
this way is a great spiritual adventure, a pure religion, a difficult,
fresh, and stupendous religion.

Now these many days have I watched him going up and down through all the
empty reputations, the unmeaning noises of the world, living his life
like some low, old-fashioned, modest Hymn Tune he keeps whistling--and I
have seen him in fear, and in danger, and in gladness being shrewder and
shrewder for God, now grimly, now radiantly, hour by hour, day by day
getting rich with the Holy Ghost!



People are acquiring automobiles, Oriental rugs, five-hundred-dollar
gowns, more rapidly just now than they are goodness, because
advertisements in this present generation are more readable than
sermons, and because the shop windows on Fifth Avenue can attract more
attention than the churches. The shop windows make people covetous.

If the goodness that one sees, hears about, or goes by does not make
other people covetous, does not make them wish they had it or some just
like it, it must be because there is something the matter with it, or
something the matter with the way it is displayed.

If the church shop windows, for instance, were to make displays of
goodness up and down the great Moral Fifth Avenue of the world--well,
one does not know; but there are some of us who would rather expect to
see the Goodness Display in the windows consisting largely of Things
People Ought Not to Want.

There would be rows and tiers of Not-Things piled up--Things for People
Not to Be, and Things for People Not to Do.

Goodness displayed in this way is not interesting. Perhaps this is one
of the reasons why the word Goodness spoils a thing for people--so many
people--when it is allowed in it.

Possibly it is because we are apt to think of the good people, and of
the people who are being good, as largely keeping from doing something,
or as keeping other people from doing something--as negative. Their
goodness seems to consist in being morally accurate, and in being very
particular just in time, and in a kind of general holding in.

We do not naturally or off-hand--any of us--think of goodness as having
much of a lunge to it. It is tired-looking and discouraged, and pulls
back kindly and gently. Or it teases and says, "Please"--God knows how
helpless it is, and I for one am frank to say that, as far as I have
observed, He has not been paying very much attention to good people of

I do not believe I am alone in this. There must be thousands of others
who have this same half-guilty, half-defiant feeling of suspiciousness
toward what people seem to think should be called goodness. Not that we
say anything. We merely keep wondering--we cannot see what it is,
exactly, about goodness that should make it so depressing.

In the meantime we hold on. We do not propose to give up believing in
it. Perhaps, after all, all that is the matter with goodness in the
United States is the people who have taken hold of it.

They do not seem to be the kind of people who can make it interesting.
We cannot help thinking, if these same bad people about us, or people
who are called bad, would only take up goodness awhile, how they would
make it hum!

I can only speak for one, but I do not deny that when I have been
sitting (in some churches), or associating, owing to circumstances, with
very good people a little longer than usual, and come out into the
street, I feel like stepping up sometimes to the first fine, brisk,
businesslike man I see going by, and saying, "My dear sir, I do wish
that _you_ would take up goodness awhile and see if, after all,
something cannot really be done. I keep on trying to be hopeful, but
these dear good people in here, it seems to me, are making a terrible
mess of it!"

And, to make a long story short, Lim happened to be going by one day,
and this practically is what I did. I had done it before with other
business men in spirit or in a general way, but with him I was more
particular. I went straight to the point. "Here are at least sixteen
valuable efficient brands of goodness in America," I said, "all worth
their weight in gold for a big business career, that no one is really
using, that no one quite believes in or can get on the market, and yet I
believe with my whole soul in them all, and I believe thousands of other
men do, or are ready to, the moment some one makes a start."

I pulled out a little list of items which I had made out and put down on
a piece of paper, and handed them over to him, and said I wished he
would take a few of them--the first five or six or so--and make them

He already had, I found, made two or three of the harder ones work.

I would not have any one suppose for a moment that I am presenting Lim
as a kind of business angel.

No one who knows Lim thinks of him, or would let anybody else think of
him, as being a Select Person, as being particularly or egregiously what
he ought to be. This is one reason I have picked him out. Being good in
a small private way, just as a small private end in itself, may be
practicable perhaps without dragging in people who are not quite what
they ought to be. But the moment one tries to make goodness work, one
comes to the fact that it must be made to work with what we have. We
have a great crowd of unselected people, people both good and bad, and
the first principle in making goodness work (instead of being merely
good) seems to be to believe that goodness is not too good for anybody.
Anybody who can make it work can have it, and what goodness seems to
need, especially in America and England just now, is people who do not
feel that they must at all hazards look good. Whatever happens, whatever
else we do in any general investment or movement we may be making with
goodness, we must let these people in. If there is one thing rather than
another that those of us who know Lim all rely on and like, it is that
nothing can ever make him slump down into looking good. We often find
him hard to make out--everything is left open and loose and unlabelled
in Lim's moral nature. The only really sure way any one can tell when
Lim is being good is, that whenever he is being good he becomes suddenly
and unexpectedly interesting. His goodness is daring, unexpected, and
original. One has the feeling that it may break out anywhere. It is
always doing things that everybody said could not be done before. It is
true that some people are dazed, and no one can ever seem to feel sure
he knows what it is that is going on in Lim when he is being good, or
that it is goodness. He merely keeps watching it. There is a certain
element of news, of freshness, of gentle sensation, in his goodness. It
leads to consequences. And there always seems to be something about
Lim's goodness which attracts the attention of people, and makes people
who see it want it. So when I speak of goodness in this book, and put it
down as the basis of the power of getting men to do as one likes, I do
not deny that I am taking the word away and moving it over from its
usual associations. I do not mean by a good act, a good-looking act, but
an act so constituted that it makes good. For the purpose of this book I
would define goodness as efficiency. Goodness is the quality in a thing
that makes the thing go, and that makes it go so that it will not run
down, and that nothing can stop it.

There is the inefficiency of lying, for instance, and the inefficiency
of force, or bullying.



My theory about the Liar is that it is of no use to scold him or blame
him. It merely makes him feel superior. He should be looked upon quietly
and without saying anything as a case of arrested development. What has
happened to him is that he merely is not quite bright about himself, and
has failed to see how bright (in the long run) other people are.

When a man lies or does any other wrong thing, his real failure consists
not in the wrongdoing itself, but in his failure to take pains to focus
his mind on the facts in himself, and in the people about him, and see
what it really is that he would wish he had done, say in twenty years.
It seems to be possible, after a clumsy fashion, to find out by a study
of ourselves, and of our own lives and of other men's lives, what we
would wish we had done afterward. Everything we have learned so far we
have learned by guessing wrong on what we have thought we would want
afterward. We have gradually guessed what we wanted better. We began our
lives as children with all sorts of interesting sins or moral guesses
and experiments. We find there are certain sins or moral experiments we
almost never use any more because we found that they never worked. We
had been deceived about them. Most of us have tried lying. Since we were
very small we have tried in every possible fashion--now in one way, now
in another--to see if lying could not be made to work. By far the
majority of us, and all of us who are the most intelligent, are not
deceived now by our desire to tell lies. Perhaps we have not learned
that all lies do not pay. A child tells a lie at first as if a lie had
never been thought of before. It is as if lying had just been invented,
and he had just thought what a great convenience it was, and how many
things there were that he could do in that way. He discovers that the
particular thing he wants at the moment, he gets very often by lying.
But the next time he lies, he cannot get anything. If he keeps on lying
for a long time, he learns that while, after a fashion, he is getting
things, he is losing people. Finally, he finds he cannot even get
things. Nobody believes in him or trusts him. He cannot be efficient. He
then decides that being trusted, and having people who feel safe to
associate with him and to do business with him, is the thing he really
wants most; and that he must have first, even if it is only a way to get
the other things he wants. It need not be wondered that the Trusts,
those huge raw youngsters of the modern spirit, have had to go through
with most of the things other boys have. The Trusts have had to go
through, one after the other, all their children's diseases, and try
their funny little moral experiments on the world. They thought they
could lie at first. They thought it would be cunning, and that it would
work. They did not realize at once that the bigger a boy you were, even
if you were anonymous, the more your lie showed and the more people
there were who suffered from it who would be bound sooner or later to
call you to account for it.

The Trusts have been guessing wrong on what they would wish they had
done in twenty years, and the best of them now are trying to guess
better. They are trying to acquire prestige by being far-sighted for
themselves and far-sighted for the people who deal with them, and are
resting their policy on winning confidence and on keeping faith with the

They not only tried lying, like all young children, but they tried
stealing. For years the big corporations could be seen going around from
one big innocent city in this country to another, and standing by
quietly and without saying a word, putting the streets in their pockets.

But no big corporation of the first class to-day would begin its
connection with a city in this fashion. Beginning a permanent business
relation with a customer by making him sorry afterward he has had any
dealings with you, has gone by as a method of getting business in
England and America.

One of our big American magazines not long ago, which had gained
especially high rates from its advertisers because they believed in it,
lied about its circulation. The man who was responsible was not
precisely sure, gave nominal figures in round numbers, and did what
magazines very commonly did under the circumstances; but when the
magazine owner looked up details afterward and learned precisely what
the circulation was for the particular issue concerned, he sent out
announcements to every firm in the country that had anything in the
columns of that issue, saying that the firm had lied, and enclosing a
check for the difference in value represented. Of course it was a good
stroke of business, eating national humble pie so, and it was a cheap
stroke of business too, doing some one, sudden, striking thing that no
one would forget. Not an advertisement could be inserted and paid for in
the magazine for years without having that action, and the prestige of
that action, back of it. Every shred of virtue there was in the action
could have been set one side, and was set one side by many people,
because it paid so well. Every one saw suddenly, and with a faint breath
of astonishment, how honesty worked. But the main point about the
magazine in distinction from its competitors seems to have been that it
not merely saw how honesty worked, but it saw it first and it had the
originality, the moral shrewdness and courage, to put up money on it. It
believed in honesty so hard that suddenly one morning, before all the
world, it risked its entire fortune on it. Now that it has been done
once, the new level or standard of candour may be said to have been
established which others will have to follow. But it does not seem to me
that the kind of man who has the moral originality to dare do a thing
like this first need ever have any serious trouble with competitors. In
the last analysis, in the competition of modern business to get the
crowd, the big success is bound to come to men in the one region of
competition where competition still has some give in it--the region of
moral originality. Other things in competition nowadays have all been
thought of except being good. Any man who can and will to-day think out
new and unlooked-for ways of being good can get ahead, in the United
States of practically everybody.



The stage properties that go with a bully change as we grow older. When
one thinks of a bully, one usually sees a picture at once in one's mind.
It is a big boy lording it over a little one, or getting him down and
sitting on him.

Everybody recognizes what is going on immediately, pitches in nobly and
beautifully, and licks the big boy.

The trouble with the bully in business has been that he is not so simple
and easy to recognize. He is apt to be more or less anonymous and
impersonal, and it is harder to hit him in the right place.

But when one thinks of it perhaps this pleasant and inspiring duty is
not so impracticable as it looks, and is presently to be attended to.

Any man who relies, in getting what he wants, on being big instead of
being right, is a bully.

Modern business is done over a wide area, with thousands of persons
looking on, and for a long time and with thousands of people coming
back. The man who relies on being big instead of being right, and who
takes advantage of his position instead of his inherent superiority, is
soon seen through. His customers go over to the enemy. A show of force
or a hold-up works very well at the moment. Being bigger may be more
showy than being right, and it may down the Little Boy, but the Little
Boy wins the crowd.

Business to-day consists in persuading crowds.

The Little Boy can prove he is right. All the bully can prove is that he
is bigger.

The Liar in Business is already going by.

Now it is the turn of the bully.

Not long ago a few advertisers in a big American city wanted unfairly
low rates for advertisements and tried to use force with the newspapers.
Three or four of the biggest shops combined and gave notice that they
would take their advertising away unless the rates came down. After a
little, they drew in a few other lines of business with them, and
suddenly one morning five or six full pages of advertisements were
withdrawn from every newspaper in the city. The newspapers went on
publishing all the news of the city except news as to what people could
buy in department stores, and waited. They made no counter-move of any
kind, and said nothing and seven days slipped past. They held to the
claim that the service they performed in connecting the great stores
with the people of the city was a real service, that it represented
market value which could be proved and paid for. They kept on for
another week publishing for the people all the news of the city except
the news as to how they could spend their money. They wondered how long
it would take the great shops with acres of things to sell to see how it
would work not to let anybody know what the things were.

The great shops tried other ways of letting people know. They tried
handbills, a huge helpless patter of them over all the city. They used
billboards, and posted huge lists of items for people to stop and read
in the streets, if they wanted to, while they rushed by. For three whole
weeks they held on tight to the idea that the newspapers were striking
employees of department stores. One would have thought that they would
have seen that the newspapers were the representatives of the
people--almost the homes of the people--and that it would pay to treat
them respectfully. One would have thought they would have seen that if
they wanted space in the homes of the people--places at their very
breakfast tables--space that the newspapers had earned and acquired
there, they would have to pay their share of what it had cost the
newspapers to get it.

One would have thought that the department shops would have seen that
the more they could make the newspapers prosper, the more influence the
newspapers would have in the homes of the people, and the more business
they could get through them. But it was not until the shopowners had
come down and gazed day after day on the big, white, lonely floors of
their shops that they saw the truth. Crowds stayed away, and proved it
to them. Namely: a store, if it uses a great newspaper, instead of
having a few feet of show windows on a street for people to walk by,
gets practically miles of show windows for people--in their own
houses--sells its goods almost any morning to the people--to a whole
city--before anybody gets up from breakfast--has its duties as well as
its rights.

Of course, when the shopkeepers really saw that this was what the
newspapers had been doing for them, they wanted to do what was right,
and wanted to pay for it. One would have thought, looking at it
theoretically, that the department stores in any city would have
imagination enough to see, without practically having to shut their
stores up for three weeks, what advertising was worth. But if great
department stores do not have imagination to see what they would wish
they had done in twenty years, in one year, or three weeks, and have to
spell out the experience morning by morning and see what works, word by
word, they do learn in the end that being right works, and that bullying
does not. Gradually the level or standard of right in business is bound
to rise, until people have generally come to take the Golden Rule with
the literalness and seriousness that the best and biggest men are
already taking it. Department stores that have the moral originality and
imagination to guess what people would wish they had bought of them and
what they would wish they had sold to them afterward are going to win.
Department stores that deal with their customers three or four years
ahead are the ones that win first.



The basis of successful business is imagination about other people. The
best way to train one's imagination about other people is to try
different ways of being of service to them. Trying different ways of
merely getting money out of them does not train the imagination. It is
too easy.

Business is going to be before long among the noblest of the
professions, because it takes the highest order of imagination to
succeed in it. Goodness is no longer a Sunday school. The whole world,
in a rough way, is its own Sunday school.

To have the most brains render the most service--render services people
had never dreamed of before.

Why bother to tell people to be good? It bores us. It bores them.
Presently we will tell them over our shoulders, as we go by, to use
their brains. Goodness is a by-product of efficiency.

Being good every day in business stands in no need of being stood up
for, or apologized for, or even helped. All of these things may be
expedient and human and natural, because one cannot help being
interested in particular people and in a particular generation; but they
are not really necessary to goodness. It is only when we are tired, or
when we only half believe in it, that we feel to-day that goodness needs
to be stood up for. In a day when men make vast crowds of things, so
that the things are seen everywhere, and when the things are made to
stand the test of crowds--crowds of days, or crowds of years--and when
they make them for crowds of people, goodness does not need scared and
helpful people defending it. I have seen that goodness is a thing to be
sung about like a sunset. I have seen that goodness is organic, and
grounded in the nature of things and in the nature of man. I have seen
that being good is the one great adventure of the world, the huge daily
passionate moral experiment of the human heart--that all men are at work
on it, that goodness is an implacable crowd process, and that nothing
can stop it.



But Fate has so arranged our lives that we all have to live cooped up in
one particular generation. Living in all of them, especially the ages
just ahead, and seeing as one looks out upon them how goodness wins, may
be well enough when one is tired or discouraged and is driven to it, but
in the meantime all the while we are living in this one. The faces of
the people we know flit past us; the gaunt, grim face of the crowd
haunts us--the crowd that will slip softly off the earth very soon and
drop into the Darkness--a whole generation of it, without seeing how
things are coming out; and there is something about the streets, about
the look of women as they go by, something about the faces of the little
children, that makes one wish goodness would hurry. One cannot think
with any real pleasure of goodness as a huge, slow, implacable moral
glacier, a kind of human force of gravity, grinding out truths and
grinding under people, generation after generation, down toward some
vast, beautiful, happy valley with flowers and children in it and
majestic old men thousands of years away. One wishes goodness would
hurry. We are not content, some of us, with having the good people climb
over the so-called evil ones and gain the supremacy of the world, and
all because the evil people do not see what they really want to do or
would have wished they had done afterward. We want the evil ones, so
called, to see what they really want now. We cannot help believing that
there is some way of attracting their attention to what they really want

I have seen, or seemed to see, in my time that there is almost no limit
to what people can do if they can get their own attention, or if some
person or some event will happen by that can get their attention for

Paralytics jumped from their beds at the time of the San Francisco
earthquake and ran for blocks. The whole earth had to shake them in
order to get their attention; but it did it, and they saw what it was
they wanted, and they ran for it at once, whether they were paralytics
or not. In the fire that followed the earthquake, people that had been
sick in bed for weeks were seen, scores of them, dragging their trunks
through the streets.

I have seen, too, in my time scores of people doing great feats of
goodness in this way, things that they knew they could not do, dragging
huge moral trunks after them, or swinging them up on their shoulders. I
have seen men who thought they were old in their hearts, and who thought
they were wicked, running like boys, with shouts and cheers, to do
right. It was all a matter of attention. The question with most of us
would seem to be: How can one get one's attention to what one would wish
one had done in twenty years, and how can one get other people's--all
the people with whom we are living and working--to do with us what they
would wish they had done, in twenty minutes, twenty days, or twenty

Letting the Crowd be Good, all turns in the long run upon touching the
imagination of Crowds.

In the last analysis, the coming of the kingdom of heaven, as it has
been called, is going to be the coming slowly, and from unsuspected
quarters, of a new piety and of new kinds of saints into the forefront
of modern life--saints who can attract attention, saints who can make
crowds think what they really want.

Using the word in its more special sense, the time has come when it is
being keenly realized that if goodness is to be properly appreciated by
crowds, it must be properly advertised.

How can goodness be advertised to Crowds?

Who are the people that can touch the imagination of Crowds?

The best and most suggestive truths that most of us could come to with
regard to doing right, would come from a study of the people who have
tried to make us do it. Most of us, if we were asked to name the people
most prominently connected with the virtues that we have studied and
wondered about most, would mention, probably, either our parents or our
preachers. Many of us feel quite expert about parents. We have studied
vividly, and sometimes with almost a breathless interest, all their
little ways of getting us to be good, and there is hardly any one who
has not come to quite definite conclusions of how he should be preached
to. I have thought it would be not unfruitful to consider in this
connection either our parents or our preachers. I have decided to
consider the preachers who try to make me good, because they are a
little less complicated than parents.

Preachers can only be put into classes in a general way. They often
overlap, and many of them change over from one class into another every
now and then on some special subject, or on some special line of
experience which they have had. But for the most part, at least as
regards emphasis, preachers may be said to divide off into three

Those who tease us to do right.

Those who make us see that doing right, if any one wants to do it, is
really an excellent thing.

Those who make us want to do it.

       *       *       *       *       *

I never go to hear a second time, if I can help it, a preacher who has
teased me to do right. I used to hope at first that perhaps a clergyman
who was teasing people might incidentally slip off the track a minute,
and say something or see something interesting and alive. But,
apparently, preachers who do not see that people should not be teased to
do right, do not see other things, and I have gradually given up having
hopeful moments about them. Why, in a world like this, with the right
and the wrong in it all lying so eloquent and plain and beautiful in the
lives of the people about us, and just waiting to be uncovered a little,
waiting to be looked at hard a minute, should audiences be gathered
together and teased to do right?

If the right were merely to be had in sermons or on paper, it might be
different. My own experience with the right has been, if I may speak for
one, that when I get out of the way of the people who are doing it, and
let the right they are doing be seen by people, everybody wants it. When
people who are doing right are quietly revealed, uncovered a little
further by a preacher, everybody envies them, and teasing becomes
superfluous. People sit in their seats and think of them, and become
covetous to be like them. If, this very day, all the ministers of the
world were to agree that, on next Sunday morning at half-past ten
o'clock, they all with one accord would preach a sermon teasing people
to be rich, it would not be more absurd, or more pathetic, or more away
from the point, than it would be to preach a sermon teasing people to be
good. They want to be good now; they envy the people that they see going
about the world not leaning on others to be good--self-poised,
independent, free, rich, spiritually self-supporting persons.

The men and women that we know may be more or less muddled in their
minds with philosophy or with theology, or perhaps they are being
deceived by expediency or being bullied by their environment, but they
are not wicked; they are out of focus, and what they desire when they go
to church on Sunday morning is to get a good look at beautiful and
refreshing things that they want, and for an hour and a half, if
possible, with slow steadied thought see their own lives in perspective.
It is a criminal waste of time to get hundreds of people to come into
church on a Sunday morning and seat them all together in a great room
where they cannot get out, and then tease them and tell them they ought
to be good. They knew it before they came. They are already agreed, all
of them, that they want to be good. They even want to be good in
business--as good as they can afford to. The question is how to manage
to do it. The thing that is troubling them is the technique. How can
they be good in their business--more good than their employers want them
to be, for instance--and keep their positions? Doing as one would wish
one had done afterward, or knowing what one is about, or "being good" as
it is sometimes called, is a thing that all really clever people have
agreed upon. They simply cannot manage some of the details--details like
time and place, a detail like being good now, for instance, or like
being good here. It is the more practical things like these that trouble
people, or they grow mixed in their thoughts about the big goods and the
little ones--which shall be first in order of importance or which in the
order of time. And when one sees that people are really like this in
their hearts, and when one sees them, all these poor, helpless people,
sitting cooped up in a church for an hour and a half being teased to be
good, it is small wonder that it seems, or is coming to seem, to the
clean-cut morally businesslike men and women we have to-day, a pitiful
waste of time.

       *       *       *       *       *

I come to the second class of preachers I had in mind with more
diffidence. My feelings about them are not so simple and rudimentary as
my feelings about those who have teased me to be good.

Any man who travels about, or who drops into churches wherever he
happens to be from Sunday to Sunday, is almost sure to find in every
city of considerable size at least one imperious capable baffling
clergyman. If one is strictly honest and fair toward him, to say nothing
of being a well-meant and hopeful human being who is living in the same
world with him and who feels very imperfect too, finding any serious and
honest fault with the sermon, or at least laying one's finger upon what
the fault is, seems to be almost impossible. One simply comes out of
the church in a nice, neat little glow of good-will and admiration, and
with a strange, soothing, happy sense of new, fresh, convenient wisdom.

The only fair way to criticise the preacher who belongs in this class
seems to be to take ten years for it, go in regularly and get a little
practice every Sunday. There are preachers who preach so well that the
only way one can ever find what is the matter with their sermons is to
sit quietly while they are preaching them, and look around at the
people. One thinks as one looks around, "These people are what this man
has done."

They are the same people they were ten years ago.

I often hear other sermons that are far easier to criticise. They are
one-sided or narrow, but they make new people.

I might not always like to be in a congregation when a man is preaching
a sermon that makes new people, because he may be making people or kinds
of people that at the time at least I do not need to be. But I naturally
prefer, at least part of the time, a preacher who puts in, before he is
through, some good work on me. There is a preacher in B---- who always
arouses in me, whenever I am in the city, the same old, curious, hopeful
feeling about him that this next one more time he is going to get to me,
that I am going to be attended to. I cannot say how many times I have
dropped in upon him in his big plain church, seen him with his hushed
congregation all about him, all listening to him up to the last minute,
each of them sitting all alone with his own soul, and with him, and with
the ticking of the clock. And the sermon is always about the same. You
see him narrowing the truth down wonderfully, ruthlessly, to You. You
begin to see everything--to see all the arguments, all the
circumstances, all the principles. You see them narrowing you down
grimly, closing in upon you, converging you and all your little, mean
life, driving you apparently at last into one helpless beautiful corner
of doing right. You feel while you listen the old sermon-thrill you have
felt before, a kind of intellectual joy in God, in the very brains of
God; you think of how He has arranged right and wrong so cunningly, laid
them all out so plain and so close beside each other for you to choose
to be good. Then the benediction is pronounced over you, the sevenfold
amen dies away over you, and you go home and do as you like.

One sees the sermon for days afterward lying out there in calm and
orderly memory, all so complete and perfect by itself. There does not
really seem to be any need of doing anything more to it. It is what
people mean probably by a "finished sermon." It is as if goodness had
been put under a glass globe in a parlour. You go home proud to think of
it, and proud of course to have such a sermon by you. But you would
never think of touching such a complete and perfect thing during the
week the way you would a poorer sermon, disturbing it hopefully or
mussing it over, trying to work some of it into your own life.

       *       *       *       *       *

So much for the first two types of preachers: the preachers who stand
before us Sunday morning with goodness placed beside them in a dense
darkness while they talk, and who tease us to look at it in the darkness
and to take some; and those who stand, a cold white light all about
them, and use pointers and blackboards and things--maps of goodness,
great charts of what people ought to be like--and who make one see each
virtue just where it belongs as a kind of dot, like cities in a
geography, and who leave us with the pleasant feeling of how sweet and
reasonable God is, or rather would be if anybody would pay any attention
to Him.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have already hinted at the qualities of the third class of
preachers--those who make me want to be good. They seem to throw
goodness as upon a screen, some vast screen of the world, of this real
world about me. They turn their souls, like still stereopticons, upon
the faces of men--men who are like the men and women I know. I go about
afterward all the week seeing their sermons in the street. Everybody I
see, everything that comes up Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the very
patterns of the days and nights, of my duties and failures, keep coming
up, reminding me to be good. I may start in--I often do--with such a
preacher, criticising him, but he soon gets me so occupied criticising
myself and so lost in wondering how this something that he has and sees
just beyond us, just beyond him, just beyond me, can be had for other
people, and how I can have some of it for myself, that I forget to
criticise. He searches my soul, makes me a new being in my presence
before my eyes--that is, a new being toward some one subject, or some
one possibility in the world. He helps me while in his presence to
accomplish the supreme thing that one man can ever do for another. He
helps me to get my own attention. He makes me see a set of particular
things that I immediately, before his next sentence, am trying to find
means to do. He does not attract my attention toward what he wants, like
a preacher who teases; nor does he attract my attention to what God
wants, like the preacher with the charts of goodness. He succeeds in
attracting and holding down my attention to what I really want for
myself or others, and to what I propose to get.

The imagination of crowds is convinced only by men who have real genius
for expression, for making word-pictures of real things, men who have
what might be called moving-picture minds, and who are so picturesque
and vivid that when they talk to people about goodness they have seen,
everybody feels as if they had been there. It has to be admitted that
this type of preacher, who has a kind of genius, and has developed an
art form for expressing goodness in words, is necessarily an exceptional
man. And it is unreasonable and unfair in the public to expect a man to
get up in the pulpit and, with no costume and no accessories, merely
with a kind of shrewd holiness or divination into human nature, present
goodness so that we seem to be there. It is small wonder that a man who
finds he is expected to be a kind of combination of biograph, brother,
spiritual detective, and angel all in one, in order to do his work
successfully has days of feeling that he has joined the ranks of The
Impossible Profession.



Perhaps it has leaked out to those who have been following these pages
thus far, that I am merely at best, if the truth were known, a kind of
reformed preacher.

I admit it. Many other people are. We began, owing to circumstances,
with the idea of getting people to take up goodness by talking about it.

But we have grown discouraged in talking to people about goodness. More
and more, year by year, we have made up our minds, as I have hinted, to
lie low and to keep still and show them some.

And I can only say it again, as I have said it before, if everybody in
the world could know my plumber or pay a bill to him, the world would
soon begin, slowly but surely, to be a very different place.

The first time I saw B---- I had asked him to come over to arrange with
regard to putting in new waterpipes from the street to my house. The old
ones had been put in no one could remember how many years before, and
the pressure of water in the house, apparently from rust in the pipes,
had become very weak. After a minute's conversation I at once engaged
B---- to put in the new and larger pipes, and he agreed to dig open the
trench (about two hundred feet long, and three feet deep) and put the
pipes in the next day for thirty-five dollars. The next morning he
appeared as promised, but, instead of going to work, he came into my
study, stood there a moment before my eyes, and quietly but firmly threw
himself out of his job!

There was no use in spending thirty-five dollars, he said. He had gone
to the City Water Works Office and told them to look into the matter and
see if the connection they had put in at the junction of my pipe with
the main in the street did not need attention. They had found that a new
connection was necessary. They would see that a new one was put in at
once. They were obliged to do it for nothing, he said; and then,
slipping (figuratively speaking) thirty-five dollars into my pocket, he
bowed gravely and was gone.

B---- knew absolutely and conclusively (as any one would with a look)
that I was not the sort of person who would ever have heard of that
blessed little joint out in the street, or who ever would hear of it or
who would know what to do with it if he did.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes I sit and think of B---- in church, or at least I used to,
especially when his bill had just come in. It was always a pleasure to
think of paying one of B----'s bills--even if it was sometimes a
postponed one. You always knew, with B----, that he had made that bill
out to you as if he had been making out a bill to himself.

Not such a bad thing to think about during a sermon.

I do not deny that I do lose a sentence now and then in sermons; and
while, as every one knows, the sermons I have been provided with in the
old stone church have been of a rare and high order, there have, I do
acknowledge, been bad moments--little sudden bare spots or streaks of
abstraction--and I do not deny that there have been times when I could
not help feeling, as I sat listening, like sending around Monday morning
to the parsonage--my plumber. One could not help thinking what Dr. ----
if he once got started on a plumber like B---- (had had him around
working all the week during a sermon) could do with him.

I have a shoemaker, too, who would help most ministers. I imagine he
would point up their sermons a good deal--if they had his shoes on.

Perhaps shoes and pipes and things like these will be looked upon soon
to-day as constituting the great, slow, modest, implacable spiritual
forces of our time.

At all events, this is the most economical, sensible, thorough way (when
one thinks of it) that goodness can be advertised.



A man's success in business to-day turns upon his power of getting
people to believe he has something that they want.

Success in business, in the last analysis, turns upon touching the
imagination of crowds. The reason that preachers in this present
generation are less successful in getting people to want goodness than
business men are in getting them to want motor-cars, hats, and pianolas,
is that business men as a class are more close and desperate students of
human nature, and have boned down harder to the art of touching the
imaginations of crowds.

When one considers what it is that touches a crowd's imagination and how
it does it, one is bound is admit that there is not a city anywhere
which has not hundreds of men in it who could do more to touch the
imagination of crowds with goodness than any clergyman could. A man of
very great gifts in the pulpit, a man of genius, even an immortal
clergyman, could be outwitted in the art of touching the imagination of
crowds with goodness by a comparatively ordinary man in any one of
several hundred of our modern business occupations.

There is a certain nation I have in mind as I write, which I do not like
to call by name, because it is struggling with its faults as the rest of
us are with ours. But I do not think it would be too much to say that
this particular nation I have in mind--and I leave the reader to fill in
one for himself, has been determined in its national character for
hundreds of years, and is being determined to-day--every day, nearly
every minute of every day, except when all the people are asleep--by a
certain personal habit that the people have. I am persuaded that this
habit of itself alone would have been enough to determine the fate of
the nation as a third-rate power, that it would have made it always do
things with small pullings and haulings, in short breaths, and
hand-to-mouth insights--a little jerk of idealism one day, and a little
jerk of materialism the next--a kind of national palavering, and
see-sawing and gesturing, and talking excitedly and with little
flourishes. It is a nation that is always shrugging its shoulders, that
almost never seems to be capable of doing a thing with fine directness,
with long rhythms of purpose or sustained feeling; and all because every
man, woman, and child in the country--scores of generations of them for
hundreds of years--has been taught that the great spiritual truth or
principle at the bottom of correctly and beautifully buying a turnip is
to begin by saying that you do not want a turnip at all, that you never
eat turnips, and none of your family, and that they never would. The
other man begins by pointing out that he is never going to sell another
turnip as long as he lives, if he can help it. Gradually the facts are
allowed to edge in until at last, and when each man has taken off God
knows how much from the value of his soul, and spent two shillings'
worth of time on keeping a halfpenny in his pocket, both parties
separate courteously, only to carry out the same spiritual truth on a
radish perhaps or a spool of thread, or it may be even a house and lot,
or a battleship, or a war, or a rumour of a war, with somebody.

The United States, speaking broadly, is not like this. But it might have

In the United States some forty years ago, being a new country, and
being a country where everything a man did was in the nature of things,
felt to be a first experiment, everybody felt democratic and
independent, and as if he were making the laws of the universe just for
himself as he went along.

There was a period of ten years or so in which every spool of thread and
bit of dress goods--everything that people wore on their bodies or put
in their months, and everything that they read, came up and had to be
considered as an original first proposition, as if there never had been
a spool of thread before, as if each bit of dress goods was, or was
capable of being, a new fresh experiment, with an adventurous price on
it; and before we knew it a moral nagging and edging and hitching had
set in, and was fast becoming in America an American trait, and fixing
itself by daily repetition upon the imagination of the people.

The shopping of a country is, on the whole, from a psychologist's point
of view, the most spiritual energy, the most irrevocable, most
implacable meter there can ever be of the religion a country really has.

There was no clergyman in America who could have made the slightest
impression on this great national list or trend of always getting things
for less than they were worth--this rut of never doing as one would be
done by. What was there that could be done with an obstinate, pervasive,
unceasing habit of the people like this?

What was there that could be done to touch the imagination of the crowd?

Six thousand women a day were going in and out of A.T. Stewart's great
store on Broadway at that time. A.T. Stewart announced to New York
suddenly in huge letters one day, that from that day forward there
should be one price for everything sold in his store, and that that
price would be paid for it by everybody.

A.T. Stewart's store was the largest, most successful, original, and
most closely watched store in America.

The six thousand women became one thousand.

Then two thousand. Some of them had found that they finished their
shopping sooner; the better class of women, those whose time was worth
the most, and whose custom was the largest, gradually found they did not
want to shop anywhere else. The two thousand became three thousand, four
thousand, six thousand, ten thousand, twelve thousand.

Other department stores wanted the twelve thousand to come to them. They
announced the one price.

Hardware stores did it. Groceries announced one price. Then everybody.

Not all the clergymen in America, preaching every Sunday for months,
could have done very much in the way of seriously touching the
imagination of the crowd on the moral unworthiness, the intellectual
degradation, the national danger of picking out the one thing that
nearly all the people all do, and had to do, all day, every day, and
making that thing mean, incompetent, and small. No one had thought out
what it would lead to, and how monstrous and absurd it was and would
always be to have a nation have all its people taking every little thing
all day, every day, that they were buying, or that they were
selling--taking a spool of thread, for instance--and packing it, or
packing their action with it, as full of adulterated motives and of
fresh and original ways of not doing as they would be done by as they
could think up--a little innocent spool of thread--wreaking all their
sins and kinds of sins on it, breaking every one of the ten commandments
on it as an offering....

It was A.T. Stewart, a very ordinary-looking, practical man in a plain,
everyday business, who arrested the attention of a nation and changed
the habit of thought and trend of mind of a great people, and made them
a candid, direct people, a people that went with great sunny prairies
and high mountains, a yea and nay people, straightforward, and free from
palavering forever. A.T. Stewart was accustomed, in his own personal
dealings from day to day, to cut people short when they tried to heckle
with him. He liked to take things for granted, drive through to the
point, and go on to the next one. This might have ended, of course, in a
kind of _cul de sac_ of being a merely personal trait in a clean-cut,
manful, straightforward American gentleman; and if Stewart had been a
snob or a Puritan, or had felt superior, or if he had thought other
people--the great crowds of them who flocked through his store--could
never expect to be as good as he was, nothing would ever have come of

It is not likely that he was conscious of the long train of spiritual
results he had set in motion; of the way he had taken the habit of mind,
the daily, hourly psychology of a great people, and had wrought it
through with his own spirit; or of the way he had saved up, and set
where it could be used, everyday religion in America, and had freed the
business genius of a nation for its most characteristic and most
effective self-expression.

He merely was conscious that he could not endure palavering in doing
business himself, and that he would not submit to being obliged to
endure it, and he believed millions of people in America were as
clean-cut and straightforward as he was.

And the millions of people stood by him.

Perhaps A.T. Stewart touched the imagination of the crowd because he had
let the crowd touch his and had seen what crowds, in spite of
appearances, were really like.

The enterprise of touching the imagination of the crowd with goodness,
which is being conducted every day on an enormous scale around us, has
to be carried on, like all huge enterprises, by men who are in a large
degree unconscious of it. There are few department stores in England or
America that would expect to be called pious, but if one is deeply and
obstinately interested in the Golden Rule, and in getting crowds of
people to believe in it at a time, it is impossible not to think what
sweeps of opportunity department stores would have with it--with the
Golden Rule. With thousands of people flowing in and out all the week,
and with hundreds of clerks to attend to it, eight hours a day, there
would hardly seem to be any limit to what such a store could do in
making the Golden Rule a direct, a pointed and personal thing, a thing
that could not be evaded and could not be forgotten by thousands of
people. The same people all going in and out of department stores, vast
congregations of them, eight hours a day, which ministers can only get
at in small lots, three hundred or so, twenty minutes a week, and can
only get at with words even then--all of them being convinced in terms
they understand, and in terms they keenly feel, convinced in hats that
they will see over and over again, convinced in velvets that they are
going to put on and off for years, in laces, in waistcoats, shoes, in
dining-room chairs, convinced in the very underclothes next to their
skins, the clothes they sleep in all night, in the very plates on which
they eat, while all the time they keep remembering, or being reminded,
just how the things were bought, and just what was claimed for them and
what was not claimed for them, and thinking how the claims came true or
how they did not.

       *       *       *       *       *

I just saw lying on the table as I came through the hall a moment ago a
hat which (out of all the long rows of hats I can see faintly reaching
across the years) will always be to me a memorable hat. I am free to say
that, after all the ladies it has been taken off to, my great memory of
that hat is now and always will be, as long as I live, the department
store at which I bought it, and the things the department store, before
I got through with it, managed to make the hat say.

I had been in the store the day before and selected, in broad daylight,
with a big mirror staring me out of countenance, a hat which was a
quarter of a size too large. To clinch the matter, I had ordered four
ventilating holes to be punched in it, and had it sent to my rooms to be
my hat--implacably my hat as I supposed, for better for worse, for
richer for poorer--always. The next morning, after standing before a
mirror and trying hopefully for a few minutes to see if I could not look
more intelligent in the hat, I returned to the store firmly. I had made
up my mind that I would keep from looking the way that that hat made me
look, at any cost. The store was not responsible according to the letter
either for the hat or for the way I looked in it. I had deliberately
chosen it, looked at myself in cold blood in it, had those dreadful,
irremovable, eternal air-holes dug into it. I would buy a new one. I
jumped into a cab, and a moment after I arrived I found myself before
the clerk from whom I had bought it, with a new one on my head, and was
just reaching into my pocket for my purse when, to my astonishment, I
heard, or seemed to hear, the great Department Store Itself, in the
gentle accents of a young man with a yellow moustache, saying: "I'm
sorry"--all seven storys of it gathering itself up softly, apparently,
and saying "I'm sorry!" The young man explained that he was afraid the
hat was wrong the day before, and thought he ought to have told me so,
that the store would not want me to pay for the mistake.

I came home a changed man. I had been hit by the Golden Rule before in
department stores, but always rather subtly--never with such a broad,
beautiful flourish! I made some faint acknowledgment, I have forgotten
what, and rushed out of the store.

But I have never gone past the store since, on a 'bus, or in a taxi, or
sliding through the walkers on the street, but I have looked up to
it--to its big, quiet windows, its broad, honest pillars fronting a

I take off my hat to it.

But it gave me more than a hat.

I think what a thousand department stores, stationed in a thousand
places on this old planet, could do in touching the imagination of the
world--every day, day by day, cityfuls at a time.

I had found a department store that had absolutely identified itself
with my interests, that could act about a hat the way a wife would--a
department store that looked forward to a permanent relation with me--a
great live machine that could be glad and sorry--that really took me in,
knew how I felt about things, cared how I looked as I walked down the
street. Sometimes I think of the poor, wounded, useless thing I took
back to them, those pitiless holes punched in it--just where no one
else would ever have had them. I am human. I always feel about the
store, that great marble and glass Face, when I go by it now as if, in
spite of all the difficulties, it wanted me--to be beautiful! I at least
feel and know that the people who were the brain, the daily moving
consciousness behind the face--wanted me to be a becoming customer to
them. They did not want to see me coming in, if it could possibly be
helped, in that hat any more!

       *       *       *       *       *

I have told this little history of a gray hat, not because it is in any
way extraordinary, but because it is not. The same thing, or something
quite like it, expressing the same spirit, might have happened in any
one of the best hundred department stores in the world.

Most people can remember a time, only a very little while ago, when
clerks in our huge department stores or selling machines were not
expected to be people who would think of things like this to do, or who
would know how, or who would think to consider them good business if
they did.

The department store that based its success on selecting clerks of a
high order of human insight, that paid higher wages to its clerks for
their power of being believed in, for their personal qualities and their
shrewdness in helping people and a gift for discovering mutual interests
with everybody and for founding permanent human relations with the
public, had not been thought of a little while ago.

All that had been thought of was the appearance of these things. It was
an employer's business, speaking generally, to get all he could out of
his clerks and have them get as little as possible out of him. It was
their business in their turn to get as much money out of the public as
they could get, and to give the public as little in return as they

The type of employer who liked to do business in this way, and who
believed in it, crowed over the world nearly everywhere as the Practical
Man. And for the time being certainly it has to be admitted that he
seemed the most successful. Naturally there came to be a general
impression among the people that only certain lower orders of life and
character could be employed, or could stand being employed, in the great
department stores.

I used often to go into ----'s. Everybody remembers it. I went in, as a
rule, in a helpless, waiting, married way, and as a mere attaché of the
truly wise and good. All I ever did or was expected to do was to stand
by and look wise and discriminating a minute about dress goods, when
spoken to. I used to put in my time looking behind the counters--all
those busy, pale, yellow-lighted people in little holes or stalls trying
to be human and natural in that long, low, indoor street of theirs,
crowds of women staring by them and picking at things. Always that
moving sidewalk of questions--that dull, eager stream of consciousness
sweeping by. No sunlight--just the crowds of covetousness and
shrewdness. I used to wonder about the clerks, many of them, and what
they would be like at home or under an apple tree or each with a bit of
blue sky to go with them. They used to seem in those days, as I looked,
mostly poor, underground creatures living in a sort of Subway of Things
in a hateful, hard, little world of clothes, each with his little study
or trick or knack of appearances, standing there and selling people
their good looks day after day at so much a yard.

To-day, in a hundred cities one can go into department shops where one
would get, standing and looking on idly, totally different impressions.
There are hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have made
being a clerk a new thing in the world. The public has already had its
imagination touched by them, and is beginning to deal with clerks, as a
class, on a different level.

This has been brought to pass because the employer has been thought of,
or has thought of himself, who engages and pays for in clerks the
highest qualities in human nature that he can get. He picks out and puts
in power, and persuades to be clerks, people who would have felt
superior to it in days gone by--men and women who habitually depend for
their efficiency in showing and selling goods upon their more generous
emotions and insights, their imaginations about other people. They
gather in their new customers, and keep up their long lists of old and
regular customers, through shrewd visions of service to people, and
through a technical gift for making the Golden Rule work.

When one looks at it practically, and from the point of view of all the
consequences, a bargain is the most spiritual, conclusive, most
self-revealing experience that people can have together. Every bargain
is a cross-section in three tenses of a man. A bargain tells everything
about people--who they are, and what they are like. It also tells what
they are going to be like unless they take pains; and it tells what they
are not going to be like too sometimes, and why.

The man who comes nearest in modern life to being a Pope, is the man who
determines in what spirit and by what method the people under him shall
conduct his bargains and deal with his customers. ----, at the head of
his department store, has a parish behind his counters of twenty-five
hundred men and women. He is in the business of determining their
religion, the way they make their religion work, eight hours a day, six
days a week. He seems to me to be engaged in the most ceaseless, most
penetrating, most powerful, and most spiritual activity of the world. He
is really getting at the imaginations of people with his idea of
goodness. If he does not work his way through to a man's imagination one
minute or one day, he does the next. If he cannot open up a man's
imagination with one line of goods, he does it with another. If he
cannot make him see things, and do as he would be done by, with one kind
of customer, another is moved in front of him presently, and another,
and another--the man's inner substance is being attacked and changed
nearly every minute every day. There is nothing he can do, or keep from
doing, in which his employer's idea of goodness does not surround,
besiege, or pursue him. Every officer of the staff, every customer who
slips softly up to the counter in front of him makes him think of the
Golden Rule in a new way or in some shading of a new way--confronts him
with the will, with the expectation, with the religion of his employer.

In ----'s store (where I looked in a moment yesterday) one thousand of
the two thousand five hundred clerks are men. If I were a minister
wondering nearly every day how to work in for my religion a fair chance
at men, I should often look wistfully from over the edge of my pulpit, I
imagine, to the head of ----'s department store, sitting at that quiet,
calm, empty looking desk of his in his little office at the top of his
big building in ---- Street, with nothing but those little six or seven
buttons he softly puts his thumbs on connecting him with a thousand

And he does not even need the buttons. Every man knows and feels,
personally and intimately, what the man at the desk is asking him to do
with a particular customer who stands before him at the moment. As soon
as the customer is there, the man at the desk practically is there too.
His religion works by wireless, and goes automatically, and as from a
huge stored-up reservoir, to all that happens in the place. He makes
regularly with his idea of goodness anywhere from twenty to sixty
pastoral calls (with every sale they make) on a thousand men a day. He
is not dependent, as the ordinary minister often is, on their dying, or
on their babies, or on their wives, for a chance to get at men with his

If I wanted to take a spiritual census of modern civilization and get at
the actual scientific facts, what we would have to call, probably the
foot-tons of religion in the world to-day, I would not look for them in
the year-books of the churches, I would get them by going about in the
great department stores, by moving among the men and women in them day
after day, and standing by and looking on invisibly. Like a shadow or a
light I would watch them registering their goodness daily, hourly, on
their counters, over their counters, measuring out their souls before
God in dress goods, shoes, boas, hats, silk, and bread and butter!

This may not be true of the Orient, but it is true, and getting to be
more true every day, of Europe and America.

It is especially true of America. In the things which we borrow in
America, we are far behind the rest of the world. It is to the things
that we create, that we must look alone, for our larger destiny, and our

Naturally, in so far as civilization is a race of borrowing, nations
like England and France and Germany a few hundred miles apart from one
another, set the pace for a nation that is three thousand miles away
from where it can borrow, like the United States. It is a far cry from
the land of the Greeks with their still sunny temples and dreams, and
from England with its quiet-singing churches, to New York with its
practical sky-scraping hewing prayer!

New York--scooping its will out of the very heavens!

New York--the World's last, most stern, perhaps most manful prayer of
all--half-asking and half-grasping out of the hand of God!

Here is America's religion! Half afraid at first, half glad, slowly,
solemnly triumphant, as on the edge of an abyss, I have seen America's
religion! I have seen my brother Americans hewing it out--day by day,
night by night, have I seen them--in these huge steel sub-cellars of the

I have accepted the challenge.

If it is not a religion, then it shall be to us a religion to make it a

The Metropolitan Tower with its big clock dial, with its three stories
of telling what time it is, and its great bell singing hymns above the
dizzy flocks of the skyscrapers, is the soul of New York, to me.

If one could see a soul--if one could see the soul of New York, it would
look more like the Metropolitan Tower than anything else.

It seems to be trying to speak away up there in the whiteness and the
light, the very soul of the young resistless iron-hearted city.

I write as an American. To me there is something about it as I come up
the harbour that fills my heart with a big ringing, as if all the world
were ringing, ringing once more--ringing all over again--up in this
white tower of ours in its new bit of blue sky! I glory in England with
it, in Greece, in Bethlehem. It is as an outpost on Space and Time, for
all of us gathering up all history in it softly--once more and pointing
it to God!

It is the last, the youngest-minded, the most buoyant tower--the mighty
Child among the steeples of the world. The lonely towers of Cologne
stretching with that grave and empty nave against the sky, out of that
old and faded region of religion, far away, tremulously send greetings
to it--to this white tower in the west--to where it goes up with its
crowds of people in it, with business and with daily living and hoping
and dying in it, and strikes heaven!

It may be perhaps only the American blood in me. Perhaps it is raw and
new to be so happy. I do not know. I only know that to me the
Metropolitan Tower is saying something that has been never quite said
before--something that has been given in some special sense to us as a
trust from the world. It is to me the steeple of democracy--of our
democracy, England's democracy--the world's democracy. The hollow domes
of Sts. Peter and Paul, and all the rest with their vague, airy
other-worldliness, all soaring and tugging like so many balloons of
religion and goodness, trying to get away from this world--are not to me
so splendid, so magnificently wilful as the Metropolitan Tower--as the
souls of these modern, heaven-striking men, taking the world itself, at
last, its streets of stone, of steel, its very tunnels and lifting them
up as blind offerings, as unbounded instincts, as prayers, as songs to

I worship my country, my people, my city when I hear the big bell in it
and when I look up to where the tower is in that still place like a
sea--look up to where that little white country belfry sits in the
light, in the dark above the vast and roaring city!

To me, the Metropolitan Tower, sweeping up its prayer out of the streets
the way it does, and doing it, too, right beside that little safe,
tucked-in, trim, Sunday religion of the Madison Square Presbyterian
Church, lifts itself up as one of the mighty signs and portents of our
time. Have I not heard the bell tolling to the people in the midst of
business and singing great hymns? A great city lifts itself and prays in
it--prays while it sings and clangs so absent-looking below.

I like to go out before going to sleep and take a look at it--one more
look before I sleep, upon the tower, strong, unyielding, alive, sinewy,
imperturbable, lifting up within itself the steel and soul of the world.
I am content to go to sleep.

It is a kind of steeple of the business of this world. I would rather
have said that business needed a steeple before until I saw the
Metropolitan Tower and heard it singing above the streets. But I had
always wanted (without knowing it), in a modern office building, a great
solemn bell to remind us what the common day was. I like to hear it
striking a common hour and what can be done in it. I stop in the street
to listen--to listen while that great hive of people tolls--tolls not the
reveries of monks above the roofs of the skyscrapers, but the religion
of business--of the real and daily things, the seriousness of the mighty
street and the faces of the men and the women.



The imagination of crowds may be said to be touched most successfully
when it is appealed to in one of four ways:


Of these four ways, the stupendous, or the unusual, or the successful
are the most in evidence, and have something showy about them, so that
we can look at them afterward, and point out at a glance what they have
done. But probably the underhold on the crowd, the real grip on its
imagination, the one which does the plain, hard, everyday work on a
crowd's ideals, which determines what crowds expect and what crowds are
like inside--is the Monotonous.

The man who tells the most people what they shall be like in this world
is not the great man or the unusual man. He is the monotonous man.

He is the man, to each of us, who determines the unconscious beat and
rhythm with which we live our daily lives.

If we wanted to touch the imaginations of crowds, or of any particular
crowd, with goodness, the best way to do it would probably be, not to go
to the crowd itself, but to the man who is so placed that he determines
the crowd's monotony, the daily rhythm with which it lives--the man, if
we can find him, who arranges the crowd's heart-beat.

It need not take one very long to decide who the man is who determines
the crowd's heart-beat. The man who has the most dominion over the
imaginations of most of us, who stands up high before us out in front of
our lives, the man who, as with a great baton, day after day, night
after night, conducts, as some great symphony, the fate of the world
above our heads, who determines the deep, unconscious thoughts and
motives, the inner music or sing-song, in which we live our lives, is
the man to whom we look for our daily bread.

It is the men with whom we earn our money who are telling us all
relentlessly, silently, what we will have to be like. The men with whom
we spend it, who sell things to us, like the department stores, those
huge machines of attention, may succeed in getting great sweeps of
attention out of crowds at special times, by appealing to men through
the unusual and through the stupendous or the successful. But what
really counts, and what finally decides what men and what women shall
be, what really gets their attention unfathomably, unconsciously, is the
way they earn their money. The feeling men come to have about a fact, of
its being what it is, helplessly or whether or no--the feeling that they
come to have about something, of its being immemorially and innumerably
the same everywhere and forever, comes from what they are thinking and
the way they think while they are earning their money. It is out of the
subconscious and the monotonous that all our little heavens and hells
are made. It is our daily work that becomes to us the real floor and
roof of living, hugs up under us like the ground, fits itself down over
us, and is our earth and sky. The man with whom we earn our money, the
man who employs us, his thinking or not thinking, his "I will" and "I
won't," are the iron boundaries of the world to us. He is the skylight
and the manhole of life.

The monotonous, the innumerable and over and over again, one's desk,
one's typewriter, one's machine, one's own particular factory window,
the tall chimney, the little forever motion with one's hand--it is
these, godlike, inscrutable, speechless, out of the depths of our
unconsciousness and down through our dreams, that become the very breath
and rumble of living to us, domineer over our imaginations and rule our
lives. It is decreed that what our Employers think and let us know
enough to think shall be a part of the inner substance of our being. It
shall be a part of growing of the grass to us, and shall be as water and
food and sleep. It shall be to us as the shouts of boys at play in the
field and as the crying of our children in the night. To most men
Employers are the great doors that creak at the end of the world.

It is not the houses that people live in, or the theatres that they go
to, or the churches to which they belong, or the street and number--the
East End look or the West End look the great city carves on the faces of
these men I see in the street--that determines what the men are like.

Their daily work lies deeper in them than their faces. One finds one's
self as one flashes by being told things in their walk, in the way they
hold their hands and swing their feet.

And what is it their hands and feet, umbrellas, bundles, and the
wrinkles in their clothes tell us about them?

They tell us how they earn their money. Their hopes, their sorrow, their
fears and curses, their convictions, their very religions are the
silent, irrevocable, heavenly minded, diabolical by-products of what
their Employers think they can afford to let them know enough to think.

    "Fight for yourselves. Your masters hate you. They would shoot
    you down like rabbits, but they need your labour for their
    huge profits. Don't go in till you get your minimum. No Royal
    Commission, no promise in the future. Leaders only want your
    votes; they will sell you. They lie. Parliament lies, and will
    not help you, but is trying to sell you. Don't touch a tool
    till you get your minimum. Win, win, win! It is up to all
    workers to support the miners."

If a man happens to be an employer, and happens to know that he is not
this sort of man, and finds that he cannot successfully carry on his
business unless he can make five hundred men in his factory believe it,
what can he do? How can he touch their imaginations? What language is
there, either of words or of action, that will lead them to see that he
is a really a fair-minded, competent employer, a representative of the
interests of all, a fellow-citizen, a Crowdman, and that his men can
afford to believe in him and coöperate with them?

If they think he would shoot them down like rabbits, it is because they
have not the remotest idea what he is really like. They have not noticed
him. They have no imagination about him, have not put themselves in his
place. How can he get their attention?



A little while ago I saw in Paris an American woman, the President of a
Woman's Club (I imagined), who was doing as she should, and was going
about in a cab appreciating Paris, drive up to the Louvre. Leaving her
cab, though I wondered a little why she did, at the door, she hurried up
the steps and swept into the gallery, taking her eleven-year-old boy
with her. I came upon her several times. The Louvre did not interest the
boy, and he seemed to be bothering and troubling his mother, and of
course he kept trying very hard, as any really nice boy would, to get
out; but she would not let him, and he wandered about dolefully, looking
at his feet and at the floor, or at the guards, and doing the best he
could. Finally she came over to him; there was a Murillo he must see--it
was the opportunity of his life; she brought him over to it, and stood
him up in front of it, and he would not look; she took his small brown
head in her hands and steered it to the great masterpiece and held it
there--on that poor, silent, helpless Murillo--until....

I observed that she could steer his head; but I could not help thinking
how much more she would have done if she had known how to steer it

The invention of the Megaphone, of the Cinema, and the _London Times_,
and of the Bible, are all a part of the great, happy, hopeful effort of
one part of this world to get the attention of the other part of it, and
steer heads inside.

This art of steering heads inside, which has come to be the secret art
of all the other arts, the secret religion of all the religions, is
also the secret of building and maintaining a civilization and a
successful and permanent business. It is hard to believe how largely,
for the last twenty years, it has been overlooked by employers as the
real key of the labour problem--this art of steering people's heads

We have seen part of the truth. We have put in a good deal of time in
finding fault with labouring men for thinking too much about themselves
and about their class, and for emphasizing their wages more than their
work, and for not having more noble and disinterested characters.
Parliaments, clergymen, and employers have all been troubled for years
about Labour, and they have been trying very hard on Sundays and through
reports of speeches by members of Parliament in the daily press, and
through laws, and through employers' associations, and through factory
rules and fines, to get the attention of labouring men and lift their
thoughts to higher things.

A great many wise things have been said to Labour--masterpieces, miles
of them as it were, whole Louvres of words have been hung upon their

But in vain!

And all because we have merely taken the outside of the boy's head in
our hands. We have not thought what was really going on in it. We have
not tried to steer it inside. We have been superficial.

It is superficial for a comfortable man with a bun in his pocket to talk
to a starving man about having some higher motive than getting something
to eat. Everybody sees that this is superficial, if we mean by it that
his body is starving. But if we mean something more real and more
terrible than that--that he is starving inside, that his soul is
starving, that he has nothing to live for, no real object in getting
something to eat--if we mean by it, in other words, that the man's
imagination is not touched even by his own life, people take it very

And it is the most important thing in the world. The one thing now
necessary to society, to industry, is to get hold of the men who are in
it, one by one, and touch their imaginations about themselves. We have
millions of men working without their thoughts and expectations being
ventilated or passed along, year after year.

One sees these men everywhere one goes, in thousands of factories, doing
their work without any draught. We already have tall chimneys for our
coal furnaces; we have next to see the value of tall chimneys, great
flues to the sky, on the lives and thought and the inner energies of
men. The most obvious way to get a draught on a man, to get him to glow
up and work is to cut through an opening in the top of his life.

Just where to cut this opening, and just how to cut it in each man's
life--each man considered as a problem by himself--is the Labour

There are certain general principles that might be put down in passing.
To begin with, we must not feel ashamed to begin implacably with the
actual man just as he is, and with the wants and the motives that he
actually has. We should feel ashamed rather to begin in any other way.
It would not be bright or thoughtful to begin on him with motives he is
going to have; and it certainly would not be religious or worthy of us
to try to make him begin with ours. Perhaps ours are better--for us.
Perhaps, too, ours will be better for him when he is like us (if we can
give him any reason to want to be). In the meantime, what is there that
can honestly be called base in taking human nature as it is and in
allowing a sliding scale of motives in people? Starving people and
slaves, or people who are ugly and hateful, _i.e._, not really quite
bright toward others, who impute mean, inaccurate motives to them, can
only be patiently expected to have a very small area or even mote of
unselfishness at first. A cross-section of our society to-day represents
the entire geological formation of human nature for 40,000 years. We
need but look on the faces of the men about us as we go down the street.
All history is here this minute.

We wish that Labour had better motives. We wish to get our workmen to
understand us better and believe in us more and work for us harder.

We agree that we must begin with them, if we propose to do this, where
they are.

Where are they?

There are certain general observations that might seem to the point.

1. If a man is a sane and sound man and works hard, he must feel that
everything he does, every minute, is definitely connected with the main
through-train purpose in his life.

2. If the main purpose in his life is domestic and consists in having
his family live well and giving his children a chance, he must feel and
be absolutely sure when he is working better or working worse for his
employer that he is working better or worse for himself and for those
for whom he lives.

3. In the ordinary labourer this domestic unselfishness or house
patriotism is a kind of miniature public spirit. It is the elementary
form of his national or human enthusiasm. It is the form of
disinterestedness that has to be attended to in men first; and the way
for society to get the labouring man to be public-spirited, to have the
habit of considering the rights of others, is for society to have the
habit of considering his rights in his daily work. An intelligent, live
man must be allowed a little margin to practise being unselfish on, if
only in the privacy of his own family. Unselfishness begins in small
circles. The starving man must be allowed a smaller range of
unselfishness than the man who has enough. It is not uncomplimentary or
unworthy in human nature to admit that this is so--to demand that the
human being who is starving must be allowed to be selfish. If he is not
bright enough to be selfish when he is hungry he is dangerous to
society. We ought to insist upon his being selfish, and help him in it.
Virtue is a surplus.

4. This is the first humble, stuttering speech the competent modern
employer who proposes to express himself to his men, and get them to
understand him and work with him, is going to make. He is going to pick
out one by one every man in his works who has a decent, modest, manly
desire to be selfish, and help him in it. He is going to do something or
say something that will make the man see, that will make him believe for
life, that the most powerful, the most trustworthy, the most far-sighted
man he can find in the world to be his partner in being decently,
soundly, and respectfully selfish--is his employer.

No employer can expect to get the best work out of a man except by
working down through to the inner organic desire in the man as a man,
except by waking his selfishness up and by making it a larger, fuller,
nobler, weightier selfishness, and turning the full weight of it every
minute, every hour, on his daily work.

The best language an employer can find to express this desire at first
to his workmen, is some form of faithful, honest copartnership.

5. The ordinary wage labourer has little imagination about other people
because he is not allowed any about himself. The moment he is, and the
moment his employer arranges his work so that he sees every minute all
day that the work which he does for the firm 30 per cent. better counts.
30 per cent. more on his own main purpose in life, his imagination is
touched about himself and he begins to work like a human being. When a
man has been allowed to work awhile as a human being he will begin to be
human with a wider range. Being a partner touches the imagination and
wakes the man's humanness up. He not only works better, but he loves his
family better when he sees he can do something for them. He serves his
town better and his lodge better when he sees he can do something for

6. Being a partner wakes the man's imagination toward those who work
with him, and toward the public and the markets and the goods and the
cities where the goods go. He reads newspapers with a new eye. He
becomes interested in people who buy the goods, and in people who do
not. Why do they not? He gropes toward a general interest in human
nature, and begins to live.

7. A man who is being paid wages one night in a week, has his
imagination touched about his work one night in the week. He is merely
being a wage-earner. In being a partner he is being paid, and feels his
pay coming in, every thirty seconds, in the better way he moves his
hands or does not move his hands. This makes him a man.

8. And, finally, as he knows he is being paid, and that he always will
be paid, what he earns, he stops thinking of the sick, tired side of his
work--the pay he gets out of it, and begins to love the work itself, and
begins to be perfect in it for its own sake. This makes him a gentleman.

9. Being a partner makes a man actively and keenly reasonable and
practical, not only about his own labour, but about the superior value
of other people with whom he works. He wants the best people in the best
places. He begins to have a practical partner's imagination about the
men who are over him, and about their knowing more than he does. If he
is merely paid wages, he is superstitious, and jealous toward those who
know more than he does. If he is paid profits, he is glad that they do,
and strikes in and helps.

10. Another complete range of motives is soon offered to the employee
who is a partner. He feels the joy of being a part of a big, splendid
whole, a disinterested delight and pride in others. He grows young with
it, like a boy in school.

Here is the factory over him, around him--his own vast hockey team--and
over that is the nation, and over that is the world!

An employer can touch the imagination of most men, of the rank and file
of the people, ninety-nine times where other people can touch it once.
And every time he touches it, he touches it to the point.

If men in general do not believe to-day in religion and do not want it,
it is because they have employers who have not seen any place in their
business where they could get their religion in, and have kept the
people (in the one place where they could really learn what religion is)
from learning anything about it. The moment the more common employers
see what the great ones see now, that business is the one particular
place in this world where religion really works, works the hardest, the
longest, and the best, works as it had never been dreamed a religion
could be made to work before--the day school teachers of the world, put
the Golden Rule in the Course everybody will know it.

It only takes a moment's thought to see what the employers of the world
could do with the Golden Rule the moment they take hold of it.

One has but to consider what they have done with it already.

One has but to consider the astounding way in the last fifteen years
they have made everybody not believe in it.

The employers of the world have been saying ten hours a day to everybody
that the Golden Rule is a foolish, pleasant, inefficient, worsted motto
on a parlour wall.

Everybody has believed it.

And now that the big employers are setting the pace and are saying
exactly the opposite thing about the Golden Rule, now that all the
employers are trying to get their employees to be efficient (to do by
their employers as they would be done by), and now that they are trying
to be efficient themselves (are trying to do to their employees as they
would have their employees do to them), the Golden Rule is touching the
imagination of crowds, and the crowd is seeing that the Golden Rule
works. They watch it working every day in the things they know about.
Then they believe in it for other things.



A letter lies before me, one out of many others asking me how the author
of "The Shadow Christ," which is a study of the religious values in
suffering and self-sacrifice in this world, takes the low ground that
honesty is the best policy.

I know two kinds of men who believe that honesty is the best policy.

These two men use exactly the same words "Honesty is the best policy."

One man says it.

The other man sings it.

One man is honest because it pays.

The other man is honest because he likes it.

"Honesty is the best policy" as a motive cannot be called religious, but
"Honesty is the best policy" as a Te Deum, as something a man sings in
his heart every day about God, something he sings about human nature is
religious, and believing it the way some men believe it, is an act of

It is like a great gentle mass.

It is like taking softly up one's own planet and offering it to God.

Here it is--the planet. Honesty is organized in the rocks on it and in
the oak trees on it and in the people. The rivers flow to the sea and
the heart of Man flows to God. On this one planet, at least, God is a

Possibly it is because many other people beside myself have been slow in
clearly making this distinction between "Honesty is the best policy" as
a motive or a Te Deum, that I have come upon so many religious men and
women in the last two or three years, who, in the finest spirit, have
seemed to me to be doing all that they could to discourage everybody
especially to discourage me, about the Golden Rule.

The first objection which they put forward to the Golden Rule is that it
is a failure.

When I try to deal with this or try to tell them about Non-Gregarious,
the second objection that they put forward is, that it is a success.

If they cannot discourage me with one of these objections they try to
discourage me with the other.

They point to the Cross.

Some days I cannot help wondering what Christ would think if He were to
come back and find people, all these good Christian people everywhere
using the Cross--the Cross of all things in the world as an objection to
the Golden Rule and to its working properly, or as a general argument
against expecting anything of anybody.

I do not know that I have any philosophy about it that would be of any
value to others.

I only know that I am angry all through when I hear a certain sort of
man saying, and apparently proving, that the Golden Rule does not work.

And I am angry at other people who are listening with me because they
are not angry too.

Why are people so complacent about crosses? And why are they willing to
keep on having and expecting to have in this world all the good people
on crosses? Why do they keep on treating these crosses year after year,
century after century, in a dull tired way as if they had become a kind
of conventionality of God's, a kind of good old church custom, something
that He and the Church by this time, after two thousand years, could not
really expect to try to get over or improve upon?

I do not know that I ought to feel as I do.

I only know that the moment I see evil triumphing in this world, there
is one thing that that evil comes up against.

It comes up against my will.

My will, so far as it goes, is a spiritual fact.

I do not argue about it, nor do I know that I wish to justify it. I
merely accept my will as it is, as one spiritual fact.

I propose to know what to do with it next.

The first thing that I have done, of course, has been to find out that
there are millions of other so-called Christian people who have
encountered this same fact that I have encountered.

There are at least some of us who stand together. Our wills are set
against having any more people die on crosses in this world than can be
helped. If there is any kind of skill, craftmanship, technique,
psychology, knowledge of human nature which can be brought to bear,
which will keep the best people in this world not only from being, but
from belonging on crosses in it, we propose to bring these things to
bear. We are not willing to believe that crowds are not inclined to
Goodness. We are not willing to slump down on any general slovenly
assumption about the world that goodness cannot be made to work in it.

If goodness is not efficient in this world we will make it efficient.

Our reason for saying this is that we honestly glory in this world. We
believe that at this moment while we are still on it, it is in the act
of being a great world, that it is God's world, and in God's Name we
will defend its reputation.

We do not deny that it may be better spiritual etiquette, more heroic
looking and may have a certain moral grace, so far as a man himself is
concerned, if the world makes him suffer for being honest. But after all
he is only one man, and whether he dislikes his suffering or likes it
and feels fine and spiritual over it, it is only one man's suffering.

But why is it that when the world makes a man suffer, everybody should
seem always to be thinking of the man? Why does not anybody think of the

Is not the fact that a whole world, eternal and innumerable, is supposed
to be such a mean, dishonest sort of a world that it will make a man
suffer for being good a more important fact than the man's suffering is?
It seems to me to be taking not lower but higher ground when one insists
on believing in the race one belongs to and in believing that it is a
human race that can be believed in. After two thousand years of Christ,
it is a lazy, tired, anæmic slander on the world to believe that it does
not pay to be good in it. The man who believes it, and acts as if he
believed it, is to-day and has been from the beginning of time the
supreme enemy of us all. He is guilty before heaven and before us all
and in all nations of high treason to the human race. One of the next
most important things to do in modern religion is going to be to get all
these morally dressed-up, noble-looking people who enjoy feeling how
good they are because they have failed, to examine their hearts, stop
enjoying themselves and think.

For hundreds of years we have religiously run after martyrs and we have
learned in a way, most of us, to have a kind of cooped-up patriotism for
our own nation, but why are there not more people who are patriotic
toward the whole human race? One has been used to seeing it now for
centuries, good people all over the world hanging their harps on willow
trees, or snuggling down together by the cold sluggish stream of their
lives, and gossiping about how the world has abused them, when they
would be far better occupied, nine out of ten of them--in doing
something that would make it stop. There was a poet and soldier some
thousands of years ago who put more real religion (and put it too, into
his imprecatory psalms), than has been put, I believe, into all the
sweet whinings and the spiritual droopings of the world in three
thousand years. I do not deny that I would quarrel, as a matter of form,
with the lack of urbanity, with a certain ill-nature in the imprecatory
Psalms; but with the spirit in them, with the motive and mighty desire,
with the necessity in the man's heart that was poured into them, I have
the profoundest sympathy.

David had a manly, downright belief. His belief was that if sin is
allowed to get to the top in this world of ours, it is our fault. David
felt that it was partly his--and being a king--very much his, and as he
was trying to do something about it, he naturally wanted the world to

What he really meant--what lay in the background of his petition--the
real spirit that made him speak out in that naïve bold way before the
Lord, and before everybody--that made him ask the great God in heaven
all looking so white and so indifferent, to come right down please and
jump on the necks of the wicked, was a vivid, live vision of his own for
his own use that he was going to make the world more decent. He was
spirited about it. If God did not, He would, and naturally when he came
to expressing how he felt in prayer, he wanted God to stand by him. To
put it in good plain soldier-like Hebrew, He wanted God to jump on the
necks of his enemies.

Speaking strictly for ourselves, in our more modern spirit of course, we
would want to modulate this, we admit that we would not ask God to do a
little thing like jumping on the necks of the wicked--just for us--nor
would we care to break away from the other things we are doing and
attend to it ourselves, nor would we even favour their necks being
jumped on by others, but while we do not agree with David's particular
request, we do profoundly agree with the way he felt when he made it. We
would not make our flank movement on the wicked in quite the same way
and according to our more modern and more scientific manner of thought,
we would want to do something more practical with the wicked, but we
would want to do something with them and we would want to do it now.

As we look at it, it ought not to be necessary to jump on the necks of
the wicked to make them good, that is, to make them understand what they
would wish they had done in twenty years. We live in a more reasoning
and precise age and what more particularly concerns us in the wicked is
not their necks, but their heads and their hearts. It seems to us that
they are not using them very much and that the moment they do and we can
get them to, they will be good. Possibly it was a mere matter of
language, a concession to the then state of the language--David's
wanting their necks to be jumped on so that he could get their attention
at first and make them stop and think and understand. More subtle ways
of expressing things to the wicked have been thought of to-day than of
jumping on their necks, but the principle David had in mind has not
changed, the principle of being loyal to the human race, the principle
of standing up for people and insisting that they were really meant to
be better than they were or than they thought they could be--a kind of
holy patriotism David had for this world. The main fact about David
seems to be that he believed he belonged to a great human race.
Incidentally he believed he belonged to a human race that was really
quite bright, bright enough at least to make people sorry for doing
wrong in it--a human race that was getting so shrewd and so just and so
honest that it took stupider and stupider people every year to be
wicked, and when he found, judging from recent events in Judea, that
this for the time being was not so, he had a hateful feeling about it,
which it seems to some of us, vastly improved him and would improve many
of us. We do not claim that the imprecatory Psalms were David's best,
but they must have helped him immensely in writing the other ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may be wrong. But it has come to be an important religious duty to
some of us, or rather religious joy, to hate the prosperity of the
wicked. We hate the prosperity of the wicked, not because it is their
prosperity and not ours, but because their prosperity constitutes a
sneer or slander on the world. We have no idea of wanting to go about
faithfully jumping upon the necks of the wicked. What we want is to feel
that we are in a world where the good people are happy and are making
goodness reasonable, successful, profitable and practical in it. We want
an earth with crowds on it who see things as they are, and who guess so
well on what they want (_i.e._, who are good) that other people who do
not know what they want and are not good, will be lonesome.

We have made up our minds to live in a world not where the wicked will
feel that their necks are going to be jumped on (which is really a
rather interesting and prominent feeling on the whole), but a world
where the wicked will be made to feel that nobody notices their necks,
that they are not worth being jumped on, a world where nobody will have
time to go out back and jump on them, a world where the wicked will not
be able to think of anything important to do, and where the wicked
things that are left to do will be so small and so stupid that nobody
will notice. They will be ignored like boys with catcalls in the street.
When we can make people who do wrong feel unimportant enough, there is
going to be some chance for the good.

If we could find some sweet, proper, gentle, Christian-looking way of
conveying to these people for a few swift, keen minutes how little
difference it makes when they and people like them do wrong, they would
steal over in a body and do right.

This is our program. We are making preliminary arrangements for a world
in which after this, very soon now, righteousness is going to attend
strictly to its own business and unrighteousness is going to be crowded
out. No one will feel that he has time in two or three hundred years
from now to go out of his way into some obscure corner of the world and
jump on the necks of the wicked.

But this is a matter of form. The main fundamental manful instinct David
had--the idea that there should not be any more people dying on crosses
than could be helped--that collective society should take hold of Evil
and set it down hard in its chair and make it cry seems to many of us
absolutely sound. Of course, we feel that it is not for us, those who
love righteousness, to jump on the necks of the wicked. We prefer to
have it attended to in a more dignified, impersonal way by Society as a
whole. So we believe that Society should proceed to making goodness and
honesty pay. If Society will not do it _we_ will do it. The world may be
against us at first but we will at least clear off a small place on
it--in our own business for instance--where our goodness can command the
most shrewdness and the most technique--and we will do what we can
slowly--one industry at a time, to remove the slander on goodness that
goodness is not inefficient, and the slander on the world that goodness
cannot be self-supporting, self-respecting (and without disgrace), even
comfortable in it.

The old hymn with which many of us are familiar is well and true enough.
But it does not seem that standing up for Jesus is the most important
point in the world just now. A great many people are doing it. What we
need more is people who will stand up for the world. When people who are
standing up for the world stand and sing "Stand up for Jesus" it will
begin to count. Let four hundred Nons sing it; and we will all go to

If nine of the people out of ten who are singing "Stand up for Jesus"
would stand up for the world, that is, if they would stop trading with
their grocer when they find he slides in regularly one bad orange out of
twelve and promptly look up a grocer who does not do such things, and
trade with him, it would not be necessary for people to do as they so
often do nowadays, fall back on a little wistful half discouraged last
resort like "standing up for Jesus."

Standing up for the world means standing by men who believe in it,
standing by men who make everything they do in business a declaration of
their faith in God and their faith in the credit of human nature, men
who put up money daily in their advertising, their buying and selling,
on the loyalty, common sense, brains, courage, goodness, and righteous
indignation of the people.

The idea that goodness is sweet and helpless and that Jesus was meek and
lowly and has to be stood up for is now and always has been a slander.
It does not seem to some of us that He would want to be stood up for and
we do not like the way some people call Him meek and lowly. It would be
more true to say that He merely looks meek and lowly; that is, if most
men had done or not done or had said or not said things in the way he
did, they would have been considered meek and lowly for it. He had a way
of using a soft answer to turn away wrath. But there was not anything
really meek and lowly about his giving the soft answer. No meek and
lowly man would ever have thought of such a thing as turning away wrath
with a soft answer. He would have been afraid of looking weak. He would
not have had the energy or the honesty or the spiritual address to know
or to think of a soft answer that would do it.

The spirit of fighting evil with good--a kind of glorious self-will for
goodness, for doing a thing the higher and nobler way and making it
work, the spirit of successful implacably efficient righteousness is the
last and most modern interpretation of the New Testament, the crowd's
latest cry to its God. Crowds will always crucify and crosses will never
go by. But we are going to have a higher ideal for crosses. We are not
going (out of sheer shame for the world), to think seriously any longer
of dying on a cross, or letting any one else die on one for a little
rudimentary platitude, a quiet, sensible, everyday business motto for
any competent business man like "Do unto others as you would have them
do unto you."



We are having and are about to have notably and truly successful men who
have the humility and faithfulness, the spiritual distinction of true
and great success.

I want to interpret, if I can, these men. I would like to put with the
great martyrs, with the immortal heroes of failure, these modern silent,
unspoken, unsung mighty men, the heroes of success. I look forward to
seeing them placed among the trophies of religion, in the heart of
mankind at last.

I cannot stand by and watch these men being looked upon by good people
as men the New Testament made no room for, secretly disapproved of by
religious men and women, as being successes, as being little, noisy,
disturbing, contradictions of the New Testament as talking back to the

These things I have been trying to say about the Cross as a means of
expressing goodness to crowds have brought me as time goes on into close
quarters with many men to whom I pay grateful tribute, men of high
spirit, who strenuously disagree with me.

I am not content unless I can find common ground with men like these.

They are wont to tell me when we argue about it that whatever I may be
able to say for success as a means of touching the imaginations of
crowds with goodness, great or attractive or enthralling characters are
not produced by success. Success does not produce great characters. It
is now and always has been failure that develops the characters of the
men who a truly great.

Perhaps failure is not the only way.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I was talking with ---- a little while ago about Non-Gregarious's
goodness and how it succeeded, he was afraid that if his goodness
succeeded there must have been something the matter with it.

I could see that he was wondering what it was.

Non's success troubled him. He did not think it was exactly religious.
"Real religion" he said, "was self-sacrifice. There always had to be
something of the Cross about real religion."

I said that Non's religion was touched at every point with the Cross.

It seemed to me that it was the spirit of eagerness in it that was the
great thing about the Cross. If Non would all but have died to make the
Golden Rule work in this world, if he daily faced ruin and risked the
loss of everything he had in this life to prove that the Golden Rule was
a success, that is if he really had a Cross and if he really faced
it--dying on it, or not dying on it, could not have made him one whit
more religious or less religious than he was. What Non was willing to
die for, was his belief in the world, and scores of good Christian
people tried in those early days of his business struggle to keep him
from believing in the world. There was hardly a day at first but some
good Christian would step into Non's office and tell him the world would
make him suffer for it if he kept on recklessly believing in it and
doing all those unexpected, unconventional, honest things that somehow,
apparently, he could not help doing.

They all told him he could not succeed. They said he was a failure. He
would suffer for it.

I would like to express if I can, what seems to be Non's point of view
toward success and failure.

If Non were trying to express his idea of the suffering of Christ, I
imagine he would say that in the hardest time of all when his body was
hanging on the Cross, the thing that was really troubling Christ was not
that he was being killed. The thing that was troubling him was that the
world really seemed, at least for the time being, the sort of world that
could do such things. He did not take his own cross too personally or
too literally as the world's permanent or fixed attitude toward goodness
or every degree of goodness. There was a sense in which he did not
believe except temporarily in his own cross. He did not think that the
world meant it or that it would ever own up that it meant it.

Probably if we had crosses to-day the hard part of dying on one would
be, not dying on it, but thinking while one was dying on it that one was
in the sort of world that could do such things.

It is Non's religion not to believe every morning as he goes down to his
office that he is in a mean world, a world that would want to crucify
him for doing his work as well as he could.

Perhaps this was the spirit of the first Cross, too. We have every
reason to believe that if Christ could have come back in the flesh three
days after the crucifixion and lived thirty-three years longer in it, he
would have occupied himself exclusively in standing up for the world
that had crucified him, in saying that it was a small party in a small
province that did it, that it was temporary and that they did it because
they were in a hurry.

It was not Christ, but the comparatively faint-believing, worldly minded
saints that have enjoyed dying on crosses since, who have been proud of
being martyrs.

Among those who have tried the martyr way of doing things Jesus is
almost the only one who has not in his heart abused the world. Most
martyrs have made a kind of religion out of not expecting anything of it
and of trying to get out of it. "And ye, all ye people, are ye suitable
or possible people for me to be religious with?" the typical martyr
exclaims to all the cities, to all the inventors, to the scientists and
to the earth-redeemers, to his neighbours and his fellow men. It was
not until science in the person of Galileo came to the rescue of
Christianity and began slowly to bring it back to where Christ started
it--as a noble, happy enterprise of standing up for this world and of
asserting that these men who were in it are good enough to be religious
here and to be the sons of God now--that Christianity began to function.
Religion has been making apparently a side trip for nearly twelve
hundred years, a side trip into space or into the air or into the grave
for holiness for the eternal, and for the infinite.

Doubtless very often people on crosses really have been holier than the
people who knew how to be good without being crucified. Sometimes it has
been the other way. It would have been just as holy in Non to make the
gospel work in New York as to make a blaze, a show or advertisement of
how wicked the world was, and of how inefficient the gospel was--by
going into insolvency.

He has had his cross, but instead of dying on it, he has taken it up and
carried it. Scores of risks and difficulties that he has grappled with
would have become crosses at once if equally good, but less resourceful
men, had had them. Letting one's self be threatened with the cross a
thousand times is quite as brave as dying on one once. The spirit, or at
least the shadow, of a cross must always fall daily on any life that is
stretching the world, that is freeing the lives of other men against
their wills. The whole issue of whether there will be a cross or the
threat of a cross turns on a man's insight into human nature and his
quiet and practical imagination concentrated upon his work.

Not dying on a cross is a matter of technique. One sees how not to, and
one does not. It might be said that the world has two kinds of
redeemers, its cross-redeemers and its success-redeemers. The very best
are on crosses, many of them. Perhaps in the development of the truth
the cross-redeemers come first; they are the pioneers. Then come the
success-redeemers, then everybody!



Of course the most stupendous success that has ever been made--the
world's most successful undertaking from a technical point of view as an
adaptation of means to ends was the attempt that was made by a man in
Galilee years and years ago to get not only the attention of a whole
world, but to get the attention of a whole world for two thousand years.

This purpose of arresting the attention of a world and of holding it for
two thousand years was accomplished by the use of success and of failure

Christ tried success or failure according to which method (time and
place considered) would seem to work best.

His first success was with the doctors.

His next success was based on His instinct for psychology, His power of
divining people's minds, which made possible to Him those extraordinary
feats in the way of telling short stories that would arrest and hold the
attention of crowds so that they would think and live with them for
weeks to come.

His next success was a success based on the power of His personality,
and His knowledge of the human spirit and his victory over His own
spirit--his success in curing people's diseases and His extraordinary
roll of miracles.

He finally tried failure at the end, or what looked like failure,
because the Cross completed what he had had to say.

It made His success seem greater.

The world had put to death the man who had had such great successes.

People thought of His successes when they thought of Him on the Cross,
and they have kept thinking of them for thousands of years.

But the Cross itself, or the use of failure was a sowing of the seed, a
taking the truth out of the light and the sunshine and putting it in the
dark ground.

The Cross was promptly contradicted with the Resurrection. All this, it
seems to some of us, is the most stupendous and successful undertaking
from a purely technical point of view that the world has seen. In the
last analysis it was not His ideas or His character merely, but it was
His technique that made Christ the Son of God and the Master of the
Nations of the Earth.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think that while Christ would not have understood Frederick Taylor's
technique, his tables of figures or foot-tons or logarithms he would
have understood Frederick Taylor.

Nearly all the time that could be said to have been spent in his life in
dealing with other men he spent in doing for them on a nobler scale the
thing that Frederick Taylor did. He went up to men--to hundreds of men a
day, that he saw humdrumming along, despising themselves and despising
their work and expecting nothing of themselves and nothing of any one
else and asked them to put their lives in his hands and let him show
what could be done with them.

This is Frederick Taylor's profession.

The Sermon on the Mount began with telling people that they would be
successful if they knew how--if they had a vision. It proceeded to give
them the vision. It began with giving them a vision for the things that
they had, told them how even the very things that they had always
thought before were what was the matter with the world they could make a
great use of. "Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are those that
hunger; blessed are the meek."

And He then went on to tell them how much finer, and nobler and more
free from the cares and weights of this earth they could be if they
wanted to be, than they had dared to believe. He told the people who
were around Him bigger things about human nature, how successful it was
or could be than any one had ever claimed for people in this world
before. They put Him up on a Cross at last and crucified Him because
they thought He was too hopeful about them, and about human nature or
because, as they would have put it, He was blasphemous and said every
man was a Son of God.

As human nature then was and in the then spirit of the world, no better
means than a Cross could have been employed to get the attention of all
men, to make a two thousand year advertisement for all nations of what a
success human nature was, of what men really could be like.

But I think that if Christ were to come to us again and if he were to
try to get the attention of the whole world once more to precisely the
same ideas and principles that he stood for before, the enterprise would
be conducted in a very different manner.

There is a picture of Albert Durer's which hangs near my desk, and once
more as I write these lines my eyes have fallen on it. It is the
familiar one with the lion and the lamb in it, lying down together, and
with the big room with the implements of knowledge scattered about in it
and at the other end in the window at the table with a book, an old,
bent-over scientist with a halo over his head.

If Christ were to appear suddenly in this modern world to-morrow, the
first thing He would see and would go toward, would be the halo over the
scientist's head.

There is nothing especially picturesque or religious looking, nothing,
at least, that could be put in a stained-glass window in Frederick
Taylor's tables and charts and diagrams of the number of foot-tons a
pig-iron handler can lift with his arms in a day.

But if Christ returned to the world to-morrow and if what He wanted to
do to-morrow was to get the universal, profound, convinced attention of
all men to the Golden Rule, I believe He would begin the way Frederick
Taylor did, by--being concrete. If He wanted to get men in general, men
in business, to love one another He would begin by trying to work out
some technical, practical way in which certain particular men in a
certain particular place could afford to love one another.

He would find a practical way for instance for the employers and
pig-iron handlers in the Midvale Steel Works to come to some sort of
common understanding and to work cheerfully and with a free spirit
together. I think he would proceed very much in the way that Frederick
Taylor did.

He would not say much about the Golden Rule. He would give each man a
vision for his work, and of the way it lapped over into other men's work
and leave the Golden Rule a chance to take care of itself. This is all
the Golden Rule, as a truth or as a remark needs just now.

For two thousand years men have devoted themselves Sunday day after
Sunday to saying over and over again that men should love one another.
The idea is a perfectly familiar one. When Christ said it two thousand
years ago, it was so original and so sensational that just of itself and
as a mere remark it had a carrying power over the whole earth.

Everybody believes it now--that it is a true remark--but like a score of
other remarks that have been made and some of the noblest Christ made,
is it not possible that it has long since in its mere capacity of being
a remark, gone by? There is no one who has not heard about our loving
one another. The remark we want now is how we can do it. This is the
remark that Mr. Frederick Taylor has made. It is not very eloquent. It
is a mere statement of fact. It has taken him nearly thirty-three years
to make it.

The gist of it is that for thirty-three years, the employers and the
pig-iron handlers in the Midvale Steel Works, Pennsylvania, have been
devoted to one another and to one another's interests and acting all day
every day as if of course their interests were the same, and it has been
found that employees when their employers coöperated with them could
lift forty-seven tons instead of twelve and a half a day, and were
getting 60 per cent. more wages.

Everybody listens. Everybody sees at a glance that when it comes to
making remarks about doing as one would be done by, this is the one
remark that we have all been waiting to hear some one make for two
thousand years.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Cross or the last-resort type of religion was as far as St.
Augustine or St. Francis in their world could get. It was all that the
Middle Ages were ready for or that could be claimed for people who had
to live in ages without a printing press, in which no one in the crowd
could expect to know anything and in which there were no ways of letting
crowds know things.

To-day there is no reason why the Cross as a contrivance for attracting
the attention of all people to goodness should be exclusively relied

Possibly the Cross was intended, at the time, as the best possible way
of starting a religion, when there was none, or possibly for keeping it
up when there was very little of it.

But now that Christianity has been occupied two thousand years in
putting in the groundwork, in laying down the principles of success, and
in organizing them into the world, has been slowly making it possible
with crowds that could not be long deceived for success to be decent.
The leaven has worked into human nature and Christianity has produced
The Successful Temperament.

Success has become a spiritual institution. In other words, the hour of
the Scientist, of the man with a technique, of the man who sees how, the
man of The Successful Temperament is at hand.

Everything we plan for the world, including goodness, from this
day--must reckon with him--with the Man Who Sees How.



I also, Gentle Reader, have despised and do despise "success."

I also have stood, like you, perhaps, and I am standing now in that
ancient, outer court, where I can keep seeing every day The Little Great
Men with all their funny trappings on,--their hoods, and their ribbons,
and their train-bearers, drive up before us all and go in to The Great
Door. I have gone by in the night and have heard the buzz of their
voices there. I have looked, like you, up at the great lighted windows
of Prosperity from the street.

And in the broad daylight I have seen them too. I have stood on the curb
in the public way with all the others and watched silently the parade of
The Little Great go by.

I have waited like you, Gentle Reader, and smiled or I have turned on my
heel sadly, or wearily or bitterly or gayly and walked away down my own
side street of the world and with the huzzahs of the crowd echoing
faintly in my ears have gone my way.

But I keep coming back to the curb again.

I keep coming back because, every now and then among all the gilt
carriages and the bowing faces in them, or among all the big yellow vans
or cages with the great beasts of success in them, the literary foxes,
the journalist-juggernauts, the Jack Johnsons of finance, the contented,
gurgling, wallowing millionaires--I cannot help standing once more and
looking among them, for one, or for possibly two, or three or four who
may be truly successful men. Some of them are merely successful-looking.
I often find as I see them more closely, that they are undeceived, or
humble, or are at least not being any more successful-looking than
they can help, and are trying to do better.

They are the men who have defied success to succeed and who will defy it
again and again.

They are the great men.

The great man is the man who can get himself made and who will get
himself made out of anything he finds at hand.

If success cannot do it, he makes failure do it. If he cannot make
success express the greatness or the vision that is in him, he makes
failure express it.

But this book is not about great men and goodness. It is about touching
the imagination of crowds with goodness, about making goodness
democratic and making goodness available for common people.

       *       *       *       *       *

A stupendous success in goodness will advertise it as well as a
stupendous failure.

Goodness has had its cross-redeemers to attract the attention of half a

Possibly it is having now its success-redeemers to attract the attention
of the other half.

The people the success-redeemers reach would turn out to be, possibly,
very much more than half.

The Cross, as a means of getting the attention of crowds, or of the more
common people in our modern, practical-minded Western world, was
apparently adapted to its purpose as long as it was used for church
purposes or as long as it was kept dramatic or sensational or remote, or
as long as it was a cross for some one else, but as a means of
attracting the attention of crowds of ordinary men and women to goodness
in common everyday things, it is very doubtful if failure--in the power
of steady daily pulling on men's minds, has done as much for goodness as

It is doubtful if, except as an ideal or conventional symbol the cross
has ever been or ever could be what might be called a spiritually
middle-class institution. It has been reserved for men of genius,
pioneers and world-designers to have those colossal and glorious crosses
that have been worshipped in all ages, and must be worshipped in all
ages as the great memorials of the human race.

But the more common and numerous types of men, the men who do not design
worlds, but who execute them, build them, who carry the new designs of
goodness out, who work through the details and conceive the technique of
goodness are men in whom the spiritual and religious power takes the
natural form of success.

It seems to be the nature of the modern and the western type of man to
challenge fatalism, to defy a cross. He would almost boast that nobody
could make him die on it. This spirit in men too is a religious spirit.
It is the next hail of goodness. Goodness posts up its next huge notice
on the world:


It is going to make the more rudimentary everyday people notice it, and
it is going to make them notice it in everyday things. It does not admit
that goodness is merely for the spiritual aristocrats for those greater
souls that can search out and appreciate the spiritual values in

It believes that goodness is for crowds. It has discovered that crosses,
to common people in common things, seem oriental and mystical. The
common people of the western world instead of being born with dreamy
imaginations are born with pointed and applied ones. It is not
impossible that the comparative failure of the Christian religion in the
western world and in the later generations is that it has been trying to
be oriental and aristocratic in appealing to what is really a new type
of man in the world--the scientific and practical type as we see it in
the western nations all about us to-day.

We can die on crosses in our Western world as well as any one and we can
do it in crowds too as they do in India, but we propose if crosses are
expected of us to know why in crowds. Knowing why makes us think of
things and makes us do things. It is the keynote of our temperament.

And it is not fair to say of us when we make this distinction that we do
not believe in the cross. But there are times when some of us wish that
we could get other people to stop believing in it. We would all but die
on the cross to get other people to stop dying on one for platitudes, to
get them to work their way down to the facts and focus their minds on
the practical details of not dying on a cross, of forming a vision of
action which will work. It goes without saying that as long as crowds
are in the world crosses will not go by, but it is wicked not to make
them go by as fast as possible, one by one. They were meant to be moved
up higher. We are eager not to die on the same cross for the same thing
year after year and century after century. It seems to us that the
eagerness that always goes with the cross always was and always will be
the essential, powerful and beautiful thing in it.

And it is this new eagerness in the modern spirit, a kind of hurrying up
of the souls of the world that is inspiring us to employ our western
genius in inventing and defending and applying the means of goodness and
in finding ways of making goodness work. We will not admit that men were
intended to die on crosses from a sheer, beautiful, heavenly
shiftlessness, vague-mindedness, mere unwillingness to take pains to
express themselves or unwillingness to think things out and to make
things plain to crowds. It does not seem to us that it is wicked to
employ success as well as failure, to state our religion to people. It
seems to us that it goes naturally with the scientific and technical
temperament of the people that we should do this. It is not superior and
it is not inferior. It is temperamental and it is based upon the study
of the psychology of attention, on a knowledge of what impresses a
certain kind of man and of what really is conclusive with crowds and
with average men and women. It is the distinctive point of view of the
pragmatic temperament, of the inductive mind. The modern mind is
interested in facts and cannot make a religion out of not knowing them.
There was a time once when people used to take their bodily diseases as
acts of God. We have made up our minds not to have these same bodily
diseases now. We have discovered by hard work and constant study that
they are not necessary. The same is true of our moral diseases and of
our great social maladies.

It is going to be the same with crosses. It is a sin and a slander and
affront to human nature and to God to die on a cross if it can be helped
by hard work and close thinking, or by touching the imaginations of

Most of us acting in most things are not good enough to die on crosses.
We are not worthy, it would not be humble in us to. Crosses are only
reserved for the newest and most rare truths, and for the newest and
most rare men. They are still, and they still can be made to be, a means
of grace and of perfection to people who have gifts of learning things
by suffering, but as a means of making other people and people in crowds
see things, the right to use a cross is not for those of us who are
merely lumbering spiritually along, trying to catch up to a plain,
simple-hearted old platitude, eighteen hundred years late like the
Golden Rule. The right to a cross is reserved for those who are up on
the higher reaches, those great bleak stretches or moors of truth where
men go forth and walk alone with God hundreds of years ahead.



Writing a hopeful book about the human race with the New York _Sun_,
Wall Street, Downing Street and Bernard Shaw looking on is uphill work.

Sometimes I wish there were another human race I could refer to when I
am writing about this one, one every one knows. The one on Mars, for
instance, if one could calmly point to it in the middle of an argument,
shut people off with a wave of one's hand and say, "Mars this" and "Mars
that" would be convenient.

The trouble with the human race is that when one is talking to it about
itself, it thinks it is It.

It is not It yet.

The earth and everything on it is a huge Acorn, tumbling softly through
the sky.

Our boasted Christianity (crosses, and resurrections and cathedrals and
all) is a Child crying in the night.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not necessary for me to prove to the satisfaction of the New York
_Sun_ and Bernard Shaw that the Golden Rule has not reached the superior
moral stage of being taken as a platitude by all of our people who are
engaged in business. It is enough to submit that the most creative and
forceful business men--the men who set the pace, the foremen of the
world, are taking it so, and that others are trying to be as much like
them as they can. Wickedness in this world is not going to stop with a
jerk. It is merely being better distributed. Possibly this is all there
is to the problem, getting sin better distributed. The Devil has never
had a very great outfit or any great weight, but he has always known
where to throw it, and he has always done an immense business on a small
capital and the only way he has managed to get on at all, is by
organizing, and by getting the attention of a few people at the top. Now
that the moral sense of the world has become quickened, and that rapid
transit and newspapers and science and the fact-spirit have gained their
hold, the sins of the world are being rapidly distributed, not so much
among the men who determine things as among those who cannot.

Everything is following the fact-spirit. The modern world and everything
in it, is falling into the hands of the men who cannot be cheated about
facts, who get the facts first and who get them right.

The world cannot help falling, from now on, slowly--a little ponderously
perhaps at first--into the hands of good men. To say that the world is
falling into the hands of men who cannot be cheated and to say that it
is falling into the hands of good men is to say the same thing.

The men who get the things that they want, get them by seeing the things
as they are. Goodness and efficiency both boil down to the same quality
in the modern man, his faculty for not being a romantic person and for
not being cheated.

A good man may be said to be a man who has formed a habit, an intimate
personal habit of not being cheated. Everything he does is full of this
habit. The sinful man, as he is usually called, is a man who is off in
his facts, a man who does not know what he really wants even for
himself. In a matter-of-fact civilization like ours, he cannot hope to
keep up. If a man can be cheated, even by himself--of course other
people can cheat him and everybody can take advantage of him. He
naturally grows more incompetent every day he lives. The men who are
slow or inefficient in finding out what they really want and slow in
dealing with themselves are necessarily inefficient and behind hand in
dealing with other people. They cannot be men who determine what other
people shall do.

It is true that for the moment, it still seems--now that science has
only just come to the rescue of religion, that evil men in a large
degree are the men who still are standing in the gate and determining
opportunities and letting in and letting out Civilization as they
please. But their time is limited.

The fact-spirit is in the people. We enjoy facts. Facts are the modern
man's hunting, his adventure and sport. The men who are ahead are
getting into a kind of two-and-two-are-four habit that is like music,
like rhythm. It becomes almost a passion, almost a self-indulgence in
their lives. Being honest with things, having a distaste for being
cheated by things, having a distaste for being cheated by one's self and
for cheating other people, runs in the blood in modern men. The nations
can be seen going round and round the earth and looking one another long
and earnestly in the eyes. The poet is turning his imagination upon the
world about him and upon the fact that really works in it. The
scientific man has taken hold of religion and righteousness is being
proved, melted down in the laboratory, welded together before us all and
riveted on to the every day, on to what really happens, and on to what
really works. Goodness in its baser form already pays. Only the biggest
men may have found it out, but everybody is watching them. The most
important spiritual service that any man can render the present age is
to make goodness pay at the top (in the most noticeable place) in some
business where nobody has made it pay before. Anybody can see that it
almost pays already, that it pays now here, now there. At all events,
anybody can see that it is very noticeable that the part of the world
that is most spiritual is not merely the part that is whining or hanging
on crosses. It is also the part that is successful. One knows scores of
saints with ruddy cheeks. It is getting to be a matter of principle
almost in a modern saint--to have ruddy cheeks.

I submit this fact respectfully to Bernard Shaw, Wall Street, Downing
Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and even to the New York _Sun_, that
vast machine for laughing at a world down in its snug quarters in Park
Row--that the saint with ruddy cheeks is a totally new and disconcerting
fact in our modern life. He is the next fact the honest pessimist will
have to face.

I submit that this saint with ruddy cheeks is here, that he is lovable,
imperturbable, imperious, irrepressible, as interesting as sin, as
catching as the Devil and that he has come to stay.

He stays because he is successful and can afford to stay.

He is successful because he is good.

Only religion works.

I am aware that the New York _Sun_ might quarrel with just exactly this
way of putting it.

I might put it another way or possibly try to say it again after saying
something else first. _Viz._: The man who is successful in business is
the man who can get people to do as much as they can do and a great deal
more than they think they can do.

Only a very lively goodness, almost a religion in a man, can do this. He
has to have something in him very like the power of inventing people or
of making people over.

To be specific: In some big department stores, as one goes down the
aisle, one will see over and over again the clerks making fun of

One by one the customers find it out and the more permanent ones, those
who would keep coming and who have the best trade, go to other stores.

How could such a thing be stopped in a department store by a practical
employer? Can he stop it successfully by turning on his politeness?

Of course he can make his clerks polite-looking by turning on his
politeness. But politeness in a department store does not consist in
being polite-looking. Being polite-looking does not work, does not grip
the customer or strike in and do things and make the customer do things.

A machine like a department store, made up of twenty-five hundred human
beings, which is carving out its will, its nature, stamping its pattern
on a city, on a million men, or on a nation, cannot be made to work
without religion. If the clerks are making fun of people, only religion
can stop it.

Perhaps you have been made fun of yourself, Gentle Reader? You have
observed, perhaps, that in making fun of people (making fun of you, for
instance), the assumption almost always is, that you are trying to be
like the Standard Person, and that this (they look at you pleasantly as
you go by) is as near as you can get to it! If an employer wishes to
make his clerk an especially valuable clerk, if he wishes to make his
clerk an expert in human nature or a good salesman, one who sees a
customer when he comes along as he really is, and as he is trying to be,
he will only be able to do it by touching something deep down in the
clerk's nature, something very like his religion--his power of putting
himself in the place of others. He can only do it by making a clerk feel
that this power in him of doing as he would be done by, and seeing how
to do it, _i.e._, the religion in him, is what he is hired for.

It is visionary to try to run a great department store, a great machine
of twenty-five hundred souls, a machine of human emotions, of five
thousand eyes and ears, a huge loom of enthusiasm, of love, hate,
covetousness, sorrow, disappointment, and joy without having it full of
clerks who are experts in human nature, putting themselves in the place
of crowds of other people, clerks who are essentially religious.

So we watch the men who are ahead driving one another into goodness. The
man who is not able to create, distribute or turn on, in his business
establishment, goodness, social insight, and customer-insight in it, can
only hope to-day to keep ahead in business by having competitors as
inefficient as he is.

The man who is ahead has discovered himself. Everything the man ahead
is doing eight hours a day, is seen at last narrowing him down,
cornering him into goodness.

Of course as long as people looked upon goodness as a Sunday affair, a
few hours a week put in on it, we were naturally discouraged about it.

It is still a little too fresh looking and it may be still a little too
clever for everybody, but slowly, irrevocably, we see it coming. We can
look up almost any day and watch some goodness--now--at least one
specimen or so, in every branch of business.

We watch daily the men who are ahead, pulling on the goodness of the
world and the Crowds pushing on it.



The men who are ahead make goodness start, but it is the crowds that
make it irresistible.

The final, slow, long, imperious lift on goodness is the one the crowd
gives. Of course, for the most part, modern business is largely done
with crowds. Crowds are doing it and crowds are nearly always watching

The factory is slower than the department store in being good because
the men in it deal with crowds of things and crowds of wheels and not
with crowds of people.

All responsible people are forced to be good, with crowds around them,
expecting it of them.

Crowds at the very least are a kind of vast, insinuating, penetrating,
omnipresent, permeating police force of righteousness.

In a department store, the crowds, twelve thousand a day, are like some
huge coil of hose or vacuum cleaner, lying about the place, sucking up,
drawing out, and demanding goodness from the clerks. Clerks develop
human insight and powers faster in department stores than machinists do
in factories because they are exposed to more people and to larger
crowds. The stream clears itself.

The last forms of business to yield to the new spirit are to be the
lonely ones, the ones where light, air, human emotions, and crowds are
shut out.

The lonely forms of business will at last be vitalized and socialized by
men of organizing genius, who will invent the equivalent of crowds going
by, who will contrive ways of putting a few responsible persons in
sight or in a position where they will feel crowds going by their souls,
looking into them as if they were shop windows. Crowds can keep track of
a few. The crowds will see that these few are the kind of men who will
keep track of all.

Crowds in the end will not accept less than the best. With crowds of
people and crowds of places and crowds of times we are good. In all
things crowds can see or be made to see we are safe. Progress lies in
making crowds see through people, making crowds go past them. While they
are going past them, they lure their goodness on.



The people who are worried and discouraged about goodness in this world,
one finds when one studies them a little, are almost always worried in a
kind of general way. They do not worry about anything in particular.
Their religion seems to be a kind of good-hearted, pained vagueness.

The religion of the people who never worry at all, the thoughtless
optimists, is quite the same too, except that they have a kind of happy,
rosy-lighted vagueness instead.

For about two thousand years now, goodness has been in the hands of
vague people. Some of them have used their vagueness to cry with softly,
and some of them have used it to praise God with and to have many fine,
brave, general feelings about God.

I have tried faithfully, speaking for one, to be religious with both of
these sets of people.

They make one feel rather lonesome.

If one goes about and takes a grim happiness, a kind of iron joy in
seeing how successful a locomotive is, or if one watches a great,
worshipful ocean liner with delight, or if, down in New York, one looks
up and sees a new skyscraper going slowly up, unfolding into the sky
before one, lifting up its gigantic, restless, resistless face to God;
there comes to seem to be something about churches and about good people
and about the way they have of acting and thinking about goodness and
doing things with goodness, that makes one unhappy.

Perhaps one has just come from it and one's soul is filled with the
stern, glad singing of a great foundry, of the religious, victorious
praising spirit of man, dipping up steel in mighty spoonfuls--the stuff
the inside of the earth is made of, and flinging it together into a
great network or crust for the planet--into mighty floors or sidewalks
all round the earth for cities to tread on and there comes to seem
something so successful, so manlike, so godlike about it, about the way
these men who do these things do them and do what they set out to do,
that when I find myself suddenly, all in a few minutes on a Sunday
morning, thrown out of this atmosphere into a Christian church, find
myself sitting all still and waiting, with all these good people about
me, and when I find them offering me their religion so gravely, so
hopefully, it all comes to me with a great rush sometimes--comes to me
as out of great deeps of resentment, that religion could possibly be
made in a church to seem something so faint, so beautifully weary, so
dreamy, and as if it were humming softly, absently to itself.

I wonder in the presence of a Christianity like this whether I am a
Christian or not--the quartet choirs, confections, the little, dainty,
faintly sweet sermons--it is as if--no I will not say it....

I have this moment crossed the words out before my eyes. It is as if,
after all, religion, instead of being as I supposed down at the foundry,
the stern and splendid music of man conquering all things for God, were,
after all, some huge, sublime and holy vagueness, as if the service and
the things I saw about me were not hard true realities--as if going to
Church were like sitting in a cloud--some soft musical cloud or floating
island of goodness and drifting and drifting....

       *       *       *       *       *

Not all churches are alike, but I am speaking of something that must
have happened to many men. I but record this blank space on this page,
as a spiritual fact, as a part of the religious experience of a man
trying to be good.

When this little experience of which the words have to be crossed out
after going to Church--finally settles down, there is still a grim truth
left in it.

The vagueness of the man who is good, who locks himself up in a Church
and says, "Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!" and the vigour and incisiveness of
the man who says nothing about it and who goes out of doors and acts
like a god all the week--these remain with me as a daily and abiding

And when I find myself myself, I, who have gloried in cathedrals since I
was a little child, looking ahead for a God upon the earth, and when I
see the foundries, the airships, the ocean liners beckoning the soul of
man upon the skies, and the victory of the soul over the dust and over
the water and over the air and when I see the Cathedrals beside them,
those vast, faint, grave, happy, floating islands of the Saved, drifting
backward down the years, it does not seem as if I could bear the
foundries saying one thing about my God and the cathedrals saying

I have tried to see a way out. Why should it be so?

I have seen that the foundries, the ocean liners, and the airships are
in the hands of men who say How.

Perhaps we will take goodness and cathedrals, very soon now, and put
them for a while in the hands of the men who say how. If St. Francis,
for instance, to-day, were to be suddenly more like Bessemer, or if Dr.
Henry Van Dyke were more like Edison or if the Reverend R.J. Campbell
were more like Sir Joseph Lister or if the Bishop of London were to go
at London the way Marconi goes at the sky, what would begin to happen to
goodness? One likes to imagine what would happen if that same spirit,
the spirit of "how" were brought to bear upon a great engineering
enterprise like goodness in this world.

Perhaps the spirit of "how" is the spirit of God.

Perhaps religion in the twentieth century is Technique.

Technique in the twentieth century is the Holy Ghost.

Technique is the very last thing that has been thought of in religion.
Religion is being converted before our eyes. It is becoming touched with
the temper of science, with the thoroughness, the doggedness, the
inconsolableness of science until it is seeing how and until it is
saying how.

When the inventors, in our machine age, get to work on goodness in the
way that they are getting to work on other things, things will begin to
happen to goodness that the vague, sweet saints of two thousand years
have never dreamed of yet.

In London and New York, in this first quarter of the twentieth century
Christianity will not be put off as a spirit. The right of Christianity
to be a spirit has lapsed.

Christianity is a Method.

What Christ meant when He said He was the Truth and the Life, has been
understood, on the whole, very well. What He meant by saying He was the
Way, we are now beginning, to work out.

       *       *       *       *       *

A thousand or two years ago, when two men stood by the roadside and made
a bargain, it was their affair.

When two men stand on the sidewalk now and make a bargain, say in New
York, they have to deal and to deal very thoughtfully and accurately
with ninety million people who are not there. They do this as well as
they can by imagining what the ninety million people would do and say,
and how they would like to be done by, if they were there.

The facilities for finding out what the ninety million people would do
and say, and what they would want, the general conveniences for assuring
the two men on the sidewalk that they will be able to conduct their
bargain, and to get the other ninety million in, accurately, that they
will be able to do by them as they would be done by--these have scarcely
been arranged for yet.

In our machine age, with our railroads, and our telephones suddenly
heaping our lives up on one another's lives, almost before we have
noticed it, our religious machinery to go with our other machinery, our
machinery that we are going to be Christians with, has not been
invented yet.

Religion two-men size, or man and woman size, or one family or two
family size or village size has been worked out. Religion as long as it
has been concerned with a few people and was a matter of love between
neighbours, or of skill in being neighbourly, has had no special or
imperative need for science or the scientific man.

Now that religion is obliged to be an intimate, a confiding relation
between ninety million people, the spiritual genius, devotion, and
holiness of the scientific man, of the man who says "how" has come to be
the modern man's almost only access to his God.

A ninety million man-power religion is an enterprise of spiritual
engineering, a feat in national and international statesmanship, a
gigantic structural constructive achievement in human nature. Doing as
one would be done by, with a few people, is a thing that any man can sit
down and read his Bible a few minutes and arrange for himself. He can
manage to do as he would be done by, fairly well in the next yard. But
how about doing as one would be done by with ninety million people--all
sizes, all climates, all religions, Buffalo, New Orleans, Seattle? How
about doing as one would be done by three thousand miles?

It is an understatement to say, as we look about our modern world, that
Christianity has not been tried yet.

Christianity has not been invented yet.

What was invented two thousand years ago was the spirit of Christianity.

Christianity has been for two thousand years a spirit.

It is almost like a new religion to me just of itself to think of it. It
is like being presented suddenly with a new world to think of it, to
think that all we have really done with Christianity as yet is to use it
as a breath or spirit.

I look at the vision of the earth to-day, of the great cities rushing
together at last and running around the world like children running
around a house--great cities shouting on the seas, suddenly sliding up
and down the globe, playing hopscotch on the equator, scrambling up the
poles--all these colossal children!... Here we all are!--a whiff of
steam from the Watts's steam kettle and a wave of Marconi across the air
and we have crept up from our little separate sunsets, all our little
private national bedrooms of light and darkness into the one single same
cunning dooryard of a world! Our religion, our politics, our Bibles,
kings, millionaires, crowds, bombs, prophets and railroads all hurling,
sweeping, crashing our lives together in a kind of vast international
collision of intimacy.

All the Christianity we can bring to bear or that we can use to run this
crash of intimacy with is a spirit, a breath.

We do not well to berate one another or to berate one another's motives
or to assail human nature or to grow satirical about God with all our
little battered helpless Christians about us and our unadjusted

We are a new human race grappling with a new world. Our Christianity has
not been invented yet and if we want a God, we will work like chemists,
like airmen, turn the inside of the earth out, dump the sky, move
mountains, face cities, love one another, and find Him!

In the meantime until we have done this, until we have worked as
chemists and airmen work, Christianity is a spirit.

It explains all this eager jumble of the world, brushes away our
objections, frees our hearts, gives us our program, makes us know what
we are for, to stop and think a moment of this--that Christianity is a

Everything that is passing wonderful is a spirit at first. God begins
building a world as a world-spirit, out of a spirit brooding upon the
waters. Then for a long while the vague waters, then for a long while a
little vague land or spirit-of-planet before a real world.

And every real belief that man has had, has begun as a spirit.

For two thousand years Man has had the spirit of immortality. Homer had
it. Homer had moments when improvising his mighty song all alone, of
hearing or seeming to hear, faintly, choruses of men's voices singing
his songs after him, a thousand years away.

As he groped his way up in his singing, he felt them in spirit, perhaps,
the lonely wandering minstrels in little closed-in valleys, or on the
vast quiet hills, filling the world with his voice when he was dead,
going about with his singing, breaking it in upon the souls of children,
of the new boys and girls, and building new worlds and rebuilding old
worlds in the hearts of men. Homer had the spirit of hearing his own
voice forever, but the technique of it, the important point of seeing
how the thing could really be done, of seeing how people, instead of
listening to imitations or copies or awkward echoes of Homer, should
listen to Homer's voice itself--the timbre, the intimacy, the subtlety,
the strength of it--the depth of his heart singing out of it. All this
has had to wait to be thought out by Thomas A. Edison.

Man has not only for thousands of years had the spirit of immortality,
of keeping his voice filed away if any one wanted it on the earth,
forever, but he has had all the other spirits or ghosts of his mightier
self. He has had the spirit of being imperious and wilful with the sea,
of faring forth on a planet and playing with oceans, and now he has
worked out the details in ocean liners, in boats that fly up from the
water, and in boats which dive and swim beneath the sea. For thousands
of years he has had the spirit of the locomotive working through, troops
of runners or of dim men groping defiantly with camels through deserts,
or sweeping on on horses through the plains, and now with his banners of
steam at last he has great public trains of cars carrying cities.

For hundreds of years man has had the spirit of the motor-car--of having
his own private locomotive or his own special train drive up to his
door--the spirit of making every road his railway. For a great many
years he has had the spirit of the wireless telegraph and of using the
sky. Franklin tried using the sky years ago but all he got was
electricity. Marconi knew how better. Marconi has got ghosts of men's
voices out of the clouds, has made heaven a sounding board for great
congregations of cities, and faraway nations wrapped in darkness and
silence whisper round the rolling earth. Man has long had the spirit of
defying the seas. Now he has the technique and the motor-boat. He has
had the spirit of removing oceans and of building huge, underground
cities, the spirit of caves in the ground and mansions in the sky, and
now he has subways and skyscrapers. For a thousand years he has had the
spirit of Christ and now there is Frederick Taylor, Louis Brandeis,
Westfield Pure Food, Doctor Carrel, Jane Addams, and Filene's Store.
Vast networks--huge spiritual machines of goodness are crowding and
penetrating to-day, fifteen pounds to the square inch, the atmosphere of
the gospel into the very core of the matter of the world, into the
everyday things, into the solids of the lives of men.

It takes two great spirits of humanity to bring a great truth or a new
goodness into this world; one spirit creates it, the other conceives it,
gathers the earth about it and gives it birth. These two spirits seem to
be the spirits of the poet and the scientist.

We are taking to-day, many of us, an almost religious delight in them
both. We make no comparisons.

We note that the poet's inspiration comes first and consists in saying
something that is true, that cannot be proved.

A few people with imagination, here and there, believe it.

The scientist's inspiration comes second and consists in seeing ways of
proving it, of making it matter of fact.

He proves it by seeing how to do it.

Crowds believe it.



One of the things that makes one thoughtful in going about from city to
city and dropping into the churches is the way the people do not sing in
them and will not pray in them. In every new strange city where one
stops on a Sunday morning, one looks hopefully--while one hears the
chimes of bells--at the row of steeples down the street. One looks for
people going in who seem to go with chimes of bells. And when one goes
in, one finds them again and again, inside, all these bolt-up-right,
faintly sing-song congregations.

One wonders about the churches.

What is there that is being said in them that should make any one feel
like singing?

The one thing that the churches are for is news--news that would be
suitable to sing about, and that would naturally make one want to sing
and pray after one had heard it.

There is very little occasion to sing or to pray over old news.

Worship would take care of itself in our churches if people got the
latest and biggest news in them.

News is the latest faith men have in one another, the last thing they
have dared to get from God.

It is not impossible that just at the present moment, and for some
little time to come, there is really very little worth while that can be
said about Christianity, until Christianity has been tried. I cannot
conceive of Christ's coming back and saying anything just at the moment.
He would merely wonder why, in all these two thousand years, we had not
arranged to do anything about what He had said before. He would wonder
how we could keep on so, making his great faith for us so poetic,
visionary, and inefficient.

It is in the unconscious recognition of this and of the present
spiritual crisis of the world, that our best men, so many of them,
instead of going into preaching are going into laboratories and into
business where what the gospel really is and what it is really made of,
is being at last revealed to people--where news is being created.

Perhaps it would not be precisely true--what I have said, about Christ's
not saying anything. He probably would. But he would not say these same
merely rudimentary things. He would go on to the truths and applications
we have never heard or guessed. The rest of his time he would put in in
proving that the things that had been merely said two thousand years
ago, could be done now. And He would do what He could toward having them
dropped forever, taken for granted and acted on as a part of the morally
automatic and of-course machinery of the world.

The Golden Rule takes or ought to take, very soon now, in real religion,
somewhat the same position that table manners take in morals.

All good manners are good in proportion as they become automatic. In
saying that honesty pays we are merely moving religion on to its more
creative and newer levels. We are asserting that the literal belief in
honesty, after this, ought to be attended to practically by machinery.
People ought to be honest automatically and by assumption, by dismissing
it in business in particular, as a thing to be taken for granted.

This is what is going to happen.

Without the printing press a book would cost about ten thousand dollars,
each copy.

With the printing press, the first copy of a book costs perhaps about
six hundred dollars.

The second costs--twenty-nine cents.

The same principle holds good under the law of moral automatics.

Let the plates be cast. Everything follows. The fire in the Iroquois
Theatre in Chicago cost six hundred dead bodies.

Within a few months outward opening doors flew open to the streets
around a world.

Everybody knew about outward opening doors before.

They had the spirit of outward opening doors. But the machinery for
making everybody know that they knew it--the moral and spiritual
machinery for lifting over the doors of a world and making them all
swing suddenly generation after generation the other way, had not been
set up.

Of course it would have been better if there had been three hundred dead
bodies or three dead bodies--but the principle holds good--let the moral
plates be cast and the huge moral values follow with comparatively
little individual moral hand labour. The moral hand labour moves on to
more original things.

The same principle holds good in letting an American city be good in
seeing how to make goodness in a city work.

Let the plates be once cast--say Galveston, Texas; or De Moines, Iowa,
and goodness after you have your first specimen gets national

Two hundred and five cities have adopted the Galveston or commission
government in three years.

       *       *       *       *       *

The failure for the time being apparently of the more noble and
aggressive kinds of goodness against the forces of evil is a matter of
technique. Our failure is not due to our failure to know what evil
really is, but due to our wasteful way of tunnelling through it.

Our religious inventors have failed to use the most scientific method.
We have gone at the matter of butting through evil without thinking
enough. Less butting and more thinking is our religion now. We will not
try any longer to butt a whole planet when we try to keep one man from
doing wrong.

We will butt our way through to the man who sees where to butt and how
to butt. Then all together!

Very few of the wrongs that are done to society by individuals would be
done if civilization were supplied with the slightest adequate machinery
or conveniences for bringing home to people vividly who the people are
they are wronging, how they are wronging them, and how the people feel
about it. This machinery for moral and social insight, this
intelligence-engine or apparatus of sympathy for a planet to-day, before
our eyes is being invented and set up.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes I almost think that history as a study or particularly as a
habit of mind ought to be partitioned off and not allowed to people in
general to-day. Only men of genius have imagination enough for handling
history so that it is not a nuisance, a provincialism and an
impertinence in the serene presence to-day of what is happening before
our eyes. History makes common people stop thinking or makes them think
wrong, about nine tenths of the area of human nature, particularly about
the next important things that are going to happen to it.

Our modern life is not an historian's problem. It is an inventor's
problem. The historian can stand by and can be consulted. But things
that seem to an historian quite reasonably impossible in human nature
are true and we must all of us act every day as if they were true. We
but change the temperature of human nature and in one moment new levels
and possibilities open up on every side.

Things that are true about water stop being true the moment it is heated
212 degrees Fahrenheit. It begins suddenly to act like a cloud and when
it is cooled off enough a cloud acts like a stone. Railroad trains are
run for hundreds of miles every year in Siberia across clouds that are
cold enough. We raise the temperature of human nature and the motives
with which men cannot act to-day suddenly around a world are the motives
with which they cannot help acting to-morrow.

The theory of raised temperatures alone, in human nature, will make
possible to us ranges of goodness, of social passion and vision, that
only a few men have been capable of before.

All the new inventions have new sins, even new manners that go with
them, new virtues and new faculties. The telephone, the motor-car, the
wireless telegraph, the airship and the motor-boat all make men act with
different insights, longer distances, and higher speeds.

Men who, like our modern men, have a going consciousness, see things
deeper by going faster.

They see how more clearly by going faster.

They see farther by going faster.

If a man is driving a motor-car three miles an hour all he needs to
attend to with his imagination is a few feet of the road ahead.

If he is driving his car thirty miles an hour and trying to get on by
anticipating his road a few feet ahead, he dies.

The faster a man goes--if he has the brains for it--the more people and
the more things in the way, his mind covers in a minute--the more
magnificently he sees how.

On a railway train any ordinary man any day in the year (if he goes fast
enough) can see through a board fence. It may be made of vertical slats
five inches across and half an inch apart. He sees through the slits
between the slats the whole country for miles. If he goes fast enough a
man can see through a solid freight train.

All our modern industrial social problems are problems of gearing people
up. Ordinary men are living on trains now--on moral trains.

Their social consciousness is being geared up. They are seeing more
other people and more other things and more things beyond the Fence.

The increased vibration in human nature and in the human brain and heart
that go with the motor-car habit, the increased speed of the human
motor, the gearing up of the central power house in society everywhere
is going to make men capable of unheard-of social technique. The social
consciousness is becoming the common man's daily habit. Laws of social
technique and laws of human nature which were theories once are habits

There is a certain sense in which it may be said that the modern man
enjoys daily his moral imagination. He is angered and delighted with his
social consciousness. He boils with rage or sings when he hears of all
the new machines of good and machines of evil that people are setting up
in our modern world.

There is a sense in which he glories in the Golden Rule. The
moral-machinist's joy is in him. He is not content to watch it go round
and round like some smooth-running Corliss engine which is not connected
up yet--that nobody really uses except as a kind of model under glass or
a miniature for theological schools. He cannot bear the Golden Rule
under glass. He wants to see it going round and round, look up at it,
immense, silent, masterful, running a world. He delights in the Golden
Rule as a part of his love of nature. It is as the falling of apples to
him. He delights in it as he delights in frost and fire and in the
glorious, modest, implacable, hushed way they work!

We are in an age in which a Golden Rule can sing. The men around us are
in a new temper. They have the passion, almost, the religion of
precision that goes with machines.

While I have been sitting at my desk and writing these last words, the
two half-past-eight trains, at full speed, have met in the meadow.

There is something a little impersonal, almost abstracted, about the way
the trains meet out here on their lonely sidewalk through the meadow,
twenty inches apart--morning after morning. It always seems as if this
time--this one next time--they would not do it right. One argues it all
out unconsciously that of course there is a kind of understanding
between them as they come bearing down on each other and it's all been
arranged beforehand when they left their stations; and yet somehow as I
watch them flying up out of the distance, those two still, swift
thoughts, or shots of cities--dark, monstrous (it's as if Springfield
and Northampton had caught some people up and were firing them at each
other)--I am always wondering if this particular time there will not be
a report, after all, a clang on the landscape, on all the hills, and a
long story in the _Republican_ the next morning.

Then they softly crash together and pass on--two or three quiet whiffs
at each other--as if nothing had happened.

I always feel afterward as if something splendid, some great human act
of faith, had been done in my presence. Those two looming, mighty
engines, bearing down on each other, making an aim so, at twenty inches
from death, and nothing to depend on but those two gleaming dainty
strips or ribbons of iron--a few eighths of an inch on the edge of a
wheel--I never can get used to it: the two great glowing creatures, full
of thunder and trust, leaping up the telegraph poles through the still
valley, each of them with its little streak of souls behind it; immortal
souls, children, fathers, mothers, smiling, chattering along through
Infinity--it all keeps on being boundless to me, and full of a glad
boyish terror and faith. And under and through it all there is a kind of
stern singing.

I know well enough, of course, that it is a platitude, this meeting of
two trains in a meadow, but it never acts like one. I sometimes stand
and watch the engineer afterward. I wonder if he knows he enjoys it.
Perhaps he would have to stop to know how happy he was, and not meet
trains for a while. Then he would miss something, I think; he would miss
his deep joyous daily acts of faith, his daily habits of believing in
things--in steam, and in air, and in himself, and in the switchman, and
in God.

I see him in his cab window, he swings out his blue sleeve at me! I like
the way he stakes everything on what he believes. Nothing between him
and death but a few telegraph ticks--the flange of a wheel.... Suddenly
the swing of his train comes up like the swing and the rhythm of a great
creed. It sounds like a chant down between the mountains. I come into
the house lifted with it. I have heard a man believing, believing mile
after mile down the valley. I have heard a man believing in a
Pennsylvania rolling mill, in a white vapour, in compressed air and a
whistle, the way Calvin believed in God.




    _"Great Spirit--Thou who in my being's burning mesh
    Hath wrought the shining of the mist through and through the flesh,
    Who, through the double-wondered glory of the dust
    Hast thrust
    Habits of skies upon me, souls of days and nights,
    Where are the deeds that needs must be,
    The dreams, the high delights,
    That I once more may hear my voice
    From cloudy door to door rejoice--
    May stretch the boundaries of love
    Beyond the mumbling, mock horizons of my fears
    To the faint-remembered glory of those years--
    May lift my soul
    And reach this Heaven of thine
    With mine?"

    "Come up here, dear little Child
      To fly in the clouds and winds with me,
          and play with the measureless light!"_





As I was wandering through space the other day--just aeroplaning past on
my way over from Mars--I came suddenly upon a neat, snug little
property, with a huge sign stuck in the middle of it:

    Carnegie, Morgan & Co.

I was just about to pass it by, inferring naturally that it must be a
mere bank, or wholesale house, or something, when it occurred to me it
might do no harm to stop over on it, and see. I thought I might at least
drop in and inquire what kind of a firm it was that was handling it, and
what was their idea, and what, if anything, they thought their little
planet was for, and what they proposed to do with it.

I found, on meeting Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Morgan, to
my astonishment, that they did not propose to do anything with it at
all. They had merely got it; that was as far as they had thought the
thing out apparently--to get it. They seemed to be depending, so far as
I could judge, in a vague, pained way, on somebody's happening along who
would think perhaps of something that could be done with it.

Of course, as Mr. Carnegie (who was the talking member of the firm)
pointed out, if they only owned a part of it, and could sell one part of
it to the other part there would still be something left that they could
do, at least it would be their line; but merely owning all of it, so, as
they did, was embarrassing. He had tried, Mr. Carnegie told me, to think
of a few things himself, but was discouraged; and he intimated he was
devoting his life just now to pulling himself together at the end, and
dying a poor man. But that was not much, he admitted, and it was really
not a very great service on his part to a world, he thought--his merely
dying poor in it.

When I asked him if there was anything else he had been able to think of
to do for the world--

"No," he said, "nothing really; nothing except chucking down libraries
on it--safes for old books."

"And Mr. Morgan?" I said.

"Oh! He is chucking down old china on it, old pictures, and things."

"And Mr. Rockefeller?"

"Mussing with colleges, some," he said, "just now. But he doesn't, as a
matter of fact, see anything--not of his own--that can really be done
with them, except to make them more systematized and businesslike, make
them over into sort of Standard Oil Spiritual Refineries, fill them with
millions more of little Rockefellers--and they won't let him do that. Of
course, as you might see, what they want to do practically is to take
the Rockefeller money and leave the Rockefeller out. Nobody will really
let him do anything. Everything goes this way when we seriously try to
do things. The fact is, it is a pretty small, helpless business, owning
a world," sighed Mr. Carnegie.

"This is why we are selling out, if anybody happens along. Anybody, that
is, who really sees what this piece of property is for and how to
develop it, can have it," said Mr. Carnegie, "and have it cheap."

Mr. Carnegie spoke these last words very slowly and wearily, and with
his most wistful look; and then, recalling himself suddenly, and handing
me a glass to look at New York with and see what I thought of it, he
asked to be excused for a moment, and saying, "I have fourteen libraries
to give away before a quarter past twelve," he hurried out of the room.



I found, as I was studying the general view of New York as seen from the
top through Mr. Carnegie's glass, that there appeared to be a great many
dots--long rows of dots for the most part--possibly very high buildings,
but there was one building, wide and white and low, and more spread-out
and important-looking than any of the others, which especially attracted
my attention. It looked as if it might be a kind of monument or
mausoleum to somebody. On looking again I found that it was filled with
books, and was the Carnegie Public Library. There were forty more
Libraries for New York Mr. Carnegie was having put up, I was told, and
he had dotted them--thousands of them almost everywhere one could look,
apparently, on his own particular part of the planet.

A few days later, when I began to do things at a closer range, I took a
little trip to New York, and visited the Library; and I asked the man
who seemed to have it in charge, who there was who was writing books for
Mr. Carnegie's Libraries just now, or if there was any really adequate
arrangement Mr. Carnegie had made for having a few great books written
for all these fine buildings--all these really noble book-racks, he had
had put up. The man seemed rather taken aback, and hesitated. Finally, I
asked him point blank to give me the name of the supposed greatest
living author who had written anything for all these miles of Carnegie
Libraries, and he mentioned doubtfully a certain Mr. Rudyard Kipling. I
at once asked for his books, of course, and sat down without delay to
find out if he was the greatest living author the planet had, what it
was he had to say for it and about it, and more particularly, of course,
what he had to to say it was for.

I found among his books some beautiful and quite refined interpretations
of tigers and serpents, a really noble interpretation or conception of
what the beasts were for all the glorious gentlemanly beasts--and of
what machines were for--all the young, fresh, mighty, worshipful
engines--and what soldiers were for. But when I looked at what he
thought men were for, at what the planet was for, there was practically
almost nothing. The nearest I came to it was a remark, apparently in a
magazine interview which I cannot quote correctly now, but which
amounted to something like this: "We will never have a great world until
we have some one great artist or poet in it, who sees it as a whole,
focuses it, composes it, makes a picture of it, and gives the men who
are in it a vision to live for."

       *       *       *       *       *

Since then I have been trying to see what Messrs. Rockefeller, Carnegie,
and Morgan could do to produce and arrange what seemed to me the one
most important, imperative, and immediate convenience their planet could
have, namely, as Mr. Kipling intimated, some man on it, some great
creative genius, who would gather it all up in his imagination--the
beasts, and the people, and the sciences, and the machines--in short,
the planet as a whole, and say what it was for. It is from this point of
view that I have been drawn into writing the following pages on the next
important improvements--what one might call the spiritual Unreal-Estate
Improvements, for Messrs. Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan's property
which will have to be installed. I have been going over the property
more or less carefully in my own way since, studying it and noting what
had been done by the owners, and what possibly might be done toward
arranging authors, inventors, seers, artists, or engineers or other
efficient persons who would be able to inquire, to think out for a
world, to express for it, some faint idea of what it was for.



Not unnaturally, of course, I turned to see what had already been done
by the more powerful men the planet had produced, in the way of
arranging for the necessary seers and geniuses to run the world with,
and I soon found that by far the most intelligent and far-seeing attempt
that had been made yet in this direction had been made by an inspired,
or semi-inspired, millionaire in Sweden, named Alfred Nobel, an
idealist, who had made a large but unhappy fortune out of an explosive
to stop war with. His general idea had been that dynamite would make war
so terrible that it would shock people into not fighting any more, and
that gradually people, not having to spend their time in thinking of
ways of killing one another, would have more time than they had ever had
before to think of other and more important things. It was the
disappointment of his life that his invention, instead of being used
creatively, used to free men from fighting and make men think of things,
had been used largely as an arrangement for making people so afraid of
war that they could not think of anything else. Whichever way he turned
he saw the world in a kind of panic, all the old and gentle-minded
nations with their fair fields, their factories and art galleries, all
hard at work piling up explosives around themselves until they could
hardly see over them. As this was the precise contrary of what he had
intended, and he had not managed to do what he had meant to do with
making his money, he thought he would try to see if he could not yet do
what he had meant to do in spending it. He sat down to write his Will,
and in this Will, writing as an inventor and a man of genius, he tried
to express, in the terms of money, his five great desires for the world.
He wished to spend forty thousand dollars a year, every year forever,
after he was dead, on each of these five great desires. There were five
great Inventors that he wanted, and he wanted the whole world searched
through for them, for each of them, once more every year, to see if they
could be found. Mr. Nobel expressed his desire for these five Inventors
as people often manage to express things in wills, in such a way that
not everybody had been sure what he meant. There seems to have been
comparatively little trouble, from year to year, in awarding the prizes
to some adequate inventor in the domain of Peace, of Physics, of
Chemistry, and of Medicine; but the Nobel Prize Trustees, in trying to
pick out an award each year to some man who could be regarded as a true
inventor in Literature, have met with considerable difficulty in
deciding just what sort of a man Alfred Nobel had in mind, and had set
aside his forty thousand dollars for when he directed that it should
go--to quote from the Will--"To the person who shall have produced in
the field of Literature the most distinguished work of an idealistic

Allen Upward, for instance, an Englishman unknown in Stockholm, invented
and published a book four years ago, called the "New Word," which was so
idealistic and distinguished a book, and so full of new ideas and of new
combinations of old ideas, that there was scarcely a publisher in
England who did not instinctively recognize it, who did not see that it
would not pay at once, and that therefore it was too strange and
original and too important a book for him to publish, and after a long
delay the book was finally printed in Geneva.

A copy was sent to the Nobel Prize Trustees.

One would have thought, looking at it theoretically, that here was
precisely the sort of situation that Alfred Nobel, who had been the
struggling inventor of a great invention that would not pay at once
himself, would have been looking for. A book so inventive, so far ahead,
that publishers praised it and would not invest in it, one would have
imagined to be the one book of all others for which Alfred Nobel stood
ready and waiting to put down his forty thousand dollars.

But Mr. Nobel's forty thousand dollars did not go to a comparatively
obscure and uncapitalized inventor who had written a book to build a
world with, or at least a great preliminary design, or sketch, toward a
world. The Nobel Prize Trustees, instead of giving the forty thousand
dollars to Allen Upward, looked carefully about through all the nations
until their eyes fell on a certain Mr. Rudyard Kipling. And when they
saw Mr. Rudyard Kipling, piled high with fame and five dollars a word,
they came over quietly to where he was and put softly down on him forty
thousand dollars more.

I do not know, but it is not inconceivable, that Kipling himself would
rather have had Allen Upward have it.

I am not quarrelling with the Trustees, and am merely trying to think
things out and understand. But it certainly is a question that cannot
but keep recurring to one's mind--the unfortunate, and perhaps rather
unlooked-for, way in which Mr. Nobel's Will works. And I have been
wondering what there is that might be done, the world being the kind of
world it is, which would enable the Nobel Prize Trustees to so
administer the Will that its practical weight on the side of Idealism,
and especially upon the crisis of idealism in young authors, would be
where Mr. Nobel meant to have it.

One must hasten to admit that Mr. Upward's book is open to question;
that, in fact, it is the main trait of Mr. Upward's book that it raises
a thousand questions; and that it would be a particularly hard book for
most men to give a prize to, quietly go home, and sleep that night. I
must hasten to admit also that, judging from their own point of view,
the Nobel Prize Trustees have so far done quite well. They have
attained a kind of triumph of doing safe things--things that they could
not be criticised for; and they could well reply to this present
criticism that there was no other course that they could take. Unless
they had a large fund for butting through all nations for obscure
geniuses, and for turning up stones everywhere to look for embryo
authors--unless they had a fund for going about among the great
newspapers, the big magazines, and peeping under them through all the
world for geniuses--and unless they had still another large fund for
guaranteeing their decision when they had found one, a fund for
convincing the world that they were right, and that they were not
wasting their forty thousand dollars--the Trustees have taken a fairly
plausible position. Their position being that, in default of perfectly
fresh, brand-new, great men, and in view of the fact, in a world like
this that geniuses in it are almost invariably, and, as a matter of
course, lost or mislaid until they are dead, much the best and safest
thing that Trustees of Idealism could do was to watch the drift of
public opinion in the different nations, to adopt the course of noting
carefully what the world thought were really its great men, and then (at
a discreet and dignified distance, of course) tagging the public, and
wherever they saw a crowd, a rather nice crowd, round a man, standing up
softly at the last moment and handing him over his forty thousand
dollars. This has been the history of the Nobel Trustees of Idealism,
thus far.

But in a way, we are all the trustees of idealism, and the problem of
the Nobel Prize Trustees is more or less the problem of all of us. We
are interested as well as they in trying to find out how to recognize
and reward men of genius. What would we do ourselves if we were Nobel
Prize Trustees? Precisely what was it that Alfred Nobel intended to
achieve for Literature when he made this bequest of forty thousand
dollars a year in his Will, for a work of Literature of an idealistic

To take a concrete case, I can only record that it has seemed to me
that if Alfred Nobel himself could have been on hand that particular
year, and could have read Mr. Upward's book, he would have given the
prize of forty thousand dollars to Allen Upward. He would not have given
the prize to Mr. Kipling--he would have given it twenty years before;
but in this particular year of which I am writing, when he saw these two
men together, I believe he would have given the prize to Allen Upward,
and he would have hurried.

I would like to put forward at this point two inquiries. First, why did
the Trustees not award the prize to Allen Upward? And second, what would
have happened if they had?

First, the Trustees could not be sure that Mr. Upward in his work of
genius was telling the truth.

Second, they could not be sure that the world would approve of his
having forty thousand dollars for telling the truth. Perhaps the world
would have rather had him paid forty thousand dollars for not telling

Third, Mr. Kipling was safe. No creative work had to be done on Kipling;
all they had to do was to send him the cheque. Great crowds had swept in
from all over the world, and nominated Mr. Kipling; the Committee merely
had to confirm the nomination.

Fourth, Mr. Upward, like all idealists, like all men who have the power
of throwing this world into the melting-pot and bringing it out new
again partly unrecognizable (which, of course, is the regular
historical, almost conventional, thing for an idealist to do with a
world), bewildered the Nobel Prize Committee. They could not be sure but
that Mr. Upward's next book would be thought in the wrong, and make
their having given him forty thousand dollars to write it ridiculous.

       *       *       *       *       *

What would have happened if the Trustees had given the prize to Mr.

First, practically no one would have known who he was, and twenty-five
nations would have been reading his book in a week, to see why the prize
was given to him. The book would have been given the most widespread,
highly stimulated, forty-thousand-dollar-power attention that any book
in any age has had.

Only now and then would a man go over and take down his old Kiplings
from the shelf and read them, because he had heard that Mr. Kipling had
forty thousand dollars more than he had had before.

Secondly, Mr. Upward's new book would have the stimulus of his knowing
while he was writing it that every word would be read by everybody. All
the draught on the fire of his genius of the whole listening world would
result in a work that even Mr. Upward himself perhaps would hardly
believe he had written. As events turned out, and Mr. Upward did not get
the prize there might be many reasons to believe that his next book
might be out of focus, might be a mere petulant, scolding book, his
exultation spent or dwindled, because his last tremendous wager--that
the world wanted the truth--was lost.

Scolding in a book means, as a rule, either juvenility or it means
relapse into conscious degeneration of the soul--the focussing and
fusing power in a man. I have sometimes wondered if even Christ, if He
had not died in His thirty-third year, made His great dare for the world
on the cross early, would not have stopped believing so magnificently in
other people at about forty or forty-five or so, and would not have
spent the rest of His days in railing at them, and in being very bitter
and helpless and eloquent about Rome and Jerusalem. I have caught myself
once or twice being glad Abraham Lincoln died suddenly just when he did,
his great faith and love all warm in him, and his great oath for the
world--that it was good--still fresh upon his lips!

Writing a book like Allen Upward's for a planet with a vision of a
thousand years singing splendidly through it, and then just reading it
all alone afterward when he has written it, and going over the score all
alone by himself, would seem to be a good deal of a strain. To be
contradicted out loud and gloriously by a world might be inspiring, but
to be contradicted by a solid phalanx of silent nations, trooping up
behind one another, unanimous, impervious, is enough to make any
radiant, long-accumulated genius pause in full career, question himself,
question his vision as a chimera, as some faintly lighted Northern
Lights upon the world, that would never mean anything, that was an
illusion, that would just flicker in the great dark once more and go

I do not say that this is true, or that it would be true of Allen

But I have read his book. I should think it might be true.

What Alfred Nobel had in mind, his whole idea in his Will, it seems to
some of us, was to put in his forty thousand dollars at the working end
of some man's mind, at the end of the man's mind where the forty
thousand dollars would itself be creative, where the forty thousand
dollars would get into the man, and work out through the man and through
his genius into the world. It does not seem to me that he wanted to put
his forty thousand dollars at the idle, old remembering end of a man's
mind; that he meant it should be used as a mere reward for idealism. I
doubt if it even so much as occurred to Alfred Nobel, who was an
idealist himself, that idealism, after a man had managed to have some in
this world, would be rewarded, or could possibly be paid for, by any
one. He knew, if ever a man knew, that idealism was its own reward, and
that it was priceless, and that any attempt to reward it with money, to
pay a man for it after he had had it, and after it was all over, would
make forty thousand dollars look shabby, or at least pathetic and
ridiculous. What he wanted to do was to build his forty thousand dollars
over into a Man. He wanted to feel that this money that he had made out
of dynamite, out of destruction, would be wrought, through this man,
into exultation, into life. He had proposed that this forty thousand
dollars should become poetry in this man's book, that it should become
light and heat, a power-house of thought, of great events. What Alfred
Nobel had in mind, I think, with his little forty thousand dollars, was
that it should be given a chance to become an intimate part of some
man's genius; that it should become perhaps at last a Great Book--that
great foundry of men's souls, where the moulds of History are patterned
out, and where the hopes of nations and the prayers of women and
children and of great men are, and where the ideals of men--those huge
drive-wheels of the world--are cast in a strange light and silence.

I wondered if they could have thought of this when they voted on Allen
Upward's book that day three years ago--those twenty grave, quiet
gentlemen in frockcoats in Stockholm!

       *       *       *       *       *

I have picked out Mr. Upward's book because it is the most difficult,
the most hazardous, and the least fortunate one I know, to make my point
with; and because a great many people will get the reaction of
disagreeing with me, and feeling about it probably, the way the Nobel
Prizes Trustees did. I have wanted to take a book which has the traits
in it for which men of genius are persecuted or crucified or
ignored--our more modern timid or anonymous form of the cross. If Mr.
Upward had been given the Prize by the Nobel Prize Trustees, it will
have to be admitted a howl would have gone up round the world that would
not have quieted down yet; and it is this howl that Mr. Nobel intended
his Prize for, and that he thought a man would need about forty thousand
dollars to meet.

I might have taken any one of several other books, and they would have
illustrated my point snugly and more conveniently; but just that right
touch of craziness that Nobel had in mind, and that goes with great
experiment of spirit--the chill, Nietzsche-like wildness, that bravado
before God and man and before Time, that swinging one's self out on
Eternity, which make Upward a typical man of genius, would have been
lacking. K---- (whose criticisms of books are the most creative ones I
know) said of Upward's book that he felt very happy and strangely
emancipated when he read it, but that it was an uncanny experience, as
if he had been made of thin air, had become a kind of aerated being, a
psychic effect that genius often has; and K---- admitted to me
confidentially that he felt that possibly he and Upward were being a
little crazy and happy together by themselves, breaking out into
infinite space so, and he took the book over to W----, and left it on
his desk slinkingly and half-ashamed and without saying anything about
it. He said he was enormously relieved next time he saw W----, felt as
if he had just been pulled out of Bedlam to find that there was at least
one other man in the world apparently in his right mind, who valued the
book as he did.

This is the precise feeling, it seems to me, that the Nobel Prize was
intended to champion and to stand by and temporarily defend in a new
author--the feeling he gives us of being in the presence of unseen
forces, of incalculableness. It was this way Allen Upward has of taking
his reader apart or up into a high place (like the Devil), and dizzying
him, taking away his breath with Truth, that Nobel had in mind. He
wanted to spend eight thousand pounds a year on providing for the world
one more book which would give the ordinary man the personal feeling of
being with a genius, cold, lonely, cosmic genius, the sense of a chill
wind of All Space Outside blowing through--a book which is a sort of
God's Wilderness, in which ordinary men with their ordinary plain senses
round them move about dazed a little and as trees walking--a great,
gaunt, naked book.

Alfred Nobel was the inventor of an explosive, a rearranger of things
assumed and things unbedded, and it was this same expansive,
half-terrible, half-sublime power in other men and other men's books he
wanted to endow--the power to free and mobilize the elements in a world,
make it budge over a little toward a new one. He wanted to spend forty
thousand dollars a year on the man in literature who had the pent-up
power in him to crash the world's mind open once more every year like a
Seed, and send groping up out of it once more its hidden thought.

I may not be right in anticipating the eventual opinion of Allen
Upward's book; but even if I am wrong, it will have helped perhaps to
call attention to the essential failure of the Nobel Prize Trustees to
side with the darers and experimenters in literature, to take a serious
part in those great creative, centrifugal movements in the souls of men
in which new worlds and the sense of new worlds are swept in upon us.
For the Sciences, which are more matter of fact and tangible, the Nobel
Prize is functioning more or less as Mr. Nobel intended, but certainly
in Literature it will have to be classed as one more of our humdrum
regular millionaire arrangements for patting successful people
expensively on the back. It acts twenty years too late, falls into line
with our usual worldly ornamental D.D., LL.D. habit, and has become, so
far as Literature is concerned, a mere colossal, kindly, doddering Old
Age Pension from a few gentlemen in Stockholm. It adds itself as one
more futile effort of men of wealth--or world owners to be creative and
lively with money, very much on the premises with money, after they are



I have sometimes wished that Mr. Carnegie would post the following sign
up on his Libraries, on the outside where people are passing, and on the
inside in the room where people sit and think:




Mr. Carnegie's Libraries must be a source of constant regret to the
author of "Triumphant Democracy." They are generally made up of books
written in the Old World. It would be interesting to know what are the
real reasons great Libraries are not being written for Mr. Carnegie in
America, and what there is that Mr. Carnegie or other people can do
about it. They are certainly going to be written in America some time,
and certainly, unless the best and greatest part of the Carnegie Library
of the future is to be the American part of it, the best our Carnegie
Libraries will do for America will be to remind us of what we are not.
Unless we can make the American part of Mr. Carnegie's Libraries loom in
the world as big as Mr. Carnegie's chimneys, America--which is the last
newest experiment station of the world--is a failure.

It has occurred to me to try to express, for what it may be worth, a
point of view toward Triumphant Democracy Mr. Carnegie may have
inadvertently overlooked.

If Mr. Carnegie would establish in every town where he has put a
Library, by endowment or otherwise, a Commission, or what might be
called perhaps a Searching Party, in that community, made up of men of
inventive and creative temperament, who instinctively know this
temperament in others--men in all specialities, in all walks of life,
who are doing things better than any one wants to pay them to do
them--and if Mr. Carnegie would set these men to work, in one way and
another, looking up boys who are like them, boys about the town, who are
doing things better than any one wants to pay them to do them--he would
soon get a monopoly of the idealism of the world; he would collect in
thirty-five years, or in one generation, an array of living great men,
of national figures, men who would be monuments to Andrew Carnegie, as
compared with which his present libraries, big, thoughtless,
innumerable, humdrum, sogging down into the past, would be as nothing.
Mr. Carnegie has given forty libraries to New York; and I venture to say
that there is at this very moment, running round the streets of the
great city, one single boy, who has it in him to conceive, to imagine,
and hammer together a new world; and if Mr. Carnegie would invest his
fortune, not in buildings or in books, but in buying brains enough to
find that boy, and if the whole city of New York were to devote itself
for one hour every day for years to searching about and finding that
boy, to seeing just which he is, to going over all the other boys five
hours a day to pick him out, it would be--well, all I can say is, all
those forty libraries of Mr. Carnegie's, those great proud buildings,
would do well if they did not do one thing for six years but find that

There is a boy at this very moment with strings and marbles and a nation
in his pocket, a system of railroads--a boy with a national cure for
tuberculosis, with sun-engines for everybody--there is a boy with
cathedrals in him too, no doubt or some boy like young Pinchot, with
mountainsful of forests in his heart.

This is what Mr. Carnegie himself would like to do, but with his big,
stiff, clumsy libraries trailing their huge, senseless brick-and-mortar
bodies, their white pillars and things, about the country, unmanned,
inert, eyeless, all those great gates and forts of knowledge, Coliseums
of paper, and with the mechanical people behind the counters, the
policemen of the books, all standing about protecting them--with all
this formidable array, how can such a boy be hunted out or drawn in, or
how would he dare go tramping in through the great gates and hunting
about for himself? He could only be hunted out by people all wrought
through with human experience, men and women who would give the world to
find him, who are on the daily lookout for such a boy--by some special
kind of eager librarian, or by disguised teachers, anonymous poets, or
by diviners, by expert geniuses in boys. If Mr. Carnegie could go about
and look up and buy up wherever he went these men who have this
boy-genius in them, deliver them from empty, helpless, mere
getting-a-living lives; and if he could set these men, and set them
about thickly, among the books in his libraries--those huge anatomies
and bones of knowledge he has established everywhere, all his great
literary steel-works--men would soon begin to be discovered, to be
created, to be built in libraries ... but as it is now....

Gentle Reader, have you ever stood in front of one of them, looked up at
the windows, thought of all those great tiers, those moulds and blocks
of learning on the shelves; and have you never watched the weary people
that dribble in from the streets and wander coldly about, or sit down
listless in them--in those mighty, silent empires of the past? have you
never thought that somewhere all about them, somewhere in this same
library, there must be some white, silent, sunny country of the future,
full of children and of singing, full of something very different from
these iron walls of wisdom? And have you never thought what it would
mean if Mr. Carnegie would spend his money on search parties for people
among the books, or what it would mean if the entire library, if all the
books in it, became, as it were, wired throughout with live, splendid,
delighted men and women, to make connections, to establish the current
between the people and the books, to discover the people one by one and
follow them to their homes, and follow them in their lives, and take out
the latent geniuses, and the listless engineers and poets, and the
Kossuths, Cæsars, the Florence Nightingales...?

It is only by employing forces that can be made extremely small,
invisible, personal, penetrating, and spiritual, that this sort of work
can be done. It must be delicate and wonderful workmanship, like the
magnet, like the mighty thistledown in the wind, like electricity, like
love, like hope--sheer, happy, warm human vision going about and casting
itself, casting all its still and tiny might, its boundless seed, upon
the earth: but it would pay.

The same people too, specialists in detecting and developing inventors,
could be supplied also to all other possible callings. They would
constitute a universal profession, penetrating all the others. They
would go hunting among foremen and in machine shops for the misplaced
geniuses, tried by wrong standards, underpaid for having other gifts.
They would keep a lookout through all the schools and colleges, looking
over the shoulders of scolding teachers and absent professors. They
would go about studying the playgrounds and mastering the streets.

We do not a little for the Submerged Tenth and the sons of the poor, and
we have schools or missions for the sons of the rich, but one of the
things we need next to-day is that something should be done for the
sons of the great neglected respectable classes. Far more important than
one more library--say in Denver, for instance would be a Denver Bureau
of Investigation, to be appointed, of high-priced, spirited men, of
expert humanists, to study difficulties, and devise methods and missions
for putting all society in Denver through filters or placers, and
finding out the rich human ore, finding out where everybody really
belonged, and what all the clever misplaced people were really for. Of
course it would take money to do all this, and flocks of free people who
are doing the work they love. But it is not book-racks, nor paper, nor
ink, nor stone steps, nor white pillars--it is free men and free women
America and England are asking of their Andrew Carnegies to-day.

Mr. Carnegie has not touched this human problem in his libraries. If
Society were fitted up all through with electric connections, men with a
genius for discovering continents in people, Columbuses, boy-geniuses;
and if there were established everywhere a current between every boy and
the great world, this would be something on which Mr. Carnegie could
make a great beginning with the little mite of his fortune. If we were
to have even one city fitted up in this way, it would be hard to say how
much it would mean--one city with enough people in it who were free to
do beautiful things, free to be curious about the others, free to follow
clues of greatness, free to go up the streams of Society to the still,
faint little springs and beginnings of things. It would soon be a
memorable city. A world would watch it, and other cities would grope
toward it. Instead of this we have these big, hollow, unmanned libraries
of Mr. Carnegie's everywhere, with no people practically to go with
them, no great hive of happy living men and women in and out all day
cross-fertilizing boys and books.

There seems to be something unfinished and stolid and brutal about a
Carnegie Library now. The spirit of the garden and the sea, of the
spring and the light, and of the child, is not in it. They have come to
seem to some of us mere huge Pittsburgs of brains--all these impervious,
unwieldy, rolling-mills of knowledge. I should think it would be a
terrible prospect to grow old with, just to sit and see them flocking
across the country from your window, all these huge smoke-stacks of
books in their weary, sordid cities; and the boys who might be great
men, the small Lincolns with nations in their pockets, the little Bells
with worlds in their ears, the Pinchots with their forests, the McAdoos
and Roosevelts, the young Carnegies and Marconis in the streets!



Mr. Israel Zangwill in presiding at the meeting of the Sociological
Society the other night remarked, in referring to inspired millionaires,
that as a rule in the minds of most people nowadays a millionaire seemed
to be a kind of broken-off person, or possibly two persons. There always
seemed to have to be a violent change in a millionaire somewhere along
the middle of his life. The change seemed to be associated in some way,
Mr. Zangwill thought with his money. He reminded one of the
patent-medicine advertisements, "Before and After Taking."

I have been trying to think why it is that the average millionaire
reminds people--as Mr. Zangwill says he does--of a patent-medicine
advertisement, "Before and After Taking."

I have thought, since Mr. Zangwill made this remark, of getting together
a small collection of pictures of millionaires--two pictures of each,
one before and the other after taking--and having them mounted in the
most approved patent-medicine style, and taking them down to Far End and
asking Mr. Zangwill to look them over with me and see if he thought--he,
Israel Zangwill, the novelist, the play-wright, the psychologist--really
thought, that millionaires "Before and After" were as different as they

I imagine he would say--and practically without looking at the
pictures--that of course to him or to me perhaps, or to any especially
interested student of human nature, millionaires are not really
different at all "Before and After Taking"; that they merely had a
slightly different outer look. They would merely look different, Mr.
Zangwill would say, to the common run or majority of people--the people
one meets in the streets.

But would they?

One of the most hopeful things that I have been thinking of lately is
that the people--the ordinary people one meets in the streets--are
beginning quite generally to see through their millionaires, and to see
that their money almost never really cures them. Most very rich men,
indeed, are having their times now, of even seeing through themselves;
and it brings me up abruptly with a shock to think that the ordinary
people who pass in the streets would be deceived by these simple little
pictures Before and After. They have been deceived until lately, but are
they being deceived now? I would like to see the matter tested, and I
have thought it would be a good idea to take my small collection of
pictures of millionaires--two pictures of each, one Before and the other
After Taking--to a millionaire--of course some really reformed or cured
one--and ask him to pay the necessary expenses in the columns of the
_Times_, and of the _Westminster Gazette_, and the _Daily Chronicle_,
and other representative London journals (all on the same morning), of
having the pictures published. We could then take what might be called a
social, human, economic inventory of London: ask people to send in their
honest opinions, on looking at the pictures, as to whether Money, Before
and After Taking, does or does not produce these remarkable cures in
millionaires. I very much doubt if Mr. Zangwill would be found to be
right in his estimate of our common people to-day.

I venture to believe that it is precisely because our common people are
seeing that millionaires are not changed Before and After Taking that
the majority of time millionaires we have to-day have come to be looked
upon as one of the charges--one of the great spiritual charges and
burdens modern Society has to carry.

Society has always had to do what it could for the poor, but in our
modern civilization, in a new and big sense, we have to see now what
there is, if possibly anything, that can be done for the rich.

We have come to have them now almost everywhere about us--these great
spiritual orphans, with their pathetic, blind, useless fortunes piled up
around them; and Society has to support them, to keep them up morally,
keep them doing as little damage as possible, and has to allow day by
day besides for the strain and structural weakness they bring upon the
girders of the world--the faith of men in men, and the credit of God,
which alone can hold a world together.

It is not denied that the average millionaire, when he has made his
money, does different-looking things, and gathers different-looking
objects about him, and is seen in different-looking places. And it is
not denied that he changes in more important particulars than things. He
quite often changes people, the people he is seen with but he never or
almost never changes himself. He is not one man when he is putting money
into his pocket and another when he is taking it out.

We keep hoping at first with each new mere millionaire that when he gets
all the money he has wanted it will change him; but we find it almost
never does.

Merely reversing the motion with a pocket does not make a man a new and
beautiful creature, and one soon sees that the typical millionaire is
governed by the same bargain principles, is bullied and domineered over
by the same personal limitations, the same old something-for-nothing
habits. If he had the habit, while getting money out of people, of
getting the better of them, he still insists on getting the better of
people when he gives it to them or to their causes. He takes it out of
their souls. There never has been a millionaire who runs his business
on the old humdrum principle of merely making all the money he can who
does not run his very philanthropies afterward on the same general
principle of oppressing everybody, of outwitting everybody--and of doing
people good in a way that makes them wish they were dead. Philanthropy
as a philosophy, and even as an institution, is getting to be nearly
futile to-day, for the reason that millionaires--valid, authentic cases
of millionaires who are really cured--who are changed either in their
motives or their methods with regard to what they do with money, except
in rare cases, do not exist.

The New Theatre in New York, which was started as a kind of Polar
Expedition to discover and rescue Dramatic Art in America, failed
because two hundred and forty millionaires tried to help it. If enough
millionaires could have been staved off from that enterprise, or if it
could have been taken in hand either by fewer or more select
millionaires coöperating with the public and with artists of all
classes, New Theatre of New York would not have been obliged, as it has
been since, to start all over again on a new basis. The blunders in
creative public work that men who get rich in the wrong way are always
sure to make had to be made first. They nearly always have to be made
first. There is hardly a single enterprise of higher social value in
which the world is interested to-day which is not being gravely
threatened in efficient service by letting in too many millionaires, and
by paying too much attention to what they think. If our people were
generally alive to the terrific sameness and monotony of a millionaire's
life "before and after," and if millionaires were looked over
discriminatingly before being allowed to take part in great public
enterprises like the cinema, for instance, the newspapers, the
hospitals, the theatres, there is hardly any limit to the new things
that public enterprises would begin to make happen in the world, and the
new men that would begin to function in them.

Of course, if what a great vision for the people--_i.e._, a public
enterprise is for, is to make money, it would be different. The mere
millionaire might understand, and his understanding might help. But if
an institution is founded (like a great theatre) to be a superb and
noble masterpiece of understanding and changing human nature; if it is
founded to be a creative and dominating influence, to build up the
ideals and fire the enthusiasm of a city, to lay the foundations of the
daily thoughts and the daily motives of a great people, the mere
millionaire finds, if he tries to manage it, that he is getting in
beyond his depth. A man who has made his money by exploiting and taking
advantage of the public can only be expected, in conducting a Theatre,
to be an authority on how to exploit a public and take advantage of it
still more, and how to make it go to the play that merely looks like the
play that it wants.

Millionaires as a class, unless they are men who have made their money
in the artist's or the inventor's spirit, really ought to be expected by
this time, except in the size of their cheques, to be modest and
thoughtful, to stand back a little and watch other people. The
millionaires themselves, if they thought about it, would be the first to
advise us not to pay too much attention to them. They are used to large
things, and they know that the only way to do, in conducting great
enterprises, is to select and use men (whether millionaires or not) for
the particular efficiencies they have developed. If we are conducting
what is called a charity, we will not expect that a millionaire can do
good things unless he is a good man. He spoils them by picking out the
wrong people. And we will not expect him to do artistic things unless he
has lived his life and done his business in the spirit and the
temperament of the artist. He will not know which the artists are or
what the artists are like inside; and he will not like them and they
will not like him, nor will they be interested in him or interested in
working with him. Everything that artists or men of creative temperament
try to do with the common run of millionaires--all these huge, blind,
imponderable megatheriums, stamping along through life, ordering people
about--ends in the same way--in irksomeness, bewildered vision, fear,
compromise, and failure, as seen from the inside. Seen on the outside or
before the public, of course, the Institution will have the same old,
bland, familiar air of looking successful and of looking intelligent,
and yet of being uninteresting, and of not changing the world by a
hair's breadth.

The only millionaires who should be allowed to have a controlling
interest in public enterprises are millionaires who do not need to be
different before and after making their money. Everybody is coming to
see this, sooner or later. It is already getting very hard to raise
money for any public enterprise in which mere millionaires or
bewildered, unhappy rich men are known to have a controlling interest.
The most efficient and far-sighted men do not expect anything very
decided or of marked character from such enterprises, and will no longer
lend to them either their brains or their money. Mere millionaires will
soon have to conduct their public enterprises quite by themselves, and
they will then soon fall of their own weight. The moment men are put in
control of public enterprises by the size of their brains instead of the
size of their cheques, the whole complexion of what are known as our
public enterprises will change, and churches, theatres, hospitals,
settlements, art galleries, and all other great public causes, instead
of boring everybody and teasing everybody, will be attracting everybody
and attracting everybody's money. They will be full of character,
courage, and vision. Our present great, vague, helpless, plaintive
public enterprises--one third art, one third millionaire, one third
deficit--drag along financially because they are listless compromises,
because they have no souls or vision, and are not interesting--not even
interesting to themselves.

Men with creative or imaginative quality, and courage, and insight into
ordinary human nature, and far-sightedness of what can be expected of
people, do not get on with the ordinary millionaire. It cannot be denied
that millionaires and artists get together in time; but the particular
point that seems to be interesting to consider is how the millionaires
and artists can be got together before the artists are dead, and before
the millionaires stop growing and stop being creative and understanding
creative men.

It might be well to consider the present situation in the concrete--the
theatre, for instance--and see how the situation lies, and where one
would have to begin, and how one would have to go to work to change it.

The present failure of the theatre to encourage what is best in modern
art is due to the fact that the public is unimaginative and inartistic.

If a public is unimaginative and inartistic, the only way the best
things that are offered can succeed with them is by having these best
things held before them long and steadily enough for them slowly to
compare them with other things, and see that they are better than the
other things, and that they are what they want.

Unimaginative and inartistic people do not know what they want. If
things are tried long enough with them they do. When they have been
tried long enough with them they support them themselves.

The only way fine things can be tried long enough is with sufficient

The only way sufficient capital for fine things can be obtained is by
having millionaires who appreciate fine things, and believe in them, and
believe the public in time will believe in them.

The only way in which a millionaire can recognize and believe in the
fine things and in the best artists is by being, in spirit and
temperament at least, an artist himself.

The only way in which a millionaire can be an artist is to work every
day in the spirit in which the artist works.

This means the artist in business.

(1) The artist in business is the man who makes things people already
want enough to make money, and who makes things he is going to make
people want enough to make new values and to be of some use.

(2) The artist in business is the employer who makes new things and men
together. He lets the men who make new things with him become new men;
and when the things are made, they go forth in their turn and make new
men and make new publics. New publics have had to be made for
everything: for the first umbrellas, for the first telephones, the first
typewriters. New publics have had to be made for Wagner, for Sunlight
Soap, for Bernard Shaw; and it is the men who make new publics--be it
for big or little things--who are artists. They are in spirit, prophets,
kings, and world-builders.

(3) Incidentally, the artist in business--the employer who creates new
values and is creative himself--will like creative men in his factory,
and will treat them so that they will put their creativeness into his
business; he not only will be an artist himself, but he will have,
comparatively speaking, a factory full of artists working with him. And
when the factories pour out the men at night, and the smoke and the
murmur cease, and the windows are dark, they will go to creative and
live men's plays.

So it has come to pass that the modern business man of the artist sort
holds the arts of modern times in the hollow of his hand. He is a
past-master of creating new publics.

(4) The artist in business is the man who educates and draws out, at
every point where his business touches them, every day, all day, the men
with whom he works. He educates and develops the men who make the
things. He educates and develops the men who buy them. Even the people
who wish they had bought them, are educated or secreted, by the artist
in business. He is a maker of new publics, a world-builder, whichever
way he turns. A business man who merely makes for people what they want,
and who does not get the prestige with men of making for them things
that they did not know they wanted, is a failure and falls behind in his
business. All the big men in business work in future tenses. They are
prophets, historians, and they are Now-men, men who work by seeing the
truth all round the present moment, the present persons, and the present
market, and before it and behind it. Millionaires who are making their
money in this spirit will understand and believe in plays that are
written in this spirit, and the people who work for such employers will
like to go to such plays, and the theatre managers, instead of being the
bullies and tyrants of the world of art, will be held in the power of
the men who see things and who make things--men who in vast sweeps
called audiences, night after night, make new men upon the earth.





I went to the Durbar the other night in cinema colour and saw the King
and Queen through India. I had found my way, with hundreds of others,
into the gallery of the Scala Theatre, and out of that big, still rim of
watchful darkness where I sat I saw--there must have been thousands of
them--crowds of camels running.

And crowds of elephants went swinging past.

I watched them like a boy, like a boy standing on the edge of a thousand
years and looking off at a world.

It was stately and strange, and like far music to sit quite still and
watch civilizations swinging past.

Then suddenly it became near and human--the spirit of playgrounds and of
shouting and boyish laughter ran through it. And we watched the
elephants, naked and untrimmed, lolling down to the lake and lying down
to be scrubbed in it with comfortable low snorting and slow rolling in
the water, and the men standing by all the while like little play-nurses
and tending them, their big bungling babies, at the bath. A few minutes
later we watched the same elephants, hundreds of them, their mighty
toilets made, pacing slowly past, swinging their gorgeous trappings in
our eyes, rolling their huge hoodahs at us, and all the time still those
little funny dots of men beside them, moving them silently, moving them
invisibly as by a spirit, as by a kind of awful wireless--those great
engines of the flesh! I shall never forget it or live without it, that
slow pantomime of those mighty, silent Eastern nations, their religions,
their philosophies, their wills, their souls, moving their elephants
past--the long panorama of it, of their little awful human wills, all
those little black, helpless-looking slits of Human Will astride those
mighty necks!

I have the same feeling when I see Count Zeppelin with his airship, or
Grahame-White at Hendon, riding his vast cosmic pigeon up the sky; and
it is the same feeling I have with the locomotives--those unconscious,
forbidding, coldly obedient terrible fellows! Have I not lain awake and
listened to them storming through the night, heard them out there ahead
working our wills on the blackness, on the thick night, on the stars, on
Space, and on Time while we slept?

My main feeling at the Durbar while I watched those splendid beasts--the
crowds of camels, the crowds of elephants--all being driven along by the
little, faint, dreamy, sleepy-looking people was, "Why don't their
elephants turn around on them and chase them?"

I kept thinking at first that they would, almost any minute.

Our elephants chase us--most of us. Who has not seen locomotives coming
quietly out of their roundhouses in New York and begin chasing people,
chasing whole towns, tearing along with them, making everybody hurry
whether or no, speeding up and ordering around by the clock great
cities, everybody alike, the rich and the poor, the just and the unjust,
for hundreds of miles around? In the same way I have seen, hundreds of
times, motor cars turning around on their owners and chasing
them--chasing them fairly out of their lives. And hundreds of thousands
of little wood-and-rubber Things with nickel bells whirring, may be seen
ordering around people--who pay them for it--in any city of our modern

Now and then one comes on a man who keeps a telephone, who is a
gentleman with it, and who keeps it in its place, but not often.

There are certain questions to be asked and to be settled in any
civilization that would be called great.

First: Do the elephants chase the men in it? Second: And if--as in our
Western civilization--the men have made their own elephants, why should
they be chased by them?

There are some of us who have wondered a little at the comparative
inferiority of organ music. We have come to the conclusion that perhaps
organ music is inferior because it has been largely composed by
organists, by men who sit at organ machines many hours a day, and who
have let their organ machines with all their stops and pedals, and with
all their stop-and-pedal-mindedness, select out of their minds the tones
that organs can do best--the music that machines like.

Wagner has come to be recognized as a great and original composer for a
machine age because he would not let his imagination be cowed by the
mere technical limitations, the narrow-mindedness of brass horns, wooden
flutes, and catgut; he made up his mind that he would not sing violins.
He made violins sing him.

Perhaps this is the whole secret of art in a machine civilization.

Perhaps a machine civilization is capable of a greater art than has ever
been dreamed in the world before, the moment it stops being chased by
its elephants. The question of letting the crowd be beautiful in our
world of machines and crowds to-day turns on our producing

Men possessed by watches in their vest pockets cannot be inspired, men
possessed by churches or religion-machines cannot be prophets, men
possessed by school-machines cannot be educators.

The reason that we find the poet, or at least the minor poet,
discouraged in a machine age probably is, that there is nothing a minor
poet can do in it. Why should nightingales, poppies, and dells expect,
in a main trial of strength, to compete with machines? And why should
human beings running for their souls in a race with locomotives expect
to keep very long from losing their souls?

The reason that most people are discouraged about machinery to-day is
that this is what they think a machine civilization is. They whine at
the machines. They blame the locomotive.

A better way for a man to do would be to stop blaming the locomotive,
and stop running along out of breath beside it, and climb up into the

This is the whole issue of art in our modern civilization--climbing up
into the cab.

First come the Machine-Trainers, or poets who can tame engines. Then the
other poets.

In the meantime, the less we hear about nightingales and poppies and
dells and love and above, the better.

Poetry must make a few iron-handed, gentle-hearted, mighty men next. It
is because we demand and expect the beautiful that we say that poetry
must make men next.

The elephants have been running around in the garden long enough.



We are living in a day of the great rebellion of the machines. Out of a
thousand thousand roundhouses and factories, vast cities and nations of
machines on the land and on the sea have risen before the soul of man
and said, "We have served you; now, you serve us."

A million million vulgar, swaggering Goliaths, one sees them everywhere;
they wave their arms at us around the world, they puff their white
breath at us, they spit smoke in our eyes, line up in a row before the
great cities, before the mighty-hearted nations, and say it again and
again, all in chorus, _"We have served you, now, you serve us!"_

It has come to sound to some of us as a kind of chant around our lives.

But why should we serve them?

I have seen crowds of minor poets running, their little boxes of perfume
and poetry, their cologne water, their smelling-salts, in their hands.

And, of course, if the world were all minor poets the situation would be

And I have seen flocks of faint-hearted temples, of big, sulky,
beautiful, absent-minded colleges, looking afraid. Every now and then
perhaps one sees a professor run out, throw a book at the machines, and
run back again. Oxford still looks at science, at matter itself,
tremulously, with that same old, still, dreamy air of dignity, of
gentlemanly disappointment.

And if the world were all Oxford the situation would be serious.

When Oxford with its hundred spires, its little beautiful boy choirs of
professors, draws me one side from the Great Western Railway Station,
and intones in those still, solemn, lonely spaces the great truth in my
ears, that machines and ideals cannot go together, that the only way to
deal with ideals is to keep them away from machines, my only reply is
that ideals that are so tired that they are merely devoted to defending
themselves, ideals that will not and cannot go forth and be the breath
of the machines, ideals that cannot and will not master the machines,
that will not ride the machines as the wind, overrun matter, and conquer
the earth, are not ideals for gentlemen.

At least they are not ideals that can keep up the standard of the Oxford

A gentleman is a man who is engaged in expressing his best and noblest
self in every fibre of his mind and every fibre of his body. He makes
the very force of gravity pulling on his clothes express him, and the
movements of his feet and his hands. He gathers up his rooms into his
will and all the appointments of his life and crowds into them the full
meaning of his soul. He makes all these things say him.

The main attribute of a man who is not a gentleman is that he does not
do these things, that he cannot inform his body with his spirit.

I go back to the Great Western Railway, ugly as it still is. I go alone,
and sadly if I must, and for a little time--without the deep bells and
without the stained-glass windows, without all that dear, familiar
beauty I have loved in the old and quiet quadrangles--I take my stand
beside the Great Western Railway! I claim the Great Western Railway for
the spirit of man and for the will of God!

With its vast shuttle of steam and shining engines, its little,
whispering telegraph office, the Great Western Railway is a part of my
body. I lay my will on the heart of London with it, or I sleep in the
old house in Lynmouth with it. I am the Great Western Railway, and the
Great Western Railway is ME. And from the heart of the roar of London
to the slow, sleepy surge of the sea in my window at Lynmouth it is
mine! Though it be iron and wood, switches, whistles, and white steam,
it is my body, and I inform it with my spirit, or I die. With the will
of God I endow it, with the glory of the world, with the desires of my
heart, and with the prayers of the hurrying men and women.

I declare that that same glory I have known before, and that I will
always know, and will never give up, in the old quiet quadrangles of
Oxford and in the deep bells and in the still waters, as in some
strange, new, and mighty Child, is in the Great Western Railway too.

When I am in the train it sings. Strangely and hoarsely It sings! I lie
down to rest. It whistles on ahead my ideals down the slope of the
world. It roars softly, while I sleep, my religion in my ears.



When I was small, and wanted suddenly to play tag or duck-on-the-rock I
had a little square half-mile of boys near by to play with.

My daughter plays tag or plays dolls, any minute she likes, with a whole
city. She is not surprised at the telephone; she takes it for granted
like sunshine and milk. It is a part of the gray matter in her brain--a
whole city, six or seven square miles of it. A little mouthpiece on a
desk, a number, and two hundred little girls are hers in a minute, to
play dolls with. She thinks in miles when she plays, where I thought in
door-yards. The whole city is a part of the daily, hourly furniture of
her mind. The little gray molecules in the structure of her brain are
different from those in mine.

I have seen that Man moves over with each new generation into a bigger
body, more awful, more reverent and free than he has had before.

A few minutes ago, here where I am writing, an engine all in bright,
soft, lit-up green with little lines of yellow on it and flashing silver
feet, like a vision, swept past--through my still glass window, through
the quiet green fields--like a great, swift, gleaming whisper of London.
And now, all in six seconds, this great quiet air about me is waked to
vast vibrations of the mighty city. Out over the red pines, the lonely
gorse fields, I have seen passing the spirit of the Strand. I have seen
the great flocking bridges and the roar about St. Paul's in communion
with the treetops and with the hedgerows and with the little brooks, all
in six seconds, when an engine, with its vision like a cloud of glory
swept past.

And yet there are people in Oxford who tell me that an engine when it is
in the very act of expressing such stupendous and boundless thoughts, of
making such mighty and beautiful things happen, is not beautiful, that
it has nothing to do with art. They can but watch the machines, the
earth black with them, going about everywhere mowing down great nations
and rolling under the souls of men.

I cannot see it so. I see a thousand thousand engines carrying dew and
green fields to the stones of London. I see the desires of the earth
hastening. The ships and the wireless telegraph beckon the wills of
cities on the seas and on the sky. With the machines I have taken a
whole planet to me for my feet and for my hands. I gesture with the
earth. I hand up oceans to my God.



There are people who say that machines cannot be beautiful, and cannot
make for beauty, because machines are dead.

I would agree with them if I thought that machines were dead.

I have watched in spirit, hundreds of years, the machines grow out of
Man like nails, like vast antennæ--a kind of enormous, more unconscious
sub-body. They are apparently of less lively and less sensitive tissue
than tongues or eyes or flesh; and like all bones they do not renew, of
course, as often or as rapidly as flesh. But the difference between live
and dead machines is quite as grave and quite as important as the
difference between live and dead men. The generally accepted idea a live
thing is, that it is a thing that keeps dying and being born again every
minute; it is seen to be alive by its responsiveness to the spirit, to
the intelligence that created it and that keeps re-creating it. I have
known thousands of factories; and every factory I have known that is
really strong or efficient has scales like a snake, and casts off its
old self. All the people in it, and all the iron and wood in it, month
by month are being renewed and shedding themselves. Any live factory can
always be seen moulting year after year. A live spirit goes all through
the machinery, a kind of nervous tissue of invention, of thought.

We already speak of live and dead iron, of live and dead engines or
half-dead and half-sick engines, and we have learned that there is such
a thing as tired steel. What people do to steel makes a difference to
it. Steel is sensitive to people. My human spirit grows my arm and moves
it and guides it and expresses itself in it, keeps re-creating it and
destroying it; and daily my soul keeps rubbing out and writing in new
lines upon my face; and in the same way my typewriter, in a slow, more
stolid fashion, responds to my spirit too. Two men changing typewriters
or motor-cars are, though more subtly, like two men changing boots.
Sewing machines, pianos, and fiddles grow intimate with the people who
use them, and they come to express those particular people and the ways
in which they are different from others. A Titian-haired typewriter girl
makes her machine move differently every day from a blue-eyed one.
Typewriters never like to have their people take the liberty of lending
them. Steel bars and wooden levers all have little mannerisms, little
expressions, small souls of their own, habits of people that they have
lived with, which have grasped the little wood and iron levers of their
wills and made them what they are.

It is somewhere in the region of this fact that we are going to discover
the great determining secret of modern life, of the mastery of man over
his machines. Man, at the present moment, with all his new machines
about him, is engaged in becoming as self-controlled, as
self-expressive, with his new machines, with his wireless telegraph arms
and his railway legs, as he is with his flesh and blood ones. The force
in man that is doing this is the spiritual genius in him that created
the machine, the genius of imperious and implacable self-expression, of
glorious self-assertion in matter, the genius for being human, for being
spiritual, and for overflowing everything we touch and everything we use
with our own wills and with the ideals and desires of our souls. The
Dutchman has expressed himself in Dutch architecture and in Dutch art;
the American has expressed himself in the motor-car; the Englishman has
expressed himself, has carved his will and his poetry upon the hills,
and made his landscape a masterpiece by a great nation. He has made his
walls and winding roads, his rivers, his very treetops express his deep,
silent joy in the earth. So the great, fresh young nations to-day, with
a kind of new, stern gladness, implacableness, and hope, have appointed
to their souls expression through machinery. Our Engines and our radium
shall cry to God! Our wheels sing in the sun!

Machinery is our new art-form. A man expresses himself first in his
hands and feet, then in his clothes, and then in his rooms or in his
house, and then on the ground about him; the very hills grow like him,
and the ground in the fields becomes his countenance; and now, last and
furthest of all, requiring the liveliest and noblest grasp of his soul,
the finest circulation of will of all, he begins expressing himself in
his vast machines, in his three-thousand-mile railways, in his vast,
cold-looking looms and dull steel hammers. With telescopes for Mars-eyes
for his spirit, he walks up the skies; he expresses his soul in deep and
dark mines, and in mighty foundries melting and re-moulding the world.
He is making these things intimate, sensitive, and colossal expressions
of his soul. They have become the subconscious body, the abysmal,
semi-infinite body of the man, sacred as the body of the man is sacred,
and as full of light or of darkness.

So I have seen the machines go swinging through the world. Like
archangels, like demons, they mount up our desires on the mountains. We
do as we will with them. We build Winchester Cathedral all over again,
on water. We dive down with our steel wheels and nose for
knowledge--like a great Fish--along the bottom of the sea. We beat up
our wills through the air. We fling up, with our religion, with our
faith, our bodies on the clouds. We fly reverently and strangely, our
hearts all still and happy, in the face of God!



The whole process of machine-invention is itself the most colossal,
spiritual achievement of history. The bare idea we have had of
unravelling all creation, and of doing it up again to express our own
souls--the idea of subduing matter, of making our ideals get their way
with matter, with radium, ether, antiseptics, is itself a religion, a
poetry, a ritual, a cry to heaven. The supreme, spiritual adventure of
the world has become this task that man has set himself, of breaking
down and casting away forever the idea that there is such a thing as
matter belonging to matter--matter that keeps on in a dead, stupid way,
just being matter. The idea that matter is not all alive with our souls,
with our desires and prayers, with hope, terror, worship, with the
little terrible wills of men and the spirit of God, is already
irreligious to us. Is not every cubic inch of iron (the coldest-blooded
scientist admits it) like a kind of little temple, its million million
little atoms in it going round and round and round dancing before the

And why should an Oxford man be afraid of a cubic inch of iron, or
afraid of becoming like it?

I daily thank God that I have been allowed to belong to this generation.
I have looked at last a little cubic inch of iron out of countenance. I
can sit and watch it, the little cubic inch of iron, in its still
coldness, in all its little funny play-deadness, and laugh! I know that
to a telescope or a god, or to me, to us, the little cubic inch of iron
is all alive inside, that it is whirling with will, that it is sensitive
in a rather dead-looking but lively cosmic way, sensitive like another
kind of more slowly quivering flesh, sensitive to moons and to stars
and to heat and cold, to time and space and to human souls. It is
singing every minute low and strange, night and day, in its little grim
blackness, of the glory of Things. I am filled with the same feeling,
the same sense of kindred, of triumphant companionship, when I go out
among them and watch the majestic family of the machines, of the
engines, those mighty Innocents, those new awful sons of God, going
abroad through all the world, looking back at us when we have made them,
unblinking and without sin!

Like rain and sunshine, like chemicals, and like all the other innocent,
godlike things, and like waves of water and waves of air, rainbows,
starlight, they say what we make them say. They are alive with the life
that is in us.

The first element of power in a man, in getting control of his life in
our modern era, is to have spirit enough to know what matter is like.

The Machine-Trainer is the man who sees what the machines are like. He
is the man who conceives of iron-and-wood machines, in his daily habit
of thought, as alive. He has discovered ways in which he can produce an
impression upon iron and wood with his desires, and with his will. He
goes about making iron-and-wood machines do live things.

It is never the machines that are dead.

It is only mechanical-minded men that are dead.



The fate of civilization is not going to be determined by people who are
morbidly like machines on the one hand, or by people who are morbidly
unmechanical, on the other.

People in a machine civilization who try to live without being automatic
and mechanical-minded part of the time and in some things, people who
try to make everything they do artistic and self-expressive and
hand-made, who attend to all their own thoughts and finish off all their
actions by hand themselves, soon wish they were dead.

People who do everything they do mechanically, or by machinery, are dead

It is bad enough for those of us who are trying to live our lives
ourselves--real, true, hand-made individual lives--to have to fight all
these machines about us trying daily to roar and roll us down into
humdrum and nothingness, without having to fight besides all these dear
people we have about us too, who have turned machines, even one's own
flesh and blood. Does not one see them--see them everywhere--one's own
flesh and blood, going about like stone-crushers, road-rollers, lifts,

Between the morbidly mechanical people and the morbidly unmechanical
people, modern civilization hangs in the balance.

There must be some way of being just mechanical enough, and at the right
time and right place, and of being just unmechanical enough at the right
time and right place. And there must be some way in which men can be
mechanical and unmechanical at will.

The fate of civilization turns on men who recognize the nature of
machinery, who make machines serve them, who add the machines to their
souls, like telephones and wireless telegraph, or to their bodies, like
radium and railroads, and who know when and when not and how and how not
to use them who are so used to using machines quietly and powerfully,
that they do not let the machines outwit them and unman them.

Who are these men?

How do they do it?

They are the Machine-Trainers. The men who understand people-machines,
who understand iron machines, and who understand how to make
people-machines and iron machines run softly together.



There was a time once in the old simple individual days when drygoods
stores could be human. They expressed, in a quiet, easy way, the souls
of the people who owned them.

When machinery was invented and when organization was invented--machines
of people--drygoods stores became vast selling machines.

We then faced the problem of making a drygoods store with twenty-five
hundred clerks in it as human as a drygoods store with fifteen.

This problem has been essentially and in principle solved. At least we
know it is about to be solved. We are ready to admit--most of us--that
it is practicable for a department store to be human. Everything the man
at the top does expresses his human nature and his personality to his
clerks. His clerks become twenty-five hundred more of him in miniature.
What is more, the very stuff in which the clerks in department stores
work--the thing that passes through their hands, is human, and
everything about it is human, or can be made human; and all the while
vast currents of human beings, huge Mississippis of human feeling, flow
past the clerks--thousands and thousands of souls a day, and pour over
their souls, making them and keeping them human. The stream clears

But what can we say about human beings in a mine, about the
practicability of keeping human twenty-five hundred men in a hole in the
ground? And how can a mine-owner reach down to the men in the hole, make
himself felt as a human being on the bottom floor of the hole in the

In a department store the employer expresses himself to his clerks
through every one of the other twenty-five hundred; they mingle and stir
their souls and hopes and fears together, and he expresses himself to
all of them through them all.

But in a mine, two men work all alone down in the dark hole in the
ground. Thousands of other men, all in dark holes, are near by, with
nothing but the dull sound of picks to come between. In thousands of
other holes men work, each with his helper, all alone. The utmost the
helper can do is to grow like the man he works with, or like his own
pick, or like the coal he chips out, or like the black hole. The utmost
the man who mines coal can do, in the way of being human, is with his

In a factory, for the most part, the only way, during working hours, an
employer can express himself and his humanness to his workman is through
the steel machine he works with--through its being a new, good, fair
machine or a poor one. He can only smile and frown at him with steel, be
good to him in wheels and levers, or now and then perhaps through a
foreman pacing down the aisles.

The question the modern business man in a factory has to face is very
largely this: "I have acres of machines all roaring my will at my men. I
have leather belts, printed rules, white steam, pistons, roar, air,
water and fire and silence to express myself to my workmen in. I have
long monotonous swings and sweeps of cold steel, buckets of melted iron,
strips of wood, bells, whistles, clocks--to express myself, to express
my human spirit to my men. Is there, or is there not, any possible way
in which my factory with its machines can be made as human and as
expressive of the human as a department store?"

This is the question that our machine civilization has set itself to

All the men with good honest working imaginations, the geniuses and the
freemen of the world, are setting themselves the task of answering it.

Some say, "Machines are on the necks of the men. We will take the
machines away."

Others say, "We will make our men as good as our machines. We will make
our inventions in men catch up with our inventions in machines."

We naturally turn to the employer first as having the first chance. What
is there an employer can do to draw out the latent force in the men,
evoke the divine, incalculable passion sleeping beneath in the
machine-walled minds, the padlocked wills, the dull unmined desires of
men? How can he touch and wake the solar plexus of labour?

If any employer desires to get into the inner substance of the most
common type of workman, be an artist with him, express himself with him
and change the nature of that substance, give it a different colour or
light or movement so that he will work three times as fast, ten times as
cheerfully and healthfully, and with his whole body and soul, spirit,
and how is he going to do it?

Most employers wish they could do this. If they could persuade their men
to believe in them, to begin to be willing to work with them instead of
against them, they would do it.

What form of language is there, whether of words or of actions, that an
employer can use to make the men who work nine hours a day for him and
to whom he has to express himself across acres of machines, believe in
him and understand him?

The modern employer finds himself set sternly face to face, every day of
his life, with this question. All civilization seems crowding up day by
day, seems standing outside his office door as he goes in and as he goes
out, and asking him--now with despair, now with a kind of grim,
implacable hope, "Do you believe, or do you not believe, a factory can
be made as human as a department store?"

This question is going to be answered first by men who know what iron
machines really are, and what they are really for, and how they
work--who know what people-machines really are, and what they are really
for, and how they work. They will base all that they do upon certain
resemblances and certain differences between people and machines.

They will work the machines of iron according to the laws of iron.

They will work the machines of men according to the laws of human

There are certain facts in human nature, feelings, enthusiasms and
general principles concerning the natural working relation between men
and machines, that it may be well to consider in the next chapter as a
basis for a possible solution.

What are our machines after all? How are the machines like us? And on
what theory of their relation to us can machines and men expect in a
world like this to run softly together? These are the questions men are
going to answer next. In the meantime, I venture to believe that no man
who is morose to-day about the machines, or who is afraid of machines in
our civilization--because they are machines--is likely to be able to do
much to save the men in it.



Every man has, according to the scientists, a place in the small of his
back which might be called roughly, perhaps, the soul of his body. All
the little streets of the senses or avenues of knowledge, the spiritual
conduits through which he lives in this world, meet in this little
mighty brain in the small of a man's back.

About nine hundred millions of his grandfathers apparently make their
headquarters in this little place in the small of his back.

It is in this one little modest unnoticed place that he is supposed to
keep his race-consciousness, his subconscious memory of a whole human
race, and it is here that the desires and the delights and labours of
thousands of years of other people are turned off and turned on in him.
It is the brain that has been given to every man for the heavy everyday
hard work of living. The other brain, the one with which he does his
thinking and which is kept in an honoured place up in the cupola of his
being, is a comparatively light-working organ, merely his own private
personal brain--a conscious, small, and supposably controllable affair.
He holds on to his own particular identity with it. The great lower
brain in the small of his back is merely lent to him, as it were, out of
eternity--while he goes by.

It is like a great engine which he has been allowed the use of as long
as he can keep it connected up properly with his cerebral arrangements.

This appears to be mainly what the cerebral brain is for, this keeping
the man connected up. It acts as a kind of stopcock for one's infinity,
for screwing on or screwing off one's vast race-consciousness, one's
all-humanityness, all those unsounded deeps or reservoirs of human
energy, of hope and memory, of love, of passionate thought, of earthly
and heavenly desire that are lent to each of us as we slip softly by for
seventy years, by a whole human race.

A human being is a kind of factory. The engine and the works and all the
various machines are kept in the basement, and he sends down orders to
them from time to time, and they do the work which has been conceived up
in the headquarters. He expects the works down below to keep on doing
these things without his taking any particular notice of them, while he
occupies his mind, as the competent head of a factory should, with the
things that are new and different and special and that his mind alone
can do--the things which, at least in their present initial formative or
creative stage, no machines as yet have been developed to do, and that
can only be worked out by the man up in the headquarters himself
personally, by the handiwork of his own thought.

The more a human being develops, the more delicate, sensitive, strong,
and efficient, the more spirit-informed once for all the machines in the
basement are. As he grows, the various subconscious arrangements for
discriminating, assimilating and classifying material, for pumping up
power, light, and heat to headquarters, all of which can be turned on at
will, grow more masterful every year. They are found all slaving away
for him dimly down in the dark while he sleeps. They hand him up in his
very dreams new and strange powers to live and know with.

The men who have been the most developed of all, in this regard,
civilization has always selected and set apart from the others. It calls
these men, in their generation, men of genius.

Ordinary men do not try to compete with men of genius.

The reason that people set the genius apart and do not try to compete
with him is that he has more and better machinery than they have. It is
always the first thing one notices about a man of genius--the incredible
number of things that he manages to get done for him, apparently the
things that he never takes any time off, like the rest of us, to do
himself. The subconscious, automatic, mechanical equipment of his
senses, the extraordinary intelligence and refinement of his body, the
way his senses keep his spirit informed automatically and convey outer
knowledge to him, the power he has in return of informing this outer
knowledge with his spirit, with his will, with his choices, once for all,
so that he is always able afterward to rely on his senses to work out
things beautifully for him quite by themselves, and to hand up to him,
when he wants them, rare, deep, unconscious knowledge--all the things he
wants to use for what his soul is doing at the moment--it is these that
make the man of genius what he is. He has a larger and better factory
than others, and has developed a huge subconscious service in mind and
body. Having all these things done for him, he is naturally more free
than others and has more vision and more originality, his spirit is
swung free to build new worlds--to take walks with God, until at last we
come to look upon him, upon the man of genius, a little superstitiously.
We look up every little while from doing the things ourselves that he
gets done for him by his subconscious machinery, and we wonder at him,
we wonder at the strange, the mighty feats he does, at his
thousand-leagued boots, at his apparent everywhereness. His songs and
joys, sometimes, to us, his very sorrows, look miraculous.

And yet it is all merely because he has a factory, a great automatic
equipment, a thousand employee-sense perceptions, down in the basement
of his being, doing things for him that the rest of us do, or think we
are obliged to do ourselves, and give up all of our time to. He is not
held back as we are, and moves freely. So he dives under the sea
familiarly, or takes peeps at the farther side of the stars, or he flies
in the air, or he builds unspeakable railroads or thinks out ships or
sea-cities, or he builds books, or he builds little new
still-undreamed-of worlds out of chemistry, or he unravels history out
of rocks, or plants new cities and mighty states without seeming to try,
or perhaps he proceeds quietly to be interested in men, in all these
funny little dots of men about him; and out of the earth and sky, out of
the same old earth and sky everybody else had had, he makes new kinds
and new sizes of men with a thought like some mighty, serene child
playing with dolls!

It is generally supposed that the man of genius rules history and
dictates the ideals, the activities of the next generation, writes out
the specifications for the joys and sorrows of a world, and lays the
ground-plans of nations because he has an inspired mind. It is really
because he has an inspired body, a body that has received its orders
once for all, from his spirit. We would never wonder that everything a
genius does has that vivid and strange reality it has, if we realized
what his body is doing for him, how he has a body which is at work
automatically drinking up the earth into everything he thinks, drinking
up practicability, art and technique for him into everything he sees and
everything he hopes and desires. And every year he keeps on adding a new
body, keeps on handing down to his basement new sets, every day, of
finer and yet finer things to do automatically. The great spiritual
genius becomes great by economizing his consciousness in one direction
and letting it fare forth in another. He converts his old inspirations
into his new machines. He converts heat into power, and power into
light, and comes to live at last as almost any man of genius can really
be seen living--in a kind of transfigured or lighted-up body. The poet
transmutes his subconscious or machine body into words; and the artist,
into colour or sound or into carved stone. The engineer transmutes his
subconscious body into long buildings, into aisles of windows, into
stories of thoughtful machines. Every great spiritual and imaginative
genius is seen, sooner or later, to be the transmuted genius of some
man's body. The things in Leonardo da Vinci that his unconscious,
high-spirited, automatic senses gathered together for him, piled up in
his mind for him, and handed over to him for the use of his soul, would
have made a genius out of anybody. It is not as if he had had to work
out every day all the old details of being a genius, himself.

The miracles he seems to work are all made possible to him because of
his thousand man-power, deep subconscious body, his tremendous factory
of sensuous machinery. It is as if he had practically a thousand men all
working for him, for dear life, down in his basement, and the things
that he can get these men to attend to for him give him a start with
which none of the rest of us could ever hope to compete. We call him
inspired because he is more mechanical than we are, and because his real
spiritual life begins where our lives leave off.

So the poets who have filled the world with glory and beauty have been
free to do it because they have had more perfect, more healthful and
improved subconscious senses handing up wonder to them than the rest of
us have.

And so the engineers, living, as they always live, with that fierce,
silent, implacable curiosity of theirs, woven through their bodies and
through their senses and through their souls, have tagged the Creator's
footsteps under the earth, and along the sky, every now and then
throwing up new little worlds to Him like His worlds, saying, "Look, O
God, look at THIS!"--the engineers whose poetry is too deep to look
poetic have all done what they have done because the unconscious and
automatic gifts of their senses, of the powers of their observation,
have swung their souls free, given them long still reaches of thought
and vast new orbits of desire, like gods.

All the great men of the world have always had machinery.

Now, everybody is having it. The power to get little things,
innumerable, omnipresent, for-ever-and-ever things, tiny just-so things,
done for us automatically so that we can go on to our inspirations is no
longer to-day the special prerogative of men of genius. It is for all
of us. Machinery is the stored-up spirit, the old saved-up inspiration
of the world turned on for every man. And as the greatness of a man
turns on his command over machinery, on his power to free his soul by
making his body work for him, the greatness of a civilization turns upon
its getting machines to do its work. The more of our living we can learn
to do to-day, automatically, the more inspired and creative and godlike
and unmechanical our civilization becomes.

Machinery is the subconscious mind of the world.



I would not have, if I could afford it, a thing in my house that is not
hand-made. I have come to believe that machinery is going to make it
possible for everybody to have hand-made things in their homes, things
that have been made by people who love to make them, and by people who,
thinks to the machines, are soon bound to have time to make them. Some
will have gifts for hand-made furniture, others for hand-made ideas.
Perhaps people will even have time for sitting down to enjoy hand-made
ideas, to enjoy hand-made books--and enjoy reading books by hand. We may
have time for following an author in a book in the slow, old, deep,
loving, happy, hand-made fashion we used to know--when we have enough

It looks as if it might be something like this.

Every man is going to spend his mornings in the basement of society,
taking orders and being a servant and executing automatically, like a
machine if need be, the will of the world, making what the world wants
in the way it wants it, expressing society and subordinating himself. In
the afternoon he shall come up out of the basement, and take his stand
on the ground floor of the world, stop being a part of the machinery,
and be a man, express himself and give orders to himself and do some
work he loves to do in the way he loves to do it, express his soul in
his labour, and be an artist. He will not select his work in the
morning, or select his employer, or say how the work shall be done. He
will himself be selected, like a young tree or like an iron nail,
because he is the best made and best fitted thing at hand to be used in
a certain place and in a certain way.

When the man has been selected for his latent capacities, his employer
sets to work on him scientifically and according to the laws of physics,
hygiene, conservation of energy, the laws of philosophy, human nature,
heredity, psychology, and even metaphysics, teaches the man how to hold
his hands, how to lift, how to sit down, how to rest, and how to
breathe, so that three times as much work can be got out of him as he
could get out of himself. A mind of the highest rank and, if necessary,
thirty minds of the highest rank, shall be at his disposal, shall be
lent him to show him how his work can be done. The accumulated science
and genius, the imagination and experience, of hundreds of years, of all
climates, of all countries, of all temperaments shall be heaped up by
his employers, gathered about the man's mind, wrought through his limbs,
and help him to do his work.

All labour down in the basement of society shall be skilled labour. The
brains of men of genius and of experts shall be pumped into labour from
above until every man in the basement shall earn as much money in three
hours a day as he formerly had earned in nine.

Between the time a man saves by having machinery and the time he saves
by having the brains of great men and geniuses to work with, it will be
possible for men to do enough work for other people down in the basement
of the world in a few hours to shut the whole basement up, if we want
to, by three o'clock. Every man who is fit for it shall spend the rest
of his time in planning his work himself and in expressing himself, and
in creating hand-made and beautiful, inspired and wilful things like an
artist, or like a slowed-down genius, or at least like a man or like a
human being.

Every man owes it to society to spend part of his time in expressing his
own soul. The world needs him. Society cannot afford to let him merely
give to it his feet and his hands. It wants the joy in him, the
creative desire in him, the slow, stupid, hopeful initiative, in him to
help run the world. Society wants to use the man's soul too--the man's
will. It is going to demand the soul in a man, the essence or good-will
in him, if only to protect itself, and to keep the man from being
dangerous. Men who have lost or suppressed their souls, and who go about
cursing at the world every day they live in it, are not a safe, social

But while every man is going to see that he owes it to society to use a
part of his time in it in expressing himself, his own desires, in his
own way, he is going to see also that he owes it to society to spend
part of his time in expressing others and in expressing the desires and
the needs of others. The two processes could be best effected at first
probably by alternating, by keeping the man in equilibrium, balancing
the mechanical and the spiritual in his life. Eventually and ideally, he
will manage to have time in a higher state of society to put them
together, to express in the same act at the same time, and not
alternating or reciprocally, himself and others. And he will succeed in
doing what the great and free artist does already. He will make his
individual self-expression so great and so generous that it is also the
expression of the universal self. Every man will be treated according to
his own nature. Doubtless some men have not brains enough in a week to
supply them for one hour a day of self-directed work. It would take them
five hours a day to think how to do one hour's worth of work. Men who
prefer, as many will, not to think, and who like the basement better,
can substitute in the basement for their sons, and buy if they like, the
freedom of sons who prefer thinking, who would like to work harder than
their fathers would care to work, up on the ground floor of the world.
But as time goes on, it is to be hoped that every man will climb up
slowly, and will belong less and less of his time to the staff that
borrows brains, and more and more of his time to the staff that hands
brains down, and that directs the machinery of the world. The time of
alternation in dealing with different callings will probably be adjusted
differently, and might be made weeks instead of days, but the principle
would be the same. The forces that are going to help, apparently, in
this evolution will be the labour exchange--the centre for the
mobilization of labour, the produce exchange, the inventor's spirit in
the labour unions and employers' associations, and the gradual
organization by inventors of the common vision of all men, and setting
it at work on the supreme task of modern life--the task of drawing out,
evoking each particular man in the world, and in behalf of all, freeing
him for his own particular place.



The fundamental failure of humanity so far is in self-assertion.

The essential distinctive trait of modern civilization is machinery.

Machinery logically and irrevocably involves the coöperative action of

If we make levers and iron wheels work by putting them together
according to their nature, we can only make vast masses of men work by
putting them together according to their nature.

So far we have been trying to make vast masses of men work together in
precisely the same way we make levers and iron wheels work together. We
have thought we could make diabolically, foolishly, insanely inflexible
men-machines which violate at every point the natural qualities and
instincts of the materials of which they are made.

We have failed to assert ourselves against our iron machines. We have
let our iron machines assert themselves against us. We have let our iron
machines be models for us. We have overlooked the difference in the
nature of the materials in machines of iron and machines of men.

A man is a self-reproducing machine, and an iron machine is one that has
to be reproduced by somebody else.

In a man-machine arrangements must be made so that each man can be
allowed to be the father of his own children and the author of his own

In society or the man-machine, if it is to work, men are individuals.
Society is organically, irrevocably dependent upon each man, and upon
what each man chooses according to his own nature to do himself.

The result is, the first principle of success in constructing and
running a social machine is to ask and to get an answer out of each man
who is, as we look him over and take him up, and propose to put him into
it, "What are you like?" "What are you especially for?" "What do you
want?" "How can you get it?"

Our success in getting him properly into our machine turns upon a loyal,
patient, imperious attention on our part to what there is inside him,
inside the particular individual man, and how we can get him to let us
know what is inside, get him to decide voluntarily to let us have it,
and let us work it into the common end.

In this amazing, impromptu, new, and hurried machine civilization which
we have been piling up around us for a hundred years we have made
machines out of everything, and our one consummate and glaring failure
in the machines we have made is the machine we have made out of

Mineral machines are made by putting comparatively dead, or at least
dead-looking, matter together; vegetable machines or gardens, are made
by studying little unconscious seeds that we can persuade to come up and
to reproduce themselves. Man-machines are produced by putting up
possible lives before particular individual men, and letting them find
out (and finding out for ourselves, too), day by day, into which life
they will grow up.

Everything in a social machine, if it is a machine that really works, is
based on the profound and special study of individuals: upon drawing out
the aptitudes and motives, choices and genius in each man; the passion,
if he has any; the creative desire, the self-expressing,
self-reproducing, inner manhood; the happy strength there is in him.

Trades unions overlook this, and treat all men alike and all employers
alike. Employers have very largely overlooked it.

It is the industrial, social, and religious secret of our modern machine
civilization. We need not be discouraged about machines, because the
secret of the machine civilization has as yet barely been noticed.

The elephants are running around in the garden. But they have merely
taken us by surprise. It is their first and their last chance. The men
about us are seeing what to do. We are to get control of the elephants,
first, by getting control of ourselves. We are beginning to organize our
people-machines as if they were made of people; so that the people in
them can keep on being people, and being better ones. And as our
people-machines begin to become machines that really work, our iron
machines will no longer be feared. They will reach over and help. As we
look about us we shall see our iron machines at last, about all the
world, all joining in, all hard at work for us, a million, million
machines a day making the crowd beautiful.



A crowd civilization produces, as a matter of course, crowd art and art
for crowded conditions. This fact is at once the glory and the weakness
of the kind of art a democracy is bound to have.

The most natural evidence to turn to first, of the crowd in a crowd age,
is such as can be found in its literature, especially in its

The significance of shaking hands with a Senator of the United States is
that it is a convenient and labour-saving way of shaking hands with two
or three million people. The impressiveness of the Senator's Washington
voice, the voice on the floor of the Senate, consists in the mystical
undertone--the chorus in it--multitudes in smoking cities, men and
women, rich and poor, who are speaking when this man speaks, and who are
silent when he is silent, in the government of the United States.

The typical fact that the Senator stands for in modern life has a
corresponding typical fact in modern literature. The typical fact in
modern literature is the epigram, the senatorial sentence, the sentence
that immeasurably represents what it does not say. The difference
between democracy in Washington and democracy in Athens may be said to
be that in Washington we have an epigram government, a government in
which ninety million people are crowded into two rooms to consider what
to do, and in which ninety million people are made to sit in one chair
to see that it is done. In Athens every man represented himself.

It may be said to be a good working distinction between modern and
classic art that in modern art words and colours and sounds stand for
things, and in classic art they said them. In the art of the Greek,
things were what they seemed, and they were all there. Hence simplicity.
It is a quality of the art of to-day that things are not what they seem
in it. If they were, we should not call it art at all. Everything stands
not only for itself and for what it says, but for an immeasurable
something that cannot be said. Every sound in music is the senator of a
thousand sounds, thoughts, and associations, and in literature every
word that is allowed to appear is the representative in three syllables
of three pages of a dictionary. The whistle of the locomotive, and the
ring of the telephone, and the still, swift rush of the elevator are
making themselves felt in the ideal world. They are proclaiming to the
ideal world that the real world is outstripping it. The twelve thousand
horsepower steamer does not find itself accurately expressed in iambics
on the leisurely fleet of Ulysses. It is seeking new expression. The
command has gone forth over all the beauty and over all the art of the
present world, crowded for time and crowded for space. "Telegraph!" To
the nine Muses the order flies. One can hear it on every side.
"Telegraph!" The result is symbolism, the Morse alphabet of art and
"types," the epigrams of human nature, crowding us all into ten or
twelve people. The epic is telescoped into the sonnet, and the sonnet is
compressed into quatrains or Tabbs of poetry, and couplets are signed as
masterpieces. The novel has come into being--several hundred pages of
crowded people in crowded sentences, jostling each other to oblivion;
and now the novel, jostled into oblivion by the next novel, is becoming
the short story. Kipling's short stories sum the situation up. So far as
skeleton or plot is concerned, they are built up out of a bit of nothing
put with an infinity of Kipling; so far as meat is concerned, they are
the Liebig Beef Extract of fiction. A single jar of Kipling contains a
whole herd of old-time novels lowing on a hundred hills.

The classic of any given world is a work of art that has passed through
the same process in being a work of art that that world has passed
through in being a world. Mr. Kipling represents a crowd age, because he
is crowded with it; because, above all others, he is the man who
produces art in the way the age he lives in is producing everything

This is no mere circumstance of democracy. It is its manifest destiny
that it shall produce art for crowded conditions, that it shall have
crowd art. The kind of beauty that can be indefinitely multiplied is the
kind of beauty in which, in the nature of things, we have made our most
characteristic and most important progress. Our most considerable
success in pictures could not be otherwise than in black and white.
Black-and-white art is printing-press art; and art that can be produced
in endless copies, that can be subscribed for by crowds, finds an
extraordinary demand, and artists have applied themselves to supplying
it. All the improvements, moving on through the use of wood and steel
and copper, and the process of etching, to the photogravure, the
lithograph, the moving picture, and the latest photograph in colour,
whatever else may be said of them from the point of view of Titian or
Michael Angelo, constitute a most amazing and triumphant advance from
the point of view of making art a democracy, of making the rare and the
beautiful minister day and night to crowds. The fact that the mechanical
arts are so prominent in their relation to the fine arts may not seem to
argue a high ideal amongst us; but as the mechanical arts are the body
of beauty, and the fine arts are the soul of it, it is a necessary part
of the ideal to keep body and soul together until we can do better.
Mourning with Ruskin is not so much to the point as going to work with
William Morris. If we have deeper feelings about wall-papers than we
have about other things, it is going to the root of the matter to begin
with wall-papers, to make machinery say something as beautiful as
possible, inasmuch as it is bound to have, for a long time at least,
about all the say there is. The photograph does not go about the world
doing Murillos everywhere by pressing a button, but the camera habit is
doing more in the way of steady daily hydraulic lifting of great masses
of men to where they enjoy beauty in the world than Leonardo da Vinci
would have dared to dream in his far-off day; and Leonardo's pictures,
thanks to the same photograph, and everybody's pictures, films of paper,
countless spirits of themselves, pass around the world to every home in
Christendom. The printing press made literature a democracy, and
machinery is making all the arts democracies. The symphony piano, an
invention for making vast numbers of people who can play only a few very
poor things play very poorly a great many good ones, is a consummate
instance both of the limitation and the value of our contemporary
tendency in the arts. The pipe organ, though on a much higher plane, is
an equally characteristic contrivance making it possible for a man to be
a complete orchestra and a conductor all by himself, playing on a crowd
of instruments, to a crowd of people, with two hands and one pair of
feet. It is a crowd invention. The orchestra--a most distinctively
modern institution, a kind of republic of sound, the unseen spirit of
the many in one--is the sublimest expression yet attained of the crowd
music, which is, and must be, the supreme music of this modern day, the
symphony. Richard Wagner comes to his triumph because his music is the
voice of multitudes. The opera, a crowd of sounds accompanied by a crowd
of sights, presented by one crowd of people on the stage to another
crowd of people in the galleries, stands for the same tendency in art
that the syndicate stands for in commerce. It is syndicate music; and in
proportion as a musical composition in this present day is an
aggregation of multitudinous moods, in proportion as it is suggestive,
complex, paradoxical, the way a crowd is complex, suggestive, and
paradoxical--provided it be wrought at the same time into some vast and
splendid unity--just in this proportion is it modern music. It gives
itself to the counterpoints of the spirit, the passion of variety in
modern life. The legacy of all the ages, is it not descended upon
us?--the spirit of a thousand nations? All our arts are thousand-nation
arts, shadows and echoes of dead worlds playing upon our own. Italian
music, out of its feudal kingdoms, comes to us as essentially solo
music--melody; and the civilization of Greece, being a civilization of
heroes, individuals, comes to us in its noble array with its solo arts,
its striding heroes everywhere in front of all, and with nothing nearer
to the people in it than the Greek Chorus, which, out of limbo, pale and
featureless across all ages, sounds to us as the first far faint coming
of the crowd to the arts of this groping world. Modern art, inheriting
each of these and each of all things, is revealed to us as the struggle
to express all things at once. Democracy is democracy for this very
reason, and for no other: that all things may be expressed at once in
it, and that all things may be given a chance to be expressed at once in
it. Being a race of hero-worshippers, the Greeks said the best, perhaps,
what could be said in sculpture; but the marbles and bronzes of a
democracy, having average men for subjects, and being done by average
men, are average marbles and bronzes. We express what we have. We are in
a transition stage. It is not without its significance, however, that we
have perfected the plaster cast--the establishment of democracy among
statues, and mobs of Greek gods mingling with the people can be seen
almost any day in every considerable city of the world. The same
principle is working itself out in our architecture. It is idle to
contend against the principle. The way out is the way through. However
eagerly we gaze at Parthenons on their ruined hills, if thirty-one-story
blocks are in our souls thirty-one-story blocks will be our
masterpieces, whether we like it or not. They will be our masterpieces
because they tell the truth about us; and while truth may not be
beautiful, it is the thing that must be told first before beauty can
begin. The beauty we are to have shall only be worked out from the truth
we have. Living as we do in a new era, not to see that the
thirty-one-story block is the expression of a new truth is to turn
ourselves away from the one way that beauty can ever be found by men, in
this era or in any other.

What is it that the thirty-one-story block is trying to say about us?
The thirty-one-story block is the masterpiece of mass, of immensity, of
numbers; with its 2427 windows and its 779 offices, and its crowds of
lives piled upon lives, it is expressing the one supreme and
characteristic thing that is taking place in the era in which we live.
The city is the main fact that modern civilization stands for, and
crowding is the logical architectural form of the city idea. The
thirty-one-story block is the statue of a crowd. It stands for a
spiritual fact, and it will never be beautiful until that fact is
beautiful. The only way to make the thirty-one-story block beautiful
(the crowd expressed by the crowd) is to make the crowd beautiful. The
most artistic, the only artistic, thing the world can do next is to make
the crowd beautiful.

The typical city blocks, with their garrets in the lower stories of the
sky, were not possible in the ancient world, because steel had not been
invented; and the invention of steel, which is not the least of our
triumphs in the mechanical arts, is in many ways the most
characteristic. Steel is republican for stone. Putting whole quarries
into a single girder, it makes room for crowds; and what is more
significant than this, inasmuch as the steel pillar is an invention that
makes it possible to put floors up first, and build the walls around the
floors, instead of putting the walls up first and supporting the floors
upon the walls, as in the ancient world, it has come to pass that the
modern world being the ancient world turned upside down, modern
architecture is ancient architecture turned inside out, a symbol of many
things. The ancient world was a wall of individuals, supporting floor
after floor and stage after stage of society, from the lowest to the
highest; and it is a typical fact in this modern democratic world that
it grows from the inside, and that it supports itself from the inside.
When the mass in the centre has been finished, an ornamental stone
facing of great individuals will be built around it and supported by it,
and the work will be considered done.

The modern spirit has much to boast of in its mechanical arts, and in
its fine arts almost nothing, because the mechanical arts are studying
what men are needing to-day, and the fine arts are studying what the
Greeks needed three thousand years ago. To be a real classic is, first,
to be a contemporary of one's own time; second, to be a contemporary of
one's own time so deeply and widely as to be a contemporary of all time.
The true Greek is a man who is doing with his own age what the Greeks
did with theirs, bringing all ages to bear upon it, and interpreting it.
As long as the fine arts miss the fundamental principle of this present
age--the crowd principle, and the mechanical arts do not, the mechanical
arts are bound to have their way with us. And it were vastly better that
they should. Sincere and straightforward mechanical arts are not only
more beautiful than affected fine ones, but they are more to the point:
they are the one sure sign we have of where we are going to be beautiful
next. It is impossible to love the fine arts in the year 1913 without
studying the mechanical ones; without finding one's self looking for
artistic material in the things that people are using, and that they are
obliged to use. The determining law of a thing of beauty being, in the
nature of things, what it is for, the very essence of the classic
attitude in a utilitarian age is to make the beautiful follow the useful
and inspire the useful with its spirit. The fine art of the next
thousand years shall be the transfiguring of the mechanical arts. The
modern hotel, having been made necessary by great natural forces in
modern life, and having been made possible by new mechanical arts, now
puts itself forward as the next great opportunity of the fine arts. One
of the characteristic achievements of the immediate future shall be the
twentieth-century Parthenon--a Parthenon not of the great and of the few
and of the gods, but of the great many, where, through mighty corridors,
day and night, democracy wanders and sleeps and chatters and is sad and
lives and dies, streets rumbling below. The hotel--the crowd
fireside--being more than any other one thing, perhaps, the thing that
this civilization is about, the token of what it loves and of how it
lives, is bound to be a masterpiece sooner or later that shall express
democracy. The hotel rotunda, the parlour for multitudes, is bound to be
made beautiful in ways we do not guess. Why should we guess? Multitudes
have never wanted parlours before. The idea of a parlour has been to get
out of a multitude. All the inevitable problems that come of having a
whole city of families live in one house have yet to be solved by the
fine arts as well as by the mechanical ones. We have barely begun. The
time is bound to come when the radiator, the crowd's fireplace-in-a-pipe,
shall be made beautiful; and when the electric light shall be taught
the secret of the candle; and when the especial problem of modern
life--of how to make two rooms as good as twelve--shall be mastered
æsthetically as well as mathematically; and when even the piano-folding,
bed-bookcase-toilet-stand-writing-desk--a crowd invention for living
in a crowd--shall either take beauty to itself or lead to beauty that
serves the same end.

While for the time being it seems to be true that the fine arts are
looking to the past, the mechanical arts are producing conditions in the
future that will bring the fine arts to terms, whether they want to be
brought to terms or not. The mechanical arts hold the situation in their
hands. It is decreed that people who cannot begin by making the things
they use beautiful shall be allowed no beauty in other things. We may
wish that Parthenons and cathedrals were within our souls; but what the
cathedral said of an age that had the cathedral mood, that had a
cathedral civilization and thrones and popes in it, we are bound to say
in some stupendous fashion of our own--something which, when it is built
at last, will be left worshipping upon the ground beneath the sky when
we are dead, as a memorial that we too have lived. The great cathedrals,
with the feet of the huddled and dreary poor upon their floors, and
saints and heroes shining on their pillars, and priests behind the
chancel with God to themselves, and the vast and vacant nave, symbol of
the heaven glimmering above that few could reach--it is not to these
that we shall look to get ourselves said to the nations that are now
unborn; rather, though it be strange to say it, we shall look to
something like the ocean steamship--cathedral of this huge unresting
modern world--under the wide heaven, on the infinite seas, with spars
for towers and the empty nave reversed filled with human beings'
souls--the cathedral of crowds hurrying to crowds. There are hundreds of
them throbbing and gleaming in the night--this very moment--lonely
cities in the hollow of the stars, bringing together the nations of the

When the spirit of our modern way of living, the idea in it, the bare
facts about our modern human nature have been noticed at last by our
modern artists, masterpieces shall come to us out of every great and
living activity in our lives. Art shall tell the things these lives are
about. When this is once realized in America as it was in Greece, the
fine arts shall cover the other arts as the waters cover the sea. The
Brooklyn Bridge, swinging its web for immortal souls across sky and sea,
comes nearer to being a work of art than almost anything we possess
to-day, because it tells the truth, because it is the material form of a
spiritual idea, because it is a sublime and beautiful expression of New
York in the way that the Acropolis was a sublime and beautiful
expression of Athens. The Acropolis was beautiful because it was the
abode of heroes, of great individuals; and the Brooklyn Bridge, because
it expresses the bringing together of millions of men. It is the
architecture of crowds--this Brooklyn Bridge--with winds and sunsets and
the dark and the tides of souls upon it; it is the type and symbol of
the kind of thing that our modern genius is bound to make beautiful and
immortal before it dies. The very word "bridge" is the symbol of the
future of art and of everything else, the bringing together of things
that are apart--democracy. The bridge, which makes land across the
water, and the boat, which makes land on the water, and the cable, which
makes land and water alike--these are the physical forms of the spirit
of modern life, the democracy of matter. But the spirit has countless
forms. They are all new and they are all waiting to be made beautiful.
The dumb crowd waits in them. We have electricity--the life current of
the republican idea--characteristically our foremost invention, because
it takes all power that belongs to individual places and puts it on a
wire and carries it to all places. We have the telephone, an invention
which makes it possible for a man to live on a back street and be a
next-door neighbour to boulevards; and we have the trolley, the modern
reduction of the private carriage to its lowest terms, so that any man
for five cents can have as much carriage power as Napoleon with all his
chariots. We have the phonograph, an invention which gives a man a
thousand voices; which sets him to singing a thousand songs at the same
time to a thousand crowds; which makes it possible for the commonest man
to hear the whisper of Bismarck or Gladstone, to unwind crowds of great
men by the firelight of his own house. We have the elevator, an
invention for making the many as well off as the few, an approximate
arrangement for giving first floors to everybody, and putting all men on
a level at the same price--one more of a thousand instances of the
extraordinary manner in which the mechanical arts have devoted
themselves from first to last to the Constitution of the United States.
While it cannot be said of many of these tools of existence that they
are beautiful now, it is enough to affirm that when they are perfected
they will be beautiful; and that if we cannot make beautiful the things
that we need, we cannot expect to make beautiful the things that we
merely want. When the beauty of these things is at last brought out, we
shall have attained the most characteristic and original and expressive
and beautiful art that is in our power. It will be unprecedented
because it will tell unprecedented truths. It was the mission of
ancient art to express states of being and individuals, and it may be
said to be in a general way the mission of our modern art to express the
beautiful in endless change, the movement of masses, coming to its
sublimity and immortality at last by revealing the beauty of the things
that move and that have to do with motion, the bringing of all things
and of all souls together on the earth.

The fulfillment of the word that has been written, "Your valleys shall
be exalted, and your mountains shall be made low," is by no means a
beautiful process. Democracy is the grading principle of the beautiful.
The natural tendency the arts have had from the first to rise from the
level of the world, to make themselves into Switzerlands in it, is
finding itself confronted with the Constitution of the United States--a
Constitution which, whatever it may be said to mean in the years to
come, has placed itself on record up to the present time, at least, as
standing for the tableland.

The very least that can be granted to this Constitution is that it is so
consummate a political document that it has made itself the creed of our
theology, philosophy, and sociology; the principle of our commerce and
industry; the law of production, education, and journalism; the method
of our life; the controlling characteristic and the significant force in
our literature; and the thing our religion and our arts are about.





This outlook or glimmer of vision I have tried to trace, for the art of
crowds is something we want, and want daily, in the future. We want
daily a future. But, after all, it is a future.

I speak in this present chapter as one of the crowd who wants something

I find myself in a world in which apparently some vast anonymous
arrangement was made about me and about my life, before I was born. This
arrangement seems to be, as I understand it, that if I want to live
while I am on this planet a certain sort of life or be a certain sort of
person, I am expected practically to take out a permit for it from the
proper authorities.

In the previous chapter I made a request of the authorities, as perhaps
the reader will remember. I said, "I want to be good now."

In this one I have a further request to make of the authorities: "I want
to be beautiful."

I want to be beautiful now.

I find thousands of other people about me on every hand making these
same two requests. I find that the authorities do not seem to notice
their requests any more than they have noticed mine.

Some of us have begun to suspect that we must have made the request in
the wrong way. Perhaps we should not ask a world--a great, vague thing
like the world in general--to make any slight arrangement we may need
for being beautiful. We have come to feel that we must ask somebody in
particular, and do something in particular, and find some one in
particular with whom we can do it. There is getting to be but one course
open to a man if he wants to be beautiful. He must bone down and work
hard with his soul, make himself see precisely what it is and who it is
standing between him and a beautiful world. He must ask particular
persons in particular positions if they do not think he ought to be
allowed to be beautiful. He must ask some millionaire probably
first--his employer, for instance--to stop getting in his way, and at
least to step one side and let him reason with him. And when he cannot
ask his millionaire--his own particular humdrum millionaire--to step one
side and reason with him, he must ask iron-machines to step one side and
reason with him. After this he must ask crowds to please to step one
side and reason with him.

Whatever happens, he is sure to find always these same three great,
imponderable obstructions in the way of his being beautiful--the humdrum
millionaires, the iron-machines, and crowds.

In the old days when any one wanted to be beautiful he found it more
convenient. There was very likely some one who was more beautiful than
he was nearby, some one who found him craving the same thing that he had
craved, and who recognized it and delighted in it, and who could make
room and help.

Nowadays, if one wants to be beautiful one must ask everybody. Every man
finds it the same. He must ask millions of people to let him be
something, one after the other in rows, that they do not want him to be
or do not care whether he is or not. He has to ask more people than he
could count, before he dies, to let him be beautiful. Many of them that
he has to ask, sometimes most of them, are his inferiors.

I have tried to deal with how it is going to be possible for a man to
break through to being beautiful, past millionaires and past
iron-machines. I would like now to deal with the people-machines or
crowds, and how perhaps to break past them and be beautiful in behalf of
them, in spite of them.



The problem seems to be something like this. One finds one has been born
and put here whether or no, and that one is inextricably alive in a
state of society in which men are coming to live in a kind of vast
disease of being obliged to do everything together.

We are still old-fashioned enough to be born one at a time, but we are
educated in litters and we do our work in the world in herds and gangs.
Even the upper classes do their work in gangs, and with overseers and
little crowds called committees. Our latest idea consists in putting
parts of a great many different men together to make one great
one--forming a committee to make a man of genius.

There is no denying that, in a way, a committee does things; but what
becomes of the committee?

And the lower in the scale of life we go the more committees it takes to
do the work of one man and the more impossible it becomes to find
anything but parts of men to do things. I put it frankly to the reader.
The chances are nine out of ten that when you meet a man nowadays and
look at him hard or try to do something with him you find he is not a
man at all but is some subsection of a committee. You cannot even talk
with such a man without selecting some subsection of some subject which
interests him; and if you select any other subsection than his
subsection he will think you a bore; and if you select his subsection he
will think that you do not know anything.

And if you want to get anything done that is different, or that is the
least bit interesting, and want to get some one to do it, how will you
go about it? You will find yourself being sent from one person to
another; and before you know it you find yourself mixed up with nine or
ten subdivisions of nine or ten committees; and after you have got your
nine or ten subsections of nine or ten committees to get together to
consider what it is you want done, they will tell you, after due
deliberation, that it is not worth doing, or that you had better do it
yourself. Then every subsection of every committee will go home
muttering under its breath to every other subsection that a man who
wants slightly different and interesting things done in society is a
public nuisance; and that the man who does not know what subsection he
is in and what subsection of a man he was intended to be, and who tries
to do things, carries dismay and anger on every side around him. Drop
into your pigeonhole and be filed away, O Gentle Reader! Do you think
you are a soul? No; you are Series B. No. 2574, top row on the left.

In my morning paper the other day I read that in a factory whose long
windows I often pass in the train, they have their machinery so
perfected that it takes sixty-four machines to make one shoe.

Query--If it takes sixty-four machines run by sixty-four men who do
nothing else to make one shoe, how many machines would it take, and how
many shoes, to make one man?

Query--And when an employer in a shoe factory deals with his employee,
can it really be said, after all, that he is dealing with _him_? He is
dealing with _It_--with Nine Hours a Day, of one sixty-fourth of a man.

The natural effect of crowds and of machines is to make a man feel that
he is, and always was, and always will be, immemorially, unanimously,
innumerably nobody.

Sometimes we are allowed a little faint numeral to dangle up over our
oblivion. Not long ago I saw a notice or letter in the _West
Bulletin_--probably from a member of something--ending like this: "...
I hope the readers of the _Bulletin_ will ponder over this suggestion of
_Number_ 29,619.--Sincerely yours, _No._ 11, 175."



I shall never forget one day I spent in New York some years ago--more
years than I thought at first. It was a wrong-headed day, but I cannot
help remembering it as a symbol of a dread I still feel at times in New
York--a feeling of being suddenly lifted, of being swept out under (it
is like the undertow of the sea) into a kind of vast deep of
impersonality--swept out of myself into a wide, imperious waste or
emptiness of people. I had come fresh from my still country meadow and
mountain, my own trees and my own bobolinks and my own little island of
sky up over me, and in the vast and desolate solitude of men and women I
wandered about up and down the streets. Every block I saw, every window,
skyline, engine, street-car, every human face, made me feel as if I
belonged to another world. Here was a great conspiracy in stone and iron
against my own life with myself. Was there a soul in all this huge roar
and spectacle of glass and stone and passion that cared for the things
that I cared for, or the things that I loved, or that would care one
shuffle of all the feet upon the stones for any thought or word or
desire of mine? The rain swept in my face, and I spent the day walking
up and down the streets looking at stones and glass and people. _"Here
we are!"_ say the great buildings crowding on the sky. _"Who are
you?"_....all the stone and the glass and the walls, the mighty
syndicate of matter everywhere, surrounded me--one little, shivering,
foolish mote of being fighting foolishly for its own little foolish mote
of identity!

And I do not believe that I was all wrong. New York, like some vast,
implacable cone of ether, some merciless anæsthetic, was thrust down
over me and my breathing, and I still had a kind of left-over prejudice
that I wanted to be myself, with my own private self-respect, with my
own private, temporarily finished-off, provisionally complete
personality. I felt then, and I still feel to-day, that every man, as he
fights for his breath, must stand out at least part of his time for the
right of being self-contained. It is, and always will be, one of the
appalling sights of New York to me--the spectacle of the helplessness,
the wistfulness, of all those poor New York people without one another.
Sometimes the city seems to be a kind of huge monument or idol or shrine
of crowds. It seems to be a part of the ceaseless crowd action or crowd
corrosion on the sense of identity in the human spirit that the man who
lives in crowds should grow more dull and more literal about himself
every day. He becomes a mere millionth of something. All these other
people he sees about him hurrying to and fro are mere millionths too. He
grows more and more obliged to live with a vast bulk of people if he is
to notice people at all. Unless he sees all the different kinds of
people and forms of life with his own eye, and feels human beings with
his hands, as it were, he does not know and sympathize with them. The
crowd-craving or love of continual city life on the part of many people
comes to be a sheer lack of imagination, an inability to live in
qualities instead of quantities in men. To live merely in a city is not
to know the real flavour of life any more than the daily paper knows
it--the daily paper, the huge dull monster of observation, the seer of
outsides. The whole effect of crowds on the individual man is to
emphasize scareheads and appearances, advertisements, and the huge
general showing off. The ride in the train from New Haven to New York is
the true portrait of a crowd. Crowds of soaps and patent medicines
straining on trees and signboard out of the gentle fields toward crowds
of men, culminating at last in Woodlawn Cemetery, where the marble
signposts of death flaunt themselves. Oblivion itself is advertised, and
the end of the show of a show world is placarded on our graves. Men buy
space in papers for cards, and bits of country scenery by the great
railroads to put up signboards, and they spend money and make constant
efforts to advertise that they are alive, and then they build expensive
monuments to advertise that they are dead....

The same craving for piled-up appearances is brought to bear by crowds
upon their arts. Even a gentle soul like Paderewski, full of a personal
and strange beauty that he could lend to everything he touched, finds
himself swept out of himself at last by the huge undertow of crowds.
Scarcely a season but his playing has become worn down at the end of it
into shrieks and hushes. Have I not watched him at the end of a tour,
when, one audience after the other, those huge Svengalis had hypnotized
him--thundering his very subtleties at them, hour after hour, in
Carnegie Hall? One could only wonder what had happened, sit by
helplessly, watch the crowd--thousands of headlong human beings lunging
their souls and their bodies through the music, weeping, gasping,
huzzaing, and clapping to one another. After every crash of new
crescendo, after every precipice of silence, they seemed to be crying,
"This is Soul! Oh, this is Soul!" The feeling of a vast audience holding
its breath, no matter why it does it or whether it ought to do it or
not, seems to have become almost a religious rite of itself. Vistas of
faces gallery after gallery hanging on a note, two or three thousand
souls suspended in space all on one tiny little ivory lever at the end
of one man's forefinger ... dim lights shining on them and soft
vibrations floating round them ... going to hear Paderewski play at the
end of his season was going to hear a crowd at a piano singing with its
own hands and having a kind of orgy with itself. One could only remember
that there had been a Paderewski once who hypnotized and possessed his
audience by being hypnotized and possessed by his own music. One liked
to remember him--the Paderewski who was really an artist and who
performed the function of the artist showering imperiously his own
visions on the hearts of the people.

And what is true in music one finds still truer in the other arts. One
keeps coming on it everywhere--the egotism of cities, the
self-complacency of the crowds swerving the finer and the truer artists
from their functions, making them sing in hoarse crowd-voices instead of
singing in their own and giving us themselves. Nearly all our acting has
been corroded by crowds. Some of us have been obliged almost to give up
going to the theatre except to very little ones, and we are wondering if
churches cannot possibly be made small enough to believe great things,
or if galleries cannot be arranged with few enough people in them to
allow us great paintings, or if there will not be an author so well
known to a few men that he will live forever, or if some newspaper will
not yet be great enough to advertise that it has a circulation small
enough to tell the truth.



So we face the issue.

Nothing beautiful can be accomplished in a crowd civilization, by the
crowd for the crowd, unless the crowd is beautiful. No man who is
engaged in looking under the lives about him, who wishes to face the
facts of these lives as they are lived to-day, will find himself able to
avoid this last and most important fact in the history of the world--the
fact that, whatever it may mean, or whether it is for better or worse,
the world has staked all that it is and has been, and all that it is
capable of being, on the one supreme issue, "How can the crowd be made

The answer to this question involves two difficulties: (1) A crowd
cannot make itself beautiful. (2) A crowd will not let any one else make
it beautiful.

The men who have been on the whole the most eager democrats of
history--the real-idealists--the men who love the crowd and the
beautiful too, and who can have no honest or human pleasure in either of
them except as they are being drawn together, are obliged to admit that
living in a democratic country, a country where politics and æsthetics
can no longer be kept apart, is an ordeal that can only be faced a large
part of the time with heavy hearts. We are obliged to admit that it is a
country where paintings have little but the Constitution of the United
States wrought into them; where sculpture is voted and paid for by the
common people; where music is composed for majorities; where poetry is
sung to a circulation; where literature itself is scaled to
subscription lists; where all the creators of the True and the Beautiful
and the Good may be seen almost any day tramping the tableland of the
average man, fed by the average man, allowed to live by the average man,
plodding along with weary and dusty steps to the average man's
forgetfulness. And, indeed, it is not the least trait of this same
average man that he forgets, that he is forgotten, that his slaves are
forgotten, that the world remembers only those who have been his

On the other hand, the literature of finding fault with the average man
(which is what the larger part of our more ambitious literature really
is) is not a kind of literature that can do anything to mend matters.
The art of finding fault with the average man, with the fact that the
world is made convenient for him, is inferior art because it is helpless
art. The world is made convenient for the average man because it has to
be, to get him to live in it; and if the world were not made convenient
for him, the man of genius would find living with him a great deal more
uncomfortable than he does. He would not even be allowed the comfort of
saying how uncomfortable. The world belongs to the average man, and,
excepting the stars and other things that are too big to belong to him,
the moment the average man deserves anything better in it or more
beautiful in it than he is getting, some man of genius rises by his
side, in spite of him, and claims it for him. Then he slowly claims it
for himself. The last thing to do, to make the world a good place for
the average man, would be to make it a world with nothing but average
men in it. If it is the ideal of democracy that there shall be a slow
massive lifting, a grading up of all things at once; that whatever is
highest in the true and the beautiful, and whatever is lowest in them
shall be graded down and graded up to the middle height of human life,
where the greatest numbers shall make their home and live upon it; if
the ideal of democracy is tableland--that is--mountains for
everybody--a few mountains must be kept on hand to make tableland out

Two solutions, then, of a crowd civilization--having the extraordinary
men crowded out of it as a convenience to the average ones, and having
the average men crowded out of it as a convenience to the extraordinary
ones--are equally impracticable.

This brings us to the horns of our dilemma. If the crowd cannot be made
beautiful by itself, and if the crowd will not allow itself to be made
beautiful by any one else, the crowd can only be made beautiful by a man
who lives so great a life in it that he can make a crowd beautiful
whether it allows him to or not.

When this man is born to us and looks out on the conditions around him,
he will find that to be born in a crowd civilization is to be born in a
civilization, first, in which every man can do as he pleases; second, in
which nobody does. Every man is given by the Government absolute
freedom; and when it has given him absolute freedom the Government says
to him, "Now if you can get enough other men, with their absolute
freedom, to put their absolute freedom with your absolute freedom, you
can use your absolute freedom in any way you want." Democracy, seeking
to free a man from being a slave to one master, has simply increased the
number of masters a man shall have. He is hemmed in with crowds of
masters. He cannot see his master's huge amorphous face. He cannot go to
his master and reason with him. He cannot even plead with him. You can
cry your heart out to one of these modern ballot-boxes. You have but one
ballot. They will not count tears. The ultimate question in a crowd
civilization becomes, not "What does a thing mean?" or "What is it
worth?" but "How much is there of it?" "If thou art a great man," says
civilization, "get thou a crowd for thy greatness. Then come with thy
crowd and we will deal with thee. It shall be even as thou wilt." The
pressure has become so great, as is obvious on every side, that men who
are of small or ordinary calibre can only be more pressed by it. They
are pressed smaller and smaller--the more they are civilized, the
smaller they are pressed; and we are being daily brought face to face
with the fact that the one solution a crowd civilization can have for
the evil of being a crowd civilization is the man in the crowd who can
withstand the pressure of the crowd; that is to say, the one solution of
a crowd civilization is the great-man solution--a solution which is none
the less true because by name, at least, it leaves most of us out or
because it is so familiar that we have forgotten it. The one method by
which a crowd can be freed and can be made to realize itself is the
great-man method--the method of crucifying and worshipping great men,
until by crucifying and worshipping great men enough, inch by inch, and
era by era, it is lifted to greatness itself.

Not very many years ago, certain great and good men, who, at the cost of
infinite pains, were standing at the time on a safe and lofty rock
protected from the fury of their kind by the fury of the sea, contrived
to say to the older nations of the earth, "All men are created equal."
It is a thing to be borne in mind, that if these men, who declared that
all men were created equal, had not been some several hundred per cent.
better men than the men they said they were created equal to, it would
not have made any difference to us or to any one else whether they had
said that all men were created equal or not, or whether the Republic had
ever been started or not, in which every man, for hundreds of years,
should look up to these men and worship them as the kind of men that
every man in America was free to try to be equal to. A civilization by
numbers, a crowd civilization, if it had not been started by heroes,
could never have been started at all. Shall this civilization attempt to
live by the crowd principle, without men in it who are living by the
hero principle? On our answer to this question hangs the question
whether this civilization, with all its crowds, shall stand or fall
among the civilizations of the earth. The main difference between the
heroes of Plymouth Rock, the heroes who proclaimed freedom in 1776, and
the heroes who must contrive to proclaim freedom now, is that tyranny
now is crowding around the Rock, and climbing up on the Rock,
eighty-seven million strong, and that tyranny then was a half-idiot king
three thousand miles away.

       *       *       *       *       *

We know or think we know, some of us--at least we have taken a certain
joy in working it out in our minds, and live with it every day--how
people in crowds are going to be beautiful by and by.

The difficulty of being beautiful now, I have tried to express. It seems
better to express, if possible, what a difficulty is before trying to
meet it.

And now we would like to try to meet it. How can we determine what is
the most practical and natural way for crowds of people to try to be
beautiful now?

It would seem to be a matter of crowd psychology, of crowd technique,
and of determining how human nature works.

All thoughtful people are agreed as to the aim.

Everything turns on the method.

In the following chapters we will try to consider the technique of being
beautiful in crowds.




    _"And I saw the free souls of poets,
    The loftiest bards of all ages strode before me
    Strange large men, long unwaked, undisclosed, were disclosed to me
    ... O my rapt verse, my call, mock me not!
    ... I will not be outfaced by irrational things,
    I will penetrate what is sarcastic upon me,
    I will make cities and civilizations defer to me
    This is what I have learnt from America--

    I will confront these shows of the day and night
    I will know if I am to be less than they,
    I will see if I am not as majestic as they,
    I will see if I am not as subtle and real as they,
    I will see if I have no meaning while the houses and
        ships have meaning,

    ... I am for those that have never been mastered,
    For men and women whose tempers have never been mastered,
    For those whom laws, theories, conventions can never master.

    I am for those who walk abreast of the whole earth
    Who inaugurate one to inaugurate all."_



I was spending a little time not long ago with a man of singularly
devoted and noble spirit who had dedicated his life and his fortune to
the Socialist movement. We had had several talks before, and always with
a little flurry at first of hopefulness toward one another's ideas. We
both felt that the other, for a mere Socialist or for a mere
Individualist, was really rather reasonable. We admitted great tracts of
things to one another, and we always felt as if by this one next
argument, perchance, or by one further illustration, we would convince
the other and rescue him like a brand from the burning.

The last time I saw him he started in at once at the station as we
climbed up into the car by telling me what he was doing. He was studying
up the heroes of the American Revolution, and was writing something to
show that they were not really heroes after all. All manner of things
were the matter with them. They had always troubled him, he said. He
knew there was something wrong, and he was glad to have the matter
settled. He said he did not, and never had believed in heroes, and
thought they did a great deal of harm--even dead ones. Heroes, he said,
always deceived the people. They kept people from seeing that nothing
could be done in our modern society by any one man. Only crowds could do
things, he intimated--each man, like one little wave on the world,
wavering up to the shore and dying away.

As the evening wore on our conversation became more concrete, and I
began to drag in, of course, every now and then, naturally, an inspired
or semi-inspired millionaire or so.

I cannot say that these gentlemen were received with enthusiasm.

Finally, I turned on him. "What is it that makes you so angry (and
nearly all the Socialists) every time you hear something good, something
you cannot deny is good, about a successful business man? If I brought a
row of inspired millionaires, say ten or twelve of them one after the
other, into your library this minute, you would get hotter and hotter
with every one, wouldn't you? You would scarcely speak to me."

---- intimated that he was afraid I was deceived; he was afraid that I
was going about deceiving other people about its being possible for mere
individual men to be good; he was afraid I was doing a great deal of

He then confided to me that not so very long ago he dropped in one
Monday morning into his guest-chamber just after his guest had gone and
found a copy of "Inspired Millionaires," which his guest had obviously
been reading over Sunday, lying on the little reading-table at the head
of the bed.

He said that he took the book back to his library, took out two or three
encyclopædias from the shelf in the corner, put my inspired millionaires
in behind them, put the encyclopædias back, and that they had been there
to this day.

With this very generous and kindly introduction we went on to a frank
talk on the general attitude of Socialists toward the instinct of
hero-worship in human nature.

A Socialist had said only a few days before, speaking of a certain
municipal movement in which the people were interested, that he thought
it really had a very good chance to succeed "if only the heroes could be
staved off a little longer." He deprecated the almost incurable idea
people seemed to have that nothing could ever be done in this world
without being all mixed up with heroes.

My mind kept recurring in a perplexed way to this remark for a few days
after I had heard it, and I soon came on the following letter from a
prominent Socialist which had been read at a dinner the night before:

    "I am glad to join with others of my comrades in conveying
    greetings to Comrade Cahan on the occasion of the fiftieth
    anniversary of his birth and in recognition of the eminent
    services that he has rendered in the Socialist movement.

    "Yet my gladness is not untinged with a certain note of
    apprehension lest in expressing so conspicuously our esteem of
    an honoured comrade we obscure the broader scene which, if
    equally illumined, would disclose tens of thousands of other
    comrades, labouring with equal devotion, and each no less
    worthy of praise....

    "In our rejoicing over the services of Comrade Cahan let us
    not forget that the facilities that he and that each of us
    enjoy are the products of thousands of other men and women,
    and sometimes of children too.

    "In our rejoicing let us recall that we cannot safely assume
    that any comrade's services to the movement have been greater
    than the movement's services to him; that we are but
    fellow-workers together, deriving help and perhaps inspiration
    one from another and each from all.

    "In our rejoicing let us place the emphasis rather upon the
    services of the many to each, than upon the services of any
    one of the many."

I have not quoted from this letter because I disagree with the idea in
it. I am ready to admit that though the idea is a somewhat dampening one
perhaps for a banquet, that it is true and important.

What I object to in the letter is the Fear in it.

In spite of the fineness and truth of the motive that lies, I know,
underneath every line, the letter is baleful, sinister, and weary.

I accuse the letter of being, in a kind of nobly sick way, visionary,
unpractical, and socially destructive.

I would heartily agree with the writer of the letter about the quality
of many heroes, possibly about most heroes. I would agree in a large
measure that the heroes the crowds choose are the wrong ones.

But there is a great difference between his belief and mine as to our
practical working policy in getting the things for crowds that we both
want for them. It seems to me that he does not believe in crowds. He is
filled with fear that they would select the wrong heroes. He says they
must not have heroes, or must be allowed as few as possible.

I believe in crowds, and I believe that the more they have the
hero-habit, the more heroes they have to compare and select from, the
finer, longer, and truer heroes they will select, the more deeply,
truly, and concretely the crowds will think, and the more nobly they
will express themselves.

But the great argument for the hero as a social method is that the crowd
in a clumsy, wistful way, deep down in its heart, in the long run, loves
the beautiful. Appealing to the crowd's ideal of the beautiful in
conduct, its sense of the heroic, or semi-heroic, is the only practical,
hard-headed understanding way of getting out of the crowd, for the
crowd, what the crowd wants.

I saw the other day in Boston several thousand schoolboys in the street
keeping step. It was a band that held them together. A band is a
practical thing.

Is it not about time, in our dreary, drab, listless procession of
economics, stringing helplessly across the world, that we have a band of
music? What economics needs now is a march.

We have to-day a thousand men who can tell people what to do where we
have one who can touch the music, the dance, the hurrah, the cry, the
worship in them, and make them want to do something. The hero is the man
who makes people want to do something, and strangely and subtly, all
through the blood, while they watch him, he makes them believe they can.

It is socially destructive to throw away the overpowering instinct of
human nature which we have called hero-worship.



But it is not only socially destructive. It is dumb and helpless for
crowds to try to get on without heroes. Big events and big men are crowd
expressions. Heroes, World Fairs, and Titanic disasters are crowd words,
the crowd's way of seeing and saying things.

Crowds think in great men, or they think in simple, big, broadly drawn
events, or words of one syllable, like coal strikes.

A whole world works through to an entirely new idea, the idea that
England is not necessarily impregnable, in the Boer war. And we see
England, by way of South Africa, searching her own heart. The Meat
Trust, by raising prices for a few trial weeks, makes half a nation
think its way over into vegetarianism or semi-vegetarianism.

In the American war with Spain modern thought attacked the last pathetic
citadel in modern life of polite illusion, of lie-poetry, and in that
one little flash of war between the Spain spirit and the American
spirit, in our modern world, the nations got their final and conclusive
sense of what the Spanish civilization really was, of the old Don
Quixote thinking, of the delightful, brave, courtly blindness, of the
world's last stronghold of pomposity, of vague, empty prettiness, of
talking grand and shooting crooked.

Japan and Russia fight with guns, but the real fight is not between
their guns, but between two great national conceptions of human life.
Like two vast national searchlights we saw them turned on each other,
two huge, grim, naked civilizations, and now in an awful light and roar,
and now in stately sudden silence, while we all looked on, all
breathless and concentrated, we saw them, as on some strange vast stage
of the world, all lit up, exposed, penetrated by the minds of men
forever. While they fought before us we saw the last two thousand years
flash up once more and fade away, and then the next two thousand years
on its slide, with one click before our faces was fastened into place.

Men see great spiritual conceptions or ideals for a world when the great
ideals are dramatized, when they stalk out before us, are acted out
before our eyes by mighty nations. Before the stage we sit silently and
think and watch the ideals of a world, the souls of the nations
struggling together, and as we watch we discover our souls for
ourselves, we define our ideals for ourselves. We make up our minds. We
see what we want. We begin to live.

I have come to believe that the hero, in the same way, is the common
man's desire and prayer writ large. It is his way of keeping it
refreshed before him so that he sees it, recalls it, suns himself in it,
lifts up his life to it, every day.



To state still further my difference with the typical Socialist point of
view, as expressed in the letter from which I have quoted, I am obliged
to confess that I not only believe in having heroes on behalf of crowds,
but in having as a regular method of democracy little crowds of heroes,
or an aristocracy. In other words, I am a democrat. I believe that
crowds can produce, and are bound to produce by a natural crowd-process,
a real aristocracy--an aristocracy which will be truly aristocratic and
noble in spirit and action, and which will express the best ideas in the
best way that a crowd can have.

The main business of a democracy is to find out which these people are
in it and put them where they will represent it. The trouble seems to
have been in democracies so far, that we find out who these people are a
generation too late. The great and rare moments of history have been
those in which we have found out who they were in time, as when we found
in America Abraham Lincoln, an unaristocratic-looking and ungainly man,
and saw suddenly that he was the first gentleman in the United States.

The next great task of democracy is to determine the best means it can
of finding out who its aristocrats are, its all-men, and determining who
they are in time, men who have vision, courage, individuality,
imagination enough to face real things, and to know real people, and to
put real things and real people together.

It is what an aristocracy in a democratic form of government is for, to
furnish imagination to crowds. A real aristocracy is the only
clear-headed, practical means a great nation can have of distributing,
classifying, and digesting and evoking hordes of men and women. People
do not have imagination in hordes, and imagination is latent and
unorganized in masses of people. The crowd problem is the problem of
having leaders who can fertilize the imagination and organize the will
of crowds. Nothing but worship or great desire has ever been able to
focus a crowd, and only the great man, rich and various in his elements,
abounding, great as the crowd is great, can ever hope to do it.

Every man in a crowd knows that he is or is in danger of being a mere
Me-man, or a mere class-man, and he knows that his neighbour is, and he
wishes to be in a world that is saved from his own mere me-ness and his
own mere classness. His hero-worship is his way of worshipping his
larger self. He communes with his possible or completed self, his self
of the best moments in the official great man or crowd man.

The average man in a crowd does not want to be an average man, and the
last thing he wants is to have an average man to represent him. He wants
a man to represent him as he would like to be.

He cannot express himself--his best self, in the State, to all the
others in the State, without a lifted-up man or crowd man to do it.

It is as if he said--as if the average man said, "I want a certain sort
of world, I want to be able to point to a man, to a particular man, and
say, as I look at him and ask others to look at him, 'This is the sort
of world I want.'"

Then everybody knows.

The great world that lies in all men's hearts is expressed in miniature,
in the great man.

Crowds speak in heroes.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have often heard Socialists wondering among themselves why a movement
that had so many fine insights and so many noble motives behind it had
produced so few artists.

It has seemed to me that it might be because Socialists as a class,
speaking roughly, are generalizers. They do not see vividly and deeply
the universal in the particular, the universal in the individual, the
national in the local. They are convinced by counting, and are moved by
masses, and are prone to overlook the Spirit of the Little, the
immensity of the seed and of the individual. They are prone to look past
the next single thing to be done. They look past the next single man to
be fulfilled.

They feel a bit superior to Individualists for the way they have of
seeing the universal in the particular, and of being picturesque and

Socialists are not picturesque and personal. They do not think in

Then they wonder why they do not make more headway.

Crowds and great men and children think in pictures.

A hero pictures greatness to them. Then they want it for themselves.

From the practical, political point of view of getting things for
crowds, perhaps the trouble lies, not in our common popular idea of
having heroes, but in the heroes. And perhaps the cure lies not in
abolishing heroes, but in making our heroes move on and in insisting on
more and better ones.

Any man who looks may watch the crowd to-day making its heroes move on.

If they do not move on, the crowd picks up the next hero at hand who is
moving--and drops them.

One can watch in every civilized country to-day crowds picking up
heroes, comparing, sorting, selecting, seeing the ones that wear the
longest, and one by one taking the old ones down.

The crowd takes a hero up in its huge rough hand, gazes through him at
the world, sees what it wants through him. Then it takes up another, and
then another.

Heroes are crowd spy-glasses.

Pierpont Morgan and Tom Mann for example.

Pierpont Morgan is a typical American business man raised to the n-th
or hero power.

The crowd thinks it is interesting to take up Pierpont Morgan, the Tom
Mann of the banks. It will see what it wants, through him.

And the crowd thinks it is interesting to take up Tom Mann, too, the
Pierpont Morgan of the Trades Unions. It will see what it wants, through



One keeps turning back every now and then, in reading the "Life of
Pierpont Morgan," to the portrait which Carl Hovey has placed at the
beginning of the book. If one were to look at the portrait long enough,
one would not need to read the book. The portrait puts into a few square
inches of space what Mr. Hovey takes half an acre of paper for. And all
that he really does on the half-acre of paper is to bring back to one
again and again that set and focused look one sees in Mr. Morgan's
eyes--the remoteness, the silence, the amazing, dogged, implacable
concentration, and, when all is said, a certain terrible, inexplicable

The blindness keeps one looking again. One cannot quite believe it. The
portrait has something so strong, so almost noble and commanding, about
it that one cannot but stand back with one's little judgments and give
the man who can hurl together out of the bewilderment of the world a
personality like this, and fix it here--all in one small human face--the
benefit of the doubt. This is the way the crowd has always taken
Pierpont Morgan at first. The bare spectacle of a man so magnificently
set, so imperiously preoccupied, silences our judgments. It seems as if,
of course, he must be seeing things--things that we and others possibly
do not and cannot see. The blindness in the eyes is so complete and set
in such a full array that it acts at first on one almost like a kind of
vision. The eyes hold themselves like pictures of eyes, like little
walls, as if real eyes were in behind them. One wonders if there is any
one who could ever manage to break through them, fleck up little
ordinary human things--personality, for instance, atmosphere, or
light--against them. If Shakespeare, whose folios he has, and Keats,
whose "Endymion" he owns, or Milton, whose "Paradise Lost" he keeps in
his safe, were all to assail him at once, were to bear down upon that
set look in Pierpont Morgan's eyes--try to get them to turn one side a
second and notice that they--Shakespeare and Milton and Keats--were
there, there would not be a flicker or shadow of movement. They are eyes
that are set like jaws, like magnificent spiritual muscles, on
Something. Neither do they reveal light or receive it.

       *       *       *       *       *

It will be some time before the crowd will find it possible to hand in
an account and render a full estimate of the value of the service that
Pierpont Morgan has rendered to our modern world; but the service has
been for the most part rendered now and while the world, in its mingled
dismay and gratitude at the way he has hammered it together, is
distributing its praise and blame, there are some of us who would like
to step one side a little and think quietly, if we may, not about what
Pierpont Morgan has done, which we admit duly, but about the blindness
in his eyes. It is Pierpont Morgan's blindness that interests the crowd
more than anything else about him interests them now. It is his
blindness--and the chance to find out just what it is that is making
people read his book. His blindness (if we can fix just what it is) is
the thing that we are going to make our next Pierpont Morgan out of. The
next Pierpont Morgan--the one the crowd is getting ready now--will be
made out of the things that this Pierpont Morgan did not see. What are
these things? We have been looking for the things in Carl Hovey's book,
peering in between the lines on every page, and turning up his
adjectives and looking under them, his adverbs and qualifications, his
shrewdness and carefulness for the things that Pierpont Morgan did not
see. Pierpont Morgan himself would not have tried to hide them, and
neither has his biographer. His whole book breathes throughout with a
just-mindedness, a spirit of truth, a necessary and inevitable honesty,
which of itself is not the least testimony to the essential validity and
soundness of Morgan's career. Pierpont Morgan's attitude toward his
biography (if, in spite of his reticence, it became one of the
necessities--even one of the industrial necessities, of the world that
he should have one) was probably a good deal the attitude of Walt
Whitman when he told Traubel, "Whatever you do with me, don't prettify
me"; and if there were things in Mr. Morgan's career which he
imperturbably failed to see, Mr. Morgan himself would be the last man
not to try to help people to find out what they are. But living has been
to Mr. Morgan as it is to us (as I write these lines he is seventy-four
years old) a serious, bottomless business. He does not know which the
things are he has not seen. His eyes are magnificently set. They cannot
help us. We must do our own looking.

       *       *       *       *       *

If I were called upon to speak very quickly and without warning; if any
one suddenly expected me in my first sentence to hit the bull's-eye of
Mr. Morgan's blindness, I think I would try socialism. When the Emperor
William was giving himself the treat of talking with the man who runs,
or is supposed to run, the economics of a world, he found that he was
talking with a man who had not noticed socialism yet, and who was not
interested in it. Most people would probably have said that Morgan was
not interested in socialism enough; but there are very few people who
would not be as surprised as Emperor William was to know that he,
Pierpont Morgan, was not informed about the greatest and, to some of us,
the most threatening, omnipresent, and significant spectre in modern
industrial life.

But when one thinks of it, and, when more particularly, one looks again
at that set look in his eyes, I cannot see how it could possibly have
been otherwise. If Morgan's eyes had suddenly begun seeing all sorts of
human things--the bewildering welter of the individual minds, the
tragedy of the individual interests around him; if he had lost his
imperious sense of a whole--had tried to potter over and piece together,
like the good people and the wonderers, the innumerable entangled wires
of the world, his eyes might have been filled perhaps with the beautiful
and helpless light of the philosophers, with the fire of the prophets,
or with the gentle paralysis of the poets, but he never would have had
the courage to do the great work of his life--to turn down forever those
iron shutters on his eyes and smite a world together.

There was one thing this poor, dizzied, scattered planet needed. With
its quarrelling and its peevish industries, its sick poets and its tired
religions, the one thing this planet needed was a Blow; it needed a man
that could hammer it together. To find fault with this man for not being
a seer, or to feel superior to him for not being an idealist, or to
heckle him for not being a sociologist, when here he was all the time
with this mighty frenzy or heat in him that could melt down the chaos of
a world while we looked, weld it to his will, and then lift his arm and
smite it, though all men said him nay--back into a world again--to
heckle over this man's not being a complete sociologist or professor is
not worthy of thoughtful and manful men.

I cannot express it, but I can only declare, living as I do in a day
like this, that to me there is a kind of colossal naked poetry in what
Pierpont Morgan has done which I cannot but acknowledge with gratitude
and hope. Though there be in it, as in all massive things, a brutality
perhaps like that of the moving glaciers, like the making and boiling of
coal in the earth, like death, like childbirth, like the impersonality
of the sea, my imagination can never get past a kind of elemental,
almost heathen poetry or heathen-god poetry in Pierpont Morgan's Blow or
shock upon our world. There may be reason to doubt as to whether it is
to be called a heaven-poetry or a hell-poetry--something so gaunt and
simple is there about it; but here we are with all our machines around
us, with our young, rough, fresh nations in the act of starting a great
civilization once more on this old and gentle earth, and I can only say
that poetry (though it be new, or different, or even a little terrible)
is the one thing that now, or in any other age, men begin great
civilizations with.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have tried to express the spirit of what Morgan's genius seized
unconsciously by the grim, resistless will of his age, has wrought into
his career.

But in the background of my mind as I see Pierpont Morgan, there is
always the man who will take his place, and if I did not see the man
coming, and coming rapidly, who is to take Mr. Morgan's place, I admit
that Mr. Morgan himself would be a failure, a disaster, a closed wall at
the end of the world.

No one man will take Mr. Morgan's place, but the typical man in the
group of men that will take his place will justify Mr. Morgan's work, by
taking this world in his hand and riveting his vision on where Morgan's
vision leaves off. As Morgan has fused railroads, iron, coal,
steamships, seas, and cities, the next industrial genius shall fuse the
spirits and the wills of men. The Individualists and the Socialists, the
aristocracies and democracies, the capitalists and the labourers shall
be welded together, shall be fused and transfused by the next Morgan
into their ultimate, inevitable, inextricable, mutual interests.

The chief characteristic of the new industrial leader is coming to be
social imagination or the power of seeing the larger industrial values
in human gifts and efficiencies, the more human and intellectual
energies of workmen, the market value of their spirits, their
imaginations, and their good-will. The underpinning and Morganizing work
has been done; the power of instant decision which Mr. Morgan has had,
has been very often based on a lack of imagination about the things that
got in his way; but the things that get in the way now, the big,
little-looking things--are the things on which the new and inspired
millionaires' imagination will find its skill and accumulate its power.
It is men's spirits that are now in the way; they have been piling up
and accumulating under Morgan's régime long enough, and it is now their
turn. Perhaps men's spirits have always been beyond Mr. Morgan, and
perhaps his imagination has been worked largely as a kind of cerebellum
imagination: it is a kind of imagination that sees related and
articulated the physical body of things, the grip on the material tools,
on the gigantic limbs of a world. The man who succeeds Mr. Morgan, and
for whom Mr. Morgan has made the world ready, is the man who has his
imagination in the upper part of his brain, and instead of doing things
by not seeing, and by not being seen, he will swing a light. He will be
himself in his own personality, a little of the nature of a searchlight,
and he will work the way a searchlight works, and will have his will
with things by seeing and lighting, by X-raying his way through them and
not by a kind of colossal world-butting, which is Morgan's way, both
eyes imperiously, implacably shut, his whole being all bent, all crowded
into his vast machine of men, his huge will lifted ... and excavating
blindly, furiously, as through some groping force he knew not, great
sub-cellars for a new heaven and new earth.

The Crowd gets its heroes one at a time. Heroes are the Crowd's tools.
Some are dredges, some are telescopes. The Crowd, by a kind of
instinct--an oversoul or undersoul of which it knows not until
afterward, takes up each tool gropingly--sometimes even against its will
and against its conscience, uses it and drops it.

Then it sees why, suddenly, it has used it.

Then God hands it Another One.



I dropped into the London Opera House the other night to see Tom Mann
(the English Bill Heywood), another hero or crowd spy-glass that people
have taken up awhile--thousands of them--to see through to what they
really want. I wanted to hear him speak, and see, if I could, why the
crowd had taken him up, and what it was they were seeing through him.

I am apt to take a dead set at liking a man I do not agree with, if I
can. It gives one a better start in understanding him and in not
agreeing with him to some purpose.

But it was not necessary to try to like Tom Mann or to make arrangements
for being fair to him. He came up on the platform (it was at Mr.
Hyndmann's Socialist rally) in that fine manly glow of his of having
just come out of jail (and a jail, whatever else may be said about it,
is certainly a fine taking place to come out of--to blossom up out of,
like a night-blooming cereus before a vast, lighted-up, uproarious
audience). It is wonderful how becoming a jail is to some people! Had I
not seen Mrs. Pethick Lawrence with the flush of Old Bailey on her cheek
only a little while before in Albert Hall?

If Tom Mann had had, like Elisha, that night, a fiery chariot at his
disposal, and had come down, landed plump out of heaven on his audience,
he could not have done half as well with it as he did with that little
gray, modest, demure Salford Jail the kind Home Secretary gave him.

He tucked the jail under his arm, stood there silently before us in a
blaze of light. Everybody clapped for five minutes.

Then he waved the air into silence and began to speak. I found I had
come to hear a simple-minded, thoughtless, whole-hearted, noisy,
self-deceived, hopelessly sincere person. He was a mere huge pulse or
muscle of a man. All we could do was to watch him up there on the
platform (it was all so simple!) taking up the world before everybody in
his big hands and whacking on it with a great rapping and sounding
before us all, as if it were Tommy's own little drum mother gave him. He
stood there for some fifteen minutes, I should think, making it--making
the whole world rat-a-tat-tat to his music, to Tommy's own music, as if
it were the music of the spheres.

Mr. Mann's gospel of hope for mankind seemed to be to have all the
workers of the world all at once refuse to work. Have the workers starve
and silence a planet, and take over and confiscate the properties and
plants of capital, dismiss the employers of all nations and run the
earth themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

I sat in silence. The audience about me broke out into wild, happy

It acted as if it had been in the presence of a vision. It was as if,
while they sat there before Tom Mann, they had seen being made, being
hammered out before them, a new world.

I rubbed my eyes.

It seemed to me precisely like the old one. And all the trouble for
nothing. All the disaster, the proposed starvation, and panic for

There was one single possible difference in it.

We had had before, Pierpont Morgan, the Tom Mann of the banks, riding
astride the planet, riding it out with us--with all the rest of us
helpless on it, holding on for dear life, riding out into the

And now we were having instead, Tom Mann, the Pierpont Morgan of the
Trades Unions, riding astride the planet, riding it out with us, with
all the rest of us helpless on it, holding on for dear life, riding out
into the Blackness.

Of course Pierpont Morgan and Tom Mann are both very useful as crowd
spy-glasses for us all to see what we want through.

But is this what we want?

Is it worth while to us, to the crowd, to all classes of us, to have our
world turned upside down so that we can be bullied on it by one set of
men instead of being bullied on it by another?

This is the thing that the Crowd, as it takes up one hero after the
other, and looks at the world through him, is seeing next.

Some of us have seen sooner than the others. But we are nearly all of us
seeing to-day. We have stood by now these many years through strikes and
rumours of strikes, and we have watched the railway hold-ups, the
Lawrence Mill strike, and the great English coal strike. We have seen,
in a kind of dumb, hopeful astonishment, everybody about us piling into
the fray, some fighting for the rights of labour and some for the rights
of capital, and we have kept wondering if possibly a little something
could not be done before long, possibly next year, in behalf of the
huge, battered, helpless Public, that dear amorphous old ladylike Person
doddering along the Main Street of the World, now being knocked down by
one side and now by the other. It has almost looked, some days, as if
both sides in the quarrel--Capital and Labour, really thought that the
Public ought not to expect to be allowed to be out in the streets at
all. Both sides in the contest are so sure they are right, and feel so
noble and Christian, that we know they will take care of themselves; but
the poor old Lady!--some of us wonder, in the turmoil of Civilization
and the scuffle of Christianity, what is to become of Her.

Is it not about time that somebody appeared very soon now who will make
a stand once and for all in behalf of this Dear Old Lady-Like Person?

Is it really true that no one has noticed Her and is really going to
stand up for Her--for the old gentle-hearted Planet as a Whole?

We have our Tom Mann for the workers, and we have the Daily
Newspaper--the Tom Mann of Capital, but where is our Tom Mann for
Everybody? Where is the man who shall come boldly out to Her, into the
great crowded highway, where the bullies of wealth have tripped up her
feet, and the bullies of poverty have thrown mud in her face, where all
the little mean herds or classes one after the other hold Her up--the
scorners, and haters, and cowards, and fearers for themselves, fighting
as cowards always have to fight, in herds ... where is the man who is
going to climb up alone before the bullies of wealth and the bullies of
poverty, take his stand against them all--against both sides, and dare
them to touch the dear helpless old Lady again?

When this man arises--this Tom Mann for Everybody--whether he slips up
into immortality out of the crowd at his feet, and stands up against
them in overalls or in a silk hat, he will take his stand in history as
a man beside whom Napoleon and Alexander the Great will look as toys in
the childhood of the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

We are living in a day when not only all competent-minded students of
affairs, but the crowd itself, the very passers-by in the streets, have
come to see that the very essence of the labour problem is the problem
of getting the classes to work together. And when the crowd watches the
labour leader and sees that he is not thinking correctly and cannot
think correctly of the other classes, of the consumers and the
employers, it drops him. Unless a leader has a class consciousness that
is capable of thinking of the other classes--the consumers and
employers, so shrewdly and so close to the facts that the other classes,
the consumers and the employers, will be compelled to take him
seriously, tolerate him, welcome him, and coöperate with him, the crowd
has come at last to recognize promptly that he is only of temporary
importance as a leader. He is the by-product of one of the illusions of
labour. When the illusion goes he goes.

Capital has been for some time developing its class consciousness.
Labour has lately been developing in a large degree a class

The most striking aspect of the present moment is that at last, in the
history of the world, the Public is developing a class consciousness.

The Crowd thinks.

And as from day to day the Crowd thinks--holds up its little class
heroes, its Tom Manns and Pierpont Morgans, and sees its world through
them--it comes more and more to see implacably what it wants.

It has been watching the Tom Mann, or Bill Heywood type of Labour
leader, for some time.

There are certain general principles with regard to labour leaders that
the crowd has come to see by holding up its heroes and looking through
them, at what it wants. The first great principle is that no man needs
to be taken very seriously, as a competent leader of a great labour
movement who is merely thinking of the interest of his own class.

The second general principle the Crowd has come to see, and to insist
upon--when it is appealed to (as it always is, in the long run) is that
no labour leader needs to be taken very seriously or regarded as very
dangerous or very useful--who believes in force.

A labour leader who has such a poor idea that a hold-up is the only way
he can express it--the Crowd suspects. The only labour leaders that the
Crowd, or people as a whole, take seriously are those that get things
by thinking and by making other people think.

The Crowd wants to think.

The Crowd wants to decide.

And It has decided to decide by being made to think and not by being
knocked down.

It is not precisely because the Crowd is not willing to be knocked down,
and has not shown itself to be over and over again, when it thought its
being knocked down might possibly help in a just cause.

But it has not been through coal strikes, Industrial Workers of the
World, and syndicalist outbreaks for nothing.

It is not the knocking down indulged in by labour and by capital that
the Crowd fears.

It is the not-thinking.

The Crowd has noticed that the knocking-down disposition and the
not-thinking disposition go together.

The Crowd has watched Force and Force-people, and has seen what always
happens after a time.

It has come to see that people who have to get things by force and not
by thinking will not be able to think of anything to do with the things
when they get them.

So the Crowd does not want them to get them.

The Crowd has learned all this even from the present owners of things.
It does not want to learn them all over again from new ones. The present
owners of things have got them half by force, and that is why they only
half understand how to run them.

But they do half understand because they only half believe in force. The
crowd has seen them get their supremacy by the use of the
employment-hold-up, or by starving or threatening to starve the workers.
And now it sees the Syndicalist workers proposing to get control by
starving or threatening to starve everybody. Of the two, those who
propose to starve all the people to get their own way, and those who
threaten to starve part of the people, it has seemed to the Crowd,
naturally, that those who only half believe in starving, and who only
starve a part of us, would be likely to be more intelligent as

In other words (accepting for the sake of argument the worst possible
interpretation of the capitalist class), they have spent several years
in learning, and have already half learned that force in industry is
inefficient and cannot be made to work.

Now when the Crowd sees the Syndicalists swinging their hats in a
hundred nations, with one big hoarse hurrah around a world, with five
minutes' experience, come rushing in, and propose to take up the
world--the whole world in two minutes more and run it in the same old
bygone way--the way that the capitalists are just giving up--by
force--it knows what it thinks.

It thinks it will fight Class Syndicalism. It makes up its mind it will
fight Class Syndicalism with Crowd Syndicalism. It has decided that, in
the interests of all of us, of a crowd civilization, of what we call the
world or Crowd Syndicate, its industries should be controlled, not by
the owners and not by the workers, but by those men, whoever they are,
who can control them with the most skill and efficiency.

The Crowd has come to see that the present owners--judging from current
events, and taking them as a whole, and speaking impersonally and
historically--have proved themselves, on the whole, incompetent to
control industries with skill and efficiency, because they have treated
labour as the natural enemy of capital and have quarrelled with it. It
sees that the present workers, acting as syndicates or otherwise, are
incompetent to own and control and manage industry because they propose
to treat capital as the natural enemy of the workers. There has been but
one conclusion possible. If Civilization or the Crowd Syndicate has a
right to have its industries managed in the interests of all, and if
the present owners have proved themselves to be mentally incompetent to
control industry because they fight labour, and if the present labourers
as a class have proved themselves to be mentally incompetent because
they propose to fight capital, there is naturally but one question the
crowd syndicate is asking to-day, namely, _"Are there any mentally
competent business firms at all in the world, any firms whose owners and
labourers have thought out a way of not fighting?"_ From the point of
view of the Crowd, the men who are competent, who know how to do their
work, do not have to lay down their tools and find out all over again
how to do their work. They know it and keep doing it.

So the Crowd keeps coming back with the question, "Are there or are
there not any competent business establishments in our modern life?
Which are they, and where are they?" We want to know about them. We want
to study them. We want to focus the thought of the world on them and see
how they do it.

The answering of this question is what the next Pierpont Morgan and the
next Tom Mann are for.

What the next Pierpont Morgan is for is to find out for us who the
competent employers are--the employers who can get twice as much work
out of their labour as other employers do--recognize them, stand by them
and put up money on them. The next Pierpont Morgan will find out also
who the incompetent employers are, recognize them, stand out against
them, and unless they have brains enough or can get brains enough to
coöperate with their own workmen, refuse to lend money to them.

This would make a banker a statesman, would make banking a great and
creative profession, shaping the destinies of civilizations, determining
with coins back and forth over a counter the prayers and the songs, the
very religions of nations, and swinging like a pendulum the fate of the

The first Pierpont Morgan has made himself, in a necessary transitional
movement, a hero in the business world because of a certain moral energy
there is in him. He has insisted in expressing his own character in
business. He would not send money to capitalists fighting capitalists,
and in a general way he has compelled capitalists to coöperate. The new
hero of the business world is going to compel capital not merely to
coöperate with capital, but to coöperate with labour and with the
public. And as Morgan compelled the railroads of the United States to
coöperate with one another by getting money for those that showed the
most genius for coöperation, and by not getting money for railroads that
showed less genius for it, so the next Pierpont Morgan will throw the
weight of his capital at critical times in favour of companies that show
the largest genius for building the mutual interests of capitalists,
employees, and the public inextricably into one body. He is going to
recognize as a banker that the most permanent, long-headed, practical,
and competent employers are those whose business genius is essentially
social genius, the genius for being human, for discovering the mutual
interests of men, and for making human machinery work.

There is a great position ahead for this hero when he comes. And I have
seen in my mind to-day thousands of men, young and old in every
business, in every country of the world, pressing forward to get the

It is what the next Tom Mann is for--to find out for the Trades Unions
and for the public who the most competent workmen are in every line of
business, the workmen who are the least mechanical-minded, who have
shown the most brains in educating and being educated by their
employers, the most power in touching the imaginations of their
employers with their lives and with their work, and in coöperating with

When the next Tom Mann has searched out and found the workmen in every
line of business who are capable of working with their superiors, and of
becoming more and more like them, he will make known to all other
workmen and to all other Trades Unions who these workmen are, and how
they have managed to do it. He will see that all Trades Unions are
informed, in night-schools and otherwise, how they have done it. He will
see that the principles, motives, and conditions that these men have
employed in making themselves more like their superiors, in making
themselves more and more fit to take the place of their superiors, in
making their work a daily, creative, spirited part of a great business,
are made so familiar to all Trades Unions that the policies of all our
labour organizations everywhere shall change and shall be infected with
a new spirit; and labouring men, instead of going to their shops the
world over, to spend nine hours a day in fighting the business in which
they are engaged, to spend nine hours a day in trying to get themselves
nothing to do, nine hours a day in getting nobody to want to employ
them, will work the way they would like to work, and the way they would
all work to-morrow morning if they knew the things about capital and
about labour that they have a right to know, and that only incompetent
employers and incompetent labor leaders year by year have kept them from



Christ said once, "He that is greatest among you let him be your

Most people have taken it as if He had said:

"He that is greatest among you let him be your valet.

"He that is greatest among you let him be your butler.

"He that is greatest among you let him be your hostler, porter,

They cling to a mediæval Morality-Play, Servant-in-the-House idea, a
kind of head-waiter idea of what Christ meant.

This seems to some of us a literal-minded, Western way of interpreting
an Oriental metaphor. We do not believe that Christ meant servanthood.
It seems to us that He meant something deeper, that He meant service;
that He might have said as well:

"He that is greatest among you let him be your Duke of Wellington.

"He that is greatest among you let him be your Lincoln.

"He that is greatest among you let him be your Edison, your Marconi."

At all events, it is extremely unlikely that He meant looking and acting
like a servant.

He meant really being one, whether one looked like a servant or not. If
looking independent and being independent makes the service better, if
defying the appearance of a servant makes the service more efficient, we
believe the appearance should be defied.

It troubles us when we see the Czar of Russia in the presence of the
civilized world, once a year taking such great pains to look like a
servant and to wash his peasants' feet.

We are not willing, if we ever have any relations with the public, to be
Czars and look like servants.

We would prefer to look like czars and be servants.

We are inclined to believe that no man who is rendering his utmost
service to the crowd ever thinks in the ordinary servant sense of being
obedient to it. He is thinking of his service, and of its being the most
high and perfect and most complete thing that he can render--the thing
that he, out of all men, could think of and do, and that the crowd would
want him to do. He is busy in being obedient to the crowd, in fulfilling
daily its spirit, and not in taking orders from it.

The reason that the larger number of men who go into politics to-day are
inefficient and do not get the things done that crowds want, is that
they are the kind of men who feel that they must talk and act like
servants. Even the most independent-looking and efficient men, who look
as if they really saw something and had something to give, often prove
disappointing. When one comes to know a man of this type more
intimately, one is apt to find that he is really a flunkey in his
thoughts; that he feels hired in his mind; that he is the valet of a
crowd, and often, too, the valet of some particular crowd--some little,
safe, shut-in crowd, party, or special interest that wants to own, or to
keep, or to take away a world.

Whichever way to-day one looks, one finds this illusion as to what a
public servant really is, for the moment, corrupting our public life.

But Christ did not say, "He that is greatest among you, let him be your

The man who is greatest among us, neither in this age nor in any other,
ever will or ever can be a valet. He faces the crowd the way Christ
did--with his life, with his soul, with his God.

He will not be afraid of the Crowd....

He will be the Greatest, he will be a Servant.

In the meantime--in the hour of the valets, only the little crowds,
speak. The People wait.

The Crowd is dumb, massive, and silent. There seems to be no one in the
world to express it, to express its indomitable desire, its prayer, to
lay at last its huge, terrible, beautiful will upon the earth.

It is the classes or little crowds--the little pulling and pushing,
helpless, lonely, mean, separated crowds--blind, hateful, and afraid,
who are running about trying to lay their little wills upon the earth.

The Crowd waits and is not afraid.

The little, separated crowds are afraid.

The world, for the moment, is being interpreted, expressed, and managed
by People Who Are Afraid.

It is the same in all the nations. In the coal strike in England one
finds the miners in the trades unions afraid to vote except in secret
because they are afraid of one another. One finds the miners' leaders
afraid of the men under them and of what they might do, so that they
have no policy except to fight. One finds the miners' leaders afraid of
the mine-managers and of what they might do, so that they have no policy
except to fight. One finds the mine-managers afraid of one another,
afraid of their stockholders, afraid of the miners' leaders, and afraid
of the newspapers and afraid of the Government.

One finds the Government afraid of everybody.

Everybody is afraid of the Government.

Everybody fights because everybody is afraid.

And everybody is afraid because everybody sees that it is mere crowds
that are running the world.

There is another reason why everybody is afraid. Everybody is afraid
because everybody is shut in with some little separated crowd.

People who are never Outside, who only see a little way out over the
edge of the little crowd in which they are penned up, are naturally

A world that is run by little shut-in crowds is necessarily a world that
is run by People Who Are Afraid.

And so now we have come to the fulness of the time. The cities and the
nations, the prairies, and the seas and the mines, the very skies about
us can be seen by all to-day to be full of a dull groping and of a great
asking, "_Who Are The Men Who Are not Afraid?_"

The moment these men appear who are not afraid, and it is seen by all
that they are not afraid, the world (and all the little blind, helpless
crowds in it) will be placed in their hands.



I am aware that Tom Mann is not a world figure. But he is a world type.
And as the editor of the _Syndicalist_, the leader of the most imposing
and revealing labour rally the world has seen, he is of universal
interest. Those of us who believe in crowds are deeply interested in
finding, recognizing, creating, and in seeing set free out of the ranks
of men the labour leaders who shall express the nobility and dignity of
modern labour, who shall express the bigness of spirit, the
brawny-heartedness, the composure, the common-sense, the patriotism, the
faithfulness and courage of the People.

I indict Tom Mann before the bar of the world as not expressing the will
and the spirit of the People.

I do this as a labouring man. I decline, because I spend my time daily
tracing out little crooked lines on paper with a pen, because I have
wrought day and night to make little patterns of ink and little
stretches of words reach men together round a world, because I have
sweat blood to believe, because in weariness and sorrow I have wrought
out at last my little faith for a world ... I decline not to be numbered
with the labourers I see in the streets. I claim my right before all men
this day, with my unbent body and with my unsoiled hands, to be enrolled
among the toilers of the earth.

I speak as a labouring man. I say Tom Mann is incompetent as a true
leader of Labour.

The first reason that he is incompetent is that he does not observe
facts. He merely observes facts that everybody can see, that everybody
has seen for years. He does not observe the new and exceptional facts
about capital that only a few can see, the seeing of which, and the
seeing of which first, should alone ever constitute a man a true leader
in dealing with capital. He merely believes facts that nearly everybody
has caught up to believing--facts about human nature, about what works
in business. The crowd is not content with this. It has become
accustomed to seeing that the men who lead in business, and who make
others follow them, whether masters or workmen, are men who do it by
observing certain new and exceptional facts and acting upon them. If
these men cannot observe them, we have seen them create them. It is the
men who make new things true wherever they go that the crowd is coming
to recognize and to take seriously and permanently as the real leaders
of Labour and of Capital to-day. Tom Mann is incompetent as a labour
leader in dealing with capital to-day, because the things that he
proposes to do all turn on three facts which, looked at on the outside,
merely have or might be said to have a true look:

First, employers are all alike;

Second, none of them ever work;

Third, they are all the enemies of Labour.

Tom Mann is incompetent to grapple with Capital in behalf of Labour as
any great labour leader would have to do, because he has his facts wrong
about Capital, is simple-minded and rudimentary and undiscriminating
about the men with whom he deals, and sees them all alike.

This is a poor beginning even for fighting with them.

The second reason that Tom Mann is incompetent is, not that he has his
facts wrong and does not think, but that he carries not-thinking about
the employing class still further, has come to make a kind of religion
out of not-thinking about them. And instead of thinking how to make
labouring men think better than their employers think, and making them
think so well that they can crowd their way into their employers'
places, he proposes to have labour get into their places without
thinking, and run a world without thinking. All that is necessary in
order to have workmen run the world, is to get workmen to stop working,
to stop thinking, and then as rapidly as possible to get everybody else
to stop thinking. Then the world will fall into their hands.

The third reason that Tom Mann is incompetent is that he is unpractical
and full of scorn. And scorn, from the point of view of the
practical-minded man, is a sentimental and useless emotion. We have
learned that it almost always has to be used by a man who has his facts
wrong, that is, who does not see what he himself is really like, and who
has not noticed what other people are really like. No man who sees
himself as he is, feels at liberty to use scorn. And no man who sees
others as they are, sees any occasion for it. Tom Mann uses hate also,
and hate has been found to be, as directed toward classes of persons as
a means of getting them to do things, archaic and inefficient. It is not
quite bright. It need not be denied that hate and scorn both impress
some people, but they never seem to impress the people that see things
to do and who find ways to do them. And the people who use scorn are all
too narrow, too class-bound, and too self-regarding to do things in a
huge world problem like the present one.

The fourth reason that Tom Mann as a labour leader is incompetent is
that he is afraid; he is afraid of capital, so afraid that he has to
fight it instead of grappling with it and coöperating with it. He is
afraid to believe in labour--so afraid that he takes orders from it
instead of seeing for it, and seeing ahead for it. He is afraid of his
employers' brains, of their having brains enough to understand and to to
be convinced as to the position of the labourer. He is afraid to believe
in his own brains, in his own brains being good enough to convince them.

So he backs down and fights.

If any reader who is interested to do so will kindly turn back at this
point a page or so, and read this chapter we have just gone through
together, over again, and if he will kindly, wherever it occurs, insert
for Tom Mann, labour leader, "D.A. Thomas, leader of mine-owners," he
will save much time for both of us, and he will kindly make one chapter
in this book which is already much too long, as good as two. Tom Mann
(unless he is changed) is about to be dropped as a typical modern leader
of Labour because he is afraid, and what he expresses in the labouring
class is its fear of Capital.

And what D.A. Thomas expresses for Capital is its fear of Labour.

There are thousands of capitalists and hundreds of thousands of labour
men who have something better they want expressed by their leaders, than
their Fear.

Out of these men the new leaders will be chosen.



During the recent coal strike in England, as at all times in the world,
heroes abounded.

The trouble with most of us during the coal strike was not in our not
having heroes, but in our not being quite sure which they were.

Davy McEwen, a miner who stood out against the whole countryside, and
went to his work every day in defiance of thousands of men on the hills
about him trying to stop him, and hundreds of thousands of men all over
England trying to scare him, was not a hero to Mr. Josiah Wedgewood. Mr.
Josiah Wedgewood one day in the height of the conflict, from his seat in
the House of Commons, rose in his might--and before the face of the
nation called Davy McEwen a traitor to his class.

Sir Arthur Markham, one of the largest of the mine-owners, in the height
of the conflict between the mine-owners and the miners over wages, rose
in the House and declared that, in his opinion as a mine-owner, the
mine-owners were wrong and the miners were right, and that the
mine-owners could afford to pay better wages, and should yield to the

He was called a traitor to his class.

At the last moment in the coal strike, when the Government had done its
best, and when the labour leaders still proposed to hold up England and
defy the Government until they got their way, Stephen Walsh, one of the
leaders of the miners, stood up in the face of a million miners and said
he would not go on with the others against the Government. "It is now
time for the trades union men to return to work. We have done what we
could. Our citizenship should be higher than our trades unionship, and
with me, as long as I am a trades union man, it will be."

He was called a traitor to his class.

I am an unwilling and unfit person, as a sojourner and an American, to
take any position on the merits of the question as to the
disestablishment of the Church in Wales. But when I saw Bishop Gore
standing up and looking unblinkingly at facts or what he thought were
facts which he would rather not have seen and which were not on his
side, and when I saw him voting deliberately for the disestablishment of
his own Church, I greeted with joy, as if I had seen a cathedral,
another traitor to his class. I almost believe that a Church that could
produce and supply a man like this for a great nation looking through
every city and county year by year for men to go with it ... a Church
that could produce and keep producing Bishop Gores, would be entitled,
from a great nation to anything it liked.

       *       *       *       *       *

Men seem to be capable of three stages of courage. Courage is graded to
the man.

There is the man who is so tired, or mechanical-minded, that he can only
think of himself.

There is the man who is so tired that he can only think of his class.

And there is the man that one has watched being moved over slowly from a
Me-man into a Class-man, who has begun to show the first faint
beginnings of being a Crowd-man.

One man has courage for himself because he knows what he wants for
himself. Another has courage for his class because he knows what he
wants for his class. Another has courage for God and for the world
because there are things he sees that he wants for God and for the
world, and he sees them so clearly that he sees ways to get them.

Lack of courage is a lack of vision or clear-headedness about what one
wants. I do not know, but I can only say that it has seemed to me that
Bishop Gore has a vision or clear-headedness about what he wants for
democracy, and that he uses his vision of what he wants for democracy to
true his vision for his class. Perhaps also he has a vision for his
class for the church people that it is for the interest church people to
be the class that is, out of all the world, supremely considerate, big,
leisurely, unfretful in its dealings with others. Perhaps also he has a
vision for himself and is clear-headed for himself, and has seen that
though the steeples fall about him, and though the altars go up in
smoke, he will keep the spirit of God still within his reach. The
gentleness, the grim hope for the world and the patience that built the
cathedrals, shall be in his heart day and night.

I hold no brief for Bishop Gore.

I know there must be others like him who voted on the other side.

I know there are hundreds of thousands of employers who in their hearts
are like him. I know there are hundreds of thousands of men in the
trades unions who are like him.

I am not sure that Bishop Gore, on the merits of the case, was right. I
wish this day I knew that he was wrong. I wish that I had spent the last
six months in fighting him, in fighting against his vision, that I might
be more free to-day to point to him with joy when I go up and down the
streets with men and look at the churches with men--the rows of
churches--and try to tell them what they are for. I have seen that the
cathedrals scattered about under the sky in England are but God's little
tools to make great cities on the earth, and to build softly out of the
hearts of men and women men who shall be cathedrals too--men buttressed
against the world, men who can stand alone.

And it has seemed to me that Tom Mann and D.A. Thomas are incompetent as
leaders of industry because they do not see that Labour is full of men
who can do things like this. I am proud, over in my country across the
sea, to be cousin to a nation that is still the headquarters--the
international citadel--of individualism upon the earth. The world knows
if England does not, that this kind of individualism is the most
characteristic, the most mighty and impregnable Dreadnought against that
England has produced.

But England knows it too.

I have seen thousands of men in England in their dull brown clothes pass
by me in the street who know and respond to the spirit that is in Bishop
Gore, and who have the courage to show it themselves. And the vision is
in them, but it is not waked. The moment it is waked we will have a new
world. It is because Tom Mann and D.A. Thomas are not leaders of men who
have this spirit that they are about to be dropped as typical leaders of
Labour and Capital in modern times. No man will be accepted by the Crowd
to-day as a competent leader of his class who is afraid of the other
classes. No man will be said to be a true leader, to be competent to
make things move in the world, who does not have three gears of courage:
courage for himself, courage for his own people, courage for other
people; and who does not dare to deal with other people as if they
really might be dealt with, after all, as fellow human beings capable of
acting like fellow human beings, capable of finer and of truer things,
of more manly and patient, more shrewdly generous, more far-sighted
things, than might appear at first.

       *       *       *       *       *

Was Mr. Josiah Wedgewood right when he called Davy McEwen a traitor to
his class?

I do not want to judge Davy McEwen. Such things are matters of personal
interpretation, and of standing with a man face to face for a moment and
looking him in the eyes.

Of course, if I had done this, I might have been tempted and despised

And I might now. The thing that I would have tried to look down through
to in him, if I had looked him in the eye, would have been something
like this: "Are you or are you not, Davy McEwen, standing out day after
day against your class because you can see less than your class sees,
because you are a mere me-man? Do you go by here grimly day by day, past
all these people lined up on the hills, sternly thinking of yourself?"

If I found that this was true, as it might well be, and often is, I
would say that Davy McEwen was a traitor to his class. But if I found
Davy McEwen going past hills-ful of workmen because he had a larger,
fairer vision of what his class is than they had, if it proved to be
true that the crowd-man in him was keeping the class-man in place, and
holding true his vision for his class, I would say that it was his class
that was being a traitor to him; I would say that sooner or later his
class would see in some quiet day that it had been a traitor to him and
to the world, and a traitor to itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

If socialism and individualism cannot work together, and if (like the
masculine and feminine in spirit) each cannot make itself the means and
the method of fulfilling the other, there is no reason why either of
them should be fulfilled.

In the meantime, there is a kind of self-will that seems to me, as its
shadow comes across my path, like God himself walking on the earth. And
I have seen it in the rich and I have seen it in the poor, and in people
who were being wrong and in people who were being right.

It is like hearing great bells in the dark, singing in the solemn night
to so much as hear of a man somewhere, I might go and see, who stands

If we want to stand together, let us begin with these men who can stand

There is a sense in which Christ died on the cross because He could
find at the time no other way of saying this. There is a sense in which
the decline of individualism is what he died for.

Or we might call it the beginning of individualism. He died for the
principle of doing what he thought was right before anybody else did it,
and whether anybody else did it or not. The self-will of Jesus was half
the New Testament. He crucified himself, his mother, and a dozen
disciples that His own vision for all might be fulfilled. Socialism
itself, what is good in it, would not exist to-day if Jesus, the Christ,
had not practised socialism, in the best sense, by being an

If we are going to get to socialism by giving up individualism, by
abolishing heroes, why get to it?

This more glorious self-will is not, of course, of a kind that all men
can expect to have. Most of us have not the vision that equips us, and
that gives us the right, to have it. But we can exact of our leaders
that they shall have it--that they shall see more for us than we can see
for ourselves, that they shall hold their vision up before us and let us
see it, and let us have the use of it, that they shall be true to us,
that they shall be the big brothers of the people.



I have sometimes hoped that the modern world was about to produce at
last some man somewhere with a big-hearted, easy powerful mind, who
could protect the French Revolution. What we need most of all just now
in our present crisis is some man who could take up the French
Revolution without half trying, all the world looking on and wondering
softly how he dares to do it, and put it gently but firmly, and once for
all, up high somewhere where no one except geniuses, or at least the
very tallest-minded people, could ever again get at it.

As it is, hardly a day passes but one sees new little nobodies
everywhere all about one reaching up without half thinking to it--to the
French Revolution--grabbing it calmly, and then using it deliberately
before our eyes as a general free-for-all analogy for anything that
comes into their heads. The Syndicalists and Industrial Workers of the
World have had the use of it last. The fact that the French Revolution
was French and that it worked fairly well a hundred years ago and with a
Louis Sixteenth sort of person, and as a kind of first rough sketch, or
draft of just what a revolution might be for once, and what it would
have to get over being afterward, as soon as possible, never seems to
have occurred to many people. One sees them rushing about the world
trying to get up exact duplicates, little fussy replicas of a
revolution, and of a kind of revolution that the real world put quietly
away in the attic seventy years ago. The real world, and all the men in
it who are facing real facts to-day, are getting what they want in
precisely the opposite of the violent, theatrical French-Revolution
way. The fact that people are quite different now, and that it is more
effective and practical to get new ideas into their heads by keeping
their heads on than it is by taking their heads off--some of us seem to
have passed over. Living as we do in a world to-day with our new
explosives, our new antiseptics, our new biology, bacteriology, our new
storage batteries, our habit of getting everything we get and changing
everything we change by quietly and coolly looking at facts, the old
lumbering fashion of having a beautiful, showy, emotional revolution now
on one side, and then waiting to have another beautiful, showy,
emotional revolution on the other, each oscillating back and forth year
by year until people finally settle down, look at facts together, become
scientific, and see things as they are--has gone by. We have not time
for revolutions nowadays. They may be amusing, but they are not
practical, and evolution or revolution-without-knowing-it, or evolution
all together, suit us better. We are in a world in which we are seeing
men almost being made over before our eyes by the scientific habit of
thought--by the new, slow, imperious way we have come to have of making
ourselves look at things at which we would rather not look, until we see
them as they are. The man of scientific spirit, the quiet-minded,
implacable man who gets what he wants for himself and for others by
merely turning on the light, who makes a new world for us by just
showing us more plainly the one we really have, possesses the earth.

There is no reason why revolutionists should feel that they are
particularly courageous, that they are the particularly high-minded,
romantic, adventurous, uncompromising and superior people. The real
adventure, the abiding emotion and wonder of living in the twentieth
century, lies in the high, patient, slow, quiet, silent enterprise of
seeing facts as they are, and without any fuss, and inexorably and with
good cheer, acting on them. The human race has a new temperament. The
way to fight now is to look, to look first, to look longest, and to
look for the most people. The way we win a revolution or bring the
enemy to terms to-day is by battering the enemy with coöperation, with
understanding him and being understood by him, by being impregnably,
obstinately his brother, by piling up huge happy citadels of good-will,
of services rendered, services deserved, and services returned. We had
an idea once that the way to conquer a man was by hitting the outside of
him. We conquer men now by getting inside of them, and by getting inside
first and then dealing with outside things together.

We see the inside. It is the modern note to see the inside, to attack
the essence, the spirit, and to work everything out from that.

The modern method of being courageous and of defending what we want is a
kind of chemistry.

Hercules is a bust now.

We prefer still little women like Madame Curie, or a man like Sir Joseph
Lister, or like Wilbur Wright--the courage that faces material facts,
that deals with the elements of things, whether in a bottle, or in the
heaven above us, or in the earth, or in a man, or in an enemy.

When the subject-matter is human nature and the courage we have to have
is the courage that can deal with people, we ask ourselves: "What are
the most difficult facts to face in people?"

They are:

    The facts about how they are different from us. The facts
    about their being like us. The facts as to what we can do
    about it.

So it has come to seem to me to be the greatest, the most typical and
difficult courage of modern life and of a crowd civilization, the
courage to look at actual facts in people and to see how the people can
be made to go together.

A man's courage is his sense of identity.

A man's courage toward nature, heat, cold, mountains, seas, deserts,
chemistry, geology, is his sense of identity with God and of his right
to share with God in the creating of His world.

His courage toward people is his sense of identity with men who seem
different from him, of all races, all classes, and all nations. He sees
the differences in their big relations alongside the resemblances. Then
he fits the differences into the resemblances and knows what to do.

There is a statue of Sir George Livesey, one of the early presidents of
the South Metropolitan Gas Company, placed at the entrance of the works
where thousands of workmen day and night pass in and pass out.

Sir George Livesey was the man who, in the early days of the South
Metropolitan Gas Company, stood out against all his workmen, for six
long weeks, to get the workmen to believe that they were as good as he
was. He believed that they were capable, or should be capable, of being
identified with him and working with him as partners, of sharing in the
direction of the business, of sharing in the profits, and coöperating
all day, every day, with him and the other partners, to make the
business a success.

He did not propose to be locked up in a business, if he could help it,
with men who did not feel identified with him, who were not his
partners, or who did not want to be.

He thought it was not good business to engage five thousand men and pay
them deliberately so much a day to fight his business on the inside of
the works. Being obliged to do his business as a fight against people
who helped him all the time, watching and outwitting them as if he were
dealing with five thousand intelligent gorillas instead of with fellow
human beings, did not interest him.

He did not believe that the men themselves, in spite of the way they
talked, when they came to think of it, really enjoyed being intelligent
gorillas, any more than he did.

The Trades Unions passed a resolution that it was safer for the men in
dealing with Sir George Livesey to keep on being gorillas.

Sir George Livesey proposed that they should all try being fellow human
beings and being in partnership for a little while and see how it

The Trades Unions were afraid to let them try. Even if it worked very
well, and if it turned out that being men was safer, in this one
particular case, than being gorillas, it would set a bad example, the
Trades Unions thought. They took the ground that it was safer to have
all men treated alike, whether they were gorillas or not.

They instructed the men to strike. The South Metropolitan Gas Company
was almost closed up, but it did not yield.

Sir George Livesey took the ground that if the Trades Unions believed
that his men were not good enough for him, and that he was not good
enough for his men, he would wait until they did.

The bronze statue of Sir George Livesey that the men have raised, and
that thousands of men go by every day, day after day, and look up to at
their work, was raised to a man who had stood out against his workmen
for weeks to prove that they were as good as he was, and could be
trusted to be loyal to him, and that he was as good as they were, and
that he could be trusted to be loyal to them.

He had the courage to insist on being, whether anybody wanted it for the
moment or not, a new kind and new size of man. He preferred being
allowed to be a new kind and new size himself, and he preferred allowing
his men to be new kinds and new sizes of men, and he made a shrewd,
dogged guess that when they tried it they would like it. They were
merely afraid to be new sizes, as we all are at first.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are possibly three ways in which, in the confusion of our modern
world, one can tell a hero when one sees one.

One knows a hero first by his originality. He invents a new kind and new
size of man. He finishes off one sample. There he is.

The next thing one notices about this man (when he is invented) is his
humility. He never seems to feel--having invented himself--how original
he is. The more original people think he is, and the more they try to
set him one side as an exception, the more he resents it.

And then, of course, the final way one knows a man is a hero is always
by his courage, by his masterful way of driving through, when he meets a
man, to his sense of identity with him.

One always sees a hero going about quietly everywhere, treating every
other man as if he were a hero too.

He gets so in the habit, from day to day (living with himself), of
believing in human nature, that when he finds himself suddenly up
against other people he cannot stop.

It is not that he is deceived about the other people, though it might
seem so sometimes. He merely sees further into them and further for

Has he not invented himself? Is he not at this very moment a better kind
of man than he thought he could be once? Is he not going to be a better
kind to-morrow than he is now?

So, quietly, he keeps on year by year and day by day, treating other
people as if they were, or were meant to be, the same kind of man that
he is, until they are.



When Christ turned the other cheek, the last thing He would have wanted
any one to think was that He was backing down, or that He was merely
being a sweet, gentle, grieved person. He was inventing before
everybody, and before His enemies, promptly and with great presence of
mind, a new kind and new size of man. It was a more spirited, more
original, more unconquerable and bewildering way of fighting than
anybody had thought of before. To be suddenly in an enemy's presence a
new kind and new size of man--colossal, baffling--to turn into
invisibility before him, into intangibility, into another kind of being
before the enemy's eyes, so that he could not possibly tell what to do,
and so that none of the things that he had thought of to do would
work.... This is what Christ was doing, it seems to some of us, and it
is apparently the way He felt about it when He did it.

Turning the other cheek is a kind of moral jiu-jitsu.

       *       *       *       *       *

The last thing that many of us who are interested in the modern world
really want is to have war, or fighting, stop. We glory in courage, in
the power of facing danger, in adventuresomeness of spirit, in every
single one of the qualities that always have made, and always will make,
every true man a fighter.

We contend that fighting, as at present conducted, is based on fear and
lazy-mindedness; that it is lacking in the manlier qualities, that the
biggest and newest kind of men are not willing to be in it, and that it
does not work.

We would rather see the world abolished than to see war abolished.

We want to see war brought up to date.

The best way to fight was invented some two thousand years ago, and the
innocent, conventional persons who still believe in a kind of routine,
or humdrum, of shooting, who have not caught up with this
two-thousand-year-old invention, are about to be irrevocably displaced
in our modern life by men who have a livelier, more far-seeing, more
practical, more modern kind of courage. From this time on we have made
up our minds, we, the people of this world, that the only men we are
going to allow to fight for us are the men who can fight the way Christ

Men who have not the courage to fight the way Christ did are about to be
shut up by society; no one will harm them, of course, innocent, afraid
persons, who have to protect themselves with gunpowder, but they will
merely be set one side after this, where they will not be in a position
to spoil the fighting of the men who are not afraid.

And who are the men who are not afraid?

To search your enemy's heart, to amputate, as by a kind of spiritual
surgery, the very desire for fighting in him, to untangle his own life
before his eyes and suddenly make him see what it is he really wants, to
have him standing there quietly, radiantly disarmed, gentle-hearted, and
like a child before you; if you are able, Gentle Reader, or ever have
been able, to do this, you are not afraid! Why should any one ever have
supposed that it takes a backing down, giving up, teary, weak, and
grieved person to do this?

Christ expressed His idea of courage very mildly when He said, in
effect: "Blessed are those who dare to be meek, for they shall inherit
the earth."

It takes a bolder front to step up to a man one knows is one's enemy
and coöperate with him than it does to do a little, simple, thoughtless,
outside thing like stepping up to him and knocking him down.

Coöperating with a man in spite of him, moving over to where he is,
winning a victory over him by getting at his most rooted, most
protected, secret, instinctive feelings, literally striking him through
to the heart and making a new kind of man out of him before his own
eyes, by being a new kind of man to him, takes a bigger, stiller
courage, is a more exposed and dangerous thing to do than to fall on him
and fight him.

It is also more practical. The one cool, practical, hard-headed way to
win a victory over an enemy is to do the thing that makes him the most
afraid. And there is no man people are more afraid of than the man who
stands up to them, quietly looks at them, and will not fight with them.
He is doing the one thing of all others to them that they would not dare
to do. They wonder what such a man thinks. If he dares stand up before
them and face them with nothing but thinking, what is he thinking?

What he thinks, if it makes him able to do a thing like this, must have
some man-stuff in it. They prefer to wait and see what he thinks.

Courage consists in not being afraid of one's own mind and of other
people's minds. When men become so afraid of one another's minds and of
their own minds that they cannot think, they have to back down and
fight. They are cowards.

They do not know what they think.

They do not know what they want.



I have never known a coward.

I have known men who did cowardly things and who were capable of
cowardly thoughts, but I have never known a man who could be fairly and
finally classified as a coward.

Courage is a process.

If people are cowards it is because they are in a hurry.

They have not taken the pains to see what they think.

The man who has taken the time to think down through to what he really
wants and to what he is bound to get, is always (and sometimes very
suddenly and unexpectedly) a courageous man.

It is the man who is half wondering whether he really wants what he
thinks he wants or not, or whether he can get it or not, who is a

The coward is a half man. He is slovenly minded about himself. He gets
out of the hard work of seeing through himself, of driving on through
what he supposes he wants, to what he knows he wants.

So, after all, it is a long, slow, patient pull, being a courageous man.
Few men have the nerve to take the time to attend to it.

The first part of courage consists in all this hard work one has to put
in on one's soul day after day, and over and over again, doggedly, going
back to it. _What is it that I really want?_

The second, or more brilliant-looking part of courage, the courageous
act itself (like Roosevelt's when he is shot), which everybody notices,
is easy. The real courage is over then.

Courage consists in seeing so clearly something that one wants to get
that one is more afraid of not getting it than one is of anything that
can get in the way.

The first thing that society is ever able to do with the lowest type of
labouring man seems to be to get him to want something. It has to think
out ways of getting him waked up, of getting him to be decently selfish,
and to want something for himself. He only wants a little at first; he
wants something for himself to-day and he has courage for to-day. Then
perhaps he wants something for himself for to-morrow, or next week, or
next year, and he has courage for next week, or for next year. Then he
wants something for his family, or for his wife, and he has courage for
his family, or for his wife.

Gradually he sees further and wants something for his class. His courage
mounts up by leaps and bounds when he is liberated into his class. Then
he discovers the implacable mutual interest of his class with the other
classes, and he thinks of things he wants for all the classes. He thinks
the classes together into a world, and becomes a man. He has courage for
the world.

When men see, whether they are rich or poor, what they want, what they
believe they can get, they are not afraid.

The next great work of the best employers is to get labour to want
enough. Labour is tired and mechanical-minded. The next work of the
better class of labourer, or the stronger kind of Trades Union, is to
get capital to want enough. Capital is tired, too. It does not see
really big, worth-while things that can be done with capital, and has no
courage for these things.

The larger the range and the larger the variety of social desire the
greater the courage.

The problem in modern industry is the arousing of the imaginations of
capitalists and labourers so that they see something that gives them
courage for themselves and for one another, and courage for the world.

The world belongs to the men of vision--the men who are not afraid--the
men who see things that they have made up their minds to get.

Who are the men to-day, in all walks of life, who want the most things
for the most people, and who have made up their minds to get them?

There is just one man we will follow to-day--those of us who belong to
the crowd--the man who is alive all over, who is deeply and gloriously
covetous, the man who sees things he wants for himself, and who
therefore has courage for himself, and who sees things he wants and is
bound to get for other people, and who therefore has courage for other

This is the hardest kind of courage to have--courage for other people.



During the coal strike I took up my morning paper and read from a speech
by Vernon Hartshorn, the miners' leader: "In a week's time, by tying up
the railways and other means of transportation, we could so paralyze the
country that the government would come to us on their knees and beg us
to go to work on terms they are now flouting as impossible."

During the dockers' strike I took up my morning paper and read Ben
Tillett's speech, at the meeting the day before, to fifty thousand
strikers on Tower Hill. "'I am going to ask you to join me in a prayer,'
Tillett said. 'Lord Devonport has contributed to the murder, by
starvation, of your children, your women, and your men. I am not going
to ask you to do it, but I am going to call on God to strike Lord
Devonport dead,' He asked those who were prepared to repeat the 'prayer'
to hold up their hands. Countless hands were held up, and cries: 'Strike
him doubly stone dead!' The men then repeated the following 'prayer',
word for word, after Tillett:

    "'O God, strike Lord Devonport dead.'

"Afterward the strikers chanted the words: 'He shall die! He shall

There are times when it is very hard to have courage for other people.

It is when one watches people doing cowardly things that one finds it
hardest to have courage for them.

I felt the same way both mornings at first when I held my paper in my
hand and thought about what I had read, about the government's going
down on its knees, and about God's striking Lord Devonport dead.

The first feeling was one of profound resentment, shame--a huge,
helpless, muddle-headed anger.

I had not the slightest trace of courage for the miners; I did not see
how the government could have any courage for them. And I had no courage
for the dockers, or for what could be expected of the dockers. I did not
see how Lord Devonport could have any courage for them.

I repeated their prayer to myself.

The dockers were cowards. I was not going to try to sympathize with
them, or try to be reasonable about them. It was nothing that they were
desperate and had prayed. Was I not desperate too? Would not the very
thought that fifty thousand men could pray a prayer like that make any
man desperate? It was as if I had stood and heard fifty thousand beasts
roaring to their god.

"They are desperate," I said to myself: "I will not take what they think
seriously. It does not matter what desperate people think."

Then I waited a minute. "But I am desperate, too," I said; "I must not
take what I think seriously. It does not matter what desperate people

I thought about this a little, and drove it in.

"What I think will matter more a little later, perhaps, when I get over
being desperate."

"Perhaps what the dockers think will matter more a little later, too."

In the meantime are not their scared and hateful opinions as good as my
scared and hateful opinions?

The important and final opinions, the ones to be taken seriously, that
can be acted on, will be the opinions of those who get over being scared
and hateful first.

Then I stood up for myself.

I had a reason for being scared and hateful. They and their prayer drove
me to be scared and hateful.

I thought again.

Perhaps they had a reason, too.

Then it all came over me. I became a human being all in a minute when I
thought of it.

I became suddenly full of courage for the hateful dockers.

I thought how much more discouraging it would be if they had not been
hateful at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

I do not imagine God was sorry when He heard those fifty thousand
dockers asking Him to strike Lord Devonport dead.

Not that He would have approved of it.

It was not the last word of wisdom or reasonableness. It was lacking in
beauty and distinction as a petition, as being just the right form of
prayer for those fifty thousand faultless dockers up on Tower Hill that
afternoon (the whole of London listening, in that shocked and proper way
that London has).

But I have not lost all courage for the dockers who made it.

They still want something! They still are men! They still stand up when
they speak to Heaven! There is some stuff in them yet! They make heaven
and earth ring to get a word with God!

This all means something to God, probably.

Perhaps it might mean something to us.

We are superior persons, it is true. We do not pray the way they pray.

We believe in being more self-controlled. We take our breakfasts
quietly, and with high collars and silk hats, and with gilt prayer-books
we go into the presence of our Maker. We believe in being calm and

But if men who have not enough to eat are so half-dead and so worthless
that they can feel calm and reasonable about it, and can always be
precisely right and always say precisely the right thing--if, with their
wives fainting in their arms and their babies crying for food, all that
those dockers had character enough to do, up on Tower Hill, was to make
a polite, smooth, Anglican prayer to God--a prayer like a kind of
blessing before not having any meat, and not that awful, fateful, husky
cry to Heaven, a roar or rending of their hearts up to the black and
empty sky--what would such men have been good for? What hope or courage
could any one have for them, for such men at such a time, if they would
not, if they could not, come thundering and breaking into His presence,
fifty thousand strong, to get what they want?

I may not know God, but whatever else He is, I feel sure that He is not
a precise stickler-god, that He is not pompous about spiritual manners,
a huge, literal-minded, Proper Person, who cannot make allowances for
human nature, who cannot hear what humble, rough men like these, hewing
their vast desires for Him out of darkness, and out of little foolish
words, are trying to say to Him.

And perhaps we, too, do not need to be literal-minded about a prayer
that we may hear, or that we may overhear, roaring its way up past our
smooth, beautiful lives rudely to Heaven.

What is the gist of the prayer to God, and to us?

What is it that the men are trying to say in this awful, flaming,
blackening metaphor of wishing Lord Devonport dead?

The gist of it is that they mean to say, whether they are right or wrong
(like us, as we would say, whether we were right or wrong), they mean to
say that they have a right to live.

In other words, the gist of it is that we are like them, and that they
are like us.

I, too, in my hour of deepest trial, with no silk hat, with no gloves,
with no gilt prayer-book, as I should, have flashed out my will upon my
God. I, too, have cried with Paul, with Job, across my sin--my sin that
very moment heaped up upon my lips--have broken wildly in upon that
still, white floor of Heaven!

And when the dockers break up through, fling themselves upon their God,
what is it, after all, but another way of saying, "I am persuaded that
neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor
things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God...."

It may have been wicked in the dockers to address God in this way, but
it would have been more wicked in them not to think He could understand.

I believe, for one, that when Jacob wrestled with the angel, God looked
on and liked it.

The angel was a mere representative at best, and Jacob was really
wrestling with God.

And God knew it and liked it.

Praying to strike Lord Devonport dead was the dockers' way of saying to
God that there was something on their minds that simply could not be

I can imagine that this would interest a God, a prayer like the dockers'
prayer, so spent, so desperate, so unreasonable, breaking through to
that still, white floor of Heaven!

And it does seem as if, in our more humble, homely, and useful capacity
as fellow human beings, it might interest us.

It seems as if, possibly, we might stop criticising people who pray
harder than we do, pointing out that wrestling with God is really rather
rude--as if we might stop and see what it means to God and what it means
to us, and what there is that we might do, you and I, oh, Gentle Reader,
to make it possible for the dockers on Tower Hill to be more polite,
perhaps, more polished, as it were, when they speak to God next time.

Perhaps nothing the dockers could do in the way of being violent could
be more stupid and wicked than having all these sleek, beautiful,
perfect people, twenty-six million of them, all expecting them not to be

In my own quiet, gentle, implacable beauty of spirit, in my own ruthless
wisdom on a full stomach, I do not deny that I do most sternly
disapprove of the dockers and their violence.

But it is better than nothing, thank God!

They want something.

It gives me something to hope for, and to have courage for, about
them--that they want something.

Possibly if we could get them started wanting something, even some
little narrow and rather mean thing, like having enough to eat--possibly
they will go on to art galleries, to peace societies, and cathedrals
next, and to making very beautiful prayers (alas, Gentle Reader, how can
I say it?) like you--Heaven help us!--and like me!

I would have but one objection to letting the dockers have their full
way, and to letting the control of the situation be put into their

They do not hunger enough.

They are merely hungering for themselves.

This may be a reason for not letting the world get entirely into their
hands, but in the meantime we have every reason to be appreciative of
the good the dockers are doing (so far as it goes) in hungering for

It would be strange indeed if one could not tolerate in dockers a little
thing like this. Babies do it. It is the first decency in all of us. It
is the first condition of our knowing enough, or amounting to enough, to
ever hunger for any one else. Everybody has to make a beginning
somewhere. Even a Saint Francis, the man who hungers and thirsts for
righteousness, who rises to the heights of social-mindedness, who
hungers and thirsts for everybody, begins all alone, at the breast.

Which is there of us who, if we had not begun our own hungering and
thirsting for righteousness, our tugging on God, in this old, lonely,
preoccupied, selfish-looking way, would ever have grown up, would ever
have wanted enough things to belong to a Church of England, for
instance, or to a Congregational Home Missionary Society?

It is true that the dockers are, for the moment (alas, fifty or sixty
years or so!), merely wanting things for themselves, or wanting things
for their own class. And so would we if we had been born, brought up,
and embedded in a society which allowed us so little for ourselves that
not growing up morally--keeping on over and over again, year after year,
just wanting things for ourselves, and not really being weaned yet--was
all that was left to us.

There is really considerable spiritual truth in having enough to eat.

Sometimes I have thought it would be not unhelpful, would make a little
ring of gentle-heartedness around us, some of us--those of us who live
protected lives and pray such rich, versatile prayers, if we would stop
and think what a docker would have to do, what arrangements a docker
would have to make before he could enjoy praying with us--falling back
into our beautiful, soft, luxurious wanting things for others.

Possibly these arrangements, such as they are, are the ones the dockers
are trying to make with Lord Devonport now.

The docker is trying to get through hungering for something to eat, to
arrange gradually to have his hungers move on.



All the virtues are hungers. A vice is the failure of desire. A vice is
a man's failure to have enough big hungers at hand, sternly within
reach, to control his little ones.

A man who is doing wrong is essentially bored. He has let himself drop
into doing rows of half-things, or things which he can only half do. He
forgets, for the moment, what it really is that he wants, or possibly
that he wants anything. Then it is that the one little, mean Lonely
Hunger--a glass of liquor, a second piece of pie, another man's wife, or
a million dollars, runs away with him.

When a man sins it is because his appetites fail him. Self-control lies
in maintaining checks and balances of desire, centripetals, and
centrifugals of desire. The worst thing that could happen to the world
would be to have it placed in the hands of men who only have a gift of
hungering for certain sorts of things, or hungering for certain classes
of people, or hungering for themselves.

We do not want the man who is merely hungering for himself to rule the
world--not because we feel superior to him, but because a man who is
merely hungering for himself cannot be taken seriously as an authority
on worlds. People can take him seriously as an authority on his own
hunger. But what he thinks about everything beyond that point cannot be
taken seriously. What he thinks about how the world should be run, about
what other people want, what labour and capital want, cannot be taken

I will not yield place to any one in my sympathy with the dockers.

I like to think that I too, given the same grandfathers, the same
sleeping rooms and neighbours, the same milk, the same tincture of
religion, would dare to do what they have done.

But I cannot be content, as I take my stand by the dockers, with
sympathizing in general. I want to sympathize to the point.

And on the practical side of what to do next in behalf of the dockers,
or of what to let them do, I find myself facing two facts:

First, the dockers are desperate. I take their desperation as conclusive
and imperative. It must be obeyed.

Second, I do not care what they think.

What they think must not be obeyed. Men who are in the act of being
scared or hateful, whether it be for five minutes, jive months, or sixty
years, who have given up their courage for others, or for their enemies,
are not practical. What a man who despairs of everybody except himself
thinks, does not work and cannot be made to work. The fact that the
dockers have no courage about their employers may be largely the
employers' fault. It is largely the fault of society, of the churches,
the schools, the daily press. But the fact remains, and whichever side
in the contest has, or is able to have, first, the most courage for the
other side, whichever side wants the most for the other side, will be
the side that will get the most control.

If Labour, in the form of syndicalism, wants to grasp the raw materials,
machinery, and management of modern industry out of the hands of the
capitalists and run the world, the one shrewd, invincible way for Labour
to do it is going to be to want more things for more people than
capitalists can want.

The only people, to-day, who are going to be competent to run a world,
or who can get hold of even one end of it to try to run it, are going to
be the people who want a world, who have a habit, who may be said to be
almost in a rut, of wanting things all day, every day, for a world--men
who cannot keep narrowed down very long at a time to wanting things for

There will be little need of our all falling into a panic, or all being
obliged to rely on policemen, or to call out troops to stave off an
uprising of the labour classes as long as the labour classes are merely
wanting things for themselves. It is the men who have the bigger hungers
who are getting the bigger sorts of things--things like worlds into
their hands. The me-man and the class-man, under our modern conditions,
are being more and more kept back and held under in the smaller places,
the me-places and class-places, by the men who want more things than
they can want, who lap over into wanting things for others.

The me-man often may see what he wants clearly and may say what he

But he does not get it. It is the class-man who gets it for him.

The class-man may see what he wants for his class clearly and may say
what he wants.

But he does not get it. It is the crowd-man who gets it for him.

It is a little startling, the grim, brilliant, beautiful way that God
has worked it out!

It is one of His usual paradoxes.

The thing in a man that makes it possible for him to get things more
than other people can get them is his margin of unselfishness.

He gets things by seeing with the thing that he wants all that lies
around it. With equal clearness he is seeing all the time the people and
the things that are in the way of what he wants; how the people look or
try to look, how they feel or try to make him think they feel, what they
believe and do not believe or can be made to believe; he sees what he
wants in a vast setting of what he cannot get with people, and of what
he can--in a huge moving picture of the interests of others.

The man who, in fulfilling and making the most of himself, can get
outside of himself into his class, who, in being a good class-man, can
overflow into being a man of the world, is the man who gets what he

I am hopeful about Labour and Capital to-day because in the industrial
world, as at present constituted in our coöperative age, the men who can
get what they want, who get results out of other people, are the men who
have the largest, most sensitive outfits for wanting things for other

If there is one thing rather than another that fills one with courage
for the outlook of labouring men to-day it is the colossal failure Ben
Tillett makes in leading them in prayer.

Even the dockers, perhaps the most casually employed, the most spent and
desperate class of Labour of all, only prayed Ben Tillet's prayer a
minute and they were sorry the day after.

And it was Ben Tillett's prayer in the end that lost them their cause--a
prayer that filled all England on the next day with the rage of
Labour--that a man like Ben Tillett, with such a mean, scared, narrow
little prayer, should dare to represent Labour.

In the same way, after the shooting in the Lawrence strike, when all
those men (Syndicalists) had streamed through the streets, showing off
before everybody their fine, brave-looking thoughtless, superficial,
guillotine feelings and their furious little banner, "No God and no
Master"--it did one good, only a day or so later, to see a vast crowd of
Lawrence workers, thirty thousand strong, tramping through the streets,
singing, with bands of music, and with banners, "In God we trust" and
"One is our Master, even Christ"--thousands of men who had never been
inside a church, thousands of men who could never have looked up a verse
in the Bible, still found themselves marching in a procession, snatching
up these old and pious mottoes and joining in hymns they did not know,
all to contradict, and to contradict thirty thousand strong, the idea
that the blood and froth, the fear and unbelief, of the Industrial
Workers of the World represented or could ever be supposed to represent
for one moment the manhood and the courage, the faithfulness and (even
in the hour of their extremity) the quiet-heartedness, the human loyalty
and self-forgetfulness, the moral dignity of the American workingman.

It cannot truly be said that the typical modern labouring man, whether
in America or England, is a coward; that he has no desire, no courage,
for any one except for himself and for his own class. Mr. O'Connor of
the Dockers' Organization in the East of Scotland, said at the time of
the strike of the dockers in London: "This kind of business of the
bureaucratic labour men in London, issuing orders for men to stop work
all over the country, is against the spirit of the trades unions of
England. It is a thing we cannot possibly stand. We have an agreement
with the employers, and we have no intention of breaking it."

It cannot be said that the typical modern labourer is listening
seriously to the Syndicalist or to the Industrial Worker of the World
when he tells him that Labour alone can save itself, and that Labour
alone can save the world. He knows that any scheme of social and
industrial reform which leaves any class out, rich or poor, which does
not see that everybody is to blame, which does not see that everybody is
responsible, which does not arrange or begin to arrange opportunity and
expectation for every man and every degree and kind of man, and does not
do it just where that man is, and do it now, is superficial.

If we are going to have a society that is for all of us, it will take
all of us, and all of us together, to make it. Mutual expectation alone
can make a great society. Mutual expectation, or courage for others,
persistently and patiently and flexibly applied--applied to details by
small men, applied to wholes by bigger ones--is going to be the next big
serious, unsentimental, practical industrial achievement. And I do not
believe that for sheer sentiment's sake we are going to begin by rooting
up millionaires and, with one glorious thoughtless sweep, saying, "We
will have a new world," without asking at least some of the owners of
it to help, or at least letting them in on good behaviour. Nor are we
going to begin by rooting up trade unions and labour leaders.

The great organizations of Capital in the world to-day are daily
engaged, through competition and experiment and observation, in
educating one another and finding out what they really want and what
they can really do; and it is equally true that the great organizations
of labour, in the same way, are educating one another.

The real fight of modern industry to-day is an educational fight. And
the fight is being conducted, not between Labour and Capital, but
between the labouring men who have courage for Capital and labouring men
who have not, and between capitalists who have courage for Labour and
those who have not. To put it briefly, the real industrial fight to-day
is between those who have courage and those who have not.

It is not hard to tell, in a fight between men who have courage and men
who have not, which will win.

Probably, whatever else is the matter with them, the world will be the
most safe in the hands of the men who have the most courage.

There are four items of courage I would like to see duly discussed in
the meetings of the trades unions in America and England.

First, A discussion of trades unions. Why is it that, when the leaders
of trades unions come to know employers better than the other men do and
begin to see the other side and to have some courage about employers and
to become practicable and reasonable, the unions drop them?

Second, Why is it that, in a large degree, the big employers, when they
succeed in getting skilled representatives or managers who come to know
and to understand their labouring men better than they do, do _not_ drop
them? Why is it that, day by day, on all sides in America and England,
one sees the employing class advancing men who have a genius for being
believed in, to at first questioned, and then to almost unquestioned,
control of their business? If this is true, does it not seem on the
whole that industry is safer in the hands of employers who have courage
for both sides and who see both sides than of employees who do not? Does
not the remedy for trades unions and employees, if they want to get
control, seem to be, instead of fighting, to see if they cannot see both
sides quicker, and see them better, than their employers do?

Third, A discussion of efficiency in a National Labour Party from the
point of view of the trend of national efficiency in business.
Apparently the most efficient and shrewd business men in England and
America are the men who are running what might be called lubricated
industries--who are making their industries succeed on the principle of
sympathetic, smooth-running, mutual interests. If the successful modern
business man who owns factories is not running each factory as a small
civil war, is it not true that the only practical and successful Labour
Party in England, the only party that can get things done for labour and
that can hold power, is bound to be the party that succeeds in having
the most courage for both sides, in seeing the most mutual interests,
and in seeing how these interests can be put together, and in seeing it
first and acting on it before any other merely one-sided party would be
able to think it out?

Fourth, A discussion of the selection of the best labour leaders to
place at the head of the unions.

Nearly every man who succeeds in business notably, succeeds in believing
something about the people with whom he deals that the men around him
have not believed before, or in believing something which, if they did
believe it, they had not applied or acted as if they had believed
before. If, in order to succeed, a business man does not believe
something that needs to be believed before other people believe it, he
hires somebody who does believe it to believe it for him.

Perhaps Labour would find it profitable to act on this principle too,
and to see to it that the leaders chosen to act for them are not the
noisiest minded, but the most creative men, the men who can express
original, shrewd faiths in the men with whom they have to deal--faiths
that the men around them will be grateful (after a second thought) to
have expressed next.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the meantime, whether among the labourers or the capitalists, however
long it may take, it is not hard to see, on every hand to-day, the world
about us slowly, implacably getting into the hands of the men, poor or
rich, who have the most keen, patient courage about other people, the
men who are "good" (God save the word!), the men who have practical,
working human sympathies and a sense of possibilities in those above
them and beneath them with whom they work--the men who most clearly,
eagerly, and doggedly want things for others, who have the most courage
for others.

I have thought that if we could find out what this courage is, how it
works, how it can be had, and where it comes from, it might be more
worth our while to know than any other one thing in the world.

I would like to try to consider a few of the sources of this courage for



After making an address on inspired millionaires one night before the
Sociological Society in their quarters in John Street, I found myself
the next day--a six-penny day--standing thoughtfully in the quarters of
the Zoölogical Society in Regent's Park.

The Zoölogical Society makes one feel more humble, I think, than the
Sociological Society does.

All sociologists, members of Parliament, eugenists, professors, and
others, ought to be compelled by law to spend one day every two weeks
with the Zoölogical Society in Regent's Park.

All reformers who essay to make over human nature, all idealists, should
be required by law to visit menageries--to go to see them faithfully or
to be put in them a while until they have observed life and thought
things out.


For orienting a man and making him reasonable, there is nothing, I find,
like coming out and putting in a day here, making one's self gaze firmly
and doggedly at the other animals.

We have every reason to believe that Noah was a good psychologist, or
judge of human nature, before he went into the ark, but if he was not,
he certainly would have come out one.

There is nothing like a menagerie to limber one up.

Especially an idealist.

Take a pelican, for instance. What possible personal ideal was it that
could make a pelican want to be a pelican or that could ever have made
a pelican take being a pelican seriously for one minute?

And the camel with his lopsided hump. "Why, oh, why," cries the
idealist, wringing his hands. "Oh, why----?"

I have come out here this afternoon, in the middle of my book, in the
middle of a chapter against the syndicalists, but it ill beseems me,
after spending half a day looking calmly at peacocks, at giraffes, at
hippopotamuses, at all these tails, necks, legs and mouths, at this
stretch or bird's eye view--this vast landscape of God's toleration--to
criticise any man, woman or child of this world for blossoming out, for
living up, or fleshing up, or paring down, to what he is really like

Possibly what each man stands for is well enough for him to stand for.
It is only when what a man says, comes to being repeated, to being made
universal, to being jammed down on the rest of us, that the lie in it
begins to work out.

Let us let everybody alone and be ready to find things out just for

Here is this big, frivolous, gentle elephant, for instance, poking his
huge, inquiring trunk into baby carriages. He is certainly too glorious,
too profound, a personage to do such things! It does seem a little
unworthy to me, as I have been sitting here and watching him from this
park bench, for a noble, solemn being like the elephant--a kind of
cathedral of a beast, to be as deeply interested as he is in peanuts.

He looms up before me once more. I look up a little closer--look into
his little, shrewd eyes--and, after all, what do I know about him?

And I watch the camels with the happy, dazed children on their backs, go
by with soft and drifting feet. Do I suppose I understand camels? Or I
follow the crowd. I find myself at last with that huge, hushed,
sympathetic congregation at the 4 P.M. service, watching the lions eat.

Everything does seem very much mixed up when one brings one's
Sociological Society dogmas, and one's little neat, impeccable row of
principles to the test of watching the lions eat!

Possibly people are as different from one another inside--in their souls
at least--as different as these animals are.

It is true, of course, that as we go about, people do have a plausible
way in this world--all these other people, of looking like us.

But they are different inside.

If one could stand on a platform as one was about to speak and could
really see the souls of any audience--say of a thousand people--lying
out there before one, they would be a menagerie beside which, O Gentle
Reader, I dare to believe, Barnum and Bailey's menagerie would pale in

But in a menagerie (perhaps you have noticed it, Gentle Reader) one
treats the animals seriously, and as if they were Individuals.

They are what they are.

Why not treat people's souls seriously?

It is true that people's souls, like the animals, are alike in a general
way. They all have in common (in spiritual things) organs of
observation, appropriation, digestion and organs of self-reproduction.

But these spiritual organs of digestion which they have are theirs.

And these organs of self-reproduction are for the purpose of reproducing
themselves and not us.

These are my reflections, or these try to be my reflections when I
consider the Syndicalist--how he grows or when I look up and see a
class-war socialist--an Upton Sinclair banging loosely about the world.

My first wild, aboriginal impulse with Upton Sinclair when I come up to
him as I do sometimes--violent, vociferous roaring behind his bars, is
to whisk him right over from being an Upton Sinclair into being me. I do
not deny it.

Then I remember softly, suddenly, how I felt when I was watching the
lions eat.

I remember the pelican.

Thus I save my soul in time.

Incidentally, of course, Upton Sinclair's insides are saved also.

It is beautiful the way the wild beasts in their cages persuade one
almost to be a Christian!

Of course when one gets smoothed down one always sees people very
differently. In being tolerant the rub comes usually (with me) in being
tolerant in time. I am tempted at first, when I am with Upton Sinclair,
to act as if he were a whole world of Upton Sinclairs and of course
(anybody would admit it) if he really were a whole world of Upton
Sinclairs he would have to be wiped out. There would be nothing else to
do. But he is not and it is not fair to him or fair to the world to act
as if he were.

The moment I see he is confining himself to just being Upton Sinclair I
rather like him.

It is the same with Ella Wheeler Wilcox. It is when I fall to thinking
of her as if she were, or were in danger of being, a whole world of Ella
Wheeler Wilcoxes that I grow intolerant of her. Ella Wheeler Wilcox as a
Tincture, which is what she really is, of course, is well enough. I do
not mind.

The real truth about a man like Upton Sinclair, when one has worked down
through to it, is that while from my point of view a class-war
socialist--a man who proposes to put society together by keeping men
apart--is wrong and is sure to do a great deal of harm to some people,
there are other people to whom he does a great deal of good.

There really are people who need Upton Sinclair. It may be a hard fact
to face perhaps, but when one faces it one is glad there is one. Some of
the millionaires need Sinclair. There are others whose attention would
be attracted better in more subtle ways.

The class-war socialist, though I may be at this moment in the very act
of trying to make him impossible, to put him out of date, has been and
is, in his own place and his own time, I gratefully acknowledge, of
incalculable value.

Any man who can, by saying violent and noisy things, make rich, tired,
mechanical-minded people, and poor, tired mechanical-minded people wake
up enough to feel hateful has performed a public service. The
hatefulness is the beginning of their being covetous for other things
than the things they have. If a man has a habit of hunger he gets better
and better hungers as a matter of course; bread and milk, ribbons,
geraniums, millinery, bathtubs, Bibles, copartnership associations. And
in the meantime the one precious thing to be looked out for in a man,
and to be held sacred, is his hunger.

The one important religious value in the world is hunger and to all the
men to-day who are contributing to the process of moving on hungers;
whether the hungers happen to be our hungers or not or our stages of
hunger or not, we say Godspeed.

There are times when the sudden sense one comes to have that the world
is a struggle, a great prayer toward the sun, a tumult and groping of
desire, the sense that every kind and type of desire has its time and
its place in it and every kind and type of man, gives a whole new
meaning to life. This sense of a now possible toleration which we come
to have, some of us, opens up to us always when it comes a new world of
courage about people. It makes all these dear, clumsy people about us
suddenly mean something. It makes them all suddenly belong somewhere.
They become, as by a kind of miracle, bathed in a new light,
wrong-headed, intolerable though they be, one still sees them flowing
out into the great endless stream of becoming--all these dots of the
vast desire, all these queer, funny, struggling little sons of God!

It has been overlooked that social reform primarily is not a matter of
legislation or of industrial or political systems, or of machinery, but
a matter, of psychology, of insight into human nature and of expert
reading and interpretation of the minds of men. What are they thinking
about? What do they think they want?

The trades unions and employers' associations, extreme socialists and
extreme Tories have so far been very bad psychologists. If the Single
Tax people were as good at being intuitionalists or idea-salesmen as
they are at being philosophers in ideas they would long before this have
turned everything their way. They would have begun with people's hungers
and worked out from them. They would have listened to people to find out
what their hungers were. The people who will stop being theoretical and
logical about each other and who will look hard into each other's eyes
will be the people whose ideas will first come to pass. Everything we
try to do or say or bring to pass in England or America is going to
begin after this, not in talking, but in listening. If social reformers
and industrial leaders had been good listeners, the social
deadlock--England with its House of Lords and railroads both on strike
and America with its great industries quarrelling--would have been
arranged for and got out of the way over twenty years ago.

We have overlooked the first step of industrial reform, the rather
extreme step of listening. The most hard-headed and conclusive man to
settle any given industrial difficulty is the man who has the gift of
divining what is going on in other people's minds, a gift for being
human, a gift for treating everybody who disagrees with him as if they
might possibly be human too, though they are very poor, even though they
are very rich. Practical psychology has come to be not only the only
solution but also the only method of our modern industrial questions.
Being so human that one can guess what any possible human being would
think is the one hard-headed and practical way to meet the modern labour

The first symptom of being human in a man is his range and power of
shrewd, happy toleration, or courage for people who know as little now
as he knew once.

A man's sense of toleration is based primarily upon the range and power
of his knowledge of himself, upon his power of remembering and
anticipating himself, upon his laughing with God at himself, upon his
habit in darkness, weariness or despair, or in silent victory and joy,
of falling on his knees.

Toleration is reverence. It is the first source of courage for other



Some people think of the world as if it were made all through, people
and all, of reinforced concrete, as if everything in it--men, women,
children, churches, colleges, and parties, were solidly, inextricably
imbedded in it.

Every age in history has had to get on as well as it could with two sets
of totally impracticable people, our two great orders of Philistines in
this world, the people who put their trust in Portland Cement and the
people who put their trust in Explosives.

There has not been a single great movement in history yet that every
thoughtful man has not had to watch being held up by these people--by
millions of worthy, simple, rudimentary creatures who consent to be mere
conservatives or mere radicals.

One set says, "People cannot be converted so we will blow them up."

The other set says, "We are going to be blown up, so let us put on
Plaster of Paris as a garment, we will array ourselves before the Lord
in Portland Cement."

Both of these classes of people believe alike on one main point.

They do not believe in Conversion.

If the conservatives believed in conversion they would not be so afraid
that they feel obliged to resort to Portland Cement. If the radicals
believed in conversion they would not be so afraid that they feel
obliged to resort to Explosives.

In our machine civilization to these two great standard classes of
scared people, there has been added what seems to be a third class--the
people who have responded to a kind of motor spirit in the time, who
have modulated a little their unbelief in human nature. They have
substituted for their reinforced concrete Unbelief, a kind of Whirling
Unbelief, called machinery.

They admit that in our modern life men are not made of reinforced
concrete. We may move, but we move as wheels move, they tell us. We arc
whirlingly imbedded. We are cogs and wheels in an Economic Machine.

I would like to consider for a moment this Whirling Unbelief.

There was a time once when I took the Economic Machine very seriously.

I looked up when I went by, at the Economic Machine as the last and the
most terrific of the inventions among the machines. The machine that
mocked all the other machines, that made all our machines look pathetic
and ridiculous, was the Economic Machine. There were days when I heard
it or seemed to hear it--this Economic Machine closing in around my
life, around all our lives like the last hoarse mocking laugh of

I said I will love every machine that runs except the Economic
Machine--the machine for making people into machines.

But one day when I had waited or dared to wait, I know not why, a little
longer than usual before the Whirling Unbelief, I heard the hoarse
mocking laugh die away. I became very quiet. I began to think, I
reflected on my experiences. I began to notice things.

I noted that every time I had found myself being discouraged about
people, I had caught myself thinking of people as Cogs and Wheels.

Were they really Cogs and Wheels?

Possibly it was merely the easiest, most mechanical-minded thing to do
to think of people (with all this machinery around one) as cogs and
wheels in an economic machine.

Then it began to occur to me that it was because I had looked upon the
economic machine a little lazily, a little innocently that I had been
awed and terrific--and had been swept away with it into the Whirling

Then I stood quietly and calmly for days, for weeks, for years before
it. I watched it Go Round.

I then discovered under close observation that what had looked to me
like an economic machine was not an economic machine at all.

The modern economic world has innumerable mechanical elements in it, but
it is not an economic machine.

It is a biological engine.

It is the biology in it that conceives, desires, and determines the
machinery in it.

The most important parts of the machine are not the very mechanical
parts. They are the very biological parts.

The economic machine is full of made-people, but it does not make very
much difference about the made-people. I find that as a plain, practical
matter of fact I do not need to watch the made-people so very much to
understand the world, or to get ready for what is happening to it.

In prospecting for a world, I watch the born people.

I watch especially the people who have been born twice.

As one watches the way the world is going round one finds that what is
really making it go round, is not its being an economic machine, but its
being a biological engine.

Industrial reform is a branch of biology.

The main fact of biology as regards a man is that he can be born.

The main fact of biology as regards society--that is, the main fact of
social biology--is that a man can be born twice.

As long as a man is born to go with a father and a mother it is well
enough to have been born once, but the moment a man deals with other
people or with the world, he has to be born again.

This is the main fact about the biological engine we call the world.

The main fact about the Engine is the biology in it.

Every other fact for a man has to be worked out from this--that is: out
of being born once if one wants to belong merely to a father and mother,
and out of being born twice if one wants to belong to a world.

A man does not need to enter again into his mother's womb and come out a
child. He enters into the World's Womb and comes out a man.

       *       *       *       *       *

The world is being placed to-day before our eyes in the hands of the men
who are born twice.

Not all men are cogs and wheels.

The first day I discovered this and believed this I went out into the
streets and looked into the faces of the men and the women and I looked
up at the factories and the churches and I was not afraid.

I do not deny that cogs and wheels are very common.

But I do not believe that an economic system or industrial scheme based
on the general principle of arranging a world for cogs and wheels would
work. I believe in arranging the world on the principle that there are
now and are going to be always enough men in it who are born, and enough
who are born twice to keep cogs and wheels doing the things men who have
been born twice, who have visions for worlds, want done, and to keep
people who prefer being cogs and wheels where they will work best and
where they will help the running gear of the planet most--by going round
and round, in the way they like--going round and round and round and

But why is it, one cannot help wondering, that the moment a man rises up
suddenly in this modern world and bases or seeks to base an industrial
or social reform frankly on courage for other people, on believing in
the inherent and eternal power of men of changing their minds, of being
put up in new kinds and new sizes of men, in other words, on
conversion--why is it that clergymen, atheists, ethical societies,
politicians, socialists will all unite, will all flock together and
descend upon him, shout and laugh him away, bully him with dead
millionaires, bad corporations and humdrum business men, overawe him
with mere history, argue him with statistics, and thunder him with
sermons out of the world--if he puts up a faint little chirrup of hope
that men can be converted?

It is not that the synods, ethical societies, anarchists, the bishops
and Bernard Shaw, have merely given up expecting individual men to be
converted. There would be a measure of plausibility in giving up on a
few particular men's being born again. It is worse than that. What seems
to have happened to nearly all the people who have schemes of industrial
reform is that they have really given up at one fell swoop a whole new
generation's being born again. It is going to be just like this one,
they tell us, the new generation--the same old things the same old
foolish ways of deceiving the world, that any child can see have not
worked--Bernard Shaw and the bishops whisper to us, are coming around
and around again. They must be planned for. All these young men of
wealth about us who read the papers and who are ashamed of their fathers
are going to be just like their fathers. The atheists, the socialists,
and the single taxers, missionaries and evangelists have given up their
last loophole of hope in the new business generation and they trust only
to machines to save us, or to professors, or to paper-treatises on

And yet, after all, if we were going to start an absolute, decisive, and
practical scheme of eugenics to-morrow with whom would we begin, with
which particular people would we begin? We would have to go back,
Bernard Shaw and the bishops and all of us, to the New Testament--to the
old idea of being born again.

I have watched now these many years the professors, caught in their
culture-machines going round and round, and the priests caught in their
religion-machines going round and round, and the business men caught in
their economic machine, and I have heard them all saying over and over
in a kind of terrible sing-song day and night, the silly, lazy words of
a glorious old roue four thousand years ago, "The thing that hath been
is the thing which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall
be done and there is no new thing under the sun."

There are some of us who do not believe this. We defy the
culture-machines. We believe that even professors can be converted, can
be educated.

We defy the bishops. We believe that business men can be converted.

We defy the business men. We believe the bishops can be converted.

I speak for a thousand, thousand men.

In the hum and drive of the wheels and the great roar around me of the
Whirling Unbelief. I speak for these men--for all of us. _We are not
cogs and wheels. We are men. We are born again ourselves. Other men can
be born again._

Men shall not look each other in the eyes wisely and nod their heads and
say that human nature will not change.

We will change it. If we cannot get but two or three together to change
it, then two or three by just being two or three and by daring to be two
or three, or even one if necessary shall change it.

The moment ninety million people in a great nation have welded out a
vision of the kind of man of wealth--the kind of employer they want, the
moment they set the millionaire in the vise of some great national
expectation, carve upon him firmly, implacably the will of the people,
the people will have the millionaire they want. If a nation really wants
a great man it invents him. We have hut to see we really want him, and
that no other machinery will work, and we will invent him.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Here in these United States sixty
years ago were we not all at work on a man named Abraham Lincoln? We had
been at work on him for years trying to make him into a Lincoln. He
could not have begun to be what he was without us, without the daily
thought, the responsibility, the tragical national hope and fear, the
sense of crisis in a great people. All these had been set to work on
him, on making him a Lincoln.

Lincoln would not have dared not to be a great man, an all-people man
with a whole mighty nation, with all those millions of watchful,
believing people laying their lives softly, silently, their very sons'
lives in his hands. He did not have the smallest possible chance from
the day he was named for President, to be a second-rate man or to betray
a nation, or to back down out of being himself. He had been filled night
and day with the vision of a great nation struggling, with the grim
glory of it. He was free to make mistakes for it, but there was no way
he could have kept from being a true, mighty, single-hearted man for it,
if he had tried. We had clinched Lincoln in 1862. He was caught fast in
the vise of our hopes.

Perhaps it is because, at certain times in history, nations seem to be
siding with the worst in their public men and expecting the worst in
them that they get them.

If a crowd wants to be represented, wants to touch to the quick and
kindle the man in it, the man filled with vision, the man who is born
again into its desire, the crowd-man, they have but to surround him and
overshadow him. They will create him, in scorn and joy will they
conceive him, and before he knows who he is, they will bring him forth.

It would not be hard, I imagine, to be a great man, with a true,
steadied, colossal, single-heartedness, if one were caught fast in the
vision, the expectation of a great nation.

To be born again is simple with ninety million people to help. We have
all been born again in little things with a few people to help. We have
been swung over from little short motives to big, long-levered
controlling ones. We have known in a small way what Conversion is. We
have seen how naturally it works out in little things.

There is nothing new about it. There is not a man who does not know what
it is to get over a small motive. We have seen, when we looked back,
what it was that happened.

The way to get over a small motive is to let it get lost in a big one.

A man does not stop to pick up a penny or a million dollars when he is
running to save his life.

A man does not stop to pick up two pennies, or two thousand dollars, or
two million dollars when he is running to save ten thousand lives or
running to save ninety million lives, when he is running to save a city
or a nation.

This is Conversion--entering into the World's Womb, the world's vision
or expectation and being born again.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not for nothing that I have seen the sun lifting up the faces of
the flowers, and crumbling the countenances of the hills. And I have
seen music stirring faintly in the bones of old men. And I have heard
the dead Beethoven singing in the feet of children.

And I have watched the Little Earth in its little round of seasons
dancing before the Lord.

And I have believed that music is wrought into all things, and that the
people I see about me have not one of them been left out.

I believe in sunshine and in hothouses. I believe in burning glasses. I
believe in focusing light into heat and heat into white fire, and
turning white fire into little flowing brooks of steel.

And I believe in focusing men upon men.

I believe in Conversion.

Of course it would all be different--focusing men upon men, if men were
cogs and wheels, or if the men they were focused on were made of stones.

I stand and look at this stone and believe it is all rubber and
whalebone inside.

But what of it?

It does not get true.

While I am looking at a man and believing a certain thing about the man,
it gets true.

What is going on in my mind while I look at him effects actual
mechanical changes in him, affects the flow of blood in his veins. A
look colours him, whitens him, twists and turns the muscles and tissues
in his body. I draw lines upon his inmost being. I lay down a new face
upon his face. A moment after I look upon the man's face it has become,
as it were, or may have become, a new little landscape. I have seen a
great country opened up in him of what he might be like. While I look I
have been ushered softly, for a second, into the presence of a man who
was not there before.

Such things have happened.

Beatrice looked at Dante once. Ten silent centuries began singing.

A man named Stephen, one day, while he was dying, gave a look at a man
named Paul. Paul came away quietly and hewed out history for two
thousand years.



A bicycle, the other day, a little outside Paris as it was running along
quietly, lifted itself off the ground suddenly, and flew three yards and
seven inches.

There are nine million seven hundred and eighty nine thousand nine
hundred and seventy-nine bicycles that have not flown three yards and
seven inches.

But what of it? Why count them up? Why bother about them? The important,
conclusive, massive, irresistible, crushing, material fact is that one
bicycle has flown three yards seven inches.

The nine million seven hundred and eighty-nine thousand nine hundred and
seventy-nine bicycles that can not fly yet are negligible. So are nine
out of ten business firms.

If there is one exceptional man in modern industry who is running his
business in the right way and who has made a success of it and has
proved it--he may look visionary to class-socialists and to other people
who decide by measuring off masses of fact, and counting up rows of
people and who see what anybody can see, but he is after all in
arranging our social programme the only man of any material importance
for us to consider. It would be visionary to take the past, dump it
around in front of one, and try to make a future out of it. I do not
deny what people tell me about millionaires and about factory slaves. I
have not mooned or lied or turned away my face. I stand by time one
live, right, implacable, irrevocable, prolific exception. I stand by the
one bicycle out of them all that has flown three yards and seven inches.
I lay out my program, conceive my world on that. Piles of facts
arranged in dead layers high against heaven, rows of figures, miles of
factory slaves, acres of cemeteries of dead millionaires, going-by
streetfuls of going-by people, shall not cow me.

My heart has been broken long enough by counting truths on my fingers,
by numbering grains of sand, men, and mountains, bombs, acorns and
marbles alike.

Which truth matters?

Which man is right?

Where is Nazareth?

       *       *       *       *       *

Nazareth is our only really important town now. I will see what is going
on in Nazareth. On every subject that comes up, in every line of
thought, I will go to the city of implacable exceptions. All the
inventors flock there--the man with the one bicycle which flies, the one
great industrial organizer, the man with the man-machine, and the
man--the great boy who carries new great beautiful cities in his pocket
like strings and nails and knives, they are all there.

Nazareth is the city, the one mighty little city of the spirit where all
the really worth-while men wherever they may seem to be, all day, all
night, do their living.

Other cities may make things, in Nazareth they make worlds. One can see
a new one almost any day in Nazareth. Men go up and down the streets
there with their new worlds in their eyes.

Some of them have them almost in their hands or are looking down and
working on them.

It does not seem to me that any of us can make ourselves strong and fit
to lay out a sound program or vision for a world, who do not watch with
critical expectation and with fierce joy these men of Nazareth, who do
not take at least a little time off every day, in spirit, in Nazareth,
and spend it in watching bicycles fly three feet and seven inches. To
watch these men, it seems to me, is our one natural, economical way to
get at essential facts, at the set-one-side truths, at the exceptions
that worlds and all-around programs for worlds are made out of. To watch
these men is the one way I know not to be lost in great museums and
storehouses of facts that do not matter, in the streetfuls and
skyscraperfuls of men that go by.

I regret to record that professors of political economy, social
philosophers, industrial big-wigs, presidents of boards of trade have
not been often met with on the streets of this silent, crowded, mighty,
invisible little town that rules the destinies of men.

Not during the last twenty years, but one is meeting them there to-day.

All these things that people are saying to me are mere history. I have
seen the one live exception. One telephone was enough. And one Galileo
was enough, with his little planet turning round and round, with all of
us on it who were obliged to agree with him about it. It kept turning
round and round with us until we did.



If I were a Noah and wanted to get a fair selection of people in London
to be saved to start a new world, I would go out and look over the crowd
who are watching the flying machines at Hendon, and select from them.

The Hendon crowd will not last forever. People who would be far less
desirable to start worlds with would gradually work their way in, but it
is only fair to say that these first few thousand men and women of all
classes who responded to the flying machine would be possessed, as any
one could see with a look, of special qualifications for running worlds.

I shall never quite forget the sense I had the first day of the crowd at
Hendon--those thousands of faces that had gathered up in some way out of
themselves a kind of huge crowd-face before one--that imperturbable
happiness on it and that look of hard sense and hope, half poetry, half
science ... it was like gazing at some portrait, or some vast
countenance of the future--watching the crowd at Hendon. Scores of times
I looked away from the machines swinging up past me into the sky to
watch the faces of the men and the women that belonged with sky
machines; these men and women who stood on the precipice of a new world
of air, of sunshine, and of darkness, and were not afraid.

One was in a little special civilization for the time being, all the new
people in it sorted out from the old ones. One felt a vast
light-heartedness all about. One was in the presence of the picked
people who had come to see this first vast initiative of man toward
Space, toward the stars, the people who had waited for four thousand
years to see it; to see at last Little Man (as it would seem to God) in
this his first clumsy, beautiful childlike tottering up the sky.

One was with the people on the planet who were the first to see the
practical, personal value, the market value, of all these huge idle
fields of air that go with planets. They were the first people to feel
identified with the air, to have courage for the air, the lovers of
initiative, the men and women that one felt might really get a new world
if they wanted one and who would know what to do with it when they got

       *       *       *       *       *

The other day in London near Charing Cross, as the crowds were streaming
down the Strand, a heavy box joggled off over the end of a dray, crashed
to the pavement, flew open and sent twenty-four hundred pennies rolling
under the feet of the men and of the women and of the boys along the

Traffic was stopped and a thousand men and women and boys began picking
the pennies up. They all crowded up around the dray and put the pennies
in the box.

The next day the brewer to whom the pennies belonged had a letter in the
_Times_ saying that not one of the twenty-four hundred pennies was

He closed his letter with a few moral remarks, announced that he had
sent the twenty-four hundred pennies as a kind of tribute to people--to
anybody Who Happened Along the Strand--to a Foundling Hospital.

       *       *       *       *       *

The man who told me this (it was at a business men's dinner), told it
because he knew I was trying to believe pleasant things about human
nature. He thought he ought to encourage me.

I will not record the conversation, I merely record my humble opinion.

I think it would have been better to have had just a few of those
pennies in the Strand say seven or eight missing.

On Broadway probably eleven or twelve out of twenty-four hundred would
have been missing--I hope.

And I am not unhopeful about England, or about the Strand.

There are two ways to get relief from this story.

First, the brewer lied. There were fewer pennies stolen than he would
have thought, and when he figured it out and found just a few pennies
between him and a good story, he put the pennies in. And so the dear
little foundlings got them--the letter in the _Times_ said. They were
presented to them, as it were, by the Good Little Boys in the Strand.

Second, somebody else put the pennies in, some person standing by with a
sense of humour, who knew the letters that people write to the _Times_
and the kind, serious, grave way English people read them. He put the
pennies grimly in at one end, then he waited grimly for the letter in
the _Times_ to come out at the other.

Either of these theories would work very well and let the crowd off.

But if they are disproved to me, I have one more to fall back upon.

If the story is true and not a soul in that memorable crowd on that
memorable day stole a penny, it was because they had all, as it happened
in that particular crowd, stolen their pennies before, and got over it.
It would seem a great pity if there had not been some one boy with
enough initiative in him, enough faculty for moral experiment, to try
stealing a penny just once, to see what it would be like.

The same boy would have seen at once what it was like, tried feeling
ashamed of it promptly, and would never have had to bother to do it
again. He would have felt that penny burning in his pocket past cash
drawers, past banks, past bonds, until he became President of the United

At all events the last thing that I would be willing to believe is that
either America or England would be capable of producing a chance crowd
in the street that out of sheer laziness or moral thoughtlessness would
not be able to work up at least one boy in it who would have a sudden
flash of imagination about a penny rolling around a man's leg--if he
picked it up and--did not put it in the box.

The crowd in the Strand, of course, like any other real crowd, was a
stew of development, a huge laboratory of people. All stages of
experience were in it.

Some of the people in the crowd that day had a new refreshing thought,
when they saw those pennies rolling around everybody. They thought they
would try and see what stealing a penny was like. Then they did it.

Others in the crowd thought of stealing a penny too, and then they had
still another thought. They thought of not stealing it. And this second
thought interested them more.

Others did not think of stealing a penny at all because they had thought
of it so often before had got used to it and had got used to dismissing

Others thought of stealing a penny and then they thought how ashamed
they were of having thought of it. Others looked thoughtfully at the
pennies and thought they would wait for guineas.

But whatever it was or may have been that was taking place in that crowd
that day--they all thought.

And after all what is really important to a nation is that the people in
it--any chance crowd in a street in it should think. I confess I care
very little one way or the other about the pennies being saved, or about
the brewer's little touch of moral poetry, his idea that this particular
crowd was solid Sunday-school from one end to the other, all through.
Whether it was a crowd that thought of stealing a penny and did or did
not, if the pennies rolling around among their feet made them think,
made them experiment, played upon the initiative, the individuality or
invention in them, the personal self-control, the social responsibility
in them, it was a crowd to be proud of. And I am glad, for one, that the
box of pennies was dumped in the street.

I would like to see shillings tried next time.

Then guineas might be used.

A box of guineas dumped in the street would do more good than a box of
pennies because there are many people who would think more with the
guineas rolling around out of sight around a man's legs than they would
with a penny's doing it.

In this way a box of guineas would do more good.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thousands of men and women that we have sent to India from this Western
World have been trying with Bibles, and good deeds, and kind faces, and
Sunday-schools to get the Hindoos to believe that it would not be a sin
to kill the rats and stop the bubonic plague.

Nothing came of it.

In due time General Booth-Tucker appeared on the scene.

He came too, of course, with a Bible and with his kind face like the
others, and of course, too, he went to Sunday-school regularly.

And while he was watching the bubonic plague sweeping up cities, he
tried too, like the others, to tell the people about a God who would not
be displeased if they killed the rats and stopped the plague.

But he could not convince anybody, or at best a few here and there.

The next thing that was known about General Booth-Tucker's work in India
was, that he had (still with his Bible, of course, and with his kind
look) slipped away and established in the south of France a factory for
the manufacture of gloves.

He then returned to his poor superstitious people in India who would not
believe him, and told them that he knew and knew absolutely that they
would not be punished for killing the rats, that the rats were not
sacred, and that he could prove it.

He offered the people so much apiece for the skins of the rats.

The poorest and most desperate of the natives then began killing the
rats secretly and bringing in the skins.

They waited for the wrath of Heaven to fall upon them. Nothing happened,
then they told others. The others are telling everybody.

General Booth-Tucker's factory to-day in the south of France is very
busy making money for the Salvation Army, turning out Christian gloves
for the West and turning out Christians or the beginnings of Christians
for the East, and the ancient, obstinate theological idea of the
holiness of the rats which the Hindoos have had is being ceaselessly,
happily, and stupendously, all day and all night, disproved.

Incidentally the little religious glove factory of General
Booth-Tucker's in the south of France is giving India the first serious
and fair chance it has ever had to stop being a pest house on the world,
and to bring the bubonic plague with its threat at a planet to an end.

General Booth-Tucker's Bible was just like anybody else's Bible. But
there must have been something about the way he read his Bible that made
him think of things. And there must have been something about his kind
look. He looked kindly at something in particular, and he was determined
to make that something in particular do. He had the rats, and he had the
gloves, and he had the Hindoo's--and he made them do, and before he knew
it (I doubt if he knows it now) he became a saviour or inventor.

In the big, desolate, darkened heart of a nation he had wedged in a God.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wonder if General Booth-Tucker--that is, the original, very small
edition of General Booth-Tucker--had been in that memorable crowd, that
memorable day in the Strand when nobody (with a report that was heard
around the world) stole a penny--I wonder if General Booth-Tucker would
have been A Very Good Little Boy.

One of the pennies might have been missing.

I have no prejudice against the Very Good Little Boy. It is not his
goodness that is what is the matter with him. But I am very much afraid
that if there were any way of getting all the facts, it would not be
hard to prove categorically that what has been holding the world back
the last twenty-five years in its religious ideals, its business ethics,
its liberty, candour, its courage, and its skill in social engineering,
is the Very Good Little Boy. He may be comparatively harmless at first
and before his moustache is grown, but the moment he becomes a grown-up
or the moment he sits on committees with his quiet, careful, snug,
proper fear of experiment, of bold initiative, his disease of never
running a risk, his moral anæmia, he blocks all progress in churches, in
legislatures, in directors' meetings, in trades unions, in slums and
May-fairs. One sees The Good Little Boys weighing down everything the
moment they are grown up.

They have all been brought up each with his one faint, polite little
hunger, his one ambition, his one pale downy desire in life, looking
forward day by day, year by year, to the fine frenzy, to the fierce joy
of Never Making a Mistake.

If I had been given the appointment and were about to set to work
to-morrow morning to make a new world, I would begin by getting together
all the people in this one that I knew, or had noticed anywhere, who
seemed to have in them the spirit of experiment. Any boy or girl or man
or woman that I had seen having the curiosity to try the different kinds
and different sizes of right and wrong, or that I had seen boldly and
faithfully experimenting with the beautiful and the ugly so that they
really knew about them for themselves--would be let in. I would put
these people for a time in a place by themselves where the people who
want to keep them from trying or learning, could not get at them.

Then I would let them try.

I would put the humdrum people in another place by themselves and let
them humdrum, the respectable people by themselves and let them

Then after my try-world had tried, and got well started and the people
in it had finished off some things and knew what they wanted, I would
allow the humdrums and the respectabilities to be let in--to do what
they were told.

Doing what they are told is what they like. So they would be happy.

Of course doing what they are told is what is the matter with them. But
what is the matter with them would be useful.

And everybody would be happy.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Titanic went down a little while ago and those few quiet men on
deck began their duty in that soft, gracious moonlit night, of sorting
out the people who should die from the people who should live--if one
was a woman one could live. If one was a man one could die.

No one will quarrel with the division as the only possible or endurable
one that could have been made.

But if God himself could have made the division or some super-man ship's
officer who could have represented God, could have made it, it is not
hard to believe that a less superficial, a more profound and human
difference between people would have been used in sorting out the people
who should live from the people who should die than a difference in
organs of reproduction.

The women were saved first because the men were men and because it was
the way the men felt. It expressed the men who were on the deck that
night that the women should be saved first; it was the last chance they
had to express themselves like men and they wanted to do it.

But if God himself could have made the division with the immediate and
conclusive knowledge of who everybody was, of what they really were in
their hearts, and of what they and their children and their children's
children would do for the world if they lived no one would have
quarrelled with God for making what would have seemed at the moment, no
doubt, very unreasonable and ungallant and impossible-looking
discriminations in sorting out the people who should live from the
people who should die.

Possibly even Man (using the word with a capital), acting from the point
of view of history and of the race and from the point of view of making
a kind of world where _Titanic_ disasters could not happen, would have
chosen on the deck of the _Titanic_ that night, very much the way God

From the point of view of Man there would have been no discrimination in
favour of a woman because she was a woman.

The last cry of the last man that the still listening life-boats heard
coming up out of the sea that night might have been the cry of the man
who had invented a ship that could not sink.

There would not have been a woman in a life-boat or a woman sinking in
the sea who would not have had this man saved before a woman.

If we could absolutely know all about the people, who are the people in
this world that we should want to have saved first, that we would want
to have taken to the life-boats and saved first at sea?

The women who are with child.

And the men who are about to have ideas.

And the men who man the boats for them, who in God's name and in the
name of a world protect its women who are with child, and its men who
are about to have ideas.

The world is different from the _Titanic_. We do not need to line up our
immortal fellow human beings, sort them out in a minute on a world and
say to them, "Go here and die!" "Go there and live!" We are able to
spend on a world at least an average of thirty-five years apiece on all
these immortal human beings we are with, in seeing what they are like,
in guessing on what they are for and on their relative value, and in
deciding where they belong and what a world can do with them.

We ought to do better in saving people on a world. We have more time to

What would we try to do if we took the time to think? Would there be any
way of fixing upon an order for saving people on a world? What would be
the most noble, the most universal, the most Godlike and democratic
schedule for souls to be saved on--on a world?

I think the man that would save the most other people should be saved
first. It would not be democratic to save an ordinary man, a man who
could just save himself, just think for himself, when saving the man
next to him instead would be saving a man who would save a thousand
ordinary men, or men who have gifts for thinking only of themselves.

Of course one man who thinks merely of himself is as good as another man
who thinks merely of himself, but from the point of view of a democracy
every common man has an inalienable right--the right to have the man who
saves common men saved first.

And the moment we get in this world, our first democracy, the moment the
common man really believes in democracy, this aristocracy or people who
save others (the common man himself will see to it) will be saved first.

He will make mistakes in applying the principle of democracy, that is in
collecting his aristocracies, his strategic men, his linchpins of
society, but he will believe in the principle all through. It will be
not merely in his brain, but in his instincts, in his unconscious
hero-worship, in his sinews and his bones, and it will stir in his
blood, that some men should be saved before others.

But if the world is not a _Titanic_, and if we have on the average
thirty-five years apiece to decide about men on a world and put them
where they belong, it might not be amiss to try to unite for the time
being on a few fundamental principles. What would seem to us to be a few
fundamental principles for the act of world-assimilation, that vast,
slow, unconscious crowd-process, that peristaltic action of society of
gathering up and stowing away men--all these little numberless cells of
humanity where they belong?

No one cell can have much to say about it. But we can watch.

And as we watch it seems to us that men may be said to be dividing
themselves roughly and flowingly at all times into three great streams
or classes.

They are either Inventors, or they are Artists, or they are Hewers.

Of course in classifying men it is necessary to bear in mind that their
getting out of their classifications is what the classifications are

And it is also necessary to bear in mind that men can only be classified
with regard to their emphasis and may belong in one class in regard to
one thing and in another class with regard to another, but in any
particular place, or at any particular time a man is doing a thing in
this world, he is probably for the time being, while he is doing it,
doing it as an Inventor (or genius), as an Artist (or organizer), or as
a Hewer. Most men, it must be said, settle down in their
classifications. They are very apt to decide for life whether they are
Inventors or Artists or Hewers.

But as has been said before, being on a world and not on a _Titanic_, we
have time to think.

On what principles could we make out a schedule or inventory of human
nature, and decide on world-values in men?

When I was a boy I played in the hollow of a great butternut tree--the
one my mother was married under. When I was in college I used to go back
to it. I used to wonder a little that it was still there. When we had
all grown up we all came back and got together under it one happy day
and there it still stood, its great arms from out of the sky bent over
lovers and over children on its little island, its wide river singing
round it, still that glorious old hollow in it, full of dreams and
childhood and mystery, and that old sudden sunshine in it through the
knots like portholes ... then we stood there all of us together. And the
mother watched her daughter married under it.

I can remember many days standing beneath it as a small boy (my small
insides full of butternuts, a thousand more butternuts up on the tree),
and I used to look up in its branches and wonder about it, wonder how it
could keep on so with its butternuts and with its leaves, with its
winters and with its summers, its cool shadows and sunshines, still
being a butternut tree, with that huge hollow in it.

I have learned since that if a few ounces or whittlings of wood in a
tree are chipped out in a ring around it under the bark, cords of wood
in the limbs all up across the sky would die in a week--if one chips out
those few little ounces of wood.

Cords of wood can be taken out of the inside of the tree and it will not

It is that little half-inch rim of the tree where the juice runs up to
the sun that makes the tree alive or dead.

The part that must be saved first and provided for first is that
slippery little shiny streak under the bark.

One could dig out a huge brush-heap of roots and the tree would live.
One could pick off millions of leaves, could cut cords of branches out
of it, or one could make long hollows up to the sun, tubes to the sky
out of trees, and they would live, if one still managed to save those
little delicate pipe lines for Sap, running up and running down, day and
night, night and day, between the light in heaven and the darkness in
the ground.

Perhaps Men are valuable in proportion as it would be difficult to
produce promptly other men to perform their functions, or to take their

If we cut away in society men of genius, leaves, and blossoms, in trees,
men who reach down Heaven to us, they grow out again.

If we cut away in society great masses of roots, common men who hew out
the earth in the ground and get earth ready to be heaved up to the
sky--the roots grow out again.

But if we cut a little faint rim around it of artists, of inventive
men-controllers, of the Sap-conductors, the men who make the Hewers run
up to the sky and who make the geniuses come down to the ground, the men
who run the tree together, who out of dark earth and bright sunshine
build it softly--if we destroy these, this little rim of great men or
men who save others, a totally new tree has to be begun.

It is the essence of a democracy to acknowledge that some men for the
time being are more important in it than others, and that these men,
whosoever they are, in whatever order of society they may be--poor,
rich, famous, obscure--these men who think for others, who save others
and invent others, who make it possible for others to invent themselves,
these men shall be saved first.

       *       *       *       *       *

One always thinks at first that one would like to make a diagram of
human nature. It would be neat and convenient.

Then one discovers that no diagram one can make of human nature--unless
one makes what might be called a kind of squirming diagram will really

Then one tries to imagine what a flowing diagram would be like.

Then it occurs to one, one has seen a flowing diagram.

A Tree is a flowing diagram.

So I am putting down on this page for what it may be worth, what I have
called A Family Tree of Folks.

_Read across_:

=INVENTORS=              =ARTISTS=                    =HEWERS=

Inventors                Organizers                   Labourers

Imagination              Applied Imagination          Tool or Mechanism

Fecundity                Control                      Activity

Seer                     Poet                         Actor

                         {  The Man who Sees the   }
The Man who Generalizes  {General in the Particular}  Action

The Deeper Permanent     {The Immediate Significance} Hewing
Significance             {  or Meaning              }

Light                    Applied Light or Heat        Applied Heat or

Stevenson and Wall       James J. Hill                Railway Hands

Creating                 Creative Selecting           Hewing

The Democrat             {The Aristocrat or}          The Crowd
                         {  Crowdman       }

Gods                     Heroes                       Men

Centrifugal Power        Equilibrium                  Centripetal Power

The Whirl-Out People     The Centre People            The Whirl-In People

Alexander Graham Bell    Telephone-Vail               Hands

Architect                Contractor                   Carpenter

Genius                   Artist                       Workmen

Columbus                 Columbus                     Isabella and the

The Prospector           The Engineer                 }Scoopers, Grabbers
                                                      }(in mind or body),

David the poet           David the king               David the soldier

Shakespeare              Shakespeare                  Shakespeare



The typical mighty man or man of valour in our modern life is the
Organizer or Artist.

If a man has succeeded in being a great organizer, it is because he has
succeeded in organizing himself.

A man who has organized himself is a man who has built a personality.
The main fact about a man who has succeeded in being an organized man or
personality is, that he has ordered himself around.

Naturally, when other people have to be ordered around, being
full-head-on in the habit of ordering, even ordering himself, the
hardest feat of all, he is the man who has to be picked out to order
other people. As a rule the man who orders himself around successfully,
who makes his whole nature or all parts of himself work together, does
it because he takes pains to find out who he is and what he is like. If
he orders other men successfully and makes them work together it is
because he knows what they are like.

A man knows what other people are like and bow they feel by having times
of being a little like them and by being a big, latent all-possible,
all-round kind of man.

Leadership follows.

Modern business consists in getting Inventors' minds and Hewers' minds
to work together. The ruler of modern business is the man who by
experience or imagination is half an Inventor himself, and half a Hewer
himself. He knows how inventing feels and how hewing feels.

He has a southern exposure toward Hewers and makes Hewers feel
identified with him. He has what might be called an eastern exposure
toward men of genius, understands the inventive temperament, has the
kind of personality that evokes inventiveness in others.

Incidentally he has what might be called a northern exposure which keeps
him scientific, cool, and close to the spirit of facts.

And there has to be something very like a western exposure in him too, a
touch of the homely seer, a habit of having reflections and afterglows,
a sense of principles, and of the philosophy of men and things.

If I were to try to sum up all these qualities in a man and call it by
one name, I would call it Glorified-commonsense.

If I were asked to define Glorified-commonsense I would say it is a
glory which works. It belongs to the man who has a vision or coinage for
others because he sees them as they are, and sees how the glory buried
in them (_i.e._, the inspiration or source of hard work in them) can be
got out.

Everywhere that the Artist in business, or Organizer, with his Inventors
on one side of him and his Hewers on the other, can be seen to-day
competing with the man who has the mere millionaire or owning type of
mind, he is crowding him from the market.

It is because he understands how Inventors and Hewers feel and what they
think and when he turns on Inventors he makes them invent and when he
turns on Hewers he makes them hew.

The Hewer often thinks because he is rich or because he owns a business,
that he can take the place of the artist, but he can be seen every day
in every business around us, being passed relentlessly out of power
because he cannot make his Inventors invent and cannot make his Hewers
hew as well as some other man. The moment his Inventors and Hewers think
of him, hear about him, or have any dealing with him--with the mere
millionaire, the mere owner kind of person, his Inventors invent as
little as they can, and his Hewers hew as softly as they dare.

This is called the Modern Industrial Problem.

And no man but the artist, the man with the inventing and the hewing
spirit both in him, who daily puts the inventing spirit and the hewing
spirit together in himself, can get it together in others.

Only the man who has kept and saved both the inventing and hewing spirit
in himself can save it in others--can be a saviour or artist.



I have been trying to say in this book that goodness in daily life, or
in business, in common world-running or world housekeeping, is by an
implacable crowd-process working slowly out of the hands of the wrong
men into the hands of the right ones.

If this is not true, I am ready to declare myself as a last resort, in
favour of a strike.

There is only one strike that would be practical.

I would declare for a strike of the saviours.

       *       *       *       *       *

By a saviour I do not mean a man who stoops down to me and saves me. A
saviour to me is a man who stands by and lets me save myself.

I am afraid we cannot expect much of men who can bear the idea of being
saved by other people, or by saviours who have a stooping feeling.

I rejoice daily in the spirit of our modern laboring men, in that holy
defiance in their eyes, in the way they will not say "please" to their
employers and announce that they will save themselves.

The only saviour who can do things for labouring men is the saviour who
proposes to do things with them, who stands by, who helps to keep
oppressors and stooping saviours off--who sees that they have a fair
chance and room to save themselves.

I define a true saviour as a man who is trying to save himself.

It was because Christ, Savonarola, and John Bunyan were all trying to
save themselves that it ever so much as occurred to them to save worlds.
Saving a world was the only way to do it.

The Cross was Christ's final stand for his own companionableness, his
stand for being like other people, for having other people to share his
life with, his faith in others and his joy in the world.

The world was saved incidentally when Christ died on the Cross. He
wanted to live more abundantly--and he had to have certain sorts of
people to live more abundantly with. He did not want to live unless he
could live more abundantly.

We live in a world in which inventors want to die if they cannot invent
and in which Hewers want to die if they cannot hew.

I am not proud. I am willing to be saved. Any saviour may save me if he
wants to, if his saving me is a part of his saving himself.

If the inventor saves me and saves us all because he wants to be in a
world where an inventor can invent, wants some one to invent to; if the
artist saves me because it is part of his worship of God to have me
saved and wants to use me every day to rejoice about the world with--if
the Hewer comes over and hews out a place in the world for me because he
wants to hew, I am willing.

All that I demand is, that if a man take the liberty of being a saviour
to me that he refrain from stooping, that he come up to me and save me
like a man, that he stand before me and tell me that here is something
that we, he and I, shoulder to shoulder, can do, something that neither
of us could do alone. Then he will fall to with me and I will fall to
with him, and we will do it.

This is what I mean by a saviour.



A factory in ---- some ten years ago employed one hundred men. Three of
these men were in the office and ninety-seven were hands in the works.
To-day this same factory which is doing a very much larger business is
still employing one hundred men, but thirty of the men are employed in
the office and seventy in the works.

Ten years, ago to put it in other words, the factory provided places for
one artist or manager and two inventors and places for ninety-seven

To-day the factory has made room for thirty inventors, one manager and
twenty-nine men who spend their entire time in thinking of things that
will help the Hewers hew.

It has seventy Hewers who are helping the Inventors invent by hewing
three times as hard and three times as skilfully or three times as much
as without the Inventors to help them, they had dreamed they could hew

The Artist or Organizer who made this change in the factory found that
among the ninety-seven Hewers that were employed a number of Hewers were
hewing very poorly, because though hewing was the best they could do,
they could not even hew. He found certain others who were hewing poorly
because they were not Hewers, but Inventors. These he set to work--some
of them inventing in the office.

On closer examination the two Inventors in the office were found to be
not Inventors at all. One of them was a fine Hewer who liked to hew and
who hated inventing and the other was merely a rich Hewer who was an
owner in the business who saw suddenly that he would have to stop
inventing and stop very soon if he wanted the business to make any more

There are four things that the Artist has to do with a factory like this
before he can make it efficient.

Each of these things is an art. One art is the art of compelling the
mere owner, the man with the merely hewing mind, to confine himself to
the one thing he knows how to do, namely to shovelling, to shovelling
his money in when and where he was told it was needed, and to shovelling
his money out when it has been made for him.

The art of compelling a mere owner to know his place, of keeping him
shovelling money in and shovelling money out silently and modestly,
consists as a rule in having the Artist or Organizer tell him that
unless the business is placed completely in his hands he will not
undertake to run it.

This is the first art. The second art consists in having an
understanding with the inventors that they will invent ways of helping
the Hewers hew.

The third art consists in having an understanding with the Hewers that
they will accept the help of the Inventors and hew with it. The fourth
art is the art of representing the consumer with the Hewer and with the
Inventor and with the Owner and seeing that he shares in the benefits of
all economies and improvements.

These are all human arts and turn on the power in a man of being a true
artist, of being a man-inventor, a man-developer and a man-mixer, daily
taking part of himself and using these parts in putting other men

These organizers or artists, being the men who see how--are the men who
are not afraid.



If all the unbrained money in the world to-day and the men that go with
it could be isolated, could be taken by men of imagination and put in a
few ships and sent off to an island in the sea--if New York and London
and all the other important places could be left in the hands of the men
who have imagination, poor and rich, they would soon have the world in
shape to make the men with merely owning minds, the mere owners off on
their island, beg to come back to it, to be allowed to have a share in
it on any terms.

In order to be fair, of course, their island would have to be a
furnished island--mines, woods, and everything they could want. It would
become a kind of brute wilderness or desert in twenty-five years. We
could, now and then, some of us, take happy little trips, go out and
look them over on their little furnished island. It would do us good to
watch them--these men with merely owning or holding-on minds, really
noticing at last how unimportant they are.

But it is not necessary to resort to a furnished island as a device, as
a mirror for making mere millionaires see themselves.

This is a thing that could be done for millionaires now, most of them,
here just where they are.

All that is necessary is to have the brains of the world so organized
that the millionaires who expect merely because they are millionaires to
be run after by brains, cannot get any brains to run after them.

I am in favour of organizing the brains of the world into a trades

One of the next things that is going to happen is that the managing and
creating minds of the world to-day are going to organize, are going to
see suddenly their real power and use it. The brains are about to have,
as labour and capital already have, a class consciousness.

I would not claim that there is going to be an international strike of
the brains of the world, but it will not be long before the managing
class as a class will be organized so that they can strike if they want

The Artists or Organizers and Managers of business will not need
probably, in order to accomplish their purpose, to strike against the
uncreative millionaires. They will make a stand (which the best of them
have already made now) for the balance of power in any business that
they furnish their brains to. The brains that create the profits for the
owners and that create the labour for the labourers, will make terms for
their brains and will withhold their brains if necessary to this end.
But it is far more likely that they will accomplish their purpose sooner
by using their brains for the millionaires and for the labourers--by
coöperating with the millionaires and labourers than they will by
striking against them or keeping their brains back.

They are in a position to make the millionaires see how little money
they can make without them even in a few days. They will let them try. A
very little trying will prove it.

Where hand labour would have to strike for weeks and months to prove its
value, brain labour would have to strike hours and days.

This is what is going to be done in modern business in one business at a
time, the brains insisting in each firm upon full control.

Then, of course, the firms that have the brains in most full control
will drive the firms in which brains are in less control out of

Then brains will spread from one business to another. The Managers,
Artists, and Organizers of the world will have formed at last a Brain
Syndicate, and they will put themselves in a position to determine in
their own interests and in the interests of society at large the terms
on which all men--all men who have no brains to put with their
money--shall be allowed to have the use of theirs. They will monopolize
the brain supply of the world.

Then they will act. Under our present régime money hires men; under the
régime of the Brain Syndicate men will hire money. Money--_i.e._, saved
up or canned labour, is going to be hired by Managers, Organizers, and
Engineers with as much discrimination and with as deep a study of its
efficiency, as new labour is hired. The millionaires are going to be
seen standing with their money bags and their little hats in their hands
like office boys asking for positions for their money before the doors
of the really serious and important men, the men who toil out the ideas
and the ways and the means of carrying out ideas--the men who do the
real work of the world, who see things that they want and see how to get
them--the men of imagination, the inventors of ideas, organizers of
facts, generals and engineers in human nature.

It is these men who are going to allow people who merely have
thoughtless labour and people who merely have thoughtless money to be
let in with them. The world's quarrel with the rich man is not his being
a rich man, but his being rich without brains, and its quarrel with the
poor labourer is not his being a poor labourer, but his being a poor
labourer without brains. The only way that either of these men can have
a chance to be of any value is in letting themselves be used by the man
who will supply them with what they lack. They will try to get this man
to see if he cannot think of some way of getting some good out of them
for themselves, and for others.

We have a Frederick Taylor for furnishing brains to labour.

We are going to have a Frederick Taylor to attend to the brain-supply of
millionaires, to idea-outfits for directors.

Every big firm is going to have a large group of specialists working on
the problem of how to make millionaires--its own particular millionaires
think, devising ways of keeping idle and thoughtless capitalists out of
the way. If the experts fail in making millionaires think, they may be
succeeded by experts in getting rid of them and in finding thoughtful
money, possibly made up of many small sums, to take their place.

The real question the Artist or Organizer is going to ask about any man
with capital will be, "Is it the man who is making the money valuable
and important or is it the money that is making this man important for
the time being and a little noticeable or important-looking?"

The only really serious question we have to face about money to-day is
the unimportance of the men who have it. The Hewers or Scoopers, or
Grabbers, who have assumed the places of the Artist and the Inventor
because they have the money, are about to be crowded over to the silent,
modest back seats in directors' meetings. If they want their profits,
they must give up their votes. They are going to be snubbed. They are
going to beg to be noticed. The preferred stock or voting stock will be
kept entirely in the hands of the men of working imagination, of
clear-headedness about things that are not quite seen, the things that
constitute the true values in any business situation, the men who have
the sense of the way things work and of the way they will have to go.

Mere millionaires who do not know their place in a great business will
be crowded into small ones. They will be confronted by the organized
refusal of men with brains to work for their inferiors, to be under
control of men of second-rate order. Men with mere owning and grabbing
minds will only be able to find men as stupid as they are to invest and
manage their money for them. In a really big creative business their
only chance will be cash and silence. They will be very glad at last to
get in on any terms, if the men of brains will let their money edge into
their business without votes and be carried along with it as a favour.

It is because things are not like this now, that we have an industrial

Managers who have already hired labour as a matter of course are going
to hire the kind of capital they like, the kind of capital that thinks
and that can work with thinking men.

There will gradually evolve a general recognition in business on the
part of men who run it and on the part of managers, of the moral or
human value of money. The successful manager is no longer going to grab
thoughtlessly at any old, idle, foolish pot of money that may be offered
to him. He is going to study the man who goes with it, see how he will
vote and see whether he knows his place, whether he is a Hewer, for
instance, who thinks he is an Inventor. Does he or does he not know
which he is, an Inventor, an Artist, or a Hewer?

Capitalists will expect as a matter of course to be looked over and to
be hired in a great business enterprise as carefully as labourers are
being hired now.

The moment it is generally realized that the managers of every big
modern business have become as particular about letting in the right
kind of directors as they have been before about letting in the right
kind of labour, we will stop having an upside-down business world.

An upside-down business world is one in which any man who has money
thinks he can be a director almost anywhere, a world in which on every
hand we find managers who are not touching the imagination of the public
and getting it to buy, and not touching the imagination of labour and
getting it to work, because they are not free to carry out their ideas
without submitting them to incompetent and scared owners.

The incompetent and scared owners--the men who cannot think--are about
to be shut out. Then they will be compelled to hire incompetent and
scared managers. Then they will lose their money. Then the world will
slip out of their hands.

The problem of modern industry is to be not the distribution of the
money supply, but the distribution of the man-supply.

Money follows men.

Free men. Free money.




       "_I know that all men ever born are also my brothers....
    Limitless leaves too, stiff or drooping in the fields,
       And brown ants in the little wells beneath them
       And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heaped stones, elders,
    mulleins and poke weed._"

_A Child said, "What is grass?" fetching it to me with full hands.

How could I answer the Child?_

       *       *       *       *       *

    _"I want to trust the sky and the grass!
    I want to believe the songs I hear from the fenceposts!
    Why should a maple-bud mislead me?"_



A big New England factory, not long ago, wanted to get nearer its raw
material and moved to Georgia.

All the machine considerations, better water-power, cheaper labour,
smaller freight bills, and new markets had argued for moving to Georgia.

Long rows of new mills were built and thousands of negroes were moved in
and thousands of shanties were put up, and the men and the women stood
between the wheels. And the wheels turned.

There was not a thing that had not been thought of except the men and
women that stood between the wheels.

The men and women that stood between the wheels were, for the most part,
strong and hearty persons and they never looked anxious or abused and
did as they were told.

And when Saturday night came, crowds of them with their black faces, of
the men and of the women, of the boys and girls, might have been seen
filing out of the works with their week's wages.

Monday morning a few of them dribbled back. There were enough who would
come to run three mills. All the others in the long row of mills were
silent. Tuesday morning, Number Four started up, Wednesday, Number Five.
By Thursday noon they were all going.

The same thing happened the week after, and the week after, and the week
after that.

The management tried everything they could think of with their people,
scolding, discharging, making their work harder, making their work
easier, paying them less, paying them more, two Baptist ministers and
even a little Roman Catholic Church.

As long as the negroes saw enough to eat for three days, they would not

It began to look as if the mills would have to move back to
Massachusetts, where people looked anxious and where people felt poor,
got up at 5 A.M. Mondays and worked.

Suddenly one day, the son of one of the owners, a very new-looking young
man who had never seen a business college, and who had run through
Harvard almost without looking at a book, and who really did not seem to
know or to care anything about anything--except folks--appeared on the
scene with orders from his father that he be set to work.

The manager could not imagine what to do with him at first, but finally,
being a boy who made people like him more than they ought to, he found
himself placed in charge of the Company Store. The company owned the
village, and the Company Store, which had been treated as a mere
necessity in the lonely village, had been located, or rather dumped, at
the time, into a building with rows of little house-windows in it, a
kind of extra storehouse on the premises.

The first thing the young man did was to stove four holes in the
building, all along the front and around the corners on the two sides,
and put in four big plate-glass windows. The store was mysteriously
closed up in front for a few days to do this, and no one could see what
was happening, and the negroes slunk around into a back room to buy
their meal and molasses. And finally one morning, one Sunday morning,
the store opened up bravely and flew open in front.

The windows on the right contained three big purple hats with blue
feathers, and some pink parasols.

The windows on the left were full of white waistcoats, silver-headed
canes, patent-leather shoes and other things to live up to.

Monday morning more of the mills were running than usual.

Later in the week there appeared in the windows melodions, phonographs,
big gilt family Bibles, bread machines, sewing machines, and Morris
chairs. Only a few hands took their Mondays off after this.

All the mills began running all the week.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course there are better things to live for than purple hats and blue
feathers, and silver-headed canes, and patent leather shoes. But if
people can be got to live six days ahead, or thirty days, or sixty days
ahead, instead of three days ahead, by purple hats and blue feathers and
white waistcoats, and if it is necessary to use purple hats and blue
feathers to start people thinking in months instead of minutes, or to
budge them over to where they can have a touch of idealism or of
religion or of living beyond the moment, I say for one, with all my
heart, "God bless purple hats and blue feathers!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The great problem of modern charity, the one society is largely occupied
with to-day, is: "What is there that we can possibly do for our

The next thing Society is going to do, perhaps, is to design and set up
purple hats with blue feathers for millionaires.

The moment our millionaires have placed before them something to live
for, a few real, live, satisfying ideals, or splendid lasting things
they can do, things that everybody else would want to do, and that
everybody else would envy them for doing, it will bore them to run a
great business merely to make money. They will find it more interesting,
harder, and calling for greater genius, to be great and capable
employers. When our millionaires once begin to enter into competition
with one another in being the greatest and most successful employers of
labour on earth, our industrial wars will cease.

Millionaires who get as much work out of their employees as they dare,
and pay them as little as they can, and who give the public as small
values as they dare, and take as much money as they can, only do such
stupid, humdrum, conventional things because they are bored, because
they cannot really think of anything to live for.

Labourers whose daily, hourly occupation consists in seeing how much
less work a day than they ought to do, they can do, and how much more
money they can get out of their employers than they earn, only do such
things because they are tired or bored and discouraged, and because they
cannot think of anything that is truly big and fine and worth working

The industrial question is not an economic question. It is a question of
supplying a nation with ideals. It is a problem which only an American
National Ideal Supply Company could hope to handle. The very first
moment three or four purple hats with blue feathers for millionaires and
for labourers have been found and set up in the great show window of the
world, the industrial unrest of this century begins to end.

       *       *       *       *       *

As I went by, one day not long ago, I saw two small boys playing
house--marking off rooms--sitting-rooms and bedrooms, with rows of
stones on the ground. When I came up they had just taken hold of a big
stone they wanted to lift over into line a little. They were tugging on
it hopefully and with very red faces, and it did not budge. I picked up
a small beam about five feet long on my side of the road, that I thought
would do for a crowbar, stepped over to the boys, fixed a fulcrum for
them, and went on with my walk. When I came back after my walk that
night to the place where the boys had been playing, I found the boys had
given up working on their house. And as I looked about, every big stone
for yards around--every one that was the right size--seemed subtly out
of place. The top of the stone wall, too, was very crooked.

They had given up playing house and had played crowbar all day instead.

I should think it would have been a rather wonderful day, those boys'
first day, seven or eight hours of it spent, with just a little time off
for luncheon, in seeing how a crowbar worked!

I have forgotten just how much larger part of a ton one inch more on a
crowbar lifts. I never know figures very well. But I know people and I
know that a man with only three day's worth of things ahead to live for
does not get one hundredth part of the purchase power on what he is
doing that the man gets who works with thirty days ahead of things to
live for, all of them nerving him up, keeping him in training, and
inspiring him. And I know that the man who does his work with a longer
lever still, with thirty or forty years worth' of things he wants, all
crowding in upon him and backing him up, can lift things so easily, so
even jauntily, sometimes, that he seems to many of us sometimes to be a
new size and a new kind of man.

       *       *       *       *       *

The general conventional idea of business is, that if you give a man
more wages to work for, he will work more, but of course if a business
man has the brains, knows how to fire up an employee, knows how to give
him something or suggest something in his life that will make him want
to live twenty times as much, it would not only be cheaper, but it would
work better than paying him twice as much wages.

Efficiency is based on news. Put before a man's life twenty times as
much to live for and to work for, and he will do at least, well--twice
as much work.

If a man has a big man's thing or object in view, he can do three times
as much work. If the little thing he has to do, and keep doing, is seen
daily by him as a part of a big thing, the power and drive of the big
thing is in it, the little thing becomes the big thing, seems big while
he is doing it every minute. It makes it easier to do it because it
seems big.

The little man becomes a big man.

From the plain, practical point of view, it is the idealist in
business, the shrewd, accurate, patient idealist in modern business who
is the man of economic sense. The employer who can put out ideals in
front of his people, who can make his people efficient with the least
expense, is the employer who has the most economic sense.

The employer who is a master at supplying motives to people, who manages
to cut down through to the quick in his employees, to the daily motives,
to the hourly ideals, the hourly expectations with which they work, is
the employer who already takes the lead, who is already setting the pace
in the twentieth-century business world.

Possibly you have noticed this trait in the great employers or, at
least, in the great managers of employers?

You are going, for instance, through a confectionery shop. As you move
down the long aisles of candy machines you hear the clock strike eleven.
Suddenly music starts up all around you and before your eyes four
hundred girls swing off into each other's arms. They dance between their
machines five minutes, and then, demurely, they drop back to their work.
You see them sitting quietly in long white rows, folding up sweet-meats
with flushed and glowing cheeks.

Is this sentiment or is it cold businesslike efficiency?

The more sentiment there is in it, I think, the more efficient it is and
the better it works.

"Business is not business."

One need not quarrel about words, but certainly, whatever else business
is, it is not business. It would be closer to the facts to call business
an art or a religion, a kind of homely, inspired, applied piety, based
upon gifts in men which are essentially religious gifts; the power of
communion in the human heart, the genius for cultivating companionship,
of getting people to understand you and understand one another and do
team work. The bed-rock, the hard pan of business success lies in the
fundamental, daily conviction--the personal habit in a man of looking
upon business as a hard, accurate, closely studied, shrewd human art, a
science of mutual expectation.

I am not saying that I would favour all employers of young women having
them, to-morrow morning at eleven o'clock, swing off into each other's
arms and dance for five minutes. The value of the dance in this
particular case was that the Firm thought of the dancing itself and was
always doing things like it, that everybody knew that the Firm, up in
its glass office, felt glad, joined in the dance in spirit, enjoyed
seeing the girls caught up for five minutes in the joy and swing of a
big happy world full of sunshine and music outside, full of buoyant and
gentle things, of ideals around them which belonged to them and of which
they and their lives were a part.

When we admit that business success to-day turns or is beginning to turn
on a man's power of getting work out of people, we admit that a man's
power of getting work out of people, his business efficiency, turns on
his power of supplying his people with ideals.

Ideals are news.

You come on a man who thinks he is out of breath and that he cannot
possibly run. You happen to be able to tell him that some dynamite in
the quarry across the road is going to blow the side of the hill out in
forty-five seconds and he will run like a gazelle.

You tell a man the news, the true news that his employees are literally
and honestly finding increased pay or promotion, either in their own
establishment or elsewhere for every man they employ, as fast as he
makes himself fit, and you have created a man three times his own size
before your own eyes, all in a minute. And he begins working for you
like a man three times his own size, and not because he is getting more
for it, but because he suddenly believes in you, suddenly believes in
the world and in the human race he belongs to.

To make a man work, say something to him or do something to him which
will make him swing his hat for humanity, and give three cheers (like a
meeting of workmen the other day): "Three cheers for God!"

There is a well-known firm in England which has the best labour of its
kind in the world, because the moment the Firm finds that a man's skill
has reached the uttermost point in his work, where it would be to the
Firm's immediate interests to keep him and where the Firm could keep on
making money out of him and where the man could not keep on growing,
they have a way of stepping up to such a man (and such things happen
every few days), and telling him that he ought to go elsewhere, finding
him a better place and sending him to it. This is a regular system and
highly organized. The factory is known or looked upon as a big family or
school. There are hundreds of young men and young women who, in order to
get in and get started, and merely be on the premises of such a factory,
would offer to work for the firm for nothing. The Factory, to them, is
like a great Gate on the World.

It is its ideals that have made the factory a great gate on the World.

And ideals are news. Ideals are news to a man about himself. News to a
man about himself and about what he can be, is gospel.

And a factory with men at the top who have the brains about human nature
to do things like this, men who can tell people news about themselves,
all day, every day, all the week, like a church--let such a factory, I
say, for one, have a steeple with chimes in it, if it wants to, and be
counted with the other churches!

People have a fashion of speaking of a man's ideals in a kind of weak,
pale way, as if ideals were clouds, done in water-colour by schoolgirls,
as if they were pretty, innocent things, instead of being fierce,
splendid, terrific energies, victorious, irrevocable in human history,
trampling the earth like unicorns, breathing wonder, deaths, births upon
the world, carrying everything before them, everywhere they go. These
are ideals! This may not be the way ideals work in a moment or in a
year, but it is the way they work in history, and it is the way they
make a man feel when he is working on them. It is what they are for, to
make him feel like this, when he is working on them. With the men who
are most alive and who live the longest, the men who live farther ahead
and think in longer periods of time, the energies in ideals function as
an everyday matter of course.

I wish people would speak oftener of a man's motives, what he lives for,
as his motive powers. They generally speak of motives in a man as if
they were a mere kind of dead chart or spiritual geography in him, or
clock-hand on him or map of his soul. The motives and desires in a man
are the motors or engines in him, the central power house in a man, the
thing in him that makes him go.

All a man has to do to live suddenly and unexpectedly a big life is to
have suddenly a big motive.

Anybody who has ever tried, for five minutes, a big motive, ever tried
working a little happiness for other people into what he is doing for
himself, for instance, if he stopped to think about it and how it worked
and how happy it made him himself, would never do anything in any other
way all his life. It is the big motives that are efficient.



I think it was Sir William Lever who remarked (but I have heard in the
last two years so many pearls dropped from the lips of millionaires that
I am not quite sure) that the way to tell a millionaire, when one saw
one, was by his lack of ready money. He added that perhaps a surer way
of knowing a millionaire, when one saw one, was by his lack of ideas.

My own experience is that neither of these ways works as well as it used
to. I very often meet a man now--a real live millionaire, no one would
think it of.

One of them--one of the last ones--telegraphed me from down in the
country one morning, swung up to London on a quick train, cooped me up
with him at a little corner table in his hotel, and gave me more ideas
in two hours than I had had in a week.

I came away very curious about him--whoever he was.

Not many days afterward I found myself motoring up a long, slow hill,
full of wind and heather, and there in a stately park with all his
treetops around him, and his own blue sky, in a big, beautiful, serene
room, I saw him again.

He began at once, "Do you think Christ would have approved of my house?"

His five grown sons were sitting around him but he spoke vividly and
directly and like a child, and as if he had just brushed sixty years
away, and could, any time.

I said I did not think it fair to Christ, two thousand years off, to ask
what he would have thought of a house like his, now. The only fair
thing to do would be to ask what Christ would think if He were living
here to-day.

"Well, suppose He had motored over here with you this afternoon from
---- Manor, and spent last night with you there, and talked with you and
with ---- and had seen the pictures, and the great music room and
wandered through the gardens, and suppose that then He had come through
on his way up, all those two miles of slums down in ---- seen all those
poor, driven, crowded people, and had finally come up here with you to
this big, still, restful place two thousand people could live in, and
which I keep all to myself. You don't really mean to say, do you, that
He would approve of my living in a house like this?"

I said that I did not think that Christ would be tipped over by a house
or lose his bearings with a human soul because he lived in a park. I
thought He would look him straight in the eyes.

"But Christ said, 'He that loseth his life shall save it!'"

"Yes, but He did not intend it as a mere remark about people's houses."

It did not seem to me that Christ meant simply giving up to other people
easy and ordinary things like houses or like money, but that He meant
giving up to others our motives, giving up the deepest, hardest things
in us, our very selves to other people.

"And so you really think that if Christ came and looked at this house
and looked at me in it, He would not mind?"

"I do not know. I think that after He had looked at your house He would
go down and look at your factory, possibly. How many men do you employ?"

"Sixteen hundred."

"I think He would look at them, the sixteen hundred men, and then He
would move about a little. Very likely He would look at their wives and
the little children."

He thought a moment. I could see that he was not as afraid of having
Christ see the factory as he was of having Him see the house.

I was not quite sure but I thought there was a little faint gleam in his
eye when I mentioned the factory.

"What do you make?" I asked.

He named something that everybody knows.

Then I remembered suddenly who he was. He was one of the men I had first
been told about in England, and the name had slipped from me. He had
managed to do and do together the three things one goes about looking
for everywhere in business--what might be called the Three R's of great
business (though not necessarily R's). (1) He had raised the wages of
his employees. (2) He had reduced prices to consumers. (3) He had
reduced his proportion of profit and raised the income of the works, by
inventing new classes of customers, and increasing the volume of the

He had found himself, one day, as most men do, sooner or later, with a
demand for wages that he could not pay.

At first he told the men he could not pay them more, said that he would
have to close the works if he did.

He was a very busy man to be confronted with a crisis like this. The
market was trouble enough.

One morning, when he was up early, and the house was all still and he
was sitting alone with himself, the thought slipped into his mind that
there had been several times before in his life when he had sat thinking
about certain things that could not be done. And then he had got up from
thinking they could not be done and gone out and done them.

He wondered if he could not get up and go out and do this one.

As he sat in the stillness with a clear road before his mind and not a
soul in the world up, the thought occurred to him, with not a thing in
sight to stop it, that he had not really trained himself to be quite
such an expert in raising wages as he had in some other things.

Perhaps he did not know about raising wages.

Perhaps if he concentrated his imagination as much on getting higher
wages for his workmen as he had in those early days years before on
making over all his obstinate raw material into the best cases of ----
on earth, he might find it possible to get more wages for his men by
persuading them to earn more and by getting their coöperation in finding
ways to earn more.

As he sat in the stillness, gradually (perhaps it was the stillness that
did it) the idea grew on him.

He made up his mind to see what would happen if he worked as hard at
paying higher wages for three months as he had for three years at making
raw material into cases of the best----on earth.

Then things began happening every day. One of the most important
happened to him.

He found that higher wages were as interesting a thing to work on as any
other raw material had ever been.

He found that a cheap workman as raw material to make a high-priced
workman out of was as interesting as a case of----.

A year or so after this, there was a strike (in his particular industry)
of all the workmen in England. They struck to be paid the wages his men
were paid.

He had been able to do three things he thought he thought he could not
do. He had succeeded in doing the first, in raising the wages of his
employees, by thinking up original ways of expressing himself to them,
and of getting them to believe in him and of making them want to work a
third harder. At the same time he succeeded in doing the second, in
reducing the prices to consumers, by inventing new by-products out of

He had succeeded in doing the third, in reducing his per cent. of
profits and increasing his income from the works at the same time, by
thinking up ways of creating new habits and new needs in his customers.

He had fulfilled, as it seems, the three requisites of a great business
career. He had created new workmen, invented new things for men and
women to want, and had then created some new men and women who could
want them.

Incidentally all the while, day by day, while he was doing these things,
he had distributed a large and more or less unexpected sum of money
among all these three classes of people.

Some of this extra money went to his workmen, and some to himself, and
some to his customers, but it was largely spent, of course, in getting
business for other manufacturers and in getting people to buy all over
England, from other manufacturers, things that such people as they had
never been able before to afford to buy.

       *       *       *       *       *

All these things that I have been saying and which I have duly confided
to the reader flashed through my mind as I stood with my back to the
fire, realizing suddenly that the man who had done them was the man with
whom I was talking.

Possibly some little thing was said. I do not remember what. The next
thing I knew was that, with his five grown sons around him, he returned
to his attack on his house.

He said some days he was glad it was so far away. He did not want his
workmen to see it. He did not go to the mill often in his motor-car, not
when he could help it.

I said that I thought that a man who was doing extraordinary things for
other people, things that other men could not get time or strength or
freedom or boldness of mind or initiative to do, that any particular
thing he could have that gave him any advantage or immunity for doing
the extraordinary things better, that would give him more of a chance to
give other people a chance, that the other people, if they were in their
senses, would insist upon his having these things.

"I think there are hundreds of men in my mill who think that they ought
to have my motor-car and three or four rooms in this house."

"Are they the most efficient ones?"


If a man gives over to other people his deepest motives, and if he
really identifies himself--the very inside of himself with them and
treats their interests as his interests, the more money he has, the more
people like it.

"Take me, for instance," I said.

"I have hoped every minute since I knew you, that you were a prosperous
man. I saw the house and looked around in the park as I motored up with
joy. And when I came to the big gate I wanted to give three cheers! I
wish you had stock in the Meat Trust in America, that you could pierce
your way like a microbe into the vitals, into the inside of the Meat
Trust in my own country, make a stand in a Directors' Meeting for ninety
million people over there, say your say for them, vote your stock for
them, say how you want a Meat Trust you belong to, to behave, how you
want it to be a big, serious, business institution and not a humdrum,
mechanical-minded hold-up anybody could think of--in charge of a few
uninteresting, inglorious men--men nobody really cares to know and that
nobody wants to be like ... when I think of what a man like you with
money can do ...!

"Am I not tired every day, are you not tired, yourself, of going about
everywhere and seeing money in the hands of all these second-class,
socially feeble-minded men, of seeing columns in the papers of what such
men think, of having college presidents, great universities, domes,
churches and thousands of steeples all deferring to them and bowing to
them, and all the superior, live, interested people ringing their door
bells for their money waiting outside on benches for what they think?"

I do not believe that Christ came into the world, two thousand years
ago, to say that only the men who have minds of the second class, men
who are not far-sighted enough in business to be decently unselfish in
this world, should be allowed to have control of the money and of the
peoples' means of living in it.

We are living in an age of big machines and big, inevitable
aggregations, and to say in an age like this, and above all, to get it
out of a Bible, or put it into a hymn book or make a religion of it,
that all the first class minds of the world--the men who see far enough
to be unselfish, should give over their money to second-class men, is
the most monstrous, most unbelieving, unfaithful, unbiblical,
irreligious thing a world can be guilty of. The one thing that is now
the matter with money, is that the second-class people have most of it.

"What would happen if we applied asceticism or a tired, discouraged
unbelief to having children that we do to having pounds and pence and
dollars and cents? You would not stand for that would you?"

I looked at his five sons.

"Suppose all the good families of to-day were to take the ground that
having children is a self-indulgence unworthy of good people; suppose
the good people leave having children in this world almost entirely to
bad ones?

"This is what has been happening to money.

"Unbelief in money is unbelief in the spirit. It is paying too much
attention to wealth to say that one must or that one must not have it."

I cannot recall precisely what was said after this in that long evening
talk of ours but what I tried to say perhaps might have been something
like this:

The essence of the New Testament seems to be the emphasis of a man's
spirit with or without money. Whether a man should be rich or get out of
being rich and earn the right to be poor (which some very true and big
men, artists and inventors in this world will always prefer) turns on a
man's temperament. If a man has a money genius and can so handle money
that he can make money, and if he can, at the same time, and all in one
bargain, express his own spirit, if he can free the spirits of other men
with money and express his religion in it, he should be ostracized by
all thoughtful, Christian people, if in the desperate crisis of an age
like this, he tries to get out of being rich.

The one thing a man can be said to be for in this world, is to express
the goodness--the religion in him, in something, and if he is not the
kind of man who can express his religion in money and in employing
labour, then let him find something--say music or radium or painting in
which he can. It is this bounding off in a world, this making a bare
spot in life and saying "This is not God, this cannot be God!"--it is
this alone that is sacriligious.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may be that I am merely speaking for myself, but I did discover a man
on Fleet Street the other day who quite agreed with me apparently, that
if the thing a man has in him is religion he can put it up or express it
in almost anything.

This man had tried to express his idea in a window.

He had done a Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," in sugar--a kind of
bas-relief in sugar.

I do not claim that this kind of foolish, helpless caricature of a great
spiritual truth filled me with a great reverence or that it does now.

But it did make me think how things were.

If sugar with this man, like money with a banker, was the one logical
thing the man had to express his religion in, or if what he had had to
express had been really true and fine, or if there had been a true or
fine or great man to express, I do not doubt sugar could have been made
to do it.

One single man with enough money and enough religions skill in human
nature, who would get into the Sugar Trust with some good, fighting,
voting stock, who could make the Sugar Trust do as it would be done by,
would make over American industry in twenty years.

He would have thrown up as on a high mountain, before all American men,
one great specimen, enviable business. He would have revealed as in a
kind of deep, sober apocalypse, American business to itself. He would
have revealed American business as a new national art form, as an
expression of the practical religion, the genius for real things, that
is our real modern temperament in America and the real modern
temperament in all the nations.

Of course it may not need to be done precisely with the Sugar Trust.

The Meat Trust might do it first, or the Steel Trust.

But it will be done.

Then the Golden Rule, one great Golden Rule-machine having been
installed in our trust that knew the most, and was most known, it could
be installed in the others.

Religion can be expressed much better to-day in a stock-holder's meeting
than it can in a prayer-meeting.

Charles Cabot, of Boston, walked in quietly to the Stock-holder's
Meeting of the Steel Trust one day and with a little touch of
money--$2,900 in one hand, and a copy of the _American Magazine_ in the
other, made (with $2,900) $1,468,000,000 do right.





Every now and then when I am in London (at the instigation of some
business man who takes the time off to belong to it), I drop into a
pleasant but other-worldly and absent-minded place called the House of

I sit in the windows in the smoking-room and watch the faces of the
members all about me and watch the steamships, strangely, softly,
suddenly--Shakespeare and Pepys, outside on the river, slip gravely by
under glass.

Or I go in and sit down under the gallery, face to face with the
Speaker, looking across those profiles of world-makers in their seats;
and I watch and listen in the House itself. There is a kind of pleasant,
convenient, appropriate hush upon the world there.


The decorous, orderly machinery of knowledge rolls over one--one listens
to It, to the soft clatter of the endless belt of words.

Every now and then one sees a member in the middle of a speech, or
possibly in the middle of a sentence, slip up quietly and take a look
(under glass) at The People, or he uses a microscope, perhaps, or a
reading glass on The People, Mr. Bonar Law's, Mr. Lloyd George's, Ramsay
MacDonald's, Will Crook's, or somebody's. Then he comes back gravely as
if he had got the people attended to now, and finishes what he was

It is a very queer feeling one has about the People in the House of

I mean the feeling of their being under glass; they all seem so
manageable, so quiet and so remote, a kind of glazed-over picture in
still life, of themselves. Every now and then, of course one takes a
member seriously when he steps up to the huge showcase of specimen
crowds, which members are always referring to in their speeches. But
nothing comes of it.

The crowds seem very remote there under the glass. One feels like
smashing something--getting down to closer terms with them--one longs
for a Department Store or a bridge or a 'bus--something that rattles and
bangs and is.

All the while outside the mighty street--that huge megaphone of the
crowd, goes shouting past. One wishes the House would notice it. But no
one does. There is always just the House Itself and that hush or ring of
silence around it, all England listening, all the little country papers
far away with their hands up to their ears and the great serious-minded
Dailies, and the witty Weeklies, the stately Monthlies, and Quarterlies
all acting as if it mattered....

Even during the coal strike nothing really happened in the House of
Commons. There was a sense of the great serious people, of the crowds on
Westminster Bridge surging softly through glass outside, but nothing got
in. Big Ben boomed down the river, across the pavements, over the
hurrying crowds and over all the men and the women, the real business
men and women. The only thing about the House that seemed to have
anything to do with anybody was Big Ben.

Finally one goes up to Harrod's to get relief, or one takes a 'bus, or
one tries Trafalgar Square, or one sees if one can really get across the
Strand or one does something--almost anything to recall one's self to
real life.

And then, of course, there is Oxford Street.

Almost always after watching the English people express themselves or
straining to express themselves in the House of Commons, I try Oxford

I know, of course, that as an art-form for expressing a great people,
Oxford Street is not all that it should be, but there is certainly
something, after all the mooniness and the dim droniness, and
lawyer-mindedness in the way the English people express themselves or
think that they ought to express themselves in their house of
Commons--there is certainly something that makes Oxford Street seem
suddenly a fine, free, candid way for a great people to talk! And there
is all the gusto, too, the 'busses, the taxies, the hundreds of
thousands of men and women saying things and buying things they believe.

Taking in the shops on both sides or the street, and taking in the
things the people are doing behind the counters, and in the aisles, and
up in the office windows three blocks of Oxford Street really express
what the English people really want and what they really think and what
they believe and put up money on, more than three years of the house of

If I were an Englishman I would rather be elected to walk up and down
Oxford Street and read what I saw there than to be elected to a seat in
the House of Commons, and I could accomplish more and learn more for a
nation, with three blocks of Oxford Street, with what I could gather up
and read there, and with what I could resent and believe there, than I
could with three years of the House of Commons.

I know that anybody, of course, could be elected to walk up and down
Oxford Street. But it is enough for me.

So I almost always try it after the house of Commons.

And when I have taken a little swing down Oxford Street and got the
House of Commons out of my system a little, perhaps I go down to the
Embankment, and drop into my club.

Then I sit in the window and mull.

If the English people express themselves and express what they want and
what they are bound to have, on Oxford Street and put their money down
for it, so much better than they do in the House of Commons, why should
they not do it there?

Why should elaborate, roundabout, mysterious things like governments,
that have to be spoken of in whispers (and that express themselves
usually in a kind of lawyer-minded way, in picked and dried words like
wills), be looked upon so seriously, and be taken on the whole, as the
main reliance the people have, in a great nation, for expressing

Why should not a great people be allowed to say what they are like and
to say what they want and what they are bound to get, in the way Oxford
Street says things, in a few straight, clean-cut, ordinary words, in
long quiet rows of deeds, of buying and selling and acting?

Pounds, shillings, and silence.

Then on to the next thing.

If the House of Commons were more like Oxford Street or even if it had
suddenly something of the tone of Oxford Street, if suddenly it were to
begin some fine morning to express England the way Oxford Street does,
would not one see, in less than three months, new kinds and new sizes of
men all over England, wanting to belong to it?

Big, powerful, uncompromising, creative men who have no time for
twiddling, who never would have dreamed of being tucked away in the
house of Commons before, would want to belong to it.

In the meantime, of course, the men of England who have empires to
express, are not unnaturally expressing them in more simple language
like foundries, soap factories around a world, tungsten mines,
department stores, banks, subways, railroads for seventy nations, and
ships on seven seas, Winnipeg trolleys and little New York skyscrapers.

Business men of the more usual or humdrum kind could not do it, but
certainly, the first day that business men like these, of the first or
world-size class, once find the House of Commons a place they like to be
in, once begin expressing the genius of the English people in government
as they are already expressing the genius of the English people in
owning the earth, in buying and selling, in inventing things and in
inventing corporations, the House of Commons will cease to be a bog of
words, an abyss of committees, and legislation will begin to be run like
a railroad--on a block signal system, rows of things taken up, gone
over, and finished. The click of the signal. Then the next thing.

I sit in my club and look out of the window and think. Just outside
thousands of taxies shooting all these little mighty wills of men across
my window, across London, across England, across the world ... the huge,
imperious street ... all these men hurling themselves about in it,
joining their wills on to telephone wires, to mighty trains and little
quiet country roads, hitching up cables to their wills, and
ships--hitching up the very clouds over the sea to their wills and
running a world--why are not men like these--men who have the
street-spirit in them, this motor genius of driving through to what they
want, taking seats in the House of Commons?

Perhaps Oxford Street is more efficient and more characteristic in
expressing the genius and the will of the English people than the House
of Commons is because of the way in which the people select the men they
want to express them in Oxford Street.

It may be that the men the people have selected to be at the top of the
nation's law-making are not selected by as skillful, painstaking, or
thorough a process as the men who have been selected to be placed at the
top of the nation's buying and selling.

Possibly the reason the House of Commons does not express the will of
the people is, that its members are merely selected in a loose, vague
way and by merely counting noses.

Possibly, too, the men who are selected by a true, honest, direct,
natural selection to be the leaders and to free the energies and steer
the work of the people, the men who are selected to lead by being seen
and lived with and worked with all day, every day, are better selected
men than men who having been voted on on slips of paper, and having been
seen in newspaper paragraphs, travel up to London and begin
thoughtlessly running a world.

The business man drops into the House of Commons after the meeting of
his firm in Bond Street, Lombard Street, or Oxford Street and takes a
look at it. He sees before him a huge tool or piece of machinery--a body
of men intended to work together and to get certain grave, particular,
and important things done, that the people want done, and he does not
see how a great good-hearted chaos or welter, a kind of chance national
Weather of Human Nature like the House of Commons, can get the things

So he confines himself more and more to business where he loses less
time in wondering what other people think or if they think at all, cuts
out the work he sees, and does it.

He thinks how it would be if things were turned around and if people
tried to get expressed in business in the loose way, the thoughtless
reverie of voting that they use in trying to get themselves expressed in

He thinks the stockholders of the Sunlight Soap Company, Limited, would
be considerably alarmed to have the president and superintendent and
treasurer and the buyers and salesmen of the company elected at the
polls by the people in the county or by popular suffrage. He thinks that
thousands of the hands as well as the stockholders would be alarmed too.
It does not seem to him that anybody, poor or rich, employer or
employee, in matters of grave personal concern, would be willing to
trust his interest or would really expect the people, all the people as
a whole, to be represented or to get what they wanted, to act definitely
and efficiently through the vague generalizations of the polls. Perhaps
a natural selection, a dead-earnest rigorous, selection that men work
on nine hours a day, an implacable, unremitting process during working
hours, of sorting men out (which we call business), is the crowd's most
reliable way of registering what it definitely thinks about the men it
wants to represent it. Business is the crowd's, big, serious, daily
voting in pounds, shillings, and pence--its hour to hour, unceasing,
intimate, detailed labour in picking men out, in putting at the top the
men it can work with best, the men who most express it, who have the
most genius to serve crowds, to reveal to crowds their own minds, and
supply to them what they want.

As full as it is--like all broad, honest expressions, of human
shortcomings and of things that are soon to be stopped, it does remain
to be said that business, in a huge, rough way, daily expressing the
crowds as far as they have got--the best in them and the worst in them,
is, after all, their most faithful and true record, their handwriting.
Business is the crowds' autograph--its huge, slow, clumsy signature upon
our world.

Buying and selling is the life blood of the crowds' thought, its big,
brutal daily confiding to us of its view of human life. What do the
crowds, poor and rich, really believe about life? Property is the last
will and testament of Crowds.

The man-sorting that goes on in distributing and producing property is
the Crowd's most unremitting, most normal, temperamental way of
determining and selecting its most efficient and valuable leaders--its
men who can express it, and who can act for it.

This is the first reason I would give against letting the people rely on
having a House of Commons compel business men to be good.

Men who meet now and again during the year, afternoons or evenings, who
have been picked out to be at the top of the nation's talking, by a
loose absent-minded and illogical paper-process, cannot expect to
control men who have been picked out to be at the top of a nation's
buying and selling, by a hard-working, closely fitting, logical
process--the men that all the people by everything they do, every day,
all day, have picked out to represent them.

Any chance three blocks of Oxford Street could be relied on to do

Keeping the polls open once in so often, a few hours, and using hearsay
and little slips of paper--anybody dropping in--seems a rather fluttery
and uncertain way to pick out the representatives of the people, after
one has considered three blocks of Oxford Street.

The next thing the crowd is going to do in getting what it wants from
business men is to deal directly with the business men themselves and
stop feeling, what many people feel partly from habit, perhaps, that the
only way the crowd can get to what it wants is to go way over or way
back or way around by Robin Hood's barn or the House of Commons.

But there is a second reason:

The trouble is not merely in the way men who sit in the House of Commons
are selected. The real deep-seated trouble with the men who sit in the
House of Commons is that they like it. The difficulty (as in the
American Congress too) seems to be something in the men themselves. It
lies in what might be called, for lack of a better name, perhaps, the
Hem and Haw or Parliament Temperament.

The dominating type of man in all the world's legislative bodies, for
the time being, seems to be the considerer or reconsiderer, the man who
dotes on the little and tiddly sides of great problems. The greatness of
the problem furnishes, of course, the pleasant, pale glow, the happy
sense of importance to a man, and then there is all the jolly littleness
of the little things besides--the little things that a little man can
make look big by getting them in the way of big ones--a great nation
looking on and waiting.... For such a man there always seems to be a
certain coziness and hominess in a Legislative Body....

As a seat in the House of Commons not unnaturally--every year it is
hemmed or hawed in, gets farther and farther away from the people, it is
becoming more and more apparent to the people every year that the
Members of their House of Commons as a class are unlikely to do anything
of a very striking or important or lasting value in the way of getting
business men to be good.

The more efficient and practical business men are coming to suspect that
the members of the House of Commons, speaking broadly, do not know the
will of the people, and that they could not express it in creative,
straightforward and affirmative laws if they did.



But it is not only because the members of the House of Commons are
selected in a vague way or because they are a vague kind of men, that
they fail to represent the people.

The third reason against having a House of Commons try to compel
business men to be good, by law, is its out-of-the-way position.

The out-of-the-way position that a Parliament occupies in getting
business men to be good, can be best considered, perhaps, by admitting
at the outset that a government really is one very real and genuine way
a great people may have of expressing themselves, of expressing what
they are like and what they want, and that business is another way.

Then the question narrows down. Which way of expressing the people is
the one that expresses them the most to the point, and which expresses
them where their being expressed counts the most?

The people have a Government. And the people have Business.

What is a Government for?

What is Business for?

Business is the occupation of finding out and anticipating what the
wants of the English people really are and of finding out ways of
supplying them.

The business men on Oxford Street hire twenty or thirty thousand men and
women, keep them at work eight or nine hours a day, five or six days in
a week, finding out what the things are that the English people want
and reporting on them and supplying them.

They are naturally in a strategic position to find out, not only what
kinds of things the people want, but to find out, too, just how they
want the things placed before them, what kind of storekeepers and
manufacturers, salesmen and saleswomen they tolerate, like to deal with
and prefer to have prosper.

And the business men are not only in the most strategic and competent
position to find out what the people who buy want, but to find out too,
what the people who sell want. They are in the best position to know,
and to know intimately, what the salesmen and saleswomen want and what
they want to be and what they want to do or not do.

They are in a close and watchful position, too, with regard to the
conditions in the factories from which their goods come and with regard
to what the employers, stockholders, foremen and workmen in those
factories want.

What is more to the point, these same business men, when they have once
found out just what it is the people want, are the only men who are in a
position, all in the same breath, without asking anybody and without
arguing with anybody, without meddling or convincing anybody--to get it
for them.

Finding out what people want and getting it for them is what may be
called, controlling business.

The question not unnaturally arises with all these business men and
their twenty or thirty thousand people working with them, eight or nine
hours a day, five or six days a week, in controlling business, why
should the members of the House of Commons expect, by taking a few
afternoons or evenings off for it, to control business for them?

If I were an employee and if what I wanted to do was to improve the
conditions of labour in my own calling, I do not think I would want to
take the time to wait several months, probably, to convince my member of
Parliament, and then wait a few months more for him to convince the
other members of Parliament, and then vote his one vote. I would rather
deal directly with my employer.

If my employer is on my back and if I can once get the attention of my
employer himself, as to where he is and as to how he is interrupting
what I am doing for him--if I once get his attention and once get him to
notice my back, he can get down. No one else can get down for him and no
one else, except by turning a whole nation all around, can make him get
down. Why should a man bother with T.P.'s _Weekly_ or with Horatio
Bottomley or with the _Daily Mail_ or the _Times_, with a score of other
people's by-elections all over England to lift his own employer off his

There is a very simple rule for it.

The way to lift one's employer off one's back is to make one's back so
efficient that he cannot afford to be on it.

The first thing I would do would be to see if I could not persuade my
employer to take steps to train me and to make me efficient, himself.
And perhaps the second thing I would try to do would be to wake my
trades union up, to get my trades union to consent to let me want to try
to be efficient and work as hard as I can, or to consent to my
employer's hiring engineers to make me efficient. I would try to get my
trades union to be interested in hiring itself some special expert like
Frederick Taylor, some specialist in making a man do three times as much
work with the same strength, making him three times as valuable for his
employer and three times as fit and strong for himself.

This is what I would do if I wanted to make my employer good. I would be
so good that he could not afford not being good too.

If I were an employer, on the other hand, and understood human nature,
and knew enough about psychology to found a great business house and
wanted to make my employee good, or make him work three times as hard
for me, with three times the normal strength, day by day, and have a
normal old age to look forward to, I do not think I would wait for the
House of Commons to butt in and pension him. It seems to me that I would
be in a position to do it more adequately, more rapidly, and do it with
more intimate knowledge of economy than the House of Commons could. And
I would not have to convince several hundred men, men from rural
counties, how I could improve my factory and get them to let me improve
it. I could do it quietly by myself.

In any given industrial difficulty, there is and must be a vision for
every man, a vision either borrowed for him or made for him by some one
else, or a vision he has made for himself, that fits in just where he
is. In the last analysis our industrial success is going to lie in the
sense of Here, and Me, and Now, raised to the n-th power, in what might
be called a kind of larger syndicalism.

The typical syndicalist, instead of saying, as he does to-day, "We will
take the factories out of our employers hands and run them ourselves,"
is going to say, "We will make ourselves fit to run the factories

What would please the employers more, give them a general, or national
confidence in trying to run business and improve the conditions of work
to-day, than to have their employees, suddenly, all over the nation,
begin doing their work so well that they would be fit to run the

What is true of employers and employees in factories is still more true
of the employers and employees in the great retail stores. If there is
one thing rather than another the business men and women on Oxford
Street, the managers, floor walkers and clerks all up and down the
street are really engaged in all day all their lives, it is what might
be called a daily nine-hour drill in understanding people. Why should
employers and employees like these--experts in human nature--men who
make their profession a success by studying human nature, and by working
in it daily, call in a few drifting gentlemen from the House of Commons
and expect them to work out their human problems better than they can do

Employers and clerks in retail stores are the two sets of people in all
the world most competent to study together the working details of human
nature, to act for themselves in self-respecting man-fashion and without
whining at a nation.

Who that they could hope to deal with and get what they want from, could
know more about human nature than they do? Are they not the men of all
others, all up and down that little strip of Oxford Street, who devote
their entire time to human nature? They are in the daily profession of
knowing the soonest and knowing the most about what people are like, and
about what people will probably think. They are intimate with their
peccadillos in what they want to wear and in what they want to eat; they
have learned their likes and dislikes in human nature; they know what
they will support and what they will defy in human nature, in clerks,
and in stores, and in storekeepers.

And these things that they have learned about human nature (in
themselves and other people) they have learned not by talking about
human nature but by a grim daily doing things with it.

These things being so, it would almost seem that these people and people
like them were qualified to act, and as they happen to be in the one
strategic position, both employers and employees alike, to act and to
act for themselves and act directly and act together, it will not be
very long, probably, before the nation will be very glad to have them do

It is likely to be seen very soon (at least by all skilled Labour and
all skilled Capital) that running out into the street and crying "Help!"
and calling in some third person to settle family difficulties that can
be better settled by being faced and thought out in private, is an
inefficient and incompetent thing to do.

And for the most part it is going to be only in the more superficial,
inefficient, thoughtless industry that men, either employers or
employed, will be inclined to leave their daily work, run out wildly and
drag in a House of Commons to help them to do right.

I am only speaking for myself but certainly if I were an employer or an
employee, I would not want to wait for an election a year away or to
wait for the great engineering problem of compelling my member of
Parliament by my one vote to act for me.

Perhaps workingmen in England and America are deceived about the value
of voting as a means of improving conditions of workingmen. Possibly
women are deceived about the value of voting as a means of improving the
conditions of working women.

Possibly a woman could do more behind a counter or by buying a store
than by voting to have some man she has read about in a paper, improve
business by talking about it in the House of Commons.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is also a kind of program or vision of action one can use as a
customer as well as an employer or employee.

I might speak for myself.

I have about so much money I spend every year in buying things. I have
proposed to study with my money every firm on which I spend it. I
propose to take away my trade from the firm that does the least as it
should and give it to the firm that does the most as it should. I will
vote with my entire income and with every penny I save for the kind of
employers I believe in and that I want, for the kind of employers who
can earn and deserve and enjoy and keep the kind of salesmen and
saleswomen I choose to do business with.

All the year round, every firm with which I deal, I am going to study
not only with my mind but with my money. I will proceed to take my
trade away from the big employers who think that I want shoddy goods or
who think that I want or am willing to trade with saleswomen who would
let an employer impose on them, saleswomen that he thinks he can afford
to impose upon. I will proceed to vote with my money, with every penny I
have in the world, and I will earn more that I may vote more, for the
kind of employer with whom I like to trade. And there shall not be a
man, woman, or child of my acquaintance, if I can help it, or of my
family's acquaintance who shall not know who these employers are by name
and by address, the employers that I will trade with and the employers
that I will not.

This is my idea as a customer, as a member of the public, of the way for
a people to express itself and to get what it wants.

What I want may be said to be a kind of news, news about me so far as I
go, as one member of the public. As I am only one person every item of
the news about me must be put where it works. I will deal directly with
the news of what I want and I will convey that news, not to the House of
Commons but to the men who have what I want and who can give it to me
when they know it.

News is the real government now and always of this world.

When one has made up one's mind to tell this news, obviously the best
art-form for telling news to employers and business men--the news of
what we want and what we do not want and of what we want in them as well
as in the things they sell, is to tell them the news in the language
they have studied most, tell it to them in pounds, shillings, dollars,
and cents, and by trading somewhere else.

The gospel-bearing value, the news that one can get into a man's mind
with one dollar, the news that he can be made to see and act on for one
dollar--well, thinking of this some days, makes for me, at least, going
up and down the Main Street of the World feeling my purse snuggling in
my pocket, and all the people I can step up to with my purse and tell
so many dollars' worth of news to, tell that dollar's worth of gospel to
about the world--makes going up and down with a dollar on a big business
street, and spending it or not spending it, feel like a kind of chronic,
easy, happy, going to Church. One always has a little money in one's
pocket that one spends or that one won't spend, and sometimes even not
spending a dollar, practised by some people, at just the right moment
and in just the right way, can be made to mean as much and do as much
with a world as spending a thousand dollars would without any meaning
put into it.

Sometimes I even go into a store on purpose, a certain kind of store I
know will try to cheat me in a certain way, let them look a minute at
the dollar they cannot have. Then I walk out with it quietly.

I have said that the life-blood of my convictions shall circulate in my
money and if I cannot express my soul, my religion, my gospel or news
for this world, news about what I want and about what I will have in a
world, if I cannot make every dollar, every shilling I earn, go through
the world and sing my own little world-song in it, may I never have
another shilling or earn another dollar as long as I live!

The very sight of a dollar now whenever I see one once more, fills me
with deep, hopeful working joy, thinking of what a bargain it is and how
I can use it twice over, thinking of the dollar's worth of news, to say
nothing of the dollar's worth of things that belong with a dollar!

       *       *       *       *       *

For some generations, now, we have tried to make people good in a vague,
general way, by using priests, sacraments and confessional boxes. For
some centuries we have been trying to make people good with lawyers and
juries and ballot boxes. We are now to try, at last, religion or gospel
or news or ideals--practical, shrewd aimed ideals, that is, news to a
man about himself or news about the man from the man himself to us. In
everything a man does he is expressing to us this news about himself,
and about his world, and about his God. We are all telling news about
the world and about ourselves all the time and we are all in a position
for news all the time.

What is it from hour to hour and day to day that we will do and we will
not do?

This news about us is the religion in us.

The average man is coming to have very accurate ideas of late as to just
where his religion is located. He has come to see that real religion in
a man, very conveniently located (immediately at hand in him and
personally directed), is his own action, his own divine "I will" or "I

He has come to be deeply attracted by this idea of a religion for every
man just where he is, fitted on patiently, cheerfully, to just where he
is, every day all day, his glorious, still, practical, good-natured,
godlike "I will" and "I won't "--or News about himself.



We are deeply interested in the United States just now, in seeing what
will be the fate of President Wilson's government in getting men to be
good. The fate of a government in 1913 may be said to stand on the
government's psychology or knowledge of human nature or of what might be
called human engineering, its mastery of the principles of lifting over
in great masses heavy spiritual bodies, like people, swinging great
masses of people's minds over as on some huge national derrick up on The
White House, from one lookout on life to another.

There are certain aspects of human nature when power is being applied to
it in this way, and when it is being got to be good, that may not be
beside the point.

If one could drop in on a government and have a little neighbourly chat
with it, as one was going by, I think I would rather talk with it
(especially our government, just now), about Human Nature than about

I would have to do it, of course, in what might seem to a government to
be a plain and homely way.

I would ask the government what it thought of two or three observations
I have come to lately about the way that human nature works, when people
are getting it to be good. What a government thinks about them might
possibly prove before many months to be quite important to It.

The first observation is this:

The reason that the average bachelor is a bachelor is that he spends the
first forty-five years of his life in picking out women he will not

Possibly it is because many people are following the same principle in
trying to be good and in getting other people to be good that they make
such poor work of it.

Possibly the main reason why there are so many wicked people or seem to
be, in proportion, among the Hebrews in the Old Testament, is that Moses
was a lawyer and that he tried to start off a great people with the Ten
Commandments, that is, a list of nine things they must never do any
more, and of one that they must.

Some of us who have tried being good, have noticed that when we have hit
it off, being good (at least with us) consists in being focused, in
getting concentrated, in getting one's attention to what one really
wants to do.

Moses' idea when he started his government, the idea of getting people
concentrated on not getting concentrated on nine things, was not
conducive to goodness. The fundamental principle Moses tried to make the
people good with was a contradiction in terms. It is a principle that
would make wicked people out of almost anybody. It is not a practicable
principle for a government to rely on in getting people to be good. It
did not work with the people in the Old Testament and it has never
worked with people since.

It does not call people out, in getting them to take up goodness, to
point out to them nine places not to take hold of and one where they
will be allowed to take hold, if they know how.

All that one has to do to see how true this is, is to observe the groups
or classes of people who are especially not what they should be. The
people who never get on morally (as different as they may be in most
things and in the fields of their activity) all have one illusion in
common. There is one thing they always keep saying when any new hopeful
person tries once more to get them to be good.

They say (almost as if they had a phonograph) that they try to be good
and cannot do it.

And this is not true.

When a man says he tries to be good and cannot do it, if he sits down
and thinks it over he finds, generally, he is not trying to be good at
all. He is trying to be not bad.

A man cannot get himself reformed, by a negative process, by being not
bad, and it is still harder for him and for everybody, when other people
try to do it--those who are near him, and it is still, still harder for
a President down in Washington to do it.

An intelligent, live man or business corporation cannot be got to keep
up an interest very long in being not bad. Being not bad is a glittering
generality. It is like being not extravagant or economical.

Most people who have ever tried to attain in a respectable degree to a
pale little neuter virtue like economy, and who have reflected upon
their experiences, have come to conclusions that may not be very far
from the point in a fine art like getting one's self to be good or
getting other people to be good.

To concentrate on being economical by going grimly down the street,
looking at the shop windows, looking hard at miles of things one will
not buy, cannot be said to be a practicable method of attaining economy.

The real artist, in getting himself to be good, proceeds to upon the
opposite principle. Even if the good thing he tries for is merely a
negative good thing like economy, he instinctively seeks out some
positive way of getting it.

A man who is cultivating the art of getting himself to be economical, or
of getting his wife to be economical, does not make a start by sitting
down with a pencil and making out a list, by concentrating his mind on
rows of things that he and his family must get along without. He knows a
better way. He goes downtown with his entire family, takes them into a
big shop and sits down with them and listens to a Steinway Grand he
cannot get. As he listens to it long enough, he thinks he will get it.

Then a subtle, spiritual change passes over him and over his family
while they listen. He would not have said before he started that sitting
down and thinking of things he could get along without--making lists in
his mind of things that he must not have--could ever be in this world a
happy, even an almost thrilling experience. But as a matter of fact, as
he sits by the piano and listens, he finds himself counting off
economies like strings of pearls, and he greets each new self-sacrifice
he can think of with a cheer. While the Steinway Grand fills the room
with melody all around him, there he actually is sitting, and having the
time of his life dreaming of the things he can get along without!

When he goes home, he goes home thinking. And the family all go home

Then economy sets in. The reason most people make a failure of their
economy is that they are not artistic with it, they do not enjoy it.
They do not pick out anything to enjoy their economy with.

With some people an automobile would work better than a Steinway Grand
and there are as many ways, of course, of practising the Steinway Grand
principle in not being bad as there are people, but they all consist
apparently in selecting some big, positive thing that one wants to do,
which logically includes and bundles all together where they are
attended to in a lump, all the things that one ought not to do.

Most sins (every one who has ever tried them knows this) most sins are
not really worth bothering with, each in detail, even the not-doing them
and the most practical, firm method of getting them out of the way
(thousands of them at once, sometimes, with one hand) is to have
something so big to live for that all the things that would like to get
in the way, and would like to look important, look, when one thinks of
it, suddenly small.

The distinctive, preëminent, official business for the next four years,
of making small things in this country look small and of gently,
quietly making small men feel small, has been assigned by our people
recently, to Mr. Woodrow Wilson.

Now it naturally seems to some of us, the best way for Mr. Wilson's
government to do in getting the Trusts to give up lying and stealing, is
going to be to place before them quietly a few really big, interesting,
equally exciting things that Trusts can do, and then dare them, as in
some great game or tournament of skill--all the people looking on--dare
them, challenge them like great men, to do them.

There are three ideas President Wilson may have of the government's
getting people to be good.

First, not letting people be bad. (Moses.)

Second, being good for them. (Karl Marx.)

Third, letting them be good themselves. (Any Democrat.)

The first of these ideas means government by Prison. The second, means
government by Usurpation, that is, the moment a man amounts to enough to
choose to do right or do wrong of his own free will, the moment he is a
man, in other words, being so afraid of him and of his being a man, that
we all, in a kind of panic, shove into his life and live it for
him--this is Socialism, a scared machine that scared people have
invented for not letting people choose to do right because they may
choose to do wrong.

The third, letting people be good themselves, letting them be
self-controlling, self-respecting, self-expressing or voluntarily good
people, is democracy, a machine for letting men be men by trying it.

Moses was the inventor of a kind of national moral-brake system, a
machine for stopping people nine times out of ten. The question that
faces President Wilson just now, while the world looks on is, "Is a
government or is it not a moral-brake system--a machine for stopping
people nine times out of ten?"

There is a considerable resemblance between Moses' position and the new
President's in the United States. When Moses looked around on the things
he saw the men around him doing, and took the ground that at least nine
out of ten of the things should be stopped, he was academically correct.
And so, also, President Wilson, gazing at the business of this country
to-day, at nine out of ten of the humdrum thoughtless things that trusts
and corporations have been doing, will be academically correct in
telling them to stop, in having his little, new, helpless, unproved,
adolescent government stand up before all the people and speak in loud,
beautiful, clear accents and (with its left fist full of prisons, fines,
lawyers, of forty-eight legislatures all talking at once) bring down its
right fist as a kind of gavel on the world and say to these men, before
all the nations, that nine of the things they are doing must be stopped
and that one of the things, if they happen to able be to think out some
way of keeping on doing it--nobody will hurt them.

But the question before President Wilson, to-day, with all our world
looking on, is not whether he would be right in entering upon a career
of stopping people. The real and serious question is, does stopping
people stop them? And if stopping people does not stop them, what will?

Perhaps the way for a government to stop people from doing things they
are doing, is to tell them the things it wants done. A government that
does not express what it wants, that has not given a masterful, clear,
inspired statement of what it wants--a government that has only tried to
say what it does not want, is not a government.

The next business of a government is a statement of what it wants.

The problem of a government is essentially a problem of statement.

How shall this statement be made?



It was not merely because the seventh commandment was negative, but
because it was abstract that David found it so hard to keep. If the
seventh commandment (like Uriah's wife) could have had deep blue eyes or
could have been beautiful to look upon, and, on a particular day in a
particular place, could have been bathing in a garden, David would have
found keeping it a very different matter. The tendency to make a statue
of purity as a lovely female figure carries us a little further in moral
evolution, than the moral statement that Moses had managed to get, and
it was further toward the concrete, but it was not far enough for a real
artist or man who does things.

One of the things about the real artist that makes him an artist, is
that he is always and always has been and always will be profoundly
dissatisfied with a statue of a female figure as an emblem of purity. He
challenges the world, he challenges God, he challenges himself, he
challenges the men and women about him when he is being put off with a
Statue as an emblem of purity. He demands, searches out, interprets,
creates something concrete and living to express his idea of purity.

How can President Wilson, in getting the Trusts not to be corrupt, in
trying to win them--how can President Wilson make the law alluring? How
can he make the People have a Low Voice?

A great deal if not nearly everything depends in tempting business men
to be good, upon the tone in which they are addressed. Every government,
like every man, soon comes to have its own characteristic tone in
addressing the people. And, as a matter of fact, it is almost always the
tone in a government, like the voice in a man, which tells us the most
definitely what it is like, and is the most intimate and effective
expression of what it wants and is the most practical way of getting
what it wants. Everybody has noticed that a man's voice works harder for
him, works more to the point for him in getting what he wants than his
words do. It is his voice that makes people know him, that makes them
know he means what he says. It is his voice that tells them whether he
is in the habit of meaning what he says, and it is his voice that tells
them whether he is in habit of getting what he wants, and of knowing
what to do with what he wants when he gets it.

A government does not need to say very much if it has the right tone.

The tone of a government is the government.

If President Wilson is going to succeed in tempting business men to be
good, he is going to do it, some of us think, by depending on three

These three principles, like all live, active principles, may be stated
as three principles or as three personal traits.

First, by being affirmative. (Isaiah, in distinction from Moses.)

Second, by being concrete. (Bathsheba.)

Third, by being specific, by seeing the universal in the particular.
(Like any artist or man who does things.)

The value of being affirmative and the value of being concrete have
already been touched upon. There remains the value of being specific.

Possibly, in this present happy hour, when our country has grown
suddenly sensible and has become practical enough to pick out at last,
once more, a President with a real serious working sense of humour, even
a sense of humour about himself, it may not be considered disrespectful
if I continue a little longer dropping in on the Government, and saying
what I have to say in a few plain and homely words.

The trouble with most people in being economical with their money is,
that when they spend it, they spend it on something in particular, and
when they save it, they try to save it in a kind of general way. The
same principle applies to doing right. It is because when people do
right, they do it in a kind of general pleasant, abstract way, and when
they do wrong they always do something in particular, that they are so

A man will do almost anything to save his life at a particular place and
at a particular time, say at ten o'clock to-morrow morning, if he is
drowning, but if he has a year to save it in, a year of controlling his
appetites, of daily, detailed mastering of his spirit, of not taking a
piece of mince pie, of stopping his work in time and of going to bed
early, he will die.

It is easier when one is going under water for the third time and sees a
rope, to stretch just one inch more and grasp the rope, reach up to
forty more years of one's life, all concentrated for one on the tip of a
rope, than it is to spread out saving one's life over a whole year, 365
breakfasts, 365 luncheons, 365 dinners, 33,365 moments of anger, of
reckless worry, of remorse, of self-pity, 40,000 of despair and round up
with a swing at the end of one's year at the tiptop of one's being, as
if it had only taken five minutes. And yet it is only an act of the
creative imagination of seeing the whole, of having a happy, daily,
detailed spectacle of the end in view, that is, of the part in its
setting of the whole--going without a piece of mince pie. If one could
only make one's self see the piece of mince pie as it is, it would not
be difficult. If one could see it on the plate there and see the not
taking it as a little wedge-shaped rivet, a little triangular link of
coupling in the chain that keeps one holding on forty years longer to
this planet, a piece of mince pie left on a plate would become a Vision.

This seems to be the principle that works best in getting other people
to be good.

Perhaps the President will succeed in getting Trusts to be good, by
taking hold of specific Trusts, one by one, and setting them--all
mankind looking on--in the nation's vision, setting them even in their
own vision--taking the Trusts that thought they had got what they
wanted, making them stand up and look (in some great public lighted
place) at what pathetic, tragical failures they are, letting them see
that what their Trust had wanted all along, if it had only thought about
it, was not success one went to jail for--success by getting the best
out of the most people, but success by serving the most people the best.

A great many of us in America have been exercising our minds for a long
time now about the eagerness of the Trusts, and the trouble we were
going to have in curbing the eagerness of the Trusts.

Sometimes I have wondered if, after all, it was our minds we were
exercising, for when one sits down seriously to think of it, it is the
eagerness of the Trusts that is the most hopeful thing about them.

What is the matter with our American Trusts, perhaps, is not and never
has been, their eagerness, but their eagerness for things that they did
not want, and for things that almost everybody is coming to see that
they did not want.

The moment that the eagerness of our American Trusts is an eagerness for
things that they really want, the Trusts will be seen piling over each
other's heels, asking the government to please investigate them. The
more they can get the people to know about them and about their
eagerness, the more the people will trust them and deal with them.

All that we have been waiting for is a government that sees the part
from the point of view of the whole, which will take up a few specific
Trusts and be specific enough with them to make them think, think hard
what they really want, and what their real eagerness is about, and the
entire face of modern business will change. First the expression will
change and then the face itself.

The moment it is found that the government is a specific government,
all the trusts that know what they really want and know what they really
are doing, will want to be investigated, because they will want
everybody to know that they know. In case of the trusts that do not know
what they want and that do not know what they are doing, the government
will just step in, of course, and investigate them until they find out.

A specific government will not need to be specific many times.

It takes up a particular Trust in its hand, turns it over quietly,
empties its contents out before the people and says to everybody, "This
particular Trust you see here has tried to be a kind of Trust, which it
found out afterward, it did not want to be. It is the kind of Trust
whose officers hide their faces when they think of what it was that they
thought that they thought that they wanted....

"These men you see here, forty silent nations looking on, hundreds and
thousands of self-respecting, self-supporting, public-serving, creative,
successful business men, whom all the world envies looking on, do hereby
beg to declare to all business men who know them and to the people, that
they did not ever really want these things for themselves that their
business says or seems to say they wanted.

"They wish to ask the public to put themselves in their places and to
refuse to believe that they deliberately sat down, seriously thought it
all out, that they had planned to express to everybody what their
natures really were in a blind, brutal, foolish business like this which
we have just been showing you. They beg to have it believed that their
business misrepresents them, that it misrepresents what they want, and
they ask to be again admitted to the good-will, the hope and
forgiveness, the companionship of a great people.

"They declare" (the government will go on) "that they are not the men
they seem. They are merely men in a hurry. They want it understood that
they have merely hurried so fast and hurried so long that they now wake
up at last only to see, see with this terrific plainness what it really
is that has been happening to them all their lives, _viz._: for forty,
fifty, or sixty years they have merely forgot who they were and
overlooked what they were like.

"In hurrying, too, it is only fair to say they have had to use machines
to hurry with and unconsciously, year by year, associating almost
exclusively with machines, their machines (pump handles, trip-hammers,
hydraulic drills, steam shovels and cranes and cash registers) have
grown into them.

"This is the way it has happened. 'Let the nation be merciful to them,'
the government will then say, and dismiss the subject."

       *       *       *       *       *

What our President seems to be for in America, is to do up a nation in
one specific, particular man who expresses everybody.

This man deals with each other specific man, his aggressions and
services, as a nation would if a nation could be one specific man.

The President of the United States is the Comptroller of the people's
vision, by seeing a part and dealing with a part as a part of a whole,
he governs the people.

He is the Chancellor of the People's Attention.

The business of being a President is the business of focusing the
vision, of flooding the whole desire or will of a people around a man
and letting him have the light of it, to see what he is doing by, and to
be seen by, while he is doing it.

The corporations have expressed or focused the employers of labour. The
Labour Unions have focused or expressed the will of the labourers, and
the government focuses and expresses the will of the consumers, of the
people as a whole, rich and poor, so that Labour and Capital, both
listen to It, understand It and act on It.

The way to deal with a specific sin is to flood it around with the
general vision. Then it does not need to be dealt with. Then strangely,
softly, and almost before we know--out there in the Light, it
automatically deals with itself.

When the Government takes hold quietly of the National Cash Register
Company, turns it up, empties its contents out,--all its methods and its
motives--and all the things It thought It wanted, and then proceeds to
put its president and twenty-nine of its officers into jail, my readers
will perhaps point out to me that this action of the government as a
method of tempting people to be good, while it may have the virtue of
being concrete and the virtue of being specific, certainly does not have
the other virtue that I have laid down, the virtue of being affirmative.
"Certainly" they will say "there is not anything affirmative about
putting twenty-nine big business men in jail." Many people would call it
the most magnificently negative thing a President could have done. Moses
himself would have done it.

It does not seem to me that Moses would have done it, or that it was
essentially negative. It could not unfairly be claimed that in spite of
its negative look on the surface, it was the most massive, significant,
crushing affirmation that a great people has made for years.

By putting the twenty-nine officers of the National Cash Register
Company in jail, the American people affirmed around the world the
nation's championship of the men that had been defeated in the
competition with the National Cash Register Company. They affirmed that
these men who were not afraid of the National Cash Register Company
because they were bigger, and who stood up to them and fought them, were
the kind of men Americans wanted to be like, and that the officers of
the National Cash Register Company were the kind of men Americans did
not want to be like, would not do business with, would not tolerate,
would not envy, would not live on the same continent with, unless they
were kept in jail.

The President of the United States, sitting in Washington, at the head
of this vast affirmative and assertive continent, indicted the Cash
Register Company, that is, by a slight pointed negative action, by
pushing back a button he turned on the great chandelier of a nation and
flooded a nation with light. We, the American people, suddenly, all in a
flash, looked into each other's faces and knew what we were like.

We had hoped we believed in human nature, and in brave men and in men
against machines but we could not prove it.

Suddenly, we stood in a blaze of truth about ourselves. Suddenly, we
could again look with our old stir of joy at our national Flag. If we
liked, we could swing our hats.

Perhaps I should speak for myself, but I had been trying to get this
news for years. It is news I have wanted to live with and do business
with. I have been trying to get my question answered. What are the
American people really like?

The President points at the National Cash Register Company and I find
out. All the people find out.

In the last analysis, the masterful, shrewd, practical, and constructive
part of being a President of the United States--the thing in the
business of being a President that keeps the position from being a
position which only the second rate or No type of man would have time to
take, is the fact that the President is the Head Advertising Manager of
the United States, conducting a huge advertising campaign of what
Americans really want.

He takes up the National Cash Register Company, picks out its
twenty-nine officers, makes it a bill board sky-high across the country.
"Here are the kind of business men that the people of the United States
do not want, and here are the kind of men that we do!"

The thing that makes indicting a trust a positive and affirmative act is
the advertising in it.

Gladstone once wrote a postcard about a little book of Marie

Twenty nations read the little book.

Every now and then one watches a man or sees a truth that would make a
nation. One wishes one had some way of being the sort of person or
being in the kind of place where one could make a nation out of it.

One thinks it would be passing wonderful to be President of the United
States. It would be like having a great bell up over the world that one
could reach up to and ring! But it is better than that. One touches a
button at one's desk if one is President of the United States, a nation
looks up. He whispers to twenty thousand newspapers, "Take your eyes
away a minute," he says, "from Jack Johnson and Miss Elkin's engagement,
and look, oh, look, ye People, here is a man in this world like this! He
has been in the world all this while without our suspecting it. Did you
know there was or could be anywhere a man like THIS? And here is a man
like this! Which do you prefer? Which are you really like?"

There is nothing really regal or imperial in a man, nothing that makes a
man feel suddenly like a whole Roman Empire all by himself, in 1913,
like saying "Look! Look!"

Sometimes I think about it. Of course I could take a great reel of paper
and sit down with my fountain pen, say Look for a mile, "Look! look!
look! look!!!--President Wilson says it once and without exclamation
points. Skyscrapers listen to him! Great cities rise and lift themselves
and smite the world. And the faint, sleepy little villages stir in their

Moses said, "Thou shalt not!" President Wilson says, "Look!"

Perhaps if Moses had had twenty thousand newspapers like twenty thousand
field-glasses that he could hand out every morning and lend to people to
look through--he would not have had to say, "Thou shalt not."

The precise measure of the governing power a man can get out of the
position of being President of the United States to-day is the amount of
advertising for the people, of the people, and by the people he can
crowd every morning, every week, into the papers of the country.

A President becomes a great President in proportion as he acts
authoritatively, tactfully, economically, and persistently as the Head
Advertising Manager of the ideals of the people. He is the great
central, official editor of what the people are trying to find out--of a
nation's news about itself.

By his being the President of what people think, by his dictating the
subjects the people shall take up, by his sorting out the men whom the
people shall notice, this great ceaseless Meeting of ninety million men
we call the United States--comes to order.



Our American President, if one merely reads what the Constitution says
about him, is a rather weak-looking character.

The founders of the country did not intend him to be anybody in
particular--if it could be helped. They were discouraged about allowing
governments to be efficient. Not very much that was constructive to do
was handed over to him. And the most important power they thought it
would do for him to have was the veto or power to say "No."

Possibly if our fathers had believed in liberty more they would have
allowed more people to have some; or if they had believed in democracy
more, or trusted the people more, they would have thought it would do to
let them have leaders, but they had just got away. They felt timid about
human nature and decided that the less constructive the government was
and the less chance the government had to be concrete, to interpret a
people, to make opportunities and turn out events, the better.

Looked at at first sight no more elaborate, impenetrable, water-tight
arrangement for keeping a government from letting in an idea or ever
having one of its own or ever doing anything for anybody, could have
been conceived than the Constitution of the United States, as the
average President interprets it.

Each branch of the government is arranged carefully to keep any other
branch from doing anything, and then the people, every four years, look
the whole country over for some new man they think will probably leave
them alone more than anybody--and put him in for President.

Looking at it narrowly and by itself, all that a President selected like
this could ever expect in America to put in his time on, would seem to
be--being the country's most importantly helpless man--the man who has
been given the honour of being a somewhat more prominent failure in
America than any one else would be allowed to be.

He stops people for four years. Other people stop him for four years.
Then with a long happy sigh, at the end of his term, he slips back into
real life and begins to do things.

This has been the more or less sedately disguised career of the typical
American President. Merely reading the Constitution or the lives of the
Presidents, without looking at what has been happening to the habits of
the people in the last few years, we might all be asking to-day, "What
is there that is really constructive that President Wilson can do?" What
is there that is going to prevent him, with all that moral earnestness
dammed up in him, that sense of duty, that Presbyterian sense of other
people's duties--what is there that is going to prevent him, with his
school-book habits, his ideals, his volumes of American history, from
being a teachery or preachery person--a kind of Schoolmaster or Official
Clergyman to Business?


The one really important and imperative thing to the people of this
country to-day is News. In spite of newspapers, authors, College
presidents, Bank presidents, Socialist agitators, Bill Heywoods, and
Trusts, the people are bound to get this news, and any man who is so
placed by his prominence that he can scoop up the news of a country,
hammer its news together into events the papers will report, express
news in the laws, build news into men who can make laws and unmake laws,
any man who is so placed that directly or indirectly he takes news,
forces it in by hydraulic pressure where people see it doing things, who
takes news and crowds it into courts, crowds news into lawyers and into
legislatures, pries some of it even into newspapers, can have, the
ordinary American says to-day, as much leeway in this government as he

The ordinary American has never been able to understand the objection
important people have--that nearly everybody has (except ordinary
people) to news--especially editors and publishers.

It is an old story. Every one must have noticed it. One set of people in
this world, always from the beginning, trying to climb up on the
housetops to tell news, and another set of people hurrying up always and
saying, "Hush, Hush!" Some days it seems, when I read the papers, that I
hear half the world saying under its breath, a vast, stentorian, "Shoo!
shoo! SHSH! SHSH!"

Then I realize I live in an editor's world. I am expected to be in the
world that editors have decided on the whole to let me be in.

Of course I did not know what to do at first when this came over me.

I naturally began to try to think of some way of cutting across lots, of
climbing up to News.

I looked at all the neat little park paths, with all those artistic
curves of truth on them the editors have laid out for me and for all of
us. Then I looked at the world and asked myself, "Who are the men in
this world, if any, who are able to walk on the Grass, who cut across
the little park paths when they like?"

And as fate would have it (it was during the Roosevelt administration),
the first two men I came on who seemed to be stamping about in the
newspapers quite a little as they liked were the Prime Minister of
England and the President of the United States.

Just how much governing can a President do?

How many columns a day is he good for, how many acres of attention every
morning in the papers of the country--all these white fields of
attention, these acres of other people's thoughts, can he cover?

How many sticks a day can he make compositors set up of what he thinks?

How many square miles of the people's thoughts can he spread out at
breakfast tables, lift up in a thousand thousand trolleys before their

I have seen the white fields of attention filled with the footprints of
his thoughts, of his will, of his desires!

I have seen that the President is the Editor of that vast, anonymous,
silent newspaper, written all the night, written all the day, and softly
published across a country--the newspaper of people's thoughts.

I have seen the vision of the forests he has cast down, ground into
headlines, into editorials, into news. Mountains and hills are laid bare
to say what he thinks. Thousands of presses throb softly and the white
reels of wood pulp fly into speech. Thousands of miles of paper wet with
the thoughts of a people roll dimly under ground in the night.

The President is saying Look! in the night!

The newsboys hasten out in the dawn. They cry in the streets!



If news is governing, how does the President do his governing?

By being News, himself.

By using his appointing power and putting other men who are News
Themselves, news about American human nature--where all the people will
see it.

By telling the people directly (when he feels especially asked) news
about what is happening in his mind--news about what he believes.

By telling the people sometimes (as candidly as he can without giving
the people's enemies a chance to stop him), what he is going to do next,
sketching out in order of time, and in order of importance, his program
of issues.

By telling the people news about their best business men, the business
men and inventors who, in their daily business, free the energies,
unshackle the minds and emancipate the genius of the people.

By telling these business men news about the people--and interpreting
the people to them.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is by being news to the people himself that all the other news a
President can get into his government counts.

A man is a man according to the amount of news there is in him.

There are twenty personal traits in a President which of themselves
would all be national news of the first importance if he had them. The
bare fact that a President could have certain traits at all and still
get to be a President in this country, would be news.

One of the most important facts about news is that while it can be
distributed by machines, machines cannot make it, and as a rule they do
not understand it. Important and critical news is almost always fresh
and made by hand the first time. Most of the popular news as to what is
practical in American polities for the last forty years has been
produced by political machines, and of course men who were a good deal
like machines were the best men to finish the ideas off and to carry
them out.

As a result of course, all the really big leaders for the last forty
years, our most powerful and interesting personalities have been shut
out from being President of the United States. The White House was
merely being run as machinery and did not interest them. They watched it
grinding its ideas faithfully out from year to year of what America was
like and what American politicians were like, and finally at last in the
clatter of the machines there rings out suddenly across the land a shot
that no machinery had allowed for. Before any one knows almost there
slips suddenly by the side door into the White House a really
interesting man, and suddenly, all in one minute, almost, this man makes
being President of the United States the most interesting lively and
athletic feat in the country. And now, apparently that the idea has been
worked out in public before everybody, by hand, as it were, that a man
can be alive and interesting all over, can have at least a little touch
of news about him and still be a President in this country, another man
with some news in him has been allowed to us and suddenly politics
throughout all America has become a totally new revealing profession,
and men, instead of being selected because they were blurred
personalities, the ghosts of compromises, would-be everybodies--men who
had not decided who they were, and who could not settle down and let
people know which of their characters they had hit on at last to be
really theirs, men who had no cutting edge to do things, screw-drivers
trying to be chisels--were revealed to our people at last as vague,
mean, other-worldly persons, not fitting into our real American world at
all, and hopelessly visionary and impracticable in American politics.

And now one more hand-made man has been allowed to us.

The machines run very still in the White House.

The people of this country no longer go by the White House on their way
to their business and just hear it humdrumming and humdrumming behind
the windows as of yore. The nation stands in crowds around the gates and
would like to see in. The people wonder. They wonder a million columns a
day what is inside.

What is inside?

An American who governs by being news, himself.

The first thing that the people demand from our President now is that he
shall be news himself. The news that they have selected to know first
during the next four years--have put into the White House to know first
is Woodrow Wilson.

"Who are you, Woodrow Wilson, in God's name?" the steeples and smoking
chimneys, the bells and whistles, the Yales and Harvards, and the little
country schools, the crowds in the streets, and the corn in the fields
all say, "Who Are You?"

Then the people listen. They listen to his "I wills" and "I won'ts" for
news about him. They look for news about him in the headlines he steers
into the papers every morning, in the events he makes happen, in the
editorials he makes men think of, in the men he calls up and puts on the
National Wire--in all these, slowly, daily, hourly they drink up their
long, patient, hopeful answer to their question, "Who Are You, Woodrow



But if the President governs first by being news himself, he governs
second by his appointments, by gathering about him other men who are
news to people, too.

One need not divide people into good and bad, because the true line of
division between good and bad instead of being between one man and
another, is apt to be as a matter of fact and experience cut down
through the middle of each of us.

But for the purposes of public action and decision and getting good
things done, this line does seem to be cut farther over in the middle of
some of us, than it is in others. Taking a life-average in any moral or
social engineering feat, in any correct calculation of structural
strain, how far over this line cuts through in a man, has to be reckoned

The president by appointing certain men to office, saying "I will" and
"I won't" to certain types of men, in saying who shall be studied by the
people, who shall be read as documents of our national life, puts, if
not the most important, at least the most lively and telling news about
his administration into print.

We watch our President acting for us, telling us news about what we are
like, sorting men out around him the way ninety million people would
sort them out if they were there to do it.

The President's appointments may be said to be in a way the breath of
the nation.

A nation has to breathe, and the plain fact seems to be that certain
kinds of people have to be breathed out of a nation and other kinds of
people have to be breathed in. The way a President appoints men to
office is his way of letting a nation breathe.

With all his attractive qualities, perhaps it is because Mr. Taft did
not quite let the nation breathe, and suffocated it a little that there
came such an outbreak at the end. Perhaps it is because Mr. Taft looked
at Mr. Ballinger and then looked at Mr. Pinchot, all the people of the
country all the while looking on, and said, "Ballinger is the kind of
man our people prefer, and Pinchot is not," that the people broke out so
amazingly, so incredibly, and decided by such an enormous majority that
a man who could pick out men for them like this would not do--as things
are just now anyway--for a President of the United States.



A nation wakes up every morning and for one minute before it runs to its
work it says to its President, "HERE WE ARE!"

The best a President can do in the way of a plain, everyday
acknowledgment of the presence of the people is News.

The news that the people are demanding from the President to-day is
intensely personal. It is a kind of rough, butting, good-natured
familiarity a great people has with its President, a little heedless,
relentless, like some splendid Child, ready to forgive and expecting to
be forgiven, it jostles in upon him daily, "Here we are! What are you
believing this morning? Did you believe in us yesterday? Did you act as
if you believed in us? Did you get anybody to believe in us? Who are the
men you say are like us? What are they like this morning?

"We have asked a hundred times; we can only ask it once more. How do you
think you are turning out yourself, Mr. President? Are you what you
thought you would be? Do you think it is a good time for us to decide
this morning what you are really like? And, after all, Mr. President--if
you please--who _are_ you? And once more, Mr. President, in God's name,
_who are we?_"

This is always the gist of what it says, "Who are we?"

It is the people's main point, after all, asking a President who they
are, wondering if he can interpret them.

Then he shuts his door and thinks, or he calls his Cabinet and thinks.

Rows of little-great men file by all day. They stand each a few minutes
with his little Speck or Dot of the People in his hands, and they say,
"This is the People."

He listens.

It is very hard to be always President of the People when one is
listening and the little-great go by.

One has to go back a little, in the night perhaps, or when one is quite
alone. He sees again the Child; it is what he is in the White House for,
he remembers, to express this dumb giant, this mighty Child, half weary,
half glad, standing there by day by night, saying, "Who are we?" One
would think it would be hard to be glib with the Child.

Sometimes it is so deep and silent!

Once when It broke in on Lincoln in this way and said, "_Who are we?_"
he prayed.



It seems very difficult to get news through as to who we really are to a
President. When I look about me and see what the President's ways are of
telling news about himself to us, I see that he is not without his
advantages. But when I look about to see what conveniences we have as a
people for telling our President news about us, I note some curious
things. The fears of the American people, the fears and threats of
labour and capital are organized and expressed, but their faiths, their
wills, the things in them that make them go and that make them American,
are not organized and are not expressed.

The labour unions are afraid and say, "We will not work," to their
employers, "You cannot make us work." The President hears this. It is
about all they say.

The capitalists and employers are afraid and they say, "We will not
pay," "You cannot make us pay."

Shall the President act as if these men represent Labor and Capital?

We say, "No."

Neither of these groups of men express real live American labour or real
live characteristic American money.

American money is free, bold, manful, generous and courageous to a
fault. American money swings out in mighty enterprises, shrewdly
believing things, imperiously singing things out of its way.

A singing people want a singing government. How is our President going
to hear our labour and our money sing?

Pinchot expressed us, not Ballinger.

Mr. Pinchot is no mere uplifter or missionary. He is an artist in
expressing America to a President. If we have a President who will not
listen to a man like Pinchot, let us try a President that will.

Pinchot--an American millionaire with a fortune made out of forests, who
is spending the fortune in protecting the forests for the nation, is the
kind of American Americans like to set up before a President to say what
Americans are like. Millions of men stand by Pinchot. We like the way he
makes money sing.

Tom L. Johnson--an American millionaire who made his money in the
ordinary humdrum way, by getting valuable street railway franchises out
of a city for nothing--has the courage to turn around, spend his fortune
and spend it all, in keeping other people from doing it.

America presents Tom L. Johnson to a President with its compliments and
says, "This is what America is like."

It may not look always as if Tom L. Johnson were America--America in
miniature. But millions of us say he is. He makes money sing.

We want a President--millions of us want him--and this is the most
important news about us, who expects money in this country to sing.

We want our money and expect our money in this country to stop saying
mean things about us, things that make us ashamed to look a true
newspaper in the face, or one another in the face, and that humiliate us
before the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now I have come to an awkward place in this book where I hope the
reader will help me all he can.

There is nothing to do but to let out the real truth and face the music.
The fact is, Gentle Reader--perhaps you have suspected it all
along--that if it had not been for fear of mixing my book all up with
him and making it a kind of arena or tournament instead of a book, I
would have mentioned ex-President Roosevelt before this. He has been
getting in or nearly getting in to nearly every chapter so far, but of
course I knew, as any one would, that he would spoil all the calm
equipoise, the quiet onward flowing of the Stream of Thought, and with
one chapter after the other, with each as the crisis came up, though I
scarcely know how, I have managed to keep him out. And now, oh, Gentle
Reader, here he is! I know very well that he is in everything, and right
in the middle of everything, and that in a kind of splendid mixed happy
uproarious way, there somehow has to be a great to-do the moment he
appears. The beautiful clear water, the lucid depth of Thought--will all
become (ah, I know it too well, Gentle Reader) all thunder and spray and
underneath the mighty grinding of the wheels--the wheels of the Nation
and the Mowing Machine of Time, and in the background--in the red
background of the Dawn, there will be the face of Theodore--just the
face of Theodore in this book shining at us--readers and writer and
all--out of a huge rosy mist!

But I have been driven to it. The fact seems to be that I must find at
just this point in the book, if I can, a word. And the word will have to
be a word, too, that everybody knows, and that conveys a lively sense to
everybody the moment it is used--of a certain tone or quality, or hum or
murmur of being. No one regrets this more than I, because it is so
unwieldy and inconvenient and always bulges out in a sentence or a book
or a nation more than it was meant to, but the word ROOSEVELT, R O O S E
V E L T, happens to be the word that people in this country, and very
largely in other nations, and in all languages have chosen and are using
every day to express to one another a certain American quality or tone
now abroad in our world--a certain hum, as one might say, or whirr of

This particular hum, or whirr of goodness, which is instantly associated
with the word Roosevelt, expresses, except that of course it
over-expresses, a part of the news to-day about America which we want
our President to read.

One cannot help wondering why it is that if one wanted to express to the
largest number of people in the world a certain quality of goodness, the
word Roosevelt would do it best.

I am not dealing for the purpose of this book in what Mr. Roosevelt's
goodness is or whether it is what he thinks it is. We might all disagree
about that. I am dealing quite strictly in this connection with what
even his enemies would say is his almost egregious success in
advertising goodness. While we might all disagree as to his goodness
being the kind that he or any one ought to love, we would not fail to
agree that it is his love of his own goodness, such as it is, and his
holding on to it, and his love of other people's and his love of getting
his goodness and their goodness together, that has made him the most
unconcealed person in modern life. These qualities have established him,
with his ability raised to the n-th power of attracting attention to
anything he likes, as the world's greatest News Man--the world's
greatest living energy to-day in advertising what is good and what is
had in our American temperament.

Even the people who disagree with him or dislike him--many of them would
have to fall back on using the word roosevelt, or rather the verb to

It does not seem to be because his goodness in itself is extraordinary.
It is even, for that matter, in the sense that anybody could have it, or
some more just like it, a little common.

What seems to be uncommon and really distinguished about Mr. Roosevelt
is the way he feels about his goodness, and the way he grips hold of it,
and the way he makes it grip hold of other people--practically anybody
almost, who is standing by. Even if they are merely going by in
automobiles, sometimes they catch some. I do not imagine that his worst
enemies, however seriously they may question the general desirability or
safety of having so much goodness roosevelting around, would fail to
admit his own real enthusiasm about goodness anywhere he finds it
indiscriminately, whether it is his own or other people's. He grips hold
of it, and grips like a cable car--instantly.

His enthusiasm is so great that many people are nonplussed by it. The
enthusiasm must really be in spite of appearances about something else,
something wicked in behind, they think, and not really about goodness.
An entire stranger would not quite believe it. It would be too original
in him, they would say, or in anybody, to care so about goodness.

If one could watch the expression in Mr. Roosevelt's face or his manner
while he is in the act of having a virtue and if one could not see
plainly from where one was, just what it was he was doing, one would at
once conclude that it must be some vice he is having. He looks happy and
as if it were some stolen secret. There is always that manner of his
when he is caught doing right, as if one were to say "Now, at last, I
have got it!" He does right like a boy with his mouth full of jam, and
this seems to be true not only when, with a whole public following and
two or three nations besides, and all the newspapers, he goes off on an
orgy of righteousness, makes the grand tour of Europe, and has the time
of his life. It is the steady-burning under enthusiasm with him all the
while. The spectacle of a good man doing a tremendous good thing affects
Theodore Roosevelt like one of the great forces of nature, like Niagara
Falls, like the screws of the _Mauritania_, or any other huge, happy
thing that is having its way against fear; against weakness, or against
small terrified goodness.

Mr. Roosevelt in doing right conveys the sense of enjoying it so himself
that he has made almost an art form of public righteousness. He has
found his most complete, his most naïve, instinctive self-expression in
it, and while we have had goodness in public men before, we have had no
man who has been such an international chromo for goodness, who has made
such a big, comfortable "He-who-runs-may-read" bill-poster for doing
right as Roosevelt. Other men have done things that were good to do, but
the very inmost muscle and marrow of goodness itself, goodness with
teeth, with a fist, goodness that smiled, that ha-ha'd, and that leaped
and danced--perpetual motion of goodness, goodness that reeked--has been
reserved for Theodore Roosevelt. We have had goodness that was bland or
proper, and goodness that was pious or sentimental and sang, "Nearer My
God to Thee," or goodness that was kind and mushy, but this goodness
with a glad look and bounding heart, goodness with an iron hand, we have
not had before. It is Mr. Roosevelt's goodness that has made him
interesting in Cairo, Paris, Rome, and Berlin. He has been conducting a
grand tour of goodness. He has been a colossal drummer of goodness,
conducting an advertising campaign. He has proved himself a master
salesman for moral values. And he has put the American character, its
hope, its energy, on the markets and on the credits of the world.

With all his faults, those big, daring, yawning fissures in him, he is
news about us, faults and all. Though I may be, as I certainly am much
of the time, standing and looking across at him, across an abyss of
temperament that God cut down between us thousands of years ago, and
while he may have a score of traits I would not like and others that no
one would like in any one else, there he is storming out at me with his
goodness! It is his way--God help him!--God be praised for him! There he

I know an American when I see one. He is a man who is singing.

A man who is singing is a man who is so shrewd about people that he sees
more in them than they see in themselves and who does things so shrewdly
in behalf of God, that when God looks upon him he delights in him. Then
God falls to of course and helps him do them.

When American men saw that there was a man among them who was taking a
thing like the Presidency of the United States (that most people never
run risks with) and putting it up before everybody, and using it grimly
as a magnificent bet on the people, they looked up. Millions of men
leaped in their hearts and as they saw him they knew that they were like

So did Theodore Roosevelt become news about Us.



I would like to say more specifically what I mean by an American or
singing government.

The thing that counts the most in a government is its temperament. A
German government succeeds by having the German temperament. An American
government must have the American temperament.

If we are fortunate enough to have in America a government with an
American temperament what would it be like? And how would it differ from
the traditional or conventional temperament, governments are usually
allowed to have?

If I were confined to one or two words I would put it like this:

If a government has the conventional temperament, it says "NO."

If it has the American Temperament it says, "YES, BUT ..."

The whole policy and temper of a true American government is summed up
in its saying as it looks about it--now to this business man and now to
that, just in time, "YES BUT."

Louis Brandeis, of Boston, when he was made attorney for the Gas Company
of Boston to defend the company from the criticisms of the people, sent
suddenly scores of men all about canvassing the city and looking up
people to find fault with the gas.

He spent thousands of dollars a month of the Gas Company's money for a
while in helping people to be disagreeable, until they had it attended
to and got over it.

The Gas Company had the canvassers show the people how they could burn
less gas for what they got for it, and tried to help them cut their
bills in two. Incidentally, of course, they got to thinking about gas
and about what they got for it, and about other ways they could afford
to use it, and began to have the gas habit--used it for cooking and

The people found they wanted to use four times as much gas.

The Boston Gas Company smiled sweetly.

Boston smiled sweetly.

Not many months had passed and two things had happened in Boston.

The Boston Gas Company, with precisely the same directors in it, had
made over the directors into new men, and all the people in Boston (all
who used gas) apparently had been made over into new people.

What had happened was Brandeis--a man with an American temperament.

Mr. Brandeis had defended his company from the people by going the
people's way and helping them until they helped him.

Mr. Brandeis gave gas a soul in Boston.

Before a gas corporation has a soul, it would be American for a
government to treat it in one way. After it has one it would be American
to treat it in another. There are two complete sets of conduct,
principles, and visions in dealing with a corporation before and after
its having a soul.

Preserving the females of the species and killing males as a method of
discrimination has been applied to all animals except human beings. This
is suggestive of a method of discrimination in dealing with
corporations. A corporation that has a soul and that is the most likely
to keep reproducing souls in others should be treated in one way, and a
corporation that has not should be treated in another.

There are two assumptions underneath everybody's thought, underneath
every action of our government: Which is the American assumption?

People are going to be bad if they can.

People are going to be good if they can.

Men who want to arrange laws and adjust life on the assumption that
business men will be bad if they can, it seems to some of us, are
inefficient and unscientific. It seems to us that they are off on the
main and controlling facts in American human nature. It is not true that
American business men will be bad if they can. They will be good if they

This is my assertion. I cannot prove it.

What we seem to need next in this country in order to be clear-headed
and to go ahead, is to prove it. We want a competent census of human

Lacking a census of human nature, the next best thing we can do is to
watch the men who seem to know the most about human nature.

We put ourselves in their hands.

These men seem to believe, judging from their actions, that there is
really nothing that suits our temperament better in America than being
good. If we can manage to have some way of being good that we have
thought of ourselves, we like it still better. We dote on goodness when
it is ours and when we are allowed to put some punch into it. We want to
be good, to express our practical, our doing-idealism, but we will not
be driven to being good and people who think they can drive us to being
good in a government or out of it are incompetent people. They do not
know who we are.

We say they shall not have their way with us.

Let them get us right first. Then they can do other things.

What is our American temperament?

Here are a few American reflections.

The government of the next boys' school of importance in this country is
going to determine the cuts and free hours, and privileges not by marks,
but by its genius for seeing through boys.

And instead of making rules for two hundred pupils because just twenty
pupils need them, they will make the rules for just twenty pupils.

Pupils who can use their souls and can do better by telling themselves
what to do, will be allowed to do better. Why should two hundred boys
who want to be men be bullied into being babies by twenty infants who
can scare a school government into rules, _i.e._, scare their teachers
into being small and mean and second-rate?

A government that goes on this principle with business men, and that
does it in a spirit of mutual understanding for those who are not yet
free from rules, and in a spirit of confidence and expectation and of
talking it over, will be a government with an American temperament.

The first trait of a great government is going to be that it will
recognize that the basis of a true government in a democracy is
privilege and not treating all people alike. It is going to see that is
it a cowardly, lazy, brutal, and mechanical-minded thing for a
government which is trying to serve a great people--to treat all the
people alike. The basis of a great government like the basis of a great
man (or even the basis of a good digestion) is discrimination, and the
habit of acting according to facts. We will have rules or laws for
people who need them, and men in the same business who amount to enough
and are American enough to be safe as laws to themselves, will continue
to have their initiative and to make their business a profession, a
mould, an art form into which they pour their lives. The pouring of the
lives of men like this into their business is the one thing that the
business and the government want.

Several things are going to happen when what a good government seeks
each for a man's business, is to let him express himself in it.

When a man has proved conclusively that he has a higher level of
motives, and a higher level of abilities to make his motives work, the
government is going to give him a higher level of rights, liberties, and
immunities. The government will give special liberties on a sliding
scale and with shrewd provision for the future. The government will not
give special liberties to the man with higher motives than other men
have, who has not higher abilities to make his motives work, nor will it
give special liberties to the man who has higher abilities which could
make higher motives work, but who has not the higher motives.

Men who are new kinds and new sizes of men and who have proved that they
can make new kinds and new sizes of bargains, that they can make (for
the same money) new kinds and new sizes of goods, and who incidentally
make new kinds and new sizes of people out of the people who buy the
goods, men who have achieved all these supposed visionary feats by their
own initiative, will be allowed by the government to have all the
initiative they want, and immunities from fretful rules as long as they
resemble themselves and keep on doing what they have shown they can do.
The government will deal with each man according to the facts, the
scientific facts, that he has proved about himself.

The government acts according to scientific facts in everything except
men, in pure food, in cholera, and the next thing the government is
going to do is to be equally efficient in dealing with scientific facts
in men.

It is going to give some men inspected liberty. If these men say they
can be more efficient, as a railroad sometimes is, by being a monopoly,
by being a vast, self-visioned, self-controlled body the government will
have enough character, expert courage and shrewdness about human nature
to provide a way for them to try it.

When the other people come up and ask why they cannot have these
special immunities and why they cannot be a monopoly, or nearly a
monopoly, too, the government will tell them why.

Telling them why will be governing them.

When we once reckon with new kinds and new sizes of men, everything
follows. The first man who organizes a true monopoly for public service
and who does it better than any state could do it, because he thinks of
it himself, glories in it and has a genius for it, will be given a
peerage in England perhaps. But he would not really care. The thing
itself would be a peerage enough and either in America or England he
would rather be rewarded by being singled out by the government for
special rights and distinctions in conducting his business. The best way
a democracy can honour a man who has served it is not to give him a
title or to make a frivolous, idle monument of bronze for him, but to
let him have his own way.

The way to honour any artist or any creative man, any man a country is
in need of especially, is to let him have his own way.

       *       *       *       *       *

We are told that the way to govern trusts is to untrammel competition.

But the way to untrammel competition is not to try to untrammel it in
its details with lists of things men shall not do.

This is cumbersome.

We would probably find it very much more convenient in specifying 979
detailed things trusts cannot do, if we could think of certain
sum-totals of details.

Then we could deal with the details in a lump.

The best sum totals of details in this world that have ever been
invented yet, are men.

We will pick out a man who has a definite, marked character, who is a
fine, convenient sum-total that any one can see, of things not to do.

We will pick out another man in the same line of business who is a fine,
convenient sum-total of things that people ought to do.

The government will find ways, as the Coach of Business as the Referee
of the Game for the people, to stand by this man until he whips the
other, drives him out of business or makes him play as good a game as he

       *       *       *       *       *

When a child finds suddenly that his father is not merely keeping him
from doing things, that his father has a soul, the father begins to get
results out of the child.

As a rule a child discovers first that his father has a soul by noticing
that he insists on treating him as if he had one.

Of course a corporation that has not a soul yet does not propose to be
dictated to by a government that has not a soul yet. When corporations
without souls see overwhelmingly that a government has a soul, they will
be filled with a wholesome fear. They will always try at first to
prevent it from having a soul if they can.

But the moment it gets one and shows it, they will be glad. They will
feel on firm ground. They will know what they know. They will act.

In the hospital on the hill not far from my house, one often sees one
attendant going out to walk with twelve insane men. One would think it
would not be safe for twelve insane men to go out to walk with one sane
man, with one man who has his soul on.

The reason it is safe, is, that the moment one insane man or man who has
not his soul on, attacks the man who has a soul, all of the other eleven
men throw themselves upon him and fling him to the ground. Men whose
souls are not on, protect, every time, the man who has his soul on
because the man who has a soul is the only defence they have from the
men who have not.

It is going to be the same with governments. We believe in a
government's having as much courage in America as a ten-dollar-a-week
attendant in an insane asylum. We want a government that sees how
courage works.

We are told in the New Testament that we are all members one of another.

If society has a soul and if every member of it has a soul, what is the
relation of the social soul to the individual soul?

A man's soul is the faculty in him for seeing the Whole in relation to
the part--his vision for others in relation to his vision for himself.

My forefinger's soul in writing with this fountain pen is the sense my
forefinger has of its relation to my arm, my spinal column, and my
brain. The ability and efficiency of my forefinger depends upon its
soul, that is, its sense of relation to the other members of the body.
If my forefinger tries to act like a brain all by itself, as it
sometimes does, nobody reads my writing.

The government in a society is the soul of all the members and it treats
them according to their souls.

The one compulsion a government will use if it has a soul, will be
granting charters in business in such a way as to fix definite
responsibility and definite publicity upon a few men.

If a corporation has a soul, it must show. It must have a face. Anybody
can tell a face off-hand or while going by. Anybody can keep track of a
corporation if it has a face.

The trouble with the average corporation is that all that anybody can
see is its stomach. Even this is anonymous.

Whose Stomach is it? Who is responsible for it? If we hit it, whom will
we hit? Let the government find out. If the time the government is now
spending in making impossibly minute laws for impossibly minute men,
were spent in finding out what size men were, and who they were and then
giving them just as many rights from the people, as they are the right
kind and the right size to handle for the people, it would be an
American government.

If there is one thing rather than another that an American or an
Englishman loves, it is asserting himself or expressing his character in
what he does. The typical dominating Englishman or American is not as
successful as a Frenchman or as an Italian in expressing other things,
as he is in expressing his character.

He cares more about expressing his character and asserting it. If he is
dealing with things, he makes them take the stamp of who he is. If he is
dealing with people, he makes them see and acknowledge who he is. They
must take in the facts about what he is like when they are with him.
They must deal with him as he is.

This trait may have its disadvantages, but if an Englishman or an
American is on this earth for anything, this is what he is for--to
express his character in what he does--in strong, vigorous, manly lines
draw a portrait of himself and show what he is like in what he does.
This may be called on both sides of the sea to-day as we stand front to
front with the more graceful nations, Anglo-Saxon Art.

It is because this particular art in the present crisis of human nature
on this planet is the desperate, the almost reckless need of a world
that the other nations of the world with all their dislike of us and
their superiorities to us, with all our ugliness and heaviness and our
galumphing in the arts, have been compelled in this huge, modern thicket
of machines and crowds to give us the lead.

And now we are threading a way for nations through the moral wilderness
of the earth.

This position has been accorded us because it goes with our temperament,
because we can be depended upon to insist on asserting ourselves and on
expressing ourselves in what we do. If the present impromptu industrial
machinery which has been handed over to us thoughtlessly and in a hurry,
does not express us, everybody knows that we can be depended on to
assert ourselves and that we will insist on one that will. The nations
that are more polite and that can dance and bow more nicely than we can
in a crisis like this would be dangerous. It is known about us
throughout a world that we are not going to be cowed by wood or by iron
or by steel and that we are not going to be cowed by men who are all
wood and iron and steel inside. If wood, iron, or steel does not express
us, we are Englishmen and we are Americans. We will butt our character
into it until it does.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the American workman were to insist upon butting his American
temperament into his labour union machinery, what would his labour
machinery in America soon begin to show that an American labourer was

I imagine it might work out something like this:

The thoughtful workman looks about him. He discovers that the workman
pays at least two times as much for coal as he needs to because miners
down in Pennsylvania work one third as hard as they might for the money.

When he comes to think of it, all the labouring men of America are
paying high prices because they have to pay all the other workmen in
America for working as little as they can. He is working one third less
than he can and making his own class pay for it. He sees every workman
about him paying high prices because every other workman in making
things for him to eat and for him to wear, is cheating him--doing a
third less a day for him than he ought.

At this point the capitalists pile in and help. They shove the prices up
still higher because capital is not interested in an industry in which
the workmen do six hours' work in nine. It demands extra profits. So
while the workmen put up the prices by not working, the capitalists put
up the prices because they are afraid the workmen will not work. Half
work, high prices.

Then the American workman thinks. He begins to suppose.

Suppose that the millers' workmen and the workmen in the woollen mills
in America see how prices of supplies for labouring men are going up and
suppose they agree to work as hard as they can? Suppose the wool workers
of the world want cheap bread. The flour mill workers want cheap
clothes. We will say to the bread people, "We will bring down the price
of wool for you if you will bring down the price of bread for us."

Then let Meat and Potatoes do the same for one another. Then two
industries at a time, industries getting brains in pairs, until like the
animals going into the ark, little by little (or rather very fast,
almost piling in, in fact, after the first pair have tried it), at last
our true, spirited, practical minded American workmen will have made
their labour machines as natural and as human and as American as they
are. They will stop trying to lower prices by not working, each workman
joining (in a factory) the leisure classes and making the other workmen
pay for it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The American workman, as things are organized now, finds himself
confronted with two main problems. One is himself. How can he get
himself to work hard enough to make his food and clothes cheap? The
other is his employer.

What will the American workman do to express his American temperament
through his labour union to his employer? The American workmen will go
to their employers and say: "Instead of doing six hours' work in nine
hours, we will do nine hours' work in nine hours." The millers, for
instance, will say to the flour mill owners: "We will do a third more
work for you, make you a third more profit on our labour if you will
divide your third more profit like this:

"First, by bringing down the price of flour to everybody;

"Second, by bringing up our wages. Third, by taking more money

American labouring men who did this would be acting like Americans. It
is the American temperament.

They will insist on it: The labour men will continue to say to their
employers, "We will divide the proceeds of our extra work into three
sums of money--ours, yours, and everybody's." In return we will soon
find the employers saying the same thing to the labour men. Employers
would like to arrange to be good. If they can get men who earn more,
they want to pay them more.

The labourers would like to be good, _i.e._, work more for employers who
want to pay them more.

But being good has to be arranged for.

Being good is a matter of mutual understanding, a matter of
organization, a matter of butting our American temperament into our
industrial machines.

All that is the matter with these industrial machines is that they are
not like us.

Our machines are acting just now for all the world as if they were the
Americans and as if we were the machines.

Are we for the machines, or are the machines for us?

All that the American labourers and that the American capitalists have
to do is to show what they are really like, organize their news about
themselves so that they get it through to one another, and our present
great daily occupation in America (which each man calls his "business")
all the workmen going down to the mills and all the employers going down
to their offices, and then for six, eight, nine hours a day being chewed
on by machines, will cease.

We make our industrial machines. We are Americans. Our machines must
have our American temperament.

       *       *       *       *       *

If an American employer were to insist on butting his American
temperament into his industrial machine, what would his industrial
machine, when it is well at work at last, show an American employer's
temperament to be like?

The first thing that would show in his machine, I think, would be its
courage, its acting with boldness and initiative, originality and
freedom, without being cluttered up by precedents or running and asking
Mama, its clear-headedness in what it wants, its short-cut in getting to
it, and above all a kind of ruthless faith in human nature, in the
American people, in its goods and in itself.

The typical American business man of the highest class--the man who is
expressing his American temperament best in his business--is the one who
is expressing in it the most courage for himself and for others and for
his government. He has big beliefs every few minutes a day, and he acts
on them with nonchalance.

If he is running a trust--our most characteristic, recklessly difficult
American invention for a man to show through, and if he tries to get his
American temperament to show through in it, tries to make his trust like
a vast portrait, like a kind of countenance on a country, of what a big
American business is like, what will he do?

He will take a little axiom like this and act as if it were so.

_If in any given case the producers by collusion and combination can be
efficient in lowering wages to employees and raising prices and cheating
the public, this same combination or collusion would be efficient in
raising the wages of employees, lowering prices and serving the public._

He will then, being an American, turn to his government and say "I am a
certain sort of man. If I am allowed to be an exception and to combine
in this matter, I can prove that I can raise wages, lower prices for a
whole nation in these things that I make. I am a certain sort of man. Do
you think I am, or do you think that I am not? I want to know."

The government looks noncommittally at him. It says it cannot

He says nothing for a time, but he thinks in his heart that it is
incompetent and cowardly to run a great government of a great nation as
a vast national sweep or flourish of getting out of brains and of
evading vision. It seems to him lazy and effeminate in a government to
treat all combinations and all monopolies alike. He says: "Look me in
the eyes! I demand of you as a citizen of this country the right to be
looked by my government in the eyes. What sort of man am I? Here are all
my doors open. My safes are your safes and my books are your books. Am I
or am I not a man who can conduct his business as a great profession,
one of the dignities and energies and joys of a great people?

"What am I like inside? Is what I am like inside--my having a small size
or a big size of motive, my having a right kind or a wrong kind of
ability of no consequence to this government? Does the government of
this country really mean that the most important things a country like
this can produce, the daily, ruling motives of the men who are living in
it, have no weight with the government? Am I to understand that the
government does not propose to avail itself of new sizes and new kinds
of men and new sizes and new kinds of abilities in men? What I am trying
to do in my product is to lower the prices and raise the wages for a
nation. Will you let me do it? Will you watch me while I do it?"

This will be the American trust of to-morrow. The average trust of this
country has not yet found itself, but the moral and spiritual history,
the religious message to a government of The Trust That Has Found Itself
will be something like this.

Perhaps when we have a trust that has found itself, we will have a
government that has dared to find itself, that has the courage to use
its insight, its sense of difference between men, as it means of getting
what it wants for the people.

As it is now, the government has not found itself and it falls back on
complex rules or machines for getting out of seeing through people.

Where courage is required, it proceeds as it proceeds with automobile
speeding laws. Everybody knows that one man driving his car three miles
an hour may be more dangerous than another kind of man who is driving
his car thirty.

When our government begins to be a government, begins to express the
American temperament, it will be a government that will devote its
energy, its men, and its money to being expert in divining, and using
differences between men. It will govern as any father, teacher, or
competent business man does by treating some people in one way and
others in another, by giving graded speed licenses in business, to
labour unions, trusts, and business men.

The government will be able to do this by demanding, acquiring, and
employing as the servants of the people, men who are experts in human
nature, masters in not treating men alike--Crowbars, lemonade-straws,
chisels, and marshmallows, powerhouses and Æolian harps by the people,
for the people, and of the people, will be rated for what they are and
will be used for what they are for.

This will be democracy. It will be the American temperament in

       *       *       *       *       *

Is President Wilson or is he not going to fall back into a mere lawyer
Moseslike way of getting people to be good, or is he going to be a man
like David, half poet, half soldier, who got his way with the nation
half by appreciating the men in it and being a fellow human being with
them, and half by fighting them when they would not let him be a fellow
human being with them, and would not let him appreciate them?

Almost any nation or government can get some kind of Moses to-day but
the men that America is producing would not particularly notice a Moses
probably now. A Moses might do for a Rockefeller, but he could not
really do anything with a man like Theodore N. Vail who has the
telephones and telegraphs of a country talking and ticking to us all,
all night, all day, what kind of a man he is.

A big affirmative, inspirational man like David or even Napoleon who
inspires people with one breath and fights hard with the next, a man who
swings his hat for the world, a man who goes on ahead and says "Come!"
is the only man who can be practical in America to-day in helping real
live American men like McAdoo, like Edison and Acheson,--men who can
express a people in a business--to express them.

The people have spoken. A man in the White House who cannot say "Come"

We want a poet in the White House. If we can not have a poet for the
White House soon, we want a poet who will make us a poet for the White

I do not believe it is too much to expect a President to be a poet. We
have had a poet for President once in one supreme crisis of this nation
and the crisis that is coming now is so much deeper, so much more human
and world-wide than Lincoln's was that it would almost seem as if a
place like the White House (where one's poetry could really work) would
make a poet out of anybody.

A President who has not a kind of plain, still, homely poetry in him, a
belief about people that sings, in the present appalling crisis of the
world is impracticable or visionary.

So we do not say, "Have we a President that can get our Bells, Edisons,
McAdoos, Achesons to be good by toeing a line?"

We say, "Have we a President who can swing into step, who can join in
the singing, who can catch up?"

Tunnel McAdoo, when he lifted up his will against the sea and against
the seers of Wall Street, was singing. When he conceived those steel
cars, those roaring yellow streaks of light ringing through rocks
beneath the river, streets of people flashing through under the slime
and under the fish and under the ships and under the wide sunshine on
the water, he was singing! He raised millions of dollars singing.

Of course he sang the way Americans usually sing, and had to do as well
as he could in talking to bankers and investors not to look as if he
were singing, but there it all was singing inside him, the seven years
of digging, the seven years of dull thundering on rocks under the city,
and at last the happy steel cars all green and gold, the streams of
people all yellow light hissing and pouring through--those vast pipes
for people beneath the sea!

If we have a President, let him sing like McAdoo, or like Luther
Burbank, or like Theodore N. Vail, or like Colonel Goethals, picking up
a little isthmus like Panama, a string between two continents, playing
on it as if it were a harp; or like Edward Ripley playing with the Santa
Fé Railroad for all the world like Homer with a lute, all his seven
thousand men, all his workmen, all their wives and their children, all
the cities along the line striking up and joining in the chorus or like
Carborundum Acheson, backed up by his little Niagara Falls oiling the
wheels of a world, weaving diamonds into steel, hardening the bones of
the earth into skyscrapers, into railroads, into the mighty thighs of
flying locomotives....

Any man who is seen acting in this world with a thing, as if he believed
in the thing, as if he believed in himself and believed in other people,
is singing.

Moses striking out with a rod, as we are told, a path along the sea for
his people may have done a more showy thing from a religious point of
view, hitting the water on top so, making a great splash with an empty
place in it for people to march through, but he was not essentially more
religious than McAdoo, with all those modest but mighty columns of
figures piling up behind him, with all those splendid, dumb, still
glowing engineers behind him, lifting up his will against cities,
lifting up his will against herds of politicians, haughty newspapers,
against the flocks of silly complacent old ferry-boats waddling in the
bay, against the wind and the rain and the cold on the water, and all
the banks of Wall Street....

When we want to tell News to our President about ourselves in America,
we point to William G. McAdoo.

The first news that we, the American people, must contrive to get into
the White House about ourselves is that we do not want to be improved,
and that we do not like an improving tone in our government. We want to
be expressed the way McAdoos express us. We want a government that
expresses our faith in one another, in what we are doing, and in
ourselves, and in the world.

We are singing over here on this continent. We would not all of us put
it in just this way. But our singing is the main thing we can do, and a
government that is trying to improve us feebly, that is looking askance
at us and looking askance at our money, and at our labour, and that does
not believe in us and join in with us in our singing does not know what
we are like.

Our next national business in America is to get the real news over to
the President of what we are like.

It is news that we want in the White House. A missionary in the White
House, be he ever so humble, will not do.

Mr. Roosevelt, himself, with the word Duty on every milepost as he
whirled past, with suggestions of things for other people to do buzzing
like bees about his head, acquired his tremendous and incredible power
with us as a people because, in spite of his violent way of breaking out
into a missionary every morning and every evening when he talked, it was
not his talking but his singing that made him powerful--his singing, or
doing things as if he believed in people, his I wills and I won'ts, his
assuming every day, his acting every day, as if American men were men.
He sang his way roughly, hoarsely, even a little comically at times into
the hearts of people, stirred up in the nation a mighty heat, put a
great crackling fire under it, put two great parties into the pot,
boiled them, drew off all that was good in them, and at last, to-day, as
I write (February 1913), the prospect of a good square meal in the White
House (with some one else to say grace) is before the people.

The people are waiting to sit down once more in the White House and
refresh themselves.

At least, the soup course is on the table.

Who did it, please? Who bullied the cook and got everybody ready?

Theodore Roosevelt, singing a little roughly, possibly hurrahing "_I
will, I will, I won't, I won't_," and acting as if he believed in the

Bryan in the village of Chicago sitting by at a reporter's table saw him
doing it.

Bryan saw how it worked.

Bryan had it in him too.

Bryan heard the shouts of the people across the land as they gloried in
the fight. He saw the signals from the nations over the sea.

Then Armageddon moved to Baltimore.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now table is about to be spread.

It is to be Mr. Wilson's soup.

But the soup will have a Roosevelt flavour or tang to it. And we will
wait to see what Mr. Wilson will do with the other courses.

       *       *       *       *       *

A poet in words, with two or three exceptions, America has not produced.

The only touch of poetry or art as yet that we have in America
is--acting as if we believed in people. This particular art is ours.
Other people may have it, but it is all we have.

This is what makes or may make any moment the common American a poet or

Speaking in this sense, Mr. Roosevelt is the first poet America has
produced that European peoples and European governments have noticed for
forty years, or had any reason to notice. We respectfully place Mr.
Roosevelt with Mr. McAdoo (and if Mr. Brandeis will pardon us, with Mr.
Brandeis) as a typical American before the eyes of the new President.
We ask him to take Mr. Roosevelt as a very important part of the latest
news about us.

The true imaginative men of our modern life, the poets of crowds and
cities are not to-day our authors, preachers, professors or lawyers or
philosophers. The poets of crowds are our men like this, our
vision-doers, the men who have seen visions and dreamed dreams in the
real and daily things, the daring Governors like Wilson and like Hughes,
the daring inventors of great business houses, the men who have invented
the foundations on which nations can stand, on which railroads can run,
the men whose imaginations, in the name of heaven, have played with the
earth mightily, watered deserts, sailed cities on the seas, the men who
have whistled and who have said "Come!" to empires, who have thought
hundred-year thoughts, taken out nine hundred and ninety-nine year
leases, who have thought of mighty ways for cities to live, for cities
to be cool, to be light, to be dark, who have conceived ways for nations
to talk, who have grasped the earth and the sky like music, like words,
and put them in the hands of the people, and made the people say, "O
earth," and "O sky, thou art great, but we also are great! Come earth
and sky, thou shalt praise God with us!"

Who are these men?

Let the President catch up!

Who are these men? Here is Edward A. Filene, who takes up the pride,
joy, beauty, self-respect, and righteousness of a city, swings it into a
Store, and makes that Store sing about the city up and down the world!
Here is Alexander Cassatt, imperturbable, irrepressible, and like a
great Boy playing leapfrog with a Railroad--Cassatt who makes
quick-hearted, dreamy Philadelphia duck under the Sea, bob up serenely
in the middle of New York and leap across Hell Gate to get to Boston!
Let the parliaments droning on their benches, the Congresses pile out of
their doors and catch up.

Let the lawyers--the little swarms of dark-minded lawyers, wondering and
running to and fro, creeping in offices, who have tried to run our
world, blurred our governments, and buzzed, who have filled the world
with piles of old paper, Congressional Records, with technicalities,
words, droning, weariness, despair, and fear ... let them come out and
look! Let them catch up!

Let a man in this day in the presence of men like these sing. If a man
cannot sing, let him be silent. Only men who are singing things shall do

I go out into the street, I go out and look almost anywhere, listen
anywhere, and the singing rises round me!

It was singing that spread the wireless telegraph like a great web
across the sky.

It was singing that dug the subways under the streets in New York.

It was singing, a kind of iron gladness, hope and faith in men, that has
flung up our skyscrapers into the lower stories of the clouds, and made
them say, "_I will! I will! I will!_" to God.

Ah, how often have I seen them from the harbour, those flocking, crowded
skyscrapers under that little heaven in New York, lifting themselves in
the sunlight and in the starlight, lifting themselves before me,
sometimes, it seems, like crowds of great states, like a great country
piled up, like a nation reaching, like the plains and the hills and the
cities of my people standing up against heaven day by day--all those
flocks of the skyscrapers saying, "_I will! I will! I will!_" to God.

The skyscrapers are news about us to our President. He shall reckon with
skyscraper men. He shall interpret men that belong with skyscrapers.

And as he does so, I shall watch the people answer him, now with a glad
and mighty silence and now with a great solemn shout.

The skyscrapers are their skyscrapers.

The courage, the reaching-up, the steadfastness that is in them is in
the hearts of the people.

If the President does not know us yet in America, does not know McAdoo
as a representative American, we will thunder on the doors of the White
House until he does.

My impression is he would be out in the yard by the gate asking us to
come in.

We are America. We are expressing our joy in the world, our faith in
God, and our love of the sun and the wind in the hearts of our people.

In America the free air breathes about us, and daily the great sun
climbs our hillsides, swings daily past our work. There are ninety
million men with this sun and this wind woven into their bodies, into
their souls. They stand with us.

The skyscrapers stand with us.

All singing stands with us.

Ah, I have waked in the dawn and in the sun and the wind have I seen

That sun and that wind, I say before God, are America! They are the
American temperament.

I will have laws for free men, laws with the sun and the wind in them!

I have waked in the dawn and my heart has been glad with the iron and
poetry in the skyscrapers.

I will have laws for men and for American men, laws with iron and poetry
in them!

The way for a government to get the poetry in is to say "Yes" to

The way for a government to get the iron in is not by saying "No." It is
not American in a government to keep saying "No." The best way for our
government in America to say "No" to a man, is to let him stand by and
watch us saying "Yes" to some one else.

Then he will ask why.

Then he will stand face to face with America.



The most practical thing that could happen now in the economic world in
America would be a sudden, a great national, contemporary literature.

America, unlike England, has no recognized cultured class, and has no
aristocracy, so called, with which to keep mere rich men suitably
miserable--at least a little humble and wistful. Our greatest need for a
long time has been some big serene, easy way, without half trying, of
snubbing rich men in America. All these overgrown, naughty fellows one
sees everywhere like street boys on the corners or on the curbstones of
society, calling society names and taking liberties with it, tripping
people up; hoodlums with dollars, all these micks of money!--O, that
society had some big, calm, serene way like some huge hearty London
policeman, of taking hold of them--taking hold of them by the seats of
their little trousers if need be, and taking them home to Mother--some
way of setting them down hard in their chairs and making them
thoughtful! Nothing but a national literature will do this. "Life,"
(which is, with one exception, perhaps, the only religious weekly we
have left in America) succeeds a little and has some spiritual value
because it succeeds in making American millionaires look funny, and in
making them want to get away and live in Europe. But "Life" is not
enough; it merely hitches us along from day to day and keeps our courage
up. We want in America a literature, we want the thing done thoroughly
and forever and once for all. We want an Aristophanes, a master who
shall go gloriously laughing through our world, through our chimneys
and blind machines, pot-bellied fortunes, empty successes, all these
tiny, queer little men of wind and bladder, until we have a nation
filled with a divine laughter, with strong, manful, happy visions of
what men are for.

All we have to do is to have a News-book--a bookful of the kind of rich
men we want, then we will have them. We will see men piling over each
other all day to be them. Men have wanted to make money because making
money has been supposed to mean certain things about a man. The moment
it ceases to mean them, they will want to make other things.

Where is the news about what we really want?

----, when I took him to the train yesterday, spoke glowingly of the way
the Standard Oil Trust had reduced oil from twenty-nine cents to eleven

There was not time to say anything. I just thought a minute of how they
did it.

Why is it that people--so many good people will speak of oil at eleven
cents in this way, as if it were a kind of little kingdom of heaven?

I admit that eleven cents from twenty-nine cents leaves eighteen cents.

I do not deny that the Standard Oil Trust has saved me eighteen cents.
But what have they taken away out of my life and taken out of my sense
of the world and of the way things go in it and out of my faith in human
nature to toss me eighteen cents?

If I could have for myself and others the sense of the world that I had
before, would I not to-day, day after day, over and over, gallon by
gallon, be handing them their eighteen cents back?

What difference does it make to us if we are in a world where we can buy
oil for eleven cents a gallon instead of twenty-nine, if we do not care
whether we are alive or dead in it and do not expect anything from
ourselves or expect anything of anybody else? I submit it to your own
common sense, Gentle Reader. Is it any comfort to buy oil to light a
room in which you do not want to sit, in which you would rather not see
anything, in which you would rather not remember who you are, what you
do, and what your business is like, and what you are afraid your
business is going to be like?

I have passed through all this during the last fifteen years and I have
come out on the other side. But millions of lives of other men are
passing through it now, passing through it daily, bitterly, as they go
to their work and as they fall asleep at night.

The next thing in this world is not reducing the price of oil. It is
raising the price of men and putting a market-value on life.

What makes a man a man is that he knows himself, knows who he is, what
he is for and what he wants. Knowing who he is and knowing what he is
about, he naturally acts like a man, knows what he is about like a man,
and gets things done.

A nation that does not know itself shall not be itself.

A nation that has a muddle-headed literature, a nation that to say
nothing of not being able to express what it has, has not even made a
beginning at expressing what it wants; a nation that has not a great,
eager, glowing literature, a sublime clear-headedness about what it is
for--a nation that cannot put itself into a great book, a nation that
cannot weave itself together even in words into a book that can be
unfurled before the people like a flag where everybody can see it and
everybody can share it, look up to it, live for it, sleep for it, get up
in the morning and work for it--work for the vision of what it wants to
be--cannot be a great nation.

A masterpiece is a book that has a thousand years in it. No man has a
right to say where these thousand years in it shall lie, whether in the
past or in the future. It is the thousand years' worth in it that makes
a masterpiece a masterpiece. In America we may not have the literature
of what we are or of what we have been, but the literature of what we
are bound to be, the literature of what WE WILL, we will have, and we
will have to have it before we can begin being it.

First the Specifications, then the House.

From the practical or literary point of view the one sign we have given
in this country so far, that the stuff of masterpieces is in us and that
we are capable of a great literature, is that America is bored by its
own books.

We let a French parson write a book for us on the simple life. We let a
poor suppressed Russian with one foot in hell reach over and write books
for us about liberty which we greedily read and daily use. We let a
sublimely obstinate Norwegian, breaking away with his life, pulling
himself up out of the beautiful, gloomy, morose bog of romance he was
born in--express our American outbreak for facts, for frank realism in
human nature.

America is bored by its own books because every day it is demanding
gloriously from its authors a literature--books that answer our real
questions, the questions the people are asking every night as they go to
sleep and every morning when they crowd out into the streets--Where are
we going? Who are we? What are we like? What are we for?

       *       *       *       *       *

A---- C----, the little stoopy cobbler on ---- street in ----, bought
some machines to help him last year before I went away and added two or
three slaves to do the work. I find on coming back that he has moved and
has two show windows now, one with the cobbling slaves in it cobbling,
and the other (a kind of sudden, impromptu room with a show window in
it) seems to be straining to be a shoe store. When you go in and show
C---- in his shirt sleeves,--your old shoes hopefully, he slips over
from his shining leather bench to the shoe-store side and shows you at
the psychological moment a new pair of shoes.

He is in the train now with me this morning, across the aisle, looking
out of the window for dear life, poor fellow, for all the world as if he
could suck up dollars and customers--and people who need shoes--out of
the fields as he goes by, the way the man does mists, by looking hard at

I watched him walking up and down the station platform before I got on,
with that bent, concentrated, meek, ready-to-die-getting-on look. I saw
his future while I looked. I saw, or thought I saw, windows full of
bright black shoes, I saw the cobbler's shop moved out into the ell at
the back, and two great show windows in front. A---- C---- looks like an
edged tool.

Millions of Americans are like A---- C----, like chisels, adzes, saws,
scoops. You talk with them, and if you talk about anything except
scooping and adzing, you are not talking with just a man, but a man who
is for something and who is not for anything else. He is not for being
talked with certainly, and alas! not for being loved. At best he is a
mere feminine convenience--a father or a cash secreter; until he wears
out at last, buzzes softly into a grave.

An Englishman of this type is a little better, would be more like one of
these screw-driver, cork-screw arrangements--a big hollow handle with
all sorts of tools inside.

Is this man a typical American? Does he need to be?

What I want is news about us.

All an American like C---- needs is news. His eagerness is the making of
him. He is merely eager for what he will not want.

All he needs is the world's news about people, about new inventions in
human beings, news about the different and happier kinds of newly
invented men, news about how they were thought of, and how they are
made, and news about how they work.

I demand three things for A---- C----:

I want a novel that he will read which will make him see himself as I
see him.

I want a moving picture of him that he will go to and like and go to
again and again.

I want a play that will send him home from the theatre and keep him
awake with what he might be all that night.

I want a news-book for A---- C----, a news-book for all of us.

       *       *       *       *       *

I read a book some years ago that seemed a true news-book and which was
the first suggestion I had ever received that a book can be an act of
colossal statesmanship, the making or remaking of a people--a
masterpiece of modern literature, laying the ground plan for the
greatness of a nation.

When I had read it, I wanted to rush outdoors and go down the street
stopping people I met and telling them about it. Once in a very great
while one does come on a book like this. One wants to write letters to
the reviews. One does not know what one would not do to go down the long
aimless Midway Plaisance of the modern books, to call attention to it.
One wishes there were a great bell up over the world.... One would reach
up to it, and would say to all the men and the women and to the flocks
of the smoking cities, "Where are you all?" The bell would boom out,
"What are you doing? Why are you not reading this book?" One wonders if
one could not get a coloured page in the middle of the _Atlantic_ or the
_North American Review_ or _Everybody's_ and at least make a great book
as prominent as a great soap--almost make it loom up in a country like a
Felt Mattress or a Toothbrush.

The book that has made me feel like this the most is Charles Ferguson's
"Religion of Democracy." I have always wondered why only people here and
there responded to it. The things it made me vaguely see, all those huge
masses of real things, gigantic, half-godlike, looming like towers or
mountains in a mist.... Well, it must have been a little like this that
Columbus felt that first morning!

But as Columbus went on, what he struck after all was real land, some
piece of real land in particular. The mist of vision did precipitate
into something one could walk on, and I found as I went on with Mr.
Ferguson's book that if there was going to be any real land, somebody
would have to make some.

But for the time being Charles Ferguson's book--all those glorious
generalizings in behalf of being individual, all those beautiful,
intoned, chanted abstractions in behalf of being concrete--came to me in
my speechless, happy gratitude as a kind of first sign in the heavens,
as a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, up over the place in
the waste of water where land, Land! At last! Land again! will have to

If we ever have a literature in America, it will be found somewhere when
the mist rolls away, right under Charles Ferguson's book.

It may be too soon just now in this time of transition in our land of
piles and of derricks against the sky, for the book. All we are
competent for now is to say that we want such a book, that we see what
it will do for us.

When we want it, we will get it. Let the American people put in their
order now.

In the meantime the Piles and the Derricks.

All these young and mighty derricks against the sky, all these soaring
steel girders with the blue through them--America!

Ah, my God! is it not a hoping nation? Three thousand miles of Hope,
from Eastport, Maine, to San Francisco--does not the very sun itself
racing across it take three hours to get one look at our Hope?

Here it is!--Our World.

Let me, for one, say what I want.

It is already as if I had seen it--one big, heroic imagination at work
at last like a sea upon our world, poetry grappling with the great
cities, with their labour, with their creative might, full of their vast
joys and sorrows, full of their tussle with the sea and with the powers
of the air and with the iron in the earth!--the big, speechless cities
that no one has spoken for yet, so splendid, and so eager, and so silent
about their souls!

It is true we are crude and young.

Behold the Derricks like mighty Youths!

In our glorious adolescence so sublime, so ugly, so believing, will no
one sing a hymn to the Derricks?

Where are the dear little Poets? Where are they hiding?

Playing Indian perhaps, or making Parthenons out of blocks.

Perhaps they might begin faintly and modestly at first.

Some dear, hopeful, modest American poet might creep up from under them,
out from under the great believing, dumb Derricks standing on tiptoe of
faith against the sky, and write a book and call it "Beliefs American
Poets Would Like to Believe if They Could."



A nation's religion is its shrewdness about its ideals, its genius for
stating its ideals or news about itself, in the terms of its everyday

A nation's literature is its power of so stating its ideals that we will
not need to be shrewd for them--its power of expressing its ideals in
words, of tracing out ideals on white paper, so that ideals shall
enthrall the people, so that ideals shall be contagious, shall breathe
and be breathed into us, so that ideals shall be caught up in the voices
of men and sung in the streets.

Ideals, intangible, electric, implacable irresistible, all-enfolding
ideals, shall hold and grip a continent the way a climate grips a
continent, like sunshine around a helpless thing, in the hollow of its
hand, and possess the hearts of the people.

What our government needs now is a National band in Washington.

America is a Tune.

America is not a formula. America is not statistics, even graphic
statistics. A great nation cannot be made, cannot be discovered, and
then be laid coldly together like a census. America is a Tune. It must
be sung together.

The next thing statesmen are going to learn in this country is that from
a practical point of view in making a great nation only our Tune in
America and only our singing our Tune can save us. A great nation can be
made out of the truth about us. The truth may be--must be
probably,--plain. But the truth must sing.

It will not be the government that first gets the truth that will govern
us. The government that gets the truth big enough to sing first, and
sings it, will be the government that will govern us. The political
party in this country that will first be practical with the people, and
that will first get what it wants, will be the political party that
first takes Literature seriously. Our first great practical government
is going to see how a great book, searching the heart of a nation,
expressing and singing the men in it, governs a people. Being a
President in a day like this, if it does not consist in being a poet,
consists in being the kind of President who can be, at least, in
partnership with a poet.

It is not every President who can be his own David, who can rule with
one hand and write psalms and chants for his people with the other.

The call is out, the people have put in their order to the authors of
America, to the boys in the colleges, and to the young women in the
great schools--Our President wants a book.

Before much time has passed, he is going to have one.

Being a President in this country has never been expressed in a book.

The President is going to have a book that expresses him to the people
and that says what he is trying to do. He will live confidentially with
the book. It shall be in his times of trial and loneliness like a great
people coming to him softly. He shall feel with such a book, be it day
or night, the nation by him, by his desk, by his bedside, by his
silence, by his questioning, standing by, and lifting.

In the book the people shall sing to the President. He shall be kept
reminded that we are there. He shall feel daily what America is like.
America shall be focussed into melody. We shall have a literature once
more and the singers, as in Greece, as in all happy lands and in all
great ages, shall go singing through the streets.

There is no singing for a President now. All a President can do when he
is inaugurated, when he begins now, is to kiss helplessly some singing
four thousand years old in a Bible by another nation.

When David sang to his people, he sang the news, the latest news, the
news of what was happening to people about him from week to week.

Why is no one singing 1913, our own American 1913?

Why is no one stuttering out our Bible--one the President could have to
refer to, our own Bible in our own tongue from morning to morning in the
symbols that breathe to us out of the sounds in the street, out of the
air, out of the fresh, bright American sky, and out of the new ground
beneath our feet?

       *       *       *       *       *

It is easy for a President to pile up three columns a morning of news
about himself to us, show each man his face in the morning, but what is
there he can do with twenty thousand newspapers at his breakfast table,
to pick out the real news about us? Who shall paint the portrait of a

One could go about in the White House and study the portraits of the
presidents, but where is the portrait of the people? The portrait of the
people comes in little bits to the president like a puzzle picture. Each
man brings in his little crooked piece, jig-sawed out from Iowa, South
Dakota, Oklahoma or Aroostook County, Maine. This picture or vision of a
nation, this wilderness of pieces, can be seen every day when one goes
in, lying in heaps on the floor of the White House.

A literature is the expression on the face of a nation. A literature is
the eyes of a great people looking at one.

It seems to be as we look, looking out of the past and faraway into the

A newspaper can set a nation's focus for a morning, adjusting it one way
or the other. A President can set the focus for four years. But only a
book can set the focus for a nation's next hundred years so that it can
act intelligently and steadfastly on its main line from week to week and
morning to morning. Only a book can make a vast, inspiring, steadfast,
stage-setting for a nation. Only a book, strong, slow, reflective, alone
with each man, and before all men, can set in vast still array the
perspective, the vision of the people, can give that magnificent
self-consciousness which alone makes a great nation, or a mighty man. At
last humble, imperious, exalted, it shall see Itself, its vision of its
daily life lying out before it, threading its way to God!



I went one day six months ago to the Mansion House and heard Lord Grey,
and Lord Robert Cecil, and Mr. T.C. Taylor and others address the annual
meeting of the Labour Copartnership Association.

I found myself in the presence of a body of men who believe that
Englishmen are capable of bigger and better things than many men believe
they are capable of. They refuse to evade the issue of the coal strike
and to agree with the socialists who have given up believing that
English employers can be competent and who merely believe that we will
have to rely on our governments now to be employers, and they refuse to
agree with the syndicalists, who believe in human nature still less and
have given up on employers and on governments both.

I have retained three impressions as a result of the meeting.

The first was that it was the most significant and impressive event
since the coal strike, that it brought the whole industrial issue to a
point and summed the coal strike up.

The second impression was one of surprise that the hall was not full.

The third impression came the next day when I looked through the papers
for accounts of what had been said and of what it stood for.

It was noted pleasantly and hurriedly as one of the day's events. It was
just one more of those shadowy things that flicker on the big foolish,
drifting, rolling attention of a world a second and are gone.

People were given a few inches.

I read in the papers that same day a quite long account of a discussion
of nine bishops for five hours (meeting at the same time) on a matter of
proper clothes for clergymen.

I would have said of that meeting of the Labour Copartnership
Association--that it was a meeting of a Society for Defence and
Protection of Longer Possible Religion on the Earth--but the clergy out
of all the invitations, did not seem very largely to have had time to be

I wondered too a little about the papers, as I hunted through them.

It set one to thinking if anything serious to the nation would have
happened, if possibly during the coal strike the London papers had
devoted as much attention to T.C. Taylor--a mutual interest
employer--and to how he runs his business--as to Horatio Bottomley?

Possibly too what Mr. Sandow prefers to have people drink is not so
important--perhaps whole pages of it at a time--as Amos Mann and how he
runs his shoe business without strikes, or as Joseph Bibby and how he
makes oil cakes and loyal workmen together.

I read the other day of a clergyman in New Jersey--who was organizing a
league of all the left-handed men in the world. Everything is being
organized, whether or no. Some one has financed him. There will be some
one very soon now who will pay the bill for organizing the attention of
a world and for deciding the fate of human nature. It would be worth
while spending possibly one fortune on getting human nature to settle
decisively and once for all whether it has any reason to believe in
itself or not. Why have a world at all--one like this? Do we want it?
Who wants it? What do we want instead? We will advertise and find out.
We will spend millions of pounds and Dreadnoughts, even national
beer-bills on it, if necessary, on making everybody know that mentally
competent business men--mutual-interest employers, and mentally
competent workmen--mutual-interest workmen, can be produced by the
human race. When everybody knows that this is true, nine out of ten
Parliamentary questions would be settled, the Churches would again have
a chance to be noticed, and education and even religion could be taken
seriously. There would be some object in being a teacher perhaps once
more and in making teaching again a great profession. There would be
some object perhaps in even being an artist. The world would start off
on a decent, self-respecting theory or vision about itself. Things could
begin to be done in society once more, soundly, permanently, humanly and
from the bottom up.

We would go out on the streets again--rich and poor--and look in each
other's faces. We would take up our morning papers without a sinking at
the heart.

And the men who have stopped believing in men and who merely believe in
machines would be indicted before the bar of mankind. We would see them
slowly filing back, one by one, to where they belong--on the back seats
of the world.

The newspapers in England and America seem to think that in their
business of rolling the world along, what they find themselves
confronted with just now is an economic problem.

The problem that the newspapers are really confronted with, as a matter
of fact, is one with which newspaper men big and little are more
competent to deal than they would be with an expert problem in
economics. The real problem that newspapers are confronted with every
night, every morning, to-day, is a problem in human nature.

Some people believe that human nature can be believed in, and others do
not. The socialists, the syndicalists, the trades unionists, as a class,
and the capitalists as a class, are acting as if they did not. A great
many inventors, and a great many workmen, all the more bold and
inventive workmen, and many capitalists and great organizers of facts
and of men, are acting as if they believed in human nature.

Which are right? Can a mutual-interest employer, can a mutual-interest
worker, be produced by the human race? There are some of us who answer
that this is a matter of fact, that this type of man can be produced, is
already produced, and is about to be reproduced indefinitely.

The moment we can convince trades unions and convince employers that
this is true we will change the face of the earth.

Why not change the face of the earth now?

In this connection I respectfully submit three considerations:

1st. If all employers of the world to-morrow morning knew what Lord Grey
(as President of the Labour Copartnership Association) knows to-day
about copartnership--the hard facts about the way copartnership works in
calling out human nature--in nerving and organizing labour, every
employer in the world to-morrow would begin to take an attitude toward
labour which would result in making strikes and lockouts as
impracticable, as incredible, as moony, as visionary forever as ideals
of a world without strikes look now.

2nd. If all the workmen of the world to-morrow morning knew what
Frederick Taylor (the American engineer) knows about planning workmen's
work so that they receive, for the same expenditure of strength, a third
more wages every day, the whole attitude of labour in every nation and
of the trades unions of the world--the attitude of doing as little work
as possible, of labouring and studying and slaving away to discover ways
of not being of any use to employers--would face about in a day.

3rd. What Lord Grey knows about copartnership and the way it works is in
the form of ascertainable, communicable, and demonstrable facts. What
Frederick Taylor knows and what he has been doing with human beings and
with steel and pig iron and with bricks and other real things is in the
form of history that has been making for thirty years--and that can be
looked up and proved.

Why should not everybody who employs labour know what Lord Grey knows?

And why should not all workmen know what a few thousand workmen who have
been trained under Frederick Taylor to work under better conditions and
with more wages, know?

If I were an inspired millionaire the first thing I would do to-morrow
would be to supply the funds and find the men who should take up what
Lord Grey knows about employers, and what Frederick Taylor knows about
workmen, and put it where all who live shall see it and know it. I would
spend my fortune in proving to the world, in making everybody know and
believe that the mutual-interest business man and the mutual-interest
workman have been produced and can be produced and shall be produced by
the human race.

The problem of the fate of the world in its essential nature and in its
spiritual elements and gifts--has come to be in this age of the press a
huge advertising problem--a great adventure in human attention.

The most characteristic and human and natural way, and the only profound
and permanent way to handle the quarrel between Capital and Labour is by
placing certain facts--certain rights-of-all-men-to-know, into the hands
of some disinterested and powerful statesman of publicity--some great
organizer of the attention of a world. He would have to be a practical
passionate psychologist, a man gifted with a bird's-eye view of
publics--a discoverer of geniuses and crowds, a natural diviner or
reader of the hearts of men. He shall search out and employ twenty men
to write as many books addressed to as many classes and types of
employers and workers. He shall arrange pamphlets for every dooryard
that cannot help being read.

He shall reach trades unions by using the cinema, by having some master
of human appeal take the fate of labour, study it out in pictures--and
the truth shall be thrown night after night and day after day on a
hundred thousand screens around a world. He shall organize and employ
wide publicity or rely on secret and careful means on different aspects
of the issue according to the nature of the issue, human nature and
common sense, and organize his campaign to reach every type of person,
every temperament, and order of circumstance, each in its own way.

What Lord Grey knows and what Frederick Taylor's workmen know shall be
put where all who live shall see it where every employer, every workman,
every workman's wife and every growing boy and girl that is passing by,
as on some vast billboard above the world, shall see it--shall see and
know and believe that employers that are worth believing in--and that
workmen who can work and who are skilled and clever enough to love to
work--can still be produced by the human race.

If I were a newspaper man I would start what might be called Pull
Together Clubs in every community, men in all walks of life, little
groups of crowdmen or men in the community who could not bear not to see
a town do team work.

I would use these Pull Together Clubs in every community as means of
gathering and distributing news--as local committees on the national
campaign of touching the imagination of labour and touching the
imagination of capital.

"_Without Vision the People perish_."

I would begin with spending five million dollars on a vision for the

What would I do with a five-million-dollar fund for touching the
imagination of labour and touching the imagination of capital?

First: preliminary announcement in all papers and in all public ways,
asking names and addresses of workmen who have already proved and
established their belief in copartnership.

Names and addresses of employers in the same way.

Second: names and addresses of workmen who would believe in it if they
could; who believe in the principle theoretically and would be
interested in seeing how it could be practically and technically

Names and addresses of employers in the same way.

Third: selection of one firm in each industry, the best and most
strategically placed to carry it out in that industry, and placing the
facts before them.

Selection of the leading workmen out of all the workmen in the nation
employed in that industry, who would be willing to work with such a

Fourth: a selection of travelling secretaries to visit trades unions and
get provisional permission and toleration for these workmen so that they
can take copartnership places under such a firm with the consent of
their fellows and he set one side for experimental purposes, under the
protection of the trades union rules.

Fifth: I would find the most promising trades-union branch in each
industry and I would try to get this branch to take it up with the other
branches until all trades unions were brought to admit copartnership
members on special terms.

Sixth: after getting copartnership tolerated for certain workmen
employed in certain firms I would try to make copartnership a
trades-union movement.

I would then let the trades unions educate the employers.

Seventh: I would prepare a list of apparent exceptions to copartnership
as a working principle. I would investigate and try to see why they were
exceptions and why copartnership would not work, and I would find and
set inventors at work, and find in what way the spirit that is back of
copartnership could be applied.



We want to be good and the one thing we need to do is to tell each
other. Then we will be good. Our conveniences for being good in crowds
are not finished yet.

We have invented machines for crowds to see one another with and to use
in getting about in the dark. One engine whirls round and round all
night so that half a million people can be going about anywhere after
sunset without running into each other.

Crowds have vast machines for being somewhere else--run in somewhat the
same way all from one unpretentious building they put up called a Power

A great many of our machines for allowing crowds of people to move their
bodies around with have been attended to, but our Intelligence-Machine,
our machine for knowing what other people really think, and what they
are like in their hearts so that we can know enough to be good to them,
and have brains enough to get them to be good to us, is not finished and
set up yet.

The industrial problem instead of being primarily an economic problem is
a news problem.

If a President were to appoint a Secretary of Labour and were to give
him as one of his conveniences, a news engineer--an expert at attracting
and holding the attention of labour unions and driving through news to
them about themselves that they do not know yet, who would be
practically at the head of the department in two years? The Secretary or
the Secretary's news engineer? News is all there is to such a
department, finding out what it is and distributing it. Any one can
think of scores of labour-union fallacies, news they do not know about
themselves that they will want to know at once when their attention is
called to it.

If nine members of the President's Cabinet were national news agents,
experts in nationalizing news, one member could do with his subordinates
all the other things that Cabinet members do.

The real problem before each Cabinet member is a problem of news. If the
Secretary of Commerce, for instance, could get people to know certain
things, he would not need to do at all most of the things that he is
doing now. Neither would the Attorney General.

If everything in a Cabinet position turns on getting people to know
things, why not get them to know them? Why not take that job instead?
Why not take the job of throwing one's self out of a job? Every powerful
man has done it--thrown himself out of what he was doing, by making up
something bigger to do from the beginning of the world.

In every business it is the man who can recognize, focus, organize, and
apply news, and who can get news through to people, who soon becomes the
head of the business.

The man who can get news through to directors and to employees and make
them see themselves and see one another and the facts as they are, soon
gets to be Head of the factory.

The man who can get news through to the public, the salesman of news to
people about what they want to buy and about how they are to spend their
money--very personal, intimate news to every man--soon rises to be Head
of the Head of the factory and of the entire business.

It will probably be the same in a cabinet or in a government. If the
Secretary of the Department of Commerce has a news engineer as a
subordinate in his department and begins to study and observe how to do
his work best, how to solve his problem in the nation, we will soon see
the head of the department, if he really is the head of the department,
quietly taking over his news engineer's job and letting his news
engineer have his.

It is a news engineering job, being a Secretary of Commerce.

Every member of the Cabinet has a news engineering job.

And the fact seems to be that the moment the news is attended to in each
member's department--applied news, special and private news, turned on
and set to work where it is called for--most members of cabinets,
secretaries of making people do things, and for that matter, the
Presidents of making people do things will be thrown out of employment.
The Secretaries of What People Think, and the President of What People
Think--the engineers of the news in this nation--will be the men who
govern it.



I have tried to express in the last chapter, some kind of tentative
working vision or hope of what authors and of what newspaper men can do
in governing a country.

This chapter is for anybody, any plain human being.

Governments all over the world to-day are groping to find out what plain
human beings are like.

It does not matter very long what other things a government gets wrong,
if it gets the people right.

This suggests something that each of us can do.

I was calling on ----, Treasurer of ----, in his new bank, not long
ago--a hushed, reverent place with a dome up over it and no windows on
this wicked world--a kind of heavenly minded way of being lighted from
above. It seemed to be a kind of Church for Money.

"This is new," I said, "since I've been away. Who built it?"

---- mentioned the name of Non-Gregarious as if I had never heard of

I said nothing. And he began to tell me how Non built the bank. He said
he had wanted Non from the first, but that the directors had been set
against it.

And the more he told the directors about Non, he said, the more set they
were. They kept offering a good many rather vague objections, and for a
long time he could not really make them out.

Finally he got it. All the objections boiled down to one.

Non was too good to be true. If there was a man like Non in this world,
they said, they would have heard about it before.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I was telling ex-Mayor ----, in ----, about Non, the first time, he
interrupted me and asked me if I would mind his ringing for his
stenographer. He was a trustee and responsible, either directly or
indirectly, for hundreds of buildings, and he wanted the news in

Of course there must be something the matter with it, he said, but he
wanted it to be true, if it could, and as the bare chance of its being
true would be very important to him, he was going to have it looked up.

Now ex-Mayor ---- is precisely the kind of man (as half the world knows)
who, if he had been a contractor, instead of what he had happened to be,
would have been precisely the kind of contractor Non is. He has the same
difficult, heroic blend of shrewd faiths in him, of high motives and
getting what he wants.

But the moment ex-Mayor ---- found these same motives put up to be
believed in at one remove, and in somebody else, he thought they were
too good to be true.

I have found myself constantly confronted in the last few years of
observation with a very singular and interesting fact about business

Nine business men out of ten I know, who have high motives, (in a rather
bluff simple way, without particularly thinking about it, one way or the
other) seem to feel a little superior to other people. They begin, as a
rule, apparently, by feeling a little superior to themselves, by trying
to keep from seeing how high their motives are, and when, in the stern
scuffle of life, they are unable any longer to keep from suspecting how
high their motives are themselves, they fall back on trying to keep
other people from suspecting it.

In ----'s factory in ----, the workers in brass, a few years ago, could
not be kept alive more than two years because they breathed brass
filings. When ---- installed, at great expense, suction machines to
place beside the men to keep them from breathing brass, some one said,
"Well surely you will admit this time, that this is philanthropy?"

"Not at all."

The saving in brass air alone, gathered up from in front of the men's
mouths, paid for the machines. What is more he said that after he had
gone to the expense of educating some fine workmen, if a mere little
sucking machine like that could make the best workmen he had, work for
him twenty years instead of two years, it was poor economy to let them

Nearly all of the really creative business men make it a point, until
they get a bit intimate with people, to talk in this tone about
business. One can talk with them for hours, for days at a time, about
their business--some of them, without being able a single time to corner
them into being decent or into admitting that they care about anybody.

Now I will not yield an inch to ---- or to anybody else in my desire to
displace and crowd out altruism in our modern life. I believe that
altruism is a feeble and discouraged thing from a religious point of
view. I have believed that the big, difficult and glorious thing in
religion is mutualism, a spiritual genius for finding identities, for
putting people's interests together-you-and-I-ness, and we-ness, letting
people crowd in and help themselves.

And why not believe this and drop it? Why should nearly every business
man one meets to-day, try to keep up this desperate show, of avoiding
the appearance of good, of not wanting to seem mixed up in any way with
goodness--either his own or other people's?

In the present desperate crisis of the world, when all our governments
everywhere are groping to find out what business men are really like and
what they propose to be like, if a man is good (far more than if he is
bad) everybody has a right to know it. The President has a right to know
it. The party leaders have a right to know it.

It is a big businesslike thing for a man to make goodness pay, but what
is the man's real, deep, happy, creative, achieving motive in making
goodness pay? What is it in the man that fills him with this fierce
desire, this almost business-fanaticism for making goodness pay?

It is a big daily grim love of human nature in him, his love of being in
a human world, his passion for human economy, for world efficiency and
world-self-respect. This is what it is in him that makes him force
goodness to pay.

The business men of the bigger type who let themselves talk in this tone
to-day, do not mean it, they are letting themselves be insensibly drawn
into the tone of the men around them.

We have gone skulking about with our virtues so long, saying that we
have none, that we have believed it. We all know men finer than we are
who say they have none. So we have not, probably.

And so it goes on. I grow more and more tired every year of going about
the business world, at boards of trade and at clubs and at dinners, and
finding all this otherwise plain and manly world, all dotted over
everywhere with all these simple, good, self-deceived blundering prigs
of evil, putting on airs before everybody day and night, of being worse
than they are!

It is not exactly a lie. It is a Humdrum. People do not deliberately lie
about human nature. They merely say pianola-minded things.

One goes down any business street, Oxford Street, Bond Street, or
Broadway. One hears the same great ragtime tune of business, dinging
like a kind of street piano, through men's minds, "Sh-sh-sh-sh-Oh,
SH-SH! Oh, do not let anybody know I'm being good!"


I am not going to try any longer to worm out of my virtues or to keep up
an appearance of having as low motives as other people are trying to
make me believe they have.

They have lied long enough.

I have lied long enough.

My motives are really rather high and I am going to admit it.

And the higher they are (when I have hustled about and got the necessary
brains to go with them) the better they have worked.

Nine times out of ten when they have not worked, it has been my fault.

Sometimes it is John Doe's fault.

I am going to speak to John Doe about it. I am going to tell him what I
am driving at. I have turned over a new leaf. In the crisis of a great
nation and as an act of last desperate patriotism, I am going to give up
looking modest.

For a long time now I have wanted to dare to come out and stand up
before this Modesty Bug-a-boo and have it out with it and say what I
think of it, as one of the great, still, sinister threats against our
having or getting a real national life in America.

I knew a boy once who grew so fast that his mother always kept him
wearing shoes three sizes too large, and big, hopeful-looking coats and
trousers. Except for a few moments a year he never caught up. Nobody
ever saw that boy and his long shoes when he was not butting bravely
about, stubbing his toes on the world and turning up his sleeves.

It was a great relief to him and everybody, finally, when he grew up.

I am going to let myself go around, for a while now, at least until our
present national crisis is over in business and in politics, like that

There are millions of other men in this country who want to be like
that boy. Nations may smile at us if they want to. We will smile
too--rather stiffly and soberly, but for better or worse we propose from
to-day on, to let people see what we are trying to be daily, grimly,
right along side of what we are!

I have come to the conclusion that the only way, for me, at least, to
keep modest and kind, is to have my ideals all on. When one is going
around in sight of everybody with one's moral sleeves rolled up, and
one's great wistful, broad trousers that do not look as if they would
ever get filled out, it is awkward to find fault with other people for
not filling out their moral clothes. It may be a severe measure to take
with one's self hut the surest way to be kind is to live an exposed

I propose to live the next few years in a glass house. There are
millions of other men who want to. We want to see if we cannot at last
live confidentially with a world, live naïvely and simply with a world
like boys and like great men and like dogs!

What I have written, I have written. I propose to run the risk of being
good. When driven to it, I will run the risk of saying I am good.

My motives are fairly high. See! here is my scale of one hundred! I had
rather stand forty-five on my scale than ninety-eight on yours!

If there is any discrepancy between my vision and my action, I am not
going to be bullied out of my life and out of living my life the way I
want to, by the way I look. Though it mock me, I will not haul down my
flag. I will haul up my life!

Here it is right here in this paragraph, in black and white. I take it
up and look at it, I read it once more and lay it down.

What I have written, I have written.


People do not seem to agree in the present crisis of our American
industrial and national life, about the necessity of getting at the
facts and at the real news in this country about how good we are.

Last November in the national election, four and a half million men
(Republicans) said to Theodore Roosevelt, "Theodore! do not be good so

Four and a half million other men, also Republicans, told him not to
mind what anybody said, but to keep right on being good as loud as he
liked, for as long as it seemed necessary.

They wanted to be sure our goodness in America such as we had, was being
loud enough to be heard, believed in, and acted on in public.

The other set of men, last November (who were really very good too, of
course), were more sedate and liked to see goodness modulated more. They
stood out for what might be called a kind of moral elegance.

The governing difference between the Roosevelt type and the Taft type in
America has not been a mere difference of temperament but a difference
in news-sense, in a sense of crisis in the nation.

Thousands of men of all parties, with the nicest, easiest stand-pat Taft
temperaments in the world, with soft, low voices and with the most
beautiful moral manners, have let themselves join in a national attempt
to shock this nation into seeing how good it is. A great temporary
crisis can only be met by a great temporary loudness.

This is what has been happening in America during the last six months.
At last, all men in all parties are engaged in trying to find out: Is it
true or not true that we want to be good?

We are trying to get the news through. It may not be very becoming to us
and we know as well as any one, that loudness, except when morally deaf
people drive us to it is in bad taste. We are looking forward, every one
of us, to being as elegant as any one is, and the very first minute we
get the morally deaf people out of office where we will not have to go
about shouting out at them we will tone down in our goodness. We will
modulate beautifully!


There are three other bug-a-boos, besides the Modesty Bug-a-boo that
America will have to face and drive out of the way before it can be
truly said to have a national character or to have grown up and found
itself. There is the Goody-good Bug-a-boo, the Consistency Bug-a-boo,
and the Bug-a-boo that Thomas Jefferson if he were living now, would
never never ride in a carriage.

Each of these bug-a-boos in the general mistiness and muddle-headiness
of the time can be seen going about, saying, "Boo! Boo!" to this
democracy from day to day and year to year, keeping it scared into not
getting what it wants.

There is not one of them that will not evaporate in ten minutes the
first morning we get some real news through in this country about
ourselves and about what we are like.

What is the real news about us, for instance, as regards being

I can only begin with the news for one.

For years, I have held myself back from taking a plain or possibly loud
stand for goodness as a shrewd, worldly-wise program for American
business and public life, because I was afraid of people, and afraid
people would think I was trying to improve them.

What was worse, I was afraid of myself too. I was afraid I really would.

I am afraid now, or rather I would be, if I had not drilled through to
the news about myself and about other people and about human nature that
I am putting into this chapter.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have written five hundred pages in this book on an awkward and
dangerous subject like the Golden Rule, and I appeal to the reader--I
ask him humbly, hopefully, gratefully if he can honestly say (except for
a minute here and there when I have been tired and slipped up), if he
has really felt improved or felt that I was trying to improve him in
this book.

On your honour, Gentle Reader--you who have been with me five hundred

You say "Yes"?

Then I appeal to your sense of fairness. If you truly feel I have been
trying to improve you in this book, turn this leaf down here and stop.
It is only fair to me. Close the book with your improved and being
improved feeling and never open it again until it passes over. You have
no right to go on page after page calling me names, as it were, right in
the middle of my own book in this way behind my back, you!--hundreds and
thousands of miles away from me, by your own lamp, by your own
window--you come to me here between these two helpless pasteboard covers
where I cannot get out at you, where I cannot answer back, and you say
that I am trying to improve you!

Ah, Gentle Reader, forgive me! God forgive me! Believe me, I never
meant, not if it could possibly be helped, to improve you! If you insist
on it and keep saying that I have been improving you, all I can say is
that I was merely looking as if I were improving you. _You_ did it. I
did not. God help me if I am trying to improve you! I am trying to find
out in this book who I am. If, incidentally, while I am quietly working
away on this for five hundred pages, you find out who you are yourself,
and then drop into a gentle glowing improved feeling all by yourself, do
not mix me up in it. I deny that I have tried to improve you or anybody.
I have written this book to get my own way, to express my America. I
have written it to say "i," to say "I," to say (the first minute you let
me), "you and I," to say we, WE about America--to drive the news through
to a President of what America is like.

I am not improving you. I am telling you what may or may not be news
about you.

Take it or leave it.


I want to be good.

I do not feel superior to other men.

And I do not propose, if there is anything I can do about it, to be
compelled to feel superior.

I believe we all want to be good.

The one thing I want in this world is to prove it. I want my own way.

I am not going to slump into being a beautiful character. I have written
this book to get my own way.

I have said I will not be mixed up in the fate of people who do not know
where they are going, who have not decided what they are like, who do
not know who they are. What do the people want? Some people tell me they
want nothing. They tell me it would only make things worse and stir
things up for me to want to be good.

Or perhaps they think it is beautiful to lower the price of oil. They
want oil at seven cents a gallon.

Do they? Do you? Do I?

I say no. Let oil wait. I want to raise the price of men and to put a
market value on human life. I find as I look about me that there are two
classes of statesmen offering to be helpful in making life worth living
in America.

There are the statesmen who think we are going to be good and who
believe in a program which trusts and exalts the people and the leaders
of the people.

There are the statesmen who seem to believe that American human nature
does not amount to enough to be good. They are planning a program on the
principle that the best that can be done with human nature in America in
business and public life is to have it expurgated.

Which class of statesmen do we want?

In some of our state prisons men who are not considered fit to reproduce
themselves are sterilized. The question that is now up before this
country is, Do we or do we not want American business sterilized? Are we
or are we not going to put a national penalty on all initiative in all
business men because some men abuse it?

There is but one thing that can save us, namely, proving to one another
and to our public men, that we are good, that we are going to be good
and that we know how. We face the issue to-day. Two definite programs
are before the country.

Those who have put their faith in being afraid of one another as a
national policy have devised several By-laws for an Expurgated America.

They say, eliminate the right of a man to do wrong. Deny him the right
of moral experiment because some of his experiments do not work. We say
let him try. We can look out for ourselves or we will have bigger men
than he is, to look out for us.

They say, eliminate the right of a man to be an owner, because nobody
has the courage to believe that a man can express his best self in
property. We say that property may express a man's religion, and that
the way a man has of being rich or of being poor may be an art-form.

Most men can express themselves better in property than in anything

They say, eliminate all monopoly indiscriminately and the occasional
logical efficiency of monopoly because it has not worked well for the
people the first few times and because we have not learned how to handle
it. We say learn how to handle it.

They say eliminate the middleman. They say that the one strategic man in
every industry who can represent everybody if he wants to, who can be a
great man and who can make a great industry serve everybody, must be
eliminated because nobody believes America can produce a middleman. We
say instead of weakly and helplessly giving up a great spiritual and
morally-engineering institution like the middleman because the average
middleman does not know his job, we say: Exalt the middleman raise him
to the n-th power, make him--well--do you remember, Gentle Reader, the
walking beams on the old sidewheel steamers? We say do not eliminate
him--lift him up--make him what he naturally is and is in position to
be--the walking beam of Business!

If the average middleman does not know how to be a real middleman we
will make one who does.

And all the other eliminations that we have watched people being scared
into, one by one, we will turn into exaltations--each in its own kind
and place. There is not one of our fears that is not the suggestion, the
mighty outline, the inspiration for the world's next new size and new
kind of American man. We say place the position before the man--with its
fears, with its songs, with its challenge. We say, tell him what we
expect of him and demand of him. Put him in a high place on a platform
before the world! There with the truth about him written on his forehead
in the sight of all the people, call him by name, glorify him or behead
him! We are men and we are Americans. We will stand up to each of our
dangers one by one. Each and every danger of them is a romance, a
sublime adventure, a nation-maker. Our threats, our very by-words and
despairs, we will take up, and, in the sight of the world, forge them
into shrewd faiths and into mighty men!

This is my news or vision. I say that this is where we are going in
America. I compel no man to follow my news but I will pursue him with my
news until he gives me his!

       *       *       *       *       *

This news, I am telling, Gentle Reader, is perhaps news about you.

If it is not true news, say so. Say what is. We all have a right to
know. The one compulsion of modern life is our right to know, our right
to compel people who live on the same continent or who live in the same
country with us, to open up their hearts, to furnish us with their share
of the materials for a mutual understanding, or for a definite mutual
misunderstanding, on which to live.

It is the one compulsion of which we will be guilty. All liberty is in
it. These people who have to live with us and that we have to live with,
these people who breathe the same moral air with us, drink the same
water with us, these people who have their moral dumps, who throw away
their moral garbage with us--these people who will not help provide some
daily, mutual understanding for these common decencies for our souls to
live together these people we defy and challenge! We will compel them to
reveal themselves. We will drive them away, or we will drive them into
driving us away, if they will not yield to us what is in their
hearts--Mars, hell, anywhere we go, it matters not to us where we go,
except that we cannot and we will not live with men about us who thrust
down their true feelings and their real desires into a kind of manhole
under them, and sit on the lid and smile. Some seem to have manholes and
some have safes or spiritual banks, and there are others who have
convenient, dim, beautiful clouds in the sky to hide their feelings in.
But whatever their real feelings are, and wherever they keep them, they
belong to us.

We insist on having or on making mutual arrangements to have, if we live
in crowds, some kind of spiritual rapid transit system for getting our
minds through to one another. We demand a system for having the streets
of our souls decently lighted, some provision for moral sewers, for air
or atmosphere--and all the common conveniences for having decent and
self-respecting souls in crowds--all the intelligence-machines, the
love-machines, the hope-machines, and the believing-machines that the
crowds must have for living decently, for living with beauty, living
with considerateness and respect in this awful daily sublime presence of
one another's lives!

We shall still have our splendid isolations when we need them, some of
us, and our little solitudes of meanness, but the main common fund of
motives for living together, for growing up into a world together, the
desires, motives, and intentions in men's hearts, their desires toward
us and ours toward them, we are going to know and compel to be made
known. We will fight men to the death to know them.

Have we not fought, you and I, Gentle Reader, all of us, each man of us,
all our years, all our days, to drive through to some sort of mutual
understanding with our own selves? Now we will fight through to some
mutual understanding with one another and with the world.

We will knock on every door, make a house to house canvass of the souls
of the world, pursue every man, sing under his windows. We will
undergird his consciousness and his dreams. We will make the birds sing
to him in the morning, "_Where are you going_?" We will put up a sign at
the foot of his bed for his eyes to fall on when he awakes, "_Where are
you going_?"

Whatever it is that works best, if we blow it out of you with dynamite
or love or fear or draw it out of you with some mighty singing going
past--ah, brother, we will have it out of you! You shall be our brother!
We will be your brother though we die!

We will live together or we will die together.

What do you really want? What do you really like? _Who are you_?

We may pile together all our funny, fearful, little Dreadnoughts, our
stodgy dead lumps of men called armies, and what are they? And what do
they amount to and what can they do, as compared with truth, the real
news about what people want in this world, and about where we are going?

I say--they shall be as nothing as a rending force, as a glory to tear
down and rebuild a world, as compared with the truth, with the news
about us, that shall come out at last (God hasten the day!) from the
open--the pried-open hearts of men! And I have seen that men shall go
forth with shouts in that day and with glad and solemn silence, to build
a world!

       *       *       *       *       *

I wonder if I have faced down the Goody-good Bug-a-boo.

I speak for five million men.

We have got this book written between us (under the name of one of us),
because we want our own way. We are not improving people. We are not
even trying to improve ourselves. Many of us started in on it once and
the first improvement we thought of was not to try any more.

It is a great deal harder to try to live. Few people want us to--most
people get in the way. And when people get in the way we lay about us a
little--We hit them. We have written this book, because we want to hit a
great many people at once. We find them everywhere about us, in monster
cities, huge thoughtless anthills of them, and they will not let us live
a larger and a richer life. We say to them, We resent your houses your
shoes, your voices, your fears, your motives, your wills, the diseases
you make us walk past every day, the rows of things you seem to think
will do, and that you think we must get used to, and we do not propose,
if we can help it, to get used to what you think will do for Churches;
nor to what you think will do for a government or to the little lonely,
scattered, toyschool-houses, that when you come into the world, fresh
and strange and happy you all proceed solemnly to coop your souls in.
Nor do we want to get used to your hem-and-haw parliaments and your
funny little perfumed prophets--your prophets lying down or propped up
with pillows or your poets wringing their hands. Nor will we be put off
with all your gracefully feeble, watery, lovely little pastel religions
for this grim and mighty modern world. We are American men. We do not
propose to be driven out to sea, to stand face to face every day with
what is true and full of beauty and magic, or to have skies and
mountains and stars palmed off on us as companions instead of men!

This is what five million men are trying to express in writing this
book. If people deny that I have the right to give the news about
America for five million men; if they say that this is not true about
American human nature, that this is not the news, then I will say, _I am
the news_! I am this sort of an American! God helping me, I say it!
"Look at _me_!" I am this sort of man of whom I am writing! If I am not
this sort of man this afternoon, I will be in the morning! Though I go
down as a hiss and as laughter and as a by-word and a mocking to the end
of my days--_I_ am this sort of man! I say, "Look at _me_!"

If you will not believe me--that this is an American, if you say that I
cannot prove that there are five million of men like this in America,
then I will still say, "Here is _one_! What will you do with ME?" Though
I die in laughter, all my desires and all my professions in a tumult
about my soul, I say it to this nation, "Your laws, your programs, your
philosophies, your I wills, and I won'ts, I say, shall reckon with _me_!
Your presidents and your legislatures shall reckon with Me!"

Here I am. The man is here. He is in this book!

I will break through to the five million men. I will make the five
million men look at me until they recognize themselves. If no one else
will attend to it for me, and if there shall be no other way, I will
have a brass band go through the streets of New York and of a thousand
cities, with banners and floats and great hymns to the people, and they
shall go up and down the streets of the people with signs saying, "Have
you read Crowds?" I will have the Boston Symphony Orchestra tour the
country singing--singing from kettledrums to violins to a thousand
silent audiences, "_Have yon read 'CROWDS'_?"

I live in a nation in which we are butting through into our sense of our
national character, working our way up into a huge mutual working
understanding. In our beautiful, vague, patriotic, muddleheadedness
about what we want and whether we really want to be good, and about what
being good is like and I say, for one, half-laughing, half-praying, God
helping me--_Look at_ =ME=!


I was much interested some time ago when I had not been long landed in
England, and was still trying in the hopeful American way to understand
it--to see the various attitudes of Englishmen toward the discussions
which were going on at that time in the _Spectator_ and elsewhere, of
Mr. Cadbury's inconsistency; and while I had no reason, as an American,
fresh-landed from New York, to be interested in Mr. Cadbury himself, I
found that his inconsistency interested me very much. It insisted on
coming back into my mind, in spite of what I would have thought, as a
strangely important subject--not merely as regards Mr. Cadbury, which
might or might not be important, but as regards England and as regards
America, as regards the way a modern man struggling day by day with a
huge, heavy machine civilization like ours, can still manage to be a
live, useful, and possibly even a human, being in it.

There are two astonishing facts that stand face to face with all of us
to-day, who are labouring with civilization.

The first fact is that almost without exception all the men in it who
mean the most in it to us and to other people for good or for evil--who
stir us deeply and do things--all fall into the inconsistent class.

The second fact is that this is a very small, select distinguished, and
astonishingly capable class.

A man who is in a grim, serious business like being good, must expect to
give up many of his little self-indulgences in the way of looking good.
Looking inconsistent, possibly even inconsistency itself, may be
sometimes, temporarily, a man's most important public service to his

One needs but a little glance at history, or even at one's own personal
history. It is by being inconsistent that people grow, and without
meaning to, give other people materials for growing. For the particular
purpose of making the best things grow, of pointing up truths, of giving
definite edges to right and wrong, an inconsistent man--a man who is
trying to pry himself out a little at a time from an impossible
situation in an impossible world, is likely to do the world more good
than a very large crowd of angels who have made up their minds that they
are going to be consistent and going to keep up a consistent look in
this same world--whatever happens to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

If one is marking people on consistency, and if one takes a scale of 100
as perfect, perhaps one should not always insist on 98. One does not
always insist on 98 for one's self. And when one does and does not get
it, one feels forgiving sometimes.

In dealing with public men and with other people that we know less than
we know ourselves--if they really do things, it is well to make
allowances, and let them off at 65.

In some cases, in fact, when men are doing something that no one else
volunteers to do for a world, I find I get on very well with letting
them off at 51. I have sometimes wished, when I have been in England,
that Tories and Liberals and Socialists and the Wise and the Good would
consider letting George Cadbury off at 51.

Perhaps people are being more safely educated by George Cadbury in his
journals than they might be by other people in what seem to seem to many
of us unfamiliar and dangerous ideas.

Perhaps posterity, in 1953, looking down this precipice of revolution
England did not fall into in 1913, may mark George Cadbury 73--possibly

If, in any way, in the crisis of England, George Cadbury can crowd in
and can keep thousands and thousands of Englishmen and women from being
educated by John Bottomley Bull or by Mrs. John Bottomley Bull and hosts
of other would-be friends of the people--by Tom Mann, Ben Tillett, and
Vernon Hartshorn, does it really seem after all a matter of grave
national importance that George Cadbury--a professional non-better--in
educating these people should allow them to keep on in his paper, having
a betting column?

So long as he really helps stave off John Bottomley Bull and Mrs. John
Bottomley Bull, let him slump into being a millionaire, if he cannot
very well help it! We say, some of us, let him even make cocoa! or have
family prayers! or be a Liberal!

At least this is the way one American visiting England feels about it,
if he may be permitted.

Perhaps I would not, if I were an angel.

I do not want to be an angel.

I am more ambitious. I want my ideals to do things, and I want to stand
by people who are doing things with their ideals, whether their ideals
are my ideals or not.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us suppose. Suppose the reader were in Mr. Cadbury's place. What
would he do? Here are two things, let us suppose, he wishes very much.
He wishes a certain class of people would not bet, and he also wishes to
convince these same people of certain important social and political
ideas for which he stands. If he told them that he would have nothing to
do with them unless they stopped betting, there would be no object in
his publishing their paper at all. There would be nothing that they
would let him tell them. If, on the other hand, he begins merely as one
more humble, fellow-human being, and puts himself definitely on record
as not betting himself, and still more definitely as wishing other
people would not bet, and then admits honestly that these other people
have as good a right to decide to bet as he has to decide not to; and if
he then deliberately proceeds to do what every real gentleman who does
not smoke and wishes other people did not, does without
question--namely, offers them the facilities for doing it why should
people call him inconsistent?

Perhaps a man's consistency consists in his relation to his own smoking
and betting and not in his rushing his consistency over into the smoking
and betting of other people. Perhaps being consistent does not need to
mean being a little pharisaical, or using force, or cutting people off
and having no argument with them, in one matter, because one cannot
agree with them in another. Of course, I admit it would be better if Mr.
Cadbury would publish in a parallel column (if he could get a genius to
write it) an extremely tolerant, human, comrade-like series of
objections to betting, which people could read alongside, and which
would persuade people as much as possible not to read the best betting
tips in the world in the column next door, but certainly the act of
furnishing the tips in the meantime and of being sure that they are the
best tips in the world, is a very real, human, courageous act. It even
has a kind of rough and ready religion in it. It may be too much to
expect, but even in our goodness perhaps we ought to do as we would be
done by. We must be righteous, but on the whole, must we not be
righteous toward others as we would have them righteous toward us?

What many of us find ourselves wishing most of all, when we come upon
some specially attractive man is, that we could discover some way, or
that he could discover some way, in which the idealist in him, and the
realist in him could be got to act together.

There are some of us who have come to believe that in the dead earnest,
daily, almost desperate struggle of modern life, the real solid idealist
will have to care enough about his ideals to arrange to have two
complete sets, one set which he calls his personal ideals, which are of
such a nature that he can carry them out alone and rigidly and quite by
himself, and another which he calls his bending or coöperative ideals,
geared a little lower and adjusted to more gradual usage, which he uses
when he asks other men to act with him.

It may take a very single-hearted and strong man to keep before his own
mind and before other people's his two sets of ideals, his "I" faiths,
and his you-and-I faiths, keeping each in strict proportion, but it
would certainly be a great human adventure to do it. Saying "God and I,"
and saying "God and you and I" are two different arts. And it is
clear-headedness and not inconsistency in a man that keeps him so.

This is not a mere defence of Mr. Cadbury; it is a defence of a type of
man, of a temperament in our modern life, of men like Edward A. Filene,
of Boston, of a man like Hugh Mac Rae, one of the institutions of North
Carolina, of Tom L. Johnson of Cleveland, of nine men out of ten of the
bigger and more creative sort who are helping cities to get their way
and nations to express themselves. I have believed that the principle at
stake, the great principle for real life in England and in America, of
letting a man be inconsistent if he knows how--must have a stand made
for it.

There is no one thing, whether in history, or literature, or science, or
politics that can be more crucial in the fate of a nation to-day than
the correct, just, and constructive judgment of Contemporary
Inconsistent People.


If I could have managed it, I would have had this book printed and
written--every page of it--in three parallel columns.

The first column would be for the reader who believes it, who keeps
writing a book more or less like it as he goes along. I would put in one
sentence at the top for him and then let him have the rest of the space
to write in himself. In other words I would say 2 plus 2 equals 4 and
drop it.

The second column would be for the reader who would like to believe it
if he could, and I would branch out a little more--about half a column.

    2 + 2 = 4

    20 + 20 = 40

The third column would be for the reader who is not going to believe it
if it can be helped. It would be in fine type, bitterly detailed and
statistical and take nothing for granted.

    2 + 2 = 4

    20 + 20 = 40

    200 + 200 = 400

    2,000 + 2,000 = 4,000

    20,000 + 20,000 = 40,000


This arrangement would make the book what might be called a Moving
Sidewalk of Truth. First sidewalk rather quick (six miles an hour).
Second, four miles an hour. Third, two miles an hour. People could move
over from one sidewalk to the other in the middle of an idea any time,
and go faster or slower as they liked to, needed to.

No one would accuse me--though I might like or need for my own personal
use at one time or another, a slower sidewalk or a faster one than
others--no one would accuse me of being inconsistent if I supplied extra
sidewalks for people of different temperaments to move over to suddenly
any time they wanted to. I have come to some of my truth by a bitterly
slow sidewalk--slower than other people need, and sometimes I have come
by a fast one (or what some would say was no sidewalk at all!) but it
cannot fairly be claimed that there is anything inconsistent in my
offering people every possible convenience I can think of--for believing

Mr. Cadbury is not inconsistent if he tells truth at a different rate to
different people, or if he chooses to put truths before people in Indian

A man is not inconsistent who does not tell all the news he knows to all
kinds of people, all at once, all the time.

There is nothing disingenuous about having an order for truth.

It is not considered compromising to have an order in moving railway
trains. Why not allow an order in moving trains of thought? And why
should a schedule for moving around people's bodies be considered any
more reasonable than a schedule or timetable or order for moving around
their souls?

Truth in action must always be in an order. Nine idealists out of ten
who fight against News-men, or men who are trying to make the beautiful
work, and who call them hypocrites, would not do it if they were trying
desperately to make the beautiful work themselves. It is more
comfortable and has a fine free look, to be blunt with the
beautiful--the way a Poet is--to dump all one's ideals down before
people and walk off. But it seems to some of us a cold, sentimental,
lazy, and ignoble thing to do with ideals if one loves them--to give
everybody all of them all the time without considering what becomes of
the ideals or what becomes of the people.



MARCH 4, 1913.

As I write these words, I look out upon the great meadow. I see the
poles and the wires in the sun, that long trail of poles and wires I am
used to, stalking across the meadow. I know what they are doing.

They are telling a thousand cities and villages about our new President,
the one they are making this minute, down in Washington, for these
United States. With his hand lifted up he has just taken his oath, has
sworn before God and before his people to serve the destinies of a
nation. And now along a hundred thousand miles of wire on dumb wooden
poles, a hope, a prayer, a kind of quiet, stern singing of a mighty
people goes by. And I am sitting here in my study window wondering what
he will be like, what he will think, and what he will believe about us.

What will our new President do with these hundreds of miles of prayer,
of crying to God, stretched up to him out of the hills and out of the

Does he really overhear it--that huge, dumb, half-helpless, half-defiant
prayer going up past him, out of the eager, hoarse cities, out of the
slow, patient fields, to God?

Does he overhear it, I wonder? What does he make out that we are like?

I should think it would sound like music to him.

It would come to seem, I should think, when he is alone with his God
(and will he not please be alone with his God sometimes?), like some
vast ocean of people singing, a kind of multitudinous, faraway singing,
like the wind--ah, how often have I heard the wind like some strange and
mighty people in the pine treetops go singing by!

I do not see how a President could help growing a little like a
poet--down in his heart--as he listens.

If he does, he may do as he will with us.

We will let him be an artist in a nation.

As Winslow Homer takes the sea, as Millet takes the peasants in the
fields, as Frank Brangwyn lifts up the labour in the mills and makes it
colossal and sublime, the President is an artist, in touching the
crowd's imagination with itself--in making a nation self-conscious.

He shall be the artist, the composer, the portrait painter of the
people--their faith, their cry, their anger, and their love shall be in
him. In him shall be seen the panorama of the crowd, focused into a
single face. In him there shall be put in the foreground of this
nation's countenance the things that belong in the foreground. And the
things that belong in the background shall be put in the background, and
the little ideas and little men shall look little in it, and the big
ones shall look big.

They do not look so now. This is the one thing that is the matter with
America. The countenence of the nation is not a composed countenance.
All that we want is latent in us, everything is there in our Washington
face. The face merely lacks features and an expression.

This is what a President is for--to give at last the Face of the United
States an expression!

If he is a shrewd poet and believes in us, we shall accept him as the
official mind reader of the nation. He focuses our desires. In the
weariness of the day he looks away--he looks up--he leans his head upon
his hand--through the corridors of his brain, that little silent Main
street of America, the thoughts and the crowds and the jostling wills of
the people go.

If he is a shrewd poet about us, he becomes the organic function, the
organizer of the news about our people to ourselves. He is the public
made visible, the public made one. He is a moving picture of us. He
speaks and gestures the United States--if he is a poet about us--when he
beckons or points or when he puts his finger on his lips, or when he
says, "Hush!" or when he says, "Wait a moment!" he is the voice of the
people of the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am sitting and correcting, one by one, as they are brought to me,
these last page proofs in the factory. The low thunder on the floors of
the mighty presses, crashing down into paper words I can never cross
out--rises around me. In a minute more--minute by minute that I am
counting, that low thunder will overtake me, will roar down and fold
away these last guilty, hopeful, tucked-in words with you, Gentle
Reader, and you will get away! And the book will get away!

There is no time to try to hold up that low thunder now, and to say what
I have meant to say about false simplicity and democracy, and about our
all being bullied into being little old faded Thomas Jeffersons a
hundred years after he is dead.

But I will try to suggest what I hope that some one who has no
printing-presses rolling over him--will say:

One cannot help wishing that our socialists to-day would outgrow Karl
Marx, and that our individualists would outgrow Emerson. Democrats by
this time ought to grow a little, too, and outgrow Jefferson, and
Republicans ought to be able by this time to outgrow Hamilton.

Why not drop Karl Marx and Emerson and run the gamut of both of them, on
a continent 3,000 miles wide? Why should we live Thomas Jefferson's and
Alexander Hamilton's lives? Why not drop Jefferson and Hamilton and live

The last thing that Jefferson would do, if he were here, would be to be
Jefferson over again. It is not fair to Jefferson for anybody to take
the liberty of being like him, when he would not even do it himself. If
Jefferson were here, he would break away from everybody, lawyers,
statesmen and Congress and go outdoors and look at 1913 for himself.

I like to imagine how it would strike him. I am not troubled about what
he would do. Let Jefferson go out and listen to that vast machine, to
the New York Central Railway smoothing out and roaring down crowds,
rolling and rolling and rolling men all day and all night into machines.
Let Jefferson go out and face the New York Central Railway! Jefferson in
his time had not faced nor looked down through those great fissures or
chasms of inefficiency in what he chose to call democracy, the haughty,
tyrannical aimlessness and meaninglessness of crowds, too mean-spirited
and full of fear and machines to dare to have leaders!

He had not faced that blank staring hell of anonymousness, that
bottomless, weak, watery muck of irresponsibility--that terrific,
devilish vagueness which a crowd is and which a crowd has to be without

Jefferson did not know about or reckon with Inventors, as a means of
governing, as a means of getting the will of the people.

A whole new age of invention, of creation, has flooded the world since
Jefferson. This is the main fact about the modern man, that he is
gloriously self-made. He is practising democracy, inventing his own
life, making his own soul before our eyes.

If we have a poet in the White House, this is the main fact he is going
to reckon with: He will not be seen taking sides with the Alexander
Hamilton model or with the Thomas Jefferson model or with Karl Marx or
Emerson. We will see him taking Karl Marx and Emerson and Hamilton and
Jefferson and melting them down, glowing them and fusing them together
into one man--the Crowd-Man--who shall be more aristocratic than
Hamilton ever dreamed, and be filled with a genius for democracy that
Jefferson never guessed. America to-day, on the face of the earth and
in the hearts of men, is a new democracy, as new as Radium, Copernicus,
the Wireless Telegraph, as new and just beginning to be noticed and
guessed at as Jesus Christ!

Copernicus, Marconi, Wilbur Wright, and Christianity have turned men's
hearts outward. Men live for the first time in a wide daily
consciousness of one another.

Alexander Hamilton, had really a rather timid and polite idea of what an
aristocrat was and Jefferson had merely sketched out a ground plan for a
democrat. If Hamilton had been aristocratic in the modern sense, he
would have devoted half his career to expressing a man like Jefferson;
and if Jefferson had been more of a democrat, he would have had room in
himself to tuck in several Alexander Hamiltons. Either one of them would
have been a Crowd-Man.

By a Crowd-Man I do not mean a pull-and-haul man, a balance of
equilibrium between these two men, I mean a fusion, a glowed together
interpenetration of them both. They did not either of them believe in
the people as much as a man made out of both of them would--a really
wrought-through aristocrat, a really wrought-through democrat or
Crowd-Man, or Hero or Saviour.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am afraid that some of us do not like the word Saviour as people think
we ought to. There seems to be something about the way many people use
the word Saviour which makes it seem as if it had been dropped off over
the edge of the world--of a real world, of a man's world.

I do not believe that Christ spent five minutes in His whole life in
feeling like a Saviour. He would have felt hurt if He had found any one
saying He was a Saviour in the tone people often use. He wanted people
to feel as if they were like Him. And the way He served them was by
making them feel that they were.

I do not believe that Thomas Jefferson, if he were here to-day, would
object to a hero, or aristocrat, a special expert or a genius in
expressing crowds, if he lived and wrought in this spirit.

The final objection that people commonly make to heroes or to men of
marked and special vision or courage is that they are not good for
people, because people put them on pedestals and worship them. They look
up at them wistfully. And then they look down on themselves.

But I have never seen a hero on a pedestal.

It is only the Carlyle kind of hero who could ever be put on a pedestal,
or who would stay there if put there.

And Carlyle--with all honour be it said--never quite knew what a hero
was. A hero is either a gentleman, or a philosopher, or an inventor.

The gentleman--on a pedestal--feels hurt and slips down.

The philosopher laughs.

The inventor thinks up some way of having somebody else get up so that
it will not really be a pedestal at all.

I agree with all the socialists' objections to heroes, if they mean by a
hero the kind of man that Thomas Carlyle, with all his little glorious
hells, all his little cold, lonesome, select heavens, his thunderclub
view of life, and his Old Testament imagination, called a hero. There is
always something a little strained and competitive about Carlyle's
heroes as he conceives them except possibly one or two.

Being a hero with Carlyle consisted in conquering and displacing other
heroes. Even if you were a poet, being a hero consisted in a kind of
spiritual standing on some other poet's neck. According to Carlyle, one
must always be a hero against other men. Modern heroism consists in
being a hero with other men. The hero Against comes in the Twentieth
Century to be the hero With, and the modern hero is known, not by
cutting his enemies down, but by his absorbing and understanding them.
He drinks up what they wish they could do into what he does, or he
states what they believe better than they can state it. Combination or
coöperation is the tremendous heroism of our present life.

I admit that I would be afraid of Carlyle's heroes having pedestals.
They have already--many of them--done a good deal of harm because they
have had pedestals, and because they would not get down from them.

But mine would.

With a man who is being a hero by coöperation, getting down is part of
the heroism. And there is never any real danger in allowing a pedestal
for a real hero. He never has time to sit on it.

One sees him always over and over again kicking his pedestal out from
under him and using it to batter a world with. As the world does not
take to enjoying its heroes' pedestals in this way, a pedestal is quite
safe. Most people feel the same about a hero's halo. They prefer to have
him wear it like a kind of glare around his head, and if he uses it as a
searchlight upon them, if he makes his halo really practical and lights
up the world a little around him instead, he is not likely to be
spoiled, is almost always safe from any danger of having any more halo
crowded upon him than he wants, or than anybody wants him to have. One
might put it down as a motto for heroes, "Keep your halo busy and it
won't hurt you." Modern democracy will never have a chance of being what
it wants to be as long as it keeps on throwing away great natural forces
like halos and pedestals. There is no reason why we should not believe
in halos and pedestals, not to wear or stand on, but when used strictly
for butting and seeing purposes.

We may know a real hero by the fact that we always have to keep
rediscovering him. One knows the real hero by the fact that in his
relation to people who put him on a pedestal he is always kicking his
pedestal away and substituting his vision.

There is something about any real heroism that we see to-day which makes
heroes out of the people who see it, A real hero has his back to the
people and the crowd looks over his shoulders with him at his work and
he feels behind him daily, with joy and strength, thousands of heroes
pressing up to take his place. And he is daily happy with a strange,
mighty, impersonal joy in all these other people who could do it, too.
He lives with a great hurrah for the world in his heart. The hero he
worships is the hero he sees in others. A man like this would feel
cramped if he were merely being himself, or if he were being imprisoned
by the people in his own glory, or were being cooped up into a hero.

It is in this sense that I have finally come again to believe that hero
worship is safe, that in some form as one of the great elemental
energies in human nature it must be saved, that it must be regulated and
used, that it has an incalculable power which was meant to be turned on
to run a nation with.

And I believe that Thomas Jefferson, confronted in this desperate,
sublime 1913, with the new socialized spirit of our time, placed face to
face at last with a Christian aristocrat or Crowd-Man, would want him
saved and emphasized too.

It is because in democracies saviours are being kept by crowds and by
millionaires and by machines very largely in the position of hired men,
or of ordered about men, that ninety-nine one-hundredths of the saving
or of the man-inventing and man-freeing in crowds, is not being attended

I have wanted to suggest in this book that the moment the Saviours in
any nation will organize quietly and save themselves first, the less
difficult thing (with men to attend to it) like saving the rest of us,
will be a mere matter of detail.

The only thing that stands in the way is the Thomas Jefferson bug-a-boo.
People seem to have a kind of left-over fear that the moment these
saviours or experts or inventors or heroes, call them what you will, get
the chance that they have been working to get to save us, they will not
want to use it.

It does not seem to me that anything will be allowed to interfere with
it--with their saving us, or making detailed arrangements for our saving

Being a great man (if as democracies seem to think being a great man is
a disease) is at least a self-limiting disease. Inventors when they get
their first chance are going to save us, because they could not endure
living with us unless we were saved.

Inventors could not enjoy inventing--inventing their greater, more noble
inventions, until they had attended to a little rudimentary thing in the
world like having people half alive on it to live with and to invent

It does not interest a really inspired man--inventing flying machines
for people who have not time to notice the sky, wireless telegraph for
people who have nothing to say, symphonies for tone-deaf crowds, or
ambrosia for people who prefer potatoes.

This is the whole issue in a nutshell. When people say that our
inventors, or Crowd-Men or saviours, when they have fulfilled or saved
themselves, cannot be trusted to save us, the reply that will have to be
made is that only people who do not know how inventors feel or how they
are made or what it is in them that drives them to do things, or how
they do them, will be afraid to let men who give us worlds and who
express worlds for us and who make us express ourselves in worlds the
freedom to help shape them and run them.

Men who have the automatic courage, the helpless bigness and
disinterestedness that always goes with invention, with creative power,
can be trusted by crowds.

The prejudice against the hero is due to the fact that heroes in days
gone by have been by a very large majority fighters, expressing
themselves against the world, or expressing one part of the world
against another.

The moment the hero becomes the artist and begins expressing himself and
expressing the crowd together, the crowd will no longer be touched with
fear and driven back upon itself by the Thomas Jefferson bug-a-boo.


France is threatened by her childless women, Germany by her machines,
Russia is beginning the Nineteenth Century. It is to England and
America, struggling still sublimely with their sins, the nations
look--for the time being--for the next big free lift upon the world.

Looked at in the large, in their historic import and their effect on the
time, the English temperament and the American temperament are
essentially the same. As between ourselves, England and America are apt
to seem different, but as between us and the world, we blend together.
One could go through in what I have been saying about Oxford Street and
the House of Commons in this book, strike out all after Oxford Street
and read Broadway, and all after the House of Commons and read Congress,
and it would be essentially true with the necessary English or American
modulation. In the same way it would be possible to go through and
strike out all after the President and read Prime Minister or the

England and America have the individualistic temperament, and if we
cannot make a self-expressive individualism noble, and if we are not men
enough to sing up our individualism into the social and the universal,
we perish.

It is our native way. We are to be crowdmen or nobodies.

The English temperament or the American temperament, whichever we may
call it, is the same tune, but played with a different and almost
contrasting expression.

England is being played gravely and massively like a violoncello, and
America--played more lightly, is full of the sweeps and the lulls, the
ecstasy, the overriding glory of the violins.

But it is the same tune, and God helping us, we will not and we shall
not be overwhelmed under the great dome of the world, by Germany with
all her faithful pianolas, or by France with her cold sweet flutes, or
by Russia with her shrieks and her pauses, pounding her splendid
kettledrums in that awful silence!

Our song is ours--England and America, the 'cello, and the bright

And no one shall sing it for us.

And no one shall keep us from singing it.

The skyscrapers are singing, "I will, I will!" to God, and Manchester
and London and Port Sunlight are singing, "I will, I will!" to God. I
have heard even Westminister Abbey and York--those beautiful old
fellows--altering, "I will, I will!" to God!

And I have seen, as I was going by, Trinity Church at the head of Wall
Street repenting her sins and holding noonday prayer meetings for

Our genius is a moral genius, the genius of each man for fulfilling
himself. Our religion is the finding of a way to do it beautifully.

Let Russian men be an army if they like--death and obedience. Let German
men keep on with their faithful, plodding, moral machines if they want
to, and let all French men be artists, go tra-la-laing up and down the
Time to the beautiful--furnishing nudes, clothes, and academies to a

But we--England and America--will stand up on this planet in the way we
like to stand on a planet and sing, "I will, I will!" to God.

If we cannot do better, we will sing, "I won't, I won't!" to God. Our
wills and our won'ts are our genius among the sons of men. They are what
we are for. With England and America I will and I won't are an art form,
our means of expressing ourselves, our way of invention and creation,
of begetting an age, of begetting a nation upon a world.

We do not know (like great men and children) who we are at first. We
begin saying vaguely--will--will!

Then i will!

Then I will!




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